From factory to marketing firm, in photos. Plus, three key acquisitions, and the rest of the day's news for entrepreneurs.
Each day, Inc.'s reporters scour the Web for the most important and interesting news to entrepreneurs. Here's what we found today.
From raw factory space to clean, bright office. How did Heavyweights Inc., a $10 million marketing firm in Indianapolis, do it? "When we got the space it was completely raw," said CEO and founder John Luginbill. "The first few weeks were spent cleaning up fine brake dust and industrial waste." The Wall Street Journal walks through the $250,000 renovation—and this company's unique working philosophies—in photos.
AT&T buys T-Mobile. And then there were three. For years we have grown familiar with the industry battle between Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, and Sprint. As of Sunday that has all changed. AT&T announced it will buy T-Mobile for $39 billion. There had been talk about deal between T-Mobile and Sprint but that rumor was never confirmed. T-Mobile belongs to the German company Deutsche Telekom and has a reported 33.7 million customers that will be combined to AT&T's 95.5 million customers making AT&T the largest carrier in the U.S., holding 42 percent of the total cellphone carrier marketplace. What does this mean for the companies' customers? The New York Times reports that because AT&T and T-Mobile both use the same GSM technology, both customers should be expect better coverage. T-Mobile customers, however, can expect their contract rates to change (rise) after their current subscription runs out. The buy out requires approval from the Federal Communications Commission and the Justice Department, which will sift through any regulatory issues have may arise.
A cell-phone tower in your hand? It's totally possible, thanks to this nifty new Rubik's Cube-sized innovation. Check out CNN's reports on the lightRadio, made by Alcatel Lucent.
Schwab to acquire OptionsXpress. Charles Schwab Corp., the largest independent brokerage firm by client asset, has agreed to buy OptionsXpress, an options trading firm based in Chicago for $1 billion in stock, Bloombergreports. OptionsXpress was No. 10 on the Inc. 500 | 5000 in 2005.
Facebook acquires mobile app startup Snaptu. In a deal that will certainly please traditional feature phone owners (as opposed to smart phone owners), VentureBeat reports that Facebook has acquired Snaptu, a mobile app start-up based in Israel that primarily develops for old-fashioned feature phones. In a deal reportedly worth $70 million, Snaptu will develop richer, more advanced Facebook apps that will work with virtually every mobile phone in an effort to reach the 336 million non-smartphone users worldwide. "We soon decided that work as a part of the Facebook team offered the best opportunity to keep accelerating the pace of our product development," Snaptu wrote in a blog post today. "And joining Facebook means we can make an even bigger impact on the world." The deal is expected to close within a few weeks.
A start-up raises the stakes in e-commerce.Ben Lerer thinks he's got the answer that's confounded Web folk for ages. Namely, how do you monetize online content? The New York Timesprofiles the 29-year-old founder of Thrillist, the daily men's newsletter that's poised to bring in a whopping $40 million in revenue this year. Thrillist's unique business model brings together elements of editorial content, advertising, and retail; The Times notes how it melds "commerce and content in ways that have long made traditional publications bristle." But Thrillist is not a traditional publication. "That's a very old media way of thinking about things," Lerer says. "This is not a digital magazine that sells some stuff. This is the beginning of what a new media company looks like." Essentially, Lerer is betting that online advertising, while lucrative for some online publications, will ultimately take a back seat to commerce as a sustainable business model. So, Inc. readers, tell us, what would you like to buy from us today?
Is music subscription finally catching on? American consumers have been slow to adopt music subscription services, in part because they can get it for free on Pandora or YouTube. But an optimistic report by ABI research predicts that Spotify, Rhapsody, and Rdio will make it up to 161 million paying subscribers worldwide in 2016. That's compared to just 6 million this year, the New York Postreports.
Live Streaming DVDs? Watch movies the day the come out on DVD? Streaming on your computer? Many of us watch movies from Blockbuster, Redbox, and Netflix, but each comes with its own inconvenience. Whether it's the cost, having to drive to the nearest Blockbuster or Redbox or just having to wait for releases (Netflix), we don't always want to deal with it. A company called Zediva is changing that, The New York Times reports. Check out the video here:
CHRISTINE LAGORIO-CHAFKIN is a writer, editor, and reporter whose work has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The San Francisco Chronicle, The Village Voice, and The Believer, among other publications. She is senior writer at Inc. @Lagorio