Sheryl Sandberg Tells Virginia Tech: Anyone Can Be Resilient

Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg had a message of resilience and hope for Virginia Tech graduates on Friday.

“I’ve spent the last two years studying resilience because something happened in my life that demanded more of it than I ever needed before,” Sandberg said in a prepared draft of her speech.

 In 2015, Sandberg’s husband, SurveyMonkey CEO Dave Goldberg, died of a cardiac arrhythmia while they were vacationing in Mexico. She suddenly became a widow in her 40s with two small children.

“Sometimes I can’t believe it actually happened. I woke up on what I thought would be a normal day. And out of nowhere, my world changed forever,” she said.

Sandberg said losing her husband has “fundamentally changed” how she views the world and how she lives in it every day. She said that Virginia Tech graduates have also faced challenges, heartbreak, illness and shared losses, like the shooting at the university in 2007, which was the second deadliest mass shooting in US history.

“You know that life can turn in an instant. And you know what it means to come together, to pull together, to grieve together, and most importantly, to overcome together,” she said.

Read the full article here.


Undercover Colors: More than just Nail Polish

The Alarming Number of Rape Cases
It’s an unfortunate side of reality that no one wants to think about. It’s the fact that sexual assaults, rape, and cases of advantage happen everyday. People fall victim when they are least expecting it. Women fall prey to unwanted sexual advances often when they are in a public place such as a bar or a party where alcohol is involved. It can happen if a woman is out by herself, with a group of friends, or in a one on one setting. Now days, women have to be especially careful when online dating. They’re meeting up with someone they don’t know and sometimes that can be a recipe for disaster.

It’s Not Always Feasible To Keep An Eye On Your Drink
People always say that women especially need to be constantly vigilant when they’re drinking. They need to monitor their surroundings and keep their eye on their drink. They should do things like tell the bartender when they’re on a date with someone for the first time. As great of ideas as these are, they’re not always practical and sometimes people don’t always remember to do these things when they’re out having a good time. Unfortunately there are people out there who are looking forward to these opportunities so that they can do something sinister. There are serial rapists out there who know exactly what to look for in an unsuspecting victim.

A Genius Idea Is Born
Rape culture is somewhat of a taboo topic. People’s opinions differ on what exactly rape is, how often it happens, and what the criteria is. People shy away from discussing it an coming up with ways to prevent it. Thankfully, a group of male engineers didn’t let that deter them from coming up with a creative solution and prevention product when it comes to date rape. They have created Undercover Colors, a nail polish that will detect when something is put in a drink. The nail polish is designed to change color if a drink has been tampered with. It’s creative, it’s practical, and it’s saving lives.

How Does It Work?
All a lady has to do is apply the nail varnish to her nails. If she suspects that her drink has been tampered with, all she has to do is dip a finger into the drink. If her polish changes colors then yes it has been. It’s an easy way to quietly and safely test a theory. Many women are sexually assaulted in their lifetime and this is an easy way to either prevent it or put a woman’s mind at ease if she’s nervous that her drink has been altered. The product is called Undercover Colors and is expected to be available this year. Overall, it will change lives and help prevent date rape from occurring.

Venture capital trio brings hope to Connecticut

The venture capital market in Connecticut looks to have gotten a lot brighter. It has been announced that three new venture capitalist firms have laid stakes in the state. The three companies together are said to have brought an additional $130 million capital to existing and prospective businesses. All companies, from large scale to small ones, will be able to take advantage of this new resource in venture funding.

The three new venture capital firms coming to Connecticut are Enhanced Capital Connecticut, Advantage Capital Connecticut Partners under managing partner Ryan Brennan, and Stonehenge Capital Fund Connecticut. These new venture firms were developed after the state of Connecticut passed new incentive laws for insurance companies. The Insurance Reinvestment Tax Credit Program provides Connecticut insurance companies tax breaks and incentives to those who invest in high growth businesses through various fund managers. The new companies and their funds are said to be earmarked for Connecticut based companies and ones who have a workforce of 250 workers or less.

Officials from all three of the new venture capitalist firms says they are looking to invest in a wide range of businesses and areas. Liddy Karter, the director of Enhanced Capital Connecticut, has raised about $30 million. Karter says that her firm will award monies in upwards of $3 million to qualified firms. This money would be released regardless of what stage that a business could possibly be in.

Advantage Capital has announced that they have supplied $72 million in funds to 8 different Connecticut based companies. Advantage has focused their efforts on the technology sector in the state by investing in software companies and retail websites.

Stonehenge Capital says that they are willing to invest up to $10 million in businesses and ventures that they seem fit. Since 2009, venture capitalist firms and investors have earmarked over $500 million in funds for Connecticut businesses.

Large Mall Developer Bringing Tech into Retail Industry

The Westfield Corporation is a multi-billion-dollar retailer that operates more than 30 malls in the U.S. and the U.K. In the face of increased online competition; the company is seeking to embrace start-ups to breathe new life into the brick-and-mortar retail industry.

The retailer recently teamed up with advertising firm R/GA to help grow and promote start-up companies that will introduce new technologies into malls and develop programs that will incentivize customers to spend more time at physical shops.

New Accelerator Focusing On High Tech Start-ups

The list of companies that they have recruited includes Oak, which is a start-up that has developed an interactive fitting room mirror that lets customers interact with it and even checkout through it. Another start-up is Darkstore, which has developed a program that allows physical stores to act as local storage centers for online e-commerce companies, helping struggling retailers by providing another revenue stream.

What’s more is that the accelerator also seeks to connect these start-ups to established companies such as Macy’s and Walmart, to help them develop the industry connections they need to implement their products successfully.

R/GA will assist the start-ups with finding other investors and developing their brands and designs, and will work with them through the entirety of the three-month program, which is being held in San Francisco. All the while, Westfield Labs, a research arm of the Westfield Corporation, will be providing their tools and expertise to the companies.

The program is part of an industry-wide push to start integrating new technologies in existing malls. Kevin McKenzie of Westfield Labs said in a recent article how the company is “committed to infusing digital into our physical shopping environments to create new customer experiences.”

The Westfield Corporation is giving up to $120,000 to the start-ups in return for an up to 5% stake in the new companies. The program will end with an exclusive event where the ten companies will present their business models and products to technology and retail industry leaders and also potential investors.

The Westfield Corporation

The Westfield Corporation was originally part of the Westfield Group, which was founded in 1959 by Frank Lowy in Sydney, Australia.

The corporation itself was established in 2014 when the Westfield Group decided to spin-off its international operations into a new company.

Westfield has two brothers serving as co CEOs: Steven and Peter Lowy

The relatively new Westfield Corporation manages and develops malls in the U.S., the U.K., and Italy.