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Kadhim Shubber

Kadhim Shubber

Kadhim Shubber is a freelance journalist who first bought bitcoins so that he could buy a beer at The Pembury Tavern, Hackney’s bitcoin pub. He has reported for Slate, Wired, The Daily Telegraph, The Sunday Times and Ampp3d. He is currently studying for a Masters in Journalism at City University London.

Articles by Kadhim Shubber

Further reading

4 days ago

Elsewhere on Tuesday,— Haldane on productivity.— Goosebumps and central counterparty defaults.— Market power in an era of antitrust.— Money market funds and new SEC regulations— How tight is the US labor market?— How investable are Japanese equities?— The art of heroic unpopularity.— Can Martin Schulz beat Angela Merkel?— “You can’t help Uber build Greyball during the day, or help Palantir design databases to round up immigrants as your main gig, and then buy ethics offsets by doing a non-profit side hustle.”— What do we know about multigenerational mobility?— Who should we be upset at for adverts next to extremist videos on YouTube?— “The ‘Terminator’ of startups says he’s seeing two to four wind-downs a week“.— Keep reading lists of articles but stop reading lists of things successful

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Caption competition: robo Bezos

5 days ago

I just got to pilot an awesome (and huge) robot thanks to Hankook Mirae Technology. Nice! #MARS2017 pic.twitter.com/MvN6ghEYFi— Jeff Bezos (@JeffBezos) March 20, 2017

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2017. All rights reserved. You may share using our article tools. Please don’t cut articles from FT.com and redistribute by email or post to the web.

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The myth and reality of startup “slumdog millionaire” Ambarish Mitra

9 days ago

In a few months, Ambarish Mitra will arrive in Monaco as a contender in Ernst & Young’s global ‘Entrepreneur of the Year’ awards.The chief executive and co-founder of augmented reality app Blippar, one of Britain’s few technology “unicorns”, the name for billion dollar startups, will be there to represent the UK against 60 other countries.When he was nominated last October, EY’s judges called him “a man with big vision” whose social conscience is “driven at least in part by his own early life experiences”, a reference to Mitra’s frequently told tale of triumph over adversity in the slums of Delhi, which prompted the BBC to dub him a “real life slumdog multi-millionaire”.It won’t be the first time Mitra has flown the flag for Britain abroad. Championed by the UK government as one of the

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Further reading

9 days ago

Elsewhere on Thursday,— Setser: capital is no longer flowing uphill.— Drezner: is the system constraining Trump?— The great Chinese inequality turnaround.— A call for a new “politics of hating Mondays, and demanding a four-day work week in return”.— Payday loans are bad, what happens when they disappear might be worse.— It’s a novel idea, but what if the internet is good for culture rather than bad?— Are you a complacent member of the global liberal elite? Take this quiz and find out!— Related: humpback whales are plotting a global takeover and complacent liberal scientists are pretending they don’t know what’s going on.— Student writes about 200 year-old unratified constitutional amendment, gets a ‘C’ on his paper and the amendment finally placed into law.— Beware the false temptations of

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Brewdog’s investors discover dilution

10 days ago

Remember Brewdog? They’re the independent Scottish beer business who run obnoxious advertising campaigns, have a penchant for crowdfunding and have promised to never sell the company “to a monolithic purveyor of industrial beer”.Well, at the end of this month, Brewdog is holding a general meeting to approve several important changes to its articles of association, which it says will pave the way for an injection of cash from an unnamed investor.Those resolutions include the temporary removal of pre-emption rights, so current shareholders can’t stop their stakes being diluted by the fundraising, and, more exciting still, the creation of generous preferred shares that give the new investor a ton of downside protection.On a liquidation, return of capital, a sale of the Company or its business

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Further reading

10 days ago

Elsewhere on Wednesday,— The problem with people who think there’s a problem with asking banks to raise capital.— Blame secularism for America’s dysfunction.— Wren-Lewis: Brexit makes the economics of Scottish independence much more attractive.— Economic data for the UK’s combined authorities. Weep for the West Midlands.— Is IG (AA) Credit now a “free” put on the SP500?— The BBC interview dad speaks and adds yet more ‘aww’ to an already ‘aww’ situation. I mean, the ‘aww’ is at dangerously high levels now.— But don’t worry! We have yet another story that tries to explain Steve Bannon’s worldview.— Related: Zuckerberg defends Facebook’s all-white board by pointing out Peter Thiel likes Trump.— These reporters went to Turkey to interview Erdogan and all they got was a meeting with a

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Ve Interactive, a “unicorn” no longer

12 days ago

Predicting the future is never easy. Soothsayers have a mixed record and bankers apparently do even worse. In December, GP Bullhound, a boutique tech investment bank, predicted 2017 would be the year two European startups reached a $10bn valuation. Among their companies to watch was Britain’s Ve Interactive, a tech company specialising in e-commerce solutions.Three months on and the advertising technology startup’s valuation has been slashed from £1.5bn to just £300m, according to anonymous sources cited by The Sunday Telegraph. A spokesperson for Ve declined to comment on the figure.The steep dive came with an emergency £3m funding round earlier this month that rescued the company from the brink of disaster. As we revealed two weeks ago, Ve Interactive has struggled to pay its employees

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Theresa May’s foolhardy strategy to destabilise the European Investment Bank

12 days ago

Divorce proceedings are about to begin and everything’s up for grabs: the CDs, the pictures, the accumulated profits of the European Investment Bank:Theresa May will call on Brussels to hand back £9bn of UK assets held by an EU bank when she fires the Brexit starting gun — dramatically cutting Britain’s final bill.Senior government sources say that when the prime minister triggers article 50, she will point out that Britain is entitled to the return of funds held by the European Investment Bank (EIB).Legal advice circulating in Whitehall — seen by The Sunday Times — says that not only is the government not legally obliged to pay Brussels a penny, but the EU should pay Britain for its share of the funds in the EIB.That’s from The Sunday Times yesterday, referencing a document drawn up by

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Further reading

12 days ago

Elsewhere on Monday,— We need to talk about Bannon’s Jacuzzi bathtub being “covered in acid”.— Zucman: how to stop the steroidal tax havenry of the Republican border adjustment tax proposal.— Setser: Getting Puerto Rico’s fiscal baseline right.— Damodaran: “bad” companies are “good” investments.— “Do immigrants import their economic destiny“.— Don’t cry for Preet Bharara.— The world if everyone in Europe got to secede.— Crowdfunding healthcare probably not as good as plain old statefunding healthcare.— Feel free to keep using Signal and WhatsApp, the CIA didn’t break them.— Schwarzenegger will be back (and in the Senate, maybe).— In praise of Quinoa.— Further, further reading.

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Boss of troubled tech unicorn Ve Interactive steps aside

22 days ago

The boss of troubled advertising technology startup Ve Interactive has resigned.David Brown, who launched the business in 2009, stepped down as CEO of the £1.5bn business on Friday, just days after it failed to meet payroll on time.His resignation may clear the way for new funding that will help stabilise the company, which has around 850 employees and is one of just a handful of billion dollar startups in Britain.Morten Tonnesen, who previously worked at online gaming group Amaya, will replace Brown, who remains an advisor to the company.Ve Interactive was Brown’s new project after he returned from the US in the late 2000s. His previous business, a marketing company called Serious, had failed not long after he left the company. Ve was his fresh start.Over the past seven or so years, he

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Tech unicorn Ve Interactive struggles to pay salaries, but insists it’s raising fresh cash

24 days ago

Ve Interactive boss David Brown has added a fair few feathers to his hat in recent months. His seven-year-old startup was included in Tech City’s ‘Future Fifty’ businesses to watch; he gave the keynote speech at the UK Business Angels Association Winter dinner last week; and he was even included in the 2017 edition of Who’s Who.But his employees have had a tougher time. Ve Interactive, an advertising technology business and one of the few British “unicorns”, the term for startups valued at over $1bn, has failed to pay some staff on time in each of the past three months as it has struggled to raise new investment.The company is currently in negotiations to raise up to £20m from existing shareholders. On Tuesday, Ve Interactive’s chief financial officer, Dermot Hough, told staff February

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P2P lending discovers new pitfalls in the construction sector

February 20, 2017

A couple of years ago, a little-known civil engineering company called Elimco UK got into trouble.It had been working on substations for Scottish Power, but the relationship had broken down. There were disputes over payments. Cash was becoming tight.Pressed for money, the company did what a small but growing number of businesses are doing today. It turned to the “peer-to-peer” lending sector. In June 2015, Elimco began using MarketInvoice, a startup backed by the government-owned British Business Bank. Cash flowed again, but not for long. Eight months later, Elimco was in administration and MarketInvoice’s investors were looking at losses of almost £800,000.Peer-to-peer lending in the UK is a little over a decade old. It started with consumer loans, a relatively simple type of credit, and

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Psst, Kraft-Heinz wasn’t bidding for Unilever because of the weak pound

February 20, 2017

On Friday, Bryce Elder revealed that Heinz-Kraft was in the mood to buy Unilever, the British-Dutch consumer goods giant with a dual listing in London and Amsterdam. By Sunday, it was no longer in the mood and the deal was dead, which is bad news for fee-hungry bankers, lawyers and PRs but good for… everyone else?The death of the deal is also good for people who are angry about UK companies being snapped up on the cheap after the recent fall in sterling, which is sort of bad because Heinz-Kraft’s bid for Unilever had little to do with the price of the pound.You may or may not remember, but last June, the UK voted to leave the European Union. Around the same time investors everywhere decided they didn’t like the UK’s currency as much as they did before. In the eight months since, those

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Why isn’t Mike Lynch spending more of his “$1bn” technology fund?

February 17, 2017

In late 2012, Mike Lynch launched a new technology fund. It was a big one. A “pot of gold”, as The Times called it. One billion dollars ready to spend on the technologies of the future.The fund, Invoke Capital, was Lynch’s chance to build something new after the infamous $11bn sale in 2011 of his business Autonomy to US computing giant HP. Shortly after the deal, HP wrote off almost all of the value of its acquisition and accused Lynch of accounting fraud. The claims have always been denied and the legal battle that ensued is still ongoing.But a little over four years later, Invoke Capital’s investments seem curiously small in comparison to its purported $1bn size. There are just four startups listed on Invoke’s website and the most well-funded, a cyber security business called Darktrace,

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Snap AV: Kill the old and take their money

February 13, 2017

That’s via a new report from the Resolution Foundation on inter-generational inequality.For the first time, and after counting housing costs, “the median pensioner income is now above its working-age equivalent.”Related links:Kill the old, redux? — FT AlphavilleKill the old — FT AlphavilleKill the old, jobs edition – FT AlphavilleKill the old, AAA-rated edition – FT AlphavilleMore reasons to kill the old – FT AlphavilleCharts du jour, labour force participation kill the old edition – FT Alphaville

Copyright The

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The tension at the heart of ‘fake news’

February 13, 2017

Tim Cook, the chief executive Apple, waded into the debate about ‘fake news’ last week, telling The Daily Telegraph “there has to be a massive campaign” against misinformation and digital propaganda:“It has to be ingrained in the schools, it has to be ingrained in the public,” said Mr Cook. “There has to be a massive campaign. We have to think through every demographic.“We need the modern version of a public-service announcement campaign. It can be done quickly if there is a will.”The point of this post isn’t to rehash arguments about whether or not ‘fake news’ is new, but rather to disentangle the two broad phenomena that are bundled together under the term and show that efforts to deal with one worsens the other, and vice versa.The first can be described as ‘pure’ fake news — stories

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Companies are not people and their products are not speech

February 10, 2017

Six years ago, Mitt Romney uttered the infamous words “corporations are people, my friend”. It wasn’t a comment he made at a secret meeting of belching financiers, he actually said it on stage, in front of ordinary voters, in response to someone who shouted out “corporations” when Romney dismissed the notion of raising taxes on people to pay for the health insurance of the poor and elderly.[embedded content]It was a bit of a setback for the career ambitions of Romney, who would later recover some dignity by denouncing Donald Trump and promptly lose it again by begging him for a job, but it advanced the campaign to recognise companies as living, breathing, flesh and blood entities with just as many rights as the rest of us.This week, humanity took another, enlightened step forward when the

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Short-termism

February 9, 2017

There’s a hot new idea floating around business circles. It goes like this:Trump is vainTrump likes jobsTrump will be happy if we announce new jobs and give him creditWe should rehash old jobs and investment announcementsUnderpinning all of this is the sometimes spoken belief that Donald Trump is…not the best president?The rational response, you might think, would be to steer well clear.Instead, corporate America has decided that creating good PR for Trump is a better strategy, one which also has the effect of boosting his credibility and his chances of re-election.Which, if nothing else, means a lot more of this:Did the CEO of Intel just give Trump a haircut pic.twitter.com/xVAb2MKjha— Jonah Green (@jonah_green) February 8, 2017Then again, Intel has a bipartisan record of trying to make

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An end to the nascent P2P wholesale lending market

February 8, 2017

In 2013, the UK government created a nice, bespoke bit of legislation for a bunch of companies called “peer-to-peer” lenders. It seemed like a fine idea. The lenders were lending, so that was good, and the legislation gave the whole sector a bit more legitimacy and oversight, so that was good too. Plus, everything was “peer-to-peer”, which was super cool.But then the “peer-to-peer” lenders wanted to do other stuff; stuff that was less… peery and looked sort of like the finance that already existed, like banking or asset management. And that made things more complicated. And it was the Financial Conduct Authority’s job to sort it out and decide what was P2P and what wasn’t. It’s now 2017 and this last part is taking some time.But some progress is being made! Last weekend, the Mail on Sunday

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Former ARM chairman delays joining board of tech ‘unicorn’ Ve Interactive

February 3, 2017

Back in November, British tech unicorn Ve Interactive pulled off an impressive coup by hiring Stuart Chambers, the former chairman of behemoth chip designer ARM Holdings. Chambers, a City grandee with extensive public company experience and a member of the UK Takeover Panel, would join as a non-executive chairman on January 1st, the startup announced in a press release. Soon after, Ve chief executive David Brown tweeted he and Chambers were on their first road trip together:But here we are in February and Companies House records show Chambers is yet to officially join the adtech business, whose purported £1.5bn valuation makes it one of just a handful of British startups valued at over $1bn. We’re told his appointment to the Ve board has been delayed until the end of March. For now, “he’s

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An accelerated sale for a Microsoft Accelerator startup

February 1, 2017

Last week, Microsoft held its ‘pitch day’ for the latest cohort of startups in its London accelerator program. The event at Victoria House on Thursday was dubbed ‘The Gallery of the Future’ and was a sort of coming out party for the eight young companies going through the computing giant’s boot camp.8 awesome companies pitching at today’s #msaldn cohort 6 pitch day @HippoDataCo @hadeaninc @Appiness_Inc @trueaicompany @EvaDiagnostics pic.twitter.com/VpxHhhf4zJ— Johnny (@JohnnyMSFT) January 26, 2017It was an extra special day for one of the startups, Hippo Data, a data analysis company based in Malta. The company, founded by Dr. Abdalla Kablan, an academic specialising in “machine intelligence, big data analytics and computational finance”, got acquired!#msaldn on stage @HippoDataCo

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Of course no-one gave Uber the benefit of the doubt with the Trump ban

January 30, 2017

You might have heard that everyone is deleting Uber and downloading Lyft:So what did Uber do exactly? Something about Trump, something about strike-breaking… either way, something about which you should be very, very upset.Or, try this: Uber did nothing wrong. Except find itself in the firehose of righteous liberal anger.That’s from a Quartz piece defending the taxi company from “the liberal outrage of #deleteUber”. Read the whole thing for a fairly comprehensive account of the public relations disaster facing the $60bn startup and a good argument for why the flak it’s getting is the result of a misunderstanding. In short, people thought Uber was trying to break the taxi strike at New York’s JFK airport on Saturday, which was called in protest at Trump’s visa ban.There’s just one thing it

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It’s the ‘trade will be fine’ hope that kills you

January 30, 2017

An occasional series about the distant possibility that Donald Trump does not in fact herald the apocalypse:Despite President Trump’s anti-globalization stance, share price performance suggests that US and global equity investors assign low risk to trade conflict. Last week our Asia-Pacific strategists estimated that a 5% decline in US imports could lead to an 8% drop in the MXAPJ index over 3 months, with the greatest impact in Korea, China and Taiwan. Despite trade risk, the index has risen by 2% post-election and 6% YTD. They also identified a group of Asian stocks with direct US sales exposure that would be most directly affected by trade restrictions. Although these firms sold off sharply immediately following the election, they have since recovered.— Goldman Sachs.Related link:It’s

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What do Trump’s business interests have to do with his visa ban?

January 29, 2017

Probably nothing.The temporary visa ban affects nationals of Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen, even those who are dual citizens of countries like the UK. It extends to those who have a green card and therefore the legal right to live and work in the US.As lots of publications have pointed out, these are not countries where Trump has business interests:Washington Post — Countries where Trump does business are not hit by new travel restrictionsNew York Daily News — President Trump’s Muslim ban excludes countries linked to his sprawling business empireBloomberg — Trump’s Immigration Ban Excludes Countries With Business TiesNPR — How Does Trump’s Immigration Freeze Square With His Business Interests?Independent — Donald Trump’s immigration ban hits Muslim-majority countries

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Snap AV: Let’s play fintech buzzword bingo

January 27, 2017

Ok, let’s see what we’ve got here:Seattle-based financial technology startup LendingRobot is launching an automated hedge fund that will invest exclusively in loans originated on peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platforms, the company said on Thursday.Similarly to online investment startups known as “robo-advisors,” the new fund will use algorithms to automatically buy and sell assets on behalf of its clients without the need for human investment advisors.…LendingRobot will also offer more transparency on the investments by using distributed database technology blockchain to keep track of its transactions.That’s from Anna Irrera at Reuters. The perfect trifecta of fintech innovation: P2P lending, robo-advisory, blockchain!If you decide to throw your money in, the hedge fund is going to charge a

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Snap AV: What Trump on-shores with one hand, he off-shores with the other

January 26, 2017

First, a quick summary of the corporate tax proposals being put forward by Trump and House Republicans, courtesy of Citi:The key thing there is the proposed elimination of interest payment deductions from pre-tax profits, which currently provides an incentive for companies to take on debt. For a deep dive into many of the consequences of such a move, check out this piece from our colleague Sujeet Indap.Citi’s Matt King raises another interesting consequence (our emphasis):Just as a high corporate tax rate and interest deductibility incentivized companies to move earnings and cash offshore, and then issue domestic bonds to fund capex or share buybacks, so the removal of interest deductibility would create an incentive to locate interest payments offshore – where in most jurisdictions they

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Venture capital is a double dip kind of business

January 25, 2017

You don’t have to go far to find someone slagging off European venture capitalists. Here’s Citi earlier this week in their annual report on Digital Disruption:Europe remains a laggard for start-ups/VC investing at about 10% of global FinTech VC investment in 2015-16. This is not a big surprise as Europe has a smaller VC market versus the U.S., it has none of the large technology/Internet companies that exist in the U.S. or China and its banking system (despite the sector’s weak stock prices, earnings and capital challenges of the past decade) offers more of a full-service provision versus U.S. or Chinese peers.One explanation for why the world’s largest economic area has so little in the way of venture capital activity is that no one really wants to put any money into it. It’s not hard to

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Snap AV: The fintech bandwagon rolls on

January 24, 2017

Remember online lending? It was all the rage in America until the hype bubble popped last year when Renaud Laplanche left Lending Club in disgrace. It was enough to finally get venture capitalists to take the hint:That’s from Citi and shows American VC investments into fintech rotating away from lending and into insurance (InsurTech!) It’s worth noting that lending was by far the biggest area of investment in 2015, a year in which Lending Club’s share price fell 70 per cent, which should give you a sense of just how long people will hold on to hope.Related links:Funding Circle raises £82m from global investors — FT.com, earlier this monthCiti: ‘Chinese Dragons’ Overtake U.S. in Financial Tech Investment — Fortune

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What on earth is going on with Victoria Properties?

January 24, 2017

That’s the share price chart for penny stock Victoria Properties A/S, a Danish real estate firm listed in Copenhagen. Its stock is up 330 per cent since the start of this year.And this is the (Google Translated) statement the company put out yesterday (with our emphasis):The management of Victoria Properties A / S intends this Communication to clarify and make clear that there are no changes in Victoria Properties A / S ‘financial position. Likewise, there are no announced plans regarding. the future strategy of the company.The company’s equity is still around 0 kr.Next to no equity and apparently no plans in train, but a market cap of about £7m…According to Bloomberg: “Most of the trading was done by a brokerage that mainly serves retail clients, called NordNet AB. Its transactions

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It’s the hope that kills you

January 23, 2017

An occasional series about the distant possibility that Donald Trump does not in fact herald the apocalypse:Even though we view potential trade friction between the US and China as a major risk to the Trump trades (higher rates/higher USD), developments over the past week seem to suggest that the short-term risk has subsided somewhat. In an interview with the Wall Street Journal on January 14, President Trump said that he would not label China as a currency manipulator on his first day in office. He also said that he would “talk to them first” before taking any action. Meanwhile, President Xi’s speech at Davos on January 17 in which he defended globalization struck a surprisingly conciliatory tone. We think his recognition of the importance of striking a “balance between efficiency and

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