Amazon begins running temperature checks and will provide surgical masks at warehouses

Amazon has detailed someone  measures its taking to prevent any further spread of COVID-19 at its warehouse facilities in the U.S. and Europe, according to Reuters, including taking temperature checks and distributing facemasks to employees at Amazon warehouses and Whole Foods stores. The commerce giant has seen a dramatic increase in demand as countries and regions globally have ordered lock-down and varying degrees of self-isolation and quarantine measures, and has also seen confirmed cases of COVID-19 among warehouse workers across the U.S.

Amazon has already described some precautions it’s been taking, including mandatory paid 14-day quarantines for employees who test positive, as well as increased cleaning and sanitization efforts of families and infrastructure. The new measures to be introduced next week include taking temperatures of employees at the entrances to warehouses, with any individuals wth a fever of more than 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit to be sent home, where they’ll have to have three consecutive days without fever to return to work. Employees will also be provided with surgical masks starting next week, the company says, once it receives shipments of orders of “millions” placed a few weeks ago.

In addition to these measures, Amazon will also be using machine-learning powered software to monitor footage from cameras in and around buildings to ensure that employees are maintaining the safe, recommended distances from one another during shifts.

There have been a number of employee actions in response to Amazon’s handling of the coronavirus crisis, including a walkout at the company’s Staten Island warehouse, which led to the firing of the worker who led the action. Employees at a Detroit Amazon warehouse are also planning a walkout to protest what they cite as dangerous working conditions.

Meanwhile, Amazon is also staffing up to deal with the increased need for warehouse and fulfilment employees. The company previously announced a plan to hire as many as 100,000 new workers to handle the uptick, and told Reuters on Wednesday that it has already hired 80,000 since making that goal.

China’s Pinduoduo raises $1.1 billion in private share placement

Chinese e-commerce firm Pinduoduo said on Tuesday it had raised $1.1 billion in a private share placement that will enable its further expansion and allow it to capture “additional opportunities” during the times of uncertainty.

The Nasdaq-listed firm said some of its long-term investors financed the deal. The investors were granted newly issued Class A ordinary shares of Pinduoduo representing approximately 2.8% of the company’s total outstanding shares.

The capital raise comes weeks after the Shanghai-based company said it was bracing for losses due to the coronavirus outbreak. The firm’s fourth-quarter revenue growth fell short of expectations.

Pinduoduo, which competes with giant Alibaba, has grown rapidly in recent years after gamifying the shopping experience that allows customers to team up to buy anything from smartphones to fruits.

But the firm’s marketing — promotions and discount coupons — has also widened its losses. In Q4 2019, Pinduoduo reported a loss of about $250 million on revenue of $1.5 billion.

“Pinduoduo surpassed 1 trillion yuan in annual gross merchandise value (GMV) in less than five years, and we are confident that we will see robust growth beyond our current 585 million user base,” said David Liu, VP of Strategy at Pinduoduo, said in a statement.

“The extra funding gives us the strategic flexibility to capture opportunities to further benefit our users, as we bring interactive experiences, such as our new live-streaming features, and wider variety of value-for-money products to them,” he added.

As with e-commerce firms in other parts of the world, Pinduoduo in recent months has focused on fulfilling low-cost protective gear and everyday essentials over everything else.

Rebecca Minkoff has some advice for e-commerce companies right now

When Rebecca Minkoff first moved to New York City, the then-18-year-old was making $4.75 an hour.

“I just kept working for this designer and someone was telling me what to do every day. I just didn’t like that. And I thought if I’m going to work as hard, it’s going to be for myself and I want to call my own shots,” she said. “I didn’t want to be told what to do, frankly.”

Self-employment for Minkoff turned out just fine; in 2001, she redesigned the iconic “I Love New York” shirt and it appeared on The Tonight Show. After a shout-out from Jay Leno, Minkoff spent the next eight months making T-shirts on the floor of her apartment and quit her job to start designing full time.

We caught up with Minkoff to learn more about how she grew her brand into a global fashion company with the help of her brother, her problem with the unicorn mentality and why she thinks the “invisible barrier” is the future of retail tech.

This interview was edited for brevity and clarity.

TechCrunch: What gave you the energy and drive to become an entrepreneur?

Rebecca Minkoff: Long story. My mom would sell these cast covers, like decorative covers for people with broken arms at the flea market. And I was like, I am going to have a booth here. So I made all these tie-dye shirts and no one bought anything but it was just this idea of like, I can make something I can sell. My mom always taught that. When I wanted a dress, she taught me how to sew a dress instead of buying the dress. And so, I just got this bug for creating things out of nothing.

The constant thread was, “I’m not going to pay for this. You’re going to learn how to do it.”

India’s travel and hotel booking firm Ixigo cuts salary of every employee over coronavirus

Ixigo, a 13-year-old travel and hotel booking service in India, said on Monday it is cutting the salary of its entire staff as the firm grapples with severe disruption in its business due to the coronavirus outbreak that has pushed New Delhi to issue a nationwide lockdown.

Aloke Bajpai, co-founder and chief executive of Ixigo, said the leadership at the firm has agreed to take a 60% pay cut while the rest of the staff, about 200 people, have agreed to have their salaries reduced between 20% to 50%. Bajpai and Rajnish Kumar, the other co-founder, have decided to forgo their entire salary until the business is back on track.

“We will reinstate the salaries as soon as the situation improves and we will also convert the accumulated salary deductions over the hardship period into equivalent ESOPs so that everyone benefits from future upside when the going gets better again,” said Bajpai.

The Indian government suspended all domestic flights and other public transportation services earlier this month and ordered a complete lockdown for three weeks to its 1.3 billion people in a bid to contain the spread of the coronavirus disease in the country.

Verteran industry executive Bajpai said the current situation is “the darkest hour for travel.” And it has hit the company at a time when it had just turned EBIDTA positive in the first two months of 2020.

Bajpai said Ixigo’s revenue surged by almost 50% in 2019 and burn rate dropped by almost 85% in the same year. The pay cut has enabled the company to not let go of any individual, he said.

“What the travel industry (and indeed any industry in our nation) faces today is no less than a war. India and the entire world are facing a catastrophe imposed by a microscopic adversary that has forced us to be confined to our homes, taken away our freedom to socialize with others, to roam and travel freely and forced us to give up all those things that help us experience the world and make us more human,” he said.

MakeMyTrip, another travel and stay booking service, announced last week that it was also cutting the salary of its top management level across the company, which includes flight ticketing service Goibibo and bus ticketing service redBus.

Indian news outlet Entrackr reported last week that MakeMyTrip may fire as many as 400 people if the business remains disruptive for long.

As the U.S. shuts down, StockX’s business is booming, says its CEO

StockX, the high-flying resale marketplace that connects buyers and sellers of sneakers, streetwear, handbags and other collectible items who agree on pricing, has seen its fortune rise along with the $6 billion global sneaker resale market, which is part of the broader $100 billion sneaker category. In fact, the company, which was assigned a billion-dollar-plus valuation last year, says $1 billion worth of merchandise was sold through its platform last year.

The big question is whether StockX can maintain its momentum. Not only are other rivals biting at the heels of the five-year-old, Detroit-based outfit, which has raised roughly $160 million from investors, but some believe the streetwear “bubble” is on the verge of bursting. Add to the mix a pandemic that’s putting millions of people out of work (and in some cases jeopardizing the health of those still showing up), and you might assume that answer is no.

Yet in an online event earlier this week hosted by this editor and conducted by Erin Griffith of the New York Times, StockX CEO Scott Cutler insisted that the exact opposite is true. By his telling, business is booming. In fact, perhaps unsurprisingly, he argued that StockX looks more durable than the traditional public market right now, and he’s well-acquainted with the latter, having earlier spent nine years as an executive with the New York Stock Exchange. (Cutler was also formerly an executive at eBay and StubHub.)

Below is part of their talk, edited lightly for length.

Griffith kicked off the interview by giving Cutler a chance to describe in his own words how StockX works.

“So if you’re a buyer of sneakers, you’ve got choices as to where you want to do that you could go to Nike or Adidas, you could go to a retailer . . . There are other marketplaces like eBay, as an example, where one person has an item to sell, and you would match and try and find that one person [who will buy it at their price] and that would be a unique peer-to-peer-based experience.”

“The difference for Stock x is that typically those items that are the most sought-after things from a retailer or brand and are never available at that retailer or brand. They’re released online, or they’re released in a store, and they and they vanish immediately. . . So as a buyer, you come into the experience knowing largely that you want a particular product. And we give you the opportunity to either buy that at the lowest price somebody is willing to sell that for, or put a bid out and say, ‘This is what I’m interested in paying for this product.’

“If you’re a seller, you don’t have to create a seller rating. You don’t have to create a profile. You don’t have to create a listing. You simply have something to sell, it’s in our catalog. And you either sell it at the highest price that somebody is willing to bid . .  . or you ask and say, ‘This is what I’m willing to sell this item for.’ So it’s a very much a trading market much like oil and commodities and equities, but in sneakers and collectible items.”

She asked who is driving the marketplace and whether that might be a small number of power users.

“Seventy-five percent of our customers are under the age of 35. And that customer is a now a wide demographic, I would say two years ago, it was defined in sneakers as a “sneakerhead,” meaning somebody that collected sneakers and bought and sell sneakers specifically. But today, that demographic, if you looked at millennials and Gen Z, as an example, 40% of them would define themselves as sneakerheads, and so that’s male and female, and this demographic is around the world. We have customers in over 170 countries and territories.”

Cutler went on to say that StockX is very well-positioned because, unlike with a lot of goods that people might find through Amazon or a Google search and thus compete on some level with them, StockX is itself the “first” shopping destination for most of its customers.

“Even the brands can’t provide access to [what’s for sale at StockX].  So that consumer comes to us as a first destination; they don’t go to those brands to shop to shop . . . That means that we have an incredible opportunity then to deliver exactly what that customer wants at the beginning of the journey, which is very rare in e-commerce, to be that first point of destination.”

Naturally, Griffith asked how the virus has impacted StockX’s bottom line. Cutler said it’s been “great for our business and growth.”

“The recent events over the last couple of months has been a benefit to our business. We’ve had more and more traffic and buyers coming to our site because in some respects, traditional retail in some geographies is not available. We thought we’ve always been a marketplace of scarcity, but now you can’t actually go into a real retail location, so you’re coming to StockX. So on the one hand, it’s been great for our for our business and for our growth.”

Cutler also acknowledged that to accommodate that growth, StockX needs people in the warehouses where sellers send goods so that StockX can authenticate them before shipping out to buyers. He said that StockX has “people in those centers that are coming to work right now, even in places like New Jersey that are certainly impacted.” He called it a “balancing” act of trying to ensure its team members feel “safe” while continuing to operate its business at scale around the world.

As for how, exactly, StockX is ensuring these employees are safe, he said that StockX is “operating under all of the local rules and regulations that we have in all the different places where we operate.” As an added sweetener, he said the company recently gave a “spot bonus” and increased the salaries of employees at its authentication centers by 25%.

And what happens if the warehouses are ordered to shut down or employees begin showing up with the virus? Griffith asked what StockX’s backup plan entailed.

Here, Cutler noted the company’s multiple authentication centers, saying that “in the event that we have to reroute traffic from one authentication center to the other, we will do that. We’ve been operating that way.” (He also said that business continuity planning is currently a “stand-up every single day [wherein] we go through site safety and security and any incidents that come up and we’re making decisions as a team every day on some of that routing logic.”)

Not last, Griffith wondered what kinds of conversations StockX’s venture investors are having with the company given everyone’s focus right now on belt-tightening. ((StockX is backed by DST Global, General Atlantic, GGV Capital Battery Ventures, and GV, among others.)

Cutler acknowledged that the “future, in some respects, is uncertain for many of us, in that you don’t know how long this is going to last.” He said that as the company looks to the future, it’s trying to factor in “different scenarios of macro shifts in demand, macro shifts in the supply chains that we think are going to be actually quite short-lived.” He said that in China, for example, where many supply chain factories went down this winter, many are back up to 80% or 90% of their previous capacity, adding that “depedinng on how this plays out here in the U.S. and in Europe, it could either be a very quick recovery —  or we have to be prepared for scenario where this could be extended for some time.”

Asked if StockX is recession-proof should the downturn last (Griffith noted that some of the pricier sneakers on the platform are “selling for thousands of dollars”), Cutler suggested that he hopes so for the sake of the businesses run off its platform. 

Said Cutler, “For a lot of our sellers, you have to appreciate that our they depend on StockX for their livelihood. They actually may be running a very sophisticated business that is selling sometimes thousands of pairs of sneakers every single day to [maybe] a student who’s using StockX to fund their education. So it’s it is really important that we remain up and operational because we’re providing a livelihood for those for those individuals.”

Cutler then compared StockX to the public equities markets, insisting that they aren’t so different and that, to his mind, StockX might even be the safer bet right now.

“We actually have buyers who see this time as a market opportunity and see the price of a rare Jordan 1 [shoe] that’s maybe coming down, and they say, ‘Hey, this is short lived,’ much like somebody may say, ‘Hey, the market is off a little.’

“They’re putting their money in sneakers,” Cutler continued, adding: “My portfolio right now in sneakers is still up on the year. That’s more than I can say about the S&P.”

Inside Udaan’s push to digitize India’s B2B retail market

During a recent visit, Microsoft chief executive Satya Nadella reiterated his company’s commitment to India and revealed a new fund to help SaaS startups in the country.

And then Nadella and Anant Maheshwari, president of Microsoft India, discussed the success story of B2B platform Udaan in three separate onstage public appearances.

Headquartered in Bangalore, Udaan is a business-to-business e-commerce marketplace founded by former Flipkart executives Amod Malviya, Vaibhav Gupta and Sujeet Kumar. The startup used Microsoft’s free Azure credits to scale in its early days; as in some other markets, Microsoft, Amazon and Google offer free cloud credits in bulk to early, promising Indian startups in a bid to onboard them and see if their solutions could be relevant to other clients down the road.

More often than not, these bets don’t work, but sometimes they pay off. Udaan, valued at about $2.7 billion after raising nearly $900 million from investors like Lightspeed Venture Partners, Tencent Holdings, GGV Capital and Hillhouse Capital, has become one of Microsoft India’s biggest clients in the last three years.

Udaan was founded in 2016 at the tail end of India’s e-commerce frenzy, when scores of startups that had attempted to build business-to-consumer online shopping platforms were conceding defeat.

At the time, very few players — like Power2SME and Moglix (industrial products) and Bizongo (packaging for businesses) — were looking at the business-to-business market in India.

Udaan is valued at about $2.7B after raising nearly $900M from investors like Lightspeed Venture Partners, Tencent Holdings, GGV Capital and Hillhouse Capital and has become one of Microsoft India’s biggest clients.

But despite venturing into a road less traveled, Udaan had ambitious dreams. The startup was building its own logistics network, a herculean task that even Flipkart and Amazon avoided to a certain measure for years, yet it was reaching an audience that had never sold online.

Target pauses plans for grocery pickup amid COVID-19 outbreak

Target is pausing its plans to offer curbside pick-up of groceries and alcoholic beverages, citing the COVID-19 outbreak as the key factor in its decision to delay the launch. Although groceries via Order Pickup and Drive Up would be valuable services at a time when people are being asked to distance themselves from others to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus, Target says it won’t have time to train employees on these new processes right now.

Like many retailers and grocers, Target is impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak, which is significantly changing the way people shop. People are more likely to buy in bulk to minimize trips to the store. And many are panic-buying critical supplies, like toilet paper. Target says it’s seen a sustained surge in both traffic and sales, particularly in food and beverage and other household essentials, like cleaning supplies and baby products. Other categories, including apparel and accessories, have slowed.

The launch of any new system or process takes time to adjust to, even when there’s ample time to train. But Target staff today is working at increased levels — its March sales are 20% higher than March of last year, as a  point of comparison.

Like everywhere, Target also faces staffing concerns as people scramble to figure out childcare when schools are closed. It will have to reassess employee schedules on the fly, as staff leaves unexpectedly when they or a family member gets sick. There have also been a small number of cases where Target employees themselves have tested positive for the virus. And as the outbreak spreads, more will likely be exposed, given their continual contact with the public.

To address these concerns, Target is cleaning its stores regularly, promoting social distancing, wiping down carts, adding signage to guide guests, cleaning checklanes after each transaction, and more. It’s also stopping in-store returns for three weeks, but will honor later returns when the ban is lifted, as a result. And it’s pausing its small-format store openings and remodels planned for this year — shifting those to 2021, given the chaos around its business today.

To assist employees, Target announced that it’s investing more than $300 million in added wages, a new paid leave program, bonus payouts and relief fund contributions.

Though Target won’t roll out curbside fresh grocery pickup now, it continues to operate the grocery delivery business Shipt. This and other grocery delivery services are booming due to the outbreak. Instacart this week said it was hiring 300,000 more full-service shoppers due to coronavirus. Walmart, CVS, Amazon, and other U.S. employers are hiring more than 800,000 new workers due to the COVID-19 impacts.

France launches marketplace to manage essential products against COVID-19

French startup Mirakl usually works with e-commerce websites in order to help them build out a marketplace with third-party sellers. This time, the company has developed a marketplace called StopCOVID19.fr to centralize the supply and demand of essential products during the fight against COVID-19. The French government is backing the project.

While many French companies have promised to manufacture hand sanitizer, masks, gloves and other essential products to protect healthcare professionals and people in general, it also creates many supply chain challenges. How do you make sure that hospitals that suffer the most from shortages get essential goods in time?

StopCOVID19.fr is starting with hand sanitizer with plans to expand to other protective goods. It helps companies and public institutions talk to each other. For instance, a chemical company has to connect with packaging manufacturers in order to store a large volume of hand sanitizer. Similarly, public and private hospitals don’t want to waste time contacting each manufacturer directly.

This isn’t an open marketplace. You have to be working for a health facility or an industrial company focused on COVID-19 protection goods. The French government screened all sellers that are currently listed on the marketplace. You have to contact Mirakl on the website to create an account.

A comprehensive marketplace could also become an essential service to analyze the country’s inventory over time. It could be particularly useful to distribute masks around the country and prepare for the end of the coronavirus lockdown.

Online marketplace OfferUp raises $120M, acquires top competitor letgo

OfferUp, a top online and mobile marketplace app, announced this morning it’s raising $120 million in a new round of funding led by competiting marketplace letgo’s majority investor, OLX Group, and others. As a part of the deal, OfferUp will also be acquiring letgo’s classified business, with OLX Group gaining a 40% stake in the newly combined entity.

Other investors in the new round include existing OfferUp backers Andreessen Horowitz and Warburg Pincus. The funds will be put towards continued growth, product innovation, and monetization efforts, OfferUp says.

The round will close with the closing of the acquisition, which is expected to take place sometime in May. To date, OfferUp has raised $380 million.

The acquisition will see two of the largest third-party buying and selling marketplaces — outside of Craigslist, eBay, and Facebook Marketplace, of course — become a more significant threat to the incumbents. Together, the new entity will have more than 20 million monthly active users across the U.S. For consumers, the deal means they’ll no longer have to list in as many apps when looking to unload some household items, electronics, furniture, or whatever else they want to sell.

“My vision for OfferUp has always been to build a company that helps people connect and prosper,” said Nick Huzar, OfferUp CEO, in a statement about the acquisition. “We’re combining the complementary strengths of OfferUp and letgo in order to deliver an even better buying and selling experience for our communities. OLX Group has unparalleled expertise and clear success with growing online marketplace businesses, so they’ll be a great partner as we continue to build the widest, simplest, and most trustworthy experience for our customers.”

OfferUp also acknowledged that mid-pandemic is an odd time to announce such a deal — especially at a time when the COVID-19 outbreak is affecting its own employees, its partners, and the buying and selling community itself. And this will continue for some time.

However, Huzar positions the deal as one that will allow the business to grow, despite the current state of affairs.

“This news helps us to continue to innovate and grow, in spite of these challenging times, and continue to deliver on that promise,” Huzar noted, in a company blog post.

For now, the OfferUp and letgo apps will remain separate experiences and no disruptions to any sales will be made. Consumers will also be able to download both apps to iOS and Android devices for the time being, too.

But soon, both sets of users will gain access to a larger network of buyers and sellers, along with nationwide shipping options, and trust and safety problems. We understand this will involve allowing users of both sets of apps to see more posts and to interact with more buyers and sellers — so some sort of merging of the two networks is at play here. There will be additional changes to improve the user experience for all users in the future, as well, but the company isn’t sharing details on that today.

Letgo is bringing to the table an app with over 100 million worldwide downloads, so there is a potential to reactivate some of the lapsed users who aren’t currently shopping or selling on its marketplace today. The two apps were often neck-and-neck in terms of their app store category rankings, though on iPhone OfferUp has maintained a slight lead. (See App Store and Google Play charts below.)

However, letgo’s business outside of North America will be separately owned and operated as part of the OLX Group, the companies said.

“Letgo and OfferUp have always shared the same core vision for how large America’s secondhand economy can become – harnessing tech innovation to bring about an extraordinarily positive impact on consumers’ wallets and also on the environment,” said letgo co-founder Alec Oxenford. “Bringing our apps together moves us much closer to that vision,” he added.

The deal is still subject to regulatory approval. If given, the combined businesses will be operated by OfferUp,  headquartered in Bellevue, Washington. Huzar will continue to be CEO of OfferUp and Chairman of the Board. Oxenford, meanwhile, will join the Board and serve as a senior advisor to OLX Group and Prosus.

Because the deal is still in the process of closing, the companies can’t speak to any team changes, including potential layoffs as a result of overlapping positions or other redundancies, we’re told.

 

 

 

 

ClassPass now offers live streamed workouts for those house-bound by coronavirus

ClassPass, the fitness platform that connects gym-goers with the right studio/fitness class, has today announced that it’s dusting off its shuttered video product in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. With some tweaks.

ClassPass studio partners will today be able to offer live streamed classes on the platform. ClassPass has set up a system that allows these partners to set their own prices, date and time, and share a link to the streaming platform of their choice for their class, whether it be Instagram Live, Facebook Live, YouTube, Twitch, etc.

CEO Fritz Lanman said that the company, which has raised more than $500 million, is well capitalized to weather the metaphorical storm. However, ClassPass’s success relies on the health of its 30,000 studio partners, 90 percent of whom have closed their physical locations indefinitely across 30 countries.

With the new offering, studios will be able to keep offering their classes to a market in which demand for live-streamed or at-home workouts is skyrocketing.

Moreover, ClassPass will not be generating any revenue from these live streamed classes until June 1. In other words, 100 percent of the revenue from these live streamed classes will go towards the studios and wellness partners.

ClassPass launched a live video streaming product in March of 2018. The product was a sizable investment from the company, which set up a full broadcasting studio in Brooklyn. ClassPass Live, as it was called, also required users to have a ClassPass Live subscription, which came with a heart rate monitor for users to track their progress.

ClassPass Live eventually shuttered as the company reorganized its priorities to focus on global expansion and its corporate program. However, thousands of workouts from that product (in both video and audio form) have remained on the app for subscribers as an on-demand workout from home option.

Those video and audio workouts are now available for free to anyone who is signed in to the ClassPass app. For the live streamed workouts from studio partners, ClassPass users will need to use their in-app credits to purchase those classes. That said, they do not have to be a subscriber — users can simply purchase credits a la carte in the app and use them towards classes.

Existing ClassPass users will notice that their credits have been rolled over since the coronavirus pandemic has been keeping folks at home.

So far, 500 studios have been onboarded to start providing live streamed workouts and classes.

Asked if this video business could become the permanent, primary business for the company, Lanman said that it’s possible, but unlikely.

“Frankly, we already did this experiment,” said Lanman. “When we did ClassPass Live, customers said this is incredible, high quality stuff. That it’s a great experience. But you cannot yet replicate the real world experience digitally. The ambience. The immersiveness (sic). The sense of community.”

He said that in the future, people will want some offline offerings across a variety of things.

“Our job as a platform company is not to take an overly prescriptive point of view as to what’s best for each individual customer,” said Lanman. “Our job is to give partners a choice around how they want to merchandize and curate different experiences across offline, video, audio, one to many, one to one, etc. And then, we need to allow customers to choose how they want to allocate their time and their budget between offline and digital.”

Alongside the launch of ClassPass’s live video workout product, the company is also introducing other initiatives to help the fitness industry during this pandemic.

The first is a Partner Relief Fund, which allows users to donate to their favorite studios right from within the app. Moreover, ClassPass will match all donations up to $1 million.

The company is also calling on governments across the globe, via a change.org petition, to offer immediate financial assistance, alongside rent, loan and tax relief, for fitness businesses in particular. Thus far, the petition has signatures from Joey Gonzalez (Barry’s Bootcamp CEO), Andy Stenzler (Rumble CEO), Travis Frenzel (Flywheel Sports CEO) and more.