TechCrunch’s Favorite Things of 2019 - TechCrunch

TechCrunch’s Favorite Things of 2019 - TechCrunchTechCrunch’s Favorite Things of 2019 - TechCrunchPosted: 27 Dec 2019 12:00 AM PSTEach year the TechCrunch staff gathers together to make a big ol' list of our Favorite Things from that year.As always, we're keeping the definition of "thing" very… open. Maybe it's a physical thing. Maybe it's a thing you listen to, or watch. Maybe it's a thought, or a genre, or a mode. We didn't worry too much about it. It's a list of things that, in a sea of things, stood out to us at the end of the year.This is our list for 2019.Greg Kumparak, EditorParasiteTHIS MOVIE. Oh wow. It's hard to write much without spoiling anything — and really, you want to go in knowing as little as possible, so skip the trailer if you can. Director Bong Joon-ho (The Host, Snowpiercer) is really flexing here, showing his mastery of cinema by sneakily shapeshifting this film from genre to genre as the plot unfolds. Be aware that it g…

How to Start a Cannabis Business On a Budget - The Advocate

How to Start a Cannabis Business On a Budget - The Advocate

How to Start a Cannabis Business On a Budget - The Advocate

Posted: 13 Aug 2019 12:29 PM PDT

From the outside, it looks like the race to get into the cannabis space is available only to people with enough capital to pay cash for a five-bedroom home. But in reality, there are a ton of thriving businesses in all segments of the cannabis market that started with a great idea and just a piggy bank of savings. Here are three companies that bootstrapped their way to success from an initial investment of $5,000 or less -- in fact, way less -- plus advice from the founders on how you can do it, too.

Fruit Slabs

The founders: The creation of Roxanne Dennant and Brian Cona, Fruit Slabs are basically like middle-­school-style fruit leathers: chewy, ultrahealthy kosher snacks infused with 100 milligrams of THC and made from 100 percent USDA-certified organic ingredients. The company sells four flavors, including Grape Ape and Mango Maui Wowie; a new collab with drag queen Laganja Estranja, called Pride Passion Fruit, is hitting shelves soon.

How much they started with: Less than $1,000.

What they did with it: Bought equipment and materials.

Their origin story: Dennant was working in the denim world, and her longtime friend Cona was in cultivation; the duo were dabbling with consuming edibles but disappointed that they couldn't find products that fit their healthy lifestyle. So, after buying cooking equipment, they started experimenting in their kitchens, making concoctions from the organic ingredients they liked to eat. Once they nailed their first batch of Fruit Slabs, they sold them to friends and family, and reinvested the money into their second batch. Since founding the company in 2015, Dennant and Cona have continued the same bootstrapping strategy, without taking any outside investment money. And it has worked. The product is in 65 stores in Cali and will expand to Washington soon.

RELATED: 9 Business Ideas for People Looking to Cash in on the Marijuana Boom

The biggest hurdle: Trying to upsell a new product when they launched. Fruit Slabs' organic ingredients make it more expensive than most edibles -- and therefore more expensive to sell, even wholesale. "In 2015, it was a very raw industry," Dennant says. "You could walk in [to a dispensary] with a Rice Krispies treat you made in your own home that was wrapped in cellophane…and get five dollars out the door." But the price of Fruit Slabs? "People would look at me like I had 10 heads." Today expectations have really changed, she says. "A lot of shops won't even take an edible if it doesn't have some type of vegan, gluten-free, or kosher dietary specification -- because people are shopping in that manner."

And the best lesson learned: When a business is starting out, says Dennant, "you can't make that $2,000 packaging and screw up, and be like, 'Oh, it's [only] $2,000.' It's like: 'Two thousand dollars -- how are we going to recover from that?'" After facing a few such setbacks due to bad partners, she and Cona realized that vetting whom you work with is critical. That's true even as the industry becomes more regulated. "Whether you're working with a license partner, a distribution partner, a packaging partner, or a co-manufacturing partner," she says, "really learning what that partnership is going to bring you in the beginning, and getting term sheets written, setting deadlines for the people and not just the vendor you're working with -- that's been a big [lesson] along the way."

Image Credit: Brad Wenner | Getty Images

Plant People

The founders: Plant People sells CBD tinctures, capsules, and salves made with cannabinoids and other beneficial herbs. "Our mission is to heal and connect people and the planet through the power of plants," says Gabe Kennedy, who started the company with Hudson Gaines-Ross.

How much they started with: $5,000.

What they did with it: Developed their product and got it out the door.

Their origin story: Longtime friends Kennedy, a chef, and Gaines-Ross, a CPG entrepreneur, were on a hike when they started talking about something they had in common: back surgeries. They'd both been unhappy with the care they'd gotten from traditional Western medicine. Kennedy knew there were other options. He grew up with parents who are acupuncturists; his mother is also a Chinese herbalist, and his dad, a chiropractor. And he leveraged that knowledge to get Plant People's initial inventory off the ground. "We began packing herbal capsules in our kitchens, used stickers as packaging labels, and gave product away to our friends and families to get feedback, learn, and iterate," says Kennedy. "These grassroots efforts really worked out for us, as people responded well and started asking for more Plant People. We were overwhelmed by the demand."

RELATED: Women Are Disappearing From the Cannabis Industry. Why?

The company launched in 2018. "I had a lot of experience building products from seed to sale, so we hit the ground running," Kennedy says. "Hudson fortunately had a ton of experience building brands and has the networks that provide a voice for those brands. We tapped our friends at Juice Press, Bumble, Vice, Vogue, etc. [for help getting the word out]."

In addition, they decided that with every sale, they'd plant a tree to support their mission of saving the world through plants. "We hope to someday be responsible for planting more than 10 million trees," says Kennedy. "We're not too far off!"

The biggest hurdle: Product sourcing. "We don't white-label anything," Kennedy says, so being able to set up a really robust supply chain with partners operating with integrity was a challenge. He dealt with it by continuing to be curious and asking questions about everything from "how people are treating their employees to what their extracting methods look like and how they are capturing solvents," he says. "We continually did research and didn't say yes to the first people we came across."

The other hurdle was payment processing. Like many startups in the industry, they had to get around the banks' and financial firms' reluctance to work with cannabis products. "We've had five credit card processors to date," says Kennedy. "We've seen the worst -- 6 percent credit card fees, 10 percent rolling reserves, international declines -- and we've seen the best. We're now with a standard processor that treats us as if we're any other non-­cannabis brand. We couldn't be more grateful. And we're in talks with one of the largest banks in the world about taking over our credit card processing. We never thought we'd be in such conversations."

And the best lesson learned: "To make decisions and move forward has been such great learning," says Kennedy. "You make a decision, and you do your best -- it may not be the most perfect decision, but it's better than not making one at all. What I really learned about bootstrapping is that it's just putting one foot in front of the other, and oftentimes it's two steps forward and one and a half steps back--but I have to keep stepping forward."

Image Credit: Bloomberg | Getty Images


The founders: Peter Calfee and John Woodbine started Gofire with the goal of creating the perfect vaporizer -- one that delivers the exact dosage promised. But eventually, they grew the company to also include the Gofire Suite, a database of medical uses for cannabis broken down by the chemicals ingested, the time of day they should be consumed, and the dosage that's most beneficial; the data can then be accessed by physicians to give patients.

How much they started with: $200.

What they did with it: Bribed a local college student to gain access to a 3-D printer at Calfee's school, which they needed to create their prototype -- and then they used that to get a first round of funding.

RELATED: Yes, Medical Cannabis Works. So Why Deny the Anecdotal Evidence?

Their origin story: In 2014, Woodbine, who'd dabbled in the music and food businesses before working at a dispensary, approached Calfee, who was doing IT and alternative medicine consulting work, and tried to talk him into building the perfect vaporizer. Initially, Calfee wasn't interested. But he eventually changed his mind when he realized that there was a market for a more perfectly attuned vaporizer and that his background in the health field could be a perfect fit.

The biggest hurdle: Right after the company raised its first $25,000 in a friends-and-family round, Calfee nearly died in a car crash when the person driving had a seizure. "That was when John and I came together and said, 'Listen: Whatever this takes, whatever we have to go through to build this, we will achieve this,'" Calfee says. After that, there was a fire under them to get it done.

The accident effectively put the project on hold. But it also led to Gofire's second product. While recovering from a broken back, Calfee discovered that the opioids he was being prescribed didn't help as much as the cannabis he was consuming, which is when the idea for the database took root. As soon as he could, Calfee worked on their next round; it took a year, but they got $750,000 to help them grow the business. This year, they're finally bringing it to market with a beta launch that has garnered tens of thousands of reviews. "There's no better reward than a patient telling us how we've helped to improve their life," he says.

And the best lesson learned: "There are always going to be obstacles, but they're just that," says Calfee. "You've got to find a way around [them] -- if it's a physical ailment, if you break your back, or the bottom's falling out in the economy, or whatever the situation you're up against. I believe being a true entrepreneur is not taking no for an answer, and not being able to give up."

Also this: Treat your team like your peers. "We have 25 employees," Calfee says, "and we all own stock in the company." Unsurprisingly, that gives each of them a drive Calfee couldn't have necessarily found in salary-only employees. When Calfee calls for a possible meet-up in the office on a Sunday afternoon, often the reply is "'Oh, I'm already here,'" he says. "You can't buy that."

How to Start a Cannabis Business On a Budget
Why Pro Athletes Are Entering the Cannabis Game
'I Believe in People Over Profits; I Have Always Paid People Too Much': Olivia Alexander, Founder and CEO of Kush Queen

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Are you a woman who wants to be your own boss? These 12 ideas can help - YourStory

Posted: 23 Jun 2019 12:00 AM PDT

Own your time and make good money! You probably read this in a shady get rich quick scheme. No one really gets to do that… or do they?

The internet has exploded and given people all over the world the gift of opportunity. Backyard to bank balance success stories fill our Facebook feed, and social media celebrities are self-made millionaires. They all have the same running thread – the desire to make it on their own.

Running a business is no walk in the park, and not everyone can become a social media sensation. But a business or one with low or no investment is a definite possibility.

It offers women who want to make money from the comfort of their homes, the opportunity to take it one step at a time and continue to fulfil all the other responsibilities that they are committed to.

business ideas for women

The trick lies in marrying a talent with an idea and following it through. For any home based business to work, skill is a definite requirement. One cannot become a successful home baker without knowing how to bake!

Identify a skill or talent that you think could be converted into a home-based or online business opportunity. Simply go through our consolidated list of business ideas for women who want to be their own boss and find out if you could be one of them.

Food, glorious food

business ideas for women in India

If you are used to receiving compliments on your cooking skills then a business in food is what you should consider. One of the most popular small business ideas for women is a tiffin service. There are a host of aggregators that give home chefs a wider audience.

Family recipes, traditional cuisines or simple home-style food is most sought after.

To start off, make a WhatsApp list of friends and family who always ask you to make them this or that favourite dish, tell them that you are starting out on your own and let word of mouth do the rest. Sites like Authenticook lets you be a home chef on your own terms and host people for a fee.

If catering food is not your style, you could simply document your passion for it. It's a great business idea for a lady sitting at home with a lot of cooking ideas up her sleeve. Instagram is filled with celebrity home chefs who are reaping returns on their talent in the kitchen.

A great success story is that of Archana Doshi of Archana's Kitchen fame. She used her passion in the kitchen to create a successful and very popular food blogging website that details meal plans, lunch box ideas and recipes.

The ROI comes in the form of brand collaborations and associations with the site or channel.

Approximate investment to get started: Rs 1,000 -10,000 onwards. This would majorly be spent on appliances and a good phone camera holder.

Your skills: In addition to the obvious skill in the kitchen, you will need, basic phone camera skills and basic online social media skills for a page to help people find you.

Bake that cake

business ideas for women

If you are the designated cake baker at family functions, then a baking business may be right up your alley. It is a great business idea for ladies with low investment.

Services like Indulge by Innerchef give home bakers the opportunity to reach out to a wider audience and bake as per their capacity. Good presentation and quality ingredients will build a client base. Over time you can choose to invest in a website to help you get orders directly.

If you would rather bake for your family, then document your baking adventures. Invest in a good camera and share your passion to create a successful profile that would give you the status of an influencer like Sonali Ghosh of Sugar.

Approximate investment to get started: Rs 2,000 -10,000 onwards. This would be spent on an oven, some basic equipment and a good phone camera holder.

Your skills: In addition to the obvious skill with the oven, you will need, basic phone camera skills and basic online social media skills for a page to help people find you.

Passion for fashion

homemade business ideas for womens in india

Those with a passion for fashion who are looking for a business idea in India under 10 lakh, opening a small tailoring boutique may work well for you.

All that is needed to start off is a minimum 300 sq ft of space with a set of sewing machines and one tailor. The total running expenses per month would be about 40,000 to 1 lakh depending upon the area that you choose.

Platforms like Shopify and Facebook shop allow you to reach a bigger audience and showcase your designs. Online payment gateways make the entire process so much easier.

Anita Dongre of AND and Global Desi fame famously started in her balcony with two sewing machines. Prompt client servicing and innovative designs could help begin your success story.

Approximate investment to get started: Rs 5,00,000 -10,00,000 that will go towards shop space, sewing machine and ancillary tailoring equipment, along with, 1 part-time master cutter and 1 full-time tailor.

Your skills:Good eye for designs and patterns, production skills that help you get work out of your staff and good customer relation skills.

Crafty ideas

business for ladies sitting at home

If you are great with your hands then a good home based business for women is handmade craft supplies. The world is seeing a shift towards handmade as it is authentic and unique.

Websites like Shopify offer the opportunity to set up shop online and sell your creations from the comfort of your home. Stationary to handcrafted book covers, great ideas can be used to create handmade goodies that can pay good money. Backing your creativity with good quality and unique products will help build loyal customer bases.

Reaching out to party planners who design wedding and party favours is another way to make this work. They are always on the lookout for unique products and services.

Approximate investment to get started: Rs 500 - 2,000 onwards, which would go towards craft supplies.

Your skills: In addition to your creativity, you will need an online shop that you can manage like a Facebook shop. Decent skills with a camera phone to take pictures is also essential.

Resell to your social network

business ideas in india with low investment

Reselling is fast becoming a popular online business idea for women in India. Apps like Meesho enable women to act as resellers to their social network from the comfort of their homes.

This is an internet friendly version of the earlier offline "home sales" or "garage sales", where women would call their friends and neighbours home to showcase sarees, suit pieces and jewellery among other items.

Reselling platforms take care of pick-up and delivery and also provide additional conveniences like COD. For women who have a wide social network, nothing like making it earn you some extra cash!

Approximate investment to start with: INR 0 – onwards, depending on the terms with the original sellers.

Your skills: Good eye for trends and new products along with interpersonal skills that will help build customer relationship.

Stock trading

business ideas for indian housewives

The stock market has a huge potential for becoming a home based business for women. A large number of market savvy housewives are turning the stock market into their office. They look at earning extra cash by stock trading.

Stock trading can be done from anywhere, even parallelly with a job! It allows you to decide your risk appetite and earn using your financial skills. There are sites like FundsIndia that offer help and advice with playing the stock market and making sensible investments.

This option is great for those with a financial services background who have taken a break from work. But that does not mean that those without such a background can't learn to become stock market pros. An appetite for risk, however, is a must.

Approximate investment to start with: Rs 5,000 and upwards, depending on your risk appetite.

Your skills: Apart from an interest in the stock market, a regular study of current happenings and the willingness to learn from trial and error are also important.

Social media influencer

business ideas in india under 10 lakhs

Social media has become one of the biggest places to generate brand awareness with millions of eyeballs to be caught every second. Becoming a social media influencer is a great idea for a business in India with low investment. Any talent that you are passionate about can help you become an influencer.

Makeup, travel, food, fitness and fashion are the main areas where social media influencers operate. Daily conversations about your area of interest supported by pictures, videos and blogs would help garner a growing list of loyal content consumers. Your phone camera can be your gateway to big opportunities.

Brands associate with influencers who can engage their followers. So reading and keeping up with trending topics will help connect with more people and build larger audiences.

The key remains regular creative and value-adding content that you enjoy. A successful influencer takes about one to three years to gain popularity. A lot is dependent upon the quality of content.

Approximate investment to start with: Rs 0, all you need is your camera phone and an eye for detail.

Your skills: An understanding of what you want to be known for and good social media interaction skills.

Freelance content creator

small business ideas in india for womens

Those with good creative skills can choose to make an online home business out of it. From written content to photography, graphic design or animation, content is king. Today, more than ever before, brands are leaning towards working with freelancers.

There are several content platforms like Witty Pen, Fiver, Behance etc that help those looking for freelance content creators find people like you.

Creating a profile on the relevant platforms and putting your portfolio out there goes a long way in helping brands find you.

Most content creators start their business with no investment. You can choose how much work you want to take up and set the pace to suit your schedule. Really good content creators are always in demand and the creative space is filled with success stories like Alicia Souza.

Approximate investment to start with: Rs 0 onwards. All you need is your creativity. However, you can look at investing in equipment to enhance your productivity later.

Your skills:An understanding of your core creative skill set and making sure that you keep abreast with the latest in your field is very important. Additionally, setting up a page dedicated to the work that you do is an added advantage.

Share your teaching skill

home based business ideas for womens in india

Another homemade business idea for women in India is home-based tutoring. If you have a teaching background in any subject, then this is for you. Working parents do not have the time to teach their kids and often want a smaller and safer teaching environment for younger children. Your home could offer that.

Maths, Science, English and third languages are the subjects that parents usually need help with. Offering to tutor to children in the primary section requires more child

management and a graduate knowledge of the subject. What is needed is a knack for teaching and good skill with children.

Home-based teaching platforms like CueMath are a very good and viable business idea for Indian housewives. They give training and teaching material against a small one-time fee. Post which your work is on a revenue sharing basis per student. More students equal more revenue. This great business for ladies sitting at home.

You can choose to have as many students as you wish, at your convenient time, in the comfort of a location that is of your choice (your home or that of the student). Fee collection and other admin related work are often handled by the service provider reducing your involvement in the same.

Approximate investment to start with: Rs 0 – onwards, depending on whether you are doing this on your own or with a teaching platform.

Your skills: Good interpersonal skills, patience with children and a willingness to be innovative in your approach will help you deal with the different types of students that you will find yourself with.

Daycare centre

business for women

If you love being with kids and have a great time entertaining them, then the good business idea with less than 10 lakh investment is starting a small daycare facility.

When both parents are working, daycare is often the only option for a safe and healthy environment for the child. A small facility that is child safe with a well chalked out schedule as per the age group of children has made many small daycare setups a success.

You can take up a franchise as well. Daycare and pre-school franchisees have investments of 10 – 20 lakhs and upwards. You can choose what works best for you.

Approximate investment to start with: Rs10,00,000 and upwards, depending on the terms of your venture.

Your skills: Good business skills with regard to facility management, customer relation skills to handle parents and a keen interest in children.

Home-based hobby classes

small business ideas for women

If you have a skill that you are really good at, you can consider conducting classes to share it. Hobby classes like flower making, cake decorating, jewellery making, art, pottery etc are popular with adults and kids alike.

A Facebook page or Instagram account can help spread the word along with word of mouth. This is a very good business idea for women in India, where community living gives people the opportunity to interact and do these kinds of activities from home.

Success is stories like Sonjuhi Malhotra, who started her cake baking classes "Sonjuhi" at home with no investment. Today Sonjuhi has snowballed into an academy that gives certificate courses in bakery training!

Approximate investment to start with: Rs 0 – onwards. (The students pay for their own equipment)

Your skills:Good interpersonal skills, innovative teaching skills and a fun personality will help draw more students to your classes.

Digital marketing services

home based business for womens

Digital marketing has become one of the most sought after services that have great potential for those who want to start their own home-based business.

Online courses abound that give a good understanding of the subject. If you have worked in the field of marketing and brand building, then this might be just the right fit for you.

Freelancing with smaller brands that seek digital marketing services on a project basis is a good way to start and build your portfolio. Having a website that details your projects and the work done would help build the credibility of your business service.

Approximate investment to start with: Rs 10,000 - 50,000 and upwards – towards a good course in digital marketing.

Your skills:In addition to a marketing background, an added digital marketing qualification is important. Good client servicing skills will help you retain and grow your client base.

These are the top 12 business ideas for women in India with varying skills sets, that can be started with little or no investment. Match your skill or passion with any one or more of these to create an opportunity that is best for you. Being your own boss gives you freedom of choice and the ability to juggle your various commitments if you are a parent.

If you found this post to be helpful or you have an idea to add to the list, write into us we would love to hear from you. Sharing this post could give someone out there the brilliant inspiration to be their own boss. Who knows, you may inspire the next Anita Dongre!

12 non-threatening leadership strategies for women - GOOD

Posted: 11 Aug 2019 02:33 PM PDT

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