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Kitesurfing founder of Revolut rides fintech wave to $33bn valuation

The first time Revolut became Britain’s most valuable fintech, Nikolay Storonsky was disappointed.

A fundraising round last year lifted his company’s valuation well ahead of any British peers to $ 5.5bn, but the chief executive “really wanted to get $ 10bn or more”, according to one person who worked with him on the deal. “In some ways, his view was ‘it was too cheap before’ . . . he’s got a pretty bullish mentality.”

This week, the digital bank Storonsky co-founded six years ago went several steps further. An $ 800m fundraising gave Revolut a $ 33bn valuation, making it the biggest private technology company in British history, and one of the largest in the world.

Revolut was hailed by senior figures — including Rishi Sunak, the UK’s chancellor of the exchequer — as a “great British fintech success story”, though Storonsky himself did not stick around to celebrate.

While the company’s chief financial officer, Mikko Salovaara, announced the fundraising to reporters early on Thursday morning, his chief executive was already en route to a rare holiday — kitesurfing in Rhodes.

“Even when it’s super intense, that’s his way of keeping straight under pressure,” said Martin Mignot, an early Revolut investor with Index Ventures. “He is totally unflappable . . . I don’t think he ever doubted his success.”

The trip speaks to the priorities of the 36-year-old former investment banker, who has developed a reputation among colleagues and peers as a ferociously hard worker who is obsessed with data and takes a hands-on approach to building Revolut’s products, but has less interest in the showmanship and sales skills of some high-profile tech entrepreneurs.

“I never agreed with the role of CEO as salesperson, or just a person with vision,” Storonsky told the Financial Times. “You need to have a vision we all want to achieve . . . [but] every manager needs to know the details. If they don’t, they can’t change the direction of the company, they can’t distinguish what is good and what is bad.”

A former equity derivatives trader who studied physics and was a competitive swimmer at university, Storonsky founded Revolut with chief technology officer, Vlad Yatsenko, in 2015. It launched in London as a prepaid debit card offering cheap foreign exchange for frequent travellers, but has since expanded into more than 30 countries, and services from commodity trading to business banking.

His long-term ambition is to create a “superapp” that would provide all the financial services a customer might need in a single place. That concept showed Storonsky’s “contrarian” thinking, said Mignot, at a time when other fintechs were focused on narrow niches.

“People in Britain are very conservative,” Storonsky said. “People don’t make big, ambitious goals. It’s preferred to set moderate goals with a high probability of success. But in order to be really large, you really need to strive for huge goals, which seem like they’re low probability.”

His drive has been key to attracting investors — he said the latest fundraising round was completed in less than three weeks — and securing Revolut’s $ 33bn valuation.

Revolut launched as a prepaid debit card offering cheap foreign exchange for frequent travellers, but has since expanded into more than 30 countries, © Charlie Bibby/FT

One former staff member said: “Does what Revolut do at the moment justify the number? Hell no. But they produce so much new product so rapidly . . . it’s a bet that Storonsky is a beast who has created this product machine that’s going to take over Europe or the world.”

Storonsky said the company pulled ahead of rivals because it “outworked everyone else”. Still, what supporters see as high standards and drive have been viewed by some critics as an aggressive approach that encouraged an exhausting workplace culture, particularly in Revolut’s early days.

John Doran, partner at TCV, who was the lead investor in Revolut’s 2020 fundraising, said: “Nik is a visionary with a high bar and extraordinary ambition. His management style perhaps isn’t everyone’s preferred method, but he is data driven, methodical and always fair”.

He added that “Nik has grown massively as a leader over the years we’ve known each other”.

Storonsky has formed an unlikely duo with Martin Gilbert, founder of Aberdeen Asset Management and Revolut’s chair, whose reputation is the polar opposite of Storonsky’s — Gilbert is a City grandee known for throwing whisky-filled parties at the World Economic Forum in Davos.

Storonsky has said he appreciated advice from someone with decades of experience founding and running a large financial company, in contrast to many “expert” investors in the technology industry who have little real experience of building companies. Gilbert, for his part, this week said “people misunderstand [Storonsky] quite dramatically”.

“He’s got a great sense of humour . . . [and] he’s a good listener, which a lot of people don’t see. He doesn’t make the mistake of saying too much — he has the ability to just answer a question, and won’t then fill an awkward silence. People mistake that for other traits.”

Storonsky’s reputation for coldness has also, in the views of some investors and staff, been exacerbated by xenophobia — he is a British citizen, but was born in Russia and his father worked for a division of state-owned gas company Gazprom.

His Russian links have caused particular controversy in Lithuania, where Revolut provoked anger among some politicians after it received its first banking licence in 2018.

The company has also faced scrutiny over whether its rapid growth would be too much for compliance staff to keep up with, prompting substantial investment in strengthening systems and recruiting staff to reassure regulators and help it secure new licences.

This week’s fundraising pushed Revolut’s valuation a nose ahead of NatWest, one of the UK’s largest high street banks with £453bn in customer deposits to Revolut’s £4.6bn. The comparison led several bankers to describe the investment as “madness”, but Storonsky said he was happy for traditional banks to keep doubting the company.

“It makes our path much easier if people and banks don’t take us seriously, we can be hidden and steal in and move faster. Hopefully one day they wake up and don’t have a business.”

Additional reporting by Tim Bradshaw

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This post originally posted here International homepage

Indian gov’t warns of COVID-19 3rd wave, says next 100 days crucial

India’s federal government Friday said there was a need to take precautions against the third wave of COVID-19 that is likely to break out in the country and the next 100 to 125 days are crucial, Trend reports citing Xinhua.

The warning was given by V K Paul, a member (health) of government think-tank National Institution for Transforming India (NITI) Aayog (commission) during a media briefing in New Delhi.

“Our population is still vulnerable … The next 100 to 125 days will be crucial and we all need to remain vigilant and follow the protocol,” he said.

Paul said the warning about the third wave of the COVID-19 which the World Health Organization has recently issued is for the global situation, which is reflecting the impact.

On Thursday, head of Epidemiology and Infectious Diseases at India’s top health research body — Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), Dr Samiran Panda said the third wave of COVID-19 is likely to hit the country at the end of August.

Panda, however, said there are chances that the third wave will be a mild one and not as intense as the second wave.

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This post originally posted here Trend – News from Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Iran and Turkey.

A New Humanitarian Wave of Fashion is Hitting Social Media

Wear The Peace is bringing out the humanity in fashion through a unique blend of political- and brand-focused posts on social media.

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS, UNITED STATES, July 15, 2021 /EINPresswire.com/ — Wear The Peace is saying no to companies’ traditional avoidance of political language and is bringing out the humanity in fashion through a unique blend of political- and brand-focused posts on social media.

Mission-based clothing brand Wear The Peace is one of a few catalysts leading a new movement that involves the blending of activism and consumerism. As a fully e-commerce brand, their presence and marketing lives almost exclusively online through social media, their website, and their newsletter. On Wear The Peace’s Instagram, where they’ve gathered over 250,000 followers, it is not uncommon to see more political posts than promotional ones. In a recent campaign, Wear The Peace released a collection of sterling silver necklaces, rings, and bracelets. Every item purchased from this collection provides an entire week’s worth of meals for a refugee in Yemen or Syria through Pious Projects, with nearly 100 items sold so far.

Some other brands have elicited similar strategies in their marketing, most notably Chnge, a clothing brand well known for its trendy clothes as well as its contributions to charities and vocal political messaging. These brands meet the desire of Gen Z and Millenials to be vocal about their political opinions as well as a current day rejection of fast and unethical fashion. This development in the zeitgeist is a testimony to the growing popularity of social media activism where people are speaking up more than ever before, and brands like Wear The Peace are seizing that opportunity to bring more attention to pressing issues as well as to drive sales to increase the amount of revenue and clothing they’re able to donate to these issues.

It’s not uncommon for other companies – especially companies that are not inherently political – to avoid explicitly political messaging in their marketing for fear of ostracizing and turning away potential customers. But Wear The Peace is taking the opposite approach and gaining a uniquely engaged customer base as a result. “We want to change the ‘old ways’ of leaving politics out of the conversation, we want to be the voice for the voiceless and spread awareness to the atrocities that are happening every day around the world” says Mustafa Mabruk, one of two co-founders who started Wear The Peace during their time at Northeastern Illinois.

Nearly everything about Wear The Peace’s business strategy seems counterintuitive from a marketing perspective – promoting other organizations to donate to on their website, donating 100% of the profits from certain collections, taking strong and vocal stances on divided political issues – but the response they’re getting from customers is proving that the days of separating politics from life are coming to an end. They refer to their products as “walking activism” for the customers who sport their clothing displaying messages of peace and humanity.

“That’s why our brand is different, we consistently remind and educate people of what’s going on all around the world, whether it be the famines, water droughts, oppression, war, or child labor that produces our phone’s batteries. We want people to care and start the conversation on how we’re collectively going to fix this.” – Murad Nofal, Cofounder

Mustafa Mabruk
Wear The Peace
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This post originally posted here The European Times News

Judge Jeanine: There’s only one way to solve the crime wave in the United States

Judge Jeanine Pirro warned Saturday that the number one health issue in the United States is “criminals being allowed to terrorize the rest of us,” and said there was only “one way out.” 

JUDGE JEANINE: The number one health issue in the United States that has reached a fever pitch level is not COVID, it’s not global warming, it’s not racism. It’s out of control criminals being allowed to terrorize the rest of us. There’s a war waging on the streets of America right now. It started last summer when rioting thugs started burning down property and businesses. Why? Because criminals felt they could. 

From looting businesses, thugs began throwing Molotov cocktails, ramming residential areas, creating their own “hate America” zones, forcing evacuations of police precincts, trying to burn down a federal courthouse. For months, the radical left was covered by the mainstream media as engaging in “peaceful protests” while 2,000 cops were injured. Even if arrested, protesters were released immediately, and charges, if any, were dropped by left-wing prosecutors. 

Thugs then moved to residential neighborhoods, storming residents with bullhorns, trespassing, and yelling it was really their property. Democrats in charge did nothing. They made believe it was never even happening. 

There’s only one way out of this. And it’s a number. The number is 2022.

GAME PS5 restock: Visit your local store NOW to get the next wave of stock drop

PS5 consoles are finally back in stock in stores across the UK, as walk-ins are encouraged.

According to the ever-reliable PS5 UK Stock Twitter account, customers can visit GAME to join the retailer’s waiting list.

While it’s unlikely you’ll bag a PlayStation 5 console right away, GAME will let customers pre-order the device ahead of the next restock.

“Exclusive: When we revealed the GAME in-store restock, we said people can be added to a PS5 pre-order waiting list. Well, we were right,” reads a PS5 UK Stock tweet.

“It’s worth going to your local GAME to find out if you can be added to the list.”

The PlayStation 5 console is also back in stock at Currys, but only as part of the VIP scheme.

Needless to say, if you signed up to the VIP scheme, it’s worth checking your emails now, including your junk messages.

“Currys have released PS5 VIP codes again so please check your inbox and junk folder if you have registered interest,” reads a PS5 UK Stock tweet.

“If you have a spare code you don’t need, consider sending us a DM so we can throw into a giveaway for the community.”

To give you the best possible chance of purchasing a PS5 this week, Express Online will keep the gaming section updated with all of the live alerts.

It’s also worth bookmarking some of the more popular stock checker accounts for even more alerts and information.

This includes Digital Foundry DealsStock InformerPS5 UK Stock – Instant UpdatesPS5 UK Stock and Express Gaming – the latter of which will have live updates throughout the week.

Some of the accounts mentioned above have Discord groups for PS5 customers, while some have live streams and alerts on sites like YouTube.

Customers are generally encouraged to have multiple devices open when trying to purchase a PlayStation 5, and to sign in to retail accounts when available.

If you do manage to grab a PS5 console, it’s worth checking out brand new release Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart.

“Ratchet and Clank are back! Help them stop a robotic emperor intent on conquering cross-dimensional worlds, with their own universe next in the firing line.

“Witness the evolution of the dream team as they’re joined by Rivet – a Lombax resistance fighter from another dimension.”

The game takes advantage of the PS5 console’s headline features, including instant loading, haptic feedback and adaptive trigger buttons when firing certain weapons.

This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: Gaming Feed