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Hubble Contacts Founders Ben Cogan and Jesse Horwitz Disrupting The Contact Lens Industry

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contact lens

There is a trend going around where businesses are completely eliminating the middleman and passing the savings along to consumers. Hubble Contacts is disrupting the contact lens industry by doing just that. Founded by Ben Cogan and Jesse Horwitz, Hubble Contacts delivers fresh daily contacts for only $30 per month, which was unheard of. The contacts are produced by St. Shine and FDA approved, so you know your precious eyeballs are safe. If you are unsure of your prescription, Hubble Contacts also helps you book an appointment with an optometrist in your area. The contacts range from -0.50 through -12.00 and later this year, Hubble Contacts will be offering toric lenses to cover patients with astigmatism. Ben and Jesse raise $7.2 million in funding and officially launched their contact lens business November 2016. We took a deeper look into this subscription-only e-commerce startup.

What are your backgrounds?

Ben: I grew up in New York City and graduated Phi Beta Kappa/Magna Cum Laude from Princeton. Prior to Hubble, I worked as a Senior Customer Insights Associate at Harry’s (the direct-to-consumer, subscription-based razor brand). I helped to build the Customer Insights Team where I surveyed and interviewed customers, modeled new business opportunities, and generally came to learn all things shaving.

Jesse: I also grew up in New York. I studied economics and finance and graduated from Columbia University, where I graduated Phi Beta Kappa/Magna Cum Laude. I later joined the investment team for Columbia University’s endowment in 2013, where I spent the last few years investing across the alternatives landscape – private equity, venture capital, hedge funds, and real estate. During my time at Columbia, I built a strong network across the investor community, including Two River, a life sciences merchant bank that invested in and brought together the Seed round for Hubble.

What makes Hubble Contacts different from competitors?

Ben: Hubble is America’s first direct-to-consumer contact lens brand that is dedicated to making it affordable and convenient to purchase high-quality daily contact lenses for about half the price of other brands. Because of Hubble’s subscription service, wearers will never run out of contacts again―a more convenient, healthier approach to avoid over-wearing.

How would you describe your team?

Jesse: Hubble’s earliest team members were our friends and family. The CTO, Paul, is one of my best friends from college and the Creative Director, Dan, is one of Ben’s best friends from middle and high school. Paul, Dan, and everyone else on the team are highly self-sufficient and are given a lot of responsibility in their respective areas.

How did you guys meet and decide to be cofounders for Hubble Contacts?

Ben: I met Jesse at Bridgewater in summer 2011. I began to recognize a void in the marketplace for affordable, high-quality contact lenses and started to develop the concept for Hubble. Through exhaustive research and strategic planning, I realized that my business model had legs and with the advice and guidance of the Harry’s team, I began to put my plans in motion. Shortly thereafter I realized I couldn’t do it on my own and contacted Jesse. Jesse loved the idea and we continued to build the Hubble brand together.

How are you able to keep costs so low?

Jesse: We accomplish this by cutting out markups from intermediaries to sell our own brand of lenses directly to consumers. This means that lenses generally cost less than half the price of competitors.

Ben: Secondly, Hubble is willing to accept lower profit margins than the 80%+ that are common in the industry.

Did you come across any obstacles?

Ben: Contact lenses are not only a consumer packaged good, but a regulated medical device. This means Hubble is both subject to FDA regulations as an importer of contact lenses manufactured elsewhere, as well as regulations that govern the sale of contact lenses online. Navigating this thicket of rules was challenging, but ultimately necessary to be able to start the business.

Who are some influencers that you are inspired by?

Ben: I am inspired by Jeff Raider, who is the co-founder of both Warby Parker and Harry’s, businesses that directly paved the way for what Hubble is doing now in the contact lens space. Jeff has remained a mentor to me since I left Harry’s.

Jesse: I am is inspired by Mike Bloomberg, an entrepreneur that has had tremendous success across many walks of life (business, politics, etc.).

What is happening in 2017 for Hubble Contacts?

Ben: 2017 is going to be a really important year for Hubble. Most important priority is growth. We’ve acquired more than 20K customers so far, but keeping up the momentum is our highest priority goal, and we’ll do this by expanding our marketing channels and refining our message. In Q3 of this year, we’ll be launching toric lenses to cover patients with astigmatism.

What is some advice you can give to young entrepreneurs that want to start their own business?

Jesse: It’s almost cliché now to say that it’s not your idea that matters as much as your execution. And while to some extent that is true – we spent hours and hours in the FDA databases to find a contact lens manufacturer back in 2015 – your idea matters a lot too. Contact lenses is a broken category today (high costs, inconvenient access, poorly designed packaging) and Hubble was founded to fix that. We think a new business really must fix a problem in the world to succeed.

Jie writes about influencers and startups in various industries. She is a designer turned techie, and when she is not writing, you can find her in her workshop working on her next big project.

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6 Comments

6 Comments

  1. Bob Day

    October 22, 2017 at 6:45 pm

    You should start a quality afordable hearing aide business. The industry is controlled by a few companies who price gouge the people who need them. Another industry thats ripping consumers off is the prescription eye glass industry. The mark ups on both these industries is criminal.
    Thanks for your time.

  2. Kathleen Awai

    May 10, 2018 at 8:49 pm

    I believe you are not true to what you agree on. The easy to DISCONTINUE POLICY is so FAKE. I have SENT several emails to discontinue my subscription…IT HAS NOT HAPPENED!…DON’T SEND ANY FUTURE SHIPMENTS, THE TELEPHONE NUMBER TO AUTO DRAFT FROM YOU ACCOUNT IS NOT IN SERVICE.BUT THE PRODUCTS KEEP COMING, MY BANK ACCOUNT HAS CHARGED ME OVERDRAFT FEES, BECAUSE I LIVE FROM PAYDAY TO PAYDAY.

  3. Kristen L Bates

    January 14, 2019 at 10:37 am

    This is the worst and most unprofessional company I’ve ever order from. They tell you you can get contacts with a valid prescription when you put in your information they’re not going to honor your prescription and less this done by Hubble. The worst I hope you go out of business I hope no one ever ordered from this company again they do false advertising don’t put your money or your credit card in this companies hand they are bad for business they are unprofessional I had to call the office 10 times to talk to someone Carlos Krista and Amy are the worst so if this is a supervisor or boss reading this I expect you to go back if you the tapes because those people need to be fired. Not because I say so because a the professionalism they did not display I hope you all do not order from this company have a great day

  4. Pingback: Hubble Contacts Corporate Office - Corporate Office HQ

  5. Jenny T

    August 12, 2019 at 12:06 am

    Good to see a couple of Gay men and lovers, make it big time in the business

  6. Peter Tharp

    May 8, 2020 at 10:37 am

    I am a customer of Hubble. Recently, I got a new prescription and sent that to their website. Unfortunately, they sent me the old contact prescription and then refused to accept the old prescription back to the company. I tried a dozen times to reach a manager that would recognize their mistake and do the right thing but without success. I don’t know if this is part of a scam or a scheme but they have exhibited poor customer service in this case. I hope you have better luck.

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Elon Musk’s Boring Company’s proposed Fort Lauderdale transit loop receives mixed reactions

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Elon Musk is the one guy you can turn to for the craziest ideas. But is his proposed transit loop in Fort Lauderdale really happening? 

Boring Company, the brainchild of Elon Musk, provides low-cost transportation, fast-to-dig, freight, and utility tunnels. To date, the company has only dug three tunnels, one of which is the Los Angeles test tunnel. The other two are the underground 0.8-mile Las Vegas Convention Center tunnels. 

Now, Boring Company is looking into building another transit loop connecting Fort Lauderdale’s downtown to its beach. Passengers will be brought from point A to B in standard Teslas. Although Fort Lauderdale Mayor Dean Trantalis said it’s an “innovative and unprecedented” way of alleviating street-level traffic, many people are still skeptical about Musk’s proposed transit loop.

It appears that this transit loop project called the “Las Ollas Loop” is just one out of the many proposed tunnels by Musk. The Boring Company had announced projects such as the Chicago loop system and the DC-to-Baltimore tunnel. However, both have seemingly been cancelled, with the latter eliminated from the company’s website. 

This makes everyone wonder: Is the proposed transit loop hot air?

Transit loop drew flak

Although the Boring Company and Fort Lauderdale are in the works of materializing the said plan, engineers, experts, and people concerned are still dubious of the tunnel due to Florida rising sea levels. In addition, many people fear that due to the city’s location, the “Loop” might cause flood risks. 

Climate change might have a huge impact on the fulfillment of the transit loop. Some say if it indeed pushes through, then engineers would have to find a way to use technology and features that fight the impact of climate change. This would have to involve extensive investigation from an engineering and structural perspective. 

Another concern is Florida’s limestones, which make it hard to optimize tunnelling machines due to the natural holes. Moreover, the city dons many underground aquifers, which experts claim need to be protected as well. However, the Boring Company is open to studying the geological aspect on which path to dig that leads to the beach. It can avoid risks and drastic environmental impact.

But one of the valid concerns from transportation planners is why Fort Lauderdale would settle for standard Teslas? With that, they’ll need to drive hundreds of passengers from downtown to the beach when a bus or train can accommodate more. 

Mayor Dean Transalis stays positive

Fort Lauderdale Mayor Dean Transalis is nothing but excited about Musk’s proposed transit loop. Aside from solving traffic in the most congested streets in the city, this project will also relieve parking stress at Fort Lauderdale’s beaches. 

The city of Fort Lauderdale is now seeing an expected $30-million budget for this transit loop. This is despite the Boring Company’s promise of faster construction times and lower costs. However, this promise received criticism from tunnel industry experts and engineers. They say the company doesn’t have new technology for building tunnels. 

Talks from Fort Lauderdale Vice Mayor and Governor are now looking into opening the transit loop by the end of 2022. 

Regardless of the skepticism from transportation and tunnel experts, the Boring Company remains optimistic about the project. They said a ride in standard Teslas that brings people from downtown Fort Lauderdale to the beach would cost each person $5 to $8. This is in comparison to a similar route with Uber, which will cost $10 per person. 

But Mayor Dean Transalis hasn’t yet closed the deal on the Boring Company’s proposal. Instead, he offered other tunnel-digging companies to submit better and more innovative tunnelling methods within 45 days.

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Top 10 Best Meal Delivery Services to Try

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Many people have been trying to stay at home amid the coronavirus disease pandemic and grocery delivery services have come to save the day. But if you want to take it up a notch and also save chopping and meal prep time, meal delivery services will be more your jam.

Here are the best meal delivery services to check out the next time you want a convenient home-cooked meal.

1. Freshly 

First on our list of best meal delivery services is Freshly. This platform offers single-serve fully-prepared meals. That means you won’t have to saute, boil, or anything else that would require more than three minutes to do. The plan costs $11.49 per meal for four meals per week but if you order 12 meals per week, the price goes down to $8.49 per meal.

2. Dinnerly 

If you want to feel like a cooking whiz, Dinnerly is one of the best meal delivery services to try. Instead of delivering cooked meals, the platform offers meal kits with all the ingredients you need. The best part is, they offer it for as low as $4.69 per person. Their products cost a lot less than other providers because they use digital recipe cards and spend less on marketing.

3. Sunbasket

If you can’t decide between fully-cooked meals or meal kits, Sunbasket can give you both. They have fresh and ready meals that you can buy and heat up. Or if you want to flex your muscles in the kitchen, you can also try their meal kits. Their dinners start at $8.99 per serving.

4. EveryPlate 

EveryPlate is a good choice for those who want to practice their cooking skills without tiring themselves out too much. The meals only take six steps to make and are ready within 30 minutes.

5. Gobble

If you can only handle 15 minutes of cooking, then check out Gobble. Their chefs do all the tedious work, from peeling and chopping to marinating. So you’ll spend less time preparing and more time enjoying your meal.

6. Hello Fresh

Hello Fresh says it’s “America’s Most Popular Meal Kit” and it’s surely worth checking out. Each of their boxes contains pre-portioned farm-fresh ingredients and easy-to-follow recipes with nutritional info. The kit also fits perfectly in the fridge so you can order it in advance.

7. Blue Apron

If you’re the type of foodie who likes to keep things exciting, this service is for you. Blue Apron keeps dinner interesting by offering a wide variety of meals – from healthy options to premium plates. The service costs $9.99 per serving for two recipes per week (each one serving two people).  

8. Purple Carrot

Who says meat-eaters have all the fun? Purple Carrot offers plant-based meals that are good for you and good for the planet. Best of all, their menu options are anything but boring – you’ll get all the flavors and nutrition you need sans the guilt.

9. Green Chef

Green Chef is another favorite for foodies trying to eat clean and stay lean. They offer three menu categories – balanced meal, plat-powered, and keto + paleo. That means you won’t have to go astray from your diet to enjoy delicious meals.

10. Home Chef

Last but not least on our best meal delivery services list is Home Chef. This platform offers weekly meal kits starting at $6.99 per serving. Whether you’re cutting down on carbs, calories, or animal byproducts, they have the plan for you. You can also upgrade, double up, or swap items according to your preferences.

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Coinme: Financial Services Crypto-Enabling Legacy Raises $10M Funding

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Coinme, a cryptocurrency startup based in Seattle, raked in $10 million worth of funding from investors. Although fluctuating, cryptocurrency is still a powerhouse this 2021. It’s no wonder why Coinme managed to raise a $10 million grant from its existing investors.

What is Coinme?

Coinme is a cryptocurrency startup founded in 2014. Since day one, the company has made it its mission to be one of the world’s trusted cryptocurrency gateway. The legacy started with the most well-known digital currency— Bitcoin. Using the most relevant digital currency back then, Coin me started a few Bitcoin ATMs. It offers an enterprise “application programming interface” or API to provide Bitcoin’s secure sale. 

Between 2017 to 2020, Coinme experienced an overwhelming 2,200% revenue growth. Due to the consumer’s demand for bitcoin and the pandemic’s uncertainty, their revenue skyrocketed. 

Fast Forward to 2021, Coinme managed to build up and grow thousands of kiosks. The company believes that cryptocurrency provides an equal opportunity for everyone. Therefore it needs to be more accessible.  

Coinme is supported by the following: 

  • Pantera
  • Blockchain
  • Digital Currency Group
  • Xpring
  • Coinstar
  • Hard Yaka
  • Nima
  • Percival Capital

How to Use Coinme

For those who are not aware of how to use Coinme, you can buy Bitcoin with four simple steps. First, you’re required to create a Coinme account. Next, you must be able to locate the nearest kiosk to your place. After that, you can insert cash into the kiosk. 

However, it would be fantastic if you kept in mind that coins are not accepted for Bitcoin transactions. Finally, you can redeem and receive your Bitcoin in an instant. Another thing you need to remember is Coinme’s daily purchase limit.

‘Crypto-enabling’ Feature

Coinme allows the buy and sell of bitcoins with cash for its customers. Currently, the startup has more than 15,000 locations through partnerships such as Coinstar and Moneygram. Coinme had its bitcoin ATM. However, it’s focusing on its cryptocurrency cash network. 

Using the digital currency cash network allows financial services such as Moneygram to be “crypto-enabled” via an enterprise API. 

Although the market is volatile, most of Coinme’s consumers are not speculating about its price. Instead, they take advantage of Coinme to acquire cryptocurrencies at store value. There are a lot of ways to take advantage of Coinme’s services. It includes using cryptocurrencies as payment for services and goods or sending it to your friends and family.

$10 Million Worth Funding

As the largest licensed cash network for cryptocurrencies in the US, Coinme raised $10 million for strategic funding. The funds were raised by Coinme’s existing investors, including Digital Currency Group, a capital market company.  

Coinme Expansion

The startup plans to expand internationally in the upcoming months. Currently, the company has 58 people in total and managed $30 million to date. Neil Berquist, Coinme’s CEO and co-founder shared expansion plans later this year. He announced that the company would dive into various markets, starting with Latin American.  

El Salvador recently became the first country to adopt bitcoin as a legal tender formally. Yes, that means history was marked during cryptocurrencies’ most crucial time. Meanwhile, politicians of Latin American countries share support for bitcoin’s adoption as legal tender. The politician’s active support drives a more favorable opinion of locals. 

Specifically, politicians from various nations such as Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, Paraguay, and Panama have expressed their interest and support for cryptocurrency. 

Other than penetrating the international markets, Coinme plans to add multi-coin support to its system. It means we get more digital currency offering aside from Bitcoin. It also plans to add a type of payment to buy and sell digital currencies on Coinme’s products. 

According to Bergquist, people want different types of payment. Consumers want to buy using their bank account. He especially pointed out how consumers expressed their demands to access different cryptocurrencies other than Bitcoin. Well, now, all your demands are being fulfilled by Coinme, one step at a time.  

Final Thoughts

According to PR News Wire, by 2023, the blockchain market, as expected, will rise to $23.3 billion. With the continued growth, investors are sure to spread investment to promising cryptocurrency startups. Since 2017, cryptocurrency startups like Coinme have raised funding. Overall, startups reached a whopping number of $20 billion to date.

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