Best social media apps for iPhone and iPad in 2018

Looking for the best apps to keep up with the craziness of social media this year? These are the best!

Christine Chan

15 Nov 2018

In this day and age, it’s hard to escape social media—it’s literally all around us. And since we all have phones, it’s incredibly hard to just disconnect from it all. When a new social network pops up, a lot of us also migrate over, or at least try it out for a bit and then come back to what we know and are used to.

Regardless, there are quite a few options out there on the App Store if you want to get social, so we’ve rounded up some of the best options for you. Time to be a social butterfly!

  • Facebook
  • Messenger
  • Tweetbot
  • Twitterrific
  • Instagram
  • WhatsApp Messenger
  • Snapchat
  • Tumblr


This is the behemoth of social networks, and pretty much everyone and their mother (literally) uses it. With the official Facebook app, you’ll gain access to your News Feed, where you can view the updates of friends and family, as well as any Pages and Groups you follow. Links open up in the built-in browser, and you can make any edits to your profile and pages on-the-go from here. It’s the quintessential app, though it may drain your battery throughout the day (you’ve been warned).

Free – Download Now

Facebook Messenger

Why Facebook decided to remove access to your messages from the official app is a mystery that we’re all still trying to solve. But still, if you chat with your Facebook friend often, then Messenger is a must-have. The app lets you send messages to your friends or create group chats, and it’s also a way to reach out to businesses directly. Messenger also includes access to stickers, GIFs, voice and video calls, and you can even pay people directly through Messenger.

Free – Download Now


Tweetbot is one of the best third-party apps for Twitter. It features a slick, chronological timeline of tweets from people you follow (with no sponsored tweets), and you can also create lists and use them as curated timelines if the main timeline is too cluttered. Tweetbot’s support for mute filters through keywords or regular expressions is also unparalleled, so you don’t see things you don’t care about in your feed.

The latest update to Tweetbot also added some major cool new features, such as GIF support right in the timeline, an optimized dark theme for OLED displays, auto video playback in the timeline, and much more.

$4.99 – Download Now

Twitterrific 5

If you don’t want to pay for Tweetbot but don’t like the official Twitter app either, then another good alternative is Twitterrific. You’ll get chronological timelines with no ads, support for lists, mute filters for keywords and phrases, and plenty of customization options, like theming. Twitterrific also has multi-image support, and it’s available on both your iPhone and iPad. Plus, it’s free, with a tip jar if you choose to support the developers.

Free – Download Now


For those who prefer to socialize through visuals, Instagram is the place to be. You can post your photos (up to 10 at a time) to share with the world, or even go with Instagram Stories, which let your friends see what you’ve been up to without cluttering up your profile. As you follow people, their posts populate your feed, and you can double-tap to “like” items, and leave comments. If the person posts in another language, the translate button does a pretty good job of converting it into your language. Instagram also does a great job of showing content that’s relevant to your likes and interests and discovering new content from all over.

Free – Download Now

WhatsApp Messenger

Socializing doesn’t always have to be with everyone at once. WhatsApp lets you communicate with others individually, and all that’s needed is WhatsApp. With WhatsApp, you can send messages, make voice and video calls, share multimedia files, participate in group chats, and much more with just an Internet connection.

The biggest reason to use WhatsApp is if you have friends who live in other countries or continents. Since it just works over a data connection, you have no international fees to worry about, and you’re always connected. And if you’re away, messages are saved and ready to be viewed next time you’re on.

Free – Download Now


One of the most popular social networks with the younger crowd right now is Snapchat. With Snapchat, you can capture life’s best moments as they happen. There are a ton of fun effects and even special promo lenses to use to spruce up your selfie or photo as well. And with a lot of brands on the network, there’s unique content that you won’t find elsewhere, and it’s even a place to get your news, believe it or not. Everything you post on Snapchat stays for 24 hours before it’s deleted, but remember that people can screenshot what you post, so be mindful!

Free – Download Now


Another popular social network is Tumblr. It’s technically a microblogging site, but it looks and feels more like a network. You can find other Tumblr users who post things you like or are interested in, and “reblogging” their content on your feed (with credit) is super easy. The Tumblr app lets you post pretty much any text or media you want, with the ability to create your own GIFs. It’s geared more for the younger crowd, but you can pretty much find anything you want on Tumblr, regardless of age.

Free – Download Now

What are your favorite social media apps?

There are a ton of options out there for accessing your favorite social networks, but these are just a handful of our favorites and what’s popular these days. What are you currently using for social media? Let us know in the comments!


How To Buy This Chinese Social Media Leader For Less Than 6x EBIT

Weibo is China’s version of Twitter, except that it’s better managed and more profitable. This year, revenues and profits are expected to grow by more than 50% year-over-year; it’s a great business, with a long runway of growth ahead of it. Best of all, we have found a way to invest in Weibo at a 2019 EBIT multiple of less than 6x by purchasing shares of SINA Corporation.

Introducing SINA Corporation

SINA Corporation (“SINA”) is a Chinese technology company founded in 1998 as a web portal. Today, it is best-known for its investment in Weibo, which is one of China’s largest social networks.  Weibo’s business model is very similar to that of Twitter; money is made by placing ads and promoting feeds. Compared to Twitter, Weibo has 20%+ more monthly active users, those users spend more time on the platform per day, and Weibo is considerably more profitable. As a result, Weibo’s EBIT margins are currently between 35% and 40%, whereas Twitter, in comparison, is barely profitable.

Weibo EBIT margins are expected to remain above 35%.Appleseed Capital

Moreover, Weibo continues to grow at a rapid pace. Weibo’s revenues and operating profits are expected to increase by more than 50% in 2018 and by more than 30% in 2019. While investors are clearly and rightly concerned about a trade war between the United States and China and a related slowdown in China, Weibo revenues should continue to grow even through a global recession.

Weibo revenues are expected to increase by more than 50% in 2018.Appleseed Capital


The Weibo background is critical to understand because SINA Corporation owns a 46% stake in Weibo and is also the controlling shareholder in Weibo with 72% of all Weibo votes. While many investors who like Weibo’s business might choose to invest directly in Weibo shares, it seems to be a far more compelling proposition to invest in shares of SINA.

Why SINA Corporation Shares Are So Cheap

Thus far, emerging market stocks are in a bear market in 2018, and some investors would argue that emerging market stocks are currently a great buy. Both SINA and Weibo saw their stock prices plummet by 50% or more since their recent highs on U.S.-China trade war talk and the unexpected rise of Douyin, a Snapchat-like short-video platform that was launched in late-2016 and that has already reached 500 million monthly users.

The market seems to believe that Douyin’s massive early growth has come at Weibo’s expense. However, thus far, Weibo’s operating metrics have barely been influenced by the rise of Douyin; monthly users, daily users, and time spent share all continue to increase. Users appear to be using Weibo and Douyin for fundamentally different reasons, and it seems unlikely that Douyin will take market share from Weibo’s microblogging territory.

As a result of this considerable drop in price, Weibo is now trading at approximately 12.0x consensus FY2019 EBIT, which represents excellent value for a fast-growing, highly profitable business. That said, SINA’s shares represent an even more exciting investment opportunity.

SINA’s market cap currently stands at $4.4 billion. Of this, $1.8 billion is attributable to cash and investments not related to Weibo. Therefore, the market values SINA’s 46% stake in Weibo at $2.7 billion, even though Weibo’s current market cap is $12.7 billion.

While Weibo is likely undervalued, SINA’s stake in Weibo seems significantly undervalued. At the $2.7 billion value which Mr. Market ascribes to SINA’s stake in Weibo, investors are effectively buying shares of Weibo, through SINA, at a multiple of just 5.9x consensus FY 2019 EBIT.

Moreover, SINA’s stake in Weibo deserves a premium because SINA owns Class B shares of Weibo, each of which has three votes, compared to only one vote per every publicly-traded Class A share.

In summary, SINA Corporation investors should have two ways to generate an attractive return:

  1. Should the valuation gap between SINA and Weibo ever close, SINA’s share price should appreciate considerably, even if Weibo never recovers from the recent investor panic.
  2. Should Weibo get its growth-company multiple back and/or reach the median sell-side target price, SINA shareholders should be handsomely rewarded through its investment in Weibo.

Should neither happen, it seems likely that SINA management would buy back shares until the valuation gap disappeared.

SINA Corporation Management

Importantly, SINA’s CEO owns $500 million worth of SINA stock and has a track record of sound capital allocation and returning capital to shareholders. SINA repurchased $303 million of stock as part of a buyback program that expired in June 2018, which translated into a 5% reduction in shares outstanding at an average price of $89 per share. Given the valuation gap between SINA shares and Weibo shares, it seems likely that SINA will continue to repurchase shares at prices which should be accretive to SINA’s intrinsic value.


Given the 50% decline that SINA shares have already experienced, this is not a risk-free investment. Like many Chinese tech companies, SINA Corporation and Weibo are structured as variable interest entities to allow SINA and Weibo to raise capital in foreign markets. Investors in SINA are taking on business risk, technology risk, currency risk, and country risk. Given the attractive valuation of SINA shares, we believe Weibo’s risks have already been discounted.

The 2018 emerging market bargain hunt has begun, and I don’t know how long it will last.  It’s worth taking a look at SINA Corporation, and, while you’re at it, it’s worth taking a look at SK Telecom too.

Disclosure: Adam Strauss owns SINA Corporation and SK Telecom in some of his funds. This article is for informational purposes only and is not a recommendation to buy or sell a security.  The views are those of Adam Strauss as of the date of publication and are subject to change and to the disclaimers of Appleseed Capital.


Is LinkedIn Poised To Be The Next Big Social Network … For Brands?

LinkedIn has always been overshadowed by its rowdy younger siblings. Born way back in 2002 — before Instagram and Snapchat, even before Facebook and Twitter — the button-downed business platform has never attracted the drama or hype of other social networks. There’s no movie about its founder. It’s not in the crosshairs of Congressional investigations. And its “influencers” are more likely to be boring business leaders (myself included) than Kylie Jenner wannabes.

But quietly, in predictably business-like fashion, LinkedIn has emerged as a social force to be reckoned with. It now counts more than 500 million members. More than 100 million of those are monthly active users, meaning people who check in frequently to post and engage with followers, rather than just update their resume once or twice a year. Perhaps more to the point, these users are — by definition — business professionals. They’re generally upwardly mobile and turn to the network for serious engagement, not to share memes or launch into toxic rants.

As companies seek new ways to engage customers, employees and stakeholders, while also wrestling with the fallout from scandals on Facebook and Twitter, a surprising number are turning to LinkedIn. All of which raises the question: could LinkedIn be the next big thing for brands?

No-nonsense professionalism that’s strangely addictive

Yes, social media can (and should) be fun. But we’ve seen the consequence of too much of a good thing. The glut of memes and clickbait clogging feeds has forced Facebook and Twitter to radically recalibrate their algorithms in an effort to surface more relevant, useful content. Both networks have battled the proliferation of bots and contended with bad actors intent on either scraping data or manipulating users with fake content. Unless you’ve been asleep for the past two years, you know the consequences all too well.

LinkedIn has been mercifully spared most all of this controversy and confusion. It was never a place for viral videos or buzzworthy headlines. Posts have always skewed toward the courteous, the actionable and the insightful — something social media fans are increasingly hungry for today. Meanwhile, hardcore LinkedIn users know that there’s a certain warm professionalism that underlies many exchanges on the platform. In short, LinkedIn offers a kind of stability, civility and real value that’s sorely needed on some social platforms.


An employer brand no-brainer

Right now, the U.S. is experiencing the tightest labor market in recent memory. In this context, employer brand — a company’s reputation as a place to work, above and beyond whatever its brand reputation may be — has become a significant differentiator. Companies able to send the message that they’re a genuinely progressive, engaged and even fun place to work often have a real leg up over rivals. And LinkedIn — which is filled with nothing but professionals looking (or soon to be looking) for jobs —is the optimal place to convey that message.

I’ve seen this firsthand in the tech space, where the competition for recruits is notoriously tight. Not only does Hootsuite cultivate a presence through its LinkedIn Company page (which has grown to more than 200,000 followers), but for years I’ve also shared updates and blog posts as CEO from my own profile. By relaying stories about building culture, employee perks and leadership, we’ve been able to project Hootsuite’s employer brand and give a uniquely human face to the company.

The impact has been real and sustained. Posts receive dozens of likes and comments — thoughtful, insightful responses from professionals in tech and social media. And the trickle down effects can be dramatic. A recent LinkedIn blog post on how much we value our sales team and how hard it is to find great tech salespeople led to more than 1,000 visits to our career page and 100-plus applications.

Not just for B2B marketers any more  

For companies operating in the business-to-business space, the benefits of being active on LinkedIn are pretty obvious. An estimated 40 million business decision makers (i.e. the people who seal the deals and sign the contracts) spend their time on LinkedIn. It’s widely regarded as the number one social network for lead generation and, according to some sources, boasts a three times better conversion rate than Facebook or Twitter.

What’s easily overlooked, however, is that LinkedIn can also be an effective way to for brands to reach a general consumer audience. After all, the half-a-billion business professionals on the network are also consumers themselves. And they generally have disposable income to spare. More than half have a college degree and 44% make more than $75,000 per year. Plus, as other networks grow increasingly crowded with ads and clickbait, LinkedIn is proving attractive as not simply the “professional network” but the social network of choice for many users.

Importantly, it’s not just “boring business updates” that find an audience. In my experience, LinkedIn content that hits the sweet spot of personal-meets-professional garners the most engagement. (Think, pics of your latest team-building outing, not pdfs of your latest whitepaper.) Videos and photos — gold on other social platforms — perform equally well on LinkedIn. Adding topical hashtags and directly mentioning other users improves organic engagement. Meanwhile, having your own employees follow your company’s page, and interact with updates, can dramatically extend the reach of your LinkedIn posts.

Quietly committed to innovation (and integrations)

Perhaps the most exciting element of LinkedIn is its quiet, but absolutely relentless, pace of innovation. A few years ago, the network was just a place to post your resume. In 2015, they added blogging and now publish 100,000 articles a week. Last year, they unveiled native video, become a video publishing platform. This fall, they beefed up their Groups functionality, anticipating an industry-wide shift by social users to more intimate, member-only spaces. Plus, a host of new integrations with LinkedIn’s Company Pages — including one that enables users to post videos and respond to comments directly from Hootsuite — has made the platform more attractive than ever for brands. Other networks may steal the headlines, but LinkedIn has aggressively remade itself behind the scenes.

Then, there are the premium data analysis and targeting capabilities that many users never see. The detailed info provided by LinkedIn members means it’s possible to gain insight into exactly who’s viewing your profile and content — right down to current company and job title. While LinkedIn’s ad platform isn’t as widely used as Facebook’s, this same detailed demographic info allows for precision targeting. Not to mention, Microsoft’s recent acquisition means that LinkedIn data and profiles are now being integrated into the full range of Microsoft products, everything from consumer apps like Outlook and Word to enterprise CRM software like Dynamics 365.


Making Social Media Additive — Not Addictive

At the time of writing, the author holds stock positions in Facebook and Salesforce.)

People spend 1 billion hours a day on YouTube. That’s enough person-hours to build 142 Empire State Buildings every single day.

The amount of time and energy consumed by entertainment technology and social media is staggering. An NBC News analysis suggested Facebook alone was responsible for up to $3 trillion in lost productivity.

While social media clearly has many benefits, it raises questions about whether these interactions could be translated into tangibly productive activity — and still be enjoyable. Can all this brainpower be channeled in novel ways to create new and enriching byproducts?

More Symptoms

The most “liked” Instagram post of all time is a picture of Kylie Jenner’s newborn baby clutching Kylie’s perfectly manicured thumbnail. It’s a great picture; Oxford University research actually suggests cuteness plays an innate role in baby caregiving. However, tech firms and content creators can now take advantage of how we’re wired on a scale never before seen. Now, the beneficiary isn’t the baby who gets taken care of by his/her entire village. It’s the big tech company that sells more ads or a celebrity cosmetics startup that gets free marketing.

It’s unclear whether it’s healthy for 18 million people to obsess over a stranger’s baby. But it’s worth noting that, if each person looked at that picture for 10 seconds, that sums to roughly 25 person-years of effort (assuming an eight-hour workday). That’s even more time than it took to develop Instagram itself.

Dangerous Incentives

Unsurprisingly, Google’s, Facebook’s and Twitter’s true “product” is advertising. Advertising-based business models are a dominant paradigm in tech, and they’re vastly more effective with more user attention. This generates not only more ad impressions but also valuable data advertisers use for hyper-targeting.

Cutthroat competition for ad spend has created an arms race. Technology has become ever more captivating in a Darwinian way. As we use it, more A/B tests are run and more data is generated. It’s all used to make these products even more engaging — to the point of arguably becoming addictiveMore than half of Facebook users say they use Facebook “several times” a day.

Recently some prominent tech leaders have voiced concerns about social media and the vast amount of data some companies are collecting:

“Facebook is the new cigarettes. It’s addictive. It’s not good for you.” – Marc Benioff, CEO, Salesforce

“The narrative that some companies will try to get you to believe is: ‘I’ve got to take all of your data to make my service better.’ … it’s a bunch of bunk” – Tim Cook, CEO, Apple

Are you truly enriched by that funny cat video the genius algorithms know you’ll “like”? Are we at risk of a technology-driven attention singularity, where these products become such an irresistibly enjoyable black hole of our time — leveraging every quirk about what we humans find interesting — that they detract from productive activity? It’s a world where we’re all zombies involuntarily gazing at our own navels. The consequences would be devastating.


‘Incompatible With Life’, TB Patients Struggle with Modi Government’s Policy on Nutrition

'Incompatible With Life', TB Patients Struggle with Modi Government's Policy on Nutrition

‘Incompatible with life’. That’s a death sentence, backed by medical science and given by doctors to thousands of Tuberculosis patients around India.

And 25-year-old Rani, a tribal woman who is a Tuberculosis patient at the Jan Swasthya Sahyog hospital in Chhattisgarh, is tottering on the brink of this sentence.

When Rani arrived at this hospital three months ago, she had a body mass index (BMI) of nine. Any BMI less than 13 is medically classified as ‘incompatible with life’.

Rani is an adult woman but could easily be mistaken for a child. TB has devastated her body, and she is all bones. “I’m getting hiccups,” she said faintly, and her mother had to help her drink water.

The approach to tackling TB the world over has been bacteriological: medical science and public policy have focused on the TB bacteria – Mycobacterium tuberculosis – as being the cause for TB. Strictly speaking, it is the cause for TB. Yet the bacteria itself remains present, latently, in thousands of people, especially in TB-heavy countries like India. But TB doesn’t manifest in all people who carry the bacteria. How does this happen?

This is because the mere presence of the bacteria may not itself trigger TB. But the bacteria accompanied by other bad influences, ‘risk factors’ and ‘co-morbidities’ can flare the latent bacteria to manifest itself as TB.

Rani, a TB patient whose body mass index has fallen to levels considered ‘incompatible with life’. Credit: Anoo Bhuyan

Rani in Chhattisgarh has the odds stacked against her, and she is one of India’s thousands of TB patients. According to the Global TB Report 2017, India saw 28 lakh new TB cases and 4.2 lakh deaths of patients with TB.

But the ‘germ theory’ approach to TB has meant that medical science and government intervention do not focus on links such as the “jugalbandi between undernutrition and TB,” says Dr Yogesh Jain at the JSS hospital.

The global goal to eliminate TB has been set at 2030. The Modi government has committed to achieving this by 2025. India has the highest number of TB cases in the world.

“Unacceptably high” health statistics in tribal areas

According to Tribal Health in India, a government of India report submitted in 2017, malnutrition in tribal areas is a “paradox.” Malnutrition, which is considered as stunting in children and low body mass index in adults, is “unacceptably high” and is far more than among non-tribal populations.

The status of pulmonary TB in tribal areas is also significantly higher than the rest of the country: tribal areas see 703 cases as against 256 per one lakh.

The likes of Rani, living in tribal parts of Chhattisgarh, are living these statistics out themselves.

Also read: Debate: India’s TB Patients Need Bedaquiline Now, Never Mind the Critics

But yet policy makers in India do not act upon these linkages.

“Undernutrition is the most widely prevalent risk factor for TB in the Indian population, and it is also the most widely prevalent comorbidity in patients with TB in India. But this is a correctable and modifiable risk factor,” says Dr Anurag Bhargava, a TB researcher and currently a professor at Yenepoya Medical College.

Jain agrees: “While there is a lot of talk of drug resistance in TB, in these depressed parts of the country, this is not the most important issue. The biggest issue we see with our TB patients is, actually, undernutrition.”

Radical shift in TB control

India started recognising the nutritional support aspect of TB control in 2017. The National Strategic Plan for Tuberculosis currently has a budget of Rs 5527 crore for India’s projected nine million TB patients. Of this, Rs 1,200 crore is for nutritional and social support for patients.

Nutritional support means a ‘sustenance’ of Rs 500 per month (USD 8) during the treatment of TB via a direct benefit transfer to the patients.

But the government is still only looking at nutritional support to help TB patients strengthen themselves during ‘treatment’ of TB. Doctors like Bhargava and Jain are saying that the government should be looking at fixing India’s nutrition problem to ‘prevent’ TB and not just treat it.

This would be a radical shift in India’s approach to TB control.

India also contributes the largest burden of TB patients globally.

India struggles with keeping its people nourished. According to the latest Global Hunger Index, India ranks 100 out of 119 countries. In Asia, only Pakistan and Afghanistan rank lower than India. India contributes a third to the global burden of undernutrition. India also contributes the largest burden of TB patients globally.

It is not that the Indian government does not know this. In the national TB plan, the union health ministry explains that these links are “bidirectional”: “Under-nutrition is a risk factor for tuberculosis which in turn worsens the nutritional status, generating a vicious cycle which can lead to adverse outcomes (during and following therapy) for patients with active tuberculosis including those with multi-drug resistant TB. This interaction is particularly important in the Indian context where food insecurity and under-nutrition coexist with a large burden of tuberculosis.”

As a solution, the government has announced a support scheme of Rs 500 per patient per month to help them buy better food and nutrition. Patients receive the money through bank transfer, and they would all need to be linked by Aadhaar to the government’s transfer system, ‘Nikshay’.

‘Direct benefit transfer’ hinders treatment

“The feedback we have from the ground is that the DBT scheme has numerous challenges. First, access is an issue, there is little awareness. Moreover, the amount is too little and many patients think it’s pointless to apply,” says Chapal Mehra, a volunteer with Survivors for TB.

Mehra says that despite the government clarifying on Aadhaar cards not being necessary for treatment, there is still confusion among health workers and patients on the ground.

A TB patient at the JSS hospital in Chhattisgarh who says he doesn’t know his bank details to access the government’s cash transfer. Credit: Anoo Bhuyan

For Rani in Chhattisgarh, accessing nutrition through the government’s plan is not an option. She is so weak that she cannot sit up in bed. She is hypothermic, covered with blankets and a heater on next to her. She is connected to a giant oxygen cylinder. She has been vomiting all day. Her husband has abandoned her because she “cannot work anymore.” She asks her mother to help her sit up to drink water, then immediately says, “Hold me, I’m going to fall.”

For Rani to access the government’s ‘nutritional support’, she would have to go to give her biometrics at a government centre, wait for the Aadhaar card to be delivered to her address, then withdraw the monthly money and then go and buy her ration herself.

Another TB patient at the hospital is sipping water with his wife wearing a mask beside him. “Have you eaten today?” his doctor asks him. He and his wife are both agricultural labourers and they say they don’t know about the government’s plan to give Rs 500 to TB patients. “Rs 500 is not going to help us. For my treatment, we have to pay for food, transport, accommodation. A bus ticket itself costs Rs 90. I don’t remember my bank account number either.”


PepsiCo Continues Health Kick, Reveals First Startups For Its Accelerator Program

PepsiCo picked health-and-wellness-focused brands for its first U.S. Nutrition Greenhouse.Credit: PepsiCo

PepsiCo announced last week that it will acquire U.K.-based snack maker Pipers Crisps, the latest in a series of acquisitions that are a key part of the company’s growth strategy. The brand makes familiar crisps, but its newest products, Pipers Crispeas, are high-protein, high-fiber, pea-based snacks that play in the better-for-you space.

It’s a space where PepsiCo is becoming increasingly at home.

The company that used to be known for its sugary sodas and salty snacks is rapidly growing its investment in plant-based products and other food and beverage brands that are focused on health, wellness and sustainability.

Last month, PepsiCo acquired Health Warrior, a maker of plant-based protein bars, powders and other snacks, for an undisclosed amount. Earlier this year, the company paid $3.2 billion for carbonated beverage machine maker SodaStream, betting that demand for unsweetened bubbly water drinks would continue to climb.

“We continue to position ourselves at the forefront of changing consumer preferences and trends,” PepsiCo North America CEO Al Carey said when the company announced its acquisition of Health Warrior.

The most recent acquisitions in the healthy snacking and better-for-you beverage arena have been established brands with significant sales and distribution. But PepsiCo’s also looking ahead with its Nutrition Greenhouse project.


On Monday, the company released the list of the first 10 startups for the first round of the program in the U.S.

The companies receive $20,000 from PepsiCo at the start of the program, along with mentorship and support to help them achieve specific, growth-oriented goals. At the end of six months, the company that has come the furthest will receive an additional $100,000.

PepsiCo is looking to ventures that resonate with changing consumer tastes, said Daniel Grubbs, managing director of PepsiCo Ventures Group and project lead for the Nutrition Greenhouse program.

“The Greenhouse companies are a reflection of where the consumer is,” he said.

Mentorship and advice will come from executives in PepsiCo’s established brands including Quaker Oats, Naked Juice and KeVita, a kombucha brand it acquired two years ago.

The roster of 10 companies selected for the Nutrition Greenhouse includes Remedy Organics, a plant-based functional beverage maker that began with a food-as-medicine strategy, said Cindy Kasindorf, who founded the brand with her husband, serial entrepreneur Henry Kasindorf.

Remedy Organics’ beverages are made with superfoods and fresh ingredients like hemp seeds, turmeric and spirulina, which are listed on the front of the clear bottles.

Cindy, a nutritional health counselor, dreamed up the idea for the company after she introduced her clients to plant-based beverages and other natural remedies and saw that they were helping, she said.

The venture began in her home kitchen, where she made enough to sell at the local bagel shop. Her story and her passion sold the products, she said, and today the drinks are sold at more than 1,000 stores in the New York metro area including Wegmans, Whole Foods Market and Shop Rite.

The husband-and-wife team sought expert advice from the beginning and the Nutrition Greenhouse will allow them to do that on a larger scale as they expand nationally and develop new product lines.

“We’re using this a vessel for our mission to bring better food to the world through mainstream channels,” Cindy said.

Rule Breaker Snacks, another Greenhouse company, has already overcome some significant hurdles to growth, starting with its name.

Nancy Kalish started the venture to devise healthier versions of the treats that daily tempted her sweet tooth. Kalish named the startup Pure Genius and started promoting her chickpea-based brownies and other baked goods at trade shows, only to find out the name she hoped to trademark was already taken.

Kalish cried a tear or two, then came up with Rule Breaker.

“It hit me that we really are rule breakers, we’re disrupting the snack industry,” she said.

A tougher challenge cropped up when the brand tried to expand into more retail outlets. It already had a distribution deal with Whole Foods Market, which had helped the brand get set up to deliver the product to the store frozen, where it was defrosted with a shelf life of three weeks. Other retailers needed the product to stay fresh for much longer, so it was back to the drawing board, this time with food scientists.

About a year ago, the team started from scratch and reformulated the recipes to create a product that’s shelf-stable for a year, she said.

“I honestly think that opened the door to a lot of bigger retailers who didn’t want to touch us with a 10-foot pole before,” she said. “Without that I don’t think I would have been in a position to apply for the Nutrition Greenhouse.”

Now the products are in Wegmans and Kroger stores and available via Amazon, and Rule Breakers faces new challenges.

“Now big retailers do want us and we need some help with that,” she said.

Her team is dedicated and working seven days a week, she said, but it’s a small group and there’s no time left for big-picture planning and strategizing for not only keeping up with existing demand but also driving growth. That’s where PepsiCo’s program comes in.

“I want to learn about e-commerce and customer acquisition and scaling up so that we don’t overextend ourselves,” she said.

Kalish met with her mentor for the first time last week and, in addition to the welcome advice on offer, she enjoyed her first chance in years to take a break from putting out fires and just talk about her business and feel nurtured by someone who was there to listen and help.

Plant-based seafood company Sophie’s Kitchen began with a passion for solving the global problem of overfishing and the looming challenge of feeding the more than 9 billion people expected to inhabit the planet by 2050, said founder Eugene Wang.

“A lot of the Asian countries consume a lot of seafood and I think I’m possible the best ambassador to help the world correct the problem [of overfishing,]” he said.

Wang’s family has been making vegetarian food for half a century, often using the Asian root vegetable called konjac that’s the base of the shrimp, crab and other vegan seafood dishes sold under the Sophie’s Kitchen brand.

“Demand for anything plant-based, especially seafood, is growing around the world,” he said.

Now that the eight-year-old company’s products are in grocery stores around the country, Wang has a new goal he hopes to get help with during the PepsiCo program – foodservice.

“Shrimp alone is an over $1 billion market in U.S. foodservice, not to mention the global market, so a lot of foodservice operators are talking to us,” he said.

The group of applicants for the Greenhouse was bigger and more diverse than PepsiCo expected and the 10 selected reflect that, Grubbs said.

“The common thread among the companies is that they’re all really passionate and focused in terms of their personal missions, they’re clean ingredients focused and putting new spins on the category,” he said.


Students ‘Cooking Up Change’ in spite of lax nutrition requirements

Cooking Up Change

Cooking Up Change participants are challenged to create a new school lunch option for Chicago Public Schools and are judged by a panel of professional chefs. | Provided by Healthy Schools Campaign

If Chicago Public School students participating in the Cooking Up Change competition do well on Wednesday, they won’t be traveling to Washington D.C. for a final culinary contest.

That’s partly due to the Trump Administration’s rollback of nutritional requirements in school lunches.

States are no longer required to meet the same standards for whole grains, lower sodium and low-fat flavored milks offered in school lunch programs that were initiated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture during former President Barack Obama’s tenure.

Since 2011, Cooking Up Change contest finalists from around the country would go to the nation’s capitol to face off against their peers and meet their local legislators to talk about the importance of healthy options in schools.

But the Trump Administration has lack of appetite for a discussion around school lunch nutrition, organizers say.

This year, however, there will be a designated day in the spring for the Cooking Up Change winning dishes to be served across the country as a statement to advocate for healthy school meals, said Sara Porter, vice president of external affairs for Healthy Schools Campaign, the non-profit that runs the competition.

Porter said requirements have also been loosened this year to allow more schools to participate in the contest.

Chicago Cooking Up Change participants are enrolled Chicago Public Schools Career and Technical Education Culinary program. | Provided by Healthy Schools Campaign

In Chicago, student competitors are enrolled in CPS’ Career and Technical Education Culinary program and winners will have their meals served at all CPS schools.

For Wednesday’s competition at the Bridgeport Art Center, teams from seven different schools will prepare lunch options using the same ingredients and equipment.

Teams must adhere to nutrition rules –– no added salt or sugar –– and to a budget of $1.40 per plate. A panel of judges will be selecting the winners.

There is also a breakfast category in this year’s competition, requiring students to whip up a main dish that can be eaten without utensils with a fruit and a vegetable side dish. The winners for the breakfast contest will be decided by guests at Wednesday’s event.

The winning team members will receive $1,000 scholarships to the Washburne Culinary and Hospitality Institute at Kennedy-King College.

Julissa Villegas, a 17-year-old senior at Benito Juarez High School, said her team has come up with a new version of chicken and waffles that trades in the waffle for French toast and spices up both the chicken and maple syrup dipping sauce with cayenne pepper.

“In the world, there is a lot of obesity,” Villegas said. “We want to have a healthy meal in school but that is also delicious and tastes good.”

Nyah Griffin, who was on the first winning team from Chicago Vocational Career Academy in 2007, is returning as a judge and chef mentor.

“It’s more so about being passionate about the food,” said Griffin, manager of food service at Mercy Home for Boys and Girls. “The competition can be hectic and it’s stressful, but if it’s about the food at the end of the day, everything else will fall into place.”

John Colletta, executive chef and managing partner of Quartino Ristorante and Wine Bar, is judging for the first time on Wednesday.

“It’s actually remarkable to see the things they’ve [students] come up with their limited background and limited exposure,” Colletta said.


Nutrition Programmes, Education May Help Lower Anaemia In India

Nutrition Programmes, Education May Help Lower Anaemia In India

According to a study published in the BMJ Global Health Journal, improved public health and nutrition programmes for children under five years of age, and higher education and wealth among expectant mothers substantially contributed to lowering anaemia among these two groups between the years 2006 and 2016. As per the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), Anaemia reduction among teenage girls and women under 50 years of age, however, showed minimal progress. More than half of the population of women and children in India is anaemic and is, therefore, currently experiencing reduced quality of life in various respects, which includes work capacity, fatigue, cognitive function, birth outcomes and child development.

According to the researchers, in addition to describing the problem, showing slow improvements, and showing high variability between different states, their paper identifies drivers of anaemia from a broad set of potential drivers at various levels. Among various drivers, positive changes in mothers’ education, coverage of nutrition and health interventions, socioeconomic status, sanitation and meat and fish consumption contributed to improvement in the haemoglobin count – low haemoglobin count indicates anaemia – among both children and pregnant women during 2006-16.

Better education alone accounted for nearly one-fourth of the improvement seen in the haemoglobin count among expectant mothers, and one-tenth in children. The researchers said that further improvements in these common drivers can substantially impact maternal and child anaemia, simultaneously bringing down anaemia prevalence across the country in these two groups.

Haemoglobin and anaemia improved significantly among children less than five years; and pregnant women 15-49 years old, but not in the non-pregnant women in the same age group between 2006 and 2016. Anaemia declined by 11 percentage points among children (70 per cent in 2006 to 59 per cent in 2016), 7.6 percentage points among expectant mothers (58 per cent to 50.4 per cent), and a mere 2.1 percentage points in teenage girls and women under 50 (55 per cent to 52.9 per cent).

The researchers claimed that no progress has been made in reducing anaemia among non-pregnant adult women in India in the last decade. Most programmes have not focused on this group but, instead, have focused on pregnant women and young children.

India’s recently launched Anaemia Mukt Bharat initiative puts the focus on women of reproductive age (20-49 years), who will start receiving weekly iron-folic acid supplementation, which supports the finding on the need to attend to this population segment. In addition, the Centre has mandated the fortification of salt with iodine and iron, and wheat flour with iron, folic acid and Vitamin B-12.


Here’s how the two winners of $687.8 million Powerball jackpot can invest their windfall

For the two winners who have come forward to split the $687.8 million Powerball jackpot, investing is about to take on a whole new meaning.

Robert Bailey, a 67-year-old retired postal worker in New York, claimed his lump-sum share — about $125.4 million after tax withholdings — on Wednesday. The other winner, Lerynne West, a 51-year-old mother of three in Redfield, Iowa, came forward more than a week ago to claim her haul of $140.6 million (also after tax withholdings). The amounts are not the same due to different state and/or local tax withholding rates.

Both of the winners will see doors open to an investment world that most Americans will never get a direct peek at.

A customer holds a handful of Powerball tickets.

Justin Sullivan | Getty Images
A customer holds a handful of Powerball tickets.

“At that level, you have access to the types of investments that university endowments and pension funds can use,” said Matt Chancey, a certified financial planner based in Orlando. “It doesn’t mean the investments are more risky, per se, you just have to qualify.”

For both Bailey and West, that shouldn’t be a problem.

To get access to more exclusive investments opportunities, wealthier people can be deemed “accredited” by federal regulators — meaning they meet the test of having at least $1 million in investable assets (excluding the value of their home) or average yearly earnings of $200,000 ($300,000 for married couples).

Top 10 lottery jackpots

Date won
Winner locations
1 $1.586 billion Jan. 13, 2016 Powerball CA-FL-TN
2 $1.54 billion Oct. 23, 2018 Mega Millions SC
3 $758.7 million Aug. 23, 2017 Powerball MA
4 $687.8 million Oct. 27, 2018 Powerball IA-NY
5 $656 million Mar. 30, 2012 Mega Millions KS-IL-MD
6 $648 million Dec. 17, 2013 Mega Millions CA-GA
7 $590.5 million 18-May-13 Powerball FL
8 $587.5 million Nov. 28, 2012 Powerball AZ-MO
9 $564.1 million Feb. 11, 2015 Powerball NC-PR-TX
10 $559.7 million Jan. 6, 2018 Powerball NH

Investment opportunities that will become available to the winners run the gamut. For instance, they could gain access to private equity funds that invest in companies whose shares don’t trade on stock exchanges. Or, they could get the chance to invest in commercial real estate, energy projects like oil exploration, or venture capital funds that invest in things like tech startups.

In other words, once you have real wealth, you’re considered to be a more sophisticated investor than the average person, Chancey said.

“But getting a windfall of that amount doesn’t necessarily mean you’re actually a sophisticated investor,” he said.

This is why enlisting the help of professionals is worthwhile for people who come into sudden wealth. Both Powerball winners could even look into hiring a dedicated team of professionals — a financial advisor, an attorney and an accountant — to exclusively handle their riches.

This is what you do if you win the lottery

This is what you do if you win the lottery   1:48 PM ET Thu, 18 Oct 2018 | 01:18

“You’re in a completely different position with that kind of money,” Chancey said. “You can build your own financial services team that is dedicated all day to your financial affairs.”

For both Bailey and West, minimizing taxes likely will factor prominently in their financial decisions. While both winners had taxes withheld from their share, it doesn’t mean the amount accurately reflects what will be due at tax time.

The federal withholding rate on lottery wins is 24 percent, although both winners will face the top rate of 37 percent — plus state taxes of 8.82 percent in New York and 8.98 percent in Iowa (8.53 percent as of 2019). Bailey also faces local taxation of 3.88 percent due to residing in New York City.

Depending on a variety of factors — including how the winners choose to spend, invest or give away through charitable causes — the final tax bill could me more or less.

More from Personal Finance:
Here’s how much workers in other countries need to retire
Most Americans aren’t saving nearly enough for retirement
The top three things you’re not doing that are keeping you from becoming rich

One of the ways to reduce the amount forked over in taxes is to set up a charitable foundation. Basically, the government gives you a tax break if you use private money to do public good.

West, the Iowa winner, already announced plans to start a foundation and to donate $500,000 to a group that serves wounded veterans. Bailey said he would “give back to Manhattan” without providing details.

Meanwhile, the holder of the $1.5 billion Mega Millions jackpot has yet to come forward. The winning ticket — which hit all numbers in the Oct. 23 drawing — was purchased in Simpsonville, South Carolina. Lottery winners in that state have180 days (about six months) from the drawing to claim their prize, so the winner (or winners) has until April 21 to come forward.


Digital is where the money is: YouTube doubles ad rates for India; Facebook, Twitter may follow suit

Alphabet’s YouTube is going to double the rate of its high-impact fixed homepage advertisement to Rs 1.4 crore from Rs 70 lakh a day at present, The Economic Times reported.

The move comes as the social media platform’s monthly active users (MAUs) reported a significant jump. “YouTube is now reaching 120 million users a day with over 1 billion impressions. Few media vehicles can deliver such reach in a day,” Amardeep Singh, CEO at Interactive Avenues, the digital agency owned by IPG Mediabrands told the paper.

As per the industry consensus, YouTube reaches 250 million MAUs, Facebook has 220 million, Instagram touches around 68 million, while Twitter’s MAUs have gone up to 30.4 million.

Facebook and Twitter have also been hiking advertising rates, the report said.

“If you take FB, the news feed ads now costs over 100 percent compared over last year,” Vivek Bhargava, Chief Executive Officer at DAN Performance Group told the paper, adding that these platforms have de-cluttered the news feed and timelines so it made sense for them to push up rates.

Facebook, however, has denied any rise in advertising cost on the platform and stated that the social network’s pricing is ‘transparent’ to every ad buyer.

“Our ad demand continues to go up because we are getting more and more advertisers on board as we expand the business. At the same time inventory is also going up as we see more and more users on the platform,” a Facebook spokesperson told the paper.

Experts told the paper that the trend of digital platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, raising rates between 20-30 percent annually will continue in 2019, too, as time spent by users and engagement levels increase.

Read: Digital advertising to cross Rs 255 billion mark in 2020

In 2018, around 28 percent of the total digital advertising expenditure in India was on social media, according to another Dentsu Aegis report on digital advertising in India.

Source: Statista.

As of now, a basic digital media campaign reaching 1 billion impressions –the total number of views — costs around Rs 3 crore according to a rough industry estimate.

The advertising industry is currently estimated to be Rs 55,960 crore and expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 32 percent to reach Rs 18,986 crore by 2020, according to the Dentsu Aegis Network-e4m Digital Report.

The digital advertising industry across the country has been growing rapidly. It had a market size of around Rs 11,630 crore in FY18, up from about Rs 4700 crores in FY15, according to a KPMG report.

Source: Statista.

Industry leaders told the paper that the players are bound to jack up prices since digital is becoming an important part of the media, given the rate of digital penetration and adoption.

According to the Dentsu Aegis report, digital is expected to be the fastest growing medium of the advertising industry and may account for 24 percent of the overall industry pie by 2020.

“Digital media spends currently contribute to 15 percent of the total advertising industry and are expected to reach 24 percent of the entire market by 2020,” the report said.