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Tennis, Everyone?

For every dismissal, there was someone willing to help. A tweet sent to Caitlin Thompson, the publisher of the independent tennis magazine Racquet, led to a meeting. “We became hitting partners because I was really intrigued about the idea of new equipment in the space,” said Ms. Thompson, who has used the Furi rackets, grips and bags.She sees Furi’s opportunity in its positioning as a beginner-friendly option for recreational players, a rare direct-to-consumer brand (think of what Casper did for mattresses) in a market steeped in pro-shop culture.“So much of tennis is catered toward this notion of …

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Tennis, Everyone?

For every dismissal, there was someone willing to help. A tweet sent to Caitlin Thompson, the publisher of the independent tennis magazine Racquet, led to a meeting. “We became hitting partners because I was really intrigued about the idea of new equipment in the space,” said Ms. Thompson, who has used the Furi rackets, grips and bags.She sees Furi’s opportunity in its positioning as a beginner-friendly option for recreational players, a rare direct-to-consumer brand (think of what Casper did for mattresses) in a market steeped in pro-shop culture.“So much of tennis is catered toward this notion of …

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Skipping the Olympics Is ‘Not an Option’ for Many Advertisers

The Olympics have long been an almost ideal forum for companies looking to promote themselves, with plenty of opportunities for brands to nestle ads among the pageantry and feel-good stories about athletes overcoming adversity — all for less than the price of a Super Bowl commercial.But now, as roughly 11,000 competitors from more than 200 countries convene in Tokyo as the coronavirus pandemic lingers, Olympic advertisers are feeling anxious about the more than $1 billion they have spent to run ads on NBC and its Peacock streaming platform.Calls to cancel the more than $15.4 billion extravaganza have intensified as more athletes test positive …

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Dentsu: The Invisible Advertising Giant Behind the Tokyo Games

TOKYO — It’s not an official sponsor of the Olympics. It will remain invisible to the millions of viewers who begin tuning in this week. But without it, the Tokyo Games could not have happened.The force behind the Olympic curtain is Dentsu, an advertising goliath with near mythical levels of power and influence in Japan.As a gatekeeper to the world’s third-largest economy, it has become a major figure in international sports. It played a prominent role in Tokyo’s Olympic bid, then was named the Games’ exclusive advertising partner, bringing in a record-shattering $3.6 billion from Japanese sponsors. …

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Cryptocurrency Seeks the Spotlight, With Spike Lee’s Help

Some celebrity endorsements of cryptocurrencies have run into trouble. In 2017, the Securities and Exchange Commission cautioned that some famous people were hyping the virtual currency sales known as initial coin offerings without disclosing that they had been paid to promote them. The commission has since settled charges against the boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr., the music producer DJ Khaled and the actor Steven Seagal.Social media influencers and e-sports stars have also been linked to shady cryptocurrency schemes, accused of pumping up coins just before their value crashes.Coin Cloud’s chief marketing officer, Amondo Redmond, said he hoped Mr. Lee’ …

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How Two Start-ups Made a Fortune in Fees on P.P.P. Loans

Also in late February, Blueacorn and Womply got an unexpected tailwind from a major rule change by the Small Business Administration, which oversaw the loan program. Concerned that women and minority-led businesses were being disproportionately left out, the Biden administration overhauled the loan formula to award sole proprietors — a group that includes contractors and gig workers — loans based on their reported revenue rather than profit. Overnight, millions more qualified for help. Drawn in by the marketing campaigns, they stampeded toward the two companies.By early March, “we were overrun with demand,” said Blueacorn’s Mr. Calhoun, a private equity veteran …

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Mr. Beast, YouTube Star, Wants to Take Over the Business World

Mr. Donaldson declined to be interviewed. A representative for him declined to address the working conditions at his companies but said of the videos with offensive content: “When Jimmy was a teenager and was first starting out, he carelessly used, on more than one occasion, a gay slur. Jimmy knows there is no excuse for homophobic rhetoric.” The representative added that Mr. Donaldson “has grown up and matured into someone that doesn’t speak like that.”Many younger creators said they wanted to emulate Mr. Donaldson’s entrepreneurial path.“I think Mr. Beast inspires all of Gen Z,” said Josh …

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Apple’s App Store Draws E.U. Antitrust Charge

This week, Apple flexed its power by introducing a software update that gave customers more power to block data tracking by apps, a change that has started a feud with Facebook, which has criticized the move as anticompetitive because it will harm the ability to sell online advertising.Companies are increasingly pushing regulators and courts to intervene. At a congressional hearing in Washington last week, companies including Spotify, Tile and Match Group told senators how policies set by Apple and Google, whose Play Store is another pinch point for app developers, hurt competition and resulted in higher app prices for …

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How Mark Zuckerberg and Apple’s C.E.O. Became Foes

“It really spoke to the power of Apple controlling the operating system,” said Brian Wieser, president of business intelligence at GroupM, an advertising industry firm. “Facebook isn’t in control of its own destiny.”At Facebook, Apple’s privacy moves were viewed as hypocritical, said three current and former Facebook employees. Apple has long had a lucrative arrangement with Google to plug Google’s data-hungry search engine into Apple products, for instance. Facebook executives also noted that Apple was entrenched in China, where the government surveils its citizens.Privately, Mr. Zuckerberg told his lieutenants that Facebook “needed to inflict pain” …

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Apple’s New Devices Target Markets Led by Smaller Rivals

“We think it is entirely appropriate for Congress to take a closer look at Apple’s business practices,” Mr. Prober said.Apple has faced scrutiny in recent years for its strict control over its App Store, including Apple’s practice of forcing apps to use its payment system, which allows it to collect a commission of up to 30 percent on many app sales.That policy has fueled a multibillion-dollar business, but also brought Apple regulatory headaches, including Wednesday’s hearing and legislative fights in several states. Next month, Apple is set to face off in a trial against Epic Games, …

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