Welcome to Bespoke Brunch Reads — a linkfest of the favorite things we read over the past week. The links are mostly market related, but there are some other interesting subjects covered as well. We hope you enjoy the food for thought as a supplement to the research we provide you during the week.

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Rivian Is Close to Raising Funds at $25 Billion Valuation by Katie Roof and Edward Ludlow (Bloomberg)

The electric truck company is adding to its total capital raise by “several billion”, bringing total to-date capital raised to at least $8bn; deliveries on its trucks and SUVs are planned to start this year. [Link; soft paywall]

Honda cuts car production on massive chip shortage by Ryosuke Hanada (Nikkei)

Semiconductors are in short supply for the global auto industry, with surging demands for chips used in computers and phones leading to a supply bottleneck for other industries like autos. [Link]


The New Green Energy Giants Challenging Exxon and BP by Katherine Blunt and Sarah McFarlane (WSJ)

Utilities based in Florida, Spain, and Italy have become monsters in the world of green energy, going in many ways unnoticed as they accrue tens of billions in capital investment in solar and wind energy projects across the world. [Link; paywall]

Vaccine Rollouts

NC governor activates National Guard to help with COVID vaccine distribution by Adam Wagner and Martha Quillin (News & Observer)

Concerned that North Carolina may be falling behind on vaccinations has lead Governor Roy Cooper to activate the state’s National Guard in order to assist local health departments rolling out access to the inoculations. [Link]

Why West Virginia’s Winning The Race To Get COVID-19 Vaccine Into Arms by Yuki Noguchi (NPR)

A focus on local pharmacies instead of national chains has let West Viriginia administer a huge number of vaccines in a very short amount of time. [Link]

66% of New York City’s Vaccine Doses Sit Unused as Virus Numbers Soar by Joseph Goldstein (NYT)

As a result of Governor Cuomo’s decision to aggressively prioritize vaccine access with huge penalties attached, there are huge numbers of unused vaccines sitting in storage, unused. [Link; soft paywall]


Most Second Stimulus Payments Reach Household Bank Accounts by Richard Rubin and Laura Saunders (WSJ)

$600 relief payments from the US Treasury have been two-thirds paid out already with more than $112bn hitting consumers accounts over the last week and a half. [Link; paywall]

Comparison of Utilization, Costs, and Quality of Medicaid vs Subsidized Private Health Insurance for Low-Income Adults by Heidi Allen, Sarah H. Gordon, and Dennis Lee (JAMA Network)

In a study comparing the health care received by Marketplace (ACA exchange) and Medicaid recipients, Marketplace users paid 83% more with mixed impact on quality of care and a reduced number of emergency department visits. [Link]

Labor Movement

Google workers launch unconventional union with help of Communications Workers of America by Nitasha Tiku (WaPo)

Tech worker organizing has taken the next step with more than two hundred Google employees launching a union; notably, that union will not seek ratification with a federal agency and therefore won’t have collective bargaining rights. [Link; soft paywall]


Amazon Pledging More Than $2 Billion for Affordable Housing in Three Hub Cities by Nicole Friedman (WSJ)

Amazon has said it will use low-cost loans to build or preserve affordable housing in areas that it has a tech hub presence in. [Link; paywall]

United Van Lines’ National Migration Study Reveals Where and Why Americans Moved in 2020 (United Van Lines)

A fascinating review of where movers are flowing to and from around the country with states like South Carolina, Oregon, South Dakota, and Arizona seeing the biggest inflows while New York, Illinois, Connecticut, and California seeing the biggest outflows. [Link]

Hawaii’s Beaches Are Disappearing by Ash Ngu and Sophie Cocke (ProPublica)

Coastal seawalls are key drivers of coastal erosion, with waves that hit them and rebound dragging sand out to sea instead of washing over it as on a natural beach. The result is that Hawaii’s legendary sands are disappearing. [Link]

Novel Structures

A Tiny Hedge Fund Just Made History by Turning Into an ETF by Katherine Greifeld (Bloomberg)

A Nashville-based hedge fund with $3mm in assets decided to convert its tech-oriented portfolio into an exchange traded fund, the first such transaction in the history of the investment management industry. [Link]


To Make Japan’s Original Sushi, First Age Fish for Several Months by Clarissa Wei (Atlas Obscura)

A fascinating history of the now-ubiquitous raw fish which was originally a cured product that fermented in barrels or other vehicles for months or even years before being served. [Link]


FBI Questioned A Michigan Senate Staffer After Zoom Call About Banning Tear Gas by Alice Speri and Sam Biddle (The Intercept)

A legislative strategy call related to a proposed bill in Michigan was somehow put on the FBI’s radar, either through a report by someone that overheard it or more concerning means. [Link]

Pro-Trump Mob Livestreamed Its Rampage, and Made Money Doing It by Kellen Browning and Taylor Lorenz (NYT)

An alternative to classic social media networks called Dlive offers users the ability to tip livestreamers, and as a mob wrecked the Capitol earlier this week, that’s just what they did. [Link; soft paywall]

Modern Families

The Sperm Kings Have a Problem: Too Much Demand by Nellie Bowles (NYT)

Sperm donors who are most in-demand are having a hard time keeping up with the demand for their product amidst a dramatic uptick in the number of people who are looking for babies. [Link; soft paywall]

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Have a great weekend!

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