These before-and-after photos show tech billionaires’ dramatic transformations

jeff bezos

Tech CEOs used to be infamous for their lack of style.

But a photo revealing how much Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has changed over the years shows that the stereotype is changing. 

Here are 12 photos that prove how time and success changed some of tech’s most famous CEOs. 

SEE ALSO: Go inside the enormous New York museum that’s home to some of the most famous watches in history

Back in 2005 when Amazon was just selling books, Jeff Bezos would frequently wear sweaters over collared shirts.

Today, Bezos’ appearance has noticeably changed — his shaved head and toned arms recently sparked a meme on Twitter.

Source: Business Insider

Two of PayPal’s founding members, Peter Thiel and Elon Musk, dressed much more casual back in 2000.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

Sony enters under Rs 30k smartphone league with its Xperia XA1 Ultra

After unveiling it’s flagship smartphone Xperia XZ Premium, Sony has launched its mid-ranger Xperia XA1 Ultra today in India. The smartphone was first unveiled at the Mobile World Congress earlier this year alongside the Xperia XA1, which is already up for sale in India at Rs 19,990. 

Priced at Rs 29,990, the Xperia XA1 Ultra will be available across all Sony Centres and major offline retail stores in the country. You’ll find it in White, Black and Gold colour variants. 

The Xperia XA1 Ultra comes packed in a polycarbonate shell with the iconic slate shaped Xperia design. It comes in a phablet sized form-factor having a 6-inch full HD (1080p) edge-to-edge IPS display with undefined version of Gorilla Glass protection on top. Despite being priced at around 30k, the smartphone is devoid of a fingerprint sensor. Although, it carries a dedicated camera shutter button and a silver power and lock key on the right. 

The display and other features are quite similar to the Xperia XA1, which comes in a smaller form factor. The specifications include an octa-core MediaTek Helio P20 processor clocked at 2.3GHz, coupled with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of internal storage, which can be expanded up to 256GB using a microSD card. 

On the camera front, the XA1 Ultra offers a 23MP camera with f/2.0 aperture, phase detection, laser autofocus and LED flash accompanied by a 16MP front camera with OIS. 

The dual-SIM smartphone runs on Android Nougat and supports 4G and VoLTE. It has a 2700mAh battery that comes with fast charging support and also has Sony’s proprietary intelligent charging feature for prolonged battery life. It basically learns from your charging habits and adapts accordingly. Customers will get a quick charger UCH-12 in the box.

Connectivity features include A-GNSS (GPS + GLONASS), WiFi Miracast, Bluetooth 4.2, Google Cast, NFC and USB Type-C port for data syncing and charging. 

from TechRadar – All the latest technology news http://www.techradar.com/news/sony-enters-under-rs-30k-smartphone-league-with-its-xperia-xa1-ultra

T-Mobile says Verizon and AT&T’s unlimited data plans are killing their network speeds (TMUS)

US Wireless Movement

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Verizon’s and AT&T’s reactive moves to expand unlimited data plans may be stifling their network speeds, according to T-Mobile CTO Neville Ray.

A nosedive in megabytes per second (Mbps) for the two companies during Q2 2017, coinciding with the launch of their new unlimited offerings, could suggest that the two networks were strained by the sudden uptick in data consumption. 

It was only after the first full quarter since offering an unlimited plan that Verizon plummeted to third place, behind AT&T on network speed. Meanwhile, T-Mobile’s network ranks first in download speed and LTE availability in the US, Ray said, referring to Ookla data. In Q2 2017, the carrier reached average speeds of 27 Mbps. The success of T-Mobile’s strategy signifies how smaller companies can fly past competitors and swiftly disrupt markets, specifically the US carrier model.

As smartphone and tablet adoption in the US approaches saturation, carriers have begun fighting over the same subscriber base. T-Mobile’s disruptive, yet appealing, unlimited offerings have continued to eat into the customer base of rival carriers Verizon and AT&T. In Q1 2017, T-Mobile added 1.1 million customers, and Verizon had a net decline of 307,000 wireless postpaid connections.

Verizon’s move to offer its unlimited plan in February is a reversal for the company, which initially saw little value in it as the company discontinued its first unlimited plan back in 2011. However, as the carrier continued to hemorrhage subscribers, its losses turned out to be not as bad as expected. In Q1 2017, Verizon had a net loss of 289,000 postpaid phone customers, but said it was on pace to lose nearly 400,000 of those users before its unlimited plan launch.

Still, while retaining customers is important for Verizon and AT&T, their focus has moved to new growth drivers, like the Internet of Things (IoT) and video delivery. Both Verizon and AT&T are building out LTE Cat-M1 networks across the globe, which would be useful for a set of IoT use cases. Verizon’s interest in a 5G wireless network rollout will also work to support various IoT applications that rely on massive amounts of data. And AT&T is focused on video delivery services, like its new DirecTV Now streaming offering, to lure subscribers.

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Blue Apron’s VC backers have made gobs of money — while regular investors have taken a bath (APRN)

blue apron

Blue Apron has been decimated since going public in June, losing 35% of its value thanks to a direct assault from Amazon and troubling customer-retention issues

The company, which was courting an IPO price of as much as $17 a share for a valuation of $3 billion in early June, has lost more than half of its value since then.

Blue Apron closed at $6.65 per share Wednesday for a market valuation of $1.32 billion. 

That doesn’t mean investing in Blue Apron has been a disaster for all of its backers, though. Three venture capital backers have still made gobs of money. Investors who put money into the company later down the road have lost out, in contrast. 

Winners

Blue Apron’s three early VC backers have still made a killing on the investment.

Business Insider estimated the returns of Blue Apron’s largest backers, based on figures from the meal-kit company’s IPO prospectus and ownership statements its largest investors’ are required to file with the SEC.

Bessemer Venture Partners, which first funded Blue Apron in 2013 and has reupped at each funding round since, is the largest outside shareholder, with a nearly 23% stake. It’s made $215 million, a roughly 800% return on the $26.7 million it has invested, according to Business Insider’s calculations. 

First Round Capital is up $98.7 million on its $7.6 million investment, a 1,398% gain, while Stripes Group is up a more modest $29.4 million on a $36.7 million investment for an 80% return.

Bessemer, First Round, and Stripes Group did not respond to requests for comment. 

Losers

Fidelity, another big Blue Apron backer, has gotten slammed on its investment so far. The institutional investor, which manages trillions in capital for pensions and retirement accounts of millions of Americans, first bought into Blue Apron during its Series D round in 2015, throwing down $125 million and helping the food delivery startup earn its “unicorn” status with a $2 billion valuation. 

Fidelity followed in May 2017 — just prior to the public offering — by purchasing $63.5 million in convertible notes, which converted into some 6.9 million shares at the IPO, according to the filings. 

In all, Fidelity is down $80.2 million on the $188.5 million it has invested.

Of course, Fidelity is a long-term investor, and its holding in Blue Apron is a tiny portion of its holdings, especially compared with venture investors. Even if Blue Apron never recovers, Fidelity won’t feel much of an impact. 

“As a general practice we don’t comment on specific holdings. That said, our portfolio managers look to invest in companies that they believe are good long-term opportunities for shareholders,” Fidelity spokesman Jeff Cathie told Business Insider in an email.

Cathie continued (emphasis added):

“Private investments are very small positions in the relatively few Fidelity funds that make such investments. For example, as of its most recently disclosed holdings (May 31, 2017), the Fidelity OTC Portfolio’s investment in Blue Apron represented 0.089% of the fund’s approximately $15 billion in asset under management. And by-the-way, this fund is significantly beating its benchmark (the Nasdaq Composite) and 100% of its Morningstar peers on a 1-, 3- and 5-year basis.”

And of course, investors who bought in at the IPO and still hold the shares have taken a paper loss of more than 30% in a matter of weeks. 

That’s the point

This is sort of the whole point of VC investing: Get in very early on a number of promising investments when the risk is outsized, and then get paid out exponentially for taking that risk when one of those investments hits.

Although these funds are up on this investment, they stood to make as much as 2.5 times more when Blue Apron first filed for its IPO. Bessemer’s $215 million return looks fantastic, but the firm, which manages $4.5 billion in assets, was up more than $500 million a couple months ago. 

And the VCs could be taking losses on the rest of their bets, so it doesn’t guarantee the fund is thriving overall. 

Since none of these firms have sold their stakes yet, these returns are still “paper” only and could change significantly by the time the funds exit.

Here’s a detailed breakdown of how each firm’s investment has fared so far, based on the SEC documents:

Note: Figures are rounded. Calculations use the stock price as of market close July 19 — $6.65 a share. 

Bessemer Venture Partners return: $215 million (+800%)

Investments

Series A preferred stock: 295,546 shares for $5.84 million
Series B preferred stock: 350,153 shares for $3.9 million 
Series C preferred stock: 725,528 shares for $12.1 million
Series D preferred stock: 375,181 shares for $5 million

Shares after IPO conversion: 36.29 millio

 

Return

Total invested: $26.7 million

Value of stake as of July 19: $241 million
Return: $215 million (804%)

 

Note — Preferred stock converts to common stock as follows:

• Series A on a 50-for-1 basis

• Series B on a 50-for-1 basis

• Series C on a 5-for-1 basis

• Series D on a 1-for-1 basis

First Round Capital return: $98.7 million (+1,398%)

Investments

Series A preferred stock: 199,323 shares for $1.1 million
Series B preferred stock: 87,538 shares for $961,491
Series C preferred stock: 326,325 shares for $5.5 million
Series D preferred stock: 7,504 shares for $100,000

Total shares after IPO conversion: 15.98 million

 

Return

Total invested: $7.6 million

Value of stake as of July 19: $106.3 million
Return: $98.7 million (1,398%)

Stripes Group return: $29.4 million (+80%)

Investments

Series A preferred stock: 1,801 shares for $180,100
Series B preferred stock: N/A
Series C preferred stock: 1,894,370 shares for $31.56 million
Series D preferred stock: 375,181 shares for $5 million

Total shares after IPO conversion: 9.94 million

 

Return

Total invested: $36.74 million
Value of stake as of July 19: $66.1 million
Return: $29.4 million (80%)

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

Millions of dollars’ worth of Apollo moon-landing gear is up for auction on eBay

apollo 11 astronaut planting flag moon nasa 371257main_Flag_full

In the market for a helium tank from an Apollo-era spacecraft? How about a bag to collect lunar soil samples? Or an authentic training checklist for launching to the moon?

Welcome to the spectacle that is Sotheby’s first “Space Exploration” live auction, which is being hosted on eBay.

The event kicks off at 11 a.m. EDT on Thursday, July 20 — the 48th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing. It features 173 lots of space artifacts and memorabilia, which are collectively worth between an estimated $2.9 million and $5.3 million.

Some sellers hope to fetch a premium on rare toys and signed photographs from the Space Race, while others are hawking near-priceless artifacts that could fetch millions of dollars.

One lot that may garner $4 million alone: a dusty bag that Apollo 11 astronauts dumped the first samples of lunar soil, grit, and rocks into in 1969. (The bag was “lost” for decades until the US Marshals Service confiscated it during a raid and later auctioned off — for $995.)

NASA and other groups admonish the sale of such one-of-a-kind spaceflight objects. “This artifact, we believe, belongs to the American people and should be on display for the public,” NASA said in a statement shortly after a court granted the buyer ownership of the bag.

That said, here are some of the more notable items in Sotheby’s and eBay’s live auction and how much they might sell for.

SEE ALSO: Lego just launched a giant Apollo Saturn V moon rocket set that comes with 1,969 pieces

DON’T MISS: Apollo astronaut: ‘You go to heaven when you are born’

Apollo 11 Contingency Lunar Sample Return Bag

Used by Neil Armstrong on Apollo 11 to bring back the very first pieces of the moon ever collected — traces of which remain in the bag. The only such relic available for private ownership.

Estimate: $2 million – $4 million

Gemini G1c spacesuit thermal coverlayer

Thermal coverlayer for the Gemini G1C spacesuit, made for Gus Grissom by the David Clark Company, circa 1962.

Estimate: $40,000 – $60,000

Apollo 13 flown flight plan, with drawings by astronauts (1 of 4)

A book that contains the entire Apollo 13 flight plan, including sketches and notations by astronauts Jim Lovell, Jack Swigert, and Fred Haise.

Estimate: $30,000 – $40,000

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

Legendary Pokémon are finally coming to ‘Pokémon Go,’ something fans have been asking from the start

The long wait is over: Legendary Pokémon are finally coming to “Pokemon GO!”

Pokemon Go

On July 22, when “Pokémon Go” holds its first major public event at Grant Park in downtown Chicago, the game’s first Legendary Pokémon will be revealed through a new function: Legendary Raids.

If all of this sounds like gibberish to you, allow me to walk back some jargon:

  • Legendary Pokémon are a handful of Pokémon that haven’t appeared yet in “Pokémon Go,” despite showing up in the game’s code.
  • “Raids” are a concept in video games where players group up to take down an enemy together.

In “Pokémon Go,” Legendary Pokémon are finally being added as a group activity — presumably, the folks who gather at Grant Park on July 22 will form a unified team to take down the massive Legendary Pokémon that appear.

It’s not clear how often those Legendary Pokémon will appear subsequently, but the press release offers a hint: “If Trainers successfully defeat the Legendary Pokemon in Chicago, that Pokémon will start appearing in Legendary Raid Battles around the world beginning July 23, 2017.” Good luck, Chicago trainers!

Check out the first trailer of the Legendary Pokémon addition right here:

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