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“Jon Najarian Of CNBC's The Halftime Report Joins Advisory Board Of Rising Blockchain Tech Startup Disrupting Promotional Offer Industry - GlobeNewswire” plus 2 more

“Jon Najarian Of CNBC's The Halftime Report Joins Advisory Board Of Rising Blockchain Tech Startup Disrupting Promotional Offer Industry - GlobeNewswire” plus 2 more

Jon Najarian Of CNBC's The Halftime Report Joins Advisory Board Of Rising Blockchain Tech Startup Disrupting Promotional Offer Industry - GlobeNewswire

Posted: 17 Sep 2019 08:25 AM PDT

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla., Sept. 17, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- CNBC contributor, market analyst, investor and entrepreneur, Jon Najarian, has joined SKUxchange's growing advisory board alongside other industry leaders and former executives from P&G, Walmart, JPMorgan, Coca-Cola, and Inmar.
Headquartered in the greater Tampa Bay area, SKUxchange is a blockchain-based software company that partners with brands, retailers, online marketplace platforms, and service providers across multiple industries to deliver smart and secure digital offers. The company's mission is to eliminate promotional offer fraud, while driving transparency through smart data and AI-driven offers. SKUx proves ROI with near real-time offer reconciliation and settlement for their enterprise partners."SKUx has put together an all-star team that is solving critical issues brands and retailers face as it pertains to promotional offers. A great amount of my career has been spent analyzing and tracking disruptive companies and new technologies; technologies such as blockchain, payment technologies, AI - all of which SKUx is using to finally bring transparency to this trillion-dollar industry," Najarian said. "I couldn't be more thrilled to join the team."How It Works: No Clearinghouse RequiredSKUx's blockchain-based software platform is eliminating wasteful processes and costs that occur in the current clearinghouse model, many of which require physical offers to be hand-counted for reconciliation and settlement. These manual processes significantly slow down payment distribution between parties and ultimately introduce fraud into the promotional offer ecosystem.In contrast, by leveraging new technologies such as blockchain and AI, SKUx's patent-pending technology enables brands, retailers, online marketplace platforms, and service providers to eliminate offer fraud while driving transparency and assuring their ROI – therefore, resulting in greater savings for consumers. This is done through a simple API where SKUx's brand partners submit promotional offer content into a shared blockchain database. Each offer is then serialized through SKUx and distributed by SKUx's partner retailers, online marketplace platforms, and service providers; allowing brands to track their promotional offers across industry verticals in real-time, ubiquitously recognized at any point-of-sale."SKUx is going to scale very fast; it's one of the many reasons I joined the Board of Advisors, to utilize my voice and platform to help position the company as it grows and redefines this industry," Najarian said.The company's co-founder and executive vice president, Bobby Tinsley, added:"We are honored to be working with such a well-respected thought leader and financial industry voice in Jon Najarian. Jon brings an incredible amount of knowledge from a global market perspective to SKUxchange; his insights will be extremely valuable to us as we scale."About Jon NajarianJon "DRJ" Najarian was linebacker for the Chicago Bears before he turned to another kind of contact sport – trading on the Chicago Board Options Exchange.He became a member of the CBOE, NYSE, CME and CBOT and worked as a floor trader for some 25 years.In 1990 he founded Mercury Trading, a market-making firm at the Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), which he sold in 2004 to Citadel, one of the world's largest hedge funds.During that time Jon developed the Heat Seeker™ algorithm and framework used to identify unusual activity in stock, options and futures. He still uses it to this day to identify unusual option activity on CNBC.In 2005, Najarian co-founded, together with his brother Pete, optionMONSTER, an options news and education firm, and tradeMONSTER, a leading online brokerage firm, that for years has been rated "Best for Options Traders" by Barron's and was the first online broker to deploy streaming, desktop-like trading in a web browser. Jon and Pete took on private equity firm General Atlantic Partners as a partner in 2014, ultimately selling TradeMonster to E*Trade for $750 million in 2016.Today Jon is a professional investor and market analyst, who publishes his market observations and trade ideas on, his financial education and newsletter services company. Over the years he has authored four best-selling books on trading and options.Jon co-founded Najarian Advisors & Najarian Family Office that advises or trades for institutional investors and provides money management for wealthy investors. He has delivered keynotes for The NYSE, Euromoney, Institutional Investor, Blockchain Shift & HighTower Advisers. He also is the co-founder of TCB Productions LLC, a production company for television programs and movies.About SKUxchangeSKUxchange is unlocking lost value across the trillion-dollar promotional offer industry through its smart and secure digital offers powered by blockchain.SKUx's technology offers near real-time reconciliation and settlement while leveraging the power of blockchain and AI to improve security, transparency and efficiency of promotional offers. The company has been quietly collaborating with industry thought leaders and has assembled key distribution partnerships that will enable SKUxchange to scale quickly as volume increases.Please visit to learn more.Media ContactVinh Vuong
+1 646-946-2176
A photo accompanying this announcement is available at

MIT Spinoff Mtonomy Debuts Blockchain-Based Media Rights Platform at Cannes - American Inno

Posted: 14 May 2019 12:00 AM PDT

[unable to retrieve full-text content]MIT Spinoff Mtonomy Debuts Blockchain-Based Media Rights Platform at Cannes  American Inno

This rights management platform is aimed at giving media and entertainment industry professionals greater insight and control over their rights, deals, *content* ...

Bad Times in Tech? Not if You’re a Start-Up Serving Other Start-Ups - The New York Times

Posted: 04 Aug 2019 12:00 AM PDT

SAN FRANCISCO — Things should be dismal in Silicon Valley right now, with technology's biggest companies under attack from regulators, lawmakers and even President Trump.

Not for Henrique Dubugras and Pedro Franceschi. The two Stanford dropouts, both 23, are the founders of Brex, one of the hottest young companies today. Their start-up's mission? To provide charge cards to other start-ups.

"We knew that if we could build what we wanted to build, people would want it," Mr. Dubugras said. "We never had questions about that."

Mr. Dubugras, sporting a black hoodie and tortoiseshell glasses, was speaking from Brex's new San Francisco headquarters, where an orange "511572" mural displayed the bank identification numbers that appear on all its charge cards.

The two-year-old start-up moved into the sun-filled space this year as investors poured in tens of millions of dollars, valuing Brex at $2.6 billion — and making Mr. Dubugras and Mr. Franceschi worth roughly $430 million each on paper, according to EquityZen, a marketplace for private stocks.

Brex is an example of Silicon Valley's unflagging start-up exuberance, even amid the Big Tech backlash. Start-ups raised $55 billion in venture capital in the first half of this year, the most since 2000, according to CB Insights and PwC. And a burgeoning class of these companies is thriving by catering to a fast-growing market: other start-ups.

Apart from Brex, there is Carta, which helps start-up employees manage their equity and is valued at $1.7 billion. There is Guideline, which provides retirement services to start-ups. There are Brex copycats. And there is InterPrime, which helps start-ups manage their "idle cash" and has more than 50 customers.

"Start-ups are great because they're underserved and provide a lot of feedback to companies like ours," said Kanishka Maheshwari, a founder of InterPrime, based in Menlo Park, Calif.

CreditArsenii Vaselenko for The New York Times

Brex's journey began in Brazil, where Mr. Dubugras and Mr. Franceschi were raised. At age 12, Mr. Franceschi gained notoriety for "jailbreaking" iPhones to remove their software restrictions. At 14, Mr. Dubugras created a gaming company that was later shut down over patent violations, causing what he joked was a "14-year-old life crisis."

The two met on Twitter as teenagers and together built a payments start-up,, based in São Paulo. By the time they turned 20, they had sold it to Stone, a Brazilian charge card processor.

In 2015, they moved to Silicon Valley to attend Stanford University. Going to Stanford was a dream, they said, because of the TV show "Chuck," whose protagonist was a hacker who studied there.

But after eight months, the pair dropped out. They were participating in Y Combinator, a start-up accelerator, with an idea for a virtual-reality company, Veyond. There, they noticed how difficult it was for entrepreneurs to get bank credit from traditional sources, which required a credit history and a personal guarantee. So they turned Veyond into a credit card company, which they later renamed Brex.

The idea was to appeal to start-ups by offering nearly instant approvals and requiring no personal guarantees. Brex struck a partnership with Sutton Bank, in Ohio, to issue the cards. To mitigate risk, the company constantly monitors customers' bank accounts and adjusts credit limits. It also requires that the start-ups pay off their balances each month.

The cards cost $5 a year per user after the first five users, who are free. Brex would take transaction fees from merchants.

Mr. Dubugras and Mr. Franceschi became co-chief executives. Mr. Dubugras now handles partnerships, fund-raising and communications, with Mr. Franceschi focused on technology and operations.

Immediately, Brex had more demand than it could handle.

CreditArsenii Vaselenko for The New York Times

"We call that 'things are on fire,'" said Anu Hariharan, a partner at Y Combinator's Continuity Fund, which invested in Brex. "Everyone wants it, and you're like, 'Oh, my god, I don't know how to deal with this.'"

Among the start-ups that flocked to Brex's charge cards were Hims, an online medicine provider; SoFi, a personal finance start-up; and ClassPass, a fitness company.

Another was Boxed, an e-commerce start-up in New York, which began using a Brex card a year ago to pay for items like inventory and digital ads. The card let Boxed sell some merchandise before paying for the goods, which freed up capital to fund more growth, said Chieh Huang, the chief executive.

Boxed, which has nearly $250 million in funding and more than $100 million in annual revenue, had an extremely high limit, Mr. Huang said.

"It's so much that we don't want anyone physically holding the card," he said. "It's, like, melting your hand."

While growth took off, Brex initially struggled to recruit engineers because of the competitive talent market, said Larissa Maranhao Rocha, the company's first employee and chief community officer. "You'd Google us and nothing came up," she said.

CreditArsenii Vaselenko for The New York Times

That changed after Brex raised funding in February and October last year. Within six months of being in business, the company hit a $1 billion valuation. Its investors include Peter Thiel and Max Levchin, co-founders of PayPal.

Brex then went on an advertising blitz, covering San Francisco's bus stops, billboards and airport terminals with its logo and tag lines like "The corporate card that actually lives up to the hype" and "Don't charge it. Brex it."

In November, Mr. Dubugras showed off the billboards at a conference, saying they were a cheaper way to reach potential clients and employees than digital ads. Afterward, San Francisco's billboard prices rose, he said. Now he has a new rule: "Don't talk about advertising that works."

Today, Brex has 220 employees. The company estimates it will have just under 400 by the end of this year.

Brex's rising profile soon drew more venture capitalists. Mr. Dubugras and Mr. Franceschi turned down many of them, but used the meetings to pitch their charge cards for the other companies that the venture capitalists had invested in.

One meeting was held at a cafe in San Francisco's South Park, near the offices of more than 10 venture capital firms. It was crawling with entrepreneurs and investors, all potentially eavesdropping. So in March, Brex opened a private lounge, the Oval Room, directly above the coffee shop.

Named after the White House's Oval Office and South Park's shape, it is one of the perks that Brex offers its customers. Others include credits for cloud storage, discounts on WeWork office space and points for spending on scooter rentals.

Mr. Dubugras and Mr. Franceschi are enjoying some fruits of leading a hot start-up. Mr. Dubugras said he now bought subscription home-cooked meals for his Bernese mountain dog, Ruby, who is named after the coding language Ruby on Rails.

How long Brex's success can continue is unclear. Since most start-ups fail, hundreds of Brex's customers have gone out of business.

Brex tries to be understanding when that happens, Mr. Franceschi said. Unlike credit card providers that tell customers, "You're running out of business, you didn't pay us, I'm going to cut you off now," he said, Brex sees failed entrepreneurs as future customers who may try again with a new idea.

Mr. Dubugras said he did not expect venture capital to disappear if things turned, and added that as long as Brex served the fastest-growing start-ups, it would be all right. Brex can usually tell when customers will run out of money, he added, because it constantly monitors their financial health and adjusts credit limits.

CreditArsenii Vaselenko for The New York Times

But just in case, Brex, which is unprofitable, has stockpiled money. In June, the company said it had raised another $100 million from investors, including DST Global and Kleiner Perkins. That brought its total funding to $315 million, including debt.

Neil Mehta, an investor at Greenoaks Capital, which led Brex's funding round in October, said he was taken by the start-up because it offered a "J.D.C.E." — jaw-dropping customer experience — comparable to the first time he used Uber or drove a Tesla.

"It's just the beginning" for Brex, Mr. Mehta said.

This year, Brex also started working with life sciences and e-commerce companies; the latter now make up 30 percent of its business. Some publicly traded companies have asked Brex about its card, but the company has turned them away.

As Brex gets bigger, it's crucial to stay disciplined, Mr. Franceschi said. In Silicon Valley, "it's easy for you to kind of get your feet off the ground and forget what matters," he said.


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