Money makers: the holy grail for menswear fans

Arun Gupta turned the search for sought-after hard-to-find fashion items into a thriving business with Grailed.


Grailed founder Arun Gupta
(Image credit: Copyright (c) 2016 Rex Features. No use without permission.)

Arun Gupta used to frequent onlinemessage boards StyleForum andSuperFuture, where the discussionsare about all things menswear. Butthe sites were no good to buyersand sellers of elusive items, notesMax Berlinger in BloombergBusinessweek. Resale clothingwebsites existed for women,but the "increasingly voracious"men's market was overlooked.Enter Gupta (pictured), 28,who set up Grailed in January2014. A "grail" is "an article ofclothing you've been searchingfor forever", explains Berlinger.

Gupta's site, which charges 6%commission on sales, is partonline resale shop and partfashion magazine. Thrive Capital,started by Joshua Kushner,younger brother of Trump adviserJared, was an early investor. "Thechallenge now is a familiar one forstart-ups," says Berlinger. "Howto grow without alienating thecore audience." The answer forGupta and his small team locatedin a spacious top-floor loft inManhattan's Soho was Grailed 100 a sale of retro items curated andsold by Grailed, as opposedto users. Most pieces in theinaugural sale in February2016 sold out in 24 hours.

Bulletproof security for $4trn of bank deposits

You've probably never heard of Francisco Fernandez or the company he founded after leading the management buyout of BZ Bank's computer department, says Will Smale on the BBC's website. Yet Fernandez and Avaloq, as the new company was named, is responsible for the security of $4trn in bank deposits around the world. Since the buyout of the firm in 1991, the staff count has grown from five to 2,500 and the business is still 90% owned by its employees. Meanwhile, revenues have grown to over $500m a year.

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The big break came when the Swiss National Bank bought Avaloq's software, prompting several other commercial banks to do the same. To ensure its systems remain "bulletproof", Fernandez, as the chief executive, pays firms in Israel to attack it.

"We do our homework, security is a constant thingwe get thousands of attacks per year but so far, touch wood, we have never had an intrusion into our systems," he says. "My parents were fugitives after the Spanish Civil War, and that culture, of leaving your country, and having the guts to come out ofyour comfort zone, is very much in my DNA. I feel privileged to have the top job at Avaloq, but I don't take anything for granted."

What Georgia is learning from Bitcoin

If blockchain technology was more widely used today, Donald Trump would not be able to claim that the US presidential election had been rigged, entrepreneur Valery Vavilov tells Jane Wild in the Financial Times. That's because the technology is essentially an electronic ledger of transactions that are continuously maintained in blocks of records. These blockchain ledgers are held by all users and are encoded to prevent anyone from manipulating them.

It is a system that is fted by its proponents as "transparent and democratic", says Wild two things that lie close to Vavilov's heart. When the Soviet Union collapsed in Latvia, "my parents lost almost everything because of systems not designed to work for people", he says. "I studied it, and I understood, this technology can really change this world."

In 2011, he co-founded Bitfury, which is working on a pilot scheme to enable people in the former Soviet republic of Georgia to register their land on to a blockchain ledger. Vavilov is committed to making the technology work. "Never disregard the power of a few committed individuals to change the world."

The imperial history of gin and tonic

In 1874, the East India Company was dissolved by Queen Victoria following the bloody Indian Mutiny. The name, however, lived on unused for a century and a half until 2005, when it was bought by Indian businessman Sanjiv Mehta for £15m to brand his tea. Mehta now plans to take on the hipster distillers of London's craft gin movement.

"The East India Company was the father of G&T," Mehta tells Melissa van der Klugt in The Times. At first, quinine was mixed with water as a tonic to ward off malaria. Gin was added to mask the bitter taste. "The first G&Ts were not sophisticated or smooth," says Mehta. "But in the summer heat they started to put in ice and lime and a bit of sugar. That became the gin and tonic we recognise."

By 1858, the drink had become the sundowner of choice on every British verandah from Calcutta to Kochi, Mehta notes. The company shipped the spices to Britain so gin could be made here."We want to reclaim them for our own gin," he says. The East India Company dry-blend gin, sold through London department stores, contains green cardamom, cacao, and nutmeg, as well as an ingredient that has never been used in gin before amchur, from a small fruit related to the mango.

"It's been a long journey," says Mehta of the gin it has taken seven years to bring to market. "For me to buy a company that once owned India and was the largest trading company in the world was emotional. It was the Google of its time and connected the world."

Chris Carter

Chris Carter spent three glorious years reading English literature on the beautiful Welsh coast at Aberystwyth University. Graduating in 2005, he left for the University of York to specialise in Renaissance literature for his MA, before returning to his native Twickenham, in southwest London. He joined a Richmond-based recruitment company, where he worked with several clients, including the Queen’s bank, Coutts, as well as the super luxury, Dorchester-owned Coworth Park country house hotel, near Ascot in Berkshire.

Then, in 2011, Chris joined MoneyWeek. Initially working as part of the website production team, Chris soon rose to the lofty heights of wealth editor, overseeing MoneyWeek’s Spending It lifestyle section. Chris travels the globe in pursuit of his work, soaking up the local culture and sampling the very finest in cuisine, hotels and resorts for the magazine’s discerning readership. He also enjoys writing his fortnightly page on collectables, delving into the fascinating world of auctions and art, classic cars, coins, watches, wine and whisky investing.

You can follow Chris on Instagram.