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Inside Founders (Jan 25th, 2019)

1. Innovation could suffer under a tax reform proposal from US Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-NY. According to Bloomberg opinion writer Noah Smith, Ocasio-Cortez’ plan to raise taxes on the wealthy could stifle startup activity by creating financial disincentives for potential entrepreneurs seeking big paydays. Startups play a key role in the US economy, although research about the impact of personal income taxes on entrepreneurial activity is not definitive. — BLOOMBERG

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2. Electric bike-share startup Wheels has $37 million in new funding. The startup from Jonathan and Joshua Viner, founders of the dog-walking startup Wag, is the latest in the bike-share market. In a Jan. 23 statement, Wheels President Jonathan Viner discussed the company’s market research and noted its “sustainability-first” approach. For example, Wheels’ bikes will include swappable part replacements and removable batteries. — TECH CRUNCH

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3. Change job ads and screening processes to make your start-up team more diverse. These are just two tips offered by Serenity Gibbons for how companies can gain traction and increase the diversity of their teams. Prioritizing diversity is likely to make entrepreneurs more successful, and allow them to shift gears when needed. Moreover, investors are increasingly evaluating diversity when considering companies. — ENTREPRENEUR

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4. Big Tech spent $48 million lobbying the government last year. That combined spending from Google, Amazon and Facebook represents a 13 percent increase from 2017. Google's lobbying expenses—$21.2 million—increased the most: almost 18 percent from the year before. A Recode analysis also notes that, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, the bulk of the companies' lobbying concerned market and data regulation issues. Microsoft and Apple's lobbying costs bring the total amount spent up to $64.3 million. — RECODE

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Welcome to Flashback Friday, when we take a look at the recent and distant past in the world of Founders. If you have ideas or tips for this weekly feature, please send them in to founders@inside.com.

Just five years ago, on Jan. 25, 2014, the internet heralded startup subscription service Oyster as the "Netflix of Books."  Despite grand predictions about disruptions to the publishing industry, and $17 million in funding, Oyster announced its closure just two years later, with many of its top folks heading to Google. 

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5. GeekWire’s startup rankings for the Northwest include 200 companies, but only 8 percent are run by women. — GEEKWIRE

6. Co-working company WeWork has chosen its first Midwest city—Minneapolis—for its nascent WeWork Labs program that provides startup resources. — FINANCE & COMMERCE

7. Five years in, Female Founders Fund partners Anu Duggal and Sutian Dong discuss their female-centric venture capital fund. — FORBES

8. California cannabis company Caliva has raised $75 million, with analysts predicting investment in the industry expected to continue growing. — CRUNCHBASE

9. Start-up automobile maker Rivian sees an opening in the industry with battery-powered trucks and SUVs. — NPR

10. Maynard Webb advises leaders to be vulnerable in order to be inspirational in his weekly Dear Founders advice column. — FAST COMPANY

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Julia Goldberg is a journalist and author living in Santa Fe, New Mexico. She writes regularly about the intersection of technology and culture, and is the executive director of MIX Santa Fe, a networking organization for entrepreneurs. She writes the Inside Founders newsletter and can be found on Twitter @votergirl.

Editing team: Lon Harris (editor-in-chief at Inside.com, game-master at Screen Junkies), Krystle Vermes (Breaking news editor at Inside, B2B marketing news reporter, host of the "All Day Paranormal" podcast), and Susmita Baral (editor at Inside, recent bylines in NatGeo, Teen Vogue, and Quartz. Runs the biggest mac and cheese account on Instagram).

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