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Arianna Huffington’s Thrive Global is teaming up with Zenefits

Many are familiar with Arianna Huffington’s personal journey from media mogul to outspoken sleep advocate. In April 2007 she collapsed, broke her cheekbone and woke up in a pool of blood, a well-publicized accident she attributes to sleep deprivation and exhaustion. In the years that followed, she shifted her focus to wellness, authoring two books on the topic: Thrive and The Sleep Revolution, and later founded a corporate services and media company called Thrive Global. Thrive, which bills itself as a “behavior change” startup, helps businesses help their employees develop healthy relationships with technology and manage stress and burnout — issues with which Huffington is personally familiar. The company has raised nearly $43 million in venture capital funding to date, at a $121.5 million valuation as of May. Today, Thrive is announcing a new partnership with Zenefits, the provider of software that helps small- and medium-sized business (SMBs) manage human resources, though is still often known for a series of regulatory and compliance issues that led to the exit of its founding chief executive, Parker Conrad. The partnership will make available to employees of the 11,000 businesses that use Zenefits human resources software Thrive content, tips and tools within the Zenefits platform, and managers will be able to use the Thrive app to track and measure employee well-being. “People are sleep deprived; people are eating the wrong food,” Huffington told TechCrunch. “It’s very basic things we can change through behavior that affect the bottom line of a company.” “When you give employees science-based micro steps — that’s how change happens,” she added. “You need little nudges to help you change your behavior.” Arianna Huffington’s Thrive Global raises $30M so you can work less and sleep more Thrive educational content focuses on sleep, humans’ relationship with technology, goal setting and other issues that pertain to physical and mental health. Huffington and Jay Fulcher, Zenefits CEO, told TechCrunch this arrangement was a year in the making. Zenefits tapped Fulcher, the former CEO of Ooyala and Agile Software, as CEO last year. He was the third CEO in the span of 12 months after Conrad was ousted and…

TONL Offers Diverse Stock Photos to Promote Inclusion

Sponsored Post Representation matters. That’s more than just a hypothesis; it’s the value proposition on which Karen Okonkwo and Joshua Kissi based their new business. Karen and Joshua met through a friend, connecting easily as entrepreneurs and first-generation African immigrants. At the time, Karen ran a blog — among other things — and often lamented about how stock photography was stale and homogenous. Joshua, on the other hand, was a photographer and Creative Director. Wouldn’t it be great, they surmised, to create a stock photography site that offers more diverse images and changes the status quo? They both loved the idea but were at capacity, so they tabled it as a “coulda-woulda-shoulda.” The tragic stories of two black men – Alton Sterling and Philando Castile – became an “aha” moment for Karen and Joshua: the only way to combat the devastating effects of systemic racism and racial profiling is to change the narrative around ethnic representation. And, thus, TONL was born. We spoke to Karen and Joshua about how they’re revolutionizing the stock photography market with added color and perspective. Here’s what they had to say: Q: How did you go about bringing this vision to life? Karen Okonkwo (KO): We started by surveying as many people as we could — industry people, friends, whomever — to see if the idea was even viable. The general consensus was that the current stock photography wasn’t relatable. So once we had some real data to back this up, we went full throttle and gave ourselves a year to launch. We worked and planned like crazy, but it was hard since we lived on different coasts. Everything went down to the wire, but we pulled it off in the end. Q: What’s been the response to TONL? KO: It’s been received really well. We’re still in our infancy, of course, but we have a growing client list that includes Fortune 500 companies as well as smaller mom-and-pop operations. Above all else, we have a passionate community. We love seeing people get so excited about our work. TONL Founders, Joshua Kissi and Karen Okonkwo Q: What are your goals for TONL? Joshua Kissi (JK): We want to…

This Solopreneur CRM Powers Scott Wilson’s Business to Success

Sponsored Post Scott Wilson is the Founder and CEO of thatsoftwareguy.com, an independent ecommerce software company that uses Salesforce Essentials, Salesforce’s CRM built for small business. A lot of things in life “just happen.” Some call it a coincidence. To me, it’s meant to be. My journey as an entrepreneur  — along with my journey discovering Salesforce — were exactly that. One Simple Request Started My Business Owning a business wasn’t a part of my life plan. In the mid 2000s, however, someone I had worked with during the tech recession got laid off. His next plan was to start a small business. He asked if I could help build an online shopping cart on his business’s website. I agreed to take on the job to develop his ecommerce business. At the time, not many shopping carts were available. Zen Cart was one of the best open-source options available — and I didn’t waste any time helping him set it up. In fact, I became really good at it — thanks in part to my computer science degree and 15 years of professional experience as a software developer. Remember that 15 years ago, many people who called themselves “web developers” had no real experience at all; they just knew how to put simple HTML tables together. It didn’t take long before I realized that many Zen Cart users didn’t have the professional training and background I did. So, I jumped in and helped with what was missing. In the beginning, I spent a lot of time fixing bugs and answering questions on the public forum. I even started developing my own extensions. Then one day, out of the blue, a guy sent me $100 via Paypal with a note saying , “I built my entire business around your Quantity Discounts plugin.” Positive feedback, support, and encouragement like this is what led me to turn my hobby into a business in late 2006. My Biggest Challenge as an Entrepreneur Early on, the biggest struggle I had was figuring out how to balance running a small business while having a full-time job. I thought of this…

Tips on Growing Small Businesses Like Big Ones From Ex-Googler Laszlo Bock

Sponsored Post Laszlo Bock is the co-founder and CEO of Humu. Previously, he was the Senior Vice President of People Operations at Google from 2006 to 2016. Laszlo is credited with creating the field of People Analytics, the application of academic-quality rigor and Google-paced innovation to people management. Prior to joining Google, Bock served in executive roles at General Electric and as a management consultant at McKinsey & Company. He is the author of the New York Times bestseller, WORK RULES!, a practical guide to help people find meaning in work and improve the way they live and lead. Laszlo will be speaking at the Small Business Keynote on Thursday, September 27 at Dreamforce ‘18, which is free to attend for all-conference and Expo+ pass holders. Q: You led a huge organization at Google and built an award-winning culture there — what motivated you to take the leap into building your own startup? A: I believe that you can have a disproportionate impact on the world around you through HR. We spend more time working than we do anything else. In my old job, Google’s leadership supported open sourcing and the sharing of a lot of what we did on the people side. But I really wanted to keep making more and more of a difference — and not just at Google. I spent a lot of time thinking about how I could combine the lessons learned at Google with what I’d seen at other companies I was privileged enough to interact with, and combining them all in a way that could actually make all companies work better for everyone, everywhere. I realized the only way to do this was to build a team and develop it ourselves. Q: What were some learnings from your experience working at large organizations that were helpful in your entrepreneurial journey? Were there any surprises that didn’t translate to the startup environment? A: My past roles have been both fantastic and terrible preparation for startup life in a number of ways. Terrible in that there’s a skill-set a founder and CEO needs that’s hard to build inside of consulting or HR. In…

Detroit’s StockX raises $44M from GV and Battery to expand marketplace internationally

StockX started as a marketplace for reselling sneakers but has since grown to be much more, bringing its transparent and anonymous marketplace to more verticals. Today the company is announcing a $44 million Series B that will help fuel international and domestic growth while letting it expand to even more product categories and perhaps opening StockX stores. The idea driving StockX is simple: Provide a marketplace with fair pricing and ensure the merchandise is authentic. The result scales to nearly day-trading in consumer goods in the same vein as oil futures. In some cases, the seller never touches the product. Sneakers and other in-demand products are priced and sold at rates set by the market rather than the seller. If a particular sneaker is in demand, the price increases. StockX is among the fastest growing startups in Detroit and Michigan and currently employs 300 in Detroit and 50 in Tempe, Arizona. Founded in 2016 by CEO Josh Luber, COO Greg Schwartz and Dan Gilbert, founder and chairman of Quicken Loans, the company has scaled to see more than $2 million in daily transactions and 800,000 users have sold or purchased items on StockX. Today, at an event in Detroit, Luber told the audience that the company is approaching a billion dollar run-rate. The company has never been capital constrained and CEO and co-founder Josh Luber told TechCrunch that the company never thought they would have to turn to institutional financing. That’s the comfort of having a billionaire like Gilbert as a co-founder; Luber said Gilbert was always happy to fund StockX. “We didn’t need money,” Luber told TechCrunch the day before this announcement, adding. “It was really about having external people that that we thought added truly different values than we had around the table.” Right now the company’s main marketplace centers around sneakers but StockX is built around a platform that works for most ecommerce. It’s a $5 billion market worldwide. Last year the company also launched marketplaces for streetwear, handbags and watches — all verticals with a strong demand in the secondary market. Scaling the service requires more…

Salesforce VP of Investments Shares 6 Mistakes to Avoid When Fundraising

Fundraising is a crucial & often an essential step to collect the much-needed capital or funds for growing your business. These fundraising rounds are often the key steps towards converting your business idea or prototype to a tangible & fully functional business venture. This is the means by which you can take care of most of the business operations & scaling-up costs (costs for marketing, operations, salaries of employees & other running expenses) & often run into millions of dollars for high growth companies. Hence, it is not easy to convince the investors, be it the angels, venture capitalists, banks, government organisations or your own aunt to hand over the funds to you & empower you to run your own show on their funds. While the variety & intensity of challenges in fundraising can be different & that you may have to figure out on the way, here are a list of 6 mistakes to avoid on this journey of fundraising, inspired as shared Meredith Finn Vice President at Salesforce, who leads their investments into other companies. Failure to adequately touch upon 3 key items in your pitch: Team, Product and Market Investors generally evaluate these three things (Team, Product and Market) when they take a look into a business idea for investment: TEAM – Investors consider the Team to be of utmost importance when funding a business because they believe that the Right Team can champion a business to success whereas the Wrong Team can spell disaster! It is extremely important for them to have an idea about “Who is Who” on the team & where each of the team member has his/her expertise on. The team that runs the show is a very important asset for the investors to build trust and hand over their funds to you for running your business. For example, if the team members have awesome industry, technical or domain experience relevant to the business, its easier for the investor to trust that team. Also, whether the team members are collaborative enough and have spent considerable time with each other is an important consideration…

10 Best Salesforce Apps for Small Businesses

Salesforce is a CRM platform that allows small businesses to manage all of their sales, marketing and customer service communications in one place. Launched back in 1999, it has become one of the most popular platforms of its kind. Part of the reason that Salesforce has become so widely used is the ability to completely customize the experience through the use of third party apps. The marketplace features apps for managing marketing processes, accessing analytical data, scheduling and more. To access these apps, you can browse or search within the AppExchange marketplace and then purchase or download the ones you want to use right from the site. If you’re looking to add some new apps to your Salesforce experience, here are some top choices to consider. Best Salesforce Apps Campaign Monitor for Salesforce The top email marketing and mass emails tool in Salesforce, Campaign Monitor lets you quickly add your customer records and keep an eye on subscriber activity, from opens and clicks to opt-outs. The free tool is fully integrate with Salesforce and gives you one of the easiest ways to manage mass communication with customers via email. 10 Simple & Useful Reports to Know Your Customers Better From Salesforce Labs, this free tool gives you the answers to 10 of the most common and helpful questions you might have about your customers, including where they’re located and which customers have been updated within the past week. Essentially, it gives you a free and easy way to access insights that could help you shape your sales and marketing tactics. Formstack Formstack is an app that allows you to build forms without coding. It’s a Salesforce-native program that lets you collect data online or on mobile with just a few clicks, so you can easily find out more about your customers and then use that data to better serve them or shape your new products, services or marketing initiatives. It costs $79 per user per month. Eventable Calendar Marketing A free app, Eventable offers a simple interface for custom calendar notifications. You can send events to contacts, manage events in…

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