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Disruptive trading app set to raise over $200 MILLION

United States-based stock and crypto trading app Robinhood is set to raise at least $200 million in a new funding round, Bloomberg reported on May 24.

Per the report, an unspecified source familiar with the matter told the outlet about the company’s plans to raise further funding. Moreover, Bloomberg reports that the round would increase the firm’s value to between $7 billion and $8 billion, but that the details could change.

Other people familiar with the matter also told Bloomberg that the new funds come from existing investors, all of whom asked not to be identified and to keep the details private. While the funding talks are reportedly ongoing, a further funding round could increase the company’s worth to $10 billion, but the numbers are subject to change until the deal is closed.

Robinhood, which allows for zero-fee stock trading, first introduced bitcoin (BTC) and ether (ETH) trading in January last year.

As Cointelegraph reported earlier this week, Robinhood has officially launched its crypto trading app in New York following the acquisition of a BitLicense by the New York State Department of Financial Services in January 2019.

Also during this week, the new April 2019 Exchange Review from crypto data provider Cryptocompare revealed that centralised cryptocurrency exchanges saw a major uptick in trade volume this April.

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EU is ‘a difficult place for business’, says Pippa Malmgren

Pippa Malmgren, who is a leading US economic adviser, has ripped into business scaremongering around the Brexit uncertainty.

Dr Malmgren, who also serves as an adviser to the UK Department of International Trade, pointed out that foreign investment in the UK is still rising despite Project Fear.

She added that Britain is far better place to do business than Europe, where taxes and regulatory red-tape are an economic barrier to investment.

These remarks follows news that the pound has fallen to its lowest level against the dollar and the euro this year.

At the same time, Britain’s economy rebounded in the second quarter this year despite Brexit uncertainty according to Office for National Statistics figures.

Dr Malmgren, who previously served in the White House under George W Bush, discussed the British economy in light of the growing risk of a no deal Brexit.

The businesswoman told Bloomberg: “The key thing to remember is that many of the investors are saying I may not like the uncertainty of Brexit, but it is not easy to make money on the continent.

“It is not an either-or situation. Foreign direct investment in the UK is still rising.

“The huge irony is that the weaker the sterling is, the more competitive the UK is.”

She added: “Money is a lot like water and it will move where it faces the least resistance.

“Unless the UK raises its taxes and regulatory red tape above the EU, then capital will continue to flow into the UK.

“More so still if the sterling is weaker.

“This idea that the City of London has to be smaller if there is no deal after Brexit simply doesn’t add up.”

The growing possibility that talks between the UK and Brussels will break down in the coming months has sparked economic fears.

Despite this, long-term investment in Britain by foreign businesses stood at £1.564 trillion, which is £12 billion or 0.8 percent higher than in 2016.

The world’s fifth-biggest economy relied on the services industry for growth in the second quarter.

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Argentina seeks IMF financial aid to avoid crisis

Argentina is to start talks about a financing deal with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on Wednesday amid reports it is seeking $30bn (£22bn).

Finance minister Nicolas Dujovne is due to fly to the IMF’s Washington offices.

After recent turmoil that saw interest rates hit 40%, President Mauricio Macri said IMF aid would “strengthen growth” and help avoid crises of the past.

The talks come 17 years after Argentina defaulted on its debts and 12 years since it severed ties with IMF.

Mr Macri said in an address to the nation on Tuesday: “Just a few minutes ago I spoke with (IMF) director Christine Lagarde, and she confirmed we would start working on an agreement.”

“This will allow us to strengthen our program of growth and development, giving us greater support to face this new global scenario and avoid crises like the ones we have had in our history,” he said.

Local media and Bloomberg reported that Argentina was seeking $30bn, although the government declined to comment.

The peso has lost a quarter of its value in the past year amid President Macri’s pro-market reforms.

Last week the central bank raised interest rates from 33.25% to 40%.

Many people still blame IMF austerity requirements for policies that led to a financial and economic meltdown in 2001 to 2002 that left millions of middle class Argentines in poverty.

Argentina eventually defaulted on its debts. And although its last IMF loan was paid down in 2006, the country severed ties with the Washington-based body.

Reforms

Mr Macri said Argentina was suffering as a result of high oil prices and the expectation that US interest rates would rise in the coming months.

Describing Argentina as a “valued member” of the IMF, Ms Lagarde said: “Discussions have been initiated on how we can work together to strengthen the Argentine economy and these will be pursued in short order.”

Argentina is in the middle of a pro-market economic reform programme as Mr Macri seeks to reverse years of protectionism and high government spending under his predecessor, Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner.

Inflation, a perennial problem in Argentina, was at 25% in 2017, behind Venezuela as the highest in Latin America.

This year, the central bank has set an inflation target of 15% and has said it will continue to act to enforce it.

Last week’s rate rise to 40% was the third increase in eight days in an attempt to boost the peso.

Avoid Crises

News of the new talks may be controversial in some quarters. Many people in Argentina still blame the IMF for the policies that led to the 2001 financial and economic crisis. The country defaulted on $80bn (£59bn) of sovereign debt – the biggest in history.

Millions of middle class Argentines were plunged into poverty as a result.

However, Mr Macri said the new negotiations with the IMF would give the country “greater support to face this new global scenario and avoid crises like the ones we have had in our history”.

Markets reacted positively to the news, with both local shares and the peso recovering some ground.

Miguel Kiguel, a former Argentine finance official who runs local consultancy Econviews, tweeted: “An IMF line of credit is the least expensive option for growth in Argentina.”

Argentina has had a turbulent relationship with the IMF.

In 2013 the country was censured by the Fund over the inflation and economic growth data published by the administration of President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner. It was a step in a process that could ultimately have led to Argentina’s expulsion from the IMF.

Earlier, many had blamed the IMF for contributing to a financial and economic crisis that came to a head around the end of 2001, which set back living standards severely.

Relations have improved under the current president, Mauricio Macri, whose approach to economic policy was much more consistent with that favoured at the IMF.

The prospect of a new IMF loan will test that improvement. It will come with economic policy conditions, including almost certainly spending cuts and tax rises, which are likely to aggravate political strains in Argentina.

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Firms warned transitional deal will mean TWO rounds of business chaos

BRITISH businesses are in fear that they will have to transition twice as the UK leaves the EU, an economist has claimed.

The Prime Minister has said the UK will leave the single market and customs union during the implementation period after March 29 2019.

The EU, however, remains firm that the UK will stay in the institutions until Britain has fully cut ties with the bloc.

Speaking on Bloomberg, Simon French, chief economist at Panmure Gordon warned that businesses in the UK could face having to transition twice during the Brexit process.

He said: “You say a lot has been discussed, I guess one of the surprises of this week is that Theresa May is going to discuss with her cabinet for the first time what they actually see in terms of the end state.

“That’s extraordinary that we are almost 18 months after the referendum and that discussion hasn’t been had at the top of UK politics.

“In terms of your economic question, I think the last few weeks have confirmed my view which is really that the UK will try and replicate as much as it can, the system with regulation with the European Union.

“It will effectively be a rule taker in that regard come the end state.

“The question this week is really on how much during that transition the UK will be able to benefit from a status quo and businesses don’t have to transition twice, and that is the real risk of businesses we are talking to.”

Business has called for certainty to help them prepare for when the UK leaves the European Union.

Speaking in the House of Commons on Monday, the Prime Minister set out what the UK was seeking during the implantation period.

She said: “As I proposed in Florence, during this strictly time-limited implementation period which we will now begin to negotiate, we would not be in the single market or the customs union, as we will have left the European Union.

“But we would propose that our access to one another’s markets would continue as now, while we prepare and implement the new processes and new systems that will underpin our future partnership.

“During this period we intend to register new arrivals from the EU in preparation for our new immigration system.

“And we will prepare for our future independent trade policy, by negotiating and where possible signing trade deals with third countries, which could come into force after the conclusion of the implementation period.”

10 Success-Boosting Motivation Tips From Millionaire Entrepreneurs

Motivation is a daily struggle for entrepreneurs, so I’ve put together these motivation-boosting tips from 10 of today’s successful entrepreneurs.

1. Fear of failure.

In an article that he wrote for Bloomberg, Mark Cuban stated that he uses the fear of failure for self-motivation.

“No matter what business you’re in, you’re always at risk — particularly in technology, where it changes so rapidly you’ve got to put in the effort to keep up,” writes the Shark Tank panel member. “There’s always the opportunity for some 18-year-old to come out of nowhere and crush you—that motivates the hell out of me.”

“Every one of my companies, whether something I started or something I invested in, is a scoreboard. How am I doing? A lot of investors or advisers play it as a numbers game.”

“If they invest in 20 companies, as long as one success covers 19 losses, they did OK. I look at every loss as a huge failure. I had an investment go bad recently. I lost $1.5 million on it. It pisses me off to no end.”

Failed at something? Ask these Mark Cuban questions.

“You can also use it as motivation. What did I do wrong? Who did I trust that I shouldn’t trust? What can I learn from this situation so I can avoid it next time?”

2. Do what you’re passionate for.

This is the key. However, as Chalmers Brown, co-founder and CTO of Due writes, “We want to not only make a lot of money but enjoy what we do as well. We are willing to take on the risk of unstable pay in exchange for following our dreams.”

“Unfortunately, your dream job may not always be the best decision financially. Sometimes your hobbies are best kept as projects in your spare time for fun (which is great!). If you do want to try to turn your passion into a full-time job, these tips can help you get started the right way.”

3. Keep affirmations where you can see them.

“It’s so easy as an entrepreneur to get sucked into feeling exhausted or frustrated, and often the blame is yours alone,” writes Murray Newlands, founder of online invoicing company Sighted. “But a negative mindset sucks up mental bandwidth and energy that you need to stay focused and successful.

“It is crucial to maintain an optimistic attitude in the face of setbacks. Whenever you see a quote or a picture that helps you stay positive, place it front and center so you can remember what this journey is all about.”

4. Leverage the power of rejection.

“On June 26, 2008, our friend Michael Seibel introduced us to seven prominent investors in Silicon Valley. We were attempting to raise $150,000 at a $1.5M valuation. That means for $150,000 you could have bought 10 percent of Airbnb.”

“Below you will see five rejections. The other two did not reply,” writes Airbnb Co-Founder Brian Chesky on Medium. “The investors that rejected us were smart people, and I am sure we didn’t look very impressive at the time.”

Today Airbnb is valued at just under $30 billion.

5. Surround yourself with highly successful and motivated people.

“No one does it alone,” said Mark Zuckerberg during a Q&A in 2016. “When you look at most big things that get done in the world, they’re not done by one person, so you’re going to need to build a team.”

When building your All-Star team, seek out people who excel in the areas where you’re not strong or have less experience. “You’re going to need people that have complementary skills,” Zuckerberg emphasized. “No matter how talented you are, there are just going to be things that you don’t bring to the table.”

6. Never feel sorry yourself.

“All of my best successes came on the heels of a failure, so I’ve learned to look at each belly flop as the beginning of something good,” said Barbara Corcoran, founder of The Corcoran Group and Shark on Shark Tank.

“If you just hang in there, you’ll find that something is right around the corner. It’s that belief that keeps me motivated. I’ve learned not to feel sorry for myself, ever. Just five minutes of feeling sorry for yourself takes your power away and makes you unable to see the next opportunity.”

7. Look for inspiration.

Inspiration is a driving force that you can use to motivate you. Lyft Co-Founder Jordan Zimmerman said that, “Right now, my daughter is a huge inspiration. Thinking about the future of our cities, the world and what environment she’s going to grow up in.”

“Also, the driver and passenger stories we hear every day. In a past team meeting, we had a mother come in and tell the story herself. She is a Lyft driver living in New York and her daughter is in Los Angeles.

“The daughter was going through a rough living situation with a roommate and had to leave and move into a new place. The mother called a Lyft for her daughter, had a quick conversation with the driver and the driver took care of her daughter in this tough situation.”

“These stories inspire us to think how we can make things more efficient and create a platform for two people to have a really positive interaction?”

8. Don’t obsess over your vision.

Yes. Think about your vision. But don’t spend too much time over it or it will bog you down. Elon Musk, for example, only spends around 30 minutes a week on his vision of SpaceX colonizing Mars. Besides those 30 minutes, Musk spends a majority of his time focused on the milestones that are the most immediate and critical.

9. Be grateful.

“Most of the time when people ask me about motivation, 80 percent of the time I attribute it to gratitude. If you want real fuel to win, be grateful,” writes Gary Vaynerchuk.

“Gratitude is what has gotten me through my toughest moments in business. Whenever I have lost a deal to a competitor, or an incredible employee, or millions of dollars in revenue, I default to gratitude. It’s impossible not to stay motivated or get too down when you’re feeling grateful.”

10. Forget about motivation.

“So many people wait to feel ‘motivated’ before they do anything. Here’s a newsflash: happy productive people do not wait for motivation, they just get on with it,” said Marie Forleo.

Regulators May Oppose T-Mobile-Sprint Deal Even Under Trump, Analyst Warns

Wall Street is souring on the idea that the Trump administration will go easy on mergers, and that’s hitting one of the most talked about merger candidates right in the stock price.

Shares of wireless carrier Sprint (S, -2.53%) slumped 2% to $7.14 on Tuesday after Deutsche Bank telecom analyst Matthew Niknam cut his price target on the stock to $7 from $8 due to concerns that a merger with a rival carrier would be blocked. Despite renewed rumors of a deal to combine with T-Mobile, Sprint shares have dropped 8% over the past month, even as the S&P 500 Index gained 4%.

Sprint, majority owned by Masayoshi Son’s Softbank Group, has been seen as the one of the most likely merger candidates since Trump was elected. Under the Obama administration, regulators blocked a 2011 deal for AT&T (T, +0.55%) to acquire T-Mobile and signaled a similar outcome was likely in 2014 when Sprint showed interest in combining with T-Mobile. The regulators were concerned that reducing the number of major wireless carriers from four to three could hurt competition and the combination could also lead to massive layoffs.

But Trump’s pro-business stance was at least initially seen as leading to a friendlier outlook from antitrust regulators. Sprint shares jumped from around $6 just before Trump was elected to almost $10 earlier this year on optimism about a possible deal with T-Mobile (TMUS, -0.54%) .

Since then, however, the rosy view on mergers has all but disappeared amid the administration’s chaotic tenure and the increasing likelihood that Democrats will make gains in the 2018 election, Niknam wrote on Tuesday, citing “the risk that more populist/less corporate-friendly sentiment may become more pervasive in DC.”

“In fact, we note that the Democrats’ ‘Better Deal’ agenda (unveiled in July 2017, targeted towards 2018 elections) highlights ongoing corporate consolidation as a threat to US consumers, and proposes sharper scrutiny of potential deals,” the analyst added. Regarding Sprint combining with T-Mobile, Niknam said he was “very bearish on the prospects for deal approval.”

T-Mobile, the third-ranked carrier, and Sprint, the No. 4 carrier, have also been discussing a deal that would combine the two carriers without paying Sprint shareholders much if any of a premium over the recent stock price, Bloomberg reported two weeks ago. The deal proposal also would not include a termination fee if blocked by regulators, given the high risk of antitrust opposition, Bloomberg noted.

Cable companies Comcast (CMCSA, -0.32%) and Charter Communications (CHTR, -0.32%) that are starting to offer wireless service themselves wouldn’t draw much antitrust scrutiny if they bought Sprint, but now “appear less interested in outright ownership,” Niknam added.