Connect with us

Business insider

How a Rubik’s cube helped this founder leave his coconut farm in India and get $3 million in funding for his startup in less than two years | Markets Insider

Digital Brain cofounder Kesava Kirupa Dinakaran grew up on a coconut farm in India and holds the Guinness world record for most rubiks cubes sol……

Published

on

Digital Brain

  • Kesava Kirupa Dinakaran was supposed to be a coconut farmer in India.
  • His world opened up when he stumbled upon the Rubik’s cube and began breaking world records.
  • Dinakaran began to dream big for himself and up and moved to San Francisco in 2019 with the dream of starting a company. At one point, he had only $9 in his bank account.
  • He just raised $3.4 million in seed funding for his startup Digital Brain. The round was led by ex-Twitter exec Katie Jacob Stanton’s firm Moxxie Ventures.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
  • Kesava Kirupa Dinakaran grew up on a coconut farm in rural southern India that had been in his family for generations. He was expected to marry after high school, have kids and take over the family farm.

    But everything changed when he discovered the Rubik’s cube in middle school.

    Solving the cube became Dinakaran’s addiction. He went from winning local competitions to becoming the team captain for India’s national team. At one competition, he solved 290 Rubiks cubes in one hour — a Guinness world record he still holds today.

    In March 2019, Dinarakan was flown to New York by a charity organization for a young leaders summit. After the event, he spontaneously decided to spend five days in the Bay Area, crashing with a friend in a dorm room at Stanford.

    Dinakaran described first arriving in Silicon Valley as a sort of enchantment, a place where he met founders and technologists who shared his desire to build something that would transform the world — the next Uber, Snapchat, or Facebook. 

    “I realized something magical could happen,” he told Business Insider.

    Just one month after the summit, Dinakaran gave up his college dreams, and instead packed his bags and moved to San Francisco. He didn’t even have a startup idea. 

    He met his cofounder Dmitry Dolgopolov by chance at a hackathon they both attended in May. Dolgopolov is something of a child prodigy himself, having learned to code at age 14 by recreating games sold on the App Store from scratch and publishing them on the Google Playstore. 

    Now, a little over a year later, they have secured a total of $3.4 million in seed funding for Digital Brain, startup that helps customer service agents get through support tickets faster. The product they built is a layer that sits on top of customer service software like Zendesk, transforming the software’s interface to help streamline tasks and automate workflows for those agents.

    That funding rounding was led by Moxxie Ventures, the venture firm founded last year by ex-Twitter exec Katie Jacobs Stanton. And his other backers include big-names like Unshackled Ventures and Scribble Ventures, as well as angel investors from the founders of companies like Twitch, Mercury, Notion, and Rappi. 

    Dolgopolov immigrated to the US from Russia in 2016 and does most of the coding for Digital Brain while Dinakaran is the product idea man and designer. 

    “Most people are quite shocked,” he said. “It’s like a fun party trick that works everywhere.”

    October 7, 2020

    One of the hardest things Dinakaran faced as a founder was being a Silicon Valley outsider. When he arrived in San Francisco last year, he knew it would be impossible to start a successful company without first building a strong network of investors, operators, and engineers.

    He was “emailing hundreds of people every day,” he said, setting up coffee chats and meetings while signing up for hackathons and seeing whether the products he and Dolgopolov built at those competitions were viable startup ideas — which included an Uber for mental health and a carbon footprint tracker. 

    initial version

    As they interviewed more companies, Dinakaran and Dolgopolov realized it was a problem that cropped up everywhere. 

    “We’ve spoken to a hundred plus support teams, all the way from your basic, small startup where the founder does support, all the way to companies like Cisco,” Dinakaran told Business Insider. “People did not enjoy their customer service set up.”

    Digital Brain

    The duo’s first big breakthrough came when were accepted into Y Combinator’s summer class. Dinakaran says his experience at the prestigious startup accelerator was life-changing.

    While fundraising can be a grueling and demoralizing process for many founders, Dinakaran wowed potential investors by focusing on his life story as much as he did on his company’s product. And of course, it didn’t hurt to show off his Rubik’s cube skills.

    “At seed stage, when people are making bets, they’re betting on people,” he told Business Insider. “A lot of people believed that if they were investing in us, then we would make the most out of it and really, really work hard to get it into fruition.”

    Dinakaran knows that his journey is far from over. His company has already hired two more people and already counts clients ranging from small startups to larger enterprises, although he declined to name any customers.

    The ultimate goal, he says, is to become the “Superhuman for customer support agents,” a reference to the startup that helps people sort through cluttered inboxes and is used by countless founders. 

    “The sheer fact that nothing has changed back in my hometown or with my family is a fundamental reminder every single day that I need to keep working harder,” he said.

    “I know that if I continue to do that, it will change the lives of many people in my community,” he added. 

    Now read:

    These are the first 16 startups to nab deals from SoftBank’s $100 million Opportunity Fund dedicated to Black, Latinx, and Native American founders

    The Sway Boys rose to TikTok fame on dance videos and pranks. Now the 18- and 21-year-olds are VCs, wooing startup founders at their opulent LA mansion

    Source: https://markets.businessinsider.com/news/stocks/founder-used-rubiks-cube-to-raise-millions-for-his-startup-2020-11-1029803971

    [ALT0]

    Business insider

    Two new Florida cruises have cabins for solo travelers – see inside the ships

    The Solo Suite available in 2022. Atlas Ocean Voyages Over the last month, Oceania Cruises and Atlas Ocean Voyages have unveiled ships with si…

    Published

    on

    The cruise industry is gradually resuming operations, and at the same time, some cruise lines are tapping into a specific segment of customers: solo travelers.

    volunteer employees boarding a cruise ship carrying luggageVolunteer Royal Caribbean employees for the Freedom of the Seas sailing at PortMiami on June 20.

    Marta Lavandier/AP Photo

    Over the past month, two Florida-based cruise lines – including a newcomer to the industry – have unveiled new ships with cabins designed for lone travelers.

    top view of the World NavigatorThe World Navigator.

    Atlas Ocean Voyages

    But solo cruising isn’t a new trend: Cruise lines like Royal Caribbean, Virgin Voyages, and Norwegian have already successfully rolled out single-person accommodations.

    a bed next to a desk, tv, and mirrorThe Solo Insider.

    Virgin Voyages

    Source: Royal Caribbean, Virgin Voyages, Norwegian Cruise Line

    And so far, it’s been a success. For brands like Virgin, these solo rooms “perform really well,” John Diorio, the cruise line’s associate vice president of sales, told Johanna Jainchill for Travel Weekly.

    a bathroom with a shower, sink, mirrorThe Solo Insider.

    Virgin Voyages

    Source: Travel Weekly

    Staying in solo suites allows independent travelers to bypass paying single supplements, the fees that come with staying in a room designed for more than one occupant.

    a bed besides a balcony with views of the oceanThe Anthem of the Seas’ Studio Ocean View Stateroom with a balcony.

    Royal Caribbean International

    Some solo travelers see this single supplement as a “major obstacle” and a “penalization” for solitary vacations, Alberto Aliberti, president of Atlas Ocean Voyages, told Insider in an email statement.

    a bed besides a balcony with views of the oceanThe Quantum of the Sea’ Superior Studio Ocean View with a balcony.

    Royal Caribbean International

    Fort Lauderdale, Florida-based Atlas Ocean Voyages just debuted this month, and it’s the first luxury cruise line to join the market in over 20 years, according to the company.

    the exterior of the World NavigatorThe World Navigator.

    Atlas Ocean Voyages

    Source: Insider

    To cater to this solo traveler segment, Atlas Ocean Voyages decided to include single-person suites aboard its first and and only vessel.

    a rendering of a bed facing a TV with a window in the backThe Solo Suite available in 2022.

    Atlas Ocean Voyages

    The brand’s World Navigator cruise ship has 98 guest rooms that can accommodate just under 200 travelers.

    a bed besides a armchair, lights, and a nightstandThe Veranda Stateroom.

    Atlas Ocean Voyages

    Beginning March 2022, the World Navigator will also have six 183-square-foot suites designated for solo travelers.

    a rendering of a bed facing a TV with a window in the backThe Solo Suite available in 2022.

    Atlas Ocean Voyages

    These single rooms – which Aliberti says have prompted “very positive responses” – will come with the same perks as the ship’s other suites. This includes binoculars and in-room Nespresso coffee, a stocked mini-refrigerator, and bar and butler services.

    a rendering of a bed facing a TV with a window in the backThe Solo Suite available in 2022.

    Atlas Ocean Voyages

    Similarly, in July, Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings’ Oceania Cruises brand announced plans for its Vista cruise ship, which will officially debut in 2023.

    a living room with a couch, coffee table, and deskThe Concierge Level Solo Veranda stateroom.

    Oceania Cruises

    Source: Oceania Cruises

    The Miami-based cruise line’s upcoming ship will have “concierge level solo veranda staterooms” created for lone travelers, a first for the cruise line.

    a bed tucked away in the corner of the suite with the living room in the backgroundThe Concierge Level Solo Veranda stateroom.

    Oceania Cruises

    Like Atlas Ocean Voyages, solo guests sailing with Oceania will have the same luxury amenities as other concierge level passengers, such as free laundry and access to the Concierge Lounge.

    a living room with a couch, coffee table, desk, and bed in the backgroundThe Concierge Level Solo Veranda stateroom.

    Oceania Cruises

    And according to Aliberti, that’s the point. Many of these “underserved” solo travelers want the suite amenities, just not the single supplement payments.

    a table with seats and a mirrorThe Solo Insider.

    Virgin Voyages

    Source: https://markets.businessinsider.com/news/stocks/photos-florida-cruise-ships-cabins-for-solo-travelers-2021-8

    two-new-florida-cruises-have-cabins-for-solo-travelers-- see-inside-the-ships

    Continue Reading

    Business insider

    Blackstone’s betting $6 billion on the rental market – here’s why private-equity loves real estate right now

    Jonathan Gray, Blackstone president and chief operating officer Heidi Gutman/NBCUniversal via Getty Images Blackstone is all-in on rent resets…

    Published

    on

    Jonathan GrayJonathan Gray, Blackstone president and chief operating officer

    Heidi Gutman/NBCUniversal via Getty Images

    • Blackstone is all-in on rent resets and long-term property assets to combat potential inflation.
    • Private equity firms have trillions of dollars in cash to put to work on acquisitions.
    • Blackstone’s share price ticked over $100 for the first time this month.
    • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

    It’s been quite the month for Blackstone.

    The private-equity behemoth is part of a consortium of investors that bought Medline for about $34 billion, its share price ticked over $100 for the first time, and it’s doubling down on residential real estate with a $6 billion Home Partners of America buy.

    It’s a bet on scorching demand for housing continuing, and also a defensive move as inflation worries start to seep into investors’ minds. The average price of a home topped $350,000 for the first time inn May, according to the National Association of Realtors, logging the largest-ever increase in prices since the NAR began tracking data.

    “Whether it’s apartments, storage facilities for warehouse distribution, or single-family homes, private-equity is getting into this as an inflation hedge,” Nicholas Tsafos, a partner with accounting firm EisnerAmper, told Insider.

    Home Partners, which owns more than 17,000 homes in the US, rents out these properties, but tenants have an opportunity to someday buy the home.

    In the single-family rental arena, private-equity firms can hike rents, while also holding onto profitable, tangible assets.

    “Because interest rates are low, and with the potential for a pick-up in inflation, private-equity also feels the need to be long on hard assets,” Tsafos said. “In real estate, you buy it today and then flip it for a higher price.”

    Jon Gray, Blackstone’s president and COO, alluded to it during the firm’s earnings call in April when he said multi-family apartments that come with the ability to reset rents were key for Blackstone.

    The firm bought many houses at remarkable discounts after the housing market crashed in 2007. It accumulated a number of single-family homes through a former portfolio company Invitation Homes. Blackstone sold its final block of shares in the company in 2019.

    The private-equity shop also favors logistics spaces, such as warehousing, life sciences offices, and media and studio businesses with offices, according to a June 22 research note from UBS.

    In October, Blackstone made a handsome investment when it sold life sciences real-estate company BioMed Realty for $14.6 billion, after acquiring it for about $8 billion in January 2016.

    And it’s not just Blackstone. Fellow private-equity investor KKR is investing in My Community Homes, a platform that buys and manages single-family rental properties, according to Bloomberg.

    KKR will invest in My Community Homes through its real-estate and private-credit vehicles.

    A spokesperson for KKR was not immediately available to comment.

    The Carlyle Group said in May that it provided up to $300 million to Four Springs Capital Trust, a private REIT that acquires and manages single-tenant properties with long-term net leases.

    Four Springs will use the money to build its portfolio, which encompasses 122 properties across 29 states, Carlyle said in a press release.

    The move on real estate comes while private investment firms sit on more than $1 trillion in cash. Borrowing costs, too, remain subdued as the Fed keeps interest rates at all-time lows.

    Given the sheer amount of dry powder available, coupled with accommodative credit markets, private-equity is keen to conduct a surfeit of acquisitions, and isn’t shy about injecting large sums of equity into prospective investments.

    Medline, for example, is expected to raise roughly $17 billion from the debt markets, while the private investors are providing a similar amount in equity.

    “Big leveraged buyouts are back in vogue,” said Christopher Zook, chairman and CIO of alternative investment manager CAZ Investments. “Whether it’s KKR or Blackstone, they have large capital to put to work. So they’ve got to do a ton of deals.”

    Disclaimer: KKR holds a majority stake in Insider’s parent company, Axel Springer.

    It’s been quite the month for Blackstone.

    Source: https://markets.businessinsider.com/news/stocks/blackstone-home-partners-america-single-family-rental-real-estate-inflation-2021-6-1030556791

    blackstone's-betting-$6-billion-on-the-rental-market---here's-why-private-equity-loves-real-estate-right-now

    Continue Reading

    Business insider

    Trading the Fed, plus insights from a 99th-percentile fund manager

    Hello and welcome to Insider Investing. I'm Joe Ciolli, and I'm here to guide you through the current market and investing landscape. Here…

    Published

    on

    Hello and welcome to Insider Investing. I’m Joe Ciolli, and I’m here to guide you through the current market and investing landscape. Here’s what’s on the docket:

    If you aren’t yet a subscriber to Insider Investing, you can sign up here.

    Have thoughts on the newsletter? Just want to talk markets? Feel free to drop me a line at [email protected] or on Twitter @JoeCiolli.

    Fed-driven portfolio adjustments GettyImages 1228670990

    Pool/Getty Images

    The Federal Reserve left interest rates steady this past week while setting the stage for two hikes by year-end 2023. Traders, who took a wait-and-see approach before the Fed meeting, quickly sprung into action. Insider spoke with Wall Street and crypto investors to gauge how to position for the hawkish shift.

    Read the full story here:

    The Fed has left rates steady while signaling 2 potential hikes by the end of 2023. Here is what to do with your stocks, bonds, and digital assets, according to top Wall Street and crypto investors.99th-percentile insights and stock picks Dave Ellison

    Hennessy Funds

    Financial-sector stocks have outperformed the rest of the market over the last several months. Hennessy Funds’ Dave Ellison – who’s in the 99th percentile compared to peers over the past year – told Insider he expects their strong performance to continue. He shared 5 financial stocks to buy now in order to take advantage of the remaining upside.

    Read the full stories here:

    Dave Ellison has beaten 99% of his peers over the last year managing the Hennessy Small-Cap Financial Fund. He breaks down why he thinks financial stocks still have room to run – and shares 5 names to bet onSPAC shorts SPACs and hedge funds 2x1

    Brian Snyder/Reuters; Michael Loccisano/Getty Images; Samantha Lee/Insider

    Short interest in SPACs stood at $3.2 billion in mid-June, up from $2.7 billion. The uptick in SPAC shorts comes as the market works to recover from a weeks-long slowdown, and one ETF manager expects recently “de-SPACed” companies to see short activity surge soon. Exclusive data shows the 20 most-shorted blank-check companies right now.

    Read the full stories here:

    Bets against SPACs are revving back up as the market attempts a comeback. Here are the 20 most-shorted blank-check companies now.YOU’RE INVITED: A Millennial Guide to Home Ownership

    Join us and learn how to navigate the complicated process of buying a home in today’s hot market on Tuesday, June 22 at 12 p.m. ET – during a free, hour-long virtual event presented by Fidelity.

    Register here.

    Stock pick central

    Seeking experts who are willing to name names? Look no further:

    Have thoughts on the newsletter? Just want to talk markets? Feel free to drop me a line at [email protected] or on Twitter @JoeCiolli.

    Source: https://markets.businessinsider.com/news/stocks/trading-fed-99th-percentile-picks-spac-short-selling-insider-investing-2021-6-1030537490

    trading-the-fed,-plus-insights-from-a-99th-percentile-fund-manager

    Continue Reading

    Title

    CNBC3 days ago

    Stitch Fix shares surge as online styling service reports surprise profit

    Stitch Fix shares jumped after the online shopping and styling service reported a surprise profit for its fiscal fourth quarter.

    Techcrunch2 weeks ago

    South Korean antitrust regulator fines Google $177M for abusing market dominance – TechCrunch

    The Korea Fair Trade Commission (KFTC) said on Tuesday it fined Google $177 million for abusing its market dominance in...

    Cointelegraph2 weeks ago

    El Salvador’s Bitcoin detractors: Opposition groups gather as crypto law rolls out

    While President Bukele enjoys widespread popularity, his law that makes Bitcoin legal tender does not.

    Ventureburn2 weeks ago

    Startup partners with Telkom to launch translation platform for SA languages

    Telkom has partnered with SA startup Enlabeler to launch an AI platform that translates speech into text and provides transcription...

    Entrepreneur3 weeks ago

    Why You Should Make Twitter Spaces Part of Your Business Strategy

    Twitter's latest feature can help businesses grow their presence on the platform.

    Bioengineer3 weeks ago

    What factors put Philippine birds at risk of extinction?

    Credit: Ça?an ?ekercio?lu The lush forests and more than 7,000 islands of the Philippines hold a rich diversity of life,

    Reuters4 weeks ago

    Chinese social media platforms to “rectify” financial self-media accounts

    China's top social media platforms, Wechat, Douyin, Sina Weibo and Kuaishou, said on Saturday they would begin to rectify irregular...

    Ventureburn4 weeks ago

    South African startups helping to solve the global challenges

    A new generation of entrepreneurs are not only incubating solid startups but are contributing to help solve some of the...

    Techcrunch1 month ago

    The SEC and the DOJ just charged this startup founder with fraud, saying he lied to Tiger and others – TechCrunch

    Today, both the U.S. Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission charged Manish Lachwani, cofounder of a mobile...

    Techcrunch1 month ago

    Blockchain startup XREX gets $17M to make cross-border trade faster – TechCrunch

    A substantial portion of the world’s trade is done in United States dollars, creating problems for businesses in countries with a...

    Review

      Select language

      Trending