Stories and Strategies from Real Life: 10/17/14

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Some of the best learning happens when you read stories about real people and real companies. Read them for ideas, for lessons, and inspiration. This week’s stories and strategies from real life are about Hoxton Ventures, General Electric, G.E., Amazon, FirstRain, and ZestFinance.

From the London Business School: Hoxton adventures with venture capital

“Hussein Kanji, co-founder of the European early stage find, Hoxton Ventures, talks entrepreneurially with BSR.”

From Quentin Hardy: G.E. Opens Its Big Data Platform

“General Electric, which said that sensor-equipped machines will bring in $1 billion for the company this year, will begin helping other companies do big data analysis.”

From Schuyler Velasco: Why online king Amazon wants to open an actual store

“Some, predictably, are wondering why Amazon would want to venture into the brick-and-mortar retail space when it can compete with (and in some cases decimate) major big-box chains just fine without its own stores.”

From Brittany Shoot: FirstRain was in a death spiral. Penny Herscher pulled it back

“Penny Herscher could have retired early. Instead, she set out to save the business analytics firm FirstRain.”

From John Lippert: ZestFinance issues small, high-rate loans, uses big data to weed out deadbeats

“For five years, Merrill has harnessed oceans of online data to screen applicants for the small, short-term loans provided by his Los Angeles-based firm. Improvements in default rates have come in fractions of a percentage point. Now, on this July day, his researchers are claiming they can improve the accuracy of their default predictions for one category of borrower by 15 percentage points.”

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