Welcome to this weekly roundup of stories from Insider’s Business co-Editor in Chief Matt Turner. Subscribe here to get this newsletter in your inbox every Sunday.
What we’re going over today:
What’s trending this morning:
Sextech startups are booming
As Americans prepare for a “hot vax summer,” people are flocking to sextech startups for all things sexual wellness. We spoke with five startups that said they’re seeing consumer spending habits change already — and that VCs are also getting in on the fun:
The pandemic made getting it on more difficult for everyone.
But now that half of American adults have had at least one dose of the vaccine, that could spell the end of a year of celibacy for many. Some are turning to sexual health and wellness startups to have more titillating and safe sex in the summer of love, startup founders and investors say.
The next several months could be boom times for companies in “sextech” and other sexual wellness businesses, from direct-to-consumer lingerie to birth-control delivery.
More on the red-hot sextech market:
Goldman Sachs’ CEO is changing the bank’s DNA
David Solomon, who took over as Goldman’s CEO in October 2018, has steered the bank to blowout profits and a record stock price. But with partners quitting and burnout soaring, some insiders say the executive’s hard-charging style has come at a cost:
“David reviews businesses with a dispassionate, clinical eye,” said Jim Esposito, the cohead of Goldman’s investment banking division. “There are no sacred cows.”
On paper, it’s working spectacularly. Goldman smashed analysts’ expectations and set a revenue record in the first quarter, its stock soared to an all-time high of more than $356, and its ambitious plan to slash $1.3 billion in costs is on track. Wall Street analysts are singing Solomon’s praises, as are investors who laud the transparency Solomon has brought to Goldman’s operations.
But Goldman’s top ranks have seen almost unprecedented turnover, with six members of the management committee exiting over the past year. Among them were two Goldman lifers — Eric Lane and Gregg Lemkau, a potential CEO successor — whose departures stunned Solomon.
More on Solomon’s hard-driving style — and why it may be pushing execs away:
Pandemic homebuyers open up about their experiences
Since the start of the pandemic, hopeful homebuyers have been subjected to a buying frenzy that’s led to bidding wars, all-cash sales, sight-unseen purchases, and other leaps of faith — and they did it all in the name of achieving the American dream of homeownership:
After more than a decade renting in Queens, Ilan and Sarah Harel decided to leave the city and buy for the first time. They ultimately scored a $329,000 property in Pleasant Valley, New York, a Hudson Valley town with fewer than 10,000 residents that is just 90 minutes north of their former digs in Queens.
But snagging their dream home was no easy feat. It was the long-labored-over result of checking listing websites all day long for three months, making offers on properties for thousands of dollars over asking price, and competing with hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers like them who fled the city for greener pastures around the same time.
Their story illuminates a broader reality: The pandemic upended the real-estate market and, as a result, has pushed homeownership further out of reach.
Read their stories here:
Meet the most transformative CEOs of 2021
Leadership in 2021 is marked by transformation — of business models, of workforces, and of organizations themselves. Insider’s inaugural list of the Most Transformative CEOs celebrates four executives who are best meeting the needs of their many stakeholders:
Insider arrived at this list by way of both quantitative and qualitative analysis. We considered the 100 CEOs of the largest publicly traded US companies by market capitalization on the S&P 500 who have been in their positions since at least January 2019. We ruled out executives who are stepping down.
We evaluated companies and CEOs across measures of recent financial performance, ratings on employee review sites Comparably and Glassdoor, typical employee compensation and the CEO-to-median-pay ratio, and the 2021 Just Capital ranking of companies’ commitment to social responsibility.
We believe the following CEOs exemplify the traits and achievements needed to survive and thrive in that challenging environment.
Read the full profiles of each CEO here:
Finally, here are some headlines you might have missed last week.
- INTERVIEW: Henry Kissinger on the political consequences of the pandemic, China’s rise, and the future of the European Union
- Uber and Lyft asked Congress to bail out their drivers. Now they can’t seem to get enough drivers to come back to work.
- Morrison & Foerster is starting to track its lawyers’ calls, emails, and website visits in an effort to squeeze out billable hours, according to a leaked email
- Here are the 25 fastest-growing DTC brands, according to monthly traffic and growth in Q1 from SimilarWeb data
- Nashville is basically broke, but that didn’t stop it from luring Oracle with lavish incentives. Other small cities are also paying top dollar to compete for Big Tech.
- Garvin Jabusch and Jeremy Deems returned 141% to investors over the last year by betting on innovation. They share 5 stocks they’re bullish on for the long-term — including one they ‘very comfortably predict’ will surge at least 300%.
- Read the résumé a college senior used to land her dream internship at Spotify and praise from CEO Daniel Ek
- A Microsoft Excel influencer quit her day job and is making 6 figures from her unconventional way of teaching spreadsheet hacks, tips, and tricks
- CNN Business has launched an internal investigation into the treatment of female employees
- Big insurers like UnitedHealth, Humana, Cigna, and Anthem are moving beyond paying for care. A new report reveals just how much their DNA has changed.