Former NBA All Star Yao Ming had his career cut short by injuries. But he’s rebounded, big time, with big scores off the court.
(LOL at these sports cliches…)
Ming founded Yao Family Wines in California’s Napa Valley in 2011. Which is not a major deal; lots of celebrities make mediocre wines that eventually drop off.
Anyway, back in 2015, Ming raised $2M on crowdfunding platform Crowdfunder to scale his own wine. Here’s how it looked back then, according to the Wall Street Journal:
With Beijing’s anti-corruption campaign sapping demand for expensive wines, Yao Family Wines, the biggest seller of high-end Californian wine in China by value, is shifting its focus from Chinese banquet tables to U.S. steak houses. Now 15% of the winery’s revenues come from the US, compared to almost zero at the beginning in late 2011. The company said it has managed to grow its sales in a tough environment, without giving more details.
And now, Ming’s wine—legitimately—is now one of the best in the world, with an approval rating of 95+ from the world’s single most influential wine critic, Robert Parker of The Wine Advocate.
Here’s what he wrote:
“I am aware of all the arguments that major celebrities lending their names to wines is generally a formula for mediocrity, but that is not the case with Yao Ming. These are high-class wines. The two Cabernets are actually brilliant, and the Reserve bottling ranks alongside just about anything made in Napa.”
Yao Ming making legitimate bid to become best athlete winemaker. This wine, which came out last month, got a 95+ from famed wine critic Robert Parker. Bottle costs $250. Sold in US & China. pic.twitter.com/yqDQSO9bxz
— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) December 5, 2018
Another influential voice of wine the Wine Enthusiast went even further, awarding his wines 97 and 95 points respectively.
Check out his winery here.
VIDEO: Here’s How You Know A Company Is F*****
Chart: All The AI Startup Exits That Made Over A Billion Dollars
Artificial intelligence—AI—is getting those investor checks. In Q2 alone, AI startups raked in $7.4B in funding. And if you look at the exits, you can see why VCs are bullish. It’s a sector that’s delivering some very valuable exits.
Since 2013, seven AI companies have had billion-dollar exists—either through IPO or M&A—four of which have taken place in the last two years. Here’s a chart from CB Insights with all seven.
10 Bizarre Things About The WeWork IPO Filing
As WeWork goes public in its recently announced IPO, professionals and entrepreneurs better take note. The sharing economy is spreading its wings beyond Uber and AirBnB.
Although less well known than those icons of the sharing economy, WeWork could change how we work in the years ahead.
That said, its IPO is a bit bizarre, as the media has been quick to point out. Here’s why.
1. We Work Is Running Spectacular Losses
In 2018, the company had a net loss of $1.9 billion. In the first 6 months of 2019 alone, it lost another $900 million.
2. Investors Worry The Company Will Run Out Of Cash
MKM Partners’ Rohit Kulkarni said the company faces a real prospect of running out of cash in a few months’ time.
3. WeWork Is Spending Money Like It’s 1999
The startup has a burn rate of $150m-$200m a month.
4. Over $47 billion In Future Lease Obligations
WeWork will need to make a ton of money in the future to make it all work.
5. Its Contracts With Users Are Short Term
The startup keeps things flexible for users but is taking on more of the risk itself.
6. The Company Could Be On The Hook If Users Leave
If users defect, WeWork’s rent obligations remain. This should worry any investor.
7. WeWork’s Business Model Is Iffy At Best
The company has declining revenue per user, on top of its failure to be profitable. In other words, things could get worse for investors.
8. Conflicts Of Interest With The CEO
WeWork leases some buildings owned in part by CEO Adam Neumann, paying millions in rents for it.
9. WeWork’s China Assets A Puzzle For Investors
The company’s assets in China are puzzling for investors, and they carry unique risks yet to be fully understood.
10. Despite All Its Troubles, WeWork Has A Staggering Valuation
This unicorn has a valuation of $47 billion. Some in the business media say it’s based on smoke and mirrors. The IPO could be a good test of whether the valuation will hold.