Tuesday's economy & business stories

Robinhood pulls back the roadshow curtain

Photo: Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Robinhood wants to lure the retail investors who used its no-fee trading app to set off an at-home trading phenomenon to its soon-to-be listed stock.

Driving the news: It will livestream part of its roadshow on Saturday, with a presentation and Q&A session with CEO Vlad Tenev.

Space business gets billionaire boost

Blue Origin’s New Shepard crew (L-R) Jeff Bezos, Wally Funk, Oliver Daemen and Mark Bezos walk near the booster. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Blue Origin's successful flight is the rising-tide-lifts-all-boats story of the moment for the sector.

Why it matters: For investors, it doesn’t matter which billionaire hits space first. Recent headlines only generate more interest, some of which turns into investments — and that's good for companies that need cash.

Jul 20, 2021 - Economy & Business

Netflix stock volatile following low subscriber forecasts

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

Netflix on Tuesday said it added just 1.54 million subscribers this quarter, its lowest number of subscriber additions in years. The company also missed Wall Street expectations on earnings per share.

Why it matters: Investors were expecting low Q2 subscriber numbers, per Netflix's own guidance. What likely sent the stock sinking in the first few minutes following earnings was weak guidance again for the next quarter, when Netflix anticipates adding just 3.5 million subscribers.

Jul 20, 2021 - Podcasts

Crypto's climate conflict

Bitcoin is not environmentally friendly, due to the heavy energy demands of its mining and transaction activities.

Axios Re:Cap digs into this conflict between climate and cryptocurrencies with Axios energy reporter Ben Gemen and crypto investor Anthony Pompliano, to better understand the problem and what might be done to resolve it.

Bezos unveils $100 million awards to Van Jones and José Andrés

Jeff Bezos along with his brother Mark Bezos, 18-year-old Oliver Daemen, and 82-year-old Wally Funk leave Blue Originâs New Shepard crew capsule after landing on July 20, 2021. Photo: Blue Origin/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Jeff Bezos awarded CNN commentator Van Jones and chef José Andrés $100 million each on Tuesday as part of a new initiative called the "courage and civility award."

Driving the news: Jones and Andrés will be able to give the award money to a charity of their choice, Bezos said during a press conference to commemorate Blue Origin's trip to space. The Amazon founder suggested he could hand out more awards in the future.

What Jeff Bezos and his crew brought to space

Jeff Bezos and his brother Mark brought three aviation-related tokens with them as they flew with two other passengers to suborbital space on Tuesday morning, they revealed at a post-flight press conference:

  • A piece of canvas from the 1903 Wright Flyer, the world's first heavier-than-air flying machine.
  • A bronze medallion made from the first hot air balloon flight in 1783, the first time man flew on a controlled flight.
  • The goggles that Amelia Earhart flew solo across the Atlantic Ocean with in 1932.
Jul 20, 2021 - Health

UnitedHealthcare luring new members with Peloton perk

UnitedHealthcare is offering free Peloton memberships for some people. Photo: John Smith/VIEWpres via Getty Images

UnitedHealthcare said Tuesday it will pay for either a 12-month digital Peloton membership or a four-month "all-access" Peloton membership (each costs $156) for workers who are in a fully insured plan.

The bottom line: Health insurers want their members to be as young and healthy as possible so they don't have to pay out as much in medical claims. UnitedHealthcare is attempting to attract more of this affluent, healthy crowd through this Peloton perk.

Jul 20, 2021 - Science

Bezos says space flight reinforced commitment to fighting climate change

Jeff Bezos said in an interview hours after flying to suborbital space on Tuesday that there are "no words" to adequately describe the experience, but that it reinforced his commitment to combatting climate change and keeping Earth "as this beautiful gem of a planet that it is."

Why it matters: Bezos, the world's richest man, said he plans to make Blue Origin and the Bezos Earth Fund — a $10 billion effort to fight climate change — his life focus moving forward.

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
Jul 20, 2021 - Economy & Business

Leon Black claims extortion plot, calls sexual assault accusation "a work of fiction"

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Former Apollo Global Management CEO Leon Black on Monday filed a 52-page legal response to Guzel Ganieva, who sued the former private equity titan last month for defamation and sexual assault. In short, he calls her complaint "a work of fiction," and also countersued Ganieva for defamation and breach of contract.

Background: Ganieva, a Russian immigrant and former model, had claimed that Black made her financially indebted to him via a pair of large loans, and then used that leverage for sexual gratification.

Jul 20, 2021 - Economy & Business

Scoop: AT&T scrambles to sell ad tech unit Xandr as losses mount

Photo by: Don & Melinda Crawford/Education Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

AT&T is in discussions to sell its ad unit to Indian ad tech giant InMobi, sources tell Axios.

The big picture: AT&T is scrambling to get the ad unit, called Xandr, off of its balance sheet. Sources say it's losing tens of millions a year and has been grossly mismanaged by AT&T. Talks are ongoing and could fall through.

JOKR raises $170 million for super-fast grocery delivery

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

JOKR, a company that promises grocery delivery in under 15 minutes with no minimums or fees, has raised $170 million in Series A funding led by GGV Capital, Balderton Capital, and Tiger Global.

Why it matters: As if the past year's boom in grocery delivery isn't enough, JOKR is part of a new crop of companies offering ultra-fast delivery, with little to no fees, and using networks of "dark stores" strategically distributed throughout a city.

Jul 20, 2021 - Technology

Exclusive: Dozens of writers join Facebook's newsletter platform "Bulletin"

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Facebook on Tuesday will announce that more than 30 new writers are joining its independent publishing platform Bulletin, including Gen Z activist Malala Yousafzai and Eurasia Group founder Ian Bremmer.

Why it matters: The new additions show that Facebook's initial investments in Bulletin, including millions of dollars' worth of writer advances, have so far proven successful in luring global talent to the platform.

Jul 20, 2021 - Technology

Exclusive: Substack makes first major podcast investment

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Substack is funding the launch of a new podcast network called Booksmart Studios, executives tell Axios. It's the newsletter company's first major financial investment in podcasting.

Why it matters: Substack sees the venture as a way to deepen its commitment to podcast publishing on its platform and as a case study for what’s possible for independent podcast networks.

Miriam Kramer, author of Space
Updated Jul 20, 2021 - Science

Jeff Bezos, 3 others land safely after flight to space with Blue Origin

Jeff Bezos and three other passengers took flight with his space company Blue Origin on Tuesday morning, launching high above West Texas.

Why it matters: It's Blue Origin's first human flight and a major technical milestone for the company as it focuses on bringing suborbital spaceflight to more people in the future.

Miriam Kramer, author of Space
Updated Jul 20, 2021 - Science

Recap: Jeff Bezos heads to space

Jeff Bezos, the world's richest man, and three other passengers flew on a suborbital mission into space Tuesday morning aboard Blue Origin's New Shepard.

The latest: The four-person crew is safely back on Earth after their flight to space. New Shepard launched Bezos, his brother Mark, 82-year-old aviator Wally Funk and the company's first paying customer, 18-year-old Oliver Daemen, on a mission to suborbital space.

Used car supply is improving

Photo: Jim Watson, AFP via Getty Images

The used car supply shortage is loosening up.

Why it matters: Used car prices exploded in the past year, boosting inflation substantially, as disruptions in the production of new cars held back the supply of preowned cars.

Birkenstock and Crocs mania is here

Photo: StockX

Shoe brands like Crocs and Birkenstock have taken a page from the trendy sneaker playbook — and it’s paying off in the form of viral popularity.

Driving the news: New data released today by StockX shows the two brands were among the resale platform's fastest-growing footwear brands over the last year based on total trades, Axios is first to report.

The pandemic recession lasted just two months

The U.S. economic recession triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic officially ended in April 2020, the National Bureau of Economic Research said Monday.

Why it matters: That may seem an odd proclamation, since the economy still has a long way to go and unemployment is elevated well above pre-pandemic levels.

The path to S&P 5,000

Illustration: Trent Joaquin/Axios

Even with Monday’s stock market swoon, the S&P 500 could still rally to 5,000 within the next two years.

Why it matters: A big round number like 5,000 may seem like a stretch. But it's really not if you consider the historical precedents and the fundamentals, which support the case for reaching that milestone from its 4,258 close on Monday.

Jul 20, 2021 - Technology

Ad tech bounces back

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Data: LUMA Partners; Chart: Danielle Alberti/Axios

There's been an explosion in advertising and marketing tech deals this year, according to new data, a sign of life for a sector that not long ago was looking ready to crumble with the deprecation of third-party tracking cookies.

Why it matters: A collision of recent events — including the surge in e-commerce, gaming and streaming during the pandemic, a massive recovery in advertising, and the race to replace cookies — has made ad and marketing tech firms more palatable to public shareholders and more intriguing to private investors.

The best and worst cities for remote workers

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Data: Telstra Ventures; Map: Danielle Alberti/Axios

Businesses based in Columbus, Ohio, are the most friendly to fully remote positions, followed by San Diego, Phoenix, St. Louis and San Francisco.

Why it matters: Even as many employees hope to continue to work remotely after offices reopen, not all businesses are on board.

Jul 20, 2021 - Health

DeSantis vows to take cruise ship battle with CDC to Supreme Court

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis at the American Museum of the Cuba Diaspora in Miami, Florida, earlier this month. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) vowed Monday to appeal a court ruling in favor of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention restrictions on cruise ships.

Why it matters: The cruise industry is worth billions of dollars for Florida's economy and DeSantis filed a lawsuit against the CDC last April in an effort to see normal operations resume.

Jul 20, 2021 - Politics & Policy

GOP split over infrastructure messaging

Republicans are looking to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, seen Monday, for their infrastructure cue. Photo: Tom Brenner/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Republicans are all over the map about how their party should proceed on the $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure proposal.

What we're hearing: GOP strategists tell Axios they've struggled over not only whether they support the current Senate negotiations but how to message off the broader infrastructure debate.