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Inside Founders (Jul 26th, 2019)

1. In meetings this week with Washington, D.C. regulators and lawmakers, Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes has been arguing in favor of breaking up the social media behemoth. Hughes—who authored an op-ed in May against the company he helped found—says he hopes his speaking out "provides cover to a lot of other folks" with concerns about Facebook, noting, "I think there’s a lot to be concerned about.” Those concerns include Facebook's monolithic stature—more than 2.7 billion use it or its subsidiary platforms at least once a month. Hughes' lobbying efforts, which have included meetings with the Federal Trade Commission, Judiciary Department and the New York Attorney General's staff, include legal arguments for an anti-trust case backed by anti-trust scholars. — THE WASHINGTON POST

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2. San Francisco-startup Standard Cognition, which provides a platform for autonomous checkout, has raised $35 million in a series B round. Last fall, the company raised $40 million in series A funds, secured a partnership with Paltac in Japan and now has a post-money valuation of $535 million. CEO Jordan Fisher co-founded Standard Cognition in 2017 along with six other co-founders, has already opened a cashier-less store in San Francisco and plans to roll out autonomous checkout in 3,000 locations. Fisher says the new funding will allow the company to “continue to focus on making its early customers in the U.S. and Japan successful.” — VENTUREBEAT

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3. Follow Friday: Ju Rhyu, @jurhyu

"Why do VC-funded companies get so much air time in the press when bootstrapping companies is actually much harder?" Hero Cosmetics co-founder and CEO Ju Rhyu recently pondered on Twitter. Rhyu founded her company, which specializes in acne treatment, in 2017 after a trip to Korea, known for its innovative beauty products (Rhyu was born in Korea and emigrated to the U.S. with her family as a young child). Hero Cosmetics was profitable the first year and is heading toward $5 million in sales this year. Its products are primarily sold at Anthropologie, Neiman Marcus and Riley Rose. On social media, Rhyu can be counted on for reflections on the startup life, as well as shout-outs to skincare-related news. Bonus points: One of her followers is The Mindy Project.

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4. Digital healthcare startup Livongo went public yesterday, with its shares surging up to 62 percent in its Nasdaq debut. The company is one of several healthcare startups entering public markets this year; the Utah-based Health Catalyst also started trading yesterday, with its stocks rising up to 56 percent. Livongo raised more than $350 million for its IPO; Health Catalyst more than $180 million. Both companies' strong showings point to rising interest in healthcare technologies. Livongo provides digital services—coaching and health assistance—for people with chronic health issues, such as diabetes. Health Catalyst provides data analytics tools to medical professionals. Venture capital financing in the digital healthcare sector hit approximately $8 billion last year. — CNBC

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5. Luxury cannabis company Beboe—co-founded five years ago by celebrity tattoo artist Scott Campbell and purchased by Green Thumb Industries in February—offers items such as a special edition Barneys vape pen out of its store located in the Beverly Hills Barneys. — FORBES

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6. Calendly founder and CEO Tope Awotona credits his family and upbringing in Nigeria for his perseverance in launching his company in 2013, which he says now has nearly $30 million in recurring revenue. — INC.

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7. Veterans support group Bunker Labs' newly launched business accelerator program in Atlanta and Raleigh will provide 10 veteran or military spouse entrepreneurs six months of co-working space and training. — HYPEPOTAMUS

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8. Oregon has become a nerve center for sex tech, with a particular focus on entrepreneurs who are women or queer-focused; almost a dozen sex toy startups have started up in the state over the last decade. — WILLAMETTE WEEK

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9. In Entrepreneur Elevator Pitch, founders have 60 seconds to convince investors to open the elevator doors and hear more about their companies. In a recent episode, Matt Feldman, founder of Moku Foods, asks for $250,000 for his company, which makes mushroom-based jerky. — ENTREPRENEUR

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10. This explainer on why the startup tech bubble has yet to burst points to unprecedented and massive foreign investment, along with billions funneled from Big Tech companies such as Facebook and Amazon to smaller startups. — THE ATLANTIC

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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.

Editor: David Stegon (senior editor at Inside, whose reporting experience includes cryptocurrency and technology).

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