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J Balvin enters the digital wellness space with the launch of a bilingual mental health app

J Balvin, the Prince of Reggaeton, has been candid with his fans about his mental health struggles and healing journey. Now, he’s productizing some of…

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J Balvin, the Prince of Reggaeton, has been candid with his fans about his mental health struggles and healing journey. Now, he’s productizing some of his journey by launching OYE, a Spanish/English wellness app.

The app, which seeks to support those struggling with mental health issues, was built by Balvin and his two co-founders Mario Chamorro, a creative wellness activist and acting CEO; and Patrick Dowd, a creative strategist, and the company’s COO.

“This is one of my biggest dreams because it comes from my heart,” Balvin told TechCrunch in an interview. “I’m human just like anyone else and I felt I had this mission to make the world a better place starting with mental health.” The company says that, while a co-founder, Balvin will be chief dream officer, or CDO. While it’s a creative title, it’s unclear how much Balvin will have in day to day operations or if he will largely be used for marketing and distribution efforts. The company told TechCrunch Balvin’s role, other than being a co-founder, is to help push the team to “dream bigger.”

According to an internal study conducted by OYE, 92% of respondents in Latin America have a negative understanding of mental health and mental health services. TechCrunch requested to view the study but was told by a spokesperson they could not share it because it was “proprietary information” to the company. However, the statistic provided shares similarities with a report published by the American Medical School Association. The AMSA report noted there is a cultural mental health stigma within the Latino community and little knowledge of what it means to access mental health services. Additionally, Latinos in the U.S. access mental health services 50% less than their white counterparts, according to a study published in Hispanic Health Care International.

For the reasons above, Balvin and his co-founders said they found it crucial to make sure OYE was offered in a bilingual manner.

“[We’re] transforming the way that we talk about mental and emotional wellness, from something that is seen as a private burden to something that is a creative opportunity to exercise to create new aspects of your life,” Dowd, who used to be the head of brand innovation & collaborations at PayPal said. “We’ve actually built two versions of our app that we’re launching this month. One of them is entirely in Spanish, the other is entirely in English, and our team is also bilingual and spread across the Americas.”

Oye, a Spanish word, translated to English means listen, which has become a driving goal for the team.

Image Credits: OYE

The app will provide users with bilingual wellness practices and daily feeling check-ins. Users can also go through creative wellness exercises, such as guided training on how to understand their emotions better. Daily wellness practices can last between 30 to 45 minutes.

Users who download the app before October 31 will have access to a one-month free trial. Following that trial period, users will have to pay $4.99 every month to access OYE and its resources.

As OYE hits the international market for iOS and Android, it will have to prove that it can do more than leverage Balvin’s reputation.

Balvin is the latest of many celebrities adding startups to their careers: Serena Williams and her journey into venture capital; Kim Kardashian being a private equity dealmaker; and “Selling Sunset” star Christine Quinn working on her crypto-based brokerage. Though for the Grammy-nominated artist, being the CDO of a wellness app seems and will probably remain more of a side gig, for the time being.

“We all dream and have big dreams,” Balvin said “[At OYE] we put together our strength, talent and capacities to create this beautiful app.”

However, Oye is entering a space where wellness apps and digital therapy have oversaturated the market. BetterHelp, TalkSpace, Headspace and Calm are just some platforms that come to mind. Wellness apps boomed during the COVID-19 pandemic, but have since been questioned for their practicality and effectiveness.

One thing was made apparent to TechCrunch: OYE wants partnerships to effectively serve marginalized communities.

“[JBalvin] is the person in reggaeton who has the largest number of collaborations in his music, and that’s how he has been able to become a rising artist and the Prince of Reggaeton by collaborating,” Chamorro said. “We have been developing very mindful partnerships around us, and we are operating in that way to amplify the voice of OYE.”

The company claims to have partnerships with Apple and Google to better optimize its app on their respective platforms.

The road to breaking down mental health stigma is a long one, but Balvin hopes this initiative will help break down those stigmas and “make the world a better place.”

OYE has been able to garner support in the form of a $4.1 million pre-seed round led by MasterClass and Outlier.org co-founder Aaron Rasmusen, with participation from Collab Fund, 17Sigma, Expa, GreyMatter, Propeller Ventures, Gaingels, Alley Corp CEO Kevin Ryan, former Amazon executive Jeff Wilke, Future Ventures co-founder Maryanna Saenko and Coursera CEO Jeff Maggioncalda.

This round’s funds will be used to further develop content, enhance marketing, upgrade the app based on user feedback and begin promoting B2B offerings, which the team explained they plan on offering next year.

J Balvin enters the digital wellness space with the launch of a bilingual mental health app by Andrew Mendez originally published on TechCrunch

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Economics

Cities With Good Neighbors Have Lower-Than-Average Home Values

New York’s Rochester was identified took the top spot as the most neighborly city in the country.

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New York's Rochester was identified took the top spot as the most neighborly city in the country.

Many want the kind of neighbor who will stop by with fresh-baked cookies, offer gardening tips and take out the mail while they're away — a thing that, if you live in an urban mecca like New York, is just as likely as finding a spacious apartment that's available and within budget.

In honor of National Neighbor Day on Sept. 28, self-storage company Neighbor.com identified Rochester in the Finger Lakes region of New York state as the most neighborly city in the country.

The study analyzed both big and small cities through factors such as resident happiness levels and number of people volunteering their time to the community.

"It's not a surprise that Rochester is the most neighborly city this year, it's made this list each year," Joseph Woodbury, CEO and co-founder of Neighbor.com, said of the findings. "Oftentimes, we connect hospitality with small cities, but you’ll find that people in large cities are just as likely to go out of their way to help one another."

Correlation Between Neighborliness and Home Values

While Federal Reserve economic data pegs the median price of homes sold in 2022 at $428,000, the median list price identified by Realtor.com for Rochester is $150,000. 

Madison, Wis., and Provo, Utah followed Rochester as the most "neighborly" cities in the U.S. and have respective median list prices of $360,000 and $495,000.

Along with Provo, California's Oxnard breaks the list's mold with its high real estate prices — amid proximity to the beach (the city is about 60 miles from Los Angeles) and quaint Victoria architecture, the city has a median list price of $794,500.

Getty Images

Other cities on the list generally fall below the national average for a standard single-family home. Grand Rapids in Michigan has a median list price of $307,500 while that number is only $175,000 in Milwaukee, Wis.

Harrisburg, Pa., and Des Moines, Iowa are two other neighborly cities with respective list prices of $215,000 and $227,500. 

Good neighbors have long been a hallmark of smaller cities with a quieter way of life — metropolises like New York and Los Angeles have very high property values, they are not exactly known for being "friendly" or "welcoming."

With a median list price of $495,000, North Carolina's Raleigh is the largest city to make the list.

Those who think New Yorkers are unfriendly need only to look outside the five boroughs — with a median list price of $334,000, Poughkeepsie also made the list for its neighborliness.

Search For the Next Big Real Estate City

As sleepy towns that paint a TV image of "neighborliness" tend to have lower demand, they may not offer the kind of real estate growth potential that many investors are specifically looking for. 

But exceptions do exist — many small cities are currently in the midst of a real estate boon and, subsequently, an explosion in real estate values.

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According to the study's authors, many homebuyers looking to move have specifically started looking for "friendlier" cities after the pandemic and are driving up demand for formerly quiet places.

Realtor.com identified Utah's Salt Lake City, Idaho's Boise and Washington state's Spokane as 2022's fastest-growing real estate markets.

"Being neighborly goes beyond a friendly wave while driving down the street or offering to water plants while on vacation," Woodbury said. "To be neighborly is opening yourself up to building relationships and ultimately a community that is rooted in compassion, trust, and care."

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Economics

Playing the infinite game: patient investing

In his 2019 book The Infinite Game, author Simon Sinek describes how taking a long-term view — what he calls adopting an infinite mindset — is critical…

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In his 2019 book The Infinite Game, author Simon Sinek describes how taking a long-term view — what he calls adopting an infinite mindset — is critical for success. Although discussed in the context of leadership, the same principle applies to investing, which has historically favored those who take a long-term view rather than react impulsively to the inevitable ups and downs that occur on the path to creating wealth. Of course, while countless investors have demonstrated that the market rewards those who stay the course, the reality is that doing so isn’t always easy. On the contrary, it takes discipline, self-restraint, and patience.

Investors can quickly lose sight of this reality, particularly in the current environment. Faced with record inflation, rising interest rates, and geopolitical unrest, it’s only natural for investors to want to take action. Shifting strategies or pulling out of the market are among the ways that some investors try to insulate themselves from volatility. Yet the reality is that taking these or other similar steps rarely yields the desired outcome over the long term. Patience isn’t just a virtue. We believe it’s an essential ingredient in any successful financial strategy. 

Why we believe patience pays off

As a society, we’re constantly bombarded with information that can either scare us or make us feel like we’re missing out. As a result, it’s easy to feel compelled to take steps we believe will safeguard our assets or to try to time the market or cash in on the latest trend. That’s one reason so many investors have shifted from a buy-and-hold mentality in recent years to one that favors trading securities much more frequently. While the desire to buy low and sell high is understandable, it’s virtually impossible to do so regularly without a crystal ball.

In our view, making a conscious decision to be patient is critical, even though it’s challenging. People are often hardwired to seek instant gratification. We want results, and we want them now. As such, we have a strong bias toward taking action to reach a resolution sooner rather than later, even when waiting can be the more prudent thing to do.

Practically speaking, that means that many investors are willing to sell their assets in a down market in the hopes of avoiding deeper losses. Our experience suggests that, in many cases, had they just remained invested, their outcome could have been markedly different. On the opposite end of the spectrum, those same investors are also prone to selling assets that have increased in value far too soon. While there’s nothing wrong with locking in gains, doing so can come at a high cost if it means missing out on a substantial upside.

With investing, taking action for action’s sake can lead to poor outcomes. Exhibit 1 shows the impact of missing the one, five, and ten days in the market with the highest total return for the Russell 1000 Growth and the Russell 2000 Growth over the past 20 years.1 Notably, some of these “best days” can occur during highly uncertain times, such as the challenging market downdraft at the end of 2008, and the tumultuous early phase of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. To us, this underscores the difficulty of attempting to time the market and the wisdom of staying invested for the long term.

Exhibit 1: Impact of Missing the Best Days in the Stock Market, August 31, 2002 to August 31, 2022

Source: Bloomberg, as of August 31, 2022

Patience takes determination, resilience, and the confidence to stand by investments backed by careful, fundamental research. To be clear, being patient isn’t the same as being passive. It’s not about taking your eye off the ball and letting come what may. Nor is it about being too stubborn or inflexible to adjust one’s strategy when merited. Instead, the goal is to see past any noise in the market today and to hold steady in pursuit of greater rewards.

For the patient investor, those rewards are possible thanks to the power of long-term compounding. Our research indicates that successful companies plow profits back into their business to promote further growth, which can lead to greater value and higher stock prices over time. Investors who trade in and out of the market, whether driven by fear or to chase returns from the latest meme stock, frequently miss out on that compounding effect and sacrifice substantial long-term growth.

Taking the patient approach

At Polen, we believe that patient investing starts with adopting an owner’s mindset rather than that of a trader. For us, that means taking the time to identify and invest in what we see as the highest-quality companies and having the discipline to maintain those positions over the long term. We carefully study each company we invest in, engaging with their management teams and examining multiple aspects of their business before allocating capital. We take a bottom-up approach focused on understanding the business, its potential for profitability and growth, and any risk factors that could stand in the way.

Notably, the companies we invest in aren’t new, untested, or at the forefront of the latest fad or trend. They are proven, established businesses with robust balance sheets and the financial flexibility to keep investing in and growing their business in any environment, including periods of high volatility and recession. Once we’ve invested in a company, we continuously monitor its progress and note any factors that could prompt a change in our outlook (Exhibit 2). We believe that this measured, unemotional approach is critical not only for capital preservation but also to position ourselves to reap the full benefits of long-term compounding.

Exhibit 2: Select Factors That May Prompt a Polen Capital Decision to Sell an Equity Security

Source: Polen Capital

While no business is immune to macroeconomic conditions like the ones currently affecting the market, we believe short-term fluctuations shouldn’t be cause for concern. We believe that investors with a diversified portfolio of companies with outstanding fundamentals should reflect that while the path to wealth creation may be bumpy, the patience to play the infinite game can improve one’s chances of succeeding.

1 The Russell 1000® Growth Index is a market capitalization weighted index that measures the performance of the large-cap growth segment of the U.S. equity universe. It includes Russell 1000® Index companies with higher price-to-book ratios and higher forecasted growth values. The index is maintained by the FTSE Russell, a subsidiary of the London Stock Exchange Group. The Russell 2000® Growth Index is a market capitalization weighted index that measures the performance of the small-cap growth segment of the U.S. equity universe. It includes Russell 2000® Index companies with higher price/book ratios and higher forecasted growth values. The index is maintained by the FTSE Russell, a subsidiary of the London Stock Exchange Group. The volatility and other material characteristics of the indices referenced may be materially different from the performance achieved. In addition, the composite’s holdings may be materially different from those within the index. Indices are unmanaged and one cannot invest directly in an index.

This information is provided for illustrative purposes only. Opinions and views expressed constitute the judgment of Polen Capital as of September 2022 and may involve a number of assumptions and estimates which are not guaranteed, and are subject to change without notice or update. Although the information and any opinions or views given have been obtained from or based on sources believed to be reliable, no warranty or representation is made as to their correctness, completeness, or accuracy. Opinions, estimates, forecasts, and statements of financial market trends that are based on current market conditions constitute our judgment and are subject to change without notice, including any forward-looking estimates or statements which are based on certain expectations and assumptions. The views and strategies described may not be suitable for all clients. This document does not identify all the risks (direct or indirect) or other considerations which might be material to you when entering any financial transaction. Past performance does not guarantee future results and profitable results cannot be guaranteed.

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International

Xi Reemerges In 1st Public Appearance After ‘Coup’ Rumors

Xi Reemerges In 1st Public Appearance After ‘Coup’ Rumors

So much for the "coup in China" and "Xi is missing" rumor mill of the past week,…

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Xi Reemerges In 1st Public Appearance After 'Coup' Rumors

So much for the "coup in China" and "Xi is missing" rumor mill of the past week, which at one point saw Chinese President Xi Jinping's name trending high on Twitter...

"Chinese President Xi Jinping visited an exhibition in Beijing on Tuesday, according to state television, in his first public appearance since returning to China from an official trip to Central Asia in mid-September – dispelling unverified rumours that he was under house arrest."

He had arrived in Samarkand, Uzbekistan on September 15 - and attended the days-long Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit - where he met with Russian President Vladimir Putin, among others.

Xi is "back"...image via state media screenshot

Importantly, it had been his first foreign trip in two years. Xi had not traveled outside of the country since before the Covid-19 pandemic began.

But upon returning the Beijing, he hadn't been seen in the public eye since that mid-September trip, fueling speculation and rumors in the West and on social media. Some pundits floated the idea that he had been under "house arrest" amid political instability and a possible coup attempt.

According to a Tuesday Bloomberg description of the Chinese leader's "re-emergence" in the public eye, which has effectively ended the bizarre rumors

Xi, wearing a mask, visited an exhibition in Beijing on Tuesday about China's achievements over the past decade, state-run news outlet Xinhua reported. The Chinese leader was accompanied by the other six members of the Politburo Standing Committee, a sign of unity after rumors circulated on Twitter about a challenge to his power.

He'll likely cinch his third five-year term as leader at the major Chinese Communist party’s (CCP) meeting on October 16. The CCP meeting comes only once every half-decade.

What had added to prior rumors was the fact that the 69-year old Xi recently undertook a purge of key senior security officials. This included arrests on corruption charges of the former police chiefs of Shanghai, Chongqing and Shanxi.

More importantly, former vice minister of public security Sun Lijun and former justice minister Fu Zhenghua were also sacked and faced severe charges.

Concerning Sun Lijun, state media made this shocking announcement a week ago: "Sun Lijun, former Chinese vice minister of public security, was sentenced to death with a two-year reprieve for taking more than 646 million yuan of bribes, manipulating the stock market, and illegally possessing firearms, according to the Intermediate People's Court of Changchun in Northeast China's Jilin Province on Friday." The suspended death sentence means he'll spend life in prison.

Tyler Durden Wed, 09/28/2022 - 14:05

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