4 Lessons Brick-and-Mortar Retailers Can Learn From Amazon This Season

Some experts say Amazon already surpassed the sales volume of brick-and-mortar shops. What lessons can the traditional retailers learn from Amazon? Read the article out loud with the Cambly tutor.

[BUSINESS ★] 4 LESSONS BRICK-AND-MORTAR RETAILERS CAN LEARN FROM AMAZON

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(P1) Okay, so technically, Amazon now has a brick-and-mortar location: Amazon Books. But the e-commerce giant is still dropping the retail gauntlet and dominating across a variety of digital channels, infusing innovation into new areas of retail (and beyond) every day. Never one to shy away from a challenge, Jeff Bezos has even decided to tackle the space industry with Blue Origin—yes, you read that correctly, space.

(P2) So it should come as no surprise that the Amazon founder successfully took on brick-and-mortar retailers this Black Friday, a day traditionally focused on in-store sales. It’s a reality that the majority of shoppers will hit Amazon.com for their holiday shopping at some point, but according to a recent Reuters poll, 51 percent of consumers plan to do most of their shopping on the site.

(P3) Just how did Amazon find Black Friday success, though? Careful and strategic long-term planning, paired with a seamless experience across all channels. Basically, Amazon was wherever shoppers were, whenever they decided to open their phones, computers and wallets to shop.

Let’s take a look at what retailers and brand marketers have learned from Amazon so far this season.

1. Mobile should be at the top of retailers’ marketing wish list. (P4) Last year, Amazon saw more than 60 percent of shopper activity coming from its mobile app and mobile website. This year, the retailer continued to build app engagement by offering mobile-only deals to those with the app installed. Amazon also introduced a new feature this year called Watch A Deal, where app users can save items to their watch list and then be notified when a deal is about to begin on the Amazon app. Seriously, how much easier can the company make it for busy consumers. Retailers that struggle to match Amazon’s reach can tap into mobile moments by partnering with digital promotion platforms that have the ability to reach a larger audience. Whether they have access to an engaged audience through their own app or through another, the most important thing for them to remember is to be where their customers are—and that’s on a smartphone.

2. Target across channels this season. (P5) Amazon made a bold Black Friday play to grab consumers’ attention when they were visiting other retailers’ brick-and-mortar locations. Savvy consumers were able to use a feature on the Amazon app, called Price Check, to make sure they were finding the best deals in stores. Because of the brand’s breadth of products, their site and app are often the first destination for shoppers online and on mobile. “Year after year, more and more customers shop for deals on Amazon from the comfort of their own home, and we continue to make that process even more convenient for them,” Steve Shure, vice president of Amazon Consumer Marketing, said in a statement.

(P6) However, we can’t forget that 90 percent of shopping still occurs in stores and that certain categories continue to draw shoppers who prefer to touch, feel, try out or try on merchandise. Consumers love instant gratification, and much of that is propelled by Amazon’s quick-ship options. But retailers don’t need to be Amazon in order to compete in fulfillment. According to eMarketer, more than six in 10 Internet users would pay for same-day delivery. Brick-and-mortar retailers can also take part in offering “buy online, pick up in store” promotions, which allow retailers to leverage their stores as distribution centers.

3. Spread more holiday (deals) cheer. (P7) Kicking off with Amazon Prime Day in July, the online retailer began to reach shoppers with promotions well before the holiday season had even officially begun. A smart move considering that 45 percent of shoppers are always deal hunting, and more than half (54 percent) expect deals before Black Friday, according to a survey conducted by Kelton Global earlier this year. It paid off: Amazon saw more orders on Prime Day than any Black Friday in its history. Upping the ante, Amazon launched deals nearly every five minutes starting the Friday before Thanksgiving all the way through Black Friday. But it didn’t stop there. It continued to engage online shoppers with 150 limited-time-only “Lightning Deals.” The retailer was armed and ready to reach online shoppers whenever they chose to browse, not limiting them to only Black Friday.

4. Loyal brand fans are the best holiday ambassadors. (P8) Sure, Amazon has done a lot on its own to become synonymous with online shopping. However, the loyalty of tens of millions of Prime members also speaks volumes, and you can be sure they’ve told their friends about the experience too. For an annual fee, members get access throughout the year to music and movies (now on JetBlue flights!), services and free shipping—and the holidays are no different. Amazon Prime members received access to many deals 30 minutes early over Thanksgiving and Black Friday weekend. It’s a huge incentive when you’ve got your eye on a particular item, or 10.

(P9) No one needs to be reminded that Amazon is dominating this holiday season. We’ve all seen the media storm, and likely taken a peek at what Amazon has to offer on its site as well. The online behemoth doesn’t play defense; it strikes first. I’ve seen plenty of other retailers pick up their game this year, innovating new ways to reach consumers and build a seamless shopping experience. But is there more that can be done?

WORDS: 890
SOURCE: http://www.forbes.com/sites/michaeljones/2015/12/05/4-lessons-from-amazon/
SOURCE (KR only): 151207 Cyber Monday

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

If you found the passage difficult to read or had problems understanding specific words or idiomatic expressions, please discuss them with your tutor. The following discussion questions should be answered in your own words and with your own arguments.

  1. Briefly summarize the content of the article in your own words.
  2. What are the four lessons that traditional retailors can learn from Amazon this season?
  3. What are the different types of Amazon services mentioned in the article? What other innovative services do you know that e-commerce companies operate?
  4. Do you know about Black Friday? What about Cyber Monday? What ‘days’ do you have in your country that try to boost sales?
  5. Describe your shopping habits. Where do you spend the most? Do you agree that online retails like Amazon will become bigger than traditional stores?

EXPRESSIONS TO PRACTICE:

What do the following expressions mean? Practice using each expression in a sentence; extra points if you can use it in conversation.

  • Infuse something into
  • Shy away from
  • Take on
  • Tap into
  • Make a bold play
  • Try out vs. Try on
  • Take part in
  • Leverage something
  • Up the ante
  • Have your eyes on

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HOW CRICKET HAS CHANGED SINCE STAR PLAYER’S DEATH

[SPORTS ★★]

HOW CRICKET HAS CHANGED SINCE STAR PLAYER’S DEATH

Cricket

(P1) English CRICKET player Stuart Broad does not believe cricketers have changed the way they play since Phillip Hughes’ death.

(P2) Friday is the first ANNIVERSARY of the Australian’s death, which came two days after he was struck by a bouncer.

(P3) “I don’t think it’s affected the way players are bowling or batting,” Broad said.

(P4) “When you’re playing for your country against another country, it’s full of passion and pride. You do everything you can to try to win that contest.”

(P5) However, Broad says the death of 25-year-old Hughes “shook” the cricketing world and believes players are now showing more concern for each other.

(P6) Last summer, there was visible worry from both sides when Australia’s Chris Rogers was hit by a James Anderson bouncer.

(P7) During a one-day match between the same two sides, England captain Eoin Morgan had to retire hurt after being struck by Mitchell Starc’s short-pitched delivery.

(P8) Speaking about Hughes’ death, Broad said: “It was an awful time for cricket – it’s not an uncommon thing for players to get hit on the head but it is obviously hugely uncommon for someone to PASS AWAY playing cricket.

(P9) “I think it shook the whole cricketing world, it was a few weeks of real sadness. Now, when you see someone get hit on the head you see immediate concern from everyone on that field.

(P10) “That’s been a huge change – the teams showing real care for the INJURIES of other players.”

(P11) Former Australia captain Michael Clarke, who guided his fellow players through the TRAUMATIC experience of losing a team-mate, said the team “will never be the same” following Hughes’ death.

(P12) TRIBUTES will be paid to Hughes during the third Test between Australia and New Zealand at his old home ground of the Adelaide Oval, which begins on Friday.

(P13) Both Mitchell Johnson, who retired last week, and spin bowler Stephen O’Keefe have spoken about Hughes in the LEAD-UP to the anniversary.

(P14) “I had a series in 2013-2014 where I was really AGGRESSIVE and bowling a lot of short balls and I did hit players,” said Johnson. The death, he added, “made me think, was I doing the right thing? You know, was I playing in the spirit of the game?”

(P15) O’Keefe was fielding for New South Wales when Hughes was struck.

(P16) “The game has changed for me forever,” said O’Keefe. “It’s not what it was.

(P17) “You’re playing a game that’s supposed to be fun and you’re supposed to be in a great contest, and then IN THE BLINK OF AN EYE it completely changes on you.

(P18) “I just hope in my lifetime that I never have to see anything like that again, and we can remember Phillip for what he was, which was a great BLOKE and an even better player.”

(P19) Cricket was quick to REASSESS the safety of the players in the weeks after Hughes’ death, with the main change being the development of extra protection on HELMETS.

(P20) Many batsmen now wear an extra piece of protection, called a stem guard, which covers the back of their head and neck, where Hughes was FATALLY hit.

(P21) There are also suggestions that umpires, close fielders, and coaches conducting training sessions will soon have to wear some form of head protection.

WORDS: 544

SOURCE: http://www.bbc.com/sport/cricket/34927818

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

If you found the passage difficult to read or had problems understanding specific words or idiomatic expressions, please discuss them with your tutor. The following discussion questions should be answered in your own words and with your own arguments.

  1. Briefly summarize the content of the article in your own words.
  2. Have you known anyone who died at a young age? How did it affect you?
  3. Have you ever suffered an injury while playing a sport?
  4. Do you prefer to play team sports or individual sports?
  5. Do you wear a helmet when riding a bicycle?

EXPRESSIONS TO PRACTICE:

What do the following expressions mean? Practice using each expression in a sentence; extra points if you can use it in conversation.

  • Pass away
  • Lead-up
  • In the blink of an eye

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MOUSEMINGLE IS A DATING SITE FOR DISNEY FANS

[LIFE ★]

MOUSEMINGLE IS A DATING SITE FOR DISNEY FANS

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(P1) If you dress like Disney princesses for Halloween and listen to the Frozen soundtrack on your COMMUTE to work, there’s now a site where you can meet LIKE-MINDED singles. MouseMingle, as its website describes, is “dedicated to Disney fans” because “traditional Internet dating sites don’t understand the passion people have for all things Disney. But we do.”

(P2) MouseMingle matches Disney fans based on their answers to questions about movies, characters, songs, and parks along with standard lifestyle questions.

(P3) MouseMingle asks “What type of pet person are you?” and presents options like “I’m a Cheshire Cat person,” “I’m a Pluto person,” and “I’m a Thumper person.”

(P4) The site also inquires into your interest in Star Wars and your favorite Marvel superheroes.

(P5) MouseMingle’s interface is even Disney-themed: There’s a photo of the Disney Castle on the home page, and your mouse pointer becomes Mickey Mouse’s hand when you scroll over the top navigation bar.

(P6) Perhaps surprisingly, MouseMingle was created by a man. Former Disneyland Railroad engineer Dave Tavres has said that he started the site to address the problems he was having finding dates as Disney-CRAZED as he is.

(P7) So how much will all this Disney love actually cost? You can browse profiles on MouseMingle just for fun and click through Disney-related photos its members have snapped for free, but anyone serious about finding love on the site will have to spend $12.55/month to message other users.

(P8) IT REMAINS TO BE SEEN whether MouseMingle’s matching questions can serve as predictors of compatibility, but they’ll definitely give their users something to talk about on their dates. And they won’t have to worry about which movies to watch together!

WORDS: 283

SOURCE: http://www.glamour.com/sex-love-life/blogs/smitten/2015/12/mousemingle-disney-dating-site

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

If you found the passage difficult to read or had problems understanding specific words or idiomatic expressions, please discuss them with your tutor. The following discussion questions should be answered in your own words and with your own arguments.

  1. Briefly summarize the content of the article in your own words.
  2. Is MouseMingle an appealing idea or a silly idea?
  3. What is your general opinion of dating websites and apps?
  4. Is it important for a romantic couple to have strong shared interests?
  5. Do you have a high, medium, or low interest in children-ORIENTED pop culture such as animated films?

EXPRESSIONS TO PRACTICE:

What do the following expressions mean? Practice using each expression in a sentence; extra points if you can use it in conversation.

  • Like-minded
  • It remains to be seen

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WILL CATALONIA BREAK AWAY FROM SPAIN?

[WORLD NEWS ★★★]

WILL CATALONIA BREAK AWAY FROM SPAIN?

Catalonia

(P1) Spain’s CONSTITUTIONAL court has STRUCK DOWN the Catalonian REGIONAL PARLIAMENT’s MOTION to begin the process of SECESSION, ruling that the motion INFRINGES on the constitution.

(P2) The motion, passed in early November, aimed to begin the process of independence for the north-eastern region. The motion promoted by SEPARATISTS planned a “disconnection from the Spanish state” to establish a Catalan republic.

(P3) Reaction was SWIFT from the central government, which challenged the motion in Spain’s constitutional court within days.

(P4) On Wednesday, the court said its 11 MAGISTRATES had UNANIMOUSLY decided that the motion “IGNORES and infringes” on the rules written in the 1978 constitution.

(P5) The decision was HAILED by Spain’s conservative PRIME MINISTER, Mariano Rajoy, who said: “This makes the majority of Spaniards very happy. They believe in our country, in national SOVEREIGNTY, and in the equality of all.”

(P6) With just weeks left before Spaniards vote in one of the country’s closest elections in years, Rajoy has presented his People’s POLITICAL PARTY as the best protector of the country’s INTEGRITY. “With this decision, the court demonstrated that all Spaniards are equal before the law and nobody is above anyone else,” he said.

(P7) The decision was one of the quickest in the court’s history, coming three weeks after the central government LODGED its appeal.

(P8) The motion for secession was the first act of Catalonia’s regional parliament after September’s regional elections. Separatists gained a majority of seats in the parliament, but just 48% of the vote.

(P9) On Wednesday, the separatists said the court’s decision would have little effect on CURBING the political will of the regional parliament. “We will continue with the political will of the motion for secession that was approved by an absolute majority in our legally elected parliament,” said Neus Munté, the vice-president of the Catalonian regional government.

WORDS: 302

SOURCE: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/dec/02/catalonia-secession-unconstitutional-spanish-court

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

If you found the passage difficult to read or had problems understanding specific words or idiomatic expressions, please discuss them with your tutor. The following discussion questions should be answered in your own words and with your own arguments.

  1. Briefly summarize the content of the article in your own words.
  2. How did your country become independent or take the form that it has today?
  3. Are there any regions of your country that are somewhat DISTINCT from the rest of the country?
  4. In Catalonia, the Catalan language is spoken more than the Spanish language, and the Basque language is also spoken in that part of Spain. How many different languages are spoken in your country?
  5. Yugoslavia broke up into seven nations, Czechoslovakia into two. Scotland recently decided not to separate from Great Britain; Quebec has often considered splitting from Canada, but has not done so. Do you think countries with multiple ETHNICITIES and languages should split apart, or remain one country?

EXPRESSIONS TO PRACTICE:

What do the following expressions mean? Practice using each expression in a sentence; extra points if you can use it in conversation.

  • Strike down
  • Prime minister
  • Political party

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STAY SAFE WHEN YOU TRAVEL

[TRAVEL ★★]

STAY SAFE WHEN YOU TRAVEL

wallet

(P1) There is plenty to do to increase your personal safety while you’re on the road. We asked some top travel bloggers for their tips to remain safe while traveling and here is what they said:

(P2) Michael Hodson: Don’t carry anything around on you that you would feel bad about losing. The reality is that THEFT and ROBBERY happen and can happen in any country in the world. Don’t bring your nice jewelry or FANCY wristwatch on your trip. Use COMMON SENSE, pay attention to your SURROUNDINGS, and take a cab if you have a question about the safety of walking.

(P3) Matthew Kepnes: Avoid drinking HEAVILY when you travel. Travel is a great excuse to go out and IMBIBE, but you’re in a place and culture you don’t know. When you drink heavily, it’s easy to lose stuff, get robbed, or worse. Most of the travel HORROR STORIES I hear always start with “We were at a bar….” Keep your drinking to a REASONABLE level.

(P4) Kristen Sarah: Always walk with confidence, even if you don’t know where you’re going. If you look lost, you will look VULNERABLE and this makes you more of a target. Even if you’re unsure of where you are going, always look like you do. If you do need directions, go into a shop and ask the manager.

(P5) Jeremy Scott Foster: If you’re traveling in a city that is known for PICKPOCKETS, carry a DECOY WALLET. Keep your cards, cash, and ID in your front pocket, and put some old cards and $20 cash in a different wallet in your back pocket. If you become a target for pickpockets, you won’t lose anything important. If you get MUGGED, just HAND OVER the wallet like it’s all you’ve got.

WORDS: 296

SOURCE: http://roadwarriorvoices.com/2015/12/04/7-way-to-stay-safe-while-youre-on-the-road-according-to-travel-bloggers/

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

If you found the passage difficult to read or had problems understanding specific words or idiomatic expressions, please discuss them with your tutor. The following discussion questions should be answered in your own words and with your own arguments.

  1. Briefly summarize the content of the article in your own words.
  2. Have you had any bad travel experiences?
  3. Have you had any unusual experiences when you were drinking alcohol?
  4. What safety practices do you follow in your own daily life?
  5. Which idea in the article was the most original and different?

EXPRESSIONS TO PRACTICE:

What do the following expressions mean? Practice using each expression in a sentence; extra points if you can use it in conversation.

  • Common sense
  • Horror story
  • Hand over

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A STALKER TRIED TO KILL BEN AFFLECK’S FAMILY

[CULTURE AND ENTERTAINMENT ★]

A STALKER TRIED TO KILL BEN AFFLECK’S FAMILY

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(P1) Ben Affleck’s main PRIORITY is to protect his family.

(P2) The actor revealed in an interview that he had a TERRIFYING RUN-IN with a PAPARAZZO involving his two daughters, Serafina and Violet.

(P3) “It’s wrong and DISGUSTING to follow children around and take their picture and sell it for money. It makes the kids less safe,” he told the magazine. “They used to take pictures of our children coming out of preschool, and so this STALKER who had threatened to kill me, my wife, and our kids showed up at the school and got arrested…there are real dangers to this.”

(P4) When asked how close the stalker got, Affleck answered, “He was in the pack of paparazzi. They didn’t know he was a guy who was threatening to murder our family. That makes me angry. It’s a safety thing, and there’s also a SANITY thing.”

(P5) The actor continued, “My kids aren’t CELEBRITIES. They never made that BARGAIN. We were offered a lot of money to sell pictures of our kids when they were born. You’ll notice there aren’t any. I make no judgment about people who decide differently…but for me it was A MATTER OF PRINCIPLE.”

(P6) The Oscar winner also shared that his children are frightened by the photographers who follow them on a daily basis.

(P7) “As their father it’s my job to protect them from that stuff. I try my very best, and sometimes I’m successful. The tragic thing is, people who see pictures of celebrities’ children in the media naturally think it’s sweet. They don’t see the GIGANTIC man with a huge camera standing over a four-year-old and screaming to get the kid’s attention,” Affleck explained.

(P8) “The kids are always looking down because they’re FREAKED OUT and scared of these people. Paparazzi yelling at Lindsay Lohan coming out of a club, or me or any adult – that’s one thing. With kids it’s TASTELESS at best.”

WORDS: 322

SOURCE: http://www.eonline.com/news/488792/ben-affleck-s-playboy-shocker-a-stalker-tried-to-kill-my-family-after-pretending-to-be-a-paparazzo

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

If you found the passage difficult to read or had problems understanding specific words or idiomatic expressions, please discuss them with your tutor. The following discussion questions should be answered in your own words and with your own arguments.

  1. Briefly summarize the content of the article in your own words.
  2. What do you think it would be like to be the child of a celebrity? Good or bad?
  3. What is the motivation of the paparazzi?
  4. Princess Diana of Great Britain died in a car crash while being chased by paparazzi. Has fame become too dangerous?
  5. Would you like to be famous yourself?

EXPRESSIONS TO PRACTICE:

What do the following expressions mean? Practice using each expression in a sentence; extra points if you can use it in conversation.

  • Run-in
  • A matter of principle
  • Freak out

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SMART PILLS OR DANGEROUS DRUGS?

[TECHNOLOGY ★★]

SMART PILLS OR DANGEROUS DRUGS?

nootropics

(P1) To prepare for his long day of Monday meetings, Andreessen Horowitz partner Chris Dixon has a RITUAL.

(P2) Dixon drinks Soylent, the CHALKY nutrition drink FAVORED among startup workers, then INGESTS another startup favorite: nootropics.

(P3) The so-called “Smart Drugs” keep Dixon ALERT as everyone else is SAGGING after a heavy lunch.

(P4) On a Monday, it’s a combination called “Sprint” to power him through the day.

(P5) Dixon likes them so much, he is leading a $2 million funding round for a startup that makes them, Nootrobox.

(P6) It’s an unusual investment. After all, SUPPLEMENTS to BOOST your brain sound like a SCAM.

(P7) AT FACE VALUE, all Nootrobox is doing is selling supplements in pill packages.

(P8) Instead of boosting your Vitamin C levels, these pills “biohack” your brain. All of the ingredients used are labeled by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as GRAS (“generally regarded as safe”) or acceptable, the company says. Some of the main ingredients are CAFFEINE and L-Theanine from green tea.

(P9) Together, in what’s called a “stack”, the combination becomes a pill that is sold to biohackers like Dixon.

(P10) Biohacking is a DIY-movement in Silicon Valley in which people experiment with various supplements or devices that they believe lead to increased PRODUCTIVITY, mental ACUITY, and other benefits. There’s an active group on Reddit of more than 60,000 people who discuss which nootropics to take and their results on the body.

(P11) That’s where Dixon found Nootrobox.

(P12) The startup has three “stacks” of pills called Rise, Sprint, and Yawn. Rise is your everyday mental booster while Sprint is made largely of caffeine for short SPURTS of productivity. Yawn is for going to bed.

(P13) The company’s newest products are “Go Cubes” of chewable, gummy coffee bits for those who like a caffeine boost without taking a pill.

(P14) Nootrobox had been PANNED in the biohacking community because it sells WELL-KNOWN and easy combinations.

(P15) If you don’t know what you’re doing with nootropics, the result of misuse can be dangerous. Dixon thinks the Nootrobox products are safer.

(P16) But what if this is just an obsession of techies on places like Reddit? What if normal consumers never bite?

(P17) “Any of things we invest in could be a FAD and not a trend, and that’s totally the risk we take,” Dixon acknowledges.

(P18) But he does see nootropics gaining a FOOTHOLD because their effects are increased happiness and productivity.

(P19) Earlier this year, another VENTURE CAPITAL firm, Trinity Ventures, made a big bet on another product, Bulletproof, which uses oils and other ingredients to increase mental acuity and brain performance. Its founder, Dave Asprey, is a well-known biohacker who takes more than 30 pills a day to hack his brain.

(P20) Dixon and Nootrobox admit that there is still little information on the health benefits of these products. Part of the startup investment will go towards COMMISSIONING a study so that the startup can SUBMIT it to the FDA and get permission to make claims of EFFICACY.

WORDS: 491

SOURCE: http://www.businessinsider.com/why-nootrobox-is-software-2015-12

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

If you found the passage difficult to read or had problems understanding specific words or idiomatic expressions, please discuss them with your tutor. The following discussion questions should be answered in your own words and with your own arguments.

  1. Briefly summarize the content of the article in your own words.
  2. Do you take any vitamins or nutritional supplements?
  3. Is there really anything new or different about the claims for “nootropics,” or is this just the latest nutritional fad?
  4. Do you drink caffeine in the form of coffee, tea, or cola to help you wake up in the morning, or for added energy during the day?
  5. Do you think that techies are strange or normal?

EXPRESSIONS TO PRACTICE:

What do the following expressions mean? Practice using each expression in a sentence; extra points if you can use it in conversation.

  • At face value
  • Well-known
  • Venture capital

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