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EverFi Investing Trend Is Real: Investors Set Their Sights On The Company

Some startups have problems attracting investors. Meanwhile, other startups are all too eager to go public, even before they have shown their true worth. And then there is EverFi Inc.—a bold, digital startup which aims to further education technology. What makes this Washington, D.C.-based Saas education tech company unique is that it is not in the business in order to go public. So far, it also has no problems attracting investors. With the latest group of investors that includes Rise Fund, as well as U2’s Bono, has made its move, it’s no doubt that an EverFi investing trend is not an impossible case.

“We’re really trying to prove that you can build something that does incredibly meaningful work in schools but also be a really great software business,” EverFi Chief Executive Tom Davidson states in a Washington Post article. He also notes, “Those historically have not gone hand in hand, but we’re trying to prove that it’s possible.” Simply put, education technology is the use of various traditional and nontraditional methods in order to further education in its many forms. Yahoo reported that EverFi is involved in providing online courses for alcohol safety, sexual assault prevention, as well as corporate concerns. It recently broadened its market to include companies, nonprofit organizations, and sports teams. These companies pay fees that can go as high as $1 million a year. With a few thousand customer companies, EverFi has a bold reach in excess of 16 million members.

an infographic about EverFi amid the possibility of an EverFi investing trend

Other Details Related to EverFi Investing

So far, EverFi has recently raised an additional $190 million. This fact has put its total investment funding at $251 million—which is a lot of money for a startup. With cash in hand, EverFi intends to bring in smaller education technology companies to further broaden its scope. It recently bought LawRoom and Workplace Answers, two education technology companies which are involved in corporate compliance.  The latest funding will most probably be used to acquire similar companies for a longer and wider reach into potential corporate customers. Other plans include a bold new project to combat opioid abuse.

The traditional route of startups is to go public as soon as it has shown that it has a revenue stream. This factor is also the main criteria for most venture capital funding. However, in this case, EverFi has no plans to do that. Instead, it continues to raise funds in order to boldly fuel its own growth. This strategy also keeps management focused on the company goal and not on the satisfaction of shareholders who invested due to the profit potential—or simply joined the EverFi investing trend.

New Faux Meat Startups In San Francisco

There is a bold new food revolution starting in San Francisco, and this time it is almost all about protein. The sales in various animal protein products are worth about $200 billion in the United States alone but a new wave of faux meat products is on the horizon.

On top of the race to deliver new plant-based protein production methods, there are also other factors which make this a world-changing revolution. There is the problem of feeding 9.7 billion people around the world by 2050. Climate change is still an ever-present concern.

Faux Meat: Faux Pas?

Current methods call for animal agriculture which follows the traditional model for industrial production. In order to keep up with the world population and the demand for meat, a change has to happen. Various startups such as Finless Foods are addressing this issue with plant-based non-traditional production which results in fake meat.

Plant-based protein in faux meat food revolutionCalling the product “fake meat” misses the point. Researchers are aiming to come up with a plant-based product which tastes like meat, has the same texture, and can be produced in a laboratory environment without the animal involved. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, the goal is to produce bluefin tuna fillet look- and taste-alike, as well as milk, eggs, and poultry without the need for grazing land or feeds, for that matter.

Different startups have their own bold approaches and niches. Finless Foods is trying to create a tuna-like product. Impossible Foods is making plant-based hamburgers. Modern Meadow is trying to culture leather cells. Other labs are into the production of egg whites and collagen.

All of these new technology has been gravitating towards the Bay Area for two simple reasons. One is the availability of research institutions and scientists around San Francisco. Another reason is the funding for these companies have been coming from venture capitalists who are principally from the same area.

Venture capitalists, startup accelerators, and investors have made San Francisco the center of the new plant-meat revolution. This may seem ironic to some as San Francisco is also famous in the food industry as one of the areas that popularized farm-to-table cooking. This is a movement which has tried to bring fresh produce to home cooks allowing them to have the freshest ingredients, without the need for long logistical transport of food.

Big names in the IT industry are also involved with their own investment into these startups in the hope that they would be able to come up with a bold solution to impending problems of food production. Given the world’s limited and fast-depleting food supply, everyone’s hoping that the answers come soon.

Can ‘Batmobile’ Help NASA’s Mars Mission Succeed?

Hidden deep within a secret cave somewhere in the United States (actually, the privately-run Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex), two brothers have been working hard to create the ‘Batmobile’, a Mars exploration vehicle (actually, a full-size rover) capable of exploring the Red Planet.

“It’s a six-wheeled, all-electric vehicle that was created with every intention of overcoming obstacles on the sandy, rocky red planet”

Marc Parker and his brother Shaun have been working on the project since November 2016. Marc insists the rover isn’t funded by NASA, but is a collaboration between a privately-owned television network that he’s not allowed to name and his Parker Brothers Concepts.

Their base is at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, which is owned by NASA, and according to sources they work extremely closely with America’s space agency.

The as-of-yet unnamed rover was unveiled on May 9, and images and videos of the Batmobile lookalike soon hit social media and news outlets around the globe.

According to Business Insider, Marc Parker, designer and builder of the new rover, said: “It’s a six-wheeled, all-electric vehicle that was created with every intention of overcoming obstacles on the sandy, rocky red planet.”

However, the vehicle is extremely unlikely to make it to Mars, as the purpose for this latest design is to tour the United States as part of the “Summer of Mars” educational initiative, funded by NASA.

NASA Space Race With Batmobile

“The program aims to inspire the public about space exploration and interplanetary travel, especially regarding NASA’s mandate to reach Mars by 2033,” Business Insider writes.

The latest project by Parker Brothers Concepts, is likely to send conspiracy theorists into a spin. Marc and his brother usually produce concept vehicles for film and television projects, but this latest NASA project has seen them team up with a large unnamed television network to produce the rover. For many years, ever since the 1960s, conspiracy theorists have debated whether NASA has ever really gone to the moon. These latest links will surely add fuel to the already raging fire.

Parker Brother Concepts worked tirelessly on the rover’s construction for six months, with a large team and many secrets that are not allowed to be revealed.

“Me and the guys, we averaged about 80 to 100 hours a week, each. We worked 10-, 12-, 14-hour days, seven days a week since late last year,” Marc told Business Insider. “If I thought about how many hours we put into this thing, I’d probably cry. It’s way too many.”

Although this project is intended for a commercial stunt here in the United States, there are also plans to build a comparable size vehicle to explore Mars by 2033.

A formal announcement of the ‘Batmobile’ rover, official launch of the TV show and “Summer of Mars” educational program is said to be unveiled within the coming weeks.

When Automation Can Actually Mean More Jobs

The introduction of automation or artificial intelligence (Ai) in the early 90’s in the workplace was viewed with skepticism, fear and reticence, even labeling it as a destructive tool that will eventually cut down the need for employing ordinary workers in a conventional manufacturing setting. But the truth is: automation creates more jobs than take over the modern workforce.

In late 2014, renowned physicist Stephen Hawking adamantly expressed his concerns in a forum about artificial intelligence, baring a more deep-seated, different reason: that automation, can and might eventually overtake and replace humans.

According to the World Economic Forum: “The development of artificial intelligence could spell the end of the human race. It would take off on its own, and redesign itself at an ever increasing rate. Humans, who are limited by slow biological evolution, couldn’t compete, and would be superseded.”

“there is a much smaller displacement effect of automation on employment”

Hawkings also mentioned that the downside in automation will, “in turn accelerate the already widening economic inequality around the world. The internet and the platforms that it makes possible allow very small groups of individuals to make enormous profits while employing very few people. This is inevitable, it is progress, but it is also socially destructive.” Hawking adds, “We are living in a world of widening, not diminishing, financial inequality, in which many people can see not just their standard of living, but their ability to earn a living at all, disappearing.”

But the super efficiency of these AIs, cutting down the work in half time, has undeniably saved the company additional operations expense, not to mention manpower required to finish a job. In a study made by authors Acemoglu and Restrepo (2017), they concluded that one additional robot per thousand workers reduces the US employment-to-population ratio by about 0.18-0.34% and wages by 0.25-0.5%, citing that the industry most affected by automation is manufacturing.

The lingering, hanging question as to whether machines will be able to continue to improve their performance beyond human levels that it will put humans’ jobs at risk and eventually reduce employment.  The gloomy outlook in Hawkings’ theory have been contradicted in the studies done by Frey and Osborne in 2013 showing “there is a much smaller displacement effect of automation on employment”. In their conclusion, the perceived estimated negative impact of automation is almost nil.

“It is largely already technologically possible to automate almost any almost any task, provided that sufficient amounts of data are gathered for pattern recognition”

In close scrutiny, Frey and Osborne actually focused on ‘whole occupations rather than single job-tasks or occupation-based approach’ which relegated their estimate on the risks of opting for automation.  Manyika et al (2001) for its part asserted that “a task-based approach can better capture the impact of automation”, reporting that at least 30%  from the 60% of occupations have activities that are automatable”.  Previously, other scholars had predicted that routine jobs were the most likely to be automated, although Frey and Osborne maintained that advances in computerization have already made even non-routine jobs automated, too. Some machines can do non-routine tasks and an example of which are the data from medical journals and patient records which oncologists are using to automatically create treatment plans for cancer patients. “It is largely already technologically possible to automate almost any almost any task, provided that sufficient amounts of data are gathered for pattern recognition,” the authors wrote.

From simple or basic tasks to complex virtual learning techniques, machines are now able to perform a wide range of physical and cognitive tasks. The efficiency and accuracy of these machines’ work is expected to increase as AI systems advance through machine learning, big data and increased computational power.

But fear not. While distressing concerns for the future of human work and employment persist, the benefits are clear.  Past cases suggest that displacement for many workers particularly in the area of manufacturing can indeed happen as a result of automation, where in fact many manufacturing jobs centered in the Midwest have already been automated, new industries also emerged, causing a positive impact on employment, reports said.

For one, the automobile industry experienced a robust growth, increasing the available jobs in the automotive sector. Jobs were also created in different sectors because of the growing number of vehicles on the roads. What else?  New jobs were created in the hotel and fast-food and allied service industries that serve the needs of motorists and truck drivers.

A stark case in point is the entry of the Automated teller machines (ATMs).  Initially, it was predicted to significantly reduce the number of bank clerks employed as the ATMs took over some of the tellers’ routine tasks. From 20 tellers per branch in 1988 in the USA, the number was reduced to 13 in 2004. The impact reduced the cost of running a bank branch, but it also allowed banks to open more branches in various cities to cater to growing customer demand. As more urban bank branches grew over the same period, so did the number of bank employees increased. Another benefit of automation in shopping is through e-commerce. Thru Lazada’s reliable recommendations, shoppers are encouraged to buy more online and this has increased in overall employment in retail.

Automation can mean more jobs

The benefits of automation are becoming crystal clear, and once markets and the  workplace have fully adapted to automation as an integral part of day to day routine, productivity is an inevitable effect that will yield innumerable positive impact on employment. Fear not therefore, for the advantages of automation far outweighs the touted disadvantages. For one, automation will generate labor and bring back production to the U.S.  Low-wage overseas labor will no longer be an appealing option since automation will give rise to an independent, flexible workforce thus eliminating the need to consider low-paying offshore jobs as freelancing professionals with 4-year college degree or higher with thorough  industry knowledge can fill in the job roles now redefined, efficiently complete a project even offsite in emerging high-skilled activities or niche like software engineering or product development.

Second, automation will redefine jobs and drive independent workforce demand.  The flexibility that automation offers has created a shift from what used to be traditional farm work, to factory setting where local workers now thrive.

Third, automation technologies enable companies to become more productive and create higher quality products, in a safer, less hazardous environment for their employees. Businesses in the US can now be even more competitive in the global marketplace as they grow their businesses. The advent of automation has led to new employment opportunities for American workers in a way that we could not even imagine few decades ago. The recent studies’ conclusion bear an upbeat prognosis: that with success (of automation or artificial intelligence) comes more jobs across all sectors and that is going to be a welcome certainty.