Posts tagged with "The Boston Globe"

‘Wigs are the next big thing’: Boston beauty startup simplifies purchase process for Black women

June 24, 2021

Mary Imevbore bought her first wig online in 2017 when she was attending Williams College in Massachusetts.

Like many Black women, she had decided to “go natural” years ago—forgoing damaging hair straightening treatments. But she had trouble finding a Black hair stylist in the rural Berkshires, and as a double major in political science and computer science, didn’t have much time to style her hair in a dorm room.

“I wanted something quick and easy, so I discovered wigs—but the shopping experience was terrible,” Imevbore recently told The Boston Globe.

It struck Imevbore that a better buying option didn’t exist “because the consumer is a Black woman.” So she teamed up with two Williams classmates, Tiiso McGinty and Susana Hawken, to create the kind of brand they would want to patronize.

After three years of work, the cofounders have officially launched beauty startup Waeve —pronounced “wave”— dropping a product line of six trendy, beginner-friendly wigs on a website designed with bold colors and a Gen Z aesthetic.

“We believe wigs are the next big thing in beauty and fashion,” Imevbore said. “We are building the ultimate destination.”

The 24-year old, who was born in Nigeria and grew up in Connecticut, said wigs are popular among Black women because wigs allow them to reclaim the time they would have spent styling their natural hair. She called them an “extension of the natural hair movement,” since Black women who ditched chemical relaxers were looking for other ways to express themselves through their hair without ruining it.

“The perception is that a wig is a utility, like you have one umbrella,” she explained to the Globe, “but that is not how people are wearing wigs … people are building wig collections.”

In college, she and her friends would spend hours vetting companies, comparing contradicting product reviews on YouTube, and grappling with varying delivery times and changing prices. That was in 2017, when companies such as eyewear retailer Warby Parker and beauty products seller Glossier were disrupting markets by reaching customers online instead of through stores.

Imevbore figured the same thing could happen with wigs, and although she never considered herself an entrepreneur, she began thinking like one.

“Wigs are an expensive product that is growing in demand; people are spending hundreds of dollars on them multiple times a year,” she said.

The market for wigs and hair extensions in North America is expected to reach $2 billion by 2026, according to French research firm Reportlinker, with Black consumers accounting for a big chunk of that spending.

The trio started with $30,000 after winning two business competitions in 2018—one at Williams and the other at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology—to launch a direct-to-consumer wig business.

That same year Imevbore, McGinty, and Hawken were finishing up their senior year of college, and they all happened to be headed to Boston and moved in together. Imevbore worked as a software engineer at online pharmacy startup PillPack in Somerville — which was acquired by Amazon that year — while McGinty pursued a program at Boston University, and Hawken started on a PhD at MIT.

The momentum started building in 2020 when the company raised $2 million in a funding round led by Boston venture capital firm Pillar VC, with participation from Maveron, an investor in consumer companies such as Allbirds, eBay, and Everlane. Waeve also garnered high-profile support from three current and former executives of Glossier. And TJ Parker and Elliot Cohen, cofounders of Pill Pack, also participated in the round. (Imevbore worked at Pillpack through the Amazon acquisition until last year, when she decided to pursue Waeve full time).

Waeve exists in a world that hasn’t always welcomed, understood, or catered to Black hair. While that allowed the startup to fill a gap, it also led to challenges behind the scenes. Imevbore said there was a learning curve with potential investors, who didn’t immediately understand why consumers would buy more than one wig.

The numbers were not in Waeve’s favor, either: Crunchbase found that in 2020, less than 1% of all venture capital funding went to Black founders, and a similarly small slice of money went to startups founded by women.

“As a team, I remember us griping,” Imevbore said. “If we were selling lipstick or shoes, we wouldn’t have to explain why someone wants those things. People are buying [wigs] like handbags and sneakers, but [that] is something I had to convey to investors.”

The Waeve team began interviewing Black women about their hair experiences, gathering testimonials and videos to show investors they were tapping a segment that had long been overlooked. It worked and also became the foundation for Waeve World, a grassroots effort to build a community around the brand through shared experiences and hair advice.

According to the Globe, Waeve’s first collection, “Days of the Week,” is inspired by the idea that wigs are an accessory that can constantly change. The company worked with a manufacturer in China to design six initial styles—which range from a curly, middle-part wig to a platinum blonde, straight cut—and it will drop a new line every quarter. Ranging in price from $72 to $398, the wigs are delivered to the company’s distribution center and office in Boston, where employees package them into “starter kits” filled with additional supplies.

Imevbore said she wants to build the type of cult-like brand loyalty for Waeve that other online brands enjoy, and it’s starting with Boston. Waeve has nine full-time employees and more than 5,000 followers on Instagram, and is already hosting community events, such as a recent picnic in the Public Garden.

Research contact: @BostonGlobe

Teenagers as young as 13 can start trading stocks with Fidelity

May 19, 2021

Fidelity Investments is looking to tap a new generation of investors: 13- to-17-year-olds, The Boston Globe reports.

The Boston-based financial services firm launched a program on Tuesday, May 18, that enables teens to set up no-fee savings and investment accounts, which would allow them to buy and sell stocks, as well as mutual funds and ETFs.

Fidelity says the program, called Fidelity Youth Accounts, is designed to help teens learn how to save, spend, and invest from a young age. To set up an account, however, they will need the consent of a parent or guardian who has a brokerage account with Fidelity.

“Fidelity is committed to responsibly supporting young investors,” said Jennifer Samalis, the company’s senior vice president of Acquisition and Loyalty, in a statement. “Importantly, our goal for the Fidelity Youth Account is to encourage young Americans to learn through action and foster meaningful family conversations around financial topics.”

The accounts come with built-in education models intended to boost financial literacy, according to Fidelity. A parent or guardian will have access to the youth account until the teen turns 18, when the account will transition into a standard brokerage account.

Fidelity had already been seeing a recent surge of young investors as of late. Of the 4.1 million accounts opened across the company in the first three months of the year, 1.6 million were opened by investors under age 3— a more than 220% increase compared with the same period a year ago.

Research contact: @FidelityNews

Mushroom growing kits are the new sourdough starter

April 29, 2021

Since the start of the pandemic, interest in growing mushrooms has … well, mushroomed, The Boston Globe reports.

And part of the reason for the toadstool trend is mushroom advocate and  agriculturist Elizabeth Almeida, who cultivates organic mushrooms indoors on blocks of sawdust at her Westford, Massachusetts-based company, Fat Moon Farm.

The blocks are inoculated with mycelium, (or the white, hairlike tendrils of fungus that we often see on old bread).Then, they incubate for anywhere from seven days to three months, depending on the strain. The setting mimics the natural environment in whichre mushrooms thrive.

Almeida grows several varieties—lion’s main, oyster, chestnut, pioppino, and shitake—and she sells largely to chefs, but also to selected grocers and farmstands.

Since she grew up on a farm and foraged for mushrooms as a child, Almeida’s work resonates with her life experience. But surprisingly, and even without a green thumb, you can also grow mushrooms with a grow kit—and Almeida offers these too.

The kits are inoculated with the mycelium and already incubated. Spraying frequently with water, you can watch the fungi quickly emerge—from a pinhead to fully formed clusters that can later top a pizza or give depth of flavor to a pasta dish.

We do the first two steps, and our customers do the last— fruit and harvest,” Almeida tells the Globe. She also holds Zoom classes to mentor budding mycophiles. I

Interest in her kits has surged this year as people seek the adventure of growing something to create delicious meals, she says. “Sourdough bread is 2020. Grow kits are 2021.”

Most of the grow kits sold on the  Fat Moon Farm website range from $25 to $40—and come with detailed instructions. The next, three-part, weekly, online course starts on May 1—and a “standard package” includes a grow kit and an eight-ounce bag of mushroom to enjoy.

Research contact: @BostonGlobe

Persona non grata: Jimmy Gomez drafts resolution to oust Marjorie Taylor Greene from House

February 1, 2021

California Representative Jimmy Gomez (D-34th District) has announced that he plans to introduce a resolution calling for the expulsion of Georgia Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-14th District) from the House of Representatives, The Boston Globe reports.

On grounds of “repeated endorsements of sedition, domestic terrorism, and political violence,” Gomez called Greene “a clear and present danger to Congress and our democracy.”

In a tweet announcing the resolution, Gomez said Greene “did it to herself, and she must go.”

“As if it weren’t enough to amplify conspiracy theories that the September 11 attacks were an inside job and the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School was staged, a string of recent media reports has now confirmed that Congresswoman [Greene] had previously supported social media posts calling for political violence against the Speaker of the House, members of Congress, and former President Barack Obama,” Congressman Gomez said in a statement.

Gomez was referencing a flurry of alarming moments involving the Georgia Republican that came into light this week.

CNN KFile review released on Tuesday, January 26, for example, unveiled a series of Green’s past social media posts from as recently as 2019, including one that pushed a baseless QAnon conspiracy which casts Donald Trump “in an imagined battle against a sinister cabal of Democrats and celebrities who abuse children.” The FBI has called QAnon a domestic terrorism threat and the Department of Homeland Security issued a national terrorism bulletin on Wednesday, January 27—warning of the potential for lingering violence from extremists enraged by President Joe Biden’s election and emboldened by the attack on the Capitol.

In another post from January 2019, Greene “liked” a comment that “a bullet to the head would be quicker” to remove Speaker Nancy Pelosi from the House, The Boston Globe said.

What’s more, CNN reports Greene “liked” comments about executing FBI agents who were part of the “deep state” working against Trump.

Greene released a statement in response to the CNN review, in which she claimed many people have run her Facebook page.

In another post that surfaced last week, Greene pushed a claim that the February 2018 Parkland, Florida, school shooting that killed 17 at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School was a “false flag” event — an incident that was faked or planned by someone other than the perpetrator to take away people’s guns. In May 2018, Greene posted a story about a disgraced sheiff’s deputy based near Parkland receiving a retirement pension. A commenter wrote: “It’s called pay off to keep his mouth shut since it was a false flag planned shooting,” to which Greene replied:

Indeed, Congressman Gomez, a Harvard Kennedy School grad, wasn’t alone in calling for Greene’s removal.

Massachusetts Representative Jim McGovern (District 02)) tweeted “this is sick” and said both Greene and House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy should resign.

Massachusetts Representative Jake Auchincloss (D-District 04) echoed his colleagues’ sentiments: “Words have consequences. [Greene] should resign. If she doesn’t, Congress needs to expel her. If you don’t understand that calling for the murder of political rivals is a threat to democracy, you shouldn’t be allowed to represent one.”

Research contact: @BostonGlobe

Parler reappears with help from Russian-owned security service

January 20, 2021

Parler—a social network similar to Twitter to which then-President Donald Trump fled after he was tossed off his @realDonaldTrump feed for bad behavior—has reappeared.

Early in January, Parler also was taken down—by big tech companies Apple, Google, and Amazon after it was used by members to send messages inciting violence at the U.S. Capitol. However, its website is back  up—powered by a hosting service from DDoS-Guard, a Web security service that is owned by two Russians, according to a report by The Boston Globe.

“Our return is inevitable due to hard work and persistence against all odds,” CEO John Matze wrote in a new post—the latest since Amazon Web Services stopped hosting the site and it was banned from Apple and Google’s app stores. “Despite the threats and harassment not one Parler employee has quit. We are becoming closer and stronger as a team.”

According to the Globe, public data associated with the Parler.com domain name shows that one of the Internet servers it directs visitors to is routed via DDoS-Guard. Another server, specifically for routing Parler.com e-mail but not website content, is an Outlook.com address, operated by Microsoft.

A spokesperson for DDoS-Guard said the company was not hosting Parler and declined to comment on what services it was providing to the social media app. It confirmed it did store customer data as part of its offering.

On Sunday, January 17, Apple CEO Tim Cook defended Apple’s decision to delist the Parler app despite complaints from critics that the move impinges on free speech.

“We looked at the incitement to violence that was on there,” Cook said on Fox News Sunday, adding, ”We don’t consider that free speech and incitement to violence has an intersection.”

Parler’s domain name is now registered with Epik, a website services company based in Sammamish, Washington, according to public records made available by Internet regulator Icann. Epik is also the domain registrar for Gab, another less restrictive social networking site popular with the far right.

Most of the features on Parler.com appeared to remain down early Tuesday, the Globe reports—besides statements from Matze and other employees. Members are unable to log in or post messages and the app is still unavailable in the Apple or Google Play stores.

Microsoft didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. Epik said in a sprawling statement on its website from JanIuary 11 that it’s had “no contact or discussions with Parler in any form.” The statement also addressed propaganda, breakdowns in civil society, and editorial malfeasance on the part of “major media owners.”

Before its ban, Parler—which has less restrictive terms dictating what members can post and was endorsed by some Republican lawmakers and media figures—had seen a surge in users as Twitter and Facebook banished outgoing President Trump along with users and groups that supported the violence.

Research contact: @BostonGlobe

 

President Joe Biden’s plea for the soul of America: ‘End this uncivil war’

January 20, 2021

Speaking from the West Front of the U.S. Capitol after a violent insurrection there claimed five lives on January 6, President Joe Biden’s first words as president offered Americans strong and direct reassurance that the most fundamental component of the nation’s government would remain intact, The Daily Beast reports.

“This is democracy’s day,” he said, minutes after being sworn into office by Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts as the 46th president of the United States. “A day of history and hope, of renewal and resolve. Through a crucible for the ages America has been tested anew, and America has risen to the challenge.”

“The people,” he continued, “the will of the people, has been heard, and the will of the people has been heeded. We’ve learned again that democracy is precious. Democracy is fragile. And at this hour, my friends, democracy has prevailed.”

Biden, 78, addressed two threats that have worsened under President Donald Trump’s administration, the unchecked coronavirus pandemic and the growing presence of terrorism at home—which only two weeks ago arrived at the very platform from which Biden spoke. Standing resolutely, his jacket pinned with a small American flag on a chilly Wednesday afternoon, the president championed the “restless, bold, optimistic” collective pursuit of restoring what has been lost.

In an acknowledgement of the still bitterly divided national political climate—which is expected to continue long after Biden’s first few days in office—he called on citizens to help de-escalate the rampant partisanship, the Globe said.

“We must end this uncivil war that pits red against blue, rural versus urban, conservative versus liberal,” he said. “We can do this if we open our souls instead of hardening our hearts, if we show a little tolerance and humility, and if we’re willing to stand in the other person’s shoes as my mom would say, just for a moment, stand in their shoes.”

Throughout his 20-minute address, Biden strove to provide a positive outlook for the nation’s future, seeking to remind viewers that, despite strife, sadness, and anger, his administration will offer a unified approach. He pledged to pen a new chapter in the “American story.”

A significant part of that book includes an historic start. “Today we mark the swearing in of the first woman in American history elected to national office, Vice President Kamala Harris. Don’t tell me things can’t change,” Biden said, beaming with pride for his number 2, who was sworn in by Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor.

“My whole soul is in it,” Biden said. “Today, on this January day, my whole soul is in this, bringing America together, uniting our people, uniting our nation. And I ask every American to join me in this cause,” he continued, to applause, listing off the “foes” he plans to combat: “Anger, resentment and hatred, extremism, lawlessness, violence, disease, joblessness and hopelessness.”

“America is once again the leading force for good in the world,” he said.

Research contact: @BostonGlobe

A Colorado lawmaker who tweeted Pelosi’s ‘safe room’ location during riot is asked to resign

January 13, 2021

Colorado Representative Lauren Boebert (R-3rd District) went on the offensive on Monday night, January 11, as Republicans issued a bellicose statement amid growing calls for her resignation following her actions before and during the riot at the U.S. Capitol, The Boston Globe reports.

A first-term lawmaker who ran as an outspoken defender of President Donald Trump, Boebert is facing serious pushback for tweeting about the location of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi as legislators were whisked to a secure location to shelter in place while insurrectionists stormed the building.

The vicious attacks on January 6 came after a rally held the same day by the outgoing president—who urged his followers to march to the Capitol and “fight like hell.”

Boebert accused Democrats of having their “hypocrisy” on “full display” with talks of impeachment, censure, and other ways to punish Republicans for false accusations of inciting the type of violence they have so frequently and transparently supported in the past.”

During the violent siege, Boebert first tweeted that representatives “were locked in the House Chambers” and then only a minute later that the “Speaker has been removed from the chambers.”

She dismissed the seriousness of the charges that she had endangered the life of Pelosi in her statement — or that her tweeting was even noteworthy in the first place.

“[Democrats] accuse me of live-tweeting the Speaker’s presence after she had been safely removed from the Capitol, as if I was revealing some big secret, when in fact this removal was also being broadcast on TV,” Boebert said.

The remainder of her statement was replete with baseless claims about President-elect Joe Biden, Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, Pelosi, and the “far-left,” the Globe reported.

She compared the Black Lives Matter protests — reported to be greater than 93% peaceful — to the dangerous insurrection, referring to them as “the violence over the summer.”

In response to Boebert’s tweets, Hawaii Senator Brian Schatz (D)  said late Monday that lawmakers “were specifically instructed by those protecting us not to tell anyone, including our family, where exactly we were, for reasons that remain obvious.”

Schatz continued that it’s not explicitly clear “to what extent the rioters were coordinating operationally with government officials,” so it’s vital that lawmakers and others are “extremely careful in this line of inquiry.”

“But we must discover which elected and appointed officials, if any, and which civil servants, were helping the coup,” Schatz added, according to the Globe.

Congress convened last Wednesday to certify the Electoral College votes, and thus, Biden’s victory. But Republicans in both the Senate and the House — in support of Trump and his baseless election fraud claims — vowed to protest the votes.

Even after the riot, dozens of Republican lawmakers still objected to the votes — ncluding Boebert.

While on the floor, Boebert addressed Pelosi directly and said that she had “constituents outside this building right now.”

Boebert, her voice rising during the speech, said that she had promised her voters to “be their voice.” She objected to the Electoral College votes in both Arizona and Pennsylvania, two states Biden decisively won.

Because of her actions, Boebert — who ran on a “pro-freedom, pro-guns, pro-constitution, pro-energy, pro-life, pro-Colorado, and pro-America” platform, according to her campaign website—has faced criticism and calls to step down from fellow lawmakers, including those within her own state.

California Representative Eric Swalwell (D) compared Boebert to a criminal Monday and suggested that she refrain from making any further incendiary remarks.

“Like any citizen who has committed a crime, Lauren Boebert has the right to remain silent,” he said. “I suggest that she use it.”

As of Monday, more than 20,000 tweets had racked up with the hashtag #ResignBoebert.

Research contact: @BostonGlobe

Dire straits: The decline (and feasible fall) of Lindsey Graham

October 13, 2020

At the 2012 Republican National Convention, Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, then a champion of bipartisan immigration reform, warned his party they had a problem. “We’re not generating enough angry white guys to stay in business for the long term,” he said, according to a report by The Boston Globe.

Now, he and his 2012 rhetoric are unrecognizable.

Indeed, a recent 81-second attack ad by the LindseyMustGo group shows the senator as he used to be—blasting Trump as a “jackass,” “kook,” “crazy” and “unfit for office” before the 2016 election—followed by clips of him today, heaping praise on the president, even calling for him to receive the Nobel Peace Prize.

Over the past few years, the third-term senator has jettisoned the conciliatory political persona he used to display and hitched his wagon to President Donald Trump’s fiery star, which seemed like an obvious recipe for 2020 success in a red state like South Carolina.

But he is now embroiled in the battle of his career against Jaime Harrison, a former state party chair trying to be the first Black Democrat elected to the Senate from the Deep South. Harrison raised a staggering $57 million over the last three months, and the Cook Political Report rates the race a “toss-up” — a startling turn of events for South Carolina, which hasn’t elected a Democratic senator or governor in more than 20 years.

According to the Globe, “The race has been turbocharged by Graham’s outsize role as a defender of the president and a key player in his effort to reshape the Supreme Court. As the chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, he will preside over the confirmation hearing of Judge Amy Coney Barrett beginning Monday — proceeding despite a clarion 2018 promise not to fill a Supreme Court vacancy so close to this election.”

Graham has called the confirmation process the “Super Bowl” of politics, and he is betting it will fire up South Carolina conservatives, who have long distrusted him, even as it riles up the Democrats determined to highlight his hypocrisy as another reason to send him packing.

“They hate me. This is not about Mr. Harrison. This is about liberals hating my guts,” a pugilistic Graham declared during a debate with Harrison on October 3.

But it’s more than that, Dan Carter, an emeritus professor at the University of South Carolina told the Globe.  “If Graham’s in any jeopardy at all,” he said, “it’s because of Trump and the fact that he had to go through all these contortions to protect himself on the right in the new Trump party.”

Graham, a former military lawyer, flipped his congressional district here in the upstate region of South Carolina in 1994 after a century of Democratic control, campaigning for term limits and against gays in the military. In 2003, he went on to the Senate, where he had a moderate countenanc —an impression fueled by his close friendship with Arizona Republican John McCain; and by his eagerness to join such bipartisan groups as the Gang of Eight. which worked on immigration reform during the Obama presidency. He also crafted climate legislation with Democrats.

He treated the Tea Party movement with undisguised disdain and survived primary challenges from the right in 2014 in part because so many conservatives jumped in to split the field, but he didn’t see the other asteroid that was coming to reshape his party. Graham’s doomed 2016 presidential bid — in which he called then-candidate Trump a “kook” who was “unfit for office” — flamed out before Iowa.

By 2018, he had moved toward Trump, becoming a golfing buddy of the president and an angry defender of his Supreme Court pick that year, Brett Kavanaugh, during a messy confirmation process that turned on accusations of sexual assault. In a party that had changed around him, Graham’s days of presenting himself as a moderate were long gone.

“As it relates to crossing the aisle or building consensus, I think he is fundamentally a builder and not a destroyer,” said Karen Floyd, the former chairwoman of the state’s Republican Party. “When the timing permits, he’ll build more.”

Democrats have gleefully seized on the shift as evidence Graham can’t be trusted. “Lindsey Graham is a flip-flopper. Flipping flippity flippity flop,” said Trav Robertson, the chair of the South Carolina Democrats. “And that’s why Lindsey Graham’s gonna lose.”

Research contact: @BostonGlobe

Car rental service Kyte, launching in Boston, delivers your drive directly to your door

October 2, 2020

Unless you own a car, getting around during the pandemic has become a game of chance: Chances are, you won’t get COVID-19; but there is a long shot that you will.

Thus, The Boston Globe recounts, Esteban Yepez was planning a late summer road trip when he found himself frustrated by the number of people he would have to interact with in order to get away.

Yepez doesn’t own a car, and during the pandemic he’s become far more hesitant about renting one. The idea of hopping on a train or calling a ride-hailing service to get to Boston’s Logan Airport, and then waiting in line at the rental desk just seemed risky, he thought, with too many ways of being exposed to COVID-19.

“We’re already doing our best to stay away from people,” he said of himself and his husband, who were planning a trip to Lincoln, New Hampshire..

So when he stumbled across a new car rental service that offered to drop off the vehicle at his door, he jumped. “I don’t have to go anywhere?” he recalled thinking. “That makes my trip even better.”

According to the Globe, the service is called Kyte, an app that enables users to book a rental car and have it dropped off at their homes. The drivers — called Kyte surfers — often stow motorized scooters in the cars’ trunks, and simply dash away after handing over the keys.

It’s a mobility concept born out of subverting the unique hassles of booking a rental car, but also one particularly well-suited for this moment, as many people are itching to travel safely while limiting their exposure to others.

And it’s arriving in Boston at an opportune time. The first few months of the pandemic upended the nation’s tourism economy, with airlines, hotels, and travel destinations reeling as they saw cataclysmic drop-offs in bookings.

Despite the public being largely restricted to ground travel, rental car companiesalso were hit hard. Hertz laid off 10,000 workers and filed for bankruptcy in May, and many other rental companies suffered as Americans canceled flight plans and rental cars to match.

“Safety concerns are the number one priority of our travelers right now,” Chuck Nardozza, the managing director of Travel Sales for AAA Northeast, told the Globe., adding,“Car rental companies are trying to adapt and putting in a lot of safety protocols in place.”

Enter Kyte. The San Francisco-based startup launched in 2019, and is currently operating there and in Los Angeles. But it’s been testing its service in Greater Boston since the end of July and officially launched October 1.

Unlike most competitors in the ride-hailing game, the company is poised to help bolster the rental car industry, Francesco Wiedemann, an MIT graduate and one of the company’s three co-founders told the news outlet.

That’s because Kyte doesn’t own a fleet of cars, but partners with established rental car companies and shares revenue with them. “Economically it makes sense: The [rental companies] don’t need counter staff to do all the upselling that people frankly don’t enjoy,” he said, “We actually have a waitlist of companies in different cities who want to partner with us.”

Kyte currently has 50 cars in Boston and employs about 15 “surfers” who clean and sanitize each car as it’s booked. The surfers are contractors — like Uber or Lyft drivers — who can choose how many pickups and drop-offs they want to do each day. The company doesn’t provide each surfer with a scooter but many purchase them shortly after starting, Wiedemann said, as it helps them quickly maneuver between jobs.

The Boston Globe reports that the daily rates for rentals are competitive with other rental companies, but customers pay an additional $19 booking fee to have the vehicles delivered to their door. For drop-offs, the drivers meet customers at their homes. There’s also no need to refuel, as the company will fill the tank at a market-rate gas station instead of upcharging you on gas, Wiedemann said.

And unlike Enterprise Rent-A-Car, where a driver “comes to your door and picks you up and then you go with them to the rental location and go through the regular booking process,” Wiedemann says, “we bring it to your door and you just start your trip there.”

Yepez told The Boston Globe that his experience getting his Kia Forte with Kyte was “seamless,” and, while the company is well positioned in this era of being overly cautious, its convenience will keep him as a customer even after there’s a vaccine.

Research contact: @BostonGlobe

Test your board game skills at the virtual Mind Sports Olympiad

July 23, 2020

Are you a master at Scrabble? A wizard at chess? A sought-out partner at bridge? Or a genius at Settlers of Catan? Then this just might be the perfect time to sign up for the annual Mind Sports Olympiad (MSO), a tabletop gaming and skills tournament going virtual amid the pandemic, reports The Boston Globe.

The event 15th annual event runs through the month of August, and registration is free to global audiences this year.

“Now is an amazing time to go global,” said event organizer Etan Ilfeld. “People everywhere are sharpening their skills and can put them to the test here.”

Gamers can sign up for classic events, like Bridge, Countdown, Draughts, and Checkers, or multi-player games including Ticket to Ride, Dominion, Quatro, 7 Wonders, and Kingdomino. The tournament also hosts exam-style activities — a speed reading and creative-thinking test, an intelligence challenge, a mental calculations quiz, and Sudoku.

Started in 1997, the MSO usually accommodates around 1,800 gamers every year for a week in London. Ilfeld hopes the upcoming remote alternative will attract at least double, or even triple, the number of participants, he told The Boston Globe.

“We designed it so it’s time-zone-friendly for the States,” he said. “It’ll be quite an event for sure, so we wanted it to be accessible to as many people as possible.”

A handful of games, like Rummikub , could not be translated online but have been replaced by new additions. TBA prizes will be awarded to winners.

The event starts Aug. 1 and each tournament competition is pre-scheduled and described on www.msoworld.com. Registration is required.

Among the sponsors and partners of the competition are Mensa, the World BackGammon Federation, the World Puzzle Federation, Europe Masters, and London On Board.

Research contact: @BostonGlobe