29 June 2018 Courier Weekly

SoulCycle: The gym breaking into journalism

PLUS: Uber – Hummus Bros – Fintech partnerships – Speedy meetings

US cult brand SoulCycle gets into media.

SoulCycle last week made the rather unusual announcement that it is launching a media division. The spin class brand – which has an international following of devoted fans – has hired senior members from media brands Mashable, Glamour and Vox to join the new team.

According to Melanie Whelan, SoulCycle’s CEO, the new division will produce content across video, music and audio channels. Although information is limited on what exactly this output will look like, it’s expected content will be pushed to places where there is not yet a SoulCycle studio.

This announcement isn’t SoulCycle’s first foray into brand expansion. In April 207, it launched its own branded clothing line. SoulCycle is in 15 markets across the world and has over 88 studios.

Uber has its London licence (for now).

On Tuesday, Uber’s license to operate in London was renewed for another 15 months. It was previously revoked by Transport for London in September 2017 in the interest of public safety and security.

The conditions of the probational license are outlined here. The company has also been ordered to pay TfL’s legal costs of £425,000.

Despite this victory, the war with TfL isn’t over: Uber will have to be granted a proper operational license at the end of the probationary period. Sam Dumitriu of the Adam Smith Institute insists the fight between the TfL and Uber must drag on to get it to an operational standard that works for customers and drivers.

Hummus Bros closes down.

After 13 years in business – and still fairly fresh from a £600,000 crowdfunding raise – London-based Hummus Bros has announced it is going into administration. It will close all six of its sites. The restaurant chain blamed rising costs and the falling pound for its demise.

Whether or not this is the full story, Brexit has certainly been causing serious problems for UK restaurateurs. In the latest issue of Courier, we explore the issues caused by the decision to leave the EU – and what restaurant owners are doing to protect their businesses.

Fintech firms partner up.

The latest trend for fintech firms appears to be collaboration, as a number of announcements this week have demonstrated.

London-based firms Monzo and Transferwise announced a partnership on 25 June, where Monzo’s banking customers will be able to use Transferwise’s tech to make international money transfers.

In Asia, Singapore fintech hub Lattice 80 and Hong Kong accelerator Super Charger have formed a cross-border partnership to allow companies in their cohorts to expand their services across the continent.

Meanwhile, Metro Bank’s founder Anthony Thomson has announced he is moving to Australia to launch a new digital bank, with financial support from Cuscal, an Aussie payments company.

Make meetings better.

At last month’s Wired Next Fest in Milan, denim brand Diesel premiered its ‘meeting pod’ solution, which is supposed to encourage more efficient meetings.

As a company grows, it becomes more important to streamline these gatherings; research suggests that 50% of time in meetings is wasted. Sometimes quick fixes like narrowing down attendees is enough, but on other occasions more drastic action is needed. Some good bits of advice we have seen:

  1. Taking minutes can feel tedious – but it’ll prevent repeating conversations with colleagues who disagree on a meeting’s outcome.
  2. A meeting agenda is essential to make sure the right topics are covered – it also makes it easier to relegate more simple issues to email or one-on-one conversations.
  3. Although it sounds counterproductive, meeting with staff on a daily basis can help teams to work more seamlessly.