Monday, May 20, 2019

Fund-House Review : What We've Been Up To


Over the last year the Fund-House has been busy - in both its investment and consulting capacities.

Detail of Projects:


  • Joint Venture w/ eMotive Pull Communications:  Fund-House entered into a business relationship with eMP, a strategic marketing company that determines the emotional motivation behind the purchasing decision of a given company's customers. The reason for the joint venture was to afford both F-H and eMP the ability provide clients a full range of marketing and brand/identity services. We are currently working with our first client, Haven Inspections, to provide these joint consulting services. 
  • Gracious Gifts, LLC: Fund-House made an investment is GG, a manufacturer of  one-of-a-kind greeting cards that come with or without a gift included with the card. These gifts, are pewter bracelets with a charm. To be marketed at the retail level and on the GG website. Indications point to a strong demand for this type of product. "It Not A Card, It's A Gift" is its tag and it serves as a convenience purchase - as both the gift and greeting card.
  • 4M Performance, concept and development: a performance mechanism that will be offered as a enhanced consult service to our clients. A revenue accelerator for already established companies looking for 2nd growth opportunities or expansion into other business lines. 4M: money, marketing, management, and momentum are the four accelerator components that are addressed under this service. We will be reporting on 4MP's success as it is implemented and executed in the marketplace. 
  •  American Modern Music Academy (AMMP): one of F-H's spheres of interest is the consult and/or investment in arts and entertainment based companies. AMMP is one such entity. A recording and visual arts production studio, AMMP is at the forefront is providing instructional and studio rental by recording artists through membership/subscription programs. It is a full-service sound and visual production facility consisting of nine separate studios - each offering a different customer service - from audio production and recording to green room video production and editing.
  • Neighborhood Economic Development Corporation (NEDCO): a Phoenix-based business development corporation with Federal, State, and local municipal funding has retained F-H to provide consulting services regarding the analysis of NEDCO clients requesting funding for their businesses. F-H will work with small business clients to assist them in the loan application process and their ability to service and/or collateralize funding received through ongoing business operations. NEDCO is part of the New Leaf Initiative.
It has been a busy and lucrative year and we will continue to offer our services to a diverse clientele where we truly believe we can make a difference. We have high expectations for 4M Performance and its ability to bring together a diverse skill set and essentially a one-stop consultancy for marketing, branding. corporate identity, website development, logo/image design, and financial analysis and planning. 

If you have a problem contact Fund-House and we'll be happy to talk about your particular situation and requirements. 
Jim Lavorato, Principal
Fund-House Ventures, LLC
www.fundhouse.us
jlavorato@fundhouse.us 












               



           



Friday, May 17, 2019

Cracking Internet Passwords, It's EASY

Cybercriminals have it easy when it comes to hacking into internet user accounts. Why? Because people use simple and obvious passwords.
A small sample of the public companies that have had data breaches 


A study by the National Cyber Security Center found that simply typing in 'password' allowed access to over 3.6 million accounts. However, that is far from the most common access gift. A staggering 23.2 million users have '123456' as their password, and another 3.8 million use 'qwerty' (the first six letters on the top left of a standard keyboard) as their access code. Using favorite names, sports teams, bands, and fictional characters also exposed millions to hacking.

F-H Launch Pad's advice: use three random words as a password, that should keep your accounts safe. Or, to be really safe, use a phrase that you will remember. For example, 'to be or not to be that is the question'. A full 89% of internet users make online purchases, 39% on a weekly basis and less than half use a strong, separate password for their email accounts.

Data on compromised passwords was obtained by hackers from global breaches that are already in public domain, having been sold or shared by hackers. Favorite names, sports teams, and musicians came up as hundreds of thousands of times among the top hacked passwords.  Almost 500,000 accounts used the name 'ashley', while 'michael' was used 425k times.

Rock bands were another weak spot. While 'blink182' may seen like a strong gate-keeper word, over 285,000 people had it breached as a password. As for superheroes, 'superman' was the most popular with over 333,000 hacked accounts using it.


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So, there you have it. Use phases instead of common words. Use three random words. And endeavor to change your passwords once yearly.

Jim Lavorato, Principal
Fund-House Ventures, LLC

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Top ECO-Trends For 2020

I'm predicting that 2020 will be a pivotal year for eco-development. New products and services that are eco-friendly will abound. Moving forward with sustainability must be incremental but constant and without disruption. 

There is great opportunity for innovation, investment, and prosperity for all economic levels as eco-based conservation takes hold in many facets of out lives.

From cork sneakers to edible food containers things are changing our lives - and changing FAST!  Below are a few of my favorites in terms of viability, usefulness, and sustainability.



Estudio 41 - a Brazilian company that manufacturers compact, eco-concious houses that are energy and water conserving.









Zero X Gear-free E-Motor Bikes - powered by a battery pack that offers up to 100 miles per charge these bikes are easy to ride and have gearless operation.









Aston Martin Lagonda - Ultra-lux 4 passenger all electric X-over. No price as yet. Design futuristic.










Alpro Edible Food Containers - not only healthy but completely reduces packaging waste. Plant-based food containers are made of a combination of nuts, spices, fennel, pumpkin and sesame seeds.









Solar powered SmartPhone Cases - outfitted with a small solar panel on the back of the phone there is no need to ever charge your phone again. The solar panels are slim and also protect the phone as any case would. Many available NOW!





These products are, in most cases, available now. Everyone needs to "think" eco. It is not hard and it is not sacrificial - it is everyday living in a sensible way. Eco-friendly does, and shouldn't, call for extremes. Conservation comes from the word conservative or those that change, but slowly.  We all need to embrace the notion of conservation which fully uses our technological advancements. Eco-concious products and services will be the norm and that starts in earnest in 2020.



Just saying,
Jim Lavorato, Principal
Fund-House Ventures
 










Monday, April 15, 2019

Business Growth Is NOT Equal

I believe that business growth is directly related in how much invested capital is required to fuel that growth - so long as the other growth accelerators (management, momentum, and marketing) are present.

Types of Growth

- New Product/Market Development : investment in the growth of a new product or market generates the best margins, since there is limited competition and the market is growing. Hint: creating new demand for a product that did not previously exist requires outstanding innovation capabilities.  


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- Expanding Into Adjacent Markets: Moving into adjacent market expansion requires precise execution skills and organizational flexibility. It will bring very attractive margins.

- Maintaining or Growing Market Share: It takes a lot of funds and great management to make the product and its value distinctive. But, as long as, the market is still growing, margins will remain solid.

- Growing Share In a Stable Market: This type of growth does not always create value. Although investment may be small, competition for share in order to maintain scale is typically intense, and leads to lower margins.

- Acquisitions: Although for middle and large sized firms this growth type will drive top and bottom-line numbers very quickly but performance may not be sustainable without great management and momentum. 

I should mention that the timing of growth opportunities is determined within each industry. Also, it is easier for smaller companies to grow than larger ones.

All businesses must grow to survive in this very competitive marketplace - choose your type with great care and make sure you have the capital to pull it off. 

Jim Lavorato, Principal
Fund-House Ventures, LLC



Thursday, April 11, 2019

Fasting Growing U.S. Brand : NETFLIX

The word 'Netflix' has become a verb. When that happens - your company has got lots of Brand equity.  To back this up, a new brand survey, by Brand Finance, indicated that Netflix was the fastest growing Brand in 2018.

Netflix's brand value, doubled over the year to reach $21.2b.  According to Brand Finance, Netflix delivers high-quality and varied programming and has attained the premier position in the content streaming industry. It is one company that has both pricing-power and excellent consumer ratings.

Regarding Brand value, Netflix ranks as 40th in overall dollar value, up 19 spots from year earlier results. The tech giants, such as Apple, Amazon, Google take the top rankings in brand value.


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After, Netflix (which had the highest growth in brand value at 105%) were: Taco Bell (83%), American Express (81%), Hampton Inn (78%), Dunkin (73%), Pizza Hut (72%), and Discovery (70%).

There are many companies on Netflix's heels, from Disney to AT&T - all trying to unseat the number one streamer. Will they be successful. NO! Why. They are too late in the game and fighting more for second and third place than first.

Jim Lavorato
Principal, Fund-House Ventures
jlavorato@fundhouse.us

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Dems : Can't Get It Right On Net Neutrality

I've discussed the issue of Net Neutrality in these pages before, so I wanted to revisit and update you on same.

Dems : Can't have it both ways.
Under Trump, the ISPs received a better deal than they did under Obama. But now the House of Reps., under the Democrats, is trying to restore the rules to prohibit ISPs from blocking or throttling web content and selling 'fast lanes' to content providers. 

Dubbed the 'Save The Internet Act' the Dems have an uphill battle as the current rules, enacted in 2017, have not resulted in the catastrophic demise and manipulation  of the interest that was predicted at the last go-around.

I am for keeping the rules as they are. The ISPs, no doubt make money on supplying the internet pipeline but big tech make lots, lots more and use up lots of the pipe. Additionally, it is hard to say you are all about "saving the internet" (and by default pro big tech) when Democratic Presidential candidates are proposing that Facebook, Google, Amazon, Instagram, YouTube, etc. be "broken up" as they are  monopolistic usurpers of our most confidential information and huge intruders into are private lives. The Dems can't have it both ways.

Jim Lavorato
Principal, Fund-House Ventures

Copyright (c) 2019 All Rights Reserved


In Business, Self-Improvement is a MUST

In business many fear making the wrong decisions, hesitate on pulling-the-trigger, and rely too much on the past to predict the future - these all get in the way of our best interests.

These biases cloud our decision-making but there are several things one can do to prevent or diminish there negative impact.

- Make decisions at your most rational. Self-restraint doesn't come easy as we all have a tendency to gratify immediate desires. The key is not to make important decisions too close to when they'll take effect. Shifting decision-making to a moment when your most rational self is running the show can be very effective in curbing impulsive decisions.

- Commit yourself. Focus on the goal. What is it you are REALLY trying to accomplish. Take out the biases and realize that all things are grey and not black or white.

- Reframe your gains and losses. People are far more motivated to avoid a loss than they are to rack up an equally large gain - called loss aversion, it's a real issue with business people at all levels. Although you must measure loss/gain you can not be so fearful of loss that it impacts your judgment to pull-the-trigger on a decision that should be made in a timely fashion.

- Doubt yourself. We all have trouble assessing probabilities which can skew the way we gauge our performance. Until otherwise proven, don't believe it's anything but chance when things go well. It's easy to be blinded by your successes, which is why it's so important to have an objective way to assess your outcomes.

So, going forward, figure out what biases you have, use self-restraint, and assess your successes rationally. Now Move Forward!

Jim Lavorato
Principal, Fund-House Ventures

Copyright (c) 2019 All rights reserved

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

AMMP : Best Music Production in Phoenix Valley

Launching on March 22nd in Mesa, AZ will be one of the best music production houses on the West Coast. The American Modern Music Production facility, better known as AMMP, will be opening its doors and offering a full compliment of music and video production activities.

Music production, mixing, scoring, training, and instruction will be available for customers aged 14 and up.  

March 22nd will be the first day in a week long launch that will feature : rock, rap, hip-hop, jazz, and blues bands and vocal performers, EDM and original d-jaying.  Lectures and instruction on music and music production equipment will be given, food trucks will be on-site. With outdoor stage and video productions.

Plan on attending. Its all about music! 

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Looking at the Bigger Picture: Fun With Our Insignificance

We are all on the move. Schedules, appointments, duties, commitments, agendas run our daily lives. We are on the move all the time. In fact, sitting while I compose this blog post I'm on the move. Yes, I'm in the same chair, at the same desk, typing on the same PC but only from my perspective.
We are on the move - all the time.


As I sit, the Earth is rotating (spinning) at 600 miles per hour. Not only that, the Earth is rotating (orbiting) the Sun at 67,000 miles per hour. Further, the entire solar system is orbiting the Milky Way core (our galaxy) at 514,000 miles per hour. From this perspective Earth was 'here, where I sit' one galactic year ago - the time it takes to complete a single orbit of the Milky Way, a quarter of a billion of 'our' years!

But even this doesn't really do it. The galaxies themselves are moving apart at vast and variable speeds and we have no idea of what lies beyond.  In fact, physicists tell us that there is no way to determine what is moving and what is standing still, because you can only speak of motion relative to something else. 

This view of the universe is not new. Galileo deduced it in the 16th Century - yet this relativity continues to defy our intuition and our perception of time and space. And, with it, our realization of our insignificance in the Bigger Picture.

Danish astronomer Ole Romer in 1676 proved that the speed of light (known now to be approx. 186,000 miles a second) was finite - or said another way, the universe has a speed limit.


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Light's speed limit is absolute, that being so, Einstein concluded that light cannot speed up therefore time itself must slow down as an object speeds up. By the time you reach the speed of light - by the time you are light - no time whatsoever passes.

What all this tells us is that the universe is strange to our comprehensions - unlike what we experience in daily-life the cosmos eludes our norm.  The reality: we are all on the move but we don't know where we're going nor how fast and it's all above our comprehension.

Go figure,

Jim Lavorato, Principal
Fund House Ventures, LLC