The Volkswagen Emissions Scandal Explained

The Volkswagen Emissions Scandal Explained

Here's what you need to know about Volkswagen's worst crisis in 78 years. The company, the world’s third largest automaker, is now facing financial and legal consequences that threaten to bring it to its knees. While it isn't the first time an automaker has tried to cheat the emissions polygraph, the scrutiny from authorities and the public alike are considerable.

VW is now facing billions of dollars in potential fines, lawsuits and compensation charges. Criminal proceedings are being sought against the company.

This revelation, for lack of a better word, has sort of opened a Pandora's Box of ugly truths. Truths that automakers are shy to admit, until luck has its way; a scapegoat is caught with a smoking gun, there's no running away now. From the ways things have since panned out, this shakeup is proving to be ginormous and very, very costly for the world most prolific automotive group.

The Alphabets Of Google

The Alphabets Of Google

Google has become inevitably intertwined with much of the Internet. At its core, there is its search engine business, the world’s most widely used, facilitating more than three billion searches each day and generates the majority of Google’s revenue. The company also owns YouTube and Android, two subsidiaries that are leaders in their own fields.

Over the years though, Google’s leaders decided that being an Internet based technology company wasn’t enough. So came a slew of ventures into different businesses that operated outside Google's core. These very different, wide ranging ventures all came under the banner of Google Inc. Some were very profitable, while others were not. All of them were in separate industries from Google’s core business.

This inevitably led to Google’s investors clamoring for greater transparency. This can lead to potentially unprofitable ventures being stifled out by investor activism, something we've seen happen many times before.

 

Uber Bubblicious

Uber Bubblicious

50 billion dollars. That's how much Uber wants to be valued at, according to the most generous backers of a company they believe will revolutionize the world of private hired commuting. The $50bn private valuation will become a utopian mirage of sorts if Uber raises anywhere from $1.5bn to $2bn in additional funding.

The news was announced by the company earlier in May, and was greeted with polarized reactions. If Uber secures that bout of additional funding, it will officially become the world most capitalized privately held business.

We at Business Of Finance are natural skeptics of the accounting wizardry and phony math which obfuscates rather than clarifies the fair value of startups. By eschewing reality from fiction, anyone can cook up numbers of fairies and unicorns on their inconspicuous books.

How Billion-Dollar Tech Startups Get Valued With Phoney Math

How Billion-Dollar Tech Startups Get Valued With Phoney Math

Not too long ago, we documented how Uber was "worth" $40bn. Soon after, Chinese tech startup XiaoMi shattered Uber's eye-gorging valuation by becoming the world's most "valuable" startup, on top of being the world's 4th largest smartphone maker.

What we didn't however touch on was how these private tech startups, a great majority of them in Europe and America, get their preposterous valuations. Specifically, we said: "Of course, because Uber is still privately held, valuations are always going to be a fishy affair."

It doesn't make an iota of sense that a ride-sharing tech startup such as Uber would have a $41.2bn price tag stuck to it; close to double what Twitter is currently worth, and on par with some of America's big names including the likes of Delta Airlines, Time Warner Cable, and just $10bn shy of General Motors.

The World's Greatest Fears

The World's Greatest Fears

Following last week's post about how crowd sourcing technologies helped indexed the various costs of livings across the world, we now present readers with the World's most feared subjects. Although lacking in clarity in which articulate information was sourced from, the infographic does provide a reasonable context to the subjects of the greatest repulsion. With the brutality of terrorist groups like IS now all apparent, fear has become a dominant subject across many maters as we progress into 2015.

We believe the gradual migration towards a risk-based rather than a reward-based mentality will continue, and should ultimately filter up into the decisions making processes of governments and shape the policies undertaken. In the business community however, fear still takes the back seat. Thankfully.

Crowd Sourced Global Cost Of Living

Crowd Sourced Global Cost Of Living

Imagine now that millions of end users constantly submitting individual prices of everyday items such as food, transportation fees, clothing and the like. Then imagine that this tidal wave of real-time data gets compiled and stored in a huge digital database where they are analyzed, disaggregated, and are connoted with some underlying logic.

Viola, a worldwide index of prices is now created and at our disposal with a few clicks of a mouse or taps on a screen. This global index of prices compares the cost of living across various places courtesy of those crowd-sourced data points that initially contributed to the data cloud. This was what Numbeo has precisely done.

Now, we take it one step further and depict that information through an eye-friendly infographic, courtesy of Visual Capitalist. A few outliers catch our eye. While Switzerland, Norway, Australia, The UK, and Singapore (our country) may have fallen into your list of expensive countries, countries such as Venezuela and Kuwait might have caught you off guarded on just how expensive they really are to live in - with the former experiencing some 64% hyperinflation at last check.

How Uber Lost 1.36 Billion Customers Just Like That

How Uber Lost 1.36 Billion Customers Just Like That

Exactly on the 1st of January 2015, Beijing's Traffic Enforcement Unit banned the operation of "illegal" taxi services in the capital after receiving complaints from passengers. In its eyes, unlicensed taxis, which includes Uber vehicles, are "taxi clones" and affirms that private cars operating through taxi applications is considered an act of illegal operation. The Ministry's stated reason for the ban was to protect the "hired car" market from unfair competition. This is the standing opposition of antagonists be it in Beijing, or in New York.

So for now, it is one market - which turns out to be the world's most populous nation - down; the $41.2bn price tag remains, no discount as of now. We patiently wait for positive positive (hopefully) developments, and most importantly, strategies to side step its mounting hurdles; because absent which severely limits the company's potential.

China's XiaoMi Trumps Uber As World's Most Valuable Tech Startup

China's XiaoMi Trumps Uber As World's Most Valuable Tech Startup

XiaoMi has done it again. After receiving a little over $1.1bn through a stock sale in a 5th bout of funding on 29 December 2014, the mobile phone maker is now valued by private investors at $46bn; this is $4.8bn higher than Uber, the runner up. XiaoMi is without question one of the most valuable tech companies in the world as the WSJ reports. It seems quite a handful of noteworthy investment names such as Singapore's very own GIC and Temasek Holdings, the former as Singapore's Sovereign Wealth Fund, are involved in XiaoMi's latest bout of funding.

Uber Shows World How To Fail

Uber Shows World How To Fail

Mere days after the world stood in awe of the 5-year old startup hailing from San Fransisco for being valued at $41.2bn by its investors, Uber managed not only to shoot itself in its feet, it also exposed one of the many short comings of its business model. In what the company calls a model built on capitalism, the world called an absolute tragedy this Monday and showed no restraint in its mocking condemnation. It seems I was right to have my skeptical hat on after all.

Uber Now Worth $40 Billion

Uber Now Worth $40 Billion

Earlier this week, word broke about Uber's new valuation. $41.2 billion to be precise. That's right, close to double what Twitter is currently worth, and on par with some of America's big names including the likes of Delta Airlines, Time Warner Cable, and just $10bn shy of General Motors. Truly staggering.

Of course, because Uber is still privately held, valuations are always going to be a fishy affair. This news comes on the back of a company announcement that it had raised an additional $1.2bn from private investors. Uber was valued at $18.2bn by private equity analysts only in June this year, a 1370% total growth from the $2.8bn price tag when it was founded in 2009.