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Can NYC’s Laundry Industry Survive The Pandemic? | Forbes

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Yaakoub Hijazi has not only protected his father’s legacy, but also he’s built the business into a powerhouse in the tight-knit world of hotel launderers in New York. Today, Star Laundry cleans sheets and towels for more than 100 of the city’s roughly 800 hotels, including the Conrad New York and the W Times Square. Based on Forbes’ estimates, it handles as much as 40% of the laundry generated by the city’s hotels, bringing in some $70 million a year in revenue. Add in Hijazi’s other ventures, including real estate in New Jersey and linen manufacturing in Benin, Africa, and his group’s annual revenue is closer to $120 million.

Laundry is a cutthroat business, priced at 30 cents to 45 cents per pound in New York. Price-cutting to gain market share is rampant. Stumbles abound. Prestige Industries, once Hijazi’s biggest competitor, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2017, and its assets were subsequently bought by a private equity firm that owns laundry firm PureTex Solutions. “The entire market is fighting over the same 200 hotels,” says Sang Cho, CEO of Prestige until 2012, who founded Cooperative Laundry in 2018. “We’ve heard some of our competitors bidding below 27 or 28 cents a pound, which is crazy.”

But what happens to one of the most competitive industries in NYC when no laundry is coming in? With hotels empty, Hijazi is hoping to swing his business towards servicing hotel needs but on a normal day, a pivot like that would be unheard of. Hijazi discusses the state of business during the pandemic and what it will take for Star Laundry and the rest of NYC’s laundry industry to survive.

Read the full profile on Forbes: https://www.forbes.com/sites/amyfeldman/2020/02/04/cleaning-up-how-a-27-year-old-college-dropout-turned-his-late-dads-business-into-a-laundry-service-worth-150-million/#2bfc7c2868fc

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America’s Most Promising Artificial Intelligence Companies | Forbes

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Artificial intelligence is beginning to be usefully deployed in almost every industry from customer call centers and finance to drug research. Yet the field is also plagued by relentless hype, opaque jargon and esoteric technology making it difficult for outsiders identify the most interesting companies.

To cut through the spin, Forbes partnered with venture firms Sequoia Capital and Meritech Capital to create our second annual AI 50, a list of private, U.S.-based companies that are using artificial intelligence in meaningful business-oriented ways. To be included, companies had to be privately-held and focused on techniques like machine learning (where systems learn from data to improve on tasks), natural language processing (which enables programs to “understand” written or spoken language), or computer vision (which relates to how machines “see”).

The list was compiled through a submission process open to any AI company in the U.S. The application asked companies to provide details on their technology, business model, customers and financials like funding, valuation and revenue history (companies had the option to submit information confidentially, to encourage greater transparency). In total, Forbes received about 400 entries. From there, our VC partners applied an algorithm to identify the 100 with the highest quantitative scores and then a panel of eight expert AI judges identified the 50 most compelling companies.

Read the full profile on Forbes: https://www.forbes.com/sites/alanohnsman/2020/07/03/ai-50-americas-most-promising-artificial-intelligence-companies/#6244263a5c99

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Should Covid-19 Delay Reopening Schools? – Steve Forbes | What’s Ahead | Forbes

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As President Donald Trump addresses the nation on the reopening of schools in the fall, the debate continues to rage about what policies should be adopted in the face of coronavirus cases increasing as the new academic year approaches. Should Covid-19 stand in the way of going back to school? Steve Forbes on why the reopening of schools is crucial to support the well-being of students and parents being able to return to work.

What’s Ahead featuring Steve Forbes provides his insights and perspective, to stay on top of what’s happening in this ever-turbulent world with glimpses into the future. What’s Ahead airs Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays.
#SteveForbes #WhatsAhead

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Meet The Latinx Founder Building A $100 Million Tech Hub | Forbes

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The first in her family to go to college, Irma Olguin returned home to Fresno intent on using her skills to uplift her community. Her Bitwise Industries has since landed $27 million in venture funding and trained 4,500 workers to code.

Fresno, California, is not where you’d expect to find a startup like Bitwise Industries, which trains tech workers, develops software and invests in tech-friendly real estate. It has $27 million in venture capital backing, a valuation of $100 million and 2019 revenue Forbes estimates at $20 million. “You could argue that Fresno is one of America’s most broken cities,” says cofounder Irma Olguin Jr., 39. “We have four of the ten poorest zip codes and one in four people live below the poverty line.” Olguin is determined to change those statistics.

Read the full profile on Forbes: https://www.forbes.com/sites/ruthumoh/2020/06/26/from-recycling-bottles-for-cash-to-tech-ceo-meet-the-latinx-founder-building-a-100-million-tech-hub-in-californias-gritty-central-valley/#391572db1b4b

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