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08.05.16 | 11:45 am

Denim startup DSTLD is raising a Series A round from everyday customers

DSTLD, a two-year-old denim brand, is in fundraising mode. It received angel rounds from institutional investors like CrunchFund and Arena Ventures. But when it came time to raise a Series A, founders Mark Lynn and Corey Epstein decided to do something different: They're calling on their customers to invest in the brand. 

In 2012, President Obama signed a new act that allowed anybody to invest in companies—not just accredited investors who tend to be high net worth individuals.  It's taken several years for the government to create the regulations to ensure that everyday investors would be protected from fraud and exploitation. But today it's possible for anybody to help fund a company. 

DSTLD is the first fashion brand to take advantage of this new regulation. As a direct-to-consumer e-commerce brand with no brick-and-mortar stores or retail partnerships, having a committed base of customers who are also investors can play an important role in helping the brand to grow. "It makes sense for us as a consumer-facing brand," Lynn tells Fast Company. "If we give our most engaged customers a chance to invest, they will be even more committed to spreading the word about us."

On the company's website, which lists all the nitty-gritty details about how the investment works as well as how the process is regulated by the SEC, customers can sign up and invest a minimum of $500. "We're thinking of that 18-year-old who loves our jeans and wants to invest his summer job money in a Series A round," says Lynn. 

Over the last six weeks, DSTLD has received $750,000 in escrow from more than 450 people investing an average of $2,400. DSTLD is hoping to raise a total of $3 million in this round. Lynn believes that the fact that DSTLD also has VC funding from investment professionals who have thoroughly vetted the company has helped these everyday investors feel confident about their decision to part with their money. 

The  brand is also trying to turn these investors into collaborators. It has created a forum where the company can ask questions about what marketing and branding strategies to pursue, or which new products to put out. "As customers of ours who are also interested in our success, their opinions are particularly valuable," Lynn says. 

10.24.16 | an hour ago

Samsung’s swift recall may have impeded the investigation of the Galaxy Note 7

According to the Wall Street Journal, Samsung may have been hasty in issuing a recall of the Galaxy Note 7 phone before adequately investigating what was causing its batteries to explode. From the WSJ

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, which oversees product recalls in Samsung's biggest smartphone market, is expected to investigate whether Samsung notified the agency soon enough of dangers posed by the device. Samsung's decision to launch its own recall, bypassing the CPSC's formal process for a time, may have prevented regulators from figuring out more about the root cause, some U.S. lawmakers suspect.

Usually, companies work in tandem with the CPSC when making the decision to issue a recall; in this case, it took almost two weeks for the CPSC and Samsung to agree to a joint recall following Samsung's initial recall announcement. 

Read more over at the WSJ

10.24.16 | 2 hours ago

What the former AOL CEO says about the AT&T-Time Warner merger

On Saturday, AT&T confirmed it would acquire Time Warner for a whopping $85.4 billion. If this sounds familiar, it's because Time Warner merged with AOL back in 2000—a disastrous acquisition that has been all but dismantled over the past 15 years. 

Here's what Steve Case—the former CEO and chairman of AOL who inked the deal with Time Warner—had to say about the AT&T acquisition, as told to Recode's Kara Swisher

While back in 2000, some didn't believe in the internet and/or didn't believe in convergence—of course those concepts now seem obvious. So it's not surprising to me that we are again seeing attempts to marry communications and content . . . The idea of the AOL/Time Warner merger made sense, both strategically and, at least for AOL, financially. What was flawed was the execution. But, as Thomas Edison said more than a century ago, vision without execution is hallucination. And execution is all about the right people focused on the right priorities, working together in the right way.

Maybe I should send a copy of my book to the boards and senior teams at both companies?

10.21.16 | 7:13 pm

It’s official. Donald Glover is young Lando Calrissian in the Han Solo spin-off movie

The realization of a lot of fanboy dreamcasting was confirmed by the official Star Wars Instagram page late Friday afternoon.

10.21.16 | 6:58 pm

Evening intel: the mega-merger moves forward and Apple missed the boat

Reports are coming in that AT&T Inc. has agreed to pay $85 billion for Time Warner Inc.—owner of HBO, Turner, and Warner Bros.—and a deal could be announced as early as Sunday. 

• Meanwhile, a separate report from the Wall Street Journal revealed that Apple had approached Time Warner about a potential deal a few months ago. Here's my mini hot take on that.

• After months of saber-rattling, Airbnb has followed through on its threat to sue the city and state of New York over a law that prohibits the advertising of illegal listings. The governor signed the law today. 

• Maybe Donald Trump should reconsider politics and just go into the T-shirt business. "Bad Hombres" and "Nasty Woman" are hot items right now.

• And finally, after recovering from a DDoS attack that took down part of the Internet earlier today, Twitter users are rejoicing in the news that Atlanta star Donald Glover has been tapped to play a young Lando Calrissian. Glover's name became the top trend late Friday afternoon, unseating "DDoS," which had been trending all day in the wake of the attack.

10.21.16 | 3:59 pm

Mark Zuckerberg decided not to remove Donald Trump’s hate speech

Some Facebook employees have argued that Donald Trump's calls to ban Muslims from the United States violate the company's policy on Facebook. The company's CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, decided that it would be inappropriate to remove the comments, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Fast Company broke the news in December 2015 that Facebook had made an exception to its hate speech policy for Donald Trump.

10.21.16 | 3:58 pm

Airbnb is suing the state of New York because of this new law 

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has signed off on a bill that will heavily fine rogue apartment lessors on Airbnb. Now Airbnb is filing suit. 

The new law says those who advertise sub-30 day whole apartment rentals can be fined as much as $7,500. It piggybacks on existing legislation that prohibits whole apartments from being rented for less than a month.    

The bill was approved by the state Senate and House in June, but the governor just signed off on it today. Airbnb's public policy head says the company plans to file a lawsuit, claiming the new law violates both the First Amendment and the Communications Decency Act, according to Business Insider. TechNYC, an organization that launched this year to help tech companies navigate the state's legal issues, also appears to be at the ready to try and scale back the new measure. 

While TechNYC may be hoping to reach some sort of compromise, it looks like Airbnb is making good on its threat to sue. 

10.21.16 | 3:39 pm

Wall Street Journal offers employee buyouts to minimize newsroom layoffs

Another sign of hard times for legacy news organizations: The Wall Street Journal has sent a memo to its entire news department in an attempt to seek buyouts and limit the number of "involuntary layoffs." The memo, which was leaked to Talking Biz News, went on: "We are seeking a substantial number of employees to elect this benefit."

This is not the first major job-shuffling at the Journal in recent memory. Last year, the company announced a slew of layoffs in an attempt to reorganize its various departments. This latest buyout development is being dubbed as part of a "broader transformation program."

10.21.16 | 3:12 pm

DJI’s Mavic Pro drone has started shipping

Earlier this week, DJI acknowledged that there were some delays in getting its highly-anticipated Mavic Pro drone out the door and into consumers' hands.

Today, though, the Chinese company says all is right with the world and that the new foldable drone has started shipping.

10.21.16 | 3:04 pm

That was fast! You can now buy Bad Hombre or Nasty Woman T-shirts 

These T-shirts were quickly designed by Bob Bland, CEO and founder of Manufacture New York, a fashion design and production incubator for independent designers. All proceeds will go to Planned Parenthood, an organization that Donald Trump says he will defund if he wins the election. 

It's yet another example of how the fashion community is rallying around Hillary Clinton—and working to defeat Donald Trump—through creating garments. A slew of designers from Diane von Furstenberg to Prabal Gurung designed shirts for Hillary's campaign store

You can read more about why the fashion community has been so supportive of Hillary Clinton here

10.21.16 | 2:59 pm

Steph Curry says Warriors’ “normal locker room talk” is about technology

The Golden State Warriors are the biggest story in sports right now, and Silicon Valley is the hottest economic engine on the planet.

So mixing the two makes a lot of sense–and that's exactly what happened last night at a private event in San Francisco: The team got together to network with dozens of Silicon Valley executives and investors to talk about how athletes can get more involved with tech companies. 

The Warriors' Andre Iguodala, who co-hosted the event with his business advisor, Rudy Cline-Thomas, and is known to be one of the most tech-savvy players in the NBA, is on a mission to help his teammates, and other players, gain access to the Valley economy. He also helped launch the inaugural National Basketball Players Association's Technology Summit in July. "It's all about connecting: connecting the tech world with the tech world, and the tech world with the basketball world," he told Fast Company at the event.

Asked about how much Iguodala usually talks with his teammates about tech, two-time NBA MVP Steph Curry, in a nod to Donald Trump's infamous "locker room talk" explanation for his extremely off-color comments about women, said that "in our locker room, the normal room talk [is] about positive things in the world of tech," and that Iguodala is the main driver of those conversations.

10.21.16 | 2:51 pm

Ladies all over the Internet claim the “nasty women” moniker

After Donald Trump's dig at Hillary Clinton during the debate, where he referred to her as a "nasty woman," women all over the Internet are claiming the moniker for themselves. 

10.21.16 | 2:41 pm

Facebook will soon allow more graphic content, as long as it’s “newsworthy”

In the wake of a series of controversial decisions to remove relevant content that violated its community standards, from the iconic "napalm girl" photo and Philando Castile death video to the Korryn Gaines shooting and a breast cancer awareness video, Facebook just announced a new policy: It will soon allow more graphic content, even including nudity and violence, to be posted by users if it's deemed newsworthy.

The company's vice president of global policy writes:

"Our intent is to allow more images and stories without posing safety risks or showing graphic images to minors and others who do not want to see them."