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An early PayPal employee said the "PayPal Mafia," which includes Elon Musk, have been successful founders partly thanks to their counterintuitive hiring process

Elon Musk, Peter Thiel and Reid Hoffman were all part of the 'PayPal Mafia', which collectively has gone on to found firms like Yelp, Yammer, Youtube. Elon Musk co-founded PayPal after his startup X.com merged with Peter Thiel's Confinity.Alexi Rosenfeld / Contributor / getty Many of PayPal's early employees, including Elon Musk, have gone on to found successful companies.  A former employee told the Tim Ferriss Show that the way PayPal hired people may have played a part in that success. Jason Portnoy said Paypal focused on hiring for capability, rather than people with specific skills.  PayPal is perhaps as noteworthy for its hugely successful founders as it is for the way it transformed online money transfers. Elon Musk, Peter Thiel and Reid Hoffman were all members of the so-called 'PayPal Mafia'. The group collectively went on to found a plethora of successful companies including Yelp, Yammer, and Youtube, alongside Musk's Tesla and SpaceX. Speaking on a podcast this week, one early employee said that while there's no single answer as to why PayPal's founders were so successful, their collective approach to hiring may have helped.Jason Portnoy, an entrepreneur and investor and PayPal's 34th employee, told the Tim Ferriss Show podcast that hiring for talent, rather than specific job skills, helped the company's success."Part of it could be the idea that there was a lot of latent talent in these individuals that had been identified by the people who were hiring them," Portnoy said. This was partly due to the fact that the company hired for capability and ability, rather than for specific skills, he added.  "As opposed to saying, 'Does this person have the very specific skills to do this very specific job,' it would be more focused on, 'Is this person just exceptional, in lots of different ways?' Because if they are, they're going to be exceptional at whatever job they have to do," Portnoy said. Working in a startup requires people to be "good all round utility players," who can easily switch contexts and "wear different hats" while the organization scales to the point where hires can be more specialized roles, he said. A further reason for the success of the likes of Musk is that the PayPal hired for people who to a large degree had little specific experience in the online payments industry at the time — something that sounds counter intuitive, Portnoy said. "PayPal merged with X.com, and X.com had a lot of former financial industry people. And over time, gradually, the executives from the PayPal team, who had no prior experience in the financial services industry, wound up ascending in the corporate culture and hierarchy, and I think possibly because they weren't weighed down by legacy ideas of how things should be done," he said. Portnoy appeared on the podcast to discuss his memoir, 'Silicon Valley Porn Star,' which details his early career in Silicon Valley as well as his descent into and recovery from a porn addiction. He was vice president of finance at PayPal for three years. He said he was hired in 1999 by co-founder Thiel, then the CEO of the startup Confinity, because the pair bonded over a list of books he'd read while traveling around Europe. Portnoy later joined Thiel at his hedge fund Clarium capital and the big data firm Palantir founded after PayPal was acquired in 2002. More recently Thiel has drawn criticism for his political lobbying, which included a high profile endorsement of Donald Trump. Portnoy said that one of his biggest learnings from working with the likes of Thiel and Musk was that they're never only doing one thing at a time, which means they benefit from being exposed to different ideas and people.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytJun 23rd, 2022

Transcript: Soraya Darabi

     The transcript from this week’s, MiB: Soraya Darabi, TMV, is below. You can stream and download our full conversation, including the podcast extras on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, Google, Bloomberg, and Acast. All of our earlier podcasts on your favorite pod hosts can be found here. ~~~ BARRY RITHOLTZ, HOST, MASTERS IN BUSINESS: This… Read More The post Transcript: Soraya Darabi appeared first on The Big Picture.      The transcript from this week’s, MiB: Soraya Darabi, TMV, is below. You can stream and download our full conversation, including the podcast extras on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, Google, Bloomberg, and Acast. All of our earlier podcasts on your favorite pod hosts can be found here. ~~~ BARRY RITHOLTZ, HOST, MASTERS IN BUSINESS: This week on the podcast, I have an extra special guest. Her name is Soraya Darabi. She is a venture capital and impact investor who has an absolutely fascinating background working for, first with the New York Times Social Media Group then with a startup that eventually gets purchased by OpenTable, and then becoming a venture investor that focuses on women and people of color-led startups which is not merely a way to, quote-unquote, “do good” but it’s a broad area that is wildly underserved by the venture community and therefore is very inefficient. Meaning, there’s a lot of upside in this. You can both do well and do good by investing in these areas. I found this to be absolutely fascinating and I think you will also, if you’re at all interested in entrepreneurship, social media startups, deal flow, how funds identify who they want to invest in, what it’s like to actually experience an exit as an entrepreneur, I think you’ll find this to be quite fascinating. So with no further ado, my conversation with TMV’s Soraya Darabi. VOICEOVER: This is Masters in Business with Barry Ritholtz on Bloomberg Radio. My special guest this week is Soraya Darabi. She is the Co-Founder and General Partner of TMV, a venture capital firm that has had a number of that exits despite being relatively young, 65 percent of TMV’s startups are led by women or people of color. Previously, she was the cofounder of Foodspotting, an app named App of the Year by Apple and Wire that was eventually purchased by OpenTable. Soraya Darabi, welcome to Bloomberg. SORAYA DARABI; GENERAL PARTNER & FOUNDER; TMV: My goodness, Barry, thank you for having me. RITHOLTZ: I’ve been looking forward to this conversation since our previous discussion. We were on a Zoom call with a number of people discussing blockchain and crypto when it was really quite fascinating and I thought you had such an unusual and interesting background, I thought you would make a perfect guest for the show. Let’s start with your Manager of Digital Partnerships and Social Media at the “New York Times” when social media was really just ramping up. Tell us about what that was like. Tell us what you did in the late aughts at The Times. DARABI: Absolutely. I was fresh faced out of a university. I had recently graduated with mostly a journalism concentration from Georgetown and did a small stint in Condé Nast right around the time they acquired Reddit for what will soon be nothing because Reddit’s expecting to IPO at around 15 billion. And that experience at Reddit really offered me a deep understanding of convergence, what was happening to digital media properties as they partnered for the first time when nascent but scaling social media platforms. And so the “New York Times” generously offered me a role that was originally called manager of buzz marketing. I think that’s what they called social media in 2006 and then that eventually evolved into manager of digital partnerships and social media which, in essence, meant that we were aiming to be the first media property in the world to partner with companies that are household names today but back in the they were fairly unbalanced to Facebook and Twitters, of course, but also platforms that really took off for a while and then plateaued potentially. The Tumblers of the world. And it was responsibility to understand how we could effectively generate an understanding of the burgeoning demographics of this platform and how we could potentially bring income into The Times for working with them, but more importantly have a journalist that could authentically represent themselves on new media. And so, that was a really wonderful role to have directly out of University and then introduce me to folks with whom I still work today. DARABI: That’s quite interesting. So when you’re looking at a lot of these companies, you mentioned Facebook and Twitter and Tumbler, how do you know if something’s going to be a Facebook or a MySpace, so Twitter or a Tumbler, what’s going to survive or not, when you’re cutting deals with these companies on behalf of The Times, are you thinking in terms of hey, who’s going to stick around, wasn’t that much earlier that the dot-com implosion took place prior to you starting with The Times? DARABI: It’s true, although I don’t remember the dot-com implosion. So, maybe that naivete helped because all I had was enthusiasm, unbridled enthusiasm for these new companies and I operated then and now still with a beta approach to business. Testing out new platforms and trying to track the data, what’s scaling, what velocity is this platform scaling and can we hitch a ride on the rochet ship if they will so allow. But a lot of our partnerships then and now, as an investor, are predicated upon relationships. And so, as most, I think terrific investors that I listen to, who I listen to in your show, at least, will talk to you about the importance of believing and the founder and the founder’s vision and that was the case back then and remains the case today. RITHOLTZ: So, when you were at The Times, your tenure there very much overlapped the great financial crisis. You’re looking at social media, how did that manifest the world of social media when it looked like the world of finance was imploding at that time? DARABI: Well, it was a very interesting time. I remember having, quite literally, 30-second meetings with Sorkin as he would run upstairs to my floor, in the eighth floor, to talk about a deal book app that we wanted to launch and then he’d ran back down to his desk to do much more important work, I think, and — between the financial crisis to the world. So, 30-second meetings aside, it was considered to be, in some ways, a great awakening for the Web 2.0 era as the economy was bottoming out, like a recession, it also offered a really interesting opportunity for entrepreneurs, many of whom had just been laid off or we’re looking at this as a sizeable moment to begin to work on a side hustle or a life pursuit. And so, there’s — it’s unsettling, of course, any recession or any great awakening, but lemonade-lemons, when the opening door closing, there was a — there was a true opportunity as well for social media founders, founders focusing on convergence in any industry, really, many of which are predicated in New York. But again, tinkering on an idea that could ultimately become quite powerful because if you’re in the earliest stage of the riskiest asset class, big venture, there’s always going to be seed funding for a great founder with a great idea. And so, I think some of the smartest people I’d ever met in my life, I met at the onset of the aftermath of that particular era in time. RITHOLTZ: So you mentioned side hustle. Let’s talk a little bit about Foodspotting which is described as a visual geolocal guide to dishes instead of restaurants which sounds appealing to me. And it was named App of the Year by both Apple and Wired. How do you go from working at a giant organization like The Times to a startup with you and a cofounder and a handful of other coders working with you? DARABI: Well, five to six nights a week after my day job at the “New York Times,” I would go to networking events with technologists and entrepreneurs after hours. I saw that a priority to be able to partner from the earliest infancy with interesting companies for that media entity. I need to at least know who these founders were in New York and Silicon Valley. And so, without a true agenda other than keen curiosity to learn what this business were all about, I would go to New York tech meetup which Scott Heiferman of meetup.com who’s now in charge LP in my fund would create. And back then, the New York Tech Meetup was fewer than 40 people. I believe it’s been the tens of thousands now. RITHOLTZ: Wow, that’s … DARABI: In New York City alone. And so, it was there that I met some really brilliant people. And in particular, a gentleman my age who’s building a cloud-computing company that was essentially arbitraging AWS to repopulate consumer-facing cloud data services for enterprises, B2B2C play. And we all thought it would be Dropbox. The company ultimately wasn’t, but I will tell you the people with whom I worked with that startup because I left the “New York Times” to join that startup, to this day remain some of the most successful people in Silicon Valley and Alley. And actually, one of those persons is a partner at our firm now, Darshan. He was the cofounder of that particular company which is called drop.io. but I stayed there very quickly. I was there for about six months. But at that startup, I observed how a young person my age could build a business, raise VC, he was the son of a VC and so he was exceptionally attuned to the changing landscape of venture and how to position the company so that it would be attractive to the RREs of the world and then the DFJs. And I … RITHOLTZ: Define those for us. RREs and BFJs. DARABI: Sorry. Still, today, very relevant and very successful venture capital firms. And in particular, they were backing a lot of the most interesting ideas in Web 2.0 era when I joined this particular startup in 2010. Well, that startup was acquired by Facebook and I often say, no, thanks to me. But the mafia that left that particular startup continues to this day to coinvest with one another and help one another’s ideas to exceed. And it was there that I began to build the confidence, I think, that I really needed to explore my own entrepreneurial ideas or to help accelerate ideas. And Foodspotting was a company that I was advising while at that particular startup, that was really taking off. This was in the early days of when Instagram was still in beta and we observed that the most commonly posted photos on Instagram were of food. And so, by following that lead, we basically built an app as well that activity that continues to take place every single day. I still see food photos on Twitter every time I open up my stream. And decided to match that with an algorithm that showed folks wherever they were in the world, say in Greece, that might want spanakopita or if I’m in Japan, Okinawa, we help people to discover not just the Michelin-rated restaurants or the most popular local hunt in New York but rather what’s the dish that they should be ordering. And then the app was extremely good was populating beautiful photos of that particular dish and then mirroring them with accredited reviews from the Zagats of the world but also popular celebrity shots like Marcus Samuelsson in New York. And that’s why we took off because it was a cult-beloved app of its time back when there were only three geolocation apps in the iTunes apparently store. It was we and Twitter and Foursquare. So, there was a first-mover advantage. Looking back in hindsight, I think we sold that company too soon. OpenTable bought the business. A year and a half later, Priceline bought OpenTable. Both were generous liquidity events for the founders that enabled us to become angel investors. But sometimes I wish that that app still existed today because I could see it being still incredibly handy in my day-to-day life. RITHOLTZ: To say the least. So did you have to raise money for Foodspotting or did you just bootstrapped it and how did that experience compare with what that exit was like? DARABI: We did. We raised from tremendous investors like Aydin Senkut of Felicis Ventures whom I think of as being one of the best angel investors of the world. He was on the board. But we didn’t raise that much capital before the business is ultimately sold and what I learned in some of those early conversations, I would say, that may have ultimately led to LOIs and term sheets was that so much of M&As about wining and dining and as a young person, particularly for me, you and I discussed before the show, Barry, we’re both from New York, I’m not from a business-oriented family to say the least. My mom’s an academic, my father was a cab driver in New York City. And so, there are certain elements of this game, raising venture and ultimately trying to exit your company, that you don’t learn from a business book. And I think navigating that as a young person was complicated if I had to speak economically. RITHOLTZ: Quite fascinating. What is purposeful change? DARABI: Well, the world purpose, I suppose, especially in the VC game could come across as somewhat of a cliché. But we try to be as specific as possible when we allude to the impact that our investment could potentially make. And so, specifically, we invest in five verticals at our early stage New York City-based venture fund. We invest in what we call the care economy, just companies making all forms of care, elder care to pet care to health care, more accessible and equitable. We invest in financial inclusion. So this is a spin on fintech. These are companies enabling wealth creation, education, and most importantly literacy for all, that I think is really important to democratization of finance. We invest in the future of work which are companies creating better outcomes for workers and employees alike. We invest in the future of work which are companies creating better outcomes for workers and employers alike. We invest in purpose as it pertains to transportation. So, not immediately intuitive but companies creating transparency and efficiency around global supply chain and mobility. I’m going to talk about why we pick that category in a bit. And sustainability. So, tech-enabled sustainable solutions. These are companies optimizing for sustainability from process to product. With these five verticals combined, we have a subspecies which is that diverse founders and diverse employee bases and diverse cap table. It is not charity, it’s simply good for business. And so, in addition to being hyper specific about the impact in which we invest, we also make it a priority and a mandate at our firm to invest in the way the world truly look. And when we say that on our website, we link to census data. And so, we invest in man and women equally. We invest in diverse founders, almost all of the time. And we track this with data and precious to make sure that our investments reflect not just one zip code in California but rather America at large. RITHOLTZ: And you have described this as non-obvious founders. Tell us a little bit about that phrase. DARABI: Well, not obvious is a term you hear a lot when you go out to Silicon Valley. And I don’t know, I think it was coined by a well-known early PayPal employee turned billionaire turned investor who actually have a conference centered around non-obvious ideas. And I love the phrase. I love thinking about investment PC that are contrary because we have a contrary point of view, contrarian point of view, you often have outlier results because if you’re right, you’re taking the risk and your capturing the reward. When you’re investing in non-obvious founders, it should be that is the exact same outcome. And so, it almost sort of befuddled me as a person with a hard to pronounce name in Silicon Valley, why it was that we’re an industry that prides itself on investing in innovation and groundbreaking ideas and the next frontier of X, Y, and Z and yet all of those founders in which we were investing, collectively, tended to kind of look the same. They were coming from the same schools and the same types of families. And so, to me, there was nothing innovative at all about backing that Wharton, PSB, HBS guy who is second or third-generation finance. And what really excites me about venture is capturing a moment in time that’s young but also the energy is palpable around not only the idea in which the founder is building but the categories of which they’re tackling and that sounded big. I’ll be a little bit more speficic. And so, at TMV, we tried to see things before they’re even coming around the bend. For instance, we were early investors in a company called Cityblock Health which is offering best in class health care specifically for low income Americans. So they focus on the most vulnerable population which are underserved with health care and they’re offering them best in class health care access at affordable pricing because it’s predominantly covered through a payer relationship. And this company is so powerful to us for three reasons because it’s not simply offering health care to the elite. It’s democratizing access to care which I think is absolutely necessary in term out for success of any kind. We thought this was profoundly interesting because the population which they serve is also incredibly diverse. And so when you look at that investment over, say, a comparable company, I won’t name names, that offers for-profit health care, out-of-pocket, you can see why this is an opportunity that excites us as impact investors but we don’t see the diversity of the team it’s impact. We actually see that as their unfair advantage because they are accessing a population authentically that others might ignore. RITHOLTZ: Let me see if I understand this correctly. When you talk about non-obvious find — founders and spaces like this, what I’m hearing from you is you’re looking at areas where the market has been very inefficient with how it allocates capital … DARABI: Yes. RITHOLTZ: … that these areas are just overlooked and ignored, hey, if you want to go on to silicon valley and compete with everybody else and pay up for what looks like the same old startup, maybe it will successful and maybe it won’t, that’s hypercompetitive and hyper efficient, these are areas that are just overlooked and there is — this is more than just do-goodery for lack of a better word. There are genuine economic opportunities here with lots of potential upside. DARABI: Absolutely. So, my business partner and I, she and I found each other 20 years ago as undergrads at Georgetown but we went in to business after she was successful and being one of the only women in the world to take a shipping business public with her family, and we got together and we said we have a really unique access, she and I. And the first SPV that we collaborated on back in 2016 was a young business at the time, started by two women, that was focused on medical apparel predominantly for nurses. Now it’s nurses and doctors. And they were offering a solution to make medical apparel, so scrubs, more comfortable and more fashionable for nurses. I happen to have nurses and doctors in my family so doing due diligence for this business is relatively simple. I called my aunt who’s a nurse practitioner, a nurse her life, and she said, absolutely. When you’re working in a uniform at the hospital, you want something comfortable with extra pockets that makes you look and feel good. The VCs that they spoke to at the time, and they’ve been very public about this, in the beginning, anyway, were less excited because they correlated this particular business for the fashion company. But if you look back at our original memo which I saved, it says, FIGS, now public on the New York Stock Exchange is a utility business. It’s a uniform company that can verticalize beyond just medical apparel. And so, we helped value that company at 15 million back in 2016. And this year, in 2021, they went public at a $7 billion market cap. RITHOLTZ: Wow. DARABI: And so, what is particularly exciting for us going back to that conversation on non-obvious founders is that particular business, FIGS, was the first company in history to have two female co-founders go public. And when we think of success at TMV, we don’t just think about financial success and IRR and cash on cash return for our LPs, of course we think about that. But we also think who are we cheerleading and with whom do we want to go into business. I went to the story on the other side of the fence that we want to help and we measure non-obvious not just based on gender or race because I think that’s a little too precise in some ways. Sometimes, for us non-obvious, is around geography, I would say. I’m calling you from Athens, as you know, and in Greece, yesterday, I got together with a fund manager. I’m lucky enough to be an LP in her fund and she was talking about the average size of a seed round in Silicon Valley these days, hovering around 30 million. And I was scratching my head because at our fund, TMV, we don’t see that. We’re investing in Baltimore, Maryland, and in Austin, Texas and the average price for us to invest in the seed round is closer to 5 million or 6 million. And so, we actually can capture larger ownership of the pie early on and then develop a very close-knit relationship with these founders but might not be as networked in the Valley where there’s 30 VC funds to everyone that exist in Austin, Texas. RITHOLTZ: Right. DARABI: And so, yes, I think you’re right to say that it’s about inefficiencies in market but also just around — about being persistent and looking where others are not. RITHOLTZ: That’s quite intriguing. Your team is female-led. You have a portfolio of companies that’s about 65 percent women and people of color. Tell us how you go about finding these non-obvious startups? DARABI: It’s a good question. TMV celebrates its five-year anniversary this year. So the way we go about funding companies now is a bit different than the way we began five years ago. Now, it’s systematic. We collectively, as a partnership, there are many of us take over 50 calls a month with Tier 1 venture capital firms that have known us for a while like the work that we do, believe in our value-add because the partnership comprised of four more operators. So, we really roll up our sleeves to help. And when you’ve invested at this firms, enough time, they will write to you and say I found a company that’s a little too early for us, for XYZ reason, but it resonates and I think it might be for you. So we found some of our best deals that way. But other times, we found our deal flow through building our own communities. And so, when I first started visit as an EM, an emerging manager of a VC firm. And roughly 30 percent of LP capital goes to EM each year but that’s sort of an outsized percentage because when you think about the w-fix-solve (ph) addition capital, taking 1.3 billion of that pie, then you recognize the definition of emerging manager might need to change a bit. So, when I was starting as an EM, I recognize that the landscape wasn’t necessarily leveled. If you weren’t, what’s called the spinout, somebody that has spent a few years at a traditional established blue-chip firm, then it’s harder to develop and cultivate relationships with institutional LPs who will give you a shot even though the data absolutely points to there being a real opportunity in capturing lightning in a bottle if you find a right EM with the right idea in the right market conditions which is certainly what we’re in right now. And so, I decided to start a network specifically tailored around helping women fund managers, connecting one another and it began as a WhatsApp group and a weekly Google Meet that has now blown into something that requires a lot of dedicated time. And so we’re hiring an executive director for this group. They’re called Transact Global, 250 women ex-fund managers globally, from Hong Kong, to Luxembourg, to Venezuela, Canada, Nigeria, you name it. There are women fund managers in our group and we have one of the most active deal flow channels in the world. And so two of our TMV deals over the last year, a fintech combatting student debt and helping young Americans save for retirement at the same time, as an example, came from this WhatsApp deal flow channel. So, I think creating the community, being the change, so to speak, has been incredibly effective for us a proprietary deal flow mechanism. And then last but not least, I think that having some sort of media presence really has helped. And so, I’ve hosted a podcast and I’ve worked on building up what I think to be a fairly organic Twitter following over the years and we surprise ourselves by getting some really exceptional founders cold pitching us on LinkedIn and on Twitter because we make ourselves available as next gen EMs. So, that’s a sort of long-winded answer to your question. But it’s not the traditional means by any means. RITHOLTZ: To say the least. Are you — the companies you’re investing in, are they — and I’ll try and keep this simple for people who are not all that well-versed in the world of venture, is it seed stage, is it the A round, the B round? How far into their growth process do you put money in? DARABI: So it is a predominantly seed fund. We call our investments core investments. So, these are checks that average, 1 and 1.5 million. So for about 1.25 million, on average, we’re capturing 10-15% of a cap payable. And in this area, that’s called a seed round. It will probably be called a Series A 10 years ago. RITHOLTZ: Right. DARABI: And then we follow on through the Series A and it max around, I think, our pro rata at the B. So, our goal via Series B is to have, on average, 10% by the cap. And then we give ourselves a little bit of wiggle room with our modeling. We take mars and moonshot investments with smaller checks so we call these initial interest checks. And initial interest means I’m interested but your idea is still audacious, they won’t prove itself out for three or four years or to be very honest, we weren’t the first to get into this cap or you’re picking Sequoia over us, so we understand but let’s see if we can just promise you a bit of value add to edge our way into your business. RITHOLTZ: Right. DARABI: And oftentimes, when you speak as a former founder yourself with a high level of compassion and you promise with integrity that you’re going to work very hard for that company, they will increase the size of their round and they will carve out space for you. And so, we do those types of investments rarely, 10 times, in any given portfolio. But what’s interesting in looking back at some of our outliers from found one, it came from those initial interest checks. So that’s our model in a nutshell. We’re pretty transparent about it. What we like about this model is that it doesn’t make us tigers, we’re off the board by the B, so we’re still owning enough of the cap table to be a meaningful presence in the founder’s lives and in their business and it allows us to feel like we’re not spraying and praying. RITHOLTZ: Spraying and praying is an amusing term but I’m kind of intrigued by the fact that we use to call it smart money but you’re really describing it as value-added capital when a founder takes money from TMV, they’re getting more than just a check, they’re getting the involvement from entrepreneurs who have been through the process from startup to capital raise to exit, tell us a li bit about how that works its way into the deals you end up doing, who you look at, and what the sort of deal flow you see is like. DARABI: Well, years ago, I had the pleasure of meeting a world-class advertiser and I was at his incredibly fancy office down in Wall Street, his ad agency. And he described to me with pride how he basically bartered his marketing services for one percent of a unicorn. And he was sort of showing off of it about how, from very little time and effort, a few months, he walked away with a relatively large portion of a business. And I thought, yes, that’s clever. But for the founder, they gave up too much of their business too soon. RITHOLTZ: Right. DARABI: And I came up with an idea that I floated by Marina back in the day where our original for TMV Fund I began with the slide marketing as the future of venture and venture is the future of marketing. Meaning, it’s a VC fund where the position itself more like an ad agency but rather than charging for its services, it’s go-to-market services. You offer them free of charge but then you were paid in equity and you could quantify the value that you were offering to these businesses. And back then, people laughed us even though all around New York City, ad agencies were really doing incredible work and benefiting from the startups in that ecosystem. And so, we sort of changed the positioning a bit. And now, we say to our LPs and to our founders, your both clients of our firm. So, we do think of ourselves as an agency. But one set of our marketplace, you have LPs and what they want is crystal clear. The value that they derive from us is through a community and connectivity and co-investment and that’s it. It’s pretty kind of dry. Call me up once a year where you have an exceptional opportunity. Let me invest alongside you. Invite me to dinners four times a year, give me some information and a point of view that I can’t get elsewhere. Thank you for your time. And I love that. It’s a great relationship to have with incredibly smart people. It’s cut and dry but it’s so different. What founders want is something more like family. They want a VC on their board that they can turn to during critical moments. Two a.m. on a Saturday is not an uncommon time for me to get a text message from a founder saying what do I do. So what they want is more like 24/7 services for a period of time. And they want to know when that relationship should start and finish. So it’s sort of the Montessori approach to venture. We’re going to tell them what we’re going to tell them. Tell them what they’re telling them. Tell them what we told them. We say to founders with a reverse pitch deck. So we pitch them as they’re pitching us. Here’s what we promise to deliver for you for the first — each of the 24 months of your infancy and then we promise you we’ll mostly get lost. You can come back to use when your business is growing if you want to do it tender and we’ll operate an SPV for you for you or if you simply want advice, we’re never going to ignore you but our specialty, our black belt, if you will, Barry, is in those first 24 months of your business, that go-to-market. And so, we staffed up TMV to include, well, it’s punching above our weight but the cofounder of an exceptionally successful consumer marketing business, a gross marketer, a recruiter who helps one of our portfolio companies hire 40 of their earliest employees. We have a PR woman. You’ve met Viyash (ph), she’s exceptional with whom, I don’t know, how we would function sometimes because she’s constantly writing and re-editing press releases for the founders with which we work. And then Anna, our copywriter who came from IAC and Sean, our creative director, used to be the design director for Rolling Stone, and I can go on and on. So, some firms called us a platform team but we call it the go-to-market team. And then we promise a set number of hours for ever company that we invest into. RITHOLTZ: That’s … DARABI: And then the results — go ahead. RITHOLTZ: No, that’s just — I’m completely fascinated by that. But I have to ask maybe this is an obvious question or maybe it’s not, so you — you sound very much like a non-traditional venture capital firm. DARABI: Yes. RITHOLTZ: Who are your limited partners, who are your clients, and what motivates them to be involved with TMV because it sounds so different than what has been a pretty standard model in the world of venture, one that’s been tremendous successful for the top-tier firms? DARABI: Our LP set is crafted with intention. And so, 50% of our investors are institutional. This concludes institutional-sized family offices and family offices in a multibillions. We work with three major banks, Fortune 500 banks. We work with a couple of corporate Fortune 500 as investors or LPs and a couple of fund to funds. So that’s really run of the mill. But 50 percent of our investors and that’s why I’m in Athens today are family offices, global family offices, that I think are reinventing with ventures like, to look like in the future because wealth has never been greater globally. There’s a trillion dollars of assets that are passing to the hands of one generation to the next and what’s super interesting to me, as a woman, is that historically, a lot of that asset transferred was from father to son, but actually, for the first time in history, over 50 percent, so 51% of those asset inheritors are actually women. And so, as my business partner could tell because she herself is a next gen, in prior generations, women were encouraged to go into the philanthropic or nonprofit side of the family business … RITHOLTZ: Right. DARABI: And the sons were expected to take over the business or the family office and all of that is completely turned around in the last 10 years. And so, my anchor investor is actually a young woman. She’s under the age of 35. There’s a little bit of our firm that’s in the rocks because we’re not playing by the same rules that the establishment has played by. But certainly, we’re posturing ourselves to be able to grow in to a blue-chip firm which is why we want to maintain that balance, so 50 percent institutional and 50 percent, I would call it bespoke capital. And so, the LPs that are bespoke, we work at an Australian family office and Venezuelan family office and the Chilean family office and the Mexican family office and so on. For those family offices, we come to them, we invite them to events in New York City, we give them personalized introductions to our founders and we get on the phone with them. Whenever they’d like, we host Zooms. We call them the future of everything series. They can learn from us. And we get to know them as human beings and I think that there’s a reason why two thirds of our Fund I LPs converted over into Fund II because they like that level of access, it’s what the modern LP is really looking for. RITHOLTZ: Let’s talk a little bit about some of the areas that you find intriguing. What sectors are really capturing your attention these days? What are you most excited about? DARABI: Well, Barry, I’m most excited about five categories for which we’ve been investing for quite some time, but they’re really being accelerated due to the 2020 pandemic and a looming recession. And so, we’re particularly fascinated by not just health care investing as has been called in the past but rather the care economy. I’m not a huge fan of the term femtech, it always sounds like fembot to me. But care as it pertains to women alone is a multitrillion dollar opportunity. And so, when we think of the care economy, we think of health care, pet care, elder care, community care, personal care as it pertains to young people, old people, men, women, children, we bifurcate and we look for interesting opportunities that don’t exist because they’ve been undercapitalized, undervalued for so long. Case in point, we were early investors Kindbody, a reproductive health care company focused on women who want to preserve their fertility because if you look at 2010 census data, you can see that the data has been there for some time that women, in particular, were delaying marriage and childbirth and there are a lot of world-famous economists who will tell you this, the global population will decline because we’re aging and we’re not necessarily having as many children as we would have in the past plus it’s expensive. And so, we saw that as investors as a really interesting opportunity and jumped on the chance to ask Gina Bartasi who’s incredible when she came to us with a way to make fertility preservation plus expenses. So she followed the B2C playbook and she started with the mobile clinic that helps women freeze their eggs extensively. That company has gone on to raise hundreds — pardon me — and that company is now valued in the hundreds of million and for us, it was as simple as following our intuition as women fund managers, we know what our peers are thinking about because we talk to them all the time and I think the fact that we’re bringing a new perspective to venture means that we’re also bringing a new perspective to what has previously been called femtech. We invest in financial inclusion. Everyone in the world that’s investing fintech, the self-directed financial mobile apps are always going to be capitalized especially in a post Robin Hood era but we’re specifically interested in the democratization of access to financial information and we’re specifically interested in student debt and alleviating student debt in America because not only is it going to be one of the greatest challenges our generation will have to overcome, but it’s also prohibiting us from living out the American dream, $1.7 trillion of student debt in America that needs to be alleviated. And then we’re interested in the future of work, and long have been, that certainly was very much accelerated during the pandemic but we’ve been investing in the 1099 and remote work for quite some time. And so, really proud to have been the first check into a company called Bravely which is an HR chatbot that helps employees inside of a company chat a anonymously with HR representatives outside of that company, that’s 1099. That issue is like DEI, an inclusion and upward mobility and culture setting and what to do when you’re all of a sudden working for home. So that’s an example of a future of work business. And then in the tech-enabled sustainable solutions category, it’s a mouthful, let’s call that sustainability, we are proud to have been early investors of a company called Ridwell, out of Seattle Washington, focused on not just private — privatized recycling but upcycling and reconnaissance. Where are our things going when we recycle them? For me, it always been a pretty big question. And so, Ridwell allows you to re and upcycle things that are hard to get rid of out of your home like children’s eyeglasses and paints and battery, single-use plastic. And it shows you where those things are going which I think is super cool and there’s good reason why it has one of the highest NPS scores, Net Promoter Scores, of any company I’ve ever worked with. People are craving this kind of modern solution. And last but not least, we invest in transportation and part because of the unfair advantage my partner, Marina, brings to TMV as she comes from a maritime family. And so, we can pile it, transportation technology, within her own ecosystem. That’s pretty great. But also, because we’re just fascinated by the fact that 90 percent of the world commodities move on ship and the biggest contributor to emissions in the world outside of corporate is coming from transportation. SO, if we can sort of figure out this industry, we can solve a lot of the problems that our generation are inheriting. Now, these categories might sound massive and we do consider ourselves a generalist firm but we stick to five-course sectors that we truly believe in and we give ourselves room to kick out a sector or to add a new one with any given new fund. For the most part, we haven’t needed to because this remain the categories that are not only most appealing to us as investors but I think paramount to our generation. RITHOLTZ: That’s really intriguing. Give us an example of moonshot or what you called earlier, a Mars shot technology or a company that can really be a gamechanger but may not pay off for quite a while. DARABI: We’ve just backed a company that is focusing on food science. Gosh, I can’t give away too much because they haven’t truly launched in the U.S. But maybe I’ll kind of allude to it. They use crushed produce, like, crush potato skins to make plastic but biodegrades. And so, it’s a Mars shot because it’s a materials business and it’s a food science business rolled off into both the CPG business and an enterprise business. This particular material can wrap itself around industrial pellets. Even though it’s audacious, it’s not really a Mars shot when you think about the way the world is headed. Everybody wants to figure out how do we consume less plastic and recycle plastic better. And so, if there are new materials out there that will not only disintegrate but also, in some ways, feed the environment, it will be a no-brainer and then if you add to the equation the fact that it could be maybe not less expensive but of comparable pricing to the alternative, I can’t think of a company in the world that wouldn’t switch to this solution. RITHOLTZ: Right. So this is plastic that you don’t throw away. You just toss in the garden and it becomes compost? DARABI: Yes, exactly. Exactly. It should help your garden grow. So, yes, so that’s what I would call a Mars shot in some ways. But in other ways, it’s just common sense, right? RITHOLTZ: So let’s talk a little bit about your investment vehicles. You guys run, I want to make sure I get this right, two funds and three vehicles, is that right? DARABI: We have two funds. They’re both considered micro funds because they’re both under 100 million and then we operate in parallel for SPVs that are relatively evergreen and they serve as opportunistic investments to continue to double down on our winners. RITHOLTZ: SPV is special purpose investment … DARABI: Vehicles. Yes. RITHOLTZ: Right. DARABI: And the PE world, they’re called sidecars. RITHOLTZ: That’s really interesting. So how do these gets structured? Does everything look very similar when you have a fund? How quickly do you deploy the capital and typically how long you locked for or investors locked up for? DARABI: Well investors are usually in private equity are VC funds locked up for 10 years. That’s not usual. We have shown liquidity faster, certainly, for Fund I. It’s well in the black and it’s only five years old less, four and a half years old. So, how do we make money? We charge standard fees, 2 on 20 is the rubric of it, we operate by. And then lesser fees for sidecars or direct investments. So that’s kind of how we stay on business. When you think about an emerging manager starting their first fund, management fees are certainly not so we can live a lavish rock and roll life on a $10 million fund with a two percent management fee, we’re talking about 200K for the entire business to operate. RITHOLTZ: Wow. DARABI: So Marina and I, not only anchored our first fund with their own capital but we didn’t pay ourselves for four years. It’s not glamorous. I mean, there’s some friends of mine that thing the venture capital life is glam and it is if you’re on Sand Hill Road. But if you’re an EM, it’s a lot more like a startup where you’re burning the midnight oil, you are bartering favors with your friends, and you are begging the smartest people you know to take a chance on you to invite you on to their cap table. But it somehow works out because we do put in that extra effort, I think, the metrics, certainly for Fund I have shown us that we’re in this for the long haul now. RITHOLTZ: So your fund 1 and Fund 2, are there any plans of launching Fund III? DARABI: Yes. I think that given the proof points between Fund I and Fund II and a conversation that my partner and I recently had, five years out, are we in this? Do we love this? We do. OK. This is our life’s work. So you can see larger and more demonstrable sized funds but not in an outsized way, not just because we can raise more capital now but because we want to build out a partnership and the kind of culture that we always dreamed of working for back when we were employees, so we have a very diverse set of colleagues with whom we couldn’t operate and we’ll be adding to the partnership in the next two or three years which is really exciting to say. So, yes, the TMV will be around for a while. RITHOLTZ: That’s really interesting. I want to ask you the question I ask any venture capitalist that I interview. Tell us about your best and worst investments and what did you pass on that perhaps you wish you didn’t? DARABI: Gosh. The FOMO list is so long and so embarrassing. Let me start with what I passed on that I regret. Well, I don’t know she really would have invited me to invest, but certainly, I had a wonderful conversation a peer from high school, Katrina Lake, when she was in beta mode for Stitch Fix. I think she was still at HBS at the time or had just recently graduated from Harvard. When Katrina and I had coffee in Minneapolis were we went to high school and she was telling me about the Netflix for clothing that she was building and certainly I regret not really picking up on the clues that she was offering in that conversation. Stitch Fix had an incredible IPO and I’m a proud shareholder today. And similarly, when my friend for starting Cloudflare which luckily they did bring me in to pre-IPO and I’m grateful for that, but when they were starting Cloudflare, I really should have jumped on that moment or when my buddy Ryan Graves whom I still chat with pretty frequently was starting out Uber in beta with Travis and Garrett, that’s another opportunity that I definitely missed. I was in Ireland when the Series A term sheet assigned. So there’s such a long laundry list of namedropped, namedropped, missed, missed, missed. But in terms of what I’m proud of, I’d say far more. I don’t like Sophie’s Choice. I don’t like to cherry pick the certain investments to just brag about them. But we’ve talked about someone to call today, I’d rather kind of shine a light — look at my track record, right? There’s a large realized IRR that I’m very proud of. But more on the opportunity of the companies that we more recently backed that prevent damages (ph) of CRM for oncology patient that help them navigate through the most strenuous time of their life. And by doing so, get better access to health care. And we get to wrote that check a couple of months ago. But already, it’s becoming a company that I couldn’t be more excited about because if they execute the way I think Shirley and Victor will, that has the power to help so many people in a profound way, not just in the Silicon Valley cliché way of this could change the world but this could actually help people receive better care. So, yes, I’m proud of having been an early investor in the Caspers of the world. Certainly, we’re all getting better sleep. There’s no shame there. But I’m really excited now today at investing in financial inclusion in the care economy and so on. RITHOLTZ: And let’s talk a little bit about impactful companies. Is there any different when you’re making a seed stage investment in a potentially impactful company versus traditional startup investing? DARABI: Well, pre-seed and seed investing isn’t a science and it’s certainly not a science that anyone has perfected. There are people who are incredibly good at it because they have a combination of luck and access. But if you’re a disciplined investor in any asset class and I talk to my friends who run hedge funds and work for hedge funds about 10 bets that they take a day and I think that’s a lot trickier than what I do because our do due diligence process, on average, takes an entire quarter of the year. We’re not making that many investments each year. So even though it sounds sort of fruity, when you look at a Y Combinator Demo Day, Y Comb is the biggest accelerator in Silicon Valley and they produce over 300 companies, three or four times a year. When you look at the outsized valuations coming out of Y Comb, it’s easy to think that starting company is as simple as sort of downloading a company in a Box Excel and running with it. But from where we sit, we’re scorching the earth for really compelling ideas in areas that have yet to converge and we’re looking for businesses that may have never pitched the VC before. Maybe they’re not even seeking capital. Maybe it’s a company that isn’t so interested in raising a penny eventually because they don’t need to. They’re profitable from day one. Those are the companies that we find most exciting because as former operators, we know how to appeal to them and then we also know how to work with them. RITHOLTZ: That’s really interesting. Before I get to my favorite question, let me just throw you’re a curveball, tell me a little bit about Business Schooled, the podcast you hosted for quite a while. DARABI: So, Synchrony, Sync, came to me a few years ago with a very compelling and exciting opportunity to host a podcast with them that allowed me a fortunate opportunity to travel the country and I went to just under a dozen cities to meet with founders who have persevered past their startup phase. And what I loved about the concept of business school is that the cities that I hosted were really focused on founders who didn’t have access to VC capital, they put money on credit card. So I took SBA loans or asked friends and family to give them starter capital and then they made their business work through trying times and when you pass the five-year mark for any business, I’m passing it right now for TMV, there’s a moment of reflection where you can say, wow, I did it. it’s incredibly difficult to be a startup founder, more than 60 percent of companies fail and probably for good reason. And so, yes, I hosted business school, Seasons 2 and 3 and potentially there will be more seasons and I’m very proud of the fact that at one point we cracked the top 20 business podcasts and people seem to be really entertained through these conversations with insightful founders who are vulnerable with me about what it was like to build their business and I like to think they were vulnerable because I have a good amount of compassion for the experience of being founder and also because I’m a New Yorker and I just like to talk. RITHOLTZ: You’re also a founder so there’s going to be some empathy that’s genuine. You went through what they’re going through. DARABI: Exactly. Exactly. And so, what you do, Barry, is quite similar. You’re — you host an exceptionally successful business podcast and you’re also an allocator. You know that it’s interesting to do both because I think that being an investor is a lot like being a journalist. In both professions, you won’t succeed unless you are constantly curious and if you are having conversations to listen more than you speak. DARABI: Well, I’ll let you in on a little secret since it’s so late in the podcast and fewer people will be hearing this, the people I invite on the show are essentially just conversations I want to have. If other people come along and listen, that’s fantastic. But honestly, it’s for an audience of one, namely me, the reason I wanted to have you on is because I’m intrigued by the world of venture and alternatives and impact. I think it’s safe to say that a lot of people have been somewhat disappointed in the results of ESG investing and impact investing that for — it’s captured a lot more mindshare than it has captured capital although we’re seeing signs that’s starting to shift. But then the real question becomes, all right, so I’m investing less in oil companies and more in other companies that just happen to consume fossil fuels, what’s the genuine impact of my ESG investing? It feels like it’s sort of de minimis whereas what you do really feels like it has a major impact for people who are interested in having their capital make a positive difference. DARABI: Thank you for saying that. And I will return the compliment by saying that I really enjoyed getting to know you on our one key economist Zoom and I think that you’re right. I think that ESG investing, certainly in the public markets has had diminished returns historically because the definition has been so bizarre and so all over the place. RITHOLTZ: Right. DARABI: And I read incredible books from people like Antony Bugg-Levine who helps coin the term the Rockefeller Foundation, who originally coined the term you read about, mortgage, IRR and IRS plus measurement and it’s so hard to have just standardization of what it means to be an impact investor and so it can be bothered but we bother. Rather, we kind of come up with our own subjective point of view of the world and we say what does impact mean to us? Certainly, it means not investing in sin stocks but then those sin stocks have to begin somewhere, has to begin with an idea that somebody had once upon a time. And so, whether we are investing in the way the world should look from our perspective. And with that in mind, it doesn’t have to be impact by your grandpa’s VC, it can be impact from modern generation but simply things that behave differently. Some folks with their dollars. People often say, well, my ESG portfolio is underperforming. But then if you dig in to the specifics, are you investing in Tesla? It’s not a pretty good year. Did you back Beyond Meat? Had a great year. And so, when you kind of redefine the public market not by a sleeve and a bank’s version of a portfolio, but rather by company that you think are making demonstrable change in the world, then you can walk away, realizing had I only invested in these companies that are purpose driven, I would have had outsized returns and that’s what we’re trying to deliver on at TMV. That’s the promise. RITHOLTZ: Really, really very, very intriguing. I know I only have you for a few minutes so let’s jump to my favorite questions that I ask all of our guests starting with tell us what you’re streaming these days. Give us your favorite, Netflix, Amazon Prime, or any podcast that are keeping you entertained during the pandemic. DARABI: Well, my family has been binging on 100 Foot Wave on HBO Max which is the story of big wave surfer Garrett McNamara who is constantly surfing the world’s largest waves and I’m fascinated by people who have a mission that’s sort of bigger than success or fame but they’re driven by something and part of that something is curiosity and part of it is insanity. And so not only is it visually stunning to kind of watch these big wave surfers in Portugal, but it’s also a mind trip. What motivates them to get out of bed every day and potentially risk their lives doing something so dangerous and so bananas but also at the same time so brave and heroic. So, highly recommend. I am listening to too many podcasts. I listen to, I don’t know, a stream of things. I’m a Kara Swisher fan, Ezra Klein fan, so they’re both part of the “New York Times” these days. And of course, your podcast, Barry. RITHOLTZ: Well, thank you so much. Well, thank you so much. Let’s talk a little bit about who your early mentors were and who helped shape you career? DARABI: It’s going to sound ungrateful but I don’t think, in like a post lean in definition of the word, I ever truly had a mentor or a sponsor. Now, having said that, I’ve had people who really looked at for me and been incredibly gracious with their time and capital. And so, I would absolutely like to acknowledge that first and foremost. I think about how generous Adam Grant has been with his time and his investments for TMV in Fund I and Fund II and he’s a best-selling author and worked on highest-rated business school professor. So shout out to Adam, if he’s listening or Beth Comstock, the former Vice Chair of GE who has been instrumental in my career for about a decade and a half now. And she is also really leaning in to the TMV portfolio and has become a patient of Parsley Health, an early investment of ours and also an official adviser to the business. So, people like Adam and Beth certainly come to mind. But I don’t know, I just — I’m not sure mentors really exist outside of corporate America anymore and part of the reason why we started Transact Global is to kind of foster the concept of the peer mentor, people who are going through the same thing as you at the same time and allowing that hive mentality with an abundance mentality to catalyze people to kind of go further and faster. RITHOLTZ: Let’s talk about some of your favorite books and what you might reading right now. DARABI: OK, so in the biz book world, because I know your listeners as craving, I’m a big fan of “Negotiation Genius.” I took a crash course with one of the authors, Max Bazerman at the Kennedy School and it was illuminating. I mean, he’s one of the most captivating professors I’ve ever had the pleasure of hearing lecture and this book has really helped me understand the concept of the ZOPA, the Zone of Possible Agreement, and how to really negotiate well. And then for Adam whom I just referenced, of all of his incredible books, my favorite is Give and Take because I try to operate with that approach of business. Give more than you take and maybe in the short term, you’ll feel depleted but in the long term, karma pays off. But mostly, Barry, I read fiction. I think the most interesting people in the world or at least the most entertaining at dinner parties are all avoid readers of fiction and history. So I recently reread, for instance, all of my favorite short stories from college, from Dostoyevsky’s “A Gentle Creature” to “Drown” Junot Diaz. “Passing” by Nella Larsen, “The Diamond as Big as the Ritz” by Fitzgerald. Those are some of my very favorite stories of all time. And my retirement dream is to write a book of short stories. RITHOLTZ: Really, really quite intriguing. Are they all available in a single collection or these just, going back to your favorites and just plowing through them for fun? DARABI: Those are just going back to my favorites. I try to re-read “Passing” every few years which is somehow seems to be more and more relevant as I get older and Junot Diaz has become so incredibly famous when I first read “Drown” about 20 years ago which is an original collection of short stories that broadened my perspective of why it’s important to think about a broader definition of America, I guess. And, yes, no, that’s just — that was just sort of off the top of my head as the offering of a few stories that I really love, no collection. RITHOLTZ: That’s a good collection. And we’re down to our final two questions. What sort of advice would you give to a recent college grad who was interested in a career in either venture capital or entrepreneurship? DARABI: Venture capital or entrepreneurship. Well, I would say, learn as early as possible how to trust your gut. So, this could mean a myriad of things. As an entrepreneur, it could mean under the halo effect of an institution, university or high school or maybe having a comfortable day job, tinker with ideas, get feedback on that idea, don’t be afraid of looking or sounding dumb and build that peer network that I described. People who are rooting you on and are also insatiably curious about wonky things. And I would say that for venture capital, similar play on the same theme, but whether it’s putting small amounts of money into new concept, blockchain investing, or whether it’s meeting with entrepreneurs and saying maybe I only have $3,000 save up but I believe in you enough to bet amongst friends in Brooklyn on your concept if you’ll have me as an investor. So, play with your own money because what it’s really teaching you in return is how to follow instincts and to base pattern recognition off your own judgement. And if you do that early on, overtime, these all become datapoints that you can point to and these are lessons that you can glean while not taking the risk of portfolio management. So, I guess the real advice to your listeners is more action, please. RITHOLTZ: Really very, very intriguing. And our final question, what do you know about the world of venture investing today that you wish you knew 15 or 20 years ago when you first getting started? DARABI: Twenty years ago, I was a bit of a Pollyanna and I thought every wonderful idea that simply is built by smart people and has timed the market correctly will work out. And I will say that I’m slightly more jaded today because of the capital structure that is systematically allowing the biggest firms in the world to kind of eat up a generous portion of, let’s call it the LP pie, which leaves less capital available to the young upstart VC firms, and of course I’m biased because I run one, that are taking outsized risks on those non-obvious ideas that we referenced. And so, what I wish for the future is that institutional capital kind of reprioritizes what it’s looking for. And in addition to having a bottom line of reliable and demonstrable return on any given investment, there are new standards put into play saying we want to make sure that a portion of our portfolio goes to diverse managers. Because in turn, we recognize that they are three times more likely to invest in diverse founders or we believe in impact investing can be broader than the ESG definitely of a decade ago, so we’re coming up with our own way to measure on sustainability or what impact means to us. And if they go through those exercises which I know is hard because, certainly, I’m not trying to add work to anyone’s plate, I do think that the results will more than make up for it. RITHOLTZ: Quite intriguing. Thank you, Soraya, for being so generous with your time. We have been speaking with Soraya Darabi who is the Co-Founder and General Partner at TMV Investments. If you enjoy this conversation, well, be sure and check out any of the prior 376 conversations we’ve had before. You can find those at iTunes or Spotify, wherever you buy your favorite podcast. We love your comments, feedback, and suggestions. Write to us at MIB podcast@bloomberg.net. You can sign up for my daily reads at ritholtz.com. Check out my weekly column at bloomberg.com/opinion. Follow me on Twitter @ritholtz. I would be remiss if I did not thank the crack team that helps me put these conversations together each week. Tim Harrow is my audio engineer. Paris Walt (ph) is my producer. Atika Valbrun is our project manager, Michael Batnick is my head of research. I’m Barry Ritholtz, you’ve been listening to Masters in Business on Bloomberg Radio.   ~~~     The post Transcript: Soraya Darabi appeared first on The Big Picture......»»

Category: blogSource: TheBigPictureOct 20th, 2021

Saga Partners 1Q22 Commentary: Carvana And Redfin

Saga Partners commentary for the first quarter ended March 31, 2022. During the first quarter of 2022, the Saga Portfolio (“the Portfolio”) declined 42.4% net of fees. This compares to the overall decrease for the S&P 500 Index, including dividends, of 4.6%. The cumulative return since inception on January 1, 2017, for the Saga Portfolio […] Saga Partners commentary for the first quarter ended March 31, 2022. During the first quarter of 2022, the Saga Portfolio (“the Portfolio”) declined 42.4% net of fees. This compares to the overall decrease for the S&P 500 Index, including dividends, of 4.6%. The cumulative return since inception on January 1, 2017, for the Saga Portfolio is 112.0% net of fees compared to the S&P 500 Index of 122.7%. The annualized return since inception for the Saga Portfolio is 15.4% net of fees compared to the S&P 500’s 16.5%. Please check your individual statement as specific account returns may vary depending on timing of any contributions throughout the period. if (typeof jQuery == 'undefined') { document.write(''); } .first{clear:both;margin-left:0}.one-third{width:31.034482758621%;float:left;margin-left:3.448275862069%}.two-thirds{width:65.51724137931%;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element input{border:0;border-radius:0;padding:8px}form.ebook-styles .af-element{width:220px;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer{width:115px;float:left;margin-left: 6px;}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer input.submit{width:115px;padding:10px 6px 8px;text-transform:uppercase;border-radius:0;border:0;font-size:15px}form.ebook-styles .af-body.af-standards input.submit{width:115px}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy{width:100%;font-size:12px;margin:10px auto 0}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy p{font-size:11px;margin-bottom:0}form.ebook-styles .af-body input.text{height:40px;padding:2px 10px !important} form.ebook-styles .error, form.ebook-styles #error { color:#d00; } form.ebook-styles .formfields h1, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-logo, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-footer { display: none; } form.ebook-styles .formfields { font-size: 12px; } form.ebook-styles .formfields p { margin: 4px 0; } Get The Full Henry Singleton Series in PDF Get the entire 4-part series on Henry Singleton in PDF. Save it to your desktop, read it on your tablet, or email to your colleagues (function($) {window.fnames = new Array(); window.ftypes = new Array();fnames[0]='EMAIL';ftypes[0]='email';}(jQuery));var $mcj = jQuery.noConflict(true); Q1 2022 hedge fund letters, conferences and more Interpretation of Results I was not originally planning to write a quarterly update since switching to semi-annual updates a few years ago but given the current drawdown in the Saga Portfolio I thought our investors would appreciate an update on my thoughts surrounding the Portfolio and the current market environment in general. The Portfolio’s drawdown over the last several months has been hard not to notice even for those who follow best practices of only infrequently checking their account balance. Outperformance vs. the S&P 500 since inception has flipped to underperformance on a mark-to-market basis and the stock prices of our companies have continued to decline into the second quarter. In past letters I have spent a lot of time discussing the Saga Portfolio’s psychological approach to investing to help prepare for the inevitable chaos that will occur while investing in the public markets from time-to-time. It’s impossible to know why the market does what it does at any point in time. I would argue that the last two years could be considered pretty chaotic, both on the upside speculation and now what appears to be on the downside fear and panic. I will attempt to give my perspective on how events played out within the Saga Portfolio with an analogy. Let’s say that in 2019 we owned a fantastic home that was valued at $500,000. We loved it. It was in a great neighborhood with good schools for our kids. We liked and trusted our neighbors; in fact, we gave them a spare key in case of emergencies. It was the perfect home for us to live in for many years to come. Based on the neighborhood becoming increasingly attractive over time, it was likely that our home may be valued around $2 million in ~10 years from now. This is strong appreciation (15% IRR) compared to the average home, but this specific home and neighborhood had particularly strong long-term fundamental tailwinds that made this a reasonable expectation. Then in 2020 a global pandemic hit causing a huge disorientation in the housing market. For whatever reasons, the appraised value of our home almost immediately doubled to $1 million. Nothing materially changed about what we thought our home would be worth in 10 years, but now from the higher market value, the home would only appreciate at a lower 7% IRR assuming it would still be worth $2 million in 10 years. What were our options under these new circumstances? We could move and try to buy a new home that provided a higher expected return. However, the homes in the other neighborhoods that we really knew and liked also doubled in price, so they did not really provide any greater value. Also, the risk and hassle of moving for what may potentially only be modestly better home appreciation did not make sense. We could buy a home in a less desirable neighborhood where prices looked relatively cheaper, but we would not want to live long-term. Even if we decided to live there for many years, the long-term fundamental dynamics of the crummy neighborhood were weak to declining and it was uncertain if the property would appreciate at all despite its lower valuation. We could sell our home for $1 million and rent a place to live for the interim period while holding cash and waiting for the market to potentially correct. However, we did not know if, when, or to what extent the market would correct and the thought of renting a place temporarily for our family was unappealing. For the Saga family, we decided to stay invested in the home that we knew, loved, and still believed had similar, if not stronger prospects following the COVID-induced surge in demand in our neighborhood. Now, for whatever reason, the market views our neighborhood very poorly and the appraised value of our home declined to $250,000, below any previous appraisals. It seems odd because it is the exact same home and the fundamentals of the neighborhood are much stronger than several years ago, suggesting that the expected $2 million value in the future is even more probable than before. It is a very peculiar situation, but the market can do anything at any moment. Fortunately, the lower appraisal value does not impact how much we still love our home, neighborhood, schools, or what the expected future value will be. In fact, we prefer a lower value because our property taxes will be lower! One thing is for certain, we would never sell our home for $250,000 simply because the appraised value has declined from prior appraisals. We would also never dream of selling in fear that the downward price momentum continues and then hopefully attempt to buy it back one day for $200,000. We can simply sit tight for as long as we want while the neighborhood around us continues to improve fundamentally over time, fully expecting the value of our home to eventually go up with it. It just so happens humans are highly complex beings and do not always react in what an economist may consider a rational way. Our emotions are highly contagious. When someone smiles at you, the natural reaction is to smile back. When someone else is sad, you feel empathy. These are generally great innate characteristics for helping to build the strong relationships with friends and family that are so important throughout life. But it also means that when other people are scared, it also makes you feel scared. And when more and more people get scared, that fear can cascade exponentially and turn into panic, which can cause people to do some crazy things, especially when it comes to making long-term decisions. As fear spreads, all attention shifts from thinking about what can happen over the next 5-10+ years to the immediate future of what will happen over the next day or even hour. Of course, during times of panic, “this time is always different.” It may very well be the case, but the world can only end once. Historically speaking, things have tended to work out pretty well over time on average. I am by no means immune to these contagious feelings. My way of coping with how I am innately wired is by accepting this fact and then trying to know what I can and cannot control. A core part of my investing philosophy is that I do not know what the market will do next, and I never will. Inevitably the market or a specific stock will crash, as it does from time-to-time. This “not timing the market” philosophy or treating our public investments from the perspective of a private owner may feel like a liability during a drawdown, but it is this same philosophy of staying invested in companies we believe to have very promising futures which positions us perfectly for the inevitable recovery. Eventually, emotions and the business environment will normalize, and the storm will pass. It could be next quarter, year, or even in several years, but we will be perfectly positioned for the recovery, at which point the stock price lows will likely be long gone. The whole investing process improves if one can really take the long-term view. However, it is not natural for people to think long-term particularly when it comes to owning pieces of publicly traded companies. It is far more natural to want to act by jumping in and out of stocks in an attempt to outsmart others who are trying to outsmart you. When the market price of your ownership in a business is available and fluctuating wildly every single day, it is hard to ignore and not be influenced by it. While one can get lucky through speculation, the big money is made by investing, by owning great businesses and letting them compound owner’s capital over many years. As the market has evolved over the last few decades, there appears to be an ever-increasing percent of “investors” who are effectively short-term renters, turning over the companies in their portfolios so quickly that they never really know the business that lies below the surface of the stock. While more of Wall Street is increasingly focused on the next quarter, a potentially looming recession, the Fed’s next interest rate move, or trying to time the market’s rotation from one industry into another, we are trying to think about what our companies’ results will be in the year 2027, or better yet 2032 and beyond. The most significant advantage of investing in the public market is the ability to take advantage of it when an opportunity presents itself or to ignore the market when there is nothing to do. The key to success is never giving up this advantage. You must be able to play out your hand and not be forced to sell your assets at fire sale prices. Significant portfolio declines are a good reminder of the importance of only investing money that you will not need for many years. This prevents one from being in a position where it is necessary to liquidate when adverse psychology has created unusually low valuations. However, we do not want to simply turn a blind eye to stock price declines of 50% or more and dig our heals into the ground believing the market is just being irrational. When the world is screaming at you that it believes your part ownership in these companies is worth significantly less than the market believed not too long ago, we attempt to understand if we are missing something by continually evaluating the long-term outlooks of our companies using all the relevant information that we have today from a first principles basis. Portfolio Update Instead of frequently checking a stock’s price to determine whether the company is making progress, I prefer looking to the longer-term trends of the business results. There will be stronger and weaker quarters and years since business success rarely moves up and to the right in a perfectly straight line. As a company faces headwinds or tailwinds from time-to-time, the stock price may fluctuate wildly in any given year, however the underlying competitive dynamics and business models that drive value will typically change little. Regarding our companies as a whole, first quarter results reflected a general softness in certain end markets, including the used car, real estate, and advertising markets. However, the Saga Portfolio’s companies, on average, provide a superior customer value proposition difficult for competitors to match. Most of them have a cost advantage compared to competitors; therefore, the worse it gets for the economy, the better it gets for our companies’ respective competitive positions over the long-term. For example, first quarter industry-wide used car volumes declined 15% year-over-year while Carvana’s retail units increased 14%. Existing home sales decreased 5% during the quarter while Redfin’s real estate transactions increased 1%. Digital advertising is expected to grow 8-14% in 2022 while the Trade Desk grew Q1’22 revenues 43% and is expected to grow them more than 30% for the full year 2022. While industry-wide TV volumes remain below 2019 pre-COVID levels, Roku gained smart TV market share sequentially during the quarter, continuing to be the number one TV operating system in the U.S. and number one TV platform by hours streamed in North America. Weaker industry conditions will inevitably impact our companies’ results; however, our companies should continue to take market share and come out on the other side of any potential economic downturn stronger than when they went in. For the portfolio update, I wanted to provide a more in-depth update on Carvana and Redfin which have both experienced particularly large share price declines and have recent developments that are worth reviewing. Carvana I first wrote about Carvana Co (NYSE:CVNA) in this 2019 write-up. I initially explained Carvana’s business, superior value proposition compared to the traditional dealership model, attractive unit economics, and how they were uniquely positioned to win the large market opportunity. Since then, Carvana has by far exceeded even my most optimistic initial expectations. While the company did benefit following COVID in the sense that customers’ willingness to buy and sell cars through an online car dealer accelerated, the operating environment over the last two years has been very challenging. Carvana executed exceedingly well considering the shifting customer demand in what is a logistically intensive operation and what has been a tight inventory environment due to supply chain issues restricting new vehicle production. Sales, gross profits, and retail units sold have grown at a remarkable 104%, 151%, and 87% CAGR over the last five years, respectively. Source: Company filings Shares have come under pressure following their first quarter results, which reflected larger than expected losses. The quarter was negatively impacted by a combination of COVID-related logistical issues in their network that started towards the end of the fourth quarter as Omicron cases spread. Employee call off rates related to Omicron reached an unprecedented 30% that led to higher costs and supply chain bottlenecks. As less inventory was available due to these problems, it led to less selection and longer delivery times, lowering customer conversion rates. Additionally, interest rates increased at a historically fast rate during the first quarter which negatively impacted financing gross profits. Carvana originates loans for customers and then sells them to investors at a later date. If interest rates move materially between loan origination and ultimately selling those loans, it can impact the margin Carvana earns on underwriting those loans. Industry-wide used car volumes were also down 15% year-over-year during the first quarter. While Carvana continues to grow and take market share, its retail unit volume growth was slower than initially anticipated, up only 14% year-over-year. Carvana has been in hyper growth mode since inception and based on the operational and logistical requirements of the business, typically plans, builds, and hires for expected capacity 6-12 months into the future. This has historically served Carvana well given its exceptionally strong growth, but when the company plans and hires for higher capacity than what occurs, it can lead to lower retail gross profits and operating costs per unit sold. When combined with lower financing gross profits in the quarter from rising interest rates, losses were greater than expected. In February, Carvana announced a $2.2 billion acquisition of ADESA (including an additional $1 billion plan to build out the reconditioning sites) which had been in the works for some time. ADESA is a strategic acquisition to help accelerate Carvana’s footprint expansion across the country, growing its capacity from 1.0 million units at the end of Q1’22 to 3.2 million units once complete over the next several years. It is unfortunate the acquisition timing followed a difficult quarter that had greater than expected losses, combined with a generally tighter capital market environment. Carvana ended up raising $3.25 billion in debt ($2.2 billion for the acquisition and $1 billion for the buildout) at a higher than initially expected 10.25% interest rate. Given these higher financing costs and first quarter losses, they issued an additional $1.25 billion in new equity at $80 per share, increasing diluted shares outstanding by ~9%. Despite the short-term speedbumps surrounding logistical issues, softer industry-wide demand, and a higher cost of capital to acquire ADESA, Carvana’s long-term outlook not only remains intact but looks even more promising than before. To better understand why this is the case and where Carvana is in its lifecycle, it helps to provide a little background on the history of retail. While e-commerce is a more recent phenomena that developed from the rise of the internet in the 1990s, the retail industry has undergone several transformations throughout history. In retailing, profitability is determined by two factors: the margins earned on inventory and the frequency with which they can turn inventory. Each successive retail transformation had a similar economic pattern. The newer model had greater operating leverage (higher fixed costs, lower variable costs). This resulted in greater economies of scale (lower cost per unit) and therefore greater efficiency (higher asset turnover) with size that enabled them to charge lower prices (lower gross margins) than the preceding model and still provide an attractive return on capital. The average successful department store earned gross margins of ~40% and turned inventory about 3x per year, providing ~120% annual return on the capital invested in inventory. The average successful big box retailer earned ~20% gross margins and turned its inventory 5x per year. Amazon retail earns ~10% gross margins (including fulfillment costs in COGS) and turns inventory at a present rate of 12x times annually. The debate that surrounds any subscale retailer, particularly in e-commerce, is whether they have enough capital/runway to build out the required infrastructure and then scale business volume to spread fixed costs over enough units. Before reaching scale, analysts may point to an online business’ lower price points (“how can they charge such low prices?!”), higher operating costs per unit (“they lose so much money per item!”), and ongoing losses and capital investments (“they spend billions of dollars and still have not made any money!”) as evidence that the model does not make economic sense. Who can blame them since the history books are filled with companies that never reached scale? However, if the retailer does build the infrastructure and there is sufficient demand to spread fixed costs over enough volume, the significant capital investment and high operating leverage creates high barriers to entry. If we look to Amazon as the dominant e-commerce company today, once the infrastructure is built and reaches scale, there is little marginal cost to serve any prospective customer with an internet connection located within its delivery footprint. For this reason, I have always been hesitant to invest in any e-commerce company that Amazon may be able to compete with directly, which is any mid-sized product that fits in an easily shippable box. As it relates to used car retailing, the infrastructure required to ship and recondition cars is unique, and once built, the economies of scale make it nearly impossible for potential competitors to replicate. Carvana is in the very early stages of building out its infrastructure. There is clearly demand for its attractive customer value proposition. It has demonstrated an ability to scale fixed costs in earlier cohorts as utilization of capacity increases, providing attractive unit economics at scale. Newer market cohorts are tracking at a similar, if not faster market penetration rate as earlier cohorts. Carvana is still investing heavily in building out a nationwide hub-and-spoke transportation network and reconditioning facilities. In 2021 alone, Carvana grew its balance sheet by $4 billion as it invested in its infrastructure while also reaching EBITDA breakeven for the first time. The Amazon story is a prime example (pun intended) of a new and better business model (more attractive unit economics) that delivered a superior value proposition and propelled the company ahead of its competition, similar to the underlying dynamics occurring in the used car industry today. Amazon invested heavily in both tangible and intangible growth assets that depressed earnings and cash flow in its earlier years (and still today) while growing its earning power and the long-term value of the business. The question is, does Carvana have enough capital/liquidity to build out its infrastructure and scale business volume to then generate attractive profits and cash flow? Following Carvana’s track record of scaling operating costs and reaching EBITDA breakeven in 2021, the market was no longer concerned about its liquidity position or the sustainability of its business model. However, the recent quarterly loss combined with taking on $3 billion in debt to buildout the 56 ADESA locations across the country raises the question of whether Carvana has enough liquidity to reach scale. Carvana’s current stock price clearly reflects the market discounting the probability that Carvana will face liquidity issues and therefore have to raise further capital at unfavorable terms. However, I think if you look a little deeper, Carvana has clearly demonstrated highly attractive unit economics. It has several levers to pull to protect it from any liquidity concerns if needed. The $2.6 billion in cash (as well as $2 billion in additional available liquidity in unpledged real estate and other assets) it has following the ADESA acquisition, is more than enough to sustain a potentially prolonged decline in used car demand. The most probable scenario over the next several quarters is that Carvana will address its supply chain and logistical issues that were largely due to Omicron. As the logistical network normalizes, more of Carvana’s inventory will be available to purchase on their website with shorter delivery times, which will increase customer conversion rates. This will lead to selling more retail units, providing higher inventory turnover and lower shipping costs, and therefore gross profit per unit will recover from the first quarter lows. Other gross profit per unit (which primarily includes financing) will also normalize in a less volatile interest rate environment. Combined total gross profit per unit should then approach normalized levels by the end of the year/beginning of 2023 (~$4,000+ per unit). Like all forms of leverage, operating leverage works both ways. For companies with higher operating leverage, when sales increase, profits will increase at a faster rate. However, if sales decrease, profits will decrease at a faster rate. While Carvana has high operating leverage in the short-term, they do have the ability adjust costs in the intermediate term to better match demand. When demand suddenly shifts from plan, it will have a substantial impact on current profits. First quarter losses were abnormally high because demand was lower than expected. Although, one should not extrapolate those losses far into the future because Carvana has the ability to better adjust and match its costs structure to a lower demand environment if needed. As management better matches costs with expected demand, operating costs as a whole will remain relatively flat if not decline throughout the year as management has already taken steps to lower expenses. As volumes continue to grow at the more moderate pace reflected in the first quarter and SG&A remains flat to slightly declining, costs per unit will decline with Carvana reaching positive EBITDA per unit by the second half of 2023 in this scenario. Source: Company filing, Saga Partners Source: Company filing, Saga Partners With the additional $3.2 billion in debt, Carvana will have a total interest expense of ~$600 million per year, assuming no paydown of existing revolving facilities or net interest income on cash balances. Management plans on spending $1 billion in capex to build out the ADESA locations. They are budgeting for ~$40 million in priority and elective capex per quarter going forward suggesting the build out will take ~6 years. Total capex including maintenance is expected to be $50 million a quarter. Carvana would reach positive free cash flow (measured as EBITDA less interest expense less total Capex) by 2025. Note this assumes the used car market remains depressed throughout 2022 and then Carvana’s retail unit growth increases to 25% a year for the remainder of the forecast and no benefit in lower SG&A or increased gross profit per unit from the additional ADESA locations was assumed. Stock based compensation was included in the SG&A below so actual free cash flow would be higher than the chart indicates. Source: Company filings, Saga Partners Note: Free cash flow is calculated as EBITDA less interest expense less capex After the close of the ADESA acquisition, Carvana has $2.6 billion in cash (plus $2 billion in additional liquidity from unpledged assets if needed). Assuming the above scenario, Carvana has plenty of cash to endure EBITDA losses over the next year and a half, interest payments, and capex needs. Source: Company filings, Saga Partners The above scenario does not consider the increasing capacity that Carvana will have as it continues to build out the ADESA locations. After building out all the locations, Carvana will be within one hundred miles of 80% of the U.S. population. This unlocks same-day and next-day delivery to more customers, leading to higher customer conversion rates, higher inventory turn, lower risk of delivery delays, and lower shipping costs, which all contribute to stronger unit economics. Customer proximity is key. Due to lower transport costs, faster turnaround times on acquired vehicles, and higher conversion from faster delivery speeds, a car picked up or delivered within two hundred miles of a recondition center generates $750 more profit than an average sale. It is possible that industry-wide used car demand remains depressed or even worsens for an extended period. If this were the case, management has the ability to further optimize for efficiency by lowering operating costs to better match demand. This is what management did following the COVID demand shock in March 2020. The company effectively halted corporate hiring and tied operational employee hours to current demand as opposed to future demand. During the months of May and June 2020, SG&A (ex. advertising expense and D&A) per unit was $2,600, far lower than the $3,440 reported in 2020 or $3,654 in 2021. Carvana has also historically operated between 50-60% capacity utilization, indicating further room to scale volumes across its existing infrastructure without the need for materially greater SG&A expenses. Advertising expense in older cohorts reached ~$500 per unit, compared to the $1,126 reported for all of 2021, while older cohorts still grew at 30%+ rates. If needed, Carvana could improve upon the $2,600 SG&A plus $500 advertising expense ($3,100 in total) per unit at its current scale and be far below gross profit per unit even if used car demand remains depressed for an extended period of time. When management optimizes for efficiency as opposed to growth, it has the ability to significantly lower costs per unit. Carvana has highly attractive unit economics and I fully expect management will take the needed measures to right size operating costs with demand. They recently made the difficult decision to layoff ~2,500 employees, primarily in operations, to better balance capacity with the demand environment. If we assume it takes six years to fully build out the additional ADESA reconditioning locations, Carvana will have a total capacity of 3.2 million units in 2028. If Carvana is running at 90% utilization it could sell 2.9 million retail units (or ~7% of the total used car market). If average used car prices decline from current levels and then follow its more normal longer-term price appreciation trends, the average 2028 Carvana used car price would be ~$23,000 and would have a contribution profit of ~$2,000 per unit at scale. This would provide nearly $5.6 billion in EBITDA. After considering expected interest expense, maintenance capex, and taxes, it would provide over $4 billion in net income. If Carvana realizes this outcome in six years, the company looks highly attractive (perhaps unreasonably attractive) compared to its current $7 billion market cap or $10 billion enterprise value (excluding asset-based debt). Redfin I recently wrote about Redfin Corp (NASDAQ:RDFN) in this December 2021 write-up. I explained how Redfin has increased the productivity of real estate agents by integrating its website with its full-time salaried agents and then funneling the demand aggregated on its website to agents. Redfin agents do not have to spend time prospecting for business but can rather spend all their time servicing clients throughout the process of buying and selling a home. Since Redfin agents are three times more productive than a traditional agent, Redfin is a low-cost provider, i.e., it costs Redfin less to close a transaction than a traditional brokerage at scale. It is a similar concept as the higher operating leverage of e-commerce relative to brick & mortar retailers. Redfin has higher operating leverage compared to the traditional real estate brokerage. Real estate agents are typically contractors for a brokerage. They are largely left alone to run their own business. Agents have to prospect for clients, market/advertise listings, do showings, and service clients throughout each step of the real estate transaction. Everything an agent does is largely a variable cost because few of their tasks are automated. Redfin, on the other hand, turned prospecting for demand, marketing/advertising listings, and investments in technology to help agents and customers throughout the transaction into more of a fixed cost. These costs are scalable and become a smaller cost per transaction as total transaction volumes grow across the company. Because Redfin is a low-cost provider, it has a relative advantage over traditional brokerages. No other real estate brokerage has lowered or attempted to lower the costs of transacting real estate in a similar way. This cost advantage provides Redfin with options about how to share these savings on each transaction. Redfin has primarily shared the cost savings with customers by charging lower commission rates than traditional brokerages. By offering a similar, if not superior, service to customers compared to other brokerages yet charging lower fees, it naturally attracts further demand which then provides Redfin with the ability to scale fixed costs per transaction even more, further widening their cost advantage to other brokerages. So far, the majority of those cost savings are shared with home sellers as opposed to homebuyers. Sellers are more price sensitive than homebuyers because the buyer’s commission is already baked into the seller’s contract and therefore buyers have not directly paid commissions to agents historically. Also, growing share of home listings is an important component of controlling the real estate transaction. The seller’s listing agent is the one who controls the property, decides who sees the house, and manages the offers and negotiations. Therefore, managing more listings enables Redfin to have more control over the transaction and further streamline/reduce inefficiencies for the benefit of both potential buyers and sellers. Redfin also spends some of their cost savings by reinvesting them back into the company by hiring software engineers to build better technology to continue to lower the cost of the transaction. This may include building tools for agents to service clients better, improving the web portal and user interfaces, on-demand tours for buyers to see homes first, automation to give homeowners an immediate RedfinNow offer, etc. Redfin also invests in building other business segments like mortgage, title forward, and iBuying which provide a more comprehensive real estate offering for customers which attracts further demand. So far, the lower costs per transaction have not been shared with shareholders in the form of dividends or share repurchases, and for good reason. In theory, Redfin could charge industry standard prices and increase revenue immediately by 30-40% which would drop straight to the bottom-line assuming demand would remain stable. However, giving customers most of the savings through lower commissions has obviously been one of the drivers for attracting demand and growing transaction volume, particularly for home sellers. The greater the number of transactions, the lower the fixed costs per transaction, which further increases Redfin’s cost advantage compared to traditional brokerages, which provides Redfin with even more money per transaction to share with either customers, employees, and eventually shareholders. With just over 1% market share, Redfin should be reinvesting in growing share which will increase the value of the business and inevitably benefit long-term owners of the company. Redfin’s stock price has experienced an especially large decline this year. I typically prefer to not attempt to place an explanation or narrative on short-term stock price movements, but I will do it anyways given the substantial drop. There are primarily two factors contributing to the market’s negative view of the company: first, the market currently dislikes anything connected to the real estate industry and second, the market currently has little patience for any company that reports net losses regardless of the underlying economics of the business. Real estate is currently a hated part of the market, and potentially for good reason. It is a cyclical industry, and the economy is potentially either entering or already in a recession. Interest rates are expected to continue to rise, negatively impacting home affordability, while an imbalance in the housing supply persists with historically low inventory available helping fuel an unsustainable rise in housing prices. From a macro industry-wide perspective, the real estate market will ebb and flow with the economy over time, but demand to buy, sell, and finance homes will always exist. I do not have the ability to determine how aggregate demand for buying or selling a home will change from year-to-year, but I do know that people have to live somewhere and if Redfin is able to help them find, buy or rent, and finance where they live better than alternative service providers, then the company will gain share and grow in value overtime. Redfin has also reported abnormally high losses of $91 million in the first quarter for which the current market has little appetite. It feeds the argument that Redfin does not have a sustainable business model. While losses can be a sign of unsustainable economics, that is not the case for Redfin. There are several factors that are all negatively hitting the income statement at the same time, and all should improve materially over the next year or two. Higher first quarter losses largely reflect: Agent Productivity: First quarter brokerage sales increased 7% year-over-year, but lead agent count increased 20%, which meant agents were less productive, leading to real estate gross profits declining $17 million from the prior year. Lower productivity was a result of a steeper ramp in agent hiring towards the end of the year against lower seasonal transaction volumes. It typically takes about six months for new agents to get trained and start closing transactions and then contributing to gross profits. Any accelerated hiring, particularly during a softer macro environment, will be a headwind while Redfin is paying upfront costs before any revenue is being generated. Further, closing transactions has been difficult particularly for buyers, which is where most new agents start. The housing market has been unbalanced where there is not enough inventory. A home for sale will typically receive many competing offers which makes it difficult for a buyer to win the deal. Since Redfin agents are mostly paid on commission (~20% salary plus the remainder being commission), it has been more difficult for new agents to earn a sufficient income in the current real estate environment. In response, Redfin started paying $1,500 retention bonuses for new agents who could guide customers to the point of bidding on a home, regardless of whether those bids win. While the bonus may impact gross profits in the near-term before a customer closes a transaction, it will not impact gross margins in the long-term when a transaction eventually takes place. Going forward, agent hiring will return to more normal rates and the larger number of new hires from recent quarters will ramp up which will improve productivity and gross profits. RentPath: Redfin bought RentPath out of bankruptcy for $608 million in April 2021, primarily to incorporate its rentals on its website which helps Redfin.com show up higher on Internet real estate searches. Prior to the acquisition, RentPath had no leadership direction for several years and declining sales and operating losses. RentPath had new management start in August 2021 and was integrated into Redfin.com in March. It finally started to see operational improvement with sales increasing in February and March year-over-year for the first time since 2019 despite a significant decrease in marketing expenses. While RentPath had $17 million in losses during the first quarter and is expected to have $22 million in losses in the second quarter, operations will improve going forward. Management made it clear that RentPath will be a contributor to net profits in its own right and not just a driver of site traffic and demand to Redfin’s brokerage business. Mortgage: A recent major development was the acquisition of Bay Equity for $135 million in April. Redfin was historically building out its mortgage business from scratch but after struggling to scale the operation decided to buy Bay Equity. Redfin was spending $13 million per a year on investing in its legacy mortgage business but going forward, mortgage will now be a net contributor to profits with Bay expected to provide $4 million in profit in the second quarter. The greater implication of having a scaled mortgage underwriter that is integrated with the real estate broker is that they can work together to streamline and expedite the transaction closing which has become an increasingly important value proposition for customers. Looking just a little further into the future, having a scaled and integrated mortgage underwriter can provide Redfin with the capability of providing buyers with the equivalent of an all-cash offer to sellers. Prospective homebuyers who offer all-cash offers to sellers are four times as likely to win the bid and sellers will often accept a lower price from an all-cash buyer vs. one requiring a mortgage. A common problem that many homeowners face is that when they are looking to move, it is difficult to get approved for a second mortgage while holding the current one. Much of their equity is locked in their current home. Frequently, a homebuyer wins an offer on a new home and then is in mad dash to sell their existing home in order to get the financing to work. It is not ideal to attempt to sell your home as fast as possible because it decreases the chance of getting the best price possible. A solution that Redfin could offer as a customer’s agent and underwriter is provide bridge financing between when a customer buys their new home and is then trying to sell their existing home and is therefore paying on two mortgages. Redfin would be able to make a reasonable appraisal for what a customer’s existing home will sell for (essentially what Redfin already does with iBuying) and underwriting the incremental credit exposure they are willing to provide the buyer. The buyer would then have “Redfin Cash” which would work like a cash offer. If this service helps buyers win a bid four times more often, it would even further differentiate Redfin’s value proposition and attract further demand. At least in the near-term, the mortgage segment will go from being a loss center to a contributor to net profits as well as further improving Redfin’s customer value proposition. Restructuring and transaction costs: Redfin had $6 million in restructuring expenses related to severance with RentPath and the mortgage business as well as closing the Bay Equity acquisition. $4 million in restructuring expenses are expected in the second quarter but these expenses will go away in future quarters. The combination of the above factors provided the headline $91 million net loss for the first quarter. Larger than normal losses between $60-$72 million are still expected in the second quarter. However, going forward losses are expected to continue to improve materially. While Redfin is not done investing in improving its service offerings, it should benefit from the significant investments it has already made over the last 16 years. Redfin has been building and supporting a nationwide business that only operated in parts of the country and had to incur large upfront costs. Going forward, it will benefit from the operating leverage baked into its cost structure with gross profits expected to grow twice as fast as overhead operating expenses. Redfin is expected to be cash flow breakeven in 2022 and provide net profits starting in 2024. Redfin has built a great direct to consumer acquisition tool that is unmatched by any real estate broker. It has spent the costs to acquire the customer and has now built out the different services to provide customers any of the real estate services that they may need, whether that is one or a combination of brokerage services, mortgage underwriting, title forward, iBuying, or rental search. Being able to monetize each customer that it has already acquired by offering them any of these services provides Redfin with a better return on customer acquisition costs that no other competitor is able to do to the same extent. Additionally, these real estate services work better when they are integrated under the same company. One does not have to dig very deep to see how attractive Redfin’s shares are currently priced. Shares are now selling around all-time historic lows since its IPO in August 2017. The prior all-time lows were reached during the COVID crash which was a time the world was facing an unknown pandemic that would shut down the economy and potentially put us through a great depression. At its current $1.2 billion market cap, Redfin is selling for 3x expected 2022 real estate gross profits, or 4x its current $1.7 billion enterprise value (excluding asset-based debt). Both are far below the historic average of 15x (which excludes peak multiples reached towards the end of 2020 and early 2021), or the previous all-time low of 6x reached in the depths of March 2020. If we assume Redfin can raise brokerage commissions by 30%, in line with traditional brokerage commission rates, and it does not lose business, Redfin would be able to provide ~20% operating margins. If we take a more conservative view and say Redfin can earn 10% net margins on its 2022 expected real estate revenues of $990 million, it would provide $99 million in net profits, providing a current 12x price-to-earnings ratio. This is for a company that has a long track record of being able to grow 20%+ a year on average, consistently gains market share each quarter, and has barely monetized its significant upfront investments and fixed costs with a long runway to continue to scale. This also does not place any value on its mortgage or iBuying segments which are now contributors to gross profits. There may be macro risks as well as other concerns today, however Redfin’s business and relative competitive advantage have never been stronger. The net losses reported are not representative of Redfin’s true underlying earning power. Redfin has untapped pricing power, an increasingly attractive customer value proposition, and a growing competitive advantage compared to alternative brokerages, which will help Redfin to continue to grow and take market share in what is a very large market. Conclusion Of course, the future can look scary, as it often does when headlines jump from one risk to the other. Despite what may be happening in the macro environment, our companies on average are stronger than they have ever been and are now selling for what we believe are the most attractive prices we have seen relative to their intrinsic value. I have no idea what shares will do in the near-term and I never will. Stock prices can swing wildly for many reasons, and sometimes seemingly for no reason at all. They can diverge, sometimes significantly from their true underlying value. I have no idea when sentiment will shift from optimism to pessimism and then back to optimism. This is what keeps us invested in both good times and in bad. The current selloff can continue further, but assuming our companies continue to execute over the coming years by winning market share and earning attractive returns on their investment spending, the market’s sentiment surrounding our portfolio companies will eventually reflect their underlying fundamentals. I will continue to look towards the longer-term operating results of our companies and not to the movements in their stock price as feedback to whether our initial investment thesis is playing out as expected. While the market can ignore or misjudge business success for a certain period, it eventually has to realize it. During times of greater volatility and periods of large drawdowns, I am reminded of how truly important the quality of our investor base is. It is completely natural to react in certain ways to rising or declining stock prices. It takes a very special investor base to look past near-term volatility and to trust us to make very important decision on their behalf as we continually try to increase the value of the Saga Portfolio over the long-term. As always, I am available to catch up or discuss any questions you may have. Sincerely, Joe Frankenfield Saga Partners Updated on May 16, 2022, 4:44 pm (function() { var sc = document.createElement("script"); sc.type = "text/javascript"; sc.async = true;sc.src = "//mixi.media/data/js/95481.js"; sc.charset = "utf-8";var s = document.getElementsByTagName("script")[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(sc, s); }()); window._F20 = window._F20 || []; _F20.push({container: 'F20WidgetContainer', placement: '', count: 3}); _F20.push({finish: true});.....»»

Category: blogSource: valuewalkMay 17th, 2022

25 HR leaders building the world"s most innovative, inclusive workplaces amid upheaval in corporate America

Meet the human-resources managers helping employees learn critical job skills, develop into effective leaders, and advance quickly in their careers. Kazi Awal/InsiderInsider compiled its third annual "HR Innovators" list of 25 prominent figures. Some of this year's most innovative HR leaders (shown above, starting from the left) are Sara Cooper, Karsten Vagner, Shirley J. Knowles, and Elaine Mak.Rachel Mendelson/Insider The "Great Resignation" and the transition to hybrid work have put tremendous pressure on HR. Insider put out an open call for talent heads who are leading successfully during the pandemic. Our list spans industries and includes human-resources leaders from Cisco, Maven, and Wiley. Insider recently undertook a search for human-resources leaders executing the most creative and ambitious plans for their companies.For a third year in a row, we asked our readers to tell us about HR stars. Then, we picked 25 who really impressed us. We looked for execs who bettered their companies through new policies regarding worker safety and wellness amid the pandemic, the "Great Resignation," and louder calls for diversity and inclusion. These talent professionals work across industries and at organizations of all sizes, including Cisco, Meta, and Wiley.Women hold most HR positions, and our list reflects that, with Insider featuring only a handful of people who are men or nonbinary. This was unintentional but not surprising.With workplace dynamics in flux, these executives are shaping the future of corporate America. They're building long-term policies around flexible work, finding new ways to attract talent, and addressing inequities that leave certain demographics at a disadvantage.Their accomplishments include promoting 30% of the workforce in one year, building early-career programs for underrepresented talent, and helping employees find programs to meet their educational goals. Cassie Whitlock, BambooHR's director of HR, said, "The pandemic elevated core 'human' needs that have always existed in business but were, for some, easy to ignore."In no particular order, here are the top 25 innovators in HR and their exclusive insights on reimagining work. These responses have been edited for clarity and brevity.Shirley J. Knowles, chief inclusion and diversity officer at Progress SoftwareShirley J. Knowles.Courtesy of Shirley J KnowlesCompany: Progress is a software company that offers custom software for creating and deploying business applications.Skills they've used to be successful in HR: Authenticity is an important core value. In conversations about diversity and inclusion, I use real-world scenarios — including my own experiences — to illustrate why this work is essential. I don't use buzzwords that many people are unclear of. I talk about things in a way that anyone can understand.How they've supported employees during the coronavirus pandemic: I have taken a particular interest in the well-being of our employees, specifically their mental and emotional health. We offer fitness classes, meditation sessions, and mental-health training led by a Harvard professor who is also a licensed mental-health counselor.By offering exercises that focus on burnout, avoiding isolation, and finding meaning in work and one's personal life, I am helping employees find balance while trying to navigate through the ongoing pandemic.Francine Katsoudas, executive vice president and chief people, policy, and purpose officer at CiscoFrancine Katsoudas.Courtesy of Francine KatsoudasCompany: Cisco develops, manufactures, and sells networking hardware, telecom equipment, and other IT services and products.How they've been supporting their company's diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts during the pandemic: In early 2020, right before the pandemic, we established our Social Justice Beliefs and Actions at Cisco outlining our ambitious goals for addressing injustice and establishing a framework to hold the company accountable to its commitments.Although we didn't know it at the time, this blueprint would guide our approach to social-justice issues that arose over the course of the pandemic. While these beliefs and actions were first focused on supporting the Black community, they have become an invaluable working guide to how we as a company respond to injustice and address inequities overall.Initiatives they've taken to address the effects of the Great Resignation: Every quarter, we conduct "engagement pulses" to check in with employees about top-of-mind issues and concerns. We've found that employees who aren't invited to participate in an engagement-pulse meeting are 21 times as likely to leave Cisco than their invited counterparts.We've also done more work to understand people's career trajectories within Cisco, examining the velocity of promotions for groups and individuals. As a result, we're proud to have promoted 30% of our workforce over the past 12 months.Books, podcasts, shows, or movies that inspire them: I'm reading "Black Magic: What Black Leaders Learned from Trauma and Triumph'' by Chad Sanders, who is powerful and inspiring. It was recommended to me by a leader here at Cisco. He said that it reminded him of his experience in corporate America. So by reading it, I have gotten to feel more proximate to his experience and journey, and that has been a wonderful gift.McKensie Mack, CEO at MMGMcKensie Mack.Courtesy of McKensie MackCompany: McKensie Mack Group is a research- and change-management firm that centers on racial and social justice.What initiatives they have taken to address the Great Resignation: Last year, in collaboration with Project Include, we published research on the impact of COVID-19 on remote workers. We developed and shared resources and guiding principles for leaders looking for support and education in reframing how they think about work, benefits, and productivity. Skills they've used to be successful in HR: My training and education as a transformative justice facilitator help me bring a restorative framework to the ways I work with people, de-escalate when situations get tense or uncomfortable, and seek noncarceral and nonpunitive approaches to working with people who make mistakes or cause harm.My knowledge of power, privilege, and positionality has been valuable in HR.Cassie Whitlock, director of HR at BambooHRCassie Whitlock.Courtesy of Cassie WhitlockCompany: BambooHR provides HR software for businesses. Skills they've used to be successful in HR: Understanding data and analysis has been essential in elevating my impact across the organization. Using data has helped me identify and solve complex challenges around screening and hiring, role progression, designing department structures, employee engagement, and retention. Data is the language of business, and it's critical in HR. How they've been supporting their company's diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts during the pandemic: Diversity starts with hiring practices. We had already implemented essential diversity, equity, and inclusion hiring practices like gender decoding on our job ads, diversity representation in the screening process, scorecards for consistent and equitable screening criteria, and antibias training for all hiring managers and interviewers. We also looked at internal diversity to understand how to best support employees. We adapted some roles to help working parents juggle remote work and homeschooling. We offered paid time off for employees who contracted COVID-19 or had to provide care for a family member with the virus. It was also essential to create income stability for employees with personal or family health risk factors.Sara Cooper, chief people officer at JobberSara Cooper.Courtesy of Sara CooperCompany: Jobber provides job tracking and customer-management software for home-service businesses.How the events of the pandemic affected their view of HR's role: The pandemic required HR leaders to be very quick on their feet, to make fast decisions often with little information and in an environment changing by the day. There was no pandemic playbook.The most successful companies did this by creating plans that took into account the evolving information almost daily and listening to their employees and customers. How they've supported employees during the coronavirus pandemic: We realized early in the pandemic that performance during this time had to be approached in a very different way.For example, we implemented "wellness Fridays" in the summers of 2020 and 2021, which provided employees with Fridays off to focus on self-care. In addition, we offered various programs for folks who needed to reduce their hours or take job-protected leaves to focus on themselves or their families. When we eventually reopen our offices, we will be moving to a hybrid structure.I realized early on that there's no single solution for every company but that the key to creating a thriving hybrid environment requires the input of the company's most important stakeholders: its employees.Danielle McMahan, chief people and business-operations officer at WileyDanielle McMahan.WileyCompany: Wiley is a global leader in scientific research and career-connected education.Initiatives they've taken to address the effects of the Great Resignation: We offer employees over 1,000 flexible and affordable degree and nondegree programs, including bachelor's and master's programs. As a global leader in research and education, we practice what we preach to unlock potential and support lifelong learning.How the events of the pandemic affected their view of HR's role: We transformed our department to become more people-centric: focusing on people rather than processes. To formally acknowledge this shift, we said goodbye to "human resources" and renamed our department the People Organization. Our employees are at the center of all that we do.Their favorite interview question: "Tell me your story." I love to hear people's career journeys, and it allows the candidate to reflect on what roles they've held in the past and how those roles inform the type of job they're looking for today.Through these stories, I also typically get to know the candidate personally. I am able to learn what is important to them and what they value. Susan LaMonica, chief human-resources officer, head of corporate social responsibility at Citizens Financial GroupSusan LaMonica.Courtesy of Susan LaMonicaCompany: Citizens Financial Group is one of the nation's oldest and largest financial institutions offering a wide variety of retail and commercial banking products.How they've been supporting their company's diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts during the pandemic: I've played a role in introducing initiatives such as the TalentUp program, which aims to reshape Citizens' workforce and prepare it for continual innovation focused on talent acquisition, reskilling and upskilling, mobility, and redeployment, partnerships, and expanding the talent pipeline.As a result of the program, in 2020, there were nearly 100 new hires sourced directly from early-career programs, with a significant segment identifying as women and people of color. With my main focus being democratization, I have ensured managers have the training and resources available to create equitable and inclusive environments for all colleagues. My team also began tying accountability goals to performance reviews to ensure managers prioritize democratization within their teams while understanding and working to eliminate biases at work.Books, podcasts, shows, or movies that inspire them: "How I Built This" with Guy Raz on NPR is my favorite podcast. Each episode highlights a well-known entrepreneur and their journey. I enjoy learning about the people and the journey behind many successful companies and brands. I'm inspired by the vision and tenacity of these entrepreneurs, many of whom had repeated failures.Ashley Alexander, head of people at FrontAshley Alexander.Front via InkHouseCompany: Front is a software company that develops a shared email inbox and calendar product. How they've supported employees during the coronavirus pandemic: Once we made the decision to transition to remote work, my mission was to ensure that our employees felt supported and connected. We doubled down on activities that fostered a sense of community, like our weekly all-hands meetings on Zoom, ask-me-anything sessions with our executives, and virtual companywide off-site activities.Why they pursued a career in HR: I got into HR because I wanted to help people, but throughout the course of my career, this idea has dramatically expanded. I now view my role as an employee advocate. I strive to demystify why things happen at a company the way they happen. I've found that even if they aren't happy with everything that happens in a company, if they understand our choices, ultimately, they can respect them.Lori Goler, head of people at MetaLori Goler.Courtesy of Lori GolerWhat their company does: Meta is the parent company of Facebook.How they've supported employees during the pandemic: We were the first tech company to shut down our offices, and employees began to work from home. We established an emergency-paid-leave program designed to give people time off for "in the moment emergencies," including eldercare, childcare, and school closures. We developed and executed a global return-to-office health strategy across 60 sites to enable a safe transition for those coming back to the office and created an office-deferral program for those who were not yet ready to return.How they've supported their company's DEI efforts: Meta committed publicly to have at least 50% of our workforce composed of underrepresented groups by 2024 and to increase the number of US-based leaders who are people of color by 30%. We announced in our eighth annual diversity report that in 2021, we increased representation of women, underrepresented minorities, and people with disabilities and veterans to 45.6% of our workforce. This will continue to be a focus for us.How they've addressed the Great Resignation at their company: This year, we introduced a number of new benefits, including a wellness-reimbursement benefit of up to $3,000 annually that people can use for expenses like financial planning, tuition reimbursement, fitness equipment and services, childcare for children over the age of 5, and eldercare. We also launched "choice days," which gives people an additional two days off per year to use however they choose, and we increased our 401(k)-match program to help people save more for retirement.Kali Beyah, global chief talent officer at HugeKali Beyah.HugeWhat their company does: Huge is a digital design and marketing agency. Clients include Google, Coca-Cola, and Unilever.How they've supported employees during the pandemic: Whether giving mental-health days, reimagining our return to the office, extending summer Fridays, flexing for childcare, shifting to "no-meeting Fridays," or continuing to invest in development, transparency, wellness workshops/resources, and DEI — we've taken a holistic and evolving approach.The constant as we evolve is that we listen to our people regularly, and we are authentic in our responses.How they've addressed the Great Resignation at their company: We are reimagining the future of work as the world not only encounters the "Great Resignation" but also the "Great Reevaluation." Our reimagining includes things such as "Huge holidays" (closure and collective recharging three weeks a year), "Huge summer" (work from anywhere in July), "no-meeting Fridays," and summer Fridays.How the pandemic changed their view of HR's role: We have an opportunity to reimagine work and the role it plays in people's lives — and we have an exciting opportunity to debunk false binaries and prove that people and businesses can both thrive.Lauren Nuttall, vice president of people at Boulevard LabsLauren Nuttall.Courtesy of Lauren NuttallCompany: Boulevard is a client-experience platform built for appointment-based self-care businesses.How they've supported employees during the coronavirus pandemic: I opted to take Boulevard 100% remote early on in the pandemic in March 2020. However, as the pandemic persisted into 2021, I realized that with the significant paradigm shift around the viability of remote work, coupled with the growing employee (and candidate) interest in staying fully remote, we needed to deepen our commitment.That meant giving up our physical office space altogether and allowing all employees to move wherever they want in the US without it negatively impacting their existing compensation package. Additionally, the need for better virtual access to mental health and high-quality medical care prompted the decision to bring on One Medical to provide complimentary subscriptions to all employees and their dependents.How they've been supporting their company's diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts during the pandemic: One of the programs that I'm most proud of was a virtual-speaker series where we sought to highlight and amplify underrepresented voices within the beauty and wellness industry.We invited a massage-business owner that catered specifically to LGBTQIA+ clientele for one of the sessions. This created a dialogue around how even limited pronoun options within a booking workflow can be harmful and resulted in us making actual changes to our product to better represent our customers and their clients. Surfacing these opportunities to educate and create dialogue can have incredible ripple effects.Tanya Reu-Narvaez, executive vice president and chief people officer at RealogyTanya Reu-Narvaez.Courtesy of Tanya Reu-NarvaezWhat their company does: Realogy is a real-estate-services firm that owns brokerages including Century 21, Sotheby's International Realty, and Corcoran. How they've supported their company's DEI efforts: To help increase representation in the industry, we established a new partnership with the National Association of Minority Mortgage Bankers of America and expanded the Inclusive Ownership program, an industry-first initiative designed to attract brokerage owners from underrepresented communities to launch their own franchise businesses.How they've addressed the Great Resignation at their company: We have a Go Further Today program where we've made small but impactful changes that decrease meeting and email fatigue and increase efficiency by working smarter.We have no internal meetings on Fridays, encourage employees to make smart decisions about whether to accept or decline meetings, and embrace an "exhale, then email" philosophy to help mitigate the pressure of email overload we're all facing. These are small but mighty changes that make a significant difference for our teams.Noa Geller, vice president of HR at Papaya GlobalNoa Geller.Eyal TouegWhat their company does: Papaya Global is a cloud-based payroll platform. How they've addressed the Great Resignation at their company: We added a learning and development budget for every employee to choose the development course that is meaningful and impactful to them. Driven from our employee-engagement survey, we took initiatives to support work-life balance, such as a work-from-anywhere benefit, allowing our employees to work up to one month per year outside of their home region.Also driven from our engagement survey, we are implementing more trainings around best practices and tools to ease the burnout that is a part of a hypergrowth company during COVID times.How the pandemic changed their view of HR's role: During the pandemic, the HR role became an even more crucial role within every organization. We were proactively working to support COVID policies and work-from-home best practices, and many of these things were unprecedented.HR managers really had to be innovative and creative — and in a very short amount of time. We have supported managers in learning how to manage remotely, how to navigate illnesses and emotional distress among their employees, as well as help employees remain connected to their teams and the company, while not only fully remote but often completely isolated.Tara Ataya, chief people and diversity officer at HootsuiteTara Ataya.HootsuiteWhat their company does: Hootsuite is a social-media-management platform whose clients include Ikea and Costco.How they've supported employees during the pandemic: We restructured the global offices to be used as creative hubs, built for collaboration and social connection, with a special focus on health and mental wellness.In addition, employees were granted the autonomy and benefits they needed to reshape their work environment to choose what works best for them by restructuring our workplace policy so every employee can choose if they wish to work full time in office, remote, or take a hybrid approach.How they've supported their company's DEI efforts: During the pandemic, we built on our partnership with the Black Professionals in Tech Network in Canada to help end systemic racism in the technology sector by providing Black professionals with equal access to opportunities in tech, an expanded peer network, and support in accelerating career growth.This helped foster a stronger sense of belonging in the workplace by joining an allyship training with the Black Professionals in Tech Network, along with 125 Hootsuite employees, including all members of the executive team, about best practices for sourcing Black talent.How the pandemic changed their view of HR's role: The pandemic shifted HR teams from being the best-kept secret superpower to the front-and-center compass for navigating through the most difficult time many organizations and generations have ever faced. The role of HR is one of strategy, that is adept at navigating uncertainty with agility and enables the business to drive meaningful business results with people in mind.Félix Manuel Chinea, diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging manager at DoximityFélix Manuel Chinea.Courtesy of Félix Manuel ChineaWhat their company does: Doximity is a professional medical network for physicians. The company went public in June.How they've supported employees during the pandemic: My focus during the pandemic has been to make DEI initiatives at Doximity meaningful, impactful, and tangible across the whole organization.By aligning DEI with our company mission and values, we are able to both directly support our employees and empower them to make a meaningful impact in their communities during and beyond the pandemic.How they've addressed the Great Resignation at their company: The Great Resignation has given us an opportunity to reflect on what makes working at our company fulfilling. Our organizational purpose at Doximity is to connect medical professionals and build clinical tools that will ultimately impact patient care. Amid a global pandemic and demand for racial justice, I believe our purpose allows us the opportunity to both attract and retain top talent and make a meaningful impact on health equity across historically marginalized communities.How the pandemic changed their view of HR's role: Both the pandemic and recent demands for racial justice have highlighted the long-standing need for all leaders to develop solutions and cultures that recognize the full humanity of employees.While every person is responsible for fostering an equitable and inclusive culture, DEI leaders must develop a strategic understanding of how to integrate these concepts into their company's organizational structure.Gloria Chen, chief people officer at AdobeGloria Chen.Courtesy of Gloria ChenWhat their company does: Adobe is a global software company. How they've supported employees during the pandemic: What I am most proud of during the pandemic is not what the company has done for our employees but what our employees have done for each other.When India was overcome by the Delta surge, and our employees and their families were ravaged by COVID, our employees created a phone tree to locate hospital beds, located oxygen to bring to hospitals, and cooked and delivered meals to families in quarantine. Our employees were truly our heroes.How they've supported their company's DEI efforts: In 2020, our diversity and inclusion team and our Black Employee Network launched the Taking Action Initiative task force to explore and drive actions we could take to make meaningful change internally and externally to the company.The effort led to strategic partnerships with historically Black colleges and universities, Hispanic-serving institutions, and a sponsorship program to support career advancement for underrepresented individuals.How the pandemic changed their view of HR's role: Having stepped into the role of chief people officer in February 2020, my entire HR experience has been shaped by the pandemic.I learned that the basics of human needs — physical and mental health, a sense of security, and connectedness — cannot be taken for granted in a professional setting. During the pandemic, we lost one of our beloved cofounders. That gave me a tremendous sense of responsibility as a longtime Adobe employee to carry the torch for the values that they instilled in us.Kim Seymour, chief people officer at WW InternationalKim Seymour.WWWhat their company does: WW International (formerly known as Weight Watchers) offers a program for weight loss and wellness.How they've supported their company's DEI efforts during the pandemic: WW recently released an extensive report titled "Black Women & Wellness" to shed light on the disparities and biases that Black women face within the healthcare system today.The report showcases what is being done by changemakers within their communities to create safe spaces, better access to healthcare, and underscore why Black women deserve health, wellness, and quality healthcare.How they've addressed the Great Resignation at their company: Some of our most recent investments to address potential employee burnout include offering Sibly for resilience, One Medical for convenient medical care, and ClassPass for fitness goals. All of our employees at WW are also members and have access to the WW program.In addition to a personal-well-being allowance of $1,000 per employee, my team also created "flex Fridays," which allows employees to start their weekend early by redistributing the hours they work the remainder of that week, whether that's a Zoom-free Friday afternoon or signing off early.Manish Mehta, global head of human resources at BlackRockManish Mehta.Courtesy of Manish MehtaWhat their company does: BlackRock is a global investment manager that employs 16,000 people and manages more than $10 trillion in assets.How they've supported their company's DEI efforts: We are fortunate to have over 80% of our employees participate in one of our 15 global employee, professional, and social impact networks.Each network is sponsored by one or more of our Global Executive Committee members who engage with them to help navigate important cultural and strategic topics. I am a sponsor of our Asian and Middle Eastern Professionals network, which was formally launched in 2021.How they've addressed the Great Resignation at their company: We supported and enabled managers through training modules on delivering feedback, effectively setting objectives and managing performance, motivating and managing teams, and having productive conversations on returning our people to the office.We sustained our focus on career development. This includes career pathing in areas like technology, development programs for our emerging vice-president leaders, and our Black and Latinx managing directors and directors, and increasing our sponsorship programs.How the pandemic changed their view of HR's role: I have seen the difference HR can make in people's lives. Helping people navigate the loss of a loved one or a colleague, supporting the family of an employee we've lost, recognizing and helping those suffering from mental-health challenges, being there to listen and act when an employee does not feel like they belong, growing our benefits to respond to what employees are dealing with in their lives — these are just some of the things that HR does that are not always seen.Karsten Vagner, senior vice president of people at Maven ClinicKarsten Vagner.Courtesy of Karsten VagnerWhat their company does: Maven Clinic is a virtual platform that provides support across fertility, pregnancy, adoption, parenting, and pediatrics.How they've supported their employees during the coronavirus pandemic: Some of the companywide initiatives and programs included Donut, a Slack-integrated app, to help employees maintain that serendipitous connection they've all come to love at the office.We also experimented with other virtual events, like weekly "coffeehouse cabaret" sessions with Broadway talent over Google Hangouts, cooking challenges, a companywide talent show, Halloween in April for employees' children, and more. How they've supported their company's diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts during the pandemic: Working with Maven's people team, the company created employee working groups devoted to getting feedback about various aspects of Maven's business. While it was rewarding to see employee feedback come to life, what I'm most proud of is the fact that neither I nor the executive team did this work in a silo.Our DEI program was completely ground up and centered on employee needs. And it continues to be to this day. The work our organization has done — in recruiting, partnerships, volunteering, product— it's all been led by our employees.How they've supported their employees during the Great Resignation: To combat work-related stress, Maven introduced new programs to support employees' mental health, including group sessions with Maven's mental-health providers and career coaches, mandatory mental-health days, twice-a-week no-meeting blocks, and several weeks where employees had time to recharge and unwind.Elaine Mak, chief people officer at ValimailElaine Mak.Courtesy of Elaine MakWhat their company does: Valimail is a cloud-native platform for validating and authenticating sender identity to avoid phishing, spoofing, and brand hijacking.How they've supported their employees during the coronavirus pandemic: As the pandemic unfolded, it was an opportunity to lay a strategic foundation on Valimail's organizational design to serve a dual purpose: Drive talent acquisition and retention and seat people at the table to become an integral voice in making decisions that affect them.In 18 months, my team has refreshed Valimail's company mission, values, and strategy to explicitly prioritize and resource people and DEI efforts. My team has also pivoted the leadership model to a cross-functional structure that distributes power, agency, and autonomy of decision-makers across levels.I've also led the people team to expand and diversify the leadership team at Valimail to ensure appropriate voices and perspectives have a seat at the table to inform strategic decisions. How they've supported their company's diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts during the pandemic: We empowered a DEI committee resourced with an executive sponsor and budget focused on wellness initially to address burnout. Along with other company efforts, we have the foundation to execute a strategic road map on DEI education and development and further cement DEI at the heart of our business and people strategy.Lastly, our efforts in people and DEI culminated in an employer-brand makeover that authentically reflects a day-to-day reality where people-first is core to our culture.Kerris Hougardy, vice president of people at AdaKerris Hougardy.AdaWhat their company does: Ada is an automation platform that powers brand interactions between companies and their customers.How they've supported their employees during the coronavirus pandemic: Ada's first priority during the pandemic was to assess the health and safety of its employees and to implement an immediate change to the work environment.The transition to a full-remote, digital-first culture required Ada to ensure its employees could work and communicate effectively.Our employee-relations team is on hand to support anyone going through work or personal issues. We have a wellness fund for each employee to get access to support — mental health and physical, access to ClassPass, and lunch and learns where they can listen to speakers around burnout and resiliency.How have the events of the pandemic affected your view of HR's role? HR is no longer only about hiring and firing employees, but about supporting and engaging with employees as whole humans.People should be able to show up authentically and do their best work, to feel acceptance and belonging, and to feel supported with life's ups and downs.Cheryl Johnson, chief human-resources officer at PaylocityCheryl Johnson.Courtesy of Cheryl JohnsonWhat their company does: Paylocity provides cloud-based payroll- and human-capital-management software.How they've supported their employees during the coronavirus pandemic: My HR leaders collaborated with Paylocity's Diversity Leadership Council to ensure that company benefits intentionally built an inclusive and equitable culture for current and future employees and their families.The group also confirmed that medical plans aligned with the World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH) Standards of Care for the Health of Transsexual, Transgender, and Gender Nonconforming People.For financial flexibility, we rolled out a loan program, offering interest-free loans to any employees in need, along with on-demand payment for early access to earned wages if needed. At the same time, we introduced voluntary furloughs for up to 90 days and implemented an international work program to allow employees to work abroad for up to 90 days.How they've supported their employees during the Great Resignation: We formed task forces to understand why people were leaving but, more importantly, why people were staying. Recently our HR team has found success socializing "stay interviews," which help managers to improve their direct-report relationships, keep at-risk talent, and provide broader insights to build culture and connection.Giving employees greater transparency helps them spot career opportunities and paths to growth. Our HR team is implementing succession planning efforts to identify and develop key talent and give employees more freedom to impact how, where, and when they work. Dave Carhart, vice president of people at LatticeDave Carhart.Courtesy of Dave CarhartWhat their company does: Lattice is a people-management platform that helps leaders build engaged, high-performing teams.How they've supported their employees during the coronavirus pandemic: Work was stressful in "normal" pre-COVID times, but the pandemic has created new levels of burnout and exhaustion.Recognizing this, in 2020, I oversaw the rollout of Lattice "recharge days," a number of designated days where the entire company is off on the same day with the explicit goal of stepping away from work mentally. The recharge days has since been made permanent, with six annual recharge days added to our annual calendar on top of national holidays and flexible PTO. How have the events of the pandemic affected your view of HR's role? It's reminded us how critical it is to lead with empathy and represent a very human voice within our workplaces. We are asking people to bring their whole selves and all of their energy and commitment.With that will also come their personal passions, their family commitments, and the individual challenges that they are facing. We need to embrace all of that and come with support for the whole person and their family, too.Marlee Raber Proukou, director of people operations at JetsonMarlee Raber Proukou.Courtesy of Marlee ProukouWhat their company does: Jetson is a personal-mobility-devices company that sells electric bikes, electric scooters, and hoverboards.How they've supported their employees during the Great Resignation: In addition to navigating a global pandemic, our employees have had to adjust to the company's rapid growth, resulting in many being spread thin and approaching burnout.We've tried to address this two ways — focusing on both recruitment and employee appreciation. We built a larger people-operations team to increase our recruitment efforts, bringing in much needed full-time and contract hires to assist with our ever-increasing workload so our employees can enjoy more of a balance.Through bigger efforts, like rewarding our employees with promotions, bonuses, and raises to smaller changes like our new "all-star award" — a peer-nominated cash award presented monthly to an employee who is impacting their teammates — we continuously try to let our employees know we are grateful for them.How have the events of the pandemic affected your view of HR's role? The role has evolved from what many people thought of as traditional HR functions, like payroll and benefits administration, to encompass more people-centric priorities like supporting employees' work-life balance, ensuring a work environment that is both productive and safe, and creating an increasingly diverse workforce.In today's world, a successful HR team is quick-thinking, strategic, and empathetic. Most importantly, we are working to understand and support our employee's personal and professional experiences in what has been an extremely turbulent two years.Karen Craggs-Milne, vice president of ESG at ThoughtExchangeKaren Craggs-Milne.Courtesy of Karen Craggs-MilneWhat their company does: ThoughtExchange is a patented antibias enterprise tool that leaders use to gain insights that inform decision-making.How they've supported their employees during the coronavirus pandemic: With the pandemic causing a global shift to remote work, and recognizing the diverse circumstances of the company's employee base, we brought an equity lens to the people team's COVID-response initiatives.By asking diverse employees what they needed most to navigate the pandemic and how to best support employee well-being across different employee populations, we helped ThoughtExchange identify tailored solutions that made a big difference to employees.Listening to its employees, we offered financial support during school closures so parents could hire tutors, purchase memberships to educational sites or resources, and continue to ensure their children's educational needs were met.What are the skills you have used to be successful in HR? Empathy and patience are arguably the two most important characteristics to grasp when being a leader in HR.Employees want to feel heard and recognized during their time at an organization, and leveraging the ability to understand where all opinions are coming from, and then negotiating the best collective outcomes, is key to maintaining top talent that feels safe and valued within their work environment.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderMar 18th, 2022

ALIMENTATION COUCHE-TARD ANNOUNCES ITS RESULTS FOR ITS THIRD QUARTER OF FISCAL YEAR 2022

Net earnings were $746.4 million, or $0.70 per diluted share for the third quarter of fiscal 2022 compared with $607.5 million, or $0.55 per diluted share for the third quarter of fiscal 2021. Adjusted net earnings1 were approximately $746.0 million compared with $622.0 million for the third quarter of fiscal 2021. Adjusted diluted net earnings per share1 were $0.70, representing an increase of 25.0% from $0.56 for the corresponding quarter of last year. Total merchandise and service revenues of $4.8 billion, an increase of 5.8%. Same-store merchandise revenues increased 3.7% in the United States, 7.2% in Europe and other regions, and decreased 0.8% in Canada. On a 2-year basis, same-store merchandise revenues increased at a compound annual growth rate of 3.4% in the United States, 5.0% in Europe, and 2.1% in Canada. Merchandise and service gross margin increased 1.0% in the United States to 33.6%, 0.2% in Canada to 31.6%, and decreased 0.7% in Europe and other regions to 37.8%, which was impacted by the integration of Circle K Hong Kong. Same-store road transportation fuel volume increased 3.2% in the United States, 3.2% in Europe and other regions, and 7.2% in Canada. On a 2-year basis, same-store road transportation fuel volume decreased at a compound annual rate of 6.8% in the United States, 3.4% in Europe, and 7.4% in Canada, still impacted by work from home trends and resurgence of COVID-19 cases toward the end of the quarter. Road transportation fuel gross margin of 39.63¢ per gallon in the United States, an increase of 8.87¢ per gallon, and CA 11.78¢ per liter in Canada, an increase of CA 1.45¢ per liter. In Europe and other regions, it decreased by US 0.53¢ per liter to US 10.83¢ per liter. Fuel margins remained healthy throughout our network, due to favorable market conditions and the continued work on the optimization of our supply chain. On a 2-year basis, excluding the costs of employee retention measures implemented, which totaled approximately $28.0 million, normalized expenses increased at a compound annual growth rate of 3.7%, slightly below inflation level. Under its share repurchase program, the Corporation repurchased shares for an amount of $509.7 million during the quarter, and an amount of $230.7 million subsequent to the end of the quarter, reaching a total of $1.3 billion under the current program. Subsequent to the end of the quarter, the Toronto Stock Exchange approved the amendment of our current share repurchase program to increase the maximum number of shares that may be repurchased. Subsequent to the end of the quarter, and following the escalation of the conflict in Ukraine, the Corporation announced that it is suspending the operations of its 38 company-operated stores in Russia, and is implementing plans to take care of its employees in a responsible and safe manner.  _______________________________ 1  Please refer to the section "Non-IFRS Measures" for additional information on performance measures not defined by IFRS. LAVAL, QC, March 15, 2022 /PRNewswire/ - For its third quarter ended January 30, 2022, Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc. ("Couche-Tard" or the "Corporation") (TSX: ATD) announces net earnings of $746.4 million, representing $0.70 per share on a diluted basis. The results for the third quarter of fiscal 2022 were affected by a pre-tax net foreign exchange gain of $4.2 million, as well as pre-tax acquisition costs of $3.2 million. The results for the comparable quarter of fiscal 2021 were affected by a pre-tax net foreign exchange loss of $16.5 million, as well as pre-tax acquisition costs of $5.2 million. Excluding these items, the adjusted net earnings1 were approximately $746.0 million, or $0.70 per share on a diluted basis for the third quarter of fiscal 2022, compared with $622.0 million, or $0.56 per share on a diluted basis for the third quarter of fiscal 2021, an increase of 25.0% in the adjusted diluted net earnings per share1, explained by higher road transportation fuel margins, organic growth in both the convenience and road transportation fuel activities, as well as by the favorable impact of its share repurchase program partly offset by higher operating expenses. All financial information presented is in US dollars unless stated otherwise. "Two years after the start of the pandemic and during a quarter where the Omicron variant surged across our network, I am proud to announce that we had good results during the third quarter in both convenience and fuel. Same store merchandise sales were particularly strong in Europe as well as in the U.S. with our freshly prepared food programs and packaged beverages among the main drivers of growth. Across the business, in fuel volumes and traffic we saw strong results early in the quarter, but both were impacted by work from home orders and rise in COVID-19 cases, especially towards the end of the quarter in our larger urban centers in North America and Europe. However, we continue to achieve healthy fuel margins and benefit from strategic initiatives on which we remain laser focused. I am grateful for the continued commitment of our team members, customers, and shareholders over the quarter and, as restrictive measures are reducing, I am optimistic that traffic and volumes will continue to revert toward normal levels as the impacts of Omicron fade" said Brian Hannasch, President and Chief Executive Officer of Alimentation Couche-Tard. "Over the quarter, we have worked hard to overcome the historic labor and supply chain issues in our industry and are pleased to report significant improvement in more recent periods. Fresh Food, Fast has continued to grow across the globe, with over 3,200 stores now carrying the program, and we are seeing strong year-over-year sales growth. Here, our operators continue to focus on execution of our strategy and optimizing our assortment. In our Circle K fuel rebrand, we completed over 180 sites in the third quarter, and in Europe we now have over 1,000 electric vehicle chargers. We continue to rollout localized data driven pricing, promotions and assortment, and in parallel have begun introducing innovative technologies, which will bring ease and speed to our check out and delivery process as well as supplement our labor force with hourly workers. We have also put great attention on hiring, training, and retention of our team members and are seeing positive momentum." concluded Brian Hannasch. Claude Tessier, Chief Financial Officer, added: "We delivered once again a solid quarter as evidenced by increases of 15.2% in gross profit1 dollars and 18.0% in adjusted EBITDA1 compared to the third quarter of last year, in an overall challenging environment in which we diligently managed higher-than-usual inflation and supply chain disruptions. We have continued to advance on our key strategic priorities, including our fuel initiatives, network development and cost optimization initiatives across our network, bringing our last four quarters adjusted EBITDA1 above $5.2 billion. Our financial position remains strong, highlighted by our leverage ratio of 1.33, which allowed us during the quarter to upsize our current share repurchase program from almost 32.1 million shares to over 46.8 million shares. We are actively managing our balance sheet and as a result, we repurchased close to $750.0 million of shares during the quarter and subsequent to the end of the quarter. On March 3, 2022, we also completed the early repayment of our Canadian-dollar-denominated senior unsecured notes issued on November 1, 2012. We also intend to renew our share repurchase program upon expiry on April 25, 2022, at a level of 10.0% of the then-prevailing public float, giving us the opportunity to repurchase approximately $3.2 billion over the upcoming fiscal year." Significant Items of the Third Quarter of Fiscal 2022  As the COVID-19 pandemic had a significant impact on our prior year financial results, looking at gross profit[2] on a 2-year basis provides additional insight given the volatility in the various key measures of our business. Excluding the disposal of CAPL and the acquisition of Circle K Hong Kong, merchandise and service, as well as road transportation fuel gross profit1, are higher by 6.8% and 27.6%, respectively, compared with the pre-pandemic third quarter of fiscal 2020. On December 8, 2021, as a result of all Couche-Tard's co-founders reaching the age of 65 years old, all of our Class B subordinate voting shares automatically converted into Class A multiple voting shares on a share-for-share basis. Following the automatic conversion, only Class A multiple voting shares of Couche-Tard are traded on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the symbol "ATD". On April 21, 2021, the Toronto Stock Exchange approved the implementation of a share repurchase program, which took effect on April 26, 2021. The program initially allowed us to repurchase up to 4.0% of the Class B subordinate voting shares of the public float as at April 19, 2021 (the "Public float"). On January 31, 2022, subsequent to the end of the third quarter of fiscal 2022, the Toronto Stock Exchange approved the amendment of our current share repurchase program to increase the maximum number of shares that may be repurchased to 5.8% of the Public float.During the third quarter and first three quarters of fiscal 2022, we repurchased 13,013,743 and 27,836,638 shares, respectively. These repurchases were settled for amounts of  $509.7 million and $1.0 billion, respectively. In addition, subsequent to the end of the third quarter of fiscal 2022, we repurchased 5,486,727 shares for an amount of $230.7 million. On March 3, 2022, subsequent to the end of the third quarter of fiscal 2022 and following the delivery of a redemption notice dated January 31, 2022, we fully repaid our CA $250.0 million Canadian-dollar-denominated senior unsecured notes issued on November 1, 2012, which were set to mature on November 1, 2022. The repayment of CA $254.1 million ($200.6 million) was settled using cash on hand and included an early redemption premium of CA $4.1 million ($3.2 million). We also settled the cross-currency interest rate swaps associated with these Canadian-dollar-denominated senior unsecured notes. ______________________________ 2  Please refer to the section "Non-IFRS Measures" for additional information on performance measures not defined by IFRS. Changes in our Network during the Third Quarter of Fiscal 2022 We acquired 34 company-operated stores, including 19 stores operating under the Pic Quik brand, located in New Mexico, United States, as well as 9 stores operating under the Londis brand, located in Ireland. In addition, we acquired 17 dealer-operated stores operating under the Purple Cow brand, located in Southeastern United States, 22 fuel supply agreements and a small sized company, specializing in technological solutions for retailers and convenience stores. We settled these transactions using our available cash. On July 30, 2021, we entered into a binding agreement in connection with the acquisition of Cape D'Or Holdings Limited, Barrington Terminals Limited, and other related holding entities, which operate an independent convenience store and fuel network in Atlantic Canada under the Esso, Go! Store and Wilsons Gas Stops brands (collectively "Wilsons"). The Wilsons network comprises 79 company-operated convenience retail and fuel locations, 147 dealer locations, and a fuel terminal in Halifax, Canada. The transaction is expected to close in the first half of fiscal year 2023 and is subject to customary closing conditions and regulatory approvals, including those under the Competition Act (Canada). On March 22, 2021, based on the outcome of a strategic review of our network, we announced our intention to sell certain sites across 28 states in the United States and 6 provinces in Canada. During the third quarter of fiscal 2022, we completed the sale of 146 sites to various buyers for cash consideration of $147.0 million, which resulted in a gain of $20.2 million. As at January 30, 2022, 59 sites in the United States and 9 sites in Canada met the criteria for classification as held for sale, however, 57 sites in the United States and 27 sites in Canada no longer met a held for sale criterion, which resulted in an amount of $11.7 million recorded to Depreciation, amortization and impairment. We completed the construction of 32 stores and the relocation or reconstruction of 3 stores, reaching a total of 75 stores since the beginning of fiscal 2022. As of January 30, 2022, another 85 stores were under construction and should open in the upcoming quarters. Summary of changes in our store network The following table presents certain information regarding changes in our store network over the 16–week period ended January 30, 2022: 16–week period ended January 30, 2022 Type of site Company-operated CODO DODO Franchised and  other affiliated Total Number of sites, beginning of period 9,925 392 691 1,262 12,270 Acquisitions 34 17 22 — 73 Openings / constructions / additions 32 — 10 70 112 Closures / disposals / withdrawals (145) (5) (10) (31) (191) Store conversion 11 (10) (1) — — Number of sites, end of period 9,857 394 712 1,301 12,264 Circle K branded sites under licensing agreements 1,880 Total network 14,144 Number of automated fuel stations included in the period-end    figures 975 — 13 — 988 Exchange Rate Data We use the US dollar as our reporting currency, which provides more relevant information given the predominance of our operations in the United States. The following table sets forth information about exchange rates based upon closing rates expressed as US dollars per comparative currency unit: 16–week periods ended 40–week periods ended January 30, 2022 January 31, 2021 January 30, 2022 January 31, 2021 Average for the period Canadian dollar 0.7932 0.7733 0.8000 0.7541 Norwegian krone 0.1142 0.1129 0.1156 0.1090 Swedish krone 0.1120 0.1177 0.1150 0.1129 Danish krone 0.1532 0.1613 0.1573 0.1568 Zloty 0.2476 0.2660 0.2561 0.2604 Euro 1.1396 1.2005 1.1699 1.1672 Ruble 0.0136 0.0132 0.0136 0.0135 Hong Kong dollar(1) 0.1284 0.1290 0.1285 0.1290 (1) For the 16 and 40-week periods ended January 31, 2021, calculated by taking the average of the closing exchange rates of each day starting December 21, 2020. Summary Analysis of Consolidated Results for the Third Quarter and First Three Quarters of Fiscal 2022 The following table highlights certain information regarding our operations for the 16 and 40–week periods ended January 30, 2022 and January 31, 2021. Europe and other regions include the results from our operations in Asia. 16-week periods ended 40-week periods ended (in millions of US dollars, unless otherwise stated) January 30, 2022 January 31, 2021 Variation % January 30, 2022 January 31, 2021 Variation % Statement of Operations Data: Merchandise and service revenues(1): United States 3,355.5 3,274.9 2.5 8,938.9 8,862.7 0.9 Europe and other regions 715.9 541.1 32.3 1,857.7 1,278.9 45.3 Canada 722.5 713.9 1.2 2,044.2 2,006.9 1.9 Total merchandise and service revenues 4,793.9 4,529.9 5.8 12,840.8 12,148.5 5.7 Road transportation fuel revenues: United States 8,945.6 5,626.3 59.0 22,064.1 13,970.6 57.9 Europe and other regions 2,951.3 1,813.7 62.7 6,899.8 4,492.3 53.6 Canada 1,605.4 1,039.5 54.4 4,011.0 2,592.2 54.7 Total road transportation fuel revenues 13,502.3 8,479.5 59.2 32,974.9 21,055.1 56.6 Other revenues(2): United States 14.6 17.3 (15.6) 36.8 34.3 7.3 Europe and other regions 257.3 123.4 108.5 504.9 268.1 88.3 Canada 8.3 7.4 12.2 17.6 16.7 5.4 Total other revenues 280.2 148.1 89.2 559.3 319.1 75.3.....»»

Category: earningsSource: benzingaMar 15th, 2022

ALIMENTATION COUCHE-TARD ANNOUNCES ITS RESULTS FOR ITS THIRD QUARTER OF FISCAL YEAR 2022

Net earnings were $746.4 million, or $0.70 per diluted share for the third quarter of fiscal 2022 compared with $607.5 million, or $0.55 per diluted share for the third quarter of fiscal 2021. Adjusted net earnings1 were approximately $746.0 million compared with $622.0 million for the third quarter of fiscal 2021. Adjusted diluted net earnings per share1 were $0.70, representing an increase of 25.0% from $0.56 for the corresponding quarter of last year. Total merchandise and service revenues of $4.8 billion, an increase of 5.8%. Same-store merchandise revenues increased 3.7% in the United States, 7.2% in Europe and other regions, and decreased 0.8% in Canada. On a 2-year basis, same-store merchandise revenues increased at a compound annual growth rate of 3.4% in the United States, 5.0% in Europe, and 2.1% in Canada. Merchandise and service gross margin increased 1.0% in the United States to 33.6%, 0.2% in Canada to 31.6%, and decreased 0.7% in Europe and other regions to 37.8%, which was impacted by the integration of Circle K Hong Kong. Same-store road transportation fuel volume increased 3.2% in the United States, 3.2% in Europe and other regions, and 7.2% in Canada. On a 2-year basis, same-store road transportation fuel volume decreased at a compound annual rate of 6.8% in the United States, 3.4% in Europe, and 7.4% in Canada, still impacted by work from home trends and resurgence of COVID-19 cases toward the end of the quarter. Road transportation fuel gross margin of 39.63¢ per gallon in the United States, an increase of 8.87¢ per gallon, and CA 11.78¢ per liter in Canada, an increase of CA 1.45¢ per liter. In Europe and other regions, it decreased by US 0.53¢ per liter to US 10.83¢ per liter. Fuel margins remained healthy throughout our network, due to favorable market conditions and the continued work on the optimization of our supply chain. On a 2-year basis, excluding the costs of employee retention measures implemented, which totaled approximately $28.0 million, normalized expenses increased at a compound annual growth rate of 3.7%, slightly below inflation level. Under its share repurchase program, the Corporation repurchased shares for an amount of $509.7 million during the quarter, and an amount of $230.7 million subsequent to the end of the quarter, reaching a total of $1.3 billion under the current program. Subsequent to the end of the quarter, the Toronto Stock Exchange approved the amendment of our current share repurchase program to increase the maximum number of shares that may be repurchased. Subsequent to the end of the quarter, and following the escalation of the conflict in Ukraine, the Corporation announced that it is suspending the operations of its 38 company-operated stores in Russia, and is implementing plans to take care of its employees in a responsible and safe manner.  _______________________________ 1  Please refer to the section "Non-IFRS Measures" for additional information on performance measures not defined by IFRS. LAVAL, QC, March 15, 2022 /CNW Telbec/ - For its third quarter ended January 30, 2022, Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc. ("Couche-Tard" or the "Corporation") (TSX: ATD) announces net earnings of $746.4 million, representing $0.70 per share on a diluted basis. The results for the third quarter of fiscal 2022 were affected by a pre-tax net foreign exchange gain of $4.2 million, as well as pre-tax acquisition costs of $3.2 million. The results for the comparable quarter of fiscal 2021 were affected by a pre-tax net foreign exchange loss of $16.5 million, as well as pre-tax acquisition costs of $5.2 million. Excluding these items, the adjusted net earnings1 were approximately $746.0 million, or $0.70 per share on a diluted basis for the third quarter of fiscal 2022, compared with $622.0 million, or $0.56 per share on a diluted basis for the third quarter of fiscal 2021, an increase of 25.0% in the adjusted diluted net earnings per share1, explained by higher road transportation fuel margins, organic growth in both the convenience and road transportation fuel activities, as well as by the favorable impact of its share repurchase program partly offset by higher operating expenses. All financial information presented is in US dollars unless stated otherwise. "Two years after the start of the pandemic and during a quarter where the Omicron variant surged across our network, I am proud to announce that we had good results during the third quarter in both convenience and fuel. Same store merchandise sales were particularly strong in Europe as well as in the U.S. with our freshly prepared food programs and packaged beverages among the main drivers of growth. Across the business, in fuel volumes and traffic we saw strong results early in the quarter, but both were impacted by work from home orders and rise in COVID-19 cases, especially towards the end of the quarter in our larger urban centers in North America and Europe. However, we continue to achieve healthy fuel margins and benefit from strategic initiatives on which we remain laser focused. I am grateful for the continued commitment of our team members, customers, and shareholders over the quarter and, as restrictive measures are reducing, I am optimistic that traffic and volumes will continue to revert toward normal levels as the impacts of Omicron fade" said Brian Hannasch, President and Chief Executive Officer of Alimentation Couche-Tard. "Over the quarter, we have worked hard to overcome the historic labor and supply chain issues in our industry and are pleased to report significant improvement in more recent periods. Fresh Food, Fast has continued to grow across the globe, with over 3,200 stores now carrying the program, and we are seeing strong year-over-year sales growth. Here, our operators continue to focus on execution of our strategy and optimizing our assortment. In our Circle K fuel rebrand, we completed over 180 sites in the third quarter, and in Europe we now have over 1,000 electric vehicle chargers. We continue to rollout localized data driven pricing, promotions and assortment, and in parallel have begun introducing innovative technologies, which will bring ease and speed to our check out and delivery process as well as supplement our labor force with hourly workers. We have also put great attention on hiring, training, and retention of our team members and are seeing positive momentum." concluded Brian Hannasch. Claude Tessier, Chief Financial Officer, added: "We delivered once again a solid quarter as evidenced by increases of 15.2% in gross profit1 dollars and 18.0% in adjusted EBITDA1 compared to the third quarter of last year, in an overall challenging environment in which we diligently managed higher-than-usual inflation and supply chain disruptions. We have continued to advance on our key strategic priorities, including our fuel initiatives, network development and cost optimization initiatives across our network, bringing our last four quarters adjusted EBITDA1 above $5.2 billion. Our financial position remains strong, highlighted by our leverage ratio of 1.33, which allowed us during the quarter to upsize our current share repurchase program from almost 32.1 million shares to over 46.8 million shares. We are actively managing our balance sheet and as a result, we repurchased close to $750.0 million of shares during the quarter and subsequent to the end of the quarter. On March 3, 2022, we also completed the early repayment of our Canadian-dollar-denominated senior unsecured notes issued on November 1, 2012. We also intend to renew our share repurchase program upon expiry on April 25, 2022, at a level of 10.0% of the then-prevailing public float, giving us the opportunity to repurchase approximately $3.2 billion over the upcoming fiscal year." Significant Items of the Third Quarter of Fiscal 2022  As the COVID-19 pandemic had a significant impact on our prior year financial results, looking at gross profit[2] on a 2-year basis provides additional insight given the volatility in the various key measures of our business. Excluding the disposal of CAPL and the acquisition of Circle K Hong Kong, merchandise and service, as well as road transportation fuel gross profit1, are higher by 6.8% and 27.6%, respectively, compared with the pre-pandemic third quarter of fiscal 2020. On December 8, 2021, as a result of all Couche-Tard's co-founders reaching the age of 65 years old, all of our Class B subordinate voting shares automatically converted into Class A multiple voting shares on a share-for-share basis. Following the automatic conversion, only Class A multiple voting shares of Couche-Tard are traded on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the symbol "ATD". On April 21, 2021, the Toronto Stock Exchange approved the implementation of a share repurchase program, which took effect on April 26, 2021. The program initially allowed us to repurchase up to 4.0% of the Class B subordinate voting shares of the public float as at April 19, 2021 (the "Public float"). On January 31, 2022, subsequent to the end of the third quarter of fiscal 2022, the Toronto Stock Exchange approved the amendment of our current share repurchase program to increase the maximum number of shares that may be repurchased to 5.8% of the Public float.During the third quarter and first three quarters of fiscal 2022, we repurchased 13,013,743 and 27,836,638 shares, respectively. These repurchases were settled for amounts of  $509.7 million and $1.0 billion, respectively. In addition, subsequent to the end of the third quarter of fiscal 2022, we repurchased 5,486,727 shares for an amount of $230.7 million. On March 3, 2022, subsequent to the end of the third quarter of fiscal 2022 and following the delivery of a redemption notice dated January 31, 2022, we fully repaid our CA $250.0 million Canadian-dollar-denominated senior unsecured notes issued on November 1, 2012, which were set to mature on November 1, 2022. The repayment of CA $254.1 million ($200.6 million) was settled using cash on hand and included an early redemption premium of CA $4.1 million ($3.2 million). We also settled the cross-currency interest rate swaps associated with these Canadian-dollar-denominated senior unsecured notes. ______________________________ 2  Please refer to the section "Non-IFRS Measures" for additional information on performance measures not defined by IFRS. Changes in our Network during the Third Quarter of Fiscal 2022 We acquired 34 company-operated stores, including 19 stores operating under the Pic Quik brand, located in New Mexico, United States, as well as 9 stores operating under the Londis brand, located in Ireland. In addition, we acquired 17 dealer-operated stores operating under the Purple Cow brand, located in Southeastern United States, 22 fuel supply agreements and a small sized company, specializing in technological solutions for retailers and convenience stores. We settled these transactions using our available cash. On July 30, 2021, we entered into a binding agreement in connection with the acquisition of Cape D'Or Holdings Limited, Barrington Terminals Limited, and other related holding entities, which operate an independent convenience store and fuel network in Atlantic Canada under the Esso, Go! Store and Wilsons Gas Stops brands (collectively "Wilsons"). The Wilsons network comprises 79 company-operated convenience retail and fuel locations, 147 dealer locations, and a fuel terminal in Halifax, Canada. The transaction is expected to close in the first half of fiscal year 2023 and is subject to customary closing conditions and regulatory approvals, including those under the Competition Act (Canada). On March 22, 2021, based on the outcome of a strategic review of our network, we announced our intention to sell certain sites across 28 states in the United States and 6 provinces in Canada. During the third quarter of fiscal 2022, we completed the sale of 146 sites to various buyers for cash consideration of $147.0 million, which resulted in a gain of $20.2 million. As at January 30, 2022, 59 sites in the United States and 9 sites in Canada met the criteria for classification as held for sale, however, 57 sites in the United States and 27 sites in Canada no longer met a held for sale criterion, which resulted in an amount of $11.7 million recorded to Depreciation, amortization and impairment. We completed the construction of 32 stores and the relocation or reconstruction of 3 stores, reaching a total of 75 stores since the beginning of fiscal 2022. As of January 30, 2022, another 85 stores were under construction and should open in the upcoming quarters. Summary of changes in our store network The following table presents certain information regarding changes in our store network over the 16–week period ended January 30, 2022: 16–week period ended January 30, 2022 Type of site Company-operated CODO DODO Franchised and  other affiliated Total Number of sites, beginning of period 9,925 392 691 1,262 12,270 Acquisitions 34 17 22 — 73 Openings / constructions / additions 32 — 10 70 112 Closures / disposals / withdrawals (145) (5) (10) (31) (191) Store conversion 11 (10) (1) — — Number of sites, end of period 9,857 394 712 1,301 12,264 Circle K branded sites under licensing agreements 1,880 Total network 14,144 Number of automated fuel stations included in the period-end    figures 975 — 13 — 988 Exchange Rate Data We use the US dollar as our reporting currency, which provides more relevant information given the predominance of our operations in the United States. The following table sets forth information about exchange rates based upon closing rates expressed as US dollars per comparative currency unit: 16–week periods ended 40–week periods ended January 30, 2022 January 31, 2021 January 30, 2022 January 31, 2021 Average for the period Canadian dollar 0.7932 0.7733 0.8000 0.7541 Norwegian krone 0.1142 0.1129 0.1156 0.1090 Swedish krone 0.1120 0.1177 0.1150 0.1129 Danish krone 0.1532 0.1613 0.1573 0.1568 Zloty 0.2476 0.2660 0.2561 0.2604 Euro 1.1396 1.2005 1.1699 1.1672 Ruble 0.0136 0.0132 0.0136 0.0135 Hong Kong dollar(1) 0.1284 0.1290 0.1285 0.1290 (1) For the 16 and 40-week periods ended January 31, 2021, calculated by taking the average of the closing exchange rates of each day starting December 21, 2020. Summary Analysis of Consolidated Results for the Third Quarter and First Three Quarters of Fiscal 2022 The following table highlights certain information regarding our operations for the 16 and 40–week periods ended January 30, 2022 and January 31, 2021. Europe and other regions include the results from our operations in Asia. 16-week periods ended 40-week periods ended (in millions of US dollars, unless otherwise stated) January 30, 2022 January 31, 2021 Variation % January 30, 2022 January 31, 2021 Variation % Statement of Operations Data: Merchandise and service revenues(1): United States 3,355.5 3,274.9 2.5 8,938.9 8,862.7 0.9 Europe and other regions 715.9 541.1 32.3 1,857.7 1,278.9 45.3 Canada 722.5 713.9 1.2 2,044.2 2,006.9 1.9 Total merchandise and service revenues 4,793.9 4,529.9 5.8 12,840.8 12,148.5 5.7 Road transportation fuel revenues: United States 8,945.6 5,626.3 59.0 22,064.1 13,970.6 57.9 Europe and other regions 2,951.3 1,813.7 62.7 6,899.8 4,492.3 53.6 Canada 1,605.4 1,039.5 54.4 4,011.0 2,592.2 54.7 Total road transportation fuel revenues 13,502.3 8,479.5 59.2 32,974.9 21,055.1 56.6 Other revenues(2): United States 14.6 17.3 (15.6) 36.8 34.3 7.3 Europe and other regions 257.3 123.4 108.5 504.9 268.1 88.3 Canada 8.3 7.4 12.2 17.6 16.7 5.4 Total other revenues 280.2 148.1 89.2 559.3 319.1 75.3 Total revenues.....»»

Category: earningsSource: benzingaMar 15th, 2022

Insiders say RAINN, the nation"s foremost organization for victims of sexual assault, is in crisis over allegations of racism and sexism

22 current and former staffers said that RAINN, which has deep ties to Hollywood and corporate America, is facing an internal reckoning. Scott Berkowitz, RAINN's co-founder and CEO, began his career in politics, advising former Sen. Gary Hart's 1984 presidential campaign at just 14 years old.RAINN; Kris Connor/Getty Images; Alyssa Powell/Insider22 current and former staffers say the organization favored by Hollywood and corporate America is in crisis. 'How can RAINN be helping survivors externally, when they're traumatizing survivors and their own employees internally?'April Cisneros says the first time she was sexually assaulted at her private Christian college was in 2015, while she was playing piano in the school's conservatory. A music tutor came into the small practice room and began to touch her. The second time, one year later, she remembers waking up in a hotel room near campus after drinks with classmates. One man was forcing his hand into her pants while another ejaculated on top of her. The incidents were devastating, and further compounded by a conservative religious community that lacked empathy for her pain or a framework to understand it. "Maybe it's demons attached to you that attracted this fate," she recalls one pastor telling her. Others placed the blame on her, wondering if she set the right boundaries with men. While studying abroad at Oxford University in 2016, in an effort to get far away from what she suffered back home, Cisneros attempted to take her own life.Soon after, she Googled for help, and the website for the Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network, or RAINN, flashed across her computer screen. RAINN, which was founded in 1994 as a nonprofit, bills itself as the nation's largest anti-sexual-violence organization, operating a 24-hour hotline for victims and pushing for state and federal policies to punish sex offenders and support survivors. It has deep ties to corporate America and Hollywood, partnering with Google and TikTok and media like "I May Destroy You" and "Promising Young Woman," both of which center on sexual assault. (Insider itself utilizes RAINN's hotline; our publishing system automatically appends a referral link to RAINN at the bottom of every story about sexual assault.) In 2019, it reported nearly $16 million in revenue. It says its programs have helped 3.8 million people, and 301,455 people called its hotlines last year.The organization was a beacon in a difficult time, and Cisneros soon threw herself into supporting it. She cycled 1,500 miles across the country for a fundraising drive; later, after the Trump administration rolled back Title IX protections for campus-sexual-assault victims, she decided to get involved more directly. April Cisneros biked across the US to raise money for RAINN.April Cisneros"I was so angry," Cisneros told Insider. "I just remember thinking, 'Well, why don't I just, like, go try to be a part of the solution?'" She began working for RAINN in 2018 as a communications associate.But she soon discovered that it looked very different from the inside. Instead of the supportive, inclusive victims' advocacy organization that offered her hope in the depths of her depression, Cisneros found herself in a demoralizing workplace overrun by what she described as racism and sexism. She recalled that during the filming of a video about survivors' stories, her boss asked a participant to smile while recounting a sexual assault. "If you don't," Cisneros remembered her boss saying, "it'll look like you have a bitch face."Cisneros is among 22 current and former RAINN staffers who spoke to Insider and described a roiling crisis over race and gender in the over-200-person-strong nonprofit. These people described a culture in which a routine training was beset by racist caricaturing, executives ignored employees' requests for change, and people who were deemed political risks — including sexual-assault survivors — were silenced. According to these accounts, in one instance, a supervisor badgered an employee during the time she took off to recover from an abortion. In another, an Asian staffer was replaced on a project with a white man after their boss deemed him a better fit because of his race and gender. One staffer sent a resignation letter, obtained by Insider, in which she bemoaned "toxic managerial behavioral patterns" and worried that "young employees like myself, many of them survivors themselves, are currently being treated like their rights at work do not matter, like their comfort and security and health at work doesn't matter, like the skills they bring to work are worthless."RAINN declined to make its founder and president, Scott Berkowitz, available for an interview. In a statement, the group said it had made great strides in diversifying its workplace and addressing the concerns of its employees of color. It accused the current and former staffers who came forward to Insider of providing "incomplete, misleading, and defamatory" information about "a handful of long-outdated and disproven allegations.""RAINN is proud of the work our committed staff do, day in and day out, to support survivors of sexual violence," the statement read. "As an organization, we owe it to our committed staff to provide a work environment where they feel safe, appreciated, and heard … Over the last several years, like most organizations, RAINN has worked to expand and implement comprehensive Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion policies and goals. We regularly update staff on our progress toward achieving those goals, and solicit feedback on potential areas of improvement. While there is always room to build on our efforts, we are continually working to foster an open dialogue between employees and leadership to ensure ideas and concerns can be heard and addressed."RAINN hired Clare Locke LLP, a boutique libel law firm that has gained a reputation for representing clients facing #MeToo allegations, including Matt Lauer and the former CBS News executive Jeffrey Fager, to respond to Insider's inquiries. During Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation hearing, the firm's cofounder Libby Locke came to his defense, writing: "No wonder Judge Kavanaugh is angry. Any man falsely accused of sexual assault would be."When Insider asked RAINN whether Clare Locke's work was consistent with the organization's mission and values, the firm's partner Thomas Clare emailed a statement attributed to RAINN: "Given your questions contained outright lies about RAINN and our staff, and publication of those claims is potentially defamatory, we hired defamation counsel. We recognize we have a right to legal representation, and our attorneys have helped us disprove your ridiculous and libelous allegations."Some RAINN employees fear that the corporate dysfunction has poisoned the work of the largest sexual-violence organization in the country, which they continue to view as crucial, despite their own experiences. "How can RAINN be helping survivors externally when they're traumatizing survivors and their own employees internally?" Cisneros said.How RAINN became Hollywood and corporate America's go-to partner Through savvy marketing and hard work, RAINN has become to sexual assault what Planned Parenthood is to reproductive health: the premier, full-service resource for people struggling with a crisis and the ultimate destination for donations to help people who have been victimized.The global embrace of the #MeToo movement, and the contemporary focus on the depth and pervasiveness of sexual assault, has further aided RAINN's ascension. Companies in crisis often turn to the organization to telegraph their commitment to social responsibility. After dozens of women sued Lyft, claiming they were assaulted by its drivers, the company worked with RAINN to roll out extensive safety initiatives and contributed $1.5 million to its coffers.Hollywood has also embraced the organization. RAINN was cofounded by the Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter Tori Amos, who promoted the organization's hotline at her concerts and sat on its advisory board. In 2018, Timotheé Chalamet pledged his earnings from Woody Allen's "A Rainy Day in New York" to groups including RAINN, as did Ben Affleck from productions affiliated with Harvey Weinstein. Christina Ricci, a star of Showtime's breakout hit "Yellowjackets," has served as an official spokesperson since 2007, and the platinum-selling pop artist Taylor Swift has donated to the organization, something it publicized from its social-media accounts.—RAINN (@RAINN) April 8, 2021 But Berkowitz has largely stayed out of the public eye. He began his career as a political wunderkind, advising Sen. Gary Hart's 1984 presidential campaign at just 14 years old. A profile in his grandparents' hometown newspaper in Pennsylvania said he was personally responsible for collecting $100,000 in donations for Hart — a feat achieved in between classes at American University, where he was already a sophomore. After graduation, Berkowitz continued to work in and around politics. His experience in the field, he said in a 2019 interview with RAINN, taught him about the "extent of the problem" of sexual violence in the United States and the opportunity to fill this "service gap.""I knew next to nothing about the issue," Berkowitz said. "It just seemed like a good idea." Christina Ricci has been a RAINN spokeswoman since 2007.Michael Kovac/WireImage/Getty ImagesEarly on, Berkowitz ran the day-to-day operations, and his early fundraising prowess served him well. After a series of sexual assaults at the infamous Woodstock '99 festival, promoters and record labels did damage control by giving RAINN 1% of the proceeds from the festival's CD and video releases. "In raw self-interest, the money and attention that would come from it would allow RAINN to promote the hotline better, provide more counseling, print more brochures," Berkowitz told the Village Voice. RAINN's budget swelled in tandem with its brand. Total revenue rocketed from more than $1.2 million in 2009 to nearly $16 million in 2019. Berkowitz's compensation grew from $168,000 to over $481,000 over the same period. Even though RAINN's tax returns list Berkowitz as its president and indicate that he was paid nearly a half a million dollars in the year ending in May 2020, RAINN says that he is not in fact an employee and does not receive a salary. Instead, for reasons that RAINN did not explain, he is paid through A&I Publishing, a company solely owned by Berkowitz that contracts with RAINN. "Scott Berkowitz is paid solely as an independent contractor through A&I Publishing and does not receive any salary or benefits," it said. "He has never received any employee compensation from RAINN."RAINN's tax records tell a slightly different story. The group has reported paying a total of $561,500 in consulting fees for "strategic and financial oversight" to A&I Publishing from 2001 to 2006, during which time Berkowitz drew no salary from RAINN. Since 2007, though, RAINN has reported directly paying Berkowitz a total of $3,529,000. (RAINN says he "is recused from all board consideration of his compensation.")Over the same period, RAINN also began reporting payments to A&I to service $288,000 in debt that it owed the consultancy at 5% interest. RAINN's tax records don't reflect that the organization ever received any cash from A&I; instead, the loan is described in its 2006 tax return as "issuance of debt for prior year services." RAINN says the loan, which has been repaid, stems from "deferred payment for fees" that RAINN owed A&I "for a number of years."'How does an organization like RAINN make such an egregious mistake?'With the Woodstock '99 deal, Berkowitz struck on a highly successful strategy — corporate penance — and he would often return to it. But he also looked to the public sector for funding opportunities.One of RAINN's largest sources of revenue — $2 million a year — is its contract to run the Department of Defense's Safe Helpline, which offers confidential, anonymous counseling to members of the military who have been affected by sexual violence. Multiple staffers who spoke with Insider said Berkowitz was exceedingly sensitive about maintaining the contract. They said that he had gone to great lengths to stay in the Department of Defense's good graces and that they believe RAINN has at times been overly deferential to its interests. Michael Wiedenhoeft-Wilder in February 2022.Evan Jenkins for InsiderMichael Wiedenhoeft-Wilder, a former flight attendant and roller-rink operator who previously served in the Navy as a medic, said that in 1982, just months after he enlisted, a Navy physician raped him. The doctor, who outranked Wiedenhoeft-Wilder, threatened him with prison time if he came forward. Wiedenhoeft-Wilder said it was the first of multiple sexual assaults he suffered, all of which resulted in a diagnosis of complex post-traumatic stress disorder.Wiedenhoeft-Wilder stayed silent about the assault for nearly 30 years. He became depressed and experienced paranoid suspicions that the government was spying on him, ready to silence him if he ever told the truth about his assault.But decades of therapy empowered Wiedenhoeft-Wilder to eventually come forward. He discovered the Safe Helpline, which then led him to RAINN's Speakers Bureau, a roster of more than 4,000 volunteer survivors who share their stories with the media, student groups, and other organizations. When Wiedenhoeft-Wilder signed up with the bureau, his story was selected for publication on RAINN's website. In October 2019, he worked with April Cisneros, who helped manage the Speakers Bureau, to prepare the story.But the story was abruptly killed. Cisneros said Berkowitz decided to pull Wiedenhoeft-Wilder's account once he realized that it involved an officer assaulting an enlisted man."Once we actually wrote up his story, Scott was like, 'No, we're not even getting into this,'" Cisneros told Insider, adding that Berkowitz refused to send the story to the Department of Defense for review, as it routinely did with accounts of military sexual assault. Cisneros said Berkowitz told members of the communications team that promoting the testimony of a man who had been assaulted by one of his superiors could harm the military's reputation and upset the Department of Defense. Cisneros told Insider she believed that Berkowitz did not want to risk losing the government's funding.Wiedenhoeft-Wilder was shocked. He had spent time with Cisneros revisiting the details of an assault that haunted him for 30 years, all for nothing."I've spent the last several days trying to deal with the devastating news that the article about my military sexual trauma being canceled for someone else," he told Cisneros in an email on October 31 that Insider reviewed. "How does an organization like RAINN make such an egregious mistake? Do you have any idea how this mistake has affected me? It's absolutely devastating. Just one more failure for me.""I feel victimized all over again," he wrote. "What did I ever do to you people to deserve this!"Cisneros, worried about Wiedenhoeft-Wilder's mental health, forwarded the exchange to Berkowitz and Keeli Sorensen, then the vice president of victim services, she said. "Maybe you just tell him you made a mistake," Cisneros recalled Sorensen telling her. She felt Sorensen's suggestion was, in effect, to "[fall] on my sword for RAINN."Cisneros told Insider that she told Wiedenhoeft-Wilder a lie about a scheduling conflict and blamed the mix-up entirely on herself. Wiedenhoeft-Wilder didn't believe her. "I know she wasn't telling me the truth," he told Insider. "I knew it wasn't her fault. It was a really weird, very strange thing to do to someone."Cisneros was heartbroken. She felt that she'd betrayed Wiedenhoeft-Wilder's trust and was distressed because she felt an anti-sexual-violence organization had asked her to deceive a rape victim. "What's so sad is people treat him like he's so paranoid about being silenced by the military, but that paranoia is at least … legitimate," Cisneros said. "And it happened again at RAINN."Sorensen denied having any involvement in the incident and said she was "not authorized in any way to instruct Ms. Cisneros in this matter," adding that Berkowitz had "total authority" with respect to the publication of Wiedenhoeft-Wilder's story. She said she did not know why Berkowitz pulled the testimony."I had no part in the matter," Sorensen said, "but it's my recollection, based on my conversation with Ms. Cisneros, that she had promised Mr. Wiedenhoeft-Wilder that she would publish their story before having secured final approval from Mr. Berkowitz."RAINN also said that if Cisneros had promised Wiedenhoeft-Wilder a spot on its website, it had "no knowledge of that and she was not authorized to make that commitment."Cisneros disputed that. She said that she provided Berkowitz with details of Wiedenhoeft-Wilder's story before reaching out and that he approved. "Scott gave me the greenlight to move ahead with the process if [Wiedenhoeft-Wilder] expressed interest," Cisneros said."We have no recollection as to why this survivor's story did not run in the fall of 2019," RAINN said, adding that some isolated quotes from Wiedenhoeft-Wilder's interview — stripped of their military context — were shared on RAINN's social-media accounts. The statement pointed to other stories from survivors of sexual assault in the military that RAINN had published; none of those featured scenarios in which an attacker outranked their victim.Evan Jenkins for Insider"We are not aware of the Department of Defense expressing concern over RAINN's coverage of military survivors," RAINN said, "nor is it standard practice for RAINN to consult with [the department] regarding the material and resources it publishes unless they directly mention Safe Helpline. RAINN frequently publishes the stories of military survivors and will continue to do so as it works to carry out the organization's mission to eradicate sexual violence from every corner of society."Anxiety around RAINN's relationship with the Department of Defense came up again in 2019. Six former staffers said one RAINN employee felt compelled to frantically retract public comments she had made in support of Black trans victims of violence amid the Trump administration's efforts to expel trans people from the military. The woman suddenly and mysteriously departed the organization on the day her remarks were published.(The woman's identity is known to Insider, which is not naming her because doing so may expose her to professional harm. The woman declined to comment for the record.) On March 7, 2019, to mark International Women's Day, the employee was one of "8 everyday women" featured by The Lily, a women-focused website published by The Washington Post. The Lily post listed the woman's age, background, position at RAINN, and responses to a questionnaire about her favorite fast-food chains and movies. But she came to fear that her seemingly uncontroversial answer to one question could become a professional liability.InsiderThe answer came a few months after the Trump-era transgender military ban went into effect, reanimating debates over trans rights. Two sources told Insider that the woman told them that RAINN's leadership expressed alarm over her contribution to the article and was frustrated that the woman had spoken to the media without getting consent from leadership.One source told Insider that Jodi Omear, then RAINN's vice president of communications, said minutes after reading the article that it was "too controversial" and that she worried it "could jeopardize our contract with the Department of Defense." The source said Omear escalated the article to Berkowitz and the human-resources director, Claudia Kolmer, because she was confident they would feel the same.Omear told Insider that because the former staffer had been under her supervision, it would be "inappropriate" to comment on her exit from the organization.On the day the questionnaire was published, the woman called the reporter at The Lily who'd conducted the interview and asked her to remove the reference to RAINN, as well as her comments about trans people, according to four sources familiar with the situation. The writer agreed. Insider viewed an original version of the interview that contained the employee's affiliation and comments about trans rights; the version currently published online does not.Two former employees said the woman was escorted out of the office by human resources the day the story was published. RAINN said that "it is standard practice that an employee separating from the organization is accompanied by a RAINN human resources representative when leaving the premises in order to collect their office keys, security fob and other credentials," adding that it "reached a separation agreement" with the woman a week after the story was published.One staffer who sat near her described the woman as a "fabulous" employee who was heavily invested in the projects they were set to work on together."It was one of the reasons why it was so shocking," the staffer said. "Like, where'd she go?"In its statement, RAINN claimed that the woman's remarks were an unauthorized attempt to speak on behalf of the Pentagon. "[The RAINN staffer] spoke with a Washington Post reporter on-the-record, on behalf of RAINN and the Department of Defense Safe Helpline, which she was not authorized to do," the statement said. "Contractually RAINN is barred from speaking on behalf of the Department of Defense or Safe Helpline." The Lily billed the interview as an opportunity to "step inside the lives of 8 everyday women." Aside from identifying her employer and job description — a format applied to other women featured in the post — the woman's interview did not touch on RAINN or the Department of Defense. Instead, she answered questions about her favorite body part and what she would change about her upbringing if she could.Still, RAINN said, the woman broke the rules: "The issue at hand centered around a clear violation of RAINN policy. RAINN supports all transgender survivors and has worked to remove the barriers to reporting sexual violence in LGBTQ communities, and to elevate the stories of transgender survivors, particularly for transgender persons of color for whom sexual violence is all too prevalent."Asked why, if that were the case, the woman would ask The Lily specifically to remove her comments about trans victims, RAINN said it was "unaware of any evidence indicating [the woman] was pressured to retract or remove" the comments. "RAINN is always mindful of honoring its contractual obligations not to speak on behalf of the DoD and the Safe Helpline," it said. "The fact someone commented on other subject matter or issues was irrelevant."A white male staffer was deemed a better fitJackii Wang joined RAINN's public-policy team in 2019, hopeful that she could use her experience working in national congressional offices to advance legislation that would help sexual-assault survivors. But she said her boss, RAINN's vice president of public policy, Camille Cooper, instead saddled her with administrative responsibilities like writing greeting cards. Wang said Cooper regularly discounted her ideas and "berated" her when they disagreed on issues the younger staffer considered minor. It became "psychologically terrifying," Wang said. Wang didn't immediately view that as discriminatory — multiple staffers said many of Cooper's employees complained of similar treatment. But during a performance review in December 2019, Wang said, Cooper attempted to explain her perception of Wang as defiant by rattling off stereotypes that Wang felt were "very targeted towards my Asian identity.""Camille asked me questions like, you know, 'Is your family very strict?' 'Do they expect perfectionism from you?' ... 'What was your childhood like?' Do I have problems with authority because of my family background?" Wang told Insider. What started as an implication became explicit, Wang said, when Cooper announced she would pull Wang off a lobbying assignment.Jackii WangDaniel Diasgranados for InsiderAt the time, RAINN was working on a Florida bill that would close a loophole in the state's statute of limitations for teen survivors. Cooper called Wang and another staffer into her office and told the two women she had decided to send a white male colleague in Wang's place, Wang said. Wang asked why."And she was like, 'Well, you know, because he's a white male,'" Wang recalled.Wang was mortified. While she had experience working with Florida legislators, her male colleague wasn't even registered to lobby in the state. Wang and the other staffer said Cooper argued that he would connect better with white conservatives in the state."He can talk about baseball. He can really, like, connect with these men," Cooper said, according to Wang and the other staffer present. "And these men really hate women.""Her reasoning for picking a white man over me for the project is that he'll be received better," Wang said. "But if that's the logic that she's following, then, like, I guess I shouldn't work anywhere because white men are received better everywhere."Neither Cooper nor the man responded to requests for comment.Wang said she reported the incident to Kolmer, the human-resources director, and Berkowitz in March 2020, along with a detailed recounting of other complaints about Cooper's leadership. But Wang said Kolmer never took serious action. When Wang quit that June, she sent Berkowitz a blistering resignation letter. "As you know, she has harassed and bullied every single person on our team, including an intern, and has blatantly discriminated against me," Wang wrote.Berkowitz thanked Wang for her time and for informing him, and asked Kolmer to discuss the issues Wang raised. Cooper continues to serve as a vice president, the face of RAINN's policy arm.RAINN said that Wang was too junior a staffer to lead a statewide lobbying effort and called her claims of discrimination "false and defamatory.""RAINN took Wang's allegations seriously and investigated the matter thoroughly," the statement said. "Ultimately it was determined that the basis of Wang's claims of discrimination were unfounded."RAINN did not deny Wang's claim that Cooper told her a white man would connect better with conservative legislators.Cooper wasn't the only executive to receive complaints. One current staffer and one former staffer described a meeting in which Jessica Leslie, the vice president of victim services, defended Berkowitz's unwillingness to address the concerns of staffers of color."You have to understand where he's coming from," they remember Leslie saying. "I mean, he's a white man, and you're all people of color — like, he's really nervous around you."One of the staffers was furious. "We just wanted to have a conversation. We're not about to berate the man," she told Insider. "This is not true," RAINN said. Its statement said that at a Safe Helpline shift managers meeting, a group of managers asked Leslie if Berkowitz would meet with them. When Leslie asked them to craft an agenda first, RAINN said, the shift managers asked Leslie if Berkowitz wanted an agenda because he was "uncomfortable talking to women of color." "The shift managers created this narrative," RAINN said, "not Leslie."Through an attorney, Leslie said she agreed with RAINN's responses and called the allegations against her "demonstrably baseless."A racist training, a pay disparity, and an email uprisingStaffers of color told Insider that they were often underpaid compared with their white counterparts; one, a nonwhite Latina woman who asked to remain anonymous, said she made $35,000 a year and lived in public housing to keep her head above water. After she quit for a higher-paying opportunity, RAINN filled her job with a white staffer who earned roughly $20,000 more, Cisneros said, adding that the white staffer disclosed her salary. (Three additional sources with knowledge of her salary corroborated Cisneros' account.) RAINN said the salary discrepancy was a result of both the role being "restructured" to include "significantly more responsibility" and the fact that the white staffer had an advanced degree.Four current and former RAINN staffers recalled that after RAINN's white office manager left for a new job, her replacement, a Black woman named Valinshia Walker, was asked to perform janitorial tasks that were not in her predecessor's job description — including scrubbing floors on her hands and knees, washing dishes, and disinfecting conference rooms. "Let me be very clear: [Walker's predecessor] never washed dishes from the sink. Ever," one former staffer said. "Val? You would come in, and Ms. Walker was cleaning the conference room. Like, wiping down all the tables. Spraying down the chairs. Doing the kitchen, she's washing dishes from the sink … You would see her walking around with the mask on and gloves because she literally cleaned. Like a cleaning lady."Walker declined to comment for the record. "The beliefs of your sources are simply not true," RAINN said, adding that Walker was hired as the "office coordinator," which had a different set of responsibilities than the "office manager" she replaced. "Maintaining a clean office has always fallen under the responsibilities of the HR and admin staff as a whole, this includes the office manager and office coordinator," the statement said. "We are not aware of any instances where Walker was asked to handle cleaning responsibilities beyond those that were part of the office coordinator's regular duties."Staffers also recalled what became a notorious and hamfisted mandatory sexual-harassment training in early 2020 led by an outside employment attorney hired by RAINN. According to more than a dozen employees, the attorney used a series of racist stereotypes to illustrate examples during the training."So let's just say, you know, there's Nicki [Minaj] and Cardi B are employees, and they're at their desks, and they start twerking," Cisneros recalled the lawyer saying. "Is that inappropriate workplace behavior?"At one point, Cisneros said, the lawyer proposed a hypothetical scenario in which a Latino-coded man — participants recalled his name was "Jorgé" or "José"—  kissed a coworker. The lawyer asked if the behavior could be appropriate "because this is Latino culture." "Your information regarding this training is inaccurate," RAINN said. "The examples in this legal training were all past legal cases using fictitious names." It added that staff concerns "were immediately addressed and the training was subsequently modified based on their feedback."Sarcia Adkins, a shift manager for the Department of Defense Safe Helpline who attended the training, was furious. She wrote an email to multiple executives, including Sorensen, Kolmer, and Berkowitz, on March 5 demanding action from the organization. "I wanted to get up and walk out at various points and it was one of the more traumatic experiences I've had at RAINN as a woman of color," she wrote. Kolmer acknowledged her complaints and promised to meet with Adkins alongside Berkowitz and Sorensen to discuss changes to the training and her issues with the nonprofit's culture.Adkins said that Kolmer didn't follow up that March but that Sorensen did reach out to schedule a one-on-one meeting. RAINN said Adkins agreed to meet Sorensen but "did not show up, without notification or explanation," and "did not follow up after she skipped the meeting." Several months later, after a former colleague intervened, Adkins did meet with Berkowitz and Sorensen. Adkins told Insider she was underwhelmed. "They pick what they want you to talk about," she said.The dysfunction came to a head during the summer of 2020, after the murder of George Floyd sparked a series of bitter internal conversations about RAINN's track record on race. In June 2020, Berkowitz sent an email with the subject line "A Note to the RAINN Family" to the entire staff. In it, he acknowledged the unrest and pledged to support the company's Black staffers.Sarcia Adkins replied to the email with a list of demands and copied the entire organization. She asked for mandatory cultural-competency training and a commitment to hiring Black employees for leadership positions. (RAINN says that 43% of its top seven staffers are people of color.) Adkins — who has been with RAINN since 2014 — asked Berkowitz why he hadn't reached out following the deaths of Freddie Gray, Sandra Bland, Philando Castile, and dozens of other victims of police violence."RAINN has never been a place [that] acknowledges or uplifts their black staff, not just people of color, and the injustices we face in the world and within the structure of RAINN," Adkins wrote.Following the police killing of George Floyd in 2020, Scott Berkowitz sent an email to staffers acknowledging the resulting unrest and pledging to support the company's Black staffers. But employees at RAINN began responding en masse, including one person who asked why a similar message was not sent after other police killings of Black people.Provided to InsiderIn 2021, in response to the outrage over the George Floyd email, the organization began internally releasing draft proposals on diversity, equity, and inclusion with goals the organization planned to achieve or had already accomplished. The laundry list of objectives, which Insider reviewed, included a plan to "develop new relationships to ensure a diverse pool of internal and external candidates for all open positions" and "collect more data to identify the causes of turnover."But people working in the organization say little has been achieved, or even attempted."Hiring practices are not getting better," said a current RAINN staffer, who asked to remain anonymous for fear of retaliation. "There's been no management training. Turnover is horrendous." In its statement, RAINN recounted the diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts it began implementing in 2021, including "expanded recruiting," "revised exit interviews," and "researched training on DEI-related issues.""The summer of 2020 sparked important cultural conversations in companies and organizations across the United States, RAINN among them," the statement said. "As we've seen nationwide, there is more work to be done. Over the past two years, RAINN worked with experts and garnered input from staff to develop and implement Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion policies and goals … Changes implemented to date include increasing diversity within senior management to better reflect our staff diversity and the people we serve, implementing an anonymous third-party ethics hotline where employees can voice concerns without fear of reprisal, offering expanded professional development and internal promotion opportunities, and increasing health and mental health benefits for employees, the four top priorities identified by staff."As evidence of its success in addressing the concerns of its employees of color, RAINN provided Insider an email that Aniyah Carter, a staffer on the Department of Defense Safe Helpline, wrote to the vice president of communications, Heather Drevna, in June 2020. Carter, who is Black, had been one of the most outspoken staffers demanding change at RAINN after Berkowitz's George Floyd email fiasco. When Drevna sent a follow-up email to staff announcing an employee survey and more personal and sick days, Carter replied with a note of thanks."I just want to personally thank you and the senior team for this," she wrote. "It's one thing to listen to and hear us. It's another thing to take action. I am proud of the responses of my colleagues and I am grateful for the swift action from leadership. It is my sincere hope that we continue to make a necessary shift in the right direction. Please let me know if there is any way I can be of assistance."Scott Berkowitz at the "Tina The Tina Turner Musical" Cocktail Reception, co-hosted by Anna Wintour in support of RAINN, on January 31, 2020.Tiffany Sage/BFA/ReutersWhen Insider asked Carter about the email, she said any movement in the right direction quickly stalled."They sent an email and that was it," Carter told Insider. "So my 'sincere hope' was crushed. It's so insulting for me. When this first happened and you were optimistic and gave us the benefit of the doubt, you say it here," she said, mocking RAINN's use of her email. "And it's like, OK, but two years later here we still are. And I've mentioned how I'm frustrated, but you're going to take words from two years ago feeling optimistic about the future and spin it as if that applies to today? Seriously? That was very upsetting because it makes me feel like this is more about optics than, like, how your staff really feels."'OK, well, who's gonna do the press clips?'When April Cisneros arrived at RAINN, she began working for Jodi Omear. Cisneros said she quickly ran up against Omear's domineering management style, which often seemed dismissive of and belittling to other women. Besides the "bitch face" comment, Cisneros said, Omear joked about how office dress codes could reduce the risk of sexual assault by preventing people from wearing provacative outfits. "I understand we're not supposed to blame the victim," Cisneros recalled Omear saying, "but, like, what do you expect to happen if you're in a dimly lit room and people of the opposite sex [are] wearing pants with holes in them?" Omear did not deny making either comment but told Insider that when training people who lacked experience with on-camera work, she directed them to "over-exaggerate facial expressions." She also said she "advocated for casual professional attire across the organization."Cisneros' low point at RAINN occurred in January 2019, when she unexpectedly became pregnant. She decided to take a sick day to visit a doctor. She told Insider she informed Omear the day before and outlined when her unfinished work would be completed.Omear became angry, Cisneros said, demanding to know why she didn't give more notice and insisting on further details. Omear called Cisneros at 9 p.m. demanding answers. Cisneros broke down and told her boss about the surprise pregnancy. According to Cisneros, Omear replied, "OK, well, who's gonna do the press clips?"The next day, as Cisneros met with her doctor, her phone buzzed with calls and texts from Omear. Between the stress of an unplanned pregnancy and Omear's incessant check-ins, Cisneros said, she "started bawling" under the stress.  A day later, Cisneros received a prescription for a two-day medical abortion. She requested an extra day off to recover, but Omear continued to pester her, texting and calling Cisneros for updates on RAINN's monthly marketing report. Cisneros said she finished the report from home while waiting for the bleeding to die down. (A RAINN staffer who was familiar with the incident corroborated Cisneros' version of events.)Omear told Insider that it would be "inappropriate" to comment on Cisneros specifically and did not directly answer a series of questions about Cisneros' allegations. "In general, when working with communications staff, especially in a fast-paced environment on such an important issue, it is/was important to ensure that other team members were able to cover assignments to meet any potential deadlines and organizational needs," she said in an emailed statement.RAINN said that it "was not aware of this incident happening in real time" and that it "supports employees taking time off and does not support managers encroaching on sick time."Omear's conduct was the final straw for Cisneros, and she wrote to human resources to complain. Cisneros said Claudia Kolmer told her in a meeting that the conflict "was a big misunderstanding" and that she should have come clean about her pregnancy sooner. (RAINN said that Kolmer told Cisneros that different managers have different preferences about how they should be notified of sick time and that "Cisneros was never asked to share sensitive personal or medical information.")Dissatisfied, Cisneros unloaded on Omear to Kolmer, accusing her boss of making inappropriate complaints about the loud breathing of a colleague who used a wheelchair and the habit of another colleague, who was blind, of walking into Omear's office by mistake, Cisneros said. (Another former RAINN employee corroborated the complaints to Insider.) Cisneros also said she told Kolmer that Omear made lewd remarks about the attractiveness of a sexual-assault victim set to make a public-service announcement. Omear denied making the lewd comments. She also denied complaining about disabled colleagues but said that she did recall "thanking one of my staff for helping" a blind colleague "when she couldn't find her way around the office."Cisneros rallied the entire RAINN communications department to put together a detailed list of other allegations of inappropriate behavior by Omear, which she collected in a memo for Kolmer and Berkowitz.Omear left RAINN that July, ostensibly to launch her own communications consulting firm. But Cisneros said Berkowitz told her that he had pushed Omear out in response to Cisneros' efforts. "We want you to know we're letting her spin her own story," Cisneros said Berkowitz told her. "But this is a direct result of the conversation you all have with us."The experience nonetheless angered staffers. Cisneros left RAINN the next year.Another colleague, Martha Durkee-Neuman, wrote a scathing resignation letter shortly after Omear announced her exit, addressing it to Omear, Berkowitz, and Kolmer."Jodi leaving of her own accord with no accountability is not justice," Durkee-Neuman wrote, according to a copy of the letter obtained by Insider. "It is not justice for the countless people that she has fired or driven from RAINN. It is not justice to pretend that nothing has happened, that staff were not forced to go to HR over and over and over until something was finally done." "I do not believe any of this work of justice or restoration will happen at RAINN, so unfortunately, this is no longer the right organization for me," she added."After the communications team raised concerns [about Omear] with Claudia Kolmer," RAINN said, "RAINN worked swiftly and diligently to investigate the staff's complaints. RAINN took appropriate action to address the findings of that investigation and Omear separated with RAINN shortly thereafter."Martha Durkee-Neuman's resignation letter.Martha Durkee-Neuman'What is left?' On November 19, 2021, Kyle Rittenhouse was acquitted of charges related to the shooting deaths of two people at a civil-rights rally in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Some time later, Leslie, then the interim vice president of RAINN's victim-services department, addressed the organization's Black staffers. "I am deeply saddened by the pain and violence that has continued to plague our Black neighbors and communities," she wrote. "I want to recognize how this may be affecting you, as you navigate your day and the work you do at RAINN." She then touted the racial diversity of the victim-services department.Nearly 18 months had passed since the organization sent around its email about the death of George Floyd. Despite various promises and initiatives, in the eyes of many staffers, little had changed. But here it was again, another email promising to listen to staffers of color. Employees were enraged.Aniyah Carter, the Safe Helpline worker whose email RAINN provided to Insider, reminded her boss that nearly two weeks had passed since the verdict. "By now, we have already had to check in with ourselves so that we can continue our day-to-day lives," she wrote. "And while the opportunity to check in with managers is still absolutely available (and encouraged), the reminder to do so would have been more beneficial if it occurred when this took place." Carter also highlighted the gap she saw between leadership's stated commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion and its on-the-ground support of its employees of color, a sentiment echoed by other staffers who spoke to Insider.Daniel Diasgranados for InsiderFor Cisneros, the repeated failure of the organization to address the concerns of its staff speaks to something darker, and she is worried about how the culture at RAINN is affecting its ability to help abuse survivors."If church can't help, if school can't help, if the police can't help, if the hospital can't help, if my family can't help, my friends can't help — and now this nonprofit that is specifically saying that it's here to help people like me can't help?" she said."Like, what is left?"Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderFeb 25th, 2022

Eynat Guez, Ceo Of Papaya Global On Her Vision For Global Workforce Management

Eynat Guez founded Papaya Global in 2016, when the concept of remote working was relatively in its infancy, seeing the need of companies to automate their global payroll. The COVID-19 pandemic brought growth on a whole new scale, with companies rushing to shift to a remote work footing but with little idea as to how […] Eynat Guez founded Papaya Global in 2016, when the concept of remote working was relatively in its infancy, seeing the need of companies to automate their global payroll. The COVID-19 pandemic brought growth on a whole new scale, with companies rushing to shift to a remote work footing but with little idea as to how to efficiently manage such a payroll. if (typeof jQuery == 'undefined') { document.write(''); } .first{clear:both;margin-left:0}.one-third{width:31.034482758621%;float:left;margin-left:3.448275862069%}.two-thirds{width:65.51724137931%;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element input{border:0;border-radius:0;padding:8px}form.ebook-styles .af-element{width:220px;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer{width:115px;float:left;margin-left: 6px;}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer input.submit{width:115px;padding:10px 6px 8px;text-transform:uppercase;border-radius:0;border:0;font-size:15px}form.ebook-styles .af-body.af-standards input.submit{width:115px}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy{width:100%;font-size:12px;margin:10px auto 0}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy p{font-size:11px;margin-bottom:0}form.ebook-styles .af-body input.text{height:40px;padding:2px 10px !important} form.ebook-styles .error, form.ebook-styles #error { color:#d00; } form.ebook-styles .formfields h1, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-logo, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-footer { display: none; } form.ebook-styles .formfields { font-size: 12px; } form.ebook-styles .formfields p { margin: 4px 0; } Get The Full Series in PDF Get the entire 10-part series on Charlie Munger in PDF. Save it to your desktop, read it on your tablet, or email to your colleagues. (function($) {window.fnames = new Array(); window.ftypes = new Array();fnames[0]='EMAIL';ftypes[0]='email';}(jQuery));var $mcj = jQuery.noConflict(true); Q3 2021 hedge fund letters, conferences and more We spoke to Guez to learn about how she and all the Papaya Global team stepped up to the plate and took advantage of the opportunity in the pandemic crisis. How did COVID-19 affect your company? What were the biggest struggles you experienced during the pandemic? My company, Papaya Global, had entered a state of rapid growth just as the pandemic arrived. We had to hire, onboard, and train many new employees in different countries and different time zones, all remotely. The challenge there isn’t so much on a process level. We worked out all the details quickly. What’s hard is building a company culture when people have virtually no interaction with most of their new colleagues. After three years when everyone knew just about everyone at the company, we suddenly found ourselves in a situation where a third to half of the workforce never met at all. What made it possible to bring people together was the fact that we had put a set of values into practice at an early stage. People knew what we stood for when they joined, and we were adamant about applying our values equally for everyone, regardless of location, seniority, or gender. That transparency gave people something to grasp onto as a link to the company and the rest of the workforce. One of the most important things we did in this period was to take the whole company and their families to the Maldives for a 5 day off-site. People had been stuck inside for various lockdowns at that point and really needed to get away. So, the off site lets people decompress in a beautiful, low stress environment while spending some casual time together. We saw a massive improvement in collaboration when we got back. For me, the lesson is clear: there are lots of good things about remote work, but the magic happens face-to-face. The pandemic saw a huge shift to remote work. How did Papaya Global play a part in that shift? The trend towards remote work and distributed workplaces was already gaining momentum before the pandemic arrived. We started Papaya Global in 2016 to help companies hire and pay people in different countries in full compliance. Companies with different degrees of remote work were among our first clients. Of course, the practice jumped tremendously with the pandemic because companies that never considered remote work as an option suddenly found themselves with no other option if they wanted to continue operations. Those companies – the ones pushed into remote work rather than having chosen it – weren’t really prepared for all the complexity. The Papaya Platform was just what these companies needed to make sure their entire workforce was paid compliantly no matter where they were. One of the biggest lessons of the pandemic was the importance of technology, especially automation. We saw it first-hand at Papaya Global. Companies were calling us in a panic because they didn’t know how they would meet their payroll, especially in the beginning when the disruption was most intense. An automated payroll will function under any disruption, but manual processes are dependent on people being available to do their jobs. We keep hearing about the “great resignation.” As a people management platform, how is Papaya Global experiencing that trend, and how do you help companies deal with it? I’ve heard all about ‘The Great Resignation’ but I haven’t seen it at all at Papaya. Our retention rate is 94%, and for a startup in the volatile hi-tech industry, that’s a very high number. We’re still hiring at a high rate, and the people who are coming in are extremely motivated. We haven’t seen it with our clients either, and since we charge by the payroll, a large resignation would impact us directly. I think there are many causes for this dissatisfaction. People might love their work but feel disconnected from their companies. Remote work can potentially cause this kind of disconnection, if they have no inner sense of the company. Companies need to be aware of their culture now more than ever. It’s what I call the company DNA. Companies need to honor and cultivate their DNA, which is generally set by the founders and top leadership as an extension of who they are as people and as managers. There are no “best practices” for developing an organization’s DNA but it’s crucial for long-term health. When you have people who work at the company but aren’t part of the company, that’s one of the worst things that can happen, especially for a startup. As a workforce management platform, we place tremendous importance on the employee experience. It can be as simple as making a global org chart accessible to people to build a sense of unity. A lot of it comes from the benefits package a company offers. We advocate a set of global benefits – benefits packages that are the same for people no matter where they work. It gives a sense of fairness and equality. We also advise clients not to give allowances for benefits, but to give the benefit itself. Don’t give an employee $100 for health care and make them go out and sign up themselves. Sign them up to the company plan. It’s a small thing but it tells people you are looking after them. Companies also need to think about things like global equity – giving equity to people abroad just as they would people hired locally. It’s a massive headache with all the legal issues involved, but it has all the advantages that local equity has on the people who get it. What do you think the workforce of the future will look like? Will companies continue to outsource to consultants and gig workers, or do you envisage a backlash beginning at some point? There is a trend in government to protect worker rights, and I think it’s pointing the world of work in the right direction. There will always be a role for independents and consultants, but it will be limited. Companies that want to grow can’t rely on temporary contractors. They need a permanent workforce they can rely on. A company that has zero or nearly zero employees and lots of contractors needs to be very careful about misclassification. It’s also a company culture that might not attract the top talent. There are so many options for companies to hire people with or without a legal entity today, that there is no reason not to give their employees full rights and benefits. Any company can hire through an Employer of Record. It’s not a long-term solution in most cases, but it allows companies to hire with an eye towards the future. What about the employees’ side of things? Do you think the workers of the late 2020s will prefer to be freelancers and small agencies, with more freedom but fewer benefits, or will people want to go back to classic salaried employment models? There is really no reason why employees can’t have the freedom they want and still get all the benefits and labor protection they deserve. We are seeing it today with remote work. People are demanding freedom and flexibility within the context of their jobs and the technology tools are all in place to give it to them. More tools haven’t been invented yet. Employers have to be willing to show flexibility as well, but the rewards can be enormous. You get a loyal workforce that knows you are willing to meet them halfway on what they want. The more of a sense of partnership that can be built between the company and employees, the more both sides have to gain from it. The office-free business: in your opinion, is that an efficient way to keep down costs, or a recipe for chaos? There are companies that have done it and have been very successful, but they put a great deal of thought into how to make it work and planned tremendously. They have hundreds of employees across the world, and each one is paid in compliance with all tax codes and labor laws. I think it’s possible to do it well, but it takes a lot of work. In our experience with Papaya, whenever we have a cluster of employees in one area, they ask us to open an office. The combination of having an office for part of the week and working remotely for part of the week – the hybrid model – seems to be the best of all worlds. People get both flexibility and structure. And they spend some time together. I personally feel that it's important that people have personal interactions. We used to be able to take that for granted, that we would meet with people directly. It’s really about connecting people and creating a cohesive group. It’s not the same over screens. Just on a practical level, it’s challenging because people are in many different time zones. As a woman and a mother working in tech, do you see the compensation and benefits models becoming more supportive towards parents with careers? What changes are taking place right now which give you hope — or perhaps, make you feel despair? In 2021, I became the first woman to lead a unicorn in Israel – one of the biggest ecosystems for hi-tech innovation in the world. On one hand, that shows progress in that I broke through what was previously a glass ceiling. On the other, I saw first-hand how far the industry has to go. I negotiated the funding round that gave Papaya Global the billion-dollar valuation while I was pregnant with my third child, and we closed the deal two weeks after I gave birth. The negotiations took place over Zoom because of the pandemic. I don’t think our partners even knew I was pregnant. About a year earlier, I was pregnant with my second child and we were talking to investors about a B round of funding. Those negotiations took place in person, and I could just feel the air leave the room when I walked in, visibly pregnant. So, speaking from my own experience, I can tell you that women can do anything, and no one can tell me or any other woman that we shouldn’t be leaders or CEOs or anything else. It’s our choice, and it’s time that we took what belongs to us. But there are numerous biases and obstacles women face every day that still hold many women back. I know it, I felt it, and I’m proud to say that I was able to succeed anyway. One of the most pervasive myths that many women face is the ideal of Wonder Woman, the woman who has it all – a career, a family, a life where every minute is accounted for AND an abundance of leisure time to devote to interests, hobbies, and causes. I found that it’s not so important to be a wonder woman. I am who I am, and that’s been enough for everyone. Updated on Jan 3, 2022, 12:08 pm (function() { var sc = document.createElement("script"); sc.type = "text/javascript"; sc.async = true;sc.src = "//mixi.media/data/js/95481.js"; sc.charset = "utf-8";var s = document.getElementsByTagName("script")[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(sc, s); }()); window._F20 = window._F20 || []; _F20.push({container: 'F20WidgetContainer', placement: '', count: 3}); _F20.push({finish: true});.....»»

Category: blogSource: valuewalkJan 3rd, 2022

These 46 pitch decks helped fintechs disrupting trading, investing, and banking raise millions in funding

Looking for examples of real fintech pitch decks? Check out pitch decks that Qolo, Lance, and other startups used to raise money from VCs. Check out these pitch decks for examples of fintech founders sold their vision.Yulia Reznikov/Getty Images Insider has been tracking the next wave of hot new startups that are blending finance and tech.  Check out these pitch decks to see how fintech founders sold their vision. See more stories on Insider's business page. Fintech funding has been on a tear.In 2021, fintech funding hit a record $132 billion globally, according to CB Insights, more than double 2020's mark.Insider has been tracking the next wave of hot new startups that are blending finance and tech. Check out these pitch decks to see how fintech founders are selling their vision and nabbing big bucks in the process. You'll see new financial tech geared at freelancers, fresh twists on digital banking, and innovation aimed at streamlining customer onboarding. New twists on digital bankingZach Bruhnke, cofounder and CEO of HMBradleyHMBradleyConsumers are getting used to the idea of branch-less banking, a trend that startup digital-only banks like Chime, N26, and Varo have benefited from. The majority of these fintechs target those who are underbanked, and rely on usage of their debit cards to make money off interchange. But fellow startup HMBradley has a different business model. "Our thesis going in was that we don't swipe our debit cards all that often, and we don't think the customer base that we're focusing on does either," Zach Bruhnke, cofounder and CEO of HMBradley, told Insider. "A lot of our customer base uses credit cards on a daily basis."Instead, the startup is aiming to build clientele with stable deposits. As a result, the bank is offering interest-rate tiers depending on how much a customer saves of their direct deposit.Notably, the rate tiers are dependent on the percentage of savings, not the net amount. "We'll pay you more when you save more of what comes in," Bruhnke said. "We didn't want to segment customers by how much money they had. So it was always going to be about a percentage of income. That was really important to us."Check out the 14-page pitch deck fintech HMBradley, a neobank offering interest rates as high as 3%, used to raise an $18.25 million Series APersonal finance is only a text awayYinon Ravid, the chief executive and cofounder of Albert.AlbertThe COVID-19 pandemic has underscored the growing preference of mobile banking as customers get comfortable managing their finances online.The financial app Albert has seen a similar jump in activity. Currently counting more than six million members, deposits in Albert's savings offering doubled from the start of the pandemic in March 2020 to May of this year, from $350 million to $700 million, according to new numbers released by the company. Founded in 2015, Albert offers automated budgeting and savings tools alongside guided investment portfolios. It's looked to differentiate itself through personalized features, like the ability for customers to text human financial experts.Budgeting and saving features are free on Albert. But for more tailored financial advice, customers pay a subscription fee that's a pay-what-you-can model, between $4 and $14 a month. And Albert's now banking on a new tool to bring together its investing, savings, and budgeting tools.Fintech Albert used this 10-page pitch deck to raise a $100 million Series C from General Atlantic and CapitalG 'A bank for immigrants'Priyank Singh and Rohit Mittal are the cofounders of Stilt.StiltRohit Mittal remembers the difficulties he faced when he first arrived in the United States a decade ago as a master's student at Columbia University.As an immigrant from India, Mittal had no credit score in the US and had difficulty integrating into the financial system. Mittal even struggled to get approved to rent an apartment and couch-surfed until he found a roommate willing to offer him space in his apartment in the New York neighborhood Morningside Heights.That roommate was Priyank Singh, who would go on to become Mittal's cofounder when the two started Stilt, a financial-technology company designed to address the problems Mittal faced when he arrived in the US.Stilt, which calls itself "a bank for immigrants," does not require a social security number or credit history to access its offerings, including unsecured personal loans.Instead of relying on traditional metrics like a credit score, Stilt uses data such as education and employment to predict an individual's future income stability and cash flow before issuing a loan. Stilt has seen its loan volume grow by 500% in the past 12 months, and the startup has loaned to immigrants from 160 countries since its launch. Here are the 15 slides Stilt, which calls itself 'a bank for immigrants,' used to raise a $14 million Series AAn IRA for alternativesHenry Yoshida is the co-founder and CEO of retirement fintech startup Rocket Dollar.Rocket DollarFintech startup Rocket Dollar, which helps users invest their individual retirement account (IRA) dollars into alternative assets, just raised $8 million for its Series A round, the company announced on Thursday.Park West Asset Management led the round, with participation from investors including Hyphen Capital, which focuses on backing Asian American entrepreneurs, and crypto exchange Kraken's venture arm. Co-founded in 2018 by CEO Henry Yoshida, CTO Rick Dude, and VP of marketing Thomas Young, Rocket Dollar now has over $350 million in assets under management on its platform. Yoshida sold his first startup, a roboadvisor called Honest Dollar, to Goldman Sachs' investment management division for an estimated $20 million.Yoshida told Insider that while ultra-high net worth investors have been investing self-directed retirement account dollars into alternative assets like real estate, private equity, and cryptocurrency, average investors have not historically been able to access the same opportunities to invest IRA dollars in alternative assets through traditional platforms.Here's the 34-page pitch deck a fintech that helps users invest their retirement savings in crypto and real estate assets used to nab $8 millionA trading app for activismAntoine Argouges, CEO and founder of TulipshareTulipshareAn up-and-coming fintech is taking aim at some of the world's largest corporations by empowering retail investors to push for social and environmental change by pooling their shareholder rights.London-based Tulipshare lets individuals in the UK invest as little as one pound in publicly-traded company stocks. The upstart combines individuals' shareholder rights with other like-minded investors to advocate for environmental, social, and corporate governance change at firms like JPMorgan, Apple, and Amazon.The goal is to achieve a higher number of shares to maximize the number of votes that can be submitted at shareholder meetings. Already a regulated broker-dealer in the UK, Tulipshare recently applied for registration as a broker-dealer in the US. "If you ask your friends and family if they've ever voted on shareholder resolutions, the answer will probably be close to zero," CEO and founder Antoine Argouges told Insider. "I started Tulipshare to utilize shareholder rights to bring about positive corporate change that has an impact on people's lives and our planet — what's more powerful than money to change the system we live in?"Check out the 14-page pitch deck from Tulipshare, a trading app that lets users pool their shareholder votes for activism campaignsDigital tools for independent financial advisorsJason Wenk, founder and CEO of AltruistAltruistJason Wenk started his career at Morgan Stanley in investment research over 20 years ago. Now, he's running a company that is hoping to broaden access to financial advice for less-wealthy individuals. The startup raised $50 million in Series B funding led by Insight Partners with participation from investors Vanguard and Venrock. The round brings the Los Angeles-based startup's total funding to just under $67 million.Founded in 2018, Altruist is a digital brokerage built for independent financial advisors, intended to be an "all-in-one" platform that unites custodial functions, portfolio accounting, and a client-facing portal. It allows advisors to open accounts, invest, build models, report, trade (including fractional shares), and bill clients through an interface that can advisors time by eliminating mundane operational tasks.Altruist aims to make personalized financial advice less expensive, more efficient, and more inclusive through the platform, which is designed for registered investment advisors (RIAs), a growing segment of the wealth management industry. Here's the pitch deck for Altruist, a wealth tech challenging custodians Fidelity and Charles Schwab, that raised $50 million from Vanguard and InsightRethinking debt collection Jason Saltzman, founder and CEO of ReliefReliefFor lenders, debt collection is largely automated. But for people who owe money on their credit cards, it can be a confusing and stressful process.  Relief is looking to change that. Its app automates the credit-card debt collection process for users, negotiating with lenders and collectors to settle outstanding balances on their behalf. The fintech just launched and closed a $2 million seed round led by Collaborative Ventures. Relief's fundraising experience was a bit different to most. Its pitch deck, which it shared with one investor via Google Slides, went viral. It set out to raise a $1 million seed round, but ended up doubling that and giving some investors money back to make room for others.Check out a 15-page pitch deck that went viral and helped a credit-card debt collection startup land a $2 million seed roundHelping small banks lendTKCollateralEdgeFor large corporations with a track record of tapping the credit markets, taking out debt is a well-structured and clear process handled by the nation's biggest investment banks and teams of accountants. But smaller, middle-market companies — typically those with annual revenues ranging up to $1 billion — are typically served by regional and community banks that don't always have the capacity to adequately measure the risk of loans or price them competitively. Per the National Center for the Middle Market, 200,000 companies fall into this range, accounting for roughly 33% of US private sector GDP and employment.Dallas-based fintech CollateralEdge works with these banks — typically those with between $1 billion and $50 billion in assets — to help analyze and price slices of commercial and industrial loans that previously might have gone unserved by smaller lenders.On October 20th, CollateralEdge announced a $3.5 million seed round led by Dallas venture fund Perot Jain with participation from Kneeland Youngblood (a founder of the healthcare-focused private-equity firm Pharos Capital) and other individual investors.Here's the 10-page deck CollateralEdge, a fintech streamlining how small banks lend to businesses, used to raise a $3.5 million seed roundA new way to assess creditworthinessPinwheel founders Curtis Lee, Kurt Lin, and Anish Basu.PinwheelGrowing up, Kurt Lin never saw his father get frustrated. A "traditional, stoic figure," Lin said his father immigrated to the United States in the 1970s. Becoming part of the financial system proved even more difficult than assimilating into a new culture.Lin recalled visiting bank after bank with his father as a child, watching as his father's applications for a mortgage were denied due to his lack of credit history. "That was the first time in my life I really saw him crack," Lin told Insider. "The system doesn't work for a lot of people — including my dad," he added. Lin would find a solution to his father's problem years later while working with Anish Basu, and Curtis Lee on an automated health savings account. The trio realized the payroll data integrations they were working on could be the basis of a product that would help lenders work with consumers without strong credit histories."That's when the lightbulb hit," said Lin, Pinwheel's CEO.In 2018, Lin, Basu, and Lee founded Pinwheel, an application-programming interface that shares payroll data to help both fintechs and traditional lenders serve consumers with limited or poor credit, who have historically struggled to access financial products. Here's the 9-page deck that Pinwheel, a fintech helping lenders tap into payroll data to serve consumers with little to no credit, used to raise a $50 million Series BAn alternative auto lenderTricolorAn alternative auto lender that caters to thin- and no-credit Hispanic borrowers is planning a national expansion after scoring a $90 million investment from BlackRock-managed funds. Tricolor is a Dallas-based auto lender that is a community development financial institution. It uses a proprietary artificial-intelligence engine that decisions each customer based on more than 100 data points, such as proof of income. Half of Tricolor's customers have a FICO score, and less than 12% have scores above 650, yet the average customer has lived in the US for 15 years, according to the deck.A 2017 survey by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation found 31.5% of Hispanic households had no mainstream credit compared to 14.4% of white households. "For decades, the deck has been stacked against low income or credit invisible Hispanics in the United States when it comes to the purchase and financing of a used vehicle," Daniel Chu, founder and CEO of Tricolor, said in a statement announcing the raise.An auto lender that caters to underbanked Hispanics used this 25-page deck to raise $90 million from BlackRock investors A new way to access credit The TomoCredit teamTomoCreditKristy Kim knows first-hand the challenge of obtaining credit in the US without an established credit history. Kim, who came to the US from South Korea, couldn't initially get access to credit despite having a job in investment banking after graduating college. "I was in my early twenties, I had a good income, my job was in investment banking but I could not get approved for anything," Kim told Insider. "Many young professionals like me, we deserve an opportunity to be considered but just because we didn't have a Fico, we weren't given a chance to even apply," she added.Kim started TomoCredit in 2018 to help others like herself gain access to consumer credit. TomoCredit spent three years building an internal algorithm to underwrite customers based on cash flow, rather than a credit score.TomoCredit, a fintech that lends to thin- and no-credit borrowers, used this 17-page pitch deck to raise its $10 million Series AHelping streamline how debts are repaidMethod Financial cofounders Jose Bethancourt and Marco del Carmen.Method FinancialWhen Jose Bethancourt graduated from the University of Texas at Austin in May 2019, he faced the same question that confronts over 43 million Americans: How would he repay his student loans?The problem led Bethancourt on a nearly two-year journey that culminated in the creation of a startup aimed at making it easier for consumers to more seamlessly pay off all kinds of debt.  Initially, Bethancourt and fellow UT grad Marco del Carmen built GradJoy, an app that helped users better understand how to manage student loan repayment and other financial habits. GradJoy was accepted into Y Combinator in the summer of 2019. But the duo quickly realized the real benefit to users would be helping them move money to make payments instead of simply offering recommendations."When we started GradJoy, we thought, 'Oh, we'll just give advice — we don't think people are comfortable with us touching their student loans,' and then we realized that people were saying, 'Hey, just move the money — if you think I should pay extra, then I'll pay extra.' So that's kind of the movement that we've seen, just, everybody's more comfortable with fintechs doing what's best for them," Bethancourt told Insider. Here is the 11-slide pitch deck Method Financial, a Y Combinator-backed fintech making debt repayment easier, used to raise $2.5 million in pre-seed fundingQuantum computing made easyQC Ware CEO Matt Johnson.QC WareEven though banks and hedge funds are still several years out from adding quantum computing to their tech arsenals, that hasn't stopped Wall Street giants from investing time and money into the emerging technology class. And momentum for QC Ware, a startup looking to cut the time and resources it takes to use quantum computing, is accelerating. The fintech secured a $25 million Series B on September 29 co-led by Koch Disruptive Technologies and Covestro with participation from D.E. Shaw, Citi, and Samsung Ventures.QC Ware, founded in 2014, builds quantum algorithms for the likes of Goldman Sachs (which led the fintech's Series A), Airbus, and BMW Group. The algorithms, which are effectively code bases that include quantum processing elements, can run on any of the four main public-cloud providers.Quantum computing allows companies to do complex calculations faster than traditional computers by using a form of physics that runs on quantum bits as opposed to the traditional 1s and 0s that computers use. This is especially helpful in banking for risk analytics or algorithmic trading, where executing calculations milliseconds faster than the competition can give firms a leg up. Here's the 20-page deck QC Ware, a fintech making quantum computing more accessible, used to raised its $25 million Series BSimplifying quant modelsKirat Singh and Mark Higgins, Beacon's cofounders.BeaconA fintech that helps financial institutions use quantitative models to streamline their businesses and improve risk management is catching the attention, and capital, of some of the country's biggest investment managers.Beacon Platform, founded in 2014, is a fintech that builds applications and tools to help banks, asset managers, and trading firms quickly integrate quantitative models that can help with analyzing risk, ensuring compliance, and improving operational efficiency. The company raised its Series C on Wednesday, scoring a $56 million investment led by Warburg Pincus with support from Blackstone Innovations Investments, PIMCO, and Global Atlantic. Blackstone, PIMCO, and Global Atlantic are also users of Beacon's tech, as are the Commonwealth Bank of Australia and Shell New Energies, a division of Royal Dutch Shell, among others.The fintech provides a shortcut for firms looking to use quantitative modelling and data science across various aspects of their businesses, a process that can often take considerable resources if done solo.Here's the 20-page pitch deck Beacon, a fintech helping Wall Street better analyze risk and data, used to raise $56 million from Warburg Pincus, Blackstone, and PIMCOSussing out bad actorsFrom left to right: Cofounders CTO David Movshovitz, CEO Doron Hendler, and chief architect Adi DeGaniRevealSecurityAn encounter with an impersonation hacker led Doron Hendler to found RevealSecurity, a Tel Aviv-based cybersecurity startup that monitors for insider threats.Two years ago, a woman impersonating an insurance-agency representative called Hendler and convinced him that he made a mistake with his recent health insurance policy upgrade. She got him to share his login information for his insurer's website, even getting him to give the one-time passcode sent to his phone. Once the hacker got what she needed, she disconnected the call, prompting Hendler to call back. When no one picked up the phone, he realized he had been conned.He immediately called his insurance company to check on his account. Nothing seemed out of place to the representative. But Hendler, who was previously a vice president of a software company, suspected something intangible could have been collected, so he reset his credentials."The chief of information security, who was on the call, he asked me, 'So, how do you want me to identify you? You gave your credentials; you gave your ID; you gave the one time password. How the hell can I identify that it's not you?' And I told him, 'But I never behave like this,'" Hendler recalled of the conversation.RevealSecurity, a Tel Aviv-based cyber startup that tracks user behavior for abnormalities, used this 27-page deck to raise its Series AA new data feed for bond tradingMark Lennihan/APFor years, the only way investors could figure out the going price of a corporate bond was calling up a dealer on the phone. The rise of electronic trading has streamlined that process, but data can still be hard to come by sometimes. A startup founded by a former Goldman Sachs exec has big plans to change that. BondCliQ is a fintech that provides a data feed of pre-trade pricing quotes for the corporate bond market. Founded by Chris White, the creator of Goldman Sachs' defunct corporate-bond-trading system, BondCliQ strives to bring transparency to a market that has traditionally kept such data close to the vest. Banks, which typically serve as the dealers of corporate bonds, have historically kept pre-trade quotes hidden from other dealers to maintain a competitive advantage.But tech advancements and the rise of electronic marketplaces have shifted power dynamics into the hands of buy-side firms, like hedge funds and asset managers. The investors are now able to get a fuller picture of the market by aggregating price quotes directly from dealers or via vendors.Here's the 9-page pitch deck that BondCliQ, a fintech looking to bring more data and transparency to bond trading, used to raise its Series AFraud prevention for lenders and insurersFiordaliso/Getty ImagesOnboarding new customers with ease is key for any financial institution or retailer. The more friction you add, the more likely consumers are to abandon the entire process.But preventing fraud is also a priority, and that's where Neuro-ID comes in. The startup analyzes what it calls "digital body language," or, the way users scroll, type, and tap. Using that data, Neuro-ID can identify fraudulent users before they create an account. It's built for banks, lenders, insurers, and e-commerce players."The train has left the station for digital transformation, but there's a massive opportunity to try to replicate all those communications that we used to have when we did business in-person, all those tells that we would get verbally and non-verbally on whether or not someone was trustworthy," Neuro-ID CEO Jack Alton told Insider.Founded in 2014, the startup's pitch is twofold: Neuro-ID can save companies money by identifying fraud early, and help increase user conversion by making the onboarding process more seamless. In December Neuro-ID closed a $7 million Series A, co-led by Fin VC and TTV Capital, with participation from Canapi Ventures. With 30 employees, Neuro-ID is using the fresh funding to grow its team and create additional tools to be more self-serving for customers.Here's the 11-slide pitch deck a startup that analyzes consumers' digital behavior to fight fraud used to raise a $7 million Series AAI-powered tools to spot phony online reviews FakespotMarketplaces like Amazon and eBay host millions of third-party sellers, and their algorithms will often boost items in search based on consumer sentiment, which is largely based on reviews. But many third-party sellers use fake reviews often bought from click farms to boost their items, some of which are counterfeit or misrepresented to consumers.That's where Fakespot comes in. With its Chrome extension, it warns users of sellers using potentially fake reviews to boost sales and can identify fraudulent sellers. Fakespot is currently compatible with Amazon, BestBuy, eBay, Sephora, Steam, and Walmart."There are promotional reviews written by humans and bot-generated reviews written by robots or review farms," Fakespot founder and CEO Saoud Khalifah told Insider. "Our AI system has been built to detect both categories with very high accuracy."Fakespot's AI learns via reviews data available on marketplace websites, and uses natural-language processing to identify if reviews are genuine. Fakespot also looks at things like whether the number of positive reviews are plausible given how long a seller has been active.Fakespot, a startup that helps shoppers detect robot-generated reviews and phony sellers on Amazon and Shopify, used this pitch deck to nab a $4 million Series AHelping fintechs manage dataProper Finance co-founders Travis Gibson (left) and Kyle MaloneyProper FinanceAs the flow of data becomes evermore crucial for fintechs, from the strappy startup to the established powerhouse, a thorny issue in the back office is becoming increasingly complex.Even though fintechs are known for their sleek front ends, the back end is often quite the opposite. Behind that streamlined interface can be a mosaic of different partner integrations — be it with banks, payments players and networks, or software vendors — with a channel of data running between them. Two people who know that better than the average are Kyle Maloney and Travis Gibson, two former employees of Marqeta, a fintech that provides other fintechs with payments processing and card issuance. "Take an established neobank for example. They'll likely have one or two card issuers, two to three bank partners, ACH processing for direct deposits and payouts, mobile check deposits, peer-to-peer payments, and lending," Gibson told Insider. Here's the 12-page pitch deck a startup helping fintechs manage their data used to score a $4.3 million seed from investors like Redpoint Ventures and Y CombinatorE-commerce focused business bankingMichael Rangel, cofounder and CEO, and Tyler McIntyre, cofounder and CTO of Novo.Kristelle Boulos PhotographyBusiness banking is a hot market in fintech. And it seems investors can't get enough.Novo, the digital banking fintech aimed at small e-commerce businesses, raised a $40.7 million Series A led by Valar Ventures in June. Since its launch in 2018, Novo has signed up 100,000 small businesses. Beyond bank accounts, it offers expense management, a corporate card, and integrates with e-commerce infrastructure players like Shopify, Stripe, and Wise.Founded in 2018, Novo was based in New York City, but has since moved its headquarters to Miami. Here's the 12-page pitch deck e-commerce banking startup Novo used to raise its $40 million Series AShopify for embedded financeProductfy CEO and founder, Duy VoProductfyProductfy is looking to break into embedded finance by becoming the Shopify of back-end banking services.Embedded finance — integrating banking services in non-financial settings — has taken hold in the e-commerce world. But Productfy is going after a different kind of customer in churches, universities, and nonprofits.The San Jose, Calif.-based upstart aims to help non-finance companies offer their own banking products. Productfy can help customers launch finance features in as little as a week and without additional engineering resources or background knowledge of banking compliance or legal requirements, Productfy founder and CEO Duy Vo told Insider. "You don't need an engineer to stand up Shopify, right? You can be someone who's just creating art and you can use Shopify to build your own online store," Vo said, adding that Productfy is looking to take that user experience and replicate it for banking services.Here's the 15-page pitch deck Productfy, a fintech looking to be the Shopify of embedded finance, used to nab a $16 million Series ADeploying algorithms and automation to small-business financingJustin Straight and Bernard Worthy, LoanWell co-foundersLoanWellBernard Worthy and Justin Straight, the founders of LoanWell, want to break down barriers to financing for small and medium-size businesses — and they've got algorithms and automation in their tech arsenals that they hope will do it.Worthy, the company's CEO, and Straight, its chief operating and financial officer, are powering community-focused lenders to fill a gap in the SMB financing world by boosting access to loans under $100,000. And the upstart is known for catching the attention, and dollars, of mission-driven investors. LoanWell closed a $3 million seed financing round in December led by Impact America Fund with participation from SoftBank's SB Opportunity Fund and Collab Capital.LoanWell automates the financing process — from underwriting and origination, to money movement and servicing — which shaves down an up-to-90-day process to 30 days or even same-day with some LoanWell lenders, Worthy said. SMBs rely on these loans to process quickly after two years of financial uncertainty. But the pandemic illustrated how time-consuming and expensive SMB financing can be, highlighted by efforts like the federal government's Paycheck Protection Program.Community banks, once the lifeline to capital for many local businesses, continue to shutter. And demands for smaller loan amounts remain largely unmet. More than half of business-loan applicants sought $100,000 or less, according to 2018 data from the Federal Reserve. But the average small-business bank loan was closer to six times that amount, according to the latest data from a now discontinued Federal Reserve survey.Here's the 14-page pitch deck LoanWell used to raise $3 million from investors like SoftBank.Branded cards for SMBsJennifer Glaspie-Lundstrom is the cofounder and CEO of Tandym.TandymJennifer Glaspie-Lundstrom is no stranger to the private-label credit-card business. As a former Capital One exec, she worked in both the card giant's co-brand partnerships division and its tech organization during her seven years at the company.Now, Glaspie-Lundstrom is hoping to use that experience to innovate a sector that was initially created in malls decades ago.Glaspie-Lundstrom is the cofounder and CEO of Tandym, which offers private-label digital credit cards to merchants. Store and private-label credit cards aren't a new concept, but Tandym is targeting small- and medium-sized merchants with less than $1 billion in annual revenue. Glaspie-Lundstrom said that group often struggles to offer private-label credit due to the expense of working with legacy players."What you have is this example of a very valuable product type that merchants love and their customers love, but a huge, untapped market that has heretofore been unserved, and so that's what we're doing with Tandym," Glaspi-Lundstrom told Insider.A former Capital One exec used this deck to raise $60 million for a startup helping SMBs launch their own branded credit cardsCatering to 'micro businesses'Stefanie Sample is the founder and CEO of FundidFundidStartups aiming to simplify the often-complex world of corporate cards have boomed in recent years.Business-finance management startup Brex was last valued at $12.3 billion after raising $300 million last year. Startup card provider Ramp announced an $8.1 billion valuation in March after growing its revenue nearly 10x in 2021. Divvy, a small business card provider, was acquired by Bill.com in May 2021 for approximately $2.5 billion.But despite how hot the market has gotten, Stefanie Sample said she ended up working in the space by accident. Sample is the founder and CEO of Fundid, a new fintech that provides credit and lending products to small businesses.This May, Fundid announced a $3.25 million seed round led by Nevcaut Ventures. Additional investors include the Artemis Fund and Builders and Backers. The funding announcement capped off the company's first year: Sample introduced the Fundid concept in April 2021, launched its website in May, and began raising capital in August."I never meant to do Fundid," Sample told Insider. "I never meant to do something that was venture-backed."Read the 12-page deck used by Fundid, a fintech offering credit and lending tools for 'micro businesses'Embedded payments for SMBsThe Highnote teamHighnoteBranded cards have long been a way for merchants with the appropriate bank relationships to create additional revenue and build customer loyalty. The rise of embedded payments, or the ability to shop and pay in a seamless experience within a single app, has broadened the number of companies looking to launch branded cards.Highnote is a startup that helps small to mid-sized merchants roll out their own debit and pre-paid digital cards. The fintech emerged from stealth on Tuesday to announce it raised $54 million in seed and Series A funding.Here's the 12-page deck Highnote, a startup helping SMBs embed payments, used to raise $54 million in seed and Series A fundingSpeeding up loans for government contractors OppZo cofounders Warren Reed and Randy GarrettOppZoThe massive market for federal government contracts approached $700 billion in 2020, and it's likely to grow as spending accelerates amid an ongoing push for investment in the nation's infrastructure. Many of those dollars flow to small-and-medium sized businesses, even though larger corporations are awarded the bulk of contracts by volume. Of the roughly $680 billion in federal contracts awarded in 2020, roughly a quarter, according to federal guidelines, or some $146 billion that year, went to smaller businesses.But peeking under the hood of the procurement process, the cofounders of OppZo — Randy Garrett and Warren Reed — saw an opportunity to streamline how smaller-sized businesses can leverage those contracts to tap in to capital.  Securing a deal is "a government contractor's best day and their worst day," as Garrett, OppZo's president, likes to put it."At that point they need to pay vendors and hire folks to start the contract. And they may not get their first contract payment from the government for as long as 120 days," Reed, the startup's CEO,  told Insider. Check out the 12-page pitch deck OppZo, a fintech that has figured out how to speed up loans to small government contractors, used to raise $260 million in equity and debtHelping small businesses manage their taxesComplYant's founder Shiloh Jackson wants to help people be present in their bookkeeping.ComplYantAfter 14 years in tax accounting, Shiloh Johnson had formed a core philosophy around corporate accounting: everyone deserves to understand their business's money and business owners need to be present in their bookkeeping process.She wanted to help small businesses understand "this is why you need to do what you're doing and why you have to change the way you think about tax and be present in your bookkeeping process," she told Insider. The Los Angeles native wanted small businesses to not only understand business tax no matter their size but also to find the tools they needed to prepare their taxes in one spot. So Johnson developed a software platform that provides just that.The 13-page pitch deck ComplYant used to nab $4 million that details the tax startup's plan to be Turbotax, Quickbooks, and Xero rolled into one for small business ownersAutomating accounting ops for SMBsDecimal CEO Matt Tait.DecimalSmall- and medium-sized businesses can rely on any number of payroll, expense management, bill pay, and corporate-card startups promising to automate parts of their financial workflow. Smaller firms have adopted this corporate-financial software en masse, boosting growth throughout the pandemic for relatively new entrants like Ramp and massive, industry stalwarts like Intuit. But it's no easy task to connect all of those tools into one, seamless process. And while accounting operations might be far from where many startup founders want to focus their time, having efficient back-end finances does mean time — and capital — freed up to spend elsewhere. For Decimal CEO Matt Tait, there's ample opportunity in "the boring stuff you have to do to survive as a company," he told Insider. Launched in 2020, Decimal provides a back-end tech layer that small- and medium-sized businesses can use to integrate their accounting and business-management software tools in one place.On Wednesday, Decimal announced a $9 million seed fundraising round led by Minneapolis-based Arthur Ventures, alongside Service Providers Capital and other angel investors. See the 13-page pitch deck for Decimal, a startup automating accounting ops for small businessesInvoice financing for SMBsStacey Abrams and Lara Hodgson, Now co-foundersNowAbout a decade ago, politician Stacey Abrams and entrepreneur Lara Hodgson were forced to fold their startup because of a kink in the supply chain — but not in the traditional sense.Nourish, which made spill-proof bottled water for children, had grown quickly from selling to small retailers to national ones. And while that may sound like a feather in the small business' cap, there was a hang-up."It was taking longer and longer to get paid, and as you can imagine, you deliver the product and then you wait and you wait, but meanwhile you have to pay your employees and you have to pay your vendors," Hodgson told Insider. "Waiting to get paid was constraining our ability to grow."While it's not unusual for small businesses to grapple with working capital issues, the dust was still settling from the Great Recession. Abrams and Hodgson couldn't secure a line of credit or use financing tools like factoring to solve their problem. The two entrepreneurs were forced to close Nourish in 2012, but along the way they recognized a disconnect in the system.  "Why are we the ones borrowing money, when in fact we're the lender here because every time you send an invoice to a customer, you've essentially extended a free loan to that customer by letting them pay later," Hodgson said. "And the only reason why we were going to need to possibly borrow money was because we had just given ours away for free to Whole Foods," she added.Check out the 7-page deck that Now, Stacey Abrams' fintech that wants to help small businesses 'grow fearlessly', used to raise $29 millionCheckout made easyRyan Breslow.Ryan BreslowAmazon has long dominated e-commerce with its one-click checkout flows, offering easier ways for consumers to shop online than its small-business competitors.Bolt gives small merchants tools to offer the same easy checkouts so they can compete with the likes of Amazon.The startup raised its $393 million Series D to continue adding its one-click checkout feature to merchants' own websites in October.Bolt markets to merchants themselves. But a big part of Bolt's pitch is its growing network of consumers — currently over 5.6 million — that use its features across multiple Bolt merchant customers. Roughly 5% of Bolt's transactions were network-driven in May, meaning users that signed up for a Bolt account on another retailer's website used it elsewhere. The network effects were even more pronounced in verticals like furniture, where 49% of transactions were driven by the Bolt network."The network effect is now unleashed with Bolt in full fury, and that triggered the raise," Bolt's founder and CEO Ryan Breslow told Insider.Here's the 12-page deck that one-click checkout Bolt used to outline its network of 5.6 million consumers and raise its Series DPayments infrastructure for fintechsQolo CEO and co-founder Patricia MontesiQoloThree years ago, Patricia Montesi realized there was a disconnect in the payments world. "A lot of new economy companies or fintech companies were looking to mesh up a lot of payment modalities that they weren't able to," Montesi, CEO and co-founder of Qolo, told Insider.Integrating various payment capabilities often meant tapping several different providers that had specializations in one product or service, she added, like debit card issuance or cross-border payments. "The way people were getting around that was that they were creating this spider web of fintech," she said, adding that "at the end of it all, they had this mess of suppliers and integrations and bank accounts."The 20-year payments veteran rounded up a group of three other co-founders — who together had more than a century of combined industry experience — to start Qolo, a business-to-business fintech that sought out to bundle back-end payment rails for other fintechs.Here's the 11-slide pitch deck a startup that provides payments infrastructure for other fintechs used to raise a $15 million Series ABetter use of payroll dataAtomic's Head of Markets, Lindsay DavisAtomicEmployees at companies large and small know the importance — and limitations — of how firms manage their payrolls. A new crop of startups are building the API pipes that connect companies and their employees to offer a greater level of visibility and flexibility when it comes to payroll data and employee verification. On Thursday, one of those names, Atomic, announced a $40 million Series B fundraising round co-led by Mercato Partners and Greylock, alongside Core Innovation Capital, Portage, and ATX Capital. The round follows Atomic's Series A round announced in October, when the startup raised a $22 million Series A from investors including Core Innovation Capital, Portage, and Greylock.Payroll startup Atomic just raised a $40 million Series B. Here's an internal deck detailing the fintech's approach to the red-hot payments space.Saving on vendor invoicesHoward Katzenberg, Glean's CEO and cofounderGleanWhen it comes to high-flying tech startups, headlines and investors typically tend to focus on industry "disruption" and the total addressable market a company is hoping to reach. Expense cutting as a way to boost growth typically isn't part of the conversation early on, and finance teams are viewed as cost centers relative to sales teams. But one fast-growing area of business payments has turned its focus to managing those costs. Startups like Ramp and established names like Bill.com have made their name offering automated expense-management systems. Now, one new fintech competitor, Glean, is looking to take that further by offering both automated payment services and tailored line-item accounts-payable insights driven by machine-learning models. Glean's CFO and founder, Howard Katzenberg, told Insider that the genesis of Glean was driven by his own personal experience managing the finance teams of startups, including mortgage lender Better.com, which Katzenberg left in 2019, and online small-business lender OnDeck. "As a CFO of high-growth companies, I spent a lot of time focused on revenue and I had amazing dashboards in real time where I could see what is going on top of the funnel, what's going on with conversion rates, what's going on in terms of pricing and attrition," Katzenberg told Insider. See the 15-slide pitch deck Glean, a startup using machine learning to find savings in vendor invoices, used to raise $10.8 million in seed fundingReal-estate management made easyAgora founders Noam Kahan, CTO, Bar Mor, CEO, and Lior Dolinski, CPOAgoraFor alternative asset managers of any type, the operations underpinning sales and investor communications are a crucial but often overlooked part of the business. Fund managers love to make bets on markets, not coordinate hundreds of wire transfers to clients each quarter or organize customer-relationship-management databases.Within the $10.6 trillion global market for professionally managed real-estate investing, that's where Tel Aviv and New York-based startup Agora hopes to make its mark.Founded in 2019, Agora offers a set of back-office, investor relations, and sales software tools that real-estate investment managers can plug into their workflows. On Wednesday, Agora announced a $9 million seed round, led by Israel-based venture firm Aleph, with participation from River Park Ventures and Maccabee Ventures. The funding comes on the heels of an October 2020 pre-seed fund raise worth $890,000, in which Maccabee also participated.Here's the 15-slide pitch deck that Agora, a startup helping real-estate investors manage communications and sales with their clients, used to raise a $9 million seed roundAccess to commercial real-estate investing LEX Markets cofounders and co-CEOs Drew Sterrett and Jesse Daugherty.LEX MarketsDrew Sterrett was structuring real-estate deals while working in private equity when he realized the inefficiencies that existed in the market. Only high-net worth individuals or accredited investors could participate in commercial real-estate deals. If they ever wanted to leave a partnership or sell their stake in a property, it was difficult to find another investor to replace them. Owners also struggled to sell minority stakes in their properties and didn't have many good options to recapitalize an asset if necessary.In short, the market had a high barrier to entry despite the fact it didn't always have enough participants to get deals done quickly. "Most investors don't have access to high-quality commercial real-estate investments. How do we have the oldest and largest asset class in the world and one of the largest wealth creators with no public and liquid market?" Sterrett told Insider. "It sort of seems like a no-brainer, and that this should have existed 50 or 60 years ago."This 15-page pitch deck helped LEX Markets, a startup making investing in commercial real estate more accessible, raise $15 millionInsurance goes digitalJamie Hale, CEO and cofounder of LadderLadderFintechs looking to transform how insurance policies are underwritten, issued, and experienced by customers have grown as new technology driven by digital trends and artificial intelligence shape the market. And while verticals like auto, homeowner's, and renter's insurance have seen their fair share of innovation from forward-thinking fintechs, one company has taken on the massive life-insurance market. Founded in 2017, Ladder uses a tech-driven approach to offer life insurance with a digital, end-to-end service that it says is more flexible, faster, and cost-effective than incumbent players.Life, annuity, and accident and health insurance within the US comprise a big chunk of the broader market. In 2020, premiums written on those policies totaled some $767 billion, compared to $144 billion for auto policies and $97 billion for homeowner's insurance.Here's the 12-page deck that Ladder, a startup disrupting the 'crown jewel' of the insurance market, used to nab $100 millionData science for commercial insuranceTanner Hackett, founder and CEO of CounterpartCounterpartThere's been no shortage of funds flowing into insurance-technology companies over the past few years. Private-market funding to insurtechs soared to $15.4 billion in 2021, a 90% increase compared to 2020. Some of the most well-known consumer insurtech names — from Oscar (which focuses on health insurance) to Metromile (which focuses on auto) — launched on the public markets last year, only to fall over time or be acquired as investors questioned the sustainability of their business models. In the commercial arena, however, the head of one insurtech company thinks there is still room to grow — especially for those catering to small businesses operating in an entirely new, pandemic-defined environment. "The bigger opportunity is in commercial lines," Tanner Hackett, the CEO of management liability insurer Counterpart, told Insider."Everywhere I poke, I'm like, 'Oh my goodness, we're still in 1.0, and all the other businesses I've built were on version three.' Insurance is still in 1.0, still managing from spreadsheets and PDFs," added Hackett, who also previously co-founded Button, which focuses on mobile marketing. See the 8-page pitch deck Counterpart, a startup disrupting commercial insurance with data science, used to raise a $30 million Series BSmarter insurance for multifamily propertiesItai Ben-Zaken, cofounder and CEO of Honeycomb.HoneycombA veteran of the online-insurance world is looking to revolutionize the way the industry prices risk for commercial properties with the help of artificial intelligence.Insurance companies typically send inspectors to properties before issuing policies to better understand how the building is maintained and identify potential risks or issues with it. It's a process that can be time-consuming, expensive, and inefficient, making it hard to justify for smaller commercial properties, like apartment and condo buildings.Insurtech Honeycomb is looking to fix that by using AI to analyze a combination of third-party data and photos submitted by customers through the startup's app to quickly identify any potential risks at a property and more accurately price policies."That whole physical inspection thing had really good things in it, but it wasn't really something that is scalable and, it's also expensive," Itai Ben-Zaken, Honeycomb's cofounder and CEO, told Insider. "The best way to see a property right now is Google street view. Google street view is usually two years old."Here's the 10-page Series A pitch deck used by Honeycomb, a startup that wants to revolutionize the $26 billion market for multifamily property insuranceHelping freelancers with their taxesJaideep Singh is the CEO and co-founder of FlyFin, an AI-driven tax preparation software program for freelancers.FlyFinSome people, particularly those with families or freelancing businesses, spend days searching for receipts for tax season, making tax preparation a time consuming and, at times, taxing experience. That's why in 2020 Jaideep Singh founded FlyFin, an artificial-intelligence tax preparation program for freelancers that helps people, as he puts it, "fly through their finances." FlyFin is set up to connect to a person's bank accounts, allowing the AI program to help users monitor for certain expenses that can be claimed on their taxes like business expenditures, the interest on mortgages, property taxes, or whatever else that might apply. "For most individuals, people have expenses distributed over multiple financial institutions. So we built an AI platform that is able to look at expenses, understand the individual, understand your profession, understand the freelance population at large, and start the categorization," Singh told Insider.Check out the 7-page pitch deck a startup helping freelancers manage their taxes used to nab $8 million in fundingDigital banking for freelancersJGalione/Getty ImagesLance is a new digital bank hoping to simplify the life of those workers by offering what it calls an "active" approach to business banking. "We found that every time we sat down with the existing tools and resources of our accountants and QuickBooks and spreadsheets, we just ended up getting tangled up in the whole experience of it," Lance cofounder and CEO Oona Rokyta told Insider. Lance offers subaccounts for personal salaries, withholdings, and savings to which freelancers can automatically allocate funds according to custom preset levels. It also offers an expense balance that's connected to automated tax withholdings.In May, Lance announced the closing of a $2.8 million seed round that saw participation from Barclays, BDMI, Great Oaks Capital, Imagination Capital, Techstars, DFJ Frontier, and others.Here's the 21-page pitch deck Lance, a digital bank for freelancers, used to raise a $2.8 million seed round from investors including BarclaysSoftware for managing freelancersWorksome cofounder and CEO Morten Petersen.WorksomeThe way people work has fundamentally changed over the past year, with more flexibility and many workers opting to freelance to maintain their work-from-home lifestyles.But managing a freelance or contractor workforce is often an administrative headache for employers. Worksome is a startup looking to eliminate all the extra work required for employers to adapt to more flexible working norms.Worksome started as a freelancer marketplace automating the process of matching qualified workers with the right jobs. But the team ultimately pivoted to a full suite of workforce management software, automating administrative burdens required to hire, pay, and account for contract workers.In May, Worksome closed a $13 million Series A backed by European angel investor Tommy Ahlers and Danish firm Lind & Risør.Here's the 21-slide pitch deck used by a startup that helps firms like Carlsberg and Deloitte manage freelancersPayments and operations support HoneyBook cofounders Dror Shimoni, Oz Alon, and Naama Alon.HoneyBookWhile countless small businesses have been harmed by the pandemic, self-employment and entrepreneurship have found ways to blossom as Americans started new ventures.Half of the US population may be freelance by 2027, according to a study commissioned by remote-work hiring platform Upwork. HoneyBook, a fintech startup that provides payment and operations support for freelancers, in May raised $155 million in funding and achieved unicorn status with its $1 billion-plus valuation.Durable Capital Partners led the Series D funding with other new investors including renowned hedge fund Tiger Global, Battery Ventures, Zeev Ventures, and 01 Advisors. Citi Ventures, Citigroup's startup investment arm that also backs fintech robo-advisor Betterment, participated as an existing investor in the round alongside Norwest Venture partners. The latest round brings the company's fundraising total to $227 million to date.Here's the 21-page pitch deck a Citi-backed fintech for freelancers used to raise $155 million from investors like hedge fund Tiger GlobalPay-as-you-go compliance for banks, fintechs, and crypto startupsNeepa Patel, Themis' founder and CEOThemisWhen Themis founder and CEO Neepa Patel set out to build a new compliance tool for banks, fintech startups, and crypto companies, she tapped into her own experience managing risk at some of the nation's biggest financial firms. Having worked as a bank regulator at the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and in compliance at Morgan Stanley, Deutsche Bank, and the enterprise blockchain company R3, Patel was well-placed to assess the shortcomings in financial compliance software. But Patel, who left the corporate world to begin work on Themis in 2020, drew on more than just her own experience and frustrations to build the startup."It's not just me building a tool based on my personal pain points. I reached out to regulators. I reached out to bank compliance officers and members in the fintech community just to make sure that we're building it exactly how they do their work," Patel told Insider. "That was the biggest problem: No one built a tool that was reflective of how people do their work."Check out the 9-page pitch deck Themis, which offers pay-as-you-go compliance for banks, fintechs, and crypto startups, used to raise $9 million in seed fundingConnecting startups and investorsHum Capital cofounder and CEO Blair SilverbergHum CapitalBlair Silverberg is no stranger to fundraising.For six years, Silverberg was a venture capitalist at Draper Fisher Jurvetson and Private Credit Investments making bets on startups."I was meeting with thousands of founders in person each year, watching them one at a time go through this friction where they're meeting a ton of investors, and the investors are all asking the same questions," Silverberg told Insider. He switched gears about three years ago, moving to the opposite side of the metaphorical table, to start Hum Capital, which uses artificial intelligence to match investors with startups looking to fundraise.On August 31, the New York-based fintech announced its $9 million Series A. The round was led by Future Ventures with participation from Webb Investment Network, Wavemaker Partners, and Partech. This 11-page pitch deck helped Hum Capital, a fintech using AI to match investors with startups, raise a $9 million Series A.Helping LatAm startups get up to speedKamino cofounders Gut Fragoso, Rodrigo Perenha, Benjamin Gleason, and Gonzalo ParejoKaminoThere's more venture capital flowing into Latin America than ever before, but getting the funds in founders' hands is not exactly a simple process.In 2021, investors funneled $15.3 billion into Latin American companies, more than tripling the previous record of $4.9 billion in 2019. Fintech and e-commerce sectors drove funding, accounting for 39% and 25% of total funding, respectively.  However, for many startup founders in the region who have successfully sold their ideas and gotten investors on board, there's a patchwork of corporate structuring that's needed to access the funds, according to Benjamin Gleason, who was the chief financial officer at Groupon LatAm prior to cofounding Brazil-based fintech Kamino.It's a process Gleason and his three fellow Kamino cofounders have been through before as entrepreneurs and startup execs themselves. Most often, startups have to set up offshore financial accounts outside of Brazil, which "entails creating a Cayman [Islands] holding company, a Delaware LLC, and then connecting it to a local entity here and also opening US bank accounts for the Cayman entity, which is not trivial from a KYC perspective," said Gleason, who founded open-banking fintech Guiabolso in Sao Paulo. His partner, Gonzalo Parejo, experienced the same toils when he founded insurtech Bidu."Pretty much any international investor will usually ask for that," Gleason said, adding that investors typically cite liability issues."It's just a massive amount of bureaucracy, complexity, a lot of time from the founders. All of this just to get the money from the investor that wants to give them the money," he added.Here's the 8-page pitch deck Kamino, a fintech helping LatAm startups with everything from financing to corporate credit cards, used to raise a $6.1M pre-seed roundThe back-end tech for beautyDanielle Cohen-Shohet, CEO and founder of GlossGeniusGlossGeniusDanielle Cohen-Shohet might have started as a Goldman Sachs investment analyst, but at her core she was always a coder.After about three years at Goldman Sachs, Cohen-Shohet left the world of traditional finance to code her way into starting her own company in 2016. "There was a period of time where I did nothing, but eat, sleep, and code for a few weeks," Cohen-Shohet told Insider. Her technical edge and knowledge of the point-of-sale payment space led her to launch a software company focused on providing behind-the-scenes tech for beauty and wellness small businesses.Cohen-Shohet launched GlossGenius in 2017 to provide payments tech for hair stylists, nail technicians, blow-out bars, and other small businesses in the space.Here's the 11-page deck GlossGenius, a startup that provides back-end tech for the beauty industry, used to raise $16 millionRead the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsider4 hr. 43 min. ago

The financial startups bubble is bursting and pink slips are being handed out. Here are the fintechs that have announced layoffs so far, from Coinbase to Robinhood.

Coinbase laid off 18% of its staff, or roughly 1,100 people, in June. Other financial tech companies to slash headcount include Robinhood and Better. The tech bubble is bursting and people are getting laid offPhoto by Frank Rumpenhorst/picture alliance via Getty Images Rising interest rates are hurting mortgage lenders and some stock trading platforms.  Fintech companies like Coinbase and Robinhood are reacting to the slowdown by cutting staff. Here's the list of financial technology company layoffs so far. America's tech industry enjoyed an unprecedented boom during the pandemic when Americans turned to their phones like never before to do everything from shopping to online banking. Financial technology startups that help consumers bank, trade or shop online were among the winners. But business is slowing as people increasingly return to their pre-pandemic lives.Compounding the slowdown for fintechs are rising interest rates, which hurt demand for services like mortgage lending and stock trading. Signs of distress are showing up in the form of layoffs, which have been popping up all over Silicon Valley businesses in the last few months, from no-fee trading app Robinhood to mortgage software provider Blend.Here are some of the most notable examples so far: Coinbase: Roughly 1,100 peopleCoinbase CEO Brian Armstrong.Patrick T. Fallon / Getty ImagesOn June 14, Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong announced in a blog post the company was laying off 18% of its staff, or roughly 1,100 employeesEmployees who spoke to Insider say the company went overboard in hiring — and in what it paid talent."For what we did, they paid way too much and they hired too many people, honestly," said one former employee who earned $70,000 to answer phones, which is nearly double the average annual salary of a call-center representative in the US, according to employment website Indeed. See more here: Coinbase laid off 1,100 employees this week. These are some of the teams that were hit the hardest.Robinhood: More than 300 peopleRobinhood cofounders Vlad Tenev and Baiju Bhatt were "visibly shaken" in announcing jobs cuts in April.Photo by Cindy Ord/Getty Images for RobinhoodDuring the pandemic, so-called "meme stocks" from GameStop and AMC exploded as stuck-at-home investors armed with no-fee trading platforms looked for ways to spend their pandemic stimulus checks.As new users piled in, Robinhood hired rapidly. Between 2020 and 2021, the trading app's staff grew dramatically: from 700 people to around 3,800, according to CEO Vlad Tenev. But that growth ended up proving too much, too fast. In April, Robinhood was forced to slash headcount by 9% — more than 300 people altogether.See more here: Robinhood's founders were 'visibly shaken' in announcing layoffs, but insiders say the writing was on the wall. 'There was not enough work and too many people.'Robinhood has big crypto ambitions, but employees claim product delays, an overly cautious legal team, and turnover in leadership may be getting in the way of successBetter: About 4,000 peopleBetter.com CEO Vishal Garg laid off 900 employees on a video call in December.BetterStarting in late 2021 and continuing through the first several months of 2022, mortgage startup Better.com laid off approximately 4,000 people.The first wave started right before the holiday season in 2021, when CEO Vishal Garg laid off "hundreds" of people in a video call.Garg told employees via Zoom that the company, "lost $100 million last quarter," which he said, "was my mistake." He then said the layoffs shouldn't have happened right before the holiday, but, "three months ago."Better followed up with another 3,000 layoffs in March, and is now accepting voluntary layoffs in some departments.See more here: Better locked staff out of laptops and sent severance to their bank accounts before facing the laid-off employeesInside Better's week from hell: How America's top startup fell from grace after its Zoom layoffs went viralEmbattled mortgage startup Better offers some remaining employees voluntary layoffs after terminating 4,000 people in the last 5 monthsBlend: About 200 employeesNima Ghamsari, founder and CEO of BlendBlendAlthough Blend doesn't write home loans, its technology is used by major US lenders from Wells Fargo to US Bank, so its fortunes are tied closely to theirs. Blend's layoffs this spring affected roughly 200 people, many concentrated within Blend's title insurance business. Ahead of its IPO last July, Blend bought Title365, which has been particularly exposed to swings in refinance volumes, for more than $400 million.The size and pace of rate increases "is unprecedented, certainly in modern history," Tim Mayopoulos, the president of Blend, told Insider. Prior to joining Blend, Mayopoulos spent nearly 10 years at Fannie Mae, where he ultimately served as president and CEO of the mortgage giant."These are big movements in a very, very big market," Mayopoulos added. "It shouldn't be surprising to any of us that everybody who's touching this market is having to think about how to bring their cost structure in line with market realities."See more here:Here's why mortgage players, from highflying startups like Better and Blend to traditional lenders like Wells Fargo, are laying off thousands of employees — and why it may get way worseMainstreet: About 50 employeesMainStreet's homepage as of May 4, 2022.MainStreetIn January 2022, B2B financial-services startup MainStreet flew the entire company out for a week-long working vacation in Maui. About 150 employees stayed at the luxurious Grand Wailea Hotel, attended meetings, and enjoyed free buffets at the beachfront Hawaiian resort. Workers who questioned the expense were told the startup was aiming to land a significant Series B funding round that would ensure significant runway.But the funding that ultimately materialized was smaller than originally planned, Insider has learned, and in early May the company cut around 50 employees — roughly a third of its workforce.B2B financial startup MainStreet eliminates a third of its staff, citing 'today's incredibly rough market'PayPal: 4-person emerging technology R&D teamA PayPal sign is seen at an office building in San Jose, California May 28, 2014.Thomson ReutersPayPal has laid off its security R&D team focusing on emerging technologies, Insider has learned. And a source with direct knowledge of the cuts believes it won't be the only unit to be affected as the payments giant undergoes an internal restructuring to cut spend."There's a lot of restructuring, a lot of refocusing for the company. As you know, the last quarters haven't been really great from a financial perspective. I think there's a lot of tightening going on in the company," said the source, who asked to remain anonymous for fear of retribution. The source added that employees in other advanced security topics, such as threat intelligence, were also let go.Market conditions, like supply chain issues and rising inflation, have put downward pressure on growth, Schulman said. Meanwhile, eBay's migration to managing the end-to-end payments process "put $1.4 billion of pressure on our top line," Schulman said during the earnings call. Competition from fintechs like Stripe and Shopify also continues to saturate the payments and e-commerce space.See more here:PayPal just laid off its research team responsible for quantum computing, cryptography, and distributed ledger technology as market pressures squeeze the payments giantRead the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytJun 23rd, 2022

These 44 pitch decks helped fintechs disrupting trading, investing, and banking raise millions in funding

Looking for examples of real fintech pitch decks? Check out pitch decks that Qolo, Lance, and other startups used to raise money from VCs. Check out these pitch decks for examples of fintech founders sold their vision.Yulia Reznikov/Getty Images Insider has been tracking the next wave of hot new startups that are blending finance and tech.  Check out these pitch decks to see how fintech founders sold their vision. See more stories on Insider's business page. Fintech funding has been on a tear.In 2021, fintech funding hit a record $132 billion globally, according to CB Insights, more than double 2020's mark.Insider has been tracking the next wave of hot new startups that are blending finance and tech. Check out these pitch decks to see how fintech founders are selling their vision and nabbing big bucks in the process. You'll see new financial tech geared at freelancers, fresh twists on digital banking, and innovation aimed at streamlining customer onboarding. New twists on digital bankingZach Bruhnke, cofounder and CEO of HMBradleyHMBradleyConsumers are getting used to the idea of branch-less banking, a trend that startup digital-only banks like Chime, N26, and Varo have benefited from. The majority of these fintechs target those who are underbanked, and rely on usage of their debit cards to make money off interchange. But fellow startup HMBradley has a different business model. "Our thesis going in was that we don't swipe our debit cards all that often, and we don't think the customer base that we're focusing on does either," Zach Bruhnke, cofounder and CEO of HMBradley, told Insider. "A lot of our customer base uses credit cards on a daily basis."Instead, the startup is aiming to build clientele with stable deposits. As a result, the bank is offering interest-rate tiers depending on how much a customer saves of their direct deposit.Notably, the rate tiers are dependent on the percentage of savings, not the net amount. "We'll pay you more when you save more of what comes in," Bruhnke said. "We didn't want to segment customers by how much money they had. So it was always going to be about a percentage of income. That was really important to us."Check out the 14-page pitch deck fintech HMBradley, a neobank offering interest rates as high as 3%, used to raise an $18.25 million Series APersonal finance is only a text awayYinon Ravid, the chief executive and cofounder of Albert.AlbertThe COVID-19 pandemic has underscored the growing preference of mobile banking as customers get comfortable managing their finances online.The financial app Albert has seen a similar jump in activity. Currently counting more than six million members, deposits in Albert's savings offering doubled from the start of the pandemic in March 2020 to May of this year, from $350 million to $700 million, according to new numbers released by the company. Founded in 2015, Albert offers automated budgeting and savings tools alongside guided investment portfolios. It's looked to differentiate itself through personalized features, like the ability for customers to text human financial experts.Budgeting and saving features are free on Albert. But for more tailored financial advice, customers pay a subscription fee that's a pay-what-you-can model, between $4 and $14 a month. And Albert's now banking on a new tool to bring together its investing, savings, and budgeting tools.Fintech Albert used this 10-page pitch deck to raise a $100 million Series C from General Atlantic and CapitalG 'A bank for immigrants'Priyank Singh and Rohit Mittal are the cofounders of Stilt.StiltRohit Mittal remembers the difficulties he faced when he first arrived in the United States a decade ago as a master's student at Columbia University.As an immigrant from India, Mittal had no credit score in the US and had difficulty integrating into the financial system. Mittal even struggled to get approved to rent an apartment and couch-surfed until he found a roommate willing to offer him space in his apartment in the New York neighborhood Morningside Heights.That roommate was Priyank Singh, who would go on to become Mittal's cofounder when the two started Stilt, a financial-technology company designed to address the problems Mittal faced when he arrived in the US.Stilt, which calls itself "a bank for immigrants," does not require a social security number or credit history to access its offerings, including unsecured personal loans.Instead of relying on traditional metrics like a credit score, Stilt uses data such as education and employment to predict an individual's future income stability and cash flow before issuing a loan. Stilt has seen its loan volume grow by 500% in the past 12 months, and the startup has loaned to immigrants from 160 countries since its launch. Here are the 15 slides Stilt, which calls itself 'a bank for immigrants,' used to raise a $14 million Series AAn IRA for alternativesHenry Yoshida is the co-founder and CEO of retirement fintech startup Rocket Dollar.Rocket DollarFintech startup Rocket Dollar, which helps users invest their individual retirement account (IRA) dollars into alternative assets, just raised $8 million for its Series A round, the company announced on Thursday.Park West Asset Management led the round, with participation from investors including Hyphen Capital, which focuses on backing Asian American entrepreneurs, and crypto exchange Kraken's venture arm. Co-founded in 2018 by CEO Henry Yoshida, CTO Rick Dude, and VP of marketing Thomas Young, Rocket Dollar now has over $350 million in assets under management on its platform. Yoshida sold his first startup, a roboadvisor called Honest Dollar, to Goldman Sachs' investment management division for an estimated $20 million.Yoshida told Insider that while ultra-high net worth investors have been investing self-directed retirement account dollars into alternative assets like real estate, private equity, and cryptocurrency, average investors have not historically been able to access the same opportunities to invest IRA dollars in alternative assets through traditional platforms.Here's the 34-page pitch deck a fintech that helps users invest their retirement savings in crypto and real estate assets used to nab $8 millionA trading app for activismAntoine Argouges, CEO and founder of TulipshareTulipshareAn up-and-coming fintech is taking aim at some of the world's largest corporations by empowering retail investors to push for social and environmental change by pooling their shareholder rights.London-based Tulipshare lets individuals in the UK invest as little as one pound in publicly-traded company stocks. The upstart combines individuals' shareholder rights with other like-minded investors to advocate for environmental, social, and corporate governance change at firms like JPMorgan, Apple, and Amazon.The goal is to achieve a higher number of shares to maximize the number of votes that can be submitted at shareholder meetings. Already a regulated broker-dealer in the UK, Tulipshare recently applied for registration as a broker-dealer in the US. "If you ask your friends and family if they've ever voted on shareholder resolutions, the answer will probably be close to zero," CEO and founder Antoine Argouges told Insider. "I started Tulipshare to utilize shareholder rights to bring about positive corporate change that has an impact on people's lives and our planet — what's more powerful than money to change the system we live in?"Check out the 14-page pitch deck from Tulipshare, a trading app that lets users pool their shareholder votes for activism campaignsDigital tools for independent financial advisorsJason Wenk, founder and CEO of AltruistAltruistJason Wenk started his career at Morgan Stanley in investment research over 20 years ago. Now, he's running a company that is hoping to broaden access to financial advice for less-wealthy individuals. The startup raised $50 million in Series B funding led by Insight Partners with participation from investors Vanguard and Venrock. The round brings the Los Angeles-based startup's total funding to just under $67 million.Founded in 2018, Altruist is a digital brokerage built for independent financial advisors, intended to be an "all-in-one" platform that unites custodial functions, portfolio accounting, and a client-facing portal. It allows advisors to open accounts, invest, build models, report, trade (including fractional shares), and bill clients through an interface that can advisors time by eliminating mundane operational tasks.Altruist aims to make personalized financial advice less expensive, more efficient, and more inclusive through the platform, which is designed for registered investment advisors (RIAs), a growing segment of the wealth management industry. Here's the pitch deck for Altruist, a wealth tech challenging custodians Fidelity and Charles Schwab, that raised $50 million from Vanguard and InsightRethinking debt collection Jason Saltzman, founder and CEO of ReliefReliefFor lenders, debt collection is largely automated. But for people who owe money on their credit cards, it can be a confusing and stressful process.  Relief is looking to change that. Its app automates the credit-card debt collection process for users, negotiating with lenders and collectors to settle outstanding balances on their behalf. The fintech just launched and closed a $2 million seed round led by Collaborative Ventures. Relief's fundraising experience was a bit different to most. Its pitch deck, which it shared with one investor via Google Slides, went viral. It set out to raise a $1 million seed round, but ended up doubling that and giving some investors money back to make room for others.Check out a 15-page pitch deck that went viral and helped a credit-card debt collection startup land a $2 million seed roundHelping small banks lendTKCollateralEdgeFor large corporations with a track record of tapping the credit markets, taking out debt is a well-structured and clear process handled by the nation's biggest investment banks and teams of accountants. But smaller, middle-market companies — typically those with annual revenues ranging up to $1 billion — are typically served by regional and community banks that don't always have the capacity to adequately measure the risk of loans or price them competitively. Per the National Center for the Middle Market, 200,000 companies fall into this range, accounting for roughly 33% of US private sector GDP and employment.Dallas-based fintech CollateralEdge works with these banks — typically those with between $1 billion and $50 billion in assets — to help analyze and price slices of commercial and industrial loans that previously might have gone unserved by smaller lenders.On October 20th, CollateralEdge announced a $3.5 million seed round led by Dallas venture fund Perot Jain with participation from Kneeland Youngblood (a founder of the healthcare-focused private-equity firm Pharos Capital) and other individual investors.Here's the 10-page deck CollateralEdge, a fintech streamlining how small banks lend to businesses, used to raise a $3.5 million seed roundA new way to assess creditworthinessPinwheel founders Curtis Lee, Kurt Lin, and Anish Basu.PinwheelGrowing up, Kurt Lin never saw his father get frustrated. A "traditional, stoic figure," Lin said his father immigrated to the United States in the 1970s. Becoming part of the financial system proved even more difficult than assimilating into a new culture.Lin recalled visiting bank after bank with his father as a child, watching as his father's applications for a mortgage were denied due to his lack of credit history. "That was the first time in my life I really saw him crack," Lin told Insider. "The system doesn't work for a lot of people — including my dad," he added. Lin would find a solution to his father's problem years later while working with Anish Basu, and Curtis Lee on an automated health savings account. The trio realized the payroll data integrations they were working on could be the basis of a product that would help lenders work with consumers without strong credit histories."That's when the lightbulb hit," said Lin, Pinwheel's CEO.In 2018, Lin, Basu, and Lee founded Pinwheel, an application-programming interface that shares payroll data to help both fintechs and traditional lenders serve consumers with limited or poor credit, who have historically struggled to access financial products. Here's the 9-page deck that Pinwheel, a fintech helping lenders tap into payroll data to serve consumers with little to no credit, used to raise a $50 million Series BAn alternative auto lenderTricolorAn alternative auto lender that caters to thin- and no-credit Hispanic borrowers is planning a national expansion after scoring a $90 million investment from BlackRock-managed funds. Tricolor is a Dallas-based auto lender that is a community development financial institution. It uses a proprietary artificial-intelligence engine that decisions each customer based on more than 100 data points, such as proof of income. Half of Tricolor's customers have a FICO score, and less than 12% have scores above 650, yet the average customer has lived in the US for 15 years, according to the deck.A 2017 survey by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation found 31.5% of Hispanic households had no mainstream credit compared to 14.4% of white households. "For decades, the deck has been stacked against low income or credit invisible Hispanics in the United States when it comes to the purchase and financing of a used vehicle," Daniel Chu, founder and CEO of Tricolor, said in a statement announcing the raise.An auto lender that caters to underbanked Hispanics used this 25-page deck to raise $90 million from BlackRock investors A new way to access credit The TomoCredit teamTomoCreditKristy Kim knows first-hand the challenge of obtaining credit in the US without an established credit history. Kim, who came to the US from South Korea, couldn't initially get access to credit despite having a job in investment banking after graduating college. "I was in my early twenties, I had a good income, my job was in investment banking but I could not get approved for anything," Kim told Insider. "Many young professionals like me, we deserve an opportunity to be considered but just because we didn't have a Fico, we weren't given a chance to even apply," she added.Kim started TomoCredit in 2018 to help others like herself gain access to consumer credit. TomoCredit spent three years building an internal algorithm to underwrite customers based on cash flow, rather than a credit score.TomoCredit, a fintech that lends to thin- and no-credit borrowers, used this 17-page pitch deck to raise its $10 million Series AHelping streamline how debts are repaidMethod Financial cofounders Jose Bethancourt and Marco del Carmen.Method FinancialWhen Jose Bethancourt graduated from the University of Texas at Austin in May 2019, he faced the same question that confronts over 43 million Americans: How would he repay his student loans?The problem led Bethancourt on a nearly two-year journey that culminated in the creation of a startup aimed at making it easier for consumers to more seamlessly pay off all kinds of debt.  Initially, Bethancourt and fellow UT grad Marco del Carmen built GradJoy, an app that helped users better understand how to manage student loan repayment and other financial habits. GradJoy was accepted into Y Combinator in the summer of 2019. But the duo quickly realized the real benefit to users would be helping them move money to make payments instead of simply offering recommendations."When we started GradJoy, we thought, 'Oh, we'll just give advice — we don't think people are comfortable with us touching their student loans,' and then we realized that people were saying, 'Hey, just move the money — if you think I should pay extra, then I'll pay extra.' So that's kind of the movement that we've seen, just, everybody's more comfortable with fintechs doing what's best for them," Bethancourt told Insider. Here is the 11-slide pitch deck Method Financial, a Y Combinator-backed fintech making debt repayment easier, used to raise $2.5 million in pre-seed fundingQuantum computing made easyQC Ware CEO Matt Johnson.QC WareEven though banks and hedge funds are still several years out from adding quantum computing to their tech arsenals, that hasn't stopped Wall Street giants from investing time and money into the emerging technology class. And momentum for QC Ware, a startup looking to cut the time and resources it takes to use quantum computing, is accelerating. The fintech secured a $25 million Series B on September 29 co-led by Koch Disruptive Technologies and Covestro with participation from D.E. Shaw, Citi, and Samsung Ventures.QC Ware, founded in 2014, builds quantum algorithms for the likes of Goldman Sachs (which led the fintech's Series A), Airbus, and BMW Group. The algorithms, which are effectively code bases that include quantum processing elements, can run on any of the four main public-cloud providers.Quantum computing allows companies to do complex calculations faster than traditional computers by using a form of physics that runs on quantum bits as opposed to the traditional 1s and 0s that computers use. This is especially helpful in banking for risk analytics or algorithmic trading, where executing calculations milliseconds faster than the competition can give firms a leg up. Here's the 20-page deck QC Ware, a fintech making quantum computing more accessible, used to raised its $25 million Series BSimplifying quant modelsKirat Singh and Mark Higgins, Beacon's cofounders.BeaconA fintech that helps financial institutions use quantitative models to streamline their businesses and improve risk management is catching the attention, and capital, of some of the country's biggest investment managers.Beacon Platform, founded in 2014, is a fintech that builds applications and tools to help banks, asset managers, and trading firms quickly integrate quantitative models that can help with analyzing risk, ensuring compliance, and improving operational efficiency. The company raised its Series C on Wednesday, scoring a $56 million investment led by Warburg Pincus with support from Blackstone Innovations Investments, PIMCO, and Global Atlantic. Blackstone, PIMCO, and Global Atlantic are also users of Beacon's tech, as are the Commonwealth Bank of Australia and Shell New Energies, a division of Royal Dutch Shell, among others.The fintech provides a shortcut for firms looking to use quantitative modelling and data science across various aspects of their businesses, a process that can often take considerable resources if done solo.Here's the 20-page pitch deck Beacon, a fintech helping Wall Street better analyze risk and data, used to raise $56 million from Warburg Pincus, Blackstone, and PIMCOA new data feed for bond tradingMark Lennihan/APFor years, the only way investors could figure out the going price of a corporate bond was calling up a dealer on the phone. The rise of electronic trading has streamlined that process, but data can still be hard to come by sometimes. A startup founded by a former Goldman Sachs exec has big plans to change that. BondCliQ is a fintech that provides a data feed of pre-trade pricing quotes for the corporate bond market. Founded by Chris White, the creator of Goldman Sachs' defunct corporate-bond-trading system, BondCliQ strives to bring transparency to a market that has traditionally kept such data close to the vest. Banks, which typically serve as the dealers of corporate bonds, have historically kept pre-trade quotes hidden from other dealers to maintain a competitive advantage.But tech advancements and the rise of electronic marketplaces have shifted power dynamics into the hands of buy-side firms, like hedge funds and asset managers. The investors are now able to get a fuller picture of the market by aggregating price quotes directly from dealers or via vendors.Here's the 9-page pitch deck that BondCliQ, a fintech looking to bring more data and transparency to bond trading, used to raise its Series AFraud prevention for lenders and insurersFiordaliso/Getty ImagesOnboarding new customers with ease is key for any financial institution or retailer. The more friction you add, the more likely consumers are to abandon the entire process.But preventing fraud is also a priority, and that's where Neuro-ID comes in. The startup analyzes what it calls "digital body language," or, the way users scroll, type, and tap. Using that data, Neuro-ID can identify fraudulent users before they create an account. It's built for banks, lenders, insurers, and e-commerce players."The train has left the station for digital transformation, but there's a massive opportunity to try to replicate all those communications that we used to have when we did business in-person, all those tells that we would get verbally and non-verbally on whether or not someone was trustworthy," Neuro-ID CEO Jack Alton told Insider.Founded in 2014, the startup's pitch is twofold: Neuro-ID can save companies money by identifying fraud early, and help increase user conversion by making the onboarding process more seamless. In December Neuro-ID closed a $7 million Series A, co-led by Fin VC and TTV Capital, with participation from Canapi Ventures. With 30 employees, Neuro-ID is using the fresh funding to grow its team and create additional tools to be more self-serving for customers.Here's the 11-slide pitch deck a startup that analyzes consumers' digital behavior to fight fraud used to raise a $7 million Series AAI-powered tools to spot phony online reviews FakespotMarketplaces like Amazon and eBay host millions of third-party sellers, and their algorithms will often boost items in search based on consumer sentiment, which is largely based on reviews. But many third-party sellers use fake reviews often bought from click farms to boost their items, some of which are counterfeit or misrepresented to consumers.That's where Fakespot comes in. With its Chrome extension, it warns users of sellers using potentially fake reviews to boost sales and can identify fraudulent sellers. Fakespot is currently compatible with Amazon, BestBuy, eBay, Sephora, Steam, and Walmart."There are promotional reviews written by humans and bot-generated reviews written by robots or review farms," Fakespot founder and CEO Saoud Khalifah told Insider. "Our AI system has been built to detect both categories with very high accuracy."Fakespot's AI learns via reviews data available on marketplace websites, and uses natural-language processing to identify if reviews are genuine. Fakespot also looks at things like whether the number of positive reviews are plausible given how long a seller has been active.Fakespot, a startup that helps shoppers detect robot-generated reviews and phony sellers on Amazon and Shopify, used this pitch deck to nab a $4 million Series AHelping fintechs manage dataProper Finance co-founders Travis Gibson (left) and Kyle MaloneyProper FinanceAs the flow of data becomes evermore crucial for fintechs, from the strappy startup to the established powerhouse, a thorny issue in the back office is becoming increasingly complex.Even though fintechs are known for their sleek front ends, the back end is often quite the opposite. Behind that streamlined interface can be a mosaic of different partner integrations — be it with banks, payments players and networks, or software vendors — with a channel of data running between them. Two people who know that better than the average are Kyle Maloney and Travis Gibson, two former employees of Marqeta, a fintech that provides other fintechs with payments processing and card issuance. "Take an established neobank for example. They'll likely have one or two card issuers, two to three bank partners, ACH processing for direct deposits and payouts, mobile check deposits, peer-to-peer payments, and lending," Gibson told Insider. Here's the 12-page pitch deck a startup helping fintechs manage their data used to score a $4.3 million seed from investors like Redpoint Ventures and Y CombinatorE-commerce focused business bankingMichael Rangel, cofounder and CEO, and Tyler McIntyre, cofounder and CTO of Novo.Kristelle Boulos PhotographyBusiness banking is a hot market in fintech. And it seems investors can't get enough.Novo, the digital banking fintech aimed at small e-commerce businesses, raised a $40.7 million Series A led by Valar Ventures in June. Since its launch in 2018, Novo has signed up 100,000 small businesses. Beyond bank accounts, it offers expense management, a corporate card, and integrates with e-commerce infrastructure players like Shopify, Stripe, and Wise.Founded in 2018, Novo was based in New York City, but has since moved its headquarters to Miami. Here's the 12-page pitch deck e-commerce banking startup Novo used to raise its $40 million Series AShopify for embedded financeProductfy CEO and founder, Duy VoProductfyProductfy is looking to break into embedded finance by becoming the Shopify of back-end banking services.Embedded finance — integrating banking services in non-financial settings — has taken hold in the e-commerce world. But Productfy is going after a different kind of customer in churches, universities, and nonprofits.The San Jose, Calif.-based upstart aims to help non-finance companies offer their own banking products. Productfy can help customers launch finance features in as little as a week and without additional engineering resources or background knowledge of banking compliance or legal requirements, Productfy founder and CEO Duy Vo told Insider. "You don't need an engineer to stand up Shopify, right? You can be someone who's just creating art and you can use Shopify to build your own online store," Vo said, adding that Productfy is looking to take that user experience and replicate it for banking services.Here's the 15-page pitch deck Productfy, a fintech looking to be the Shopify of embedded finance, used to nab a $16 million Series ADeploying algorithms and automation to small-business financingJustin Straight and Bernard Worthy, LoanWell co-foundersLoanWellBernard Worthy and Justin Straight, the founders of LoanWell, want to break down barriers to financing for small and medium-size businesses — and they've got algorithms and automation in their tech arsenals that they hope will do it.Worthy, the company's CEO, and Straight, its chief operating and financial officer, are powering community-focused lenders to fill a gap in the SMB financing world by boosting access to loans under $100,000. And the upstart is known for catching the attention, and dollars, of mission-driven investors. LoanWell closed a $3 million seed financing round in December led by Impact America Fund with participation from SoftBank's SB Opportunity Fund and Collab Capital.LoanWell automates the financing process — from underwriting and origination, to money movement and servicing — which shaves down an up-to-90-day process to 30 days or even same-day with some LoanWell lenders, Worthy said. SMBs rely on these loans to process quickly after two years of financial uncertainty. But the pandemic illustrated how time-consuming and expensive SMB financing can be, highlighted by efforts like the federal government's Paycheck Protection Program.Community banks, once the lifeline to capital for many local businesses, continue to shutter. And demands for smaller loan amounts remain largely unmet. More than half of business-loan applicants sought $100,000 or less, according to 2018 data from the Federal Reserve. But the average small-business bank loan was closer to six times that amount, according to the latest data from a now discontinued Federal Reserve survey.Here's the 14-page pitch deck LoanWell used to raise $3 million from investors like SoftBank.Branded cards for SMBsJennifer Glaspie-Lundstrom is the cofounder and CEO of Tandym.TandymJennifer Glaspie-Lundstrom is no stranger to the private-label credit-card business. As a former Capital One exec, she worked in both the card giant's co-brand partnerships division and its tech organization during her seven years at the company.Now, Glaspie-Lundstrom is hoping to use that experience to innovate a sector that was initially created in malls decades ago.Glaspie-Lundstrom is the cofounder and CEO of Tandym, which offers private-label digital credit cards to merchants. Store and private-label credit cards aren't a new concept, but Tandym is targeting small- and medium-sized merchants with less than $1 billion in annual revenue. Glaspie-Lundstrom said that group often struggles to offer private-label credit due to the expense of working with legacy players."What you have is this example of a very valuable product type that merchants love and their customers love, but a huge, untapped market that has heretofore been unserved, and so that's what we're doing with Tandym," Glaspi-Lundstrom told Insider.A former Capital One exec used this deck to raise $60 million for a startup helping SMBs launch their own branded credit cardsCatering to 'micro businesses'Stefanie Sample is the founder and CEO of FundidFundidStartups aiming to simplify the often-complex world of corporate cards have boomed in recent years.Business-finance management startup Brex was last valued at $12.3 billion after raising $300 million last year. Startup card provider Ramp announced an $8.1 billion valuation in March after growing its revenue nearly 10x in 2021. Divvy, a small business card provider, was acquired by Bill.com in May 2021 for approximately $2.5 billion.But despite how hot the market has gotten, Stefanie Sample said she ended up working in the space by accident. Sample is the founder and CEO of Fundid, a new fintech that provides credit and lending products to small businesses.This May, Fundid announced a $3.25 million seed round led by Nevcaut Ventures. Additional investors include the Artemis Fund and Builders and Backers. The funding announcement capped off the company's first year: Sample introduced the Fundid concept in April 2021, launched its website in May, and began raising capital in August."I never meant to do Fundid," Sample told Insider. "I never meant to do something that was venture-backed."Read the 12-page deck used by Fundid, a fintech offering credit and lending tools for 'micro businesses'Embedded payments for SMBsThe Highnote teamHighnoteBranded cards have long been a way for merchants with the appropriate bank relationships to create additional revenue and build customer loyalty. The rise of embedded payments, or the ability to shop and pay in a seamless experience within a single app, has broadened the number of companies looking to launch branded cards.Highnote is a startup that helps small to mid-sized merchants roll out their own debit and pre-paid digital cards. The fintech emerged from stealth on Tuesday to announce it raised $54 million in seed and Series A funding.Here's the 12-page deck Highnote, a startup helping SMBs embed payments, used to raise $54 million in seed and Series A fundingHelping small businesses manage their taxesComplYant's founder Shiloh Jackson wants to help people be present in their bookkeeping.ComplYantAfter 14 years in tax accounting, Shiloh Johnson had formed a core philosophy around corporate accounting: everyone deserves to understand their business's money and business owners need to be present in their bookkeeping process.She wanted to help small businesses understand "this is why you need to do what you're doing and why you have to change the way you think about tax and be present in your bookkeeping process," she told Insider. The Los Angeles native wanted small businesses to not only understand business tax no matter their size but also to find the tools they needed to prepare their taxes in one spot. So Johnson developed a software platform that provides just that.The 13-page pitch deck ComplYant used to nab $4 million that details the tax startup's plan to be Turbotax, Quickbooks, and Xero rolled into one for small business ownersAutomating accounting ops for SMBsDecimal CEO Matt Tait.DecimalSmall- and medium-sized businesses can rely on any number of payroll, expense management, bill pay, and corporate-card startups promising to automate parts of their financial workflow. Smaller firms have adopted this corporate-financial software en masse, boosting growth throughout the pandemic for relatively new entrants like Ramp and massive, industry stalwarts like Intuit. But it's no easy task to connect all of those tools into one, seamless process. And while accounting operations might be far from where many startup founders want to focus their time, having efficient back-end finances does mean time — and capital — freed up to spend elsewhere. For Decimal CEO Matt Tait, there's ample opportunity in "the boring stuff you have to do to survive as a company," he told Insider. Launched in 2020, Decimal provides a back-end tech layer that small- and medium-sized businesses can use to integrate their accounting and business-management software tools in one place.On Wednesday, Decimal announced a $9 million seed fundraising round led by Minneapolis-based Arthur Ventures, alongside Service Providers Capital and other angel investors. See the 13-page pitch deck for Decimal, a startup automating accounting ops for small businessesInvoice financing for SMBsStacey Abrams and Lara Hodgson, Now co-foundersNowAbout a decade ago, politician Stacey Abrams and entrepreneur Lara Hodgson were forced to fold their startup because of a kink in the supply chain — but not in the traditional sense.Nourish, which made spill-proof bottled water for children, had grown quickly from selling to small retailers to national ones. And while that may sound like a feather in the small business' cap, there was a hang-up."It was taking longer and longer to get paid, and as you can imagine, you deliver the product and then you wait and you wait, but meanwhile you have to pay your employees and you have to pay your vendors," Hodgson told Insider. "Waiting to get paid was constraining our ability to grow."While it's not unusual for small businesses to grapple with working capital issues, the dust was still settling from the Great Recession. Abrams and Hodgson couldn't secure a line of credit or use financing tools like factoring to solve their problem. The two entrepreneurs were forced to close Nourish in 2012, but along the way they recognized a disconnect in the system.  "Why are we the ones borrowing money, when in fact we're the lender here because every time you send an invoice to a customer, you've essentially extended a free loan to that customer by letting them pay later," Hodgson said. "And the only reason why we were going to need to possibly borrow money was because we had just given ours away for free to Whole Foods," she added.Check out the 7-page deck that Now, Stacey Abrams' fintech that wants to help small businesses 'grow fearlessly', used to raise $29 millionCheckout made easyRyan Breslow.Ryan BreslowAmazon has long dominated e-commerce with its one-click checkout flows, offering easier ways for consumers to shop online than its small-business competitors.Bolt gives small merchants tools to offer the same easy checkouts so they can compete with the likes of Amazon.The startup raised its $393 million Series D to continue adding its one-click checkout feature to merchants' own websites in October.Bolt markets to merchants themselves. But a big part of Bolt's pitch is its growing network of consumers — currently over 5.6 million — that use its features across multiple Bolt merchant customers. Roughly 5% of Bolt's transactions were network-driven in May, meaning users that signed up for a Bolt account on another retailer's website used it elsewhere. The network effects were even more pronounced in verticals like furniture, where 49% of transactions were driven by the Bolt network."The network effect is now unleashed with Bolt in full fury, and that triggered the raise," Bolt's founder and CEO Ryan Breslow told Insider.Here's the 12-page deck that one-click checkout Bolt used to outline its network of 5.6 million consumers and raise its Series DPayments infrastructure for fintechsQolo CEO and co-founder Patricia MontesiQoloThree years ago, Patricia Montesi realized there was a disconnect in the payments world. "A lot of new economy companies or fintech companies were looking to mesh up a lot of payment modalities that they weren't able to," Montesi, CEO and co-founder of Qolo, told Insider.Integrating various payment capabilities often meant tapping several different providers that had specializations in one product or service, she added, like debit card issuance or cross-border payments. "The way people were getting around that was that they were creating this spider web of fintech," she said, adding that "at the end of it all, they had this mess of suppliers and integrations and bank accounts."The 20-year payments veteran rounded up a group of three other co-founders — who together had more than a century of combined industry experience — to start Qolo, a business-to-business fintech that sought out to bundle back-end payment rails for other fintechs.Here's the 11-slide pitch deck a startup that provides payments infrastructure for other fintechs used to raise a $15 million Series ABetter use of payroll dataAtomic's Head of Markets, Lindsay DavisAtomicEmployees at companies large and small know the importance — and limitations — of how firms manage their payrolls. A new crop of startups are building the API pipes that connect companies and their employees to offer a greater level of visibility and flexibility when it comes to payroll data and employee verification. On Thursday, one of those names, Atomic, announced a $40 million Series B fundraising round co-led by Mercato Partners and Greylock, alongside Core Innovation Capital, Portage, and ATX Capital. The round follows Atomic's Series A round announced in October, when the startup raised a $22 million Series A from investors including Core Innovation Capital, Portage, and Greylock.Payroll startup Atomic just raised a $40 million Series B. Here's an internal deck detailing the fintech's approach to the red-hot payments space.Saving on vendor invoicesHoward Katzenberg, Glean's CEO and cofounderGleanWhen it comes to high-flying tech startups, headlines and investors typically tend to focus on industry "disruption" and the total addressable market a company is hoping to reach. Expense cutting as a way to boost growth typically isn't part of the conversation early on, and finance teams are viewed as cost centers relative to sales teams. But one fast-growing area of business payments has turned its focus to managing those costs. Startups like Ramp and established names like Bill.com have made their name offering automated expense-management systems. Now, one new fintech competitor, Glean, is looking to take that further by offering both automated payment services and tailored line-item accounts-payable insights driven by machine-learning models. Glean's CFO and founder, Howard Katzenberg, told Insider that the genesis of Glean was driven by his own personal experience managing the finance teams of startups, including mortgage lender Better.com, which Katzenberg left in 2019, and online small-business lender OnDeck. "As a CFO of high-growth companies, I spent a lot of time focused on revenue and I had amazing dashboards in real time where I could see what is going on top of the funnel, what's going on with conversion rates, what's going on in terms of pricing and attrition," Katzenberg told Insider. See the 15-slide pitch deck Glean, a startup using machine learning to find savings in vendor invoices, used to raise $10.8 million in seed fundingReal-estate management made easyAgora founders Noam Kahan, CTO, Bar Mor, CEO, and Lior Dolinski, CPOAgoraFor alternative asset managers of any type, the operations underpinning sales and investor communications are a crucial but often overlooked part of the business. Fund managers love to make bets on markets, not coordinate hundreds of wire transfers to clients each quarter or organize customer-relationship-management databases.Within the $10.6 trillion global market for professionally managed real-estate investing, that's where Tel Aviv and New York-based startup Agora hopes to make its mark.Founded in 2019, Agora offers a set of back-office, investor relations, and sales software tools that real-estate investment managers can plug into their workflows. On Wednesday, Agora announced a $9 million seed round, led by Israel-based venture firm Aleph, with participation from River Park Ventures and Maccabee Ventures. The funding comes on the heels of an October 2020 pre-seed fund raise worth $890,000, in which Maccabee also participated.Here's the 15-slide pitch deck that Agora, a startup helping real-estate investors manage communications and sales with their clients, used to raise a $9 million seed roundAccess to commercial real-estate investing LEX Markets cofounders and co-CEOs Drew Sterrett and Jesse Daugherty.LEX MarketsDrew Sterrett was structuring real-estate deals while working in private equity when he realized the inefficiencies that existed in the market. Only high-net worth individuals or accredited investors could participate in commercial real-estate deals. If they ever wanted to leave a partnership or sell their stake in a property, it was difficult to find another investor to replace them. Owners also struggled to sell minority stakes in their properties and didn't have many good options to recapitalize an asset if necessary.In short, the market had a high barrier to entry despite the fact it didn't always have enough participants to get deals done quickly. "Most investors don't have access to high-quality commercial real-estate investments. How do we have the oldest and largest asset class in the world and one of the largest wealth creators with no public and liquid market?" Sterrett told Insider. "It sort of seems like a no-brainer, and that this should have existed 50 or 60 years ago."This 15-page pitch deck helped LEX Markets, a startup making investing in commercial real estate more accessible, raise $15 millionInsurance goes digitalJamie Hale, CEO and cofounder of LadderLadderFintechs looking to transform how insurance policies are underwritten, issued, and experienced by customers have grown as new technology driven by digital trends and artificial intelligence shape the market. And while verticals like auto, homeowner's, and renter's insurance have seen their fair share of innovation from forward-thinking fintechs, one company has taken on the massive life-insurance market. Founded in 2017, Ladder uses a tech-driven approach to offer life insurance with a digital, end-to-end service that it says is more flexible, faster, and cost-effective than incumbent players.Life, annuity, and accident and health insurance within the US comprise a big chunk of the broader market. In 2020, premiums written on those policies totaled some $767 billion, compared to $144 billion for auto policies and $97 billion for homeowner's insurance.Here's the 12-page deck that Ladder, a startup disrupting the 'crown jewel' of the insurance market, used to nab $100 millionData science for commercial insuranceTanner Hackett, founder and CEO of CounterpartCounterpartThere's been no shortage of funds flowing into insurance-technology companies over the past few years. Private-market funding to insurtechs soared to $15.4 billion in 2021, a 90% increase compared to 2020. Some of the most well-known consumer insurtech names — from Oscar (which focuses on health insurance) to Metromile (which focuses on auto) — launched on the public markets last year, only to fall over time or be acquired as investors questioned the sustainability of their business models. In the commercial arena, however, the head of one insurtech company thinks there is still room to grow — especially for those catering to small businesses operating in an entirely new, pandemic-defined environment. "The bigger opportunity is in commercial lines," Tanner Hackett, the CEO of management liability insurer Counterpart, told Insider."Everywhere I poke, I'm like, 'Oh my goodness, we're still in 1.0, and all the other businesses I've built were on version three.' Insurance is still in 1.0, still managing from spreadsheets and PDFs," added Hackett, who also previously co-founded Button, which focuses on mobile marketing. See the 8-page pitch deck Counterpart, a startup disrupting commercial insurance with data science, used to raise a $30 million Series BSmarter insurance for multifamily propertiesItai Ben-Zaken, cofounder and CEO of Honeycomb.HoneycombA veteran of the online-insurance world is looking to revolutionize the way the industry prices risk for commercial properties with the help of artificial intelligence.Insurance companies typically send inspectors to properties before issuing policies to better understand how the building is maintained and identify potential risks or issues with it. It's a process that can be time-consuming, expensive, and inefficient, making it hard to justify for smaller commercial properties, like apartment and condo buildings.Insurtech Honeycomb is looking to fix that by using AI to analyze a combination of third-party data and photos submitted by customers through the startup's app to quickly identify any potential risks at a property and more accurately price policies."That whole physical inspection thing had really good things in it, but it wasn't really something that is scalable and, it's also expensive," Itai Ben-Zaken, Honeycomb's cofounder and CEO, told Insider. "The best way to see a property right now is Google street view. Google street view is usually two years old."Here's the 10-page Series A pitch deck used by Honeycomb, a startup that wants to revolutionize the $26 billion market for multifamily property insuranceHelping freelancers with their taxesJaideep Singh is the CEO and co-founder of FlyFin, an AI-driven tax preparation software program for freelancers.FlyFinSome people, particularly those with families or freelancing businesses, spend days searching for receipts for tax season, making tax preparation a time consuming and, at times, taxing experience. That's why in 2020 Jaideep Singh founded FlyFin, an artificial-intelligence tax preparation program for freelancers that helps people, as he puts it, "fly through their finances." FlyFin is set up to connect to a person's bank accounts, allowing the AI program to help users monitor for certain expenses that can be claimed on their taxes like business expenditures, the interest on mortgages, property taxes, or whatever else that might apply. "For most individuals, people have expenses distributed over multiple financial institutions. So we built an AI platform that is able to look at expenses, understand the individual, understand your profession, understand the freelance population at large, and start the categorization," Singh told Insider.Check out the 7-page pitch deck a startup helping freelancers manage their taxes used to nab $8 million in fundingDigital banking for freelancersJGalione/Getty ImagesLance is a new digital bank hoping to simplify the life of those workers by offering what it calls an "active" approach to business banking. "We found that every time we sat down with the existing tools and resources of our accountants and QuickBooks and spreadsheets, we just ended up getting tangled up in the whole experience of it," Lance cofounder and CEO Oona Rokyta told Insider. Lance offers subaccounts for personal salaries, withholdings, and savings to which freelancers can automatically allocate funds according to custom preset levels. It also offers an expense balance that's connected to automated tax withholdings.In May, Lance announced the closing of a $2.8 million seed round that saw participation from Barclays, BDMI, Great Oaks Capital, Imagination Capital, Techstars, DFJ Frontier, and others.Here's the 21-page pitch deck Lance, a digital bank for freelancers, used to raise a $2.8 million seed round from investors including BarclaysSoftware for managing freelancersWorksome cofounder and CEO Morten Petersen.WorksomeThe way people work has fundamentally changed over the past year, with more flexibility and many workers opting to freelance to maintain their work-from-home lifestyles.But managing a freelance or contractor workforce is often an administrative headache for employers. Worksome is a startup looking to eliminate all the extra work required for employers to adapt to more flexible working norms.Worksome started as a freelancer marketplace automating the process of matching qualified workers with the right jobs. But the team ultimately pivoted to a full suite of workforce management software, automating administrative burdens required to hire, pay, and account for contract workers.In May, Worksome closed a $13 million Series A backed by European angel investor Tommy Ahlers and Danish firm Lind & Risør.Here's the 21-slide pitch deck used by a startup that helps firms like Carlsberg and Deloitte manage freelancersPayments and operations support HoneyBook cofounders Dror Shimoni, Oz Alon, and Naama Alon.HoneyBookWhile countless small businesses have been harmed by the pandemic, self-employment and entrepreneurship have found ways to blossom as Americans started new ventures.Half of the US population may be freelance by 2027, according to a study commissioned by remote-work hiring platform Upwork. HoneyBook, a fintech startup that provides payment and operations support for freelancers, in May raised $155 million in funding and achieved unicorn status with its $1 billion-plus valuation.Durable Capital Partners led the Series D funding with other new investors including renowned hedge fund Tiger Global, Battery Ventures, Zeev Ventures, and 01 Advisors. Citi Ventures, Citigroup's startup investment arm that also backs fintech robo-advisor Betterment, participated as an existing investor in the round alongside Norwest Venture partners. The latest round brings the company's fundraising total to $227 million to date.Here's the 21-page pitch deck a Citi-backed fintech for freelancers used to raise $155 million from investors like hedge fund Tiger GlobalPay-as-you-go compliance for banks, fintechs, and crypto startupsNeepa Patel, Themis' founder and CEOThemisWhen Themis founder and CEO Neepa Patel set out to build a new compliance tool for banks, fintech startups, and crypto companies, she tapped into her own experience managing risk at some of the nation's biggest financial firms. Having worked as a bank regulator at the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and in compliance at Morgan Stanley, Deutsche Bank, and the enterprise blockchain company R3, Patel was well-placed to assess the shortcomings in financial compliance software. But Patel, who left the corporate world to begin work on Themis in 2020, drew on more than just her own experience and frustrations to build the startup."It's not just me building a tool based on my personal pain points. I reached out to regulators. I reached out to bank compliance officers and members in the fintech community just to make sure that we're building it exactly how they do their work," Patel told Insider. "That was the biggest problem: No one built a tool that was reflective of how people do their work."Check out the 9-page pitch deck Themis, which offers pay-as-you-go compliance for banks, fintechs, and crypto startups, used to raise $9 million in seed fundingConnecting startups and investorsHum Capital cofounder and CEO Blair SilverbergHum CapitalBlair Silverberg is no stranger to fundraising.For six years, Silverberg was a venture capitalist at Draper Fisher Jurvetson and Private Credit Investments making bets on startups."I was meeting with thousands of founders in person each year, watching them one at a time go through this friction where they're meeting a ton of investors, and the investors are all asking the same questions," Silverberg told Insider. He switched gears about three years ago, moving to the opposite side of the metaphorical table, to start Hum Capital, which uses artificial intelligence to match investors with startups looking to fundraise.On August 31, the New York-based fintech announced its $9 million Series A. The round was led by Future Ventures with participation from Webb Investment Network, Wavemaker Partners, and Partech. This 11-page pitch deck helped Hum Capital, a fintech using AI to match investors with startups, raise a $9 million Series A.Helping LatAm startups get up to speedKamino cofounders Gut Fragoso, Rodrigo Perenha, Benjamin Gleason, and Gonzalo ParejoKaminoThere's more venture capital flowing into Latin America than ever before, but getting the funds in founders' hands is not exactly a simple process.In 2021, investors funneled $15.3 billion into Latin American companies, more than tripling the previous record of $4.9 billion in 2019. Fintech and e-commerce sectors drove funding, accounting for 39% and 25% of total funding, respectively.  However, for many startup founders in the region who have successfully sold their ideas and gotten investors on board, there's a patchwork of corporate structuring that's needed to access the funds, according to Benjamin Gleason, who was the chief financial officer at Groupon LatAm prior to cofounding Brazil-based fintech Kamino.It's a process Gleason and his three fellow Kamino cofounders have been through before as entrepreneurs and startup execs themselves. Most often, startups have to set up offshore financial accounts outside of Brazil, which "entails creating a Cayman [Islands] holding company, a Delaware LLC, and then connecting it to a local entity here and also opening US bank accounts for the Cayman entity, which is not trivial from a KYC perspective," said Gleason, who founded open-banking fintech Guiabolso in Sao Paulo. His partner, Gonzalo Parejo, experienced the same toils when he founded insurtech Bidu."Pretty much any international investor will usually ask for that," Gleason said, adding that investors typically cite liability issues."It's just a massive amount of bureaucracy, complexity, a lot of time from the founders. All of this just to get the money from the investor that wants to give them the money," he added.Here's the 8-page pitch deck Kamino, a fintech helping LatAm startups with everything from financing to corporate credit cards, used to raise a $6.1M pre-seed roundThe back-end tech for beautyDanielle Cohen-Shohet, CEO and founder of GlossGeniusGlossGeniusDanielle Cohen-Shohet might have started as a Goldman Sachs investment analyst, but at her core she was always a coder.After about three years at Goldman Sachs, Cohen-Shohet left the world of traditional finance to code her way into starting her own company in 2016. "There was a period of time where I did nothing, but eat, sleep, and code for a few weeks," Cohen-Shohet told Insider. Her technical edge and knowledge of the point-of-sale payment space led her to launch a software company focused on providing behind-the-scenes tech for beauty and wellness small businesses.Cohen-Shohet launched GlossGenius in 2017 to provide payments tech for hair stylists, nail technicians, blow-out bars, and other small businesses in the space.Here's the 11-page deck GlossGenius, a startup that provides back-end tech for the beauty industry, used to raise $16 millionRead the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytJun 22nd, 2022

DEFCON 2... Or Cutting Off The Nose To Spite The Face

DEFCON 2... Or Cutting Off The Nose To Spite The Face By Peter Tchir of Academy Securities I had difficulty choosing a title for today. DEFCON 2 made a lot of sense as I’m increasingly worried about the economy and the market – for this summer. On the one hand I’m so perplexed by the messaging that the Fed is prepared to trigger a recession in its fight with inflation that I can’t help but think about cutting off your nose to spite the face. I could almost see Powell starting the press conference with “this is going to hurt me more than it is going to hurt you,” which based on my experience, is rarely true. Inflation - Food To expect monetary policy to reduce food prices seems like a stretch. We all must consume some basic level of food regardless of our income level. Sure, maybe the rich eat more Kraft dinners with fancy ketchup [apologies to the Barenaked Ladies], but food consumption seems relatively inelastic. Maybe lowering the cost of fuel will help reduce the cost of food [shipping, the farmer's use of diesel, etc.], but I'm not sure that will happen quickly enough [or be impactful enough] to help the average consumer in the meantime. Many of those consumers are now facing higher costs of funding - anything from credit cards to ARMs, or any new loan that they are looking at. The supply chain disruption in primarily wheat [and other basic groins due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine] is real and is likely to lost into next year. The longer that lasts, the more stockpiles will be eroded. That is a problem not impacted much one way or the other by interest rates. The shortage of fertilizer [a topic of conversation] will admittedly be helped by reduced energy prices [if the Fed achieves that], but again, I'm not sure this provides much near-term relief, Food, which may or may not be accurately reflected in official inflation measures [when I write may or may not I mean definitely not, but don't want to sound too aggressive] is unlikely to see price declines to the point where the consumer is helped materially. While the official data may or may not be accurate, the consumers know the "real world'' costs and that is affecting their behavior, their sentiment, their outlook, and ultimately their spending, I remain extremely worried about food inflation. Inflation - Energy I'm not sure that even the "after school" specials that used to air on broadcast TV [that always had a morality message] could come up with a plot where the "hero" beats up on the "villain" for most of the show, only to realize that the "villain" has something they need, Then the "hero" reaches out to the "villain" to strike a "mutually" beneficial deal and the "villain," which is so overjoyed to become part of the "good team," immediately acquiesces to that and ignores all the previous messaging, Weirdly, it is a plot too unbelievable for a children's special, but one that "we" (collectively] seem to think will work with Iron, Venezuela, and the Saudis. I won't even touch on the "side plot" of the long-overlooked friend, eagerly waiting for o word of encouragement from the "hero" and ready to step up and deliver, finding itself being treated worse than the "villain" at a time of need. If you missed the Academv Podcast that was "dropped" (I think that's the cool term for it] on Friday, I highly recommend listening to it, General Kearney [ret,] leads the conversation, along with Rachel Washburn, Michael Rodriguez [from an ESG perspective], and me, on nuclear proliferation, the nuclear geopolitical landscape, and also, crucially important, thoughts on the future of nuclear energy, But I've digressed, as those energy issues are really more issues related to D.C. and policy rather than anything controlled by interest rates and Fed policy, But maybe after all I didn't digress that much because I don't see how Fed policy helps reduce energy prices, other than if they are "successful” in derailing the economy. Again, much like food, individuals can only tinker with their need for energy. All of this has a limited impact on overall consumption: keeping the house warmer in the summer, colder in the carpooling a winter, carpooling a bit more, being more organized on errands, convincing the bosses that WFH is good for the environment, etc. Higher energy costs are already causing the demand shrinkage from consumers and I don't see any direct way that higher rates will help reduce gas demand or prices, unless, again, the Fed is "successful" in making the economy worse by a significant margin. On the other side of the coin, higher interest rates seem likely to increase the cost of new production and storage. Any company tying up working capital or expanding production is now experiencing higher interest costs and logic dictates that they will try and pass some of those costs on or not embark on some projects due to the higher cost of funds, So, the rate hikes’ direct impact on energy prices is to probably push them higher as the production and distribution systems face higher costs. Reducing Energy Prices, aka, Hitting the Economy Hard If interest rates are going to reduce energy prices it is going to come from cratering demand for anything and everything that uses energy that can be affected by interest rates! Housing/Real Estate/Construction. I have no idea how much energy goes into building a new home, but I assume a non-trivial amount, The materials that go into constructing a building can be energy intensive [copper piping, etc,], The transportation of these materials to the building site is also expensive, We are already seeing negative data in the housing sector [new home permits are down, expectations for new home sales are declining, the Fannie Mae Home Purchase Sentiment Index is at its lowest level in a decade [except very briefly in March 2020 during the Covid lockdowns], I'm sure I could find more dato pointing to housing slowing, but maybe highlighting that the Bankrate.com 5/1 ARM national average is at 4.1% versus 2.75% at the start of the year, is sufficient, We could look at 30-year mortgages and really shock you, but I think that the 5/1 is as interesting as the rate environment because it demonstrates that there is little relief anywhere along the curve for those needing new mortgages. Autos. Annualized total U.S, auto sales [published by WARD'S automotive] have fallen recently. This measure has been "choppy" to say the least as auto sales have clearly been hit by supply issues. For many makes and models, I'm hearing the wait time is 6 months for a car where you pick the features and it is built to your specifications [which had become the "normal" way of buying cars]. So, maybe, just maybe, the sales here are still being impacted by that, but I’d have to guess that rising auto loan costs are playing a role as well. The Manheim used vehicle value index is still very high, but has stabilized of late. If that stabilization is related to higher loan costs, then it is bad for the auto industry. If it is related to new cars and trucks being more readily available, it isn't a great sign, since that means the new auto sales indications cannot be entirely explained away by supply constraints. My understanding, given the steel and other components, is a lot of energy goes into producing a new automobile. So, I guess it is "good" news that slowing auto sales [and presumably production] will curb energy demand? Consumer Purchases and Delivery, Everywhere you turn there are stories and anecdotes about consumer purchasing slowing down, CONsumer CONfidence [as discussed last weekend] is atrocious! Not only does energy go into the production of the goods that the consumer was purchasing, but with home delivery being such a feature of today's purchasing behavior, energy consumption should go down as delivery services slow down [and as they continue to become more efficient - a process spurred on by higher gas prices]. I’m not sure whether to laugh or cry. Higher interest rates will "help" reduce demand for autos, housing, and general consumer consumption, Apparently, that is good, because it reduces demand for energy and energy inflation [as well as inflation for those products]. I can see that, but I cannot help but think that we need to Be Careful What You Wish For! A Special Place in Hell for Inventories I fear that inventories were a big part of the rise in inflation and would contribute to stabilizing prices [all else being equal] and that recent rate hikes are going to turn a "normal" normalization into something far more dangerous, Manufacturing and Trade Inventories grew from 2014 until COVID at a steady pace, This seemed to correlate nicely with the growing U.S. and global economy. They dropped with supply chain issues, but were back to pre-COVID levels by last summer. Then, from late last summer until the end of April [most recent data point for this series], these inventories grew rapidly! Companies worried about supply chain issues overstocked. This could lead to much lower future orders. Companies shifting to "just in case" from "just in time" need higher inventories, so that part would be stable, but costs of carrying inventory have increased, Maybe companies used straight line extrapolation to accumulate inventory to meet expected consumer demand. That is bad for inventories if the demand isn't materializing! It is extra bad if consumers pulled forward demand in response to their supply chain concerns, meaning that any simplistic estimate of future demand [always problematic, though easy] is even further off the mark as the extrapolation was based on a faulty premise [which is not thinking consumers responded to supply chain issues]. We may have an inventory overhang in the economy. While inventories are significantly higher than pre-COVID levels, the number of people working has still not returned to pre-COVID levels, Yeah, I get that it is far easier to "spend now, pay later" than it used to be through a variety of fintech solutions [ignoring rising interest costs] and that the "wealth effect" and "gambling" culture allows for more spending per job [or maybe it did a few months ago, but not now?] Maybe I'm just a stick in the mud, but... When I look at this chart, I see the correlation between total number of people working and inventory has been completely dislocated! [It also makes me question some of the supply chain issues we allegedly have]. Again, this potential inventory overhang is "amazing" if you want to slow orders and "fix" inflation by having to work off excess inventory rather than adding more. Apologies, if you're tired of reading my snarky comments about things being "good" for inflation fighting. I'm tired of writing them, but cannot think of what else to do. But the Economy is So Resilient? More on this later,,. The "Disruptive Portfolio" Wealth Destruction We have examined the concept of Disruptive Portfolio Construction and continue to think that this is playing a major role in how markets are trading, but increasingly this creates a potential shock to the economy, Let's start with crypto, Bitcoin briefly dropped below $19,000 Saturday morning. I have no idea where it will be by the time you are reading this, but I am targeting $10,000 or less for bitcoin within a month or so. First the "altcoins" [some of which are derisively referred to as "sh*t-coins"] are a complete mess. Solana is down 88% from its November 2021 highs and is roughly back to where it "debuted" in June 2012. Dogecoin, which I think was originally created as a joke, but rose to 70 cents [I think the weekend of Elon Musk's Saturday Night Live appearance] is back to 5 cents, which I guess is still good for something that was originally created as a joke. Ethereum, a "smart contract" that has some use cases very different than bitcoin and was often talked about as a superior product, is down 80% from its November 2021 highs. Under the Bloomberg CRYP page there are 25 things listed as "Crypto Assets". Maybe if I looked at each one I'd find some with a different story, but somehow, I doubt it. Okay, I lied, I couldn't resist, I had never heard of Polkadot, but it looks like it was launched in April 2021 at $40, declined to $11, rallied to $54 in November 2021, and is now down to $7 [at least the name is still cute]. But bitcoin is the story I’m looking at because it is the biggest and the one that seems to have the most direct ties to the broader market. Crypto, to me, is often about adoption. It was why I got bullish a couple of years ago and caught at least part of the wave. Back then, every day some new, easier, better way to own crypto was being announced. Companies and famous billionaires were putting it on their corporate balance sheets. FOMO was everywhere with people racing to put ever higher targets on its future price and those who didn't have anyone to jump on to the bandwagon with were hiring people who could put on an ever-higher price target with a straight face. That ended a while ago and we are in the "disadoption" phase [spellcheck says disadoption isn't a word, but I'm sticking with it]. Or as I wrote the other day, which the FT picked up on, we have moved from FOMO [Fear Of Missing Out] to FOHO [Fear of Holding On]. Even more concerning is a world where HODLING [originally either a mistype of HOLDING that gained traction or short for Holding On for Dear Life] is more prevalent and many people are now unable to exit their positions even if they wanted to. There are some serious "plumbing" issues right now in the crypto space. Maybe the decentralized nature of crypto will work and be extremely resilient [I cannot fully discount that possibility] but maybe, just maybe, there is a reason banks and exchanges have regulators who enforce rules to protect everyone [yes, I can already see the flame mail accusing me of FUD and not understanding how self-regulating is better, etc, but then all I do is spend about 10 minutes looking at some of the shills out there and fall back to thinking "adult supervision" might be wise]. Stablecoins. Stablecoins are what I would call a "thunk" layer in programming language, It is an intermediate layer between two things, in this case, cryptocurrencies and fiat, Terra/LUNA got wiped out, but it was an "algo" based stablecoin which many, in hindsight, say was a flawed design [clearly it was], but that didn't stop it from growing to $20 billion with some big-name investors engaged. Tether is the one garnering a lot of attention now. It is still the largest stablecoin and it did survive on "attack" of sorts after the Terra/LUNA fiasco. The issue with Tether is that it purports to be fully backed by "safe" assets, yet will not produce audited financials. The disarray in stablecoins should at the very least slow adoption. Freezing Accounts. Celsius blocked withdrawals 5 days ago and as of the time I'm typing this, it was still frozen. Babel Finance announced Friday that it would stop withdrawals. I found this one particularly interesting, as in May, according to news reports, it raised $80 million in a Series B financing, valuing it at $2 billion. Maybe needing to suspend withdrawals isn't a big issue, or maybe it is a sign of how rapidly things can change in the space? Right now, I’d be more worried about extracting value from the system rather than adding to the system. Yes, these are isolated cases [so far] and there are some big players in the space which presumably are not at risk of such an event, but having lived through WorldCom and Enron, and then the mortgage fiasco of 2008, I'm heavily skewed to believing that the piping issues will spread and get worse before they get better. Industry Layoffs. In a rapidly evolving industry, one with so much potential, it makes me nervous how quickly we are seeing layoffs announced publicly or finding out about them privately. Maybe I'm cynical, but to me that signals that the insiders aren't seeing adoption increase, which for anything as momentum dependent as crypto has been, seems like a signal for more pain. The big question is how many of the "whales" and big "hodlers" will buy here to stabilize their existing holdings or whether some level of risk management is deemed prudent. You cannot go more than two minutes talking to a true believer without "generational wealth" being mentioned [trust me, I've tried]. At what point does wanting to stay really rich become the goal rather than trying for generational wealth, even if it means converting back ("cringe") to something as miserable as fiat? I expect more wealth destruction in crypto and that will hurt the economy! The wealth itself is gone, curbing spending [I'm already noticing how much I miss the Lambo photos all over social media]. The jobs are now disappearing, curbing spending. The advertising will likely slow down [though not having to watch Matt Damon or LeBron wax on about crypto might be a good thing for our sanity]. But seriously, ad dollars from this lucrative source [I'm assuming it's lucrative given how often ads appear in my social stream, during major sporting events, and even in an arena [or two] could be drying up just as retailers are also struggling. It seems that every week there is a conference somewhere dedicated to crypto [with Miami and Austin seemingly becoming a non-stop crypto conference/party]. This could turn out to hurt many companies and even some cities, Semiconductor purchases could decline. Mining rigs have been a big user of semiconductors, All you have to do is pull up a chart of bitcoin versus some select semi-conductor manufacturers and the correlation is obvious, Energy usage could decline. If mining slows [as a function of lower prices and less activity] then we might see less energy used by the crypto mining industry [the public miners are in some cases down almost 90% from their November 2021 highs, presumably because the industry is less profitable]. Ultimately this could reduce energy prices and semiconductor prices/backlogs, which would generally be good for the broader economy and would help the Fed on their inflation fight, but could hurt some individual firms that rely on this industry. My outlook for crypto is that we have more downside in sight and that will hurt broader markets and might do far more damage to the economy than many of the crypto haters realize. It is fine to dislike crypto, but it is naïve not to realize how much wealth was there helping spending and how impactful a slowdown on this industry could be! Which brings me briefly to "disruptive" stocks. The wealth created by these companies was simply astounding, Whether remaining in the hands of private equity or coming public through IPOs or via a SPAC, there was incredible wealth generated, Investors were rewarded, but so were the founders, sponsors, and employees! There was great wealth created as these innovators and disruptors [along with a mix of more traditional companies] were rewarded. I am extremely concerned about the employee wealth lost. I cannot imagine the personal wealth destruction that has occurred for many, especially mid-level to mildly senior employees. Just enough of a taste of the equity exposure to do well.  Many have restrictions so have not exited and many had options, not all of which were struck at zero, so they may be back to zero, That wealth lost has to translate into lower economic activity, especially as the losses seem more persistent than they might have been a few months ago! But investors have also been hit hard, and possibly harder than most people factor in. I will use ARKK here to illustrate an important point and why a subset of investors is in far more financial difficulty than might be apparent [assuming "traditional" portfolio construction]. ARKK, not accounting for dividends, is back to where it traded in the aftermath of the COVID shutdowns in March 2020. The number of shares outstanding have almost tripled since then. Yes, the number of shares traded daily is large and they frequently change hands, but on average, this shows that some large number of shares were issued as the fund price rallied. Many of those investors [on average] were originally reworded, but now, on average, those shares are somewhere between small losses and serious carnage. ARKK is down to $7.7 billion in AUM as of Friday from a peak of $28 billion in March 2021. The bulk of that change in market cap can be attributed to performance as shares outstanding are still near their peak. I highlight ARKK because I don't feel like talking about individual companies, the portfolio has changed so much, the performance is more generic than company specific, and ETFs are often just the observable "tip of the iceberg" of major trends that are more difficult to observe, but are still happening, TQQQ, the triple leveraged QQQ, exhibits a similar pattern and all the gambling stocks are doing poorly, which I attribute to incredible wealth destruction for a subset of investors, The three groups that I believe were most hurt are: Relatively young people, who took a very aggressive approach to trading/gambling [with relatively small amounts of money] that they can make back via their job earnings over time [or they might now need a job if they were living off of the trading/gambling money]. I don't see a material economic impact from this group, It may even encourage workforce participation, Aggressive disruptive investors. Many people went all-in on some version of a disruptive portfolio [I didn't even bring up those who treated mega-tech stocks as a bank account with dividends and upside], There could be some serious wealth lost here that will affect the economy [and is likely already affecting the economy], Employees, some of whom also adopted disruptive portfolios. As the likelihood of a near-term rebound recedes, there will be wealth preservation as a focus. The number of IPOs and SPACs that are not just below their all-time highs, but below their launch prices, is scary, and that really hurts the employees, or at least those who couldn't sell, didn't sell, or sold, but diversified into a disruptive portfolio. This is all deflationary (which I’m told is a good thing] but I cannot see how this is a good thing for the economy or broader markets! But the Economy is So Resilient? I challenge this. If we have an inventory overhang, the economy may grind to a halt far quicker than many are expecting. If banks start tightening lending practices [clear evidence this is occurring and will likely get worse than better] we will see credit contraction and that will feed into the economy, rapidly. We have NEVER gone from low rates and QE to higher rates and QT successfully [we haven't had many attempts, but I remain convinced that QE is very different than rate cuts and that it affects asset prices quite directly - see Stop Trying to Translate Balance Sheet to BPS. The wealth effect must be bad overall and devastating to some segments. My view is that: Things definitely hit faster than people realized. Often the inflection point has already occurred while many are still applying straight line extrapolation to what they perceive to be the still “existing" trend. "Gumming" up the piping often leads to more problems, rather than a quick solution [and I completely believe the current high levels of volatility in markets and lack of depth in liquidity is a form of gumming up the pipes]. If the problem hits the financial sector it is too late (unless immediate/strong support from central banks is provided). So far, the banking sector is looking good, though Europe is lagging the U.S, in that respect. The ECB came up with half-hearted efforts to reduce Italian bond yields relative to others. The JGB stuck to their yield curve targeting, but markets will soon just expect that to get reversed at their next meeting. Finally, the Fed, unlike in March 2020, will have difficulty reversing course and helping. The good news is so far this isn’t hitting the banking system, but I am watching this sector closely, especially in Europe. Risk happens fast! It's a phrase often said, but often ignored. I'm not ignoring it right now. Commodity Wars? This is a bigger question, and one that is coming up more frequently, but have we entered into a global "war" to secure natural resources? I think that, increasingly, this is the reality we live in and that will be inflationary, just like reshoring, onshoring, securing supply chains, and “transforming“ energy production/ distribution, etc., will all be inflationary longer-term as well, But I've taken up too much space already today and that isn’t a question that needs to be answered to drive my current thinking, Bottom Line I am including what I wrote last week because it largely worked and my views haven't materially changed, I added some color and exactness on the views while definitely shifting from DEFCON 3 to DEFC0N2. I want to own Treasuries here at the wide end of the range, but for the first time, I'm scared that we could break out of this range (big problem]. The 10-year finished almost unchanged on the week, going from 3.16% last Friday to close at 3.23% (it did gap to 3.48% on Tuesday]. The swings in the 2-year were even more "insane" given the level and maturity. So, as recession talk heats up, yields should go down, but I’d spend a bit of option premium protecting against a rapid gap to higher yields. Credit spreads should outperform equities here, though both may be weak, (Verbatim from last week]. Equities could be hit by the double whammy of earnings concerns and multiple reduction. I am told there is a lot of support, but I think that we see new lows this week unless central banks change their tune, which seems incredibly unlikely). I still find it mind boggling that we prefer recession to inflation. Crypto should remain under pressure. I think bitcoin will be sub $20k< before it reaches $35k. Now I think it will be $12,000 before $24,000. Have a great Father's Day and enjoy the Juneteenth long weekend! (Though, I have to admit, I kind of wish markets were open on Monday because this is the trading environment that deep down, I have to admit, I enjoy!] Tyler Durden Tue, 06/21/2022 - 07:20.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytJun 21st, 2022

How To Retire Early – The Definitive Guide

Have you dreamed of early retirement? ‌How about the freedom it brings – financial and otherwise? ‌It’s not just you who dreams of‌ ‌early‌ ‌retirement. In fact, since 1992, people have embraced the F.I.R.E. movement. ‌It has become more popular in recent years. ‌As an example, Natixis Investment Managers reported that Generation Y (ages 26-61) […] Have you dreamed of early retirement? ‌How about the freedom it brings – financial and otherwise? ‌It’s not just you who dreams of‌ ‌early‌ ‌retirement. In fact, since 1992, people have embraced the F.I.R.E. movement. ‌It has become more popular in recent years. ‌As an example, Natixis Investment Managers reported that Generation Y (ages 26-61) wants to retire at the age of 60 on average. if (typeof jQuery == 'undefined') { document.write(''); } .first{clear:both;margin-left:0}.one-third{width:31.034482758621%;float:left;margin-left:3.448275862069%}.two-thirds{width:65.51724137931%;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element input{border:0;border-radius:0;padding:8px}form.ebook-styles .af-element{width:220px;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer{width:115px;float:left;margin-left: 6px;}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer input.submit{width:115px;padding:10px 6px 8px;text-transform:uppercase;border-radius:0;border:0;font-size:15px}form.ebook-styles .af-body.af-standards input.submit{width:115px}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy{width:100%;font-size:12px;margin:10px auto 0}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy p{font-size:11px;margin-bottom:0}form.ebook-styles .af-body input.text{height:40px;padding:2px 10px !important} form.ebook-styles .error, form.ebook-styles #error { color:#d00; } form.ebook-styles .formfields h1, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-logo, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-footer { display: none; } form.ebook-styles .formfields { font-size: 12px; } form.ebook-styles .formfields p { margin: 4px 0; } Get The Full Henry Singleton Series in PDF Get the entire 4-part series on Henry Singleton in PDF. Save it to your desktop, read it on your tablet, or email to your colleagues (function($) {window.fnames = new Array(); window.ftypes = new Array();fnames[0]='EMAIL';ftypes[0]='email';}(jQuery));var $mcj = jQuery.noConflict(true); Q1 2022 hedge fund letters, conferences and more There is a slight hiccup, unfortunately. 59% of Americans don’t believe that have enough to retire, let along retire early. There are number of reasons why a majority of people feel this way. Everything from overwhelming debt, the impact of the pandemic, and inflation. At the same time, all is not lost. ‌As well as getting your retirement savings back on track, you might be able to‌ still ‌retire‌ ‌early. How? Well, let’s show you in the following guide. What is Early Retirement? Before‌ ‌you commit to early retirement, make sure you understand what exactly it means. In the past, early retirement was defined as retiring before the age of‌ ‌65. ‌Technically, this is true. Nevertheless, it’s an evolving concept. You don’t have to give up work completely by taking early retirement. ‌Rather, your employment is purely voluntary. ‌That means you’re free to live your life as you see fit. Why? Because you have the financial freedom to do so. Believe it or not, people as young as 30 or 40 can take early retirement. ‌But most of them also work in some capacity, such as with their passion projects or other endeavors. More simply put, people who work this way do it for themselves, not because they have to. It is important to remember that work can be fulfilling, meaningful, and purposeful. ‌Additionally, some studies suggest that people who retire early and do not work at all may die earlier than those who remain employed. Conversely, early retirement enables you to spend more time with your family and friends. ‌You can‌ ‌also‌ ‌start your own company or pursue new hobbies. Or, maybe you’re burned out from the daily grind. For many, stopping working isn’t the ultimate goal. ‌Instead, it’s about having the freedom to do what you want. What are the Pros and Cons of Early Retirement? Getting to early retirement can be tough. But the rewards are typically worth all of the struggles once you reach it. ‌Again, as soon as you retire, you are free to spend it as you choose. Among the things you can do with all that free time are: Bond with family and friends. You can visit your friends and family more often when you retire and stay for longer periods of time. Take extended vacations. The question might arise, “Who on earth can spend a month in Europe or take weeklong cruises?” ‌Now that you’re retired, the answer is obvious: You can. Enjoy hobbies. Your days can be filled with the things that bring you joy once you retire, whether that is golf or ‌reading. Volunteer. There are many reasons why people do not volunteer, one of them being lack of‌ ‌time. ‌Giving back to your community becomes a lot easier once you retire. Early retirement might sound amazing, but there are a few downsides. ‌There are even experts who claim that early retirement isn’t worth the effort. ‌For‌ ‌example, 64% of Americans live‌ ‌paycheck‌ ‌to‌ ‌paycheck. ‌Thus, pushing yourself to fit into an early retirement plan can be stressful and counter-productive. Another drawback? You might get bored. In early retirement, you may wish that you were still working so you would have something to keep your mind occupied. Yes. You get to travel and engage with new hobbies. But, will this truly keep you stimulated for the next 40 or 50 years? Overall, the financial risks of early retirement are substantial. ‌That‌ ‌is,‌ ‌unless you‌ ‌have‌ ‌a number of sources of income or have ‌more‌ ‌than‌ ‌enough‌ ‌money‌ ‌in‌ ‌the‌ ‌bank. If not, early retirement may ‌completely bankrupt your dreams. Phase 1: Pre-Retirement Planning When you’re young, you can adopt the right mindset and financial plan to help you retire early. If that sounds daunting, here’s how you can get the ball rolling. What does early retirement mean to you? Retiring early doesn’t mean you have to stop working — unless that’s your endgame. ‌Early retirement is instead a term used to describe a situation where an individual is not working‌ ‌‌to‌‌ ‌‌support themselves. It simply means that you’re financially independent enough to stop working your 9-to-5 job. ‌Nevertheless, you can still work part-time or find ways to earn a passive income. But, since you aren’t putting in 40 pus hours a week working, you can spend that time however you please. Early retirement begins with you figuring out what it means ‌to‌ ‌you. ‌‌‌After that, you can begin to move in that direction. ‌ The following questions may help you define‌ ‌your‌ ‌ideal‌ ‌early‌ ‌retirement: Are you planning on moving or staying in the same place? How will the cost of living change for you? Which kind of lifestyle are you looking for? Hobbies and travel are expensive, for example. ‌But, volunteering and spending time with your family are not. Would you prefer to work‌ ‌part-time,‌ ‌full-time,‌ ‌or‌ ‌not‌ ‌at‌ ‌all? By answering these questions accurately, you’ll be able to calculate when you’ll be able to retire. Save money on a larger scale. It’s crucial that you change your attitude about money if you’re committed to retiring‌ ‌early. ‌The process begins with making conscious trade-offs when spending money. Contrary to popular belief, ‌fiscal discipline along will not solve the problem. For example, cutting back on high-cost expenditures is ‌more sensible than giving up your daily latte. ‌You can stick to your budget by making your coffee at home. But you won’t be able to retire early with this method. You should, simply put, live ‌below‌ ‌your‌ ‌means. ‌This will allow you to save a significant portion‌ ‌of‌ ‌your‌ ‌earnings. What’s the appropriate amount to save? ‌Planners recommend saving 30% of one’s earnings over 40 years,‌ ‌instead‌ ‌of‌ ‌10%‌ ‌to‌ ‌15%. You might think that’s an impossible‌ ‌goal. ‌But it’s possible if you automate your savings. The reason being is that you’ll stash this money away before you can spend it. ‌You should also contribute to your savings whenever you receive a windfall of cash, such as a bonus or tax refund. Keep your lifestyle in check. It’s okay to reward yourself when you get a ‌generous raise or promotion. ‌However, with greater earnings comes a natural tendency to spend more money. ‌Financial‌ ‌advisors‌ ‌refer to this as “lifestyle creep.” How can you keep your lifestyle in check? You can save half of those additional dollars by setting up automatic deductions from your paycheck or making a bank transfer. But you should also refrain from feeling restricted when using your dollars. ‌If you find ways to cut costs or search for the best deals, you can still travel. Perhaps you could stay with a friend or family member rather than book a hotel. This can’t be stressed enough. Retiring doesn’t mean that you stop‌ ‌working. Taking a part-time job or starting a side business are possibilities. ‌Because you’re still generating an income, you can still enjoy a comfortable lifestyle. Become more aware‌ ‌of‌ ‌your‌ ‌financial‌ ‌decisions. Regardless of your retirement plan, the only way to achieve your retirement goals is to make wise financial decisions. ‌You can secure your financial success in the future if you make smart decisions today. What’s the best way to get started? ‌Get the basics down first, like; Spending only what you can afford. Create a budget to keep you from overspending. ‌‌If necessary, try creating a mock retirement budget with your monthly expenses for retirement as well. ‌To calculate how much maintaining that lifestyle would cost, you can work backwards. Paying‌ ‌off‌ ‌high-interest debts,‌ ‌such‌ ‌as‌ ‌credit‌ ‌cards. Creating a fund for emergencies so that you won’t be forced to tap into‌ ‌savings. Putting your tax returns and bonuses to good use, as well as your savings from unnecessary purchases. The obvious examples are paying off debt or contributing to a retirement or emergency fund. But, let’s also address the elephant in the room. Housing. Your‌ ‌house is probably your biggest expenditure, and therefore your biggest opportunity for savings. ‌According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Americans spend a third of their income on housing. In order to figure out what you can realistically afford, check out calculators provided by Bankrate, NerdWallet, or Mortgage Loan. If you can’t downsize and buy a home that you can actually pay off your mortgage in a shorter time-frame. More likely than not, you’ve heard this advice before. ‌There’s a good reason for this. ‌By following these steps, you can put money aside, plan for the future, and manage the unpredictable. Maximize your tax savings. Do you really want to retire‌ ‌early? ‌As much money as possible should be deposited in tax-favored accounts if that’s the case. Maximizing your 401(k) would be the logical starting point). ‌As of 2022, employees can contribute up to $20,500 ‌to‌ ‌their‌ ‌401(k). ‌The catch-up contribution for individuals over 50 years old in 2022 will be $6,000 more. You can also choose‌ ‌a‌ ‌Roth‌ ‌IRA. A Roth IRA contribution is‌ ‌after-tax. ‌However, you must meet certain income requirements to contribute to a Roth IRA. ‌To qualify, your Modified Adjusted Gross Income (MAGI) must be under $144,000 in‌ ‌2022 if you’re filing as a single person. ‌To contribute to a Roth IRA for tax year 2022, your MAGI must be less than 214,000 if you’re married and file jointly. Combined,‌ ‌you‌ ‌can‌ ‌contribute‌ ‌these amounts to all ‌your‌ ‌IRAs; $6,000 for those under 50 $7,000 if you’re 50 years old or older Additionally, you can contribute a portion of the income from your side job as well as your regular job to a SEP-IRA. You may also want to consider putting as much into a health savings account as possible if you have a high-deductible health plan. ‌HSAs can sometimes be a better investment than 401(k)s when certain factors apply. ‌HSA earnings are not taxed if they are used to pay for qualified medical expenses today or in the future, and taxable withdrawals are also not allowed. ‌For a self-only plan, you can contribute $3,650, and for a family plan, $7,300 as of 2022 Phase 2: ‌Getting Ready to Dive Into Early Retirement Nearing your early retirement? ‌Make sure these key elements of your plan are in place. Make an estimation of‌ ‌your‌ ‌retirement‌ ‌savings. In order to plan a successful early retirement lifestyle, you must estimate your expenses and income. ‌You can estimate your retirement income by combining your Social Security, pension, and any side jobs you have. Most retirees depend on Social Security and, ‌less frequently, pensions for income. ‌With a pension, the payments are often available as early as age 55, and with Social Security at age 62. ‌If you take early benefits, however, your monthly benefits will be smaller. ‌In the long run, your retirement plan will be affected by Social Security, even if it is only the cream on top. You will be able to see the projected benefits on the Social Security website if you file early. ‌If you’re part of a couple who earns two incomes, it’s best to discuss your options with a Social Security offiicial or a financial professional. Suppose you die with a higher monthly benefit than your spouse. ‌The‌ ‌earlier you claim your benefits, the less you will receive, and the less your spouse will receive in the event you pass away. Ask your employer’s pension administrator how much your pension payment will be at different ages. ‌With this info, you’ll have a better idea of how much income you’ll get. You may have difficulty calculating your expenses, however. Establish a‌ ‌retirement‌ ‌budget. When you are within five years of your desired early retirement, think about the lifestyle you want and what it might cost you. ‌Determining where and what activities you will engage in will assist you with this. ‌It’s an incorrect belief that a person’s expenses will decrease after they stop working. ‌Actually, retired people spend about 20% more during retirement than during their working years. Even though you’ll have more time to spend on hobbies and trips, this obviously costs more. ‌Moreover, if you leave the workforce young, you can enjoy an active and most likely costly retirement if you are healthy and energetic. Budget items may rise faster than inflation overall, so you must keep this in mind. ‌For example, health care costs could rise as much as 7% or 10% annually. In some cases, a retirement income calculator such as‌ ‌T. Rowe Price’s Retirement Income Calculator ‌will let you know whether your retirement portfolio will allow you to retire early. Your retirement will be delayed if you reduce your lifestyle expectations, boost your savings, or delay your retirement. Just add up your pension, Social Security, and savings. ‌After this, calculate how much you would have to spend every month (including income taxes) if you were to retire five years early and become eligible for Social Security and pension benefits earlier. ‌It should give you an idea of how much you will need in retirement. But, to give you a ballpark figure, the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Consumer Expenditure Survey found that the average household earns $84,352 a year. In addition, the average household spends $72,258 each‌ ‌year. ‌The data also shows that roughly $5,854 is spent monthly on bills and other expenses. Make sure your health insurance is in place. Nobody wants to blow through retirement savings by paying for unanticipated medical expenses in the years between early retirement and Medicare eligibility. ‌Until‌ ‌you‌ ‌are eligible for Medicare, you will still need private health insurance. COBRA allows you to keep your employer-sponsored health insurance. But, you can also join the plan of your spouse or enroll in a health insurance plan through HealthCare.gov. ‌AARP and other organizations may offer‌ ‌discounts‌ ‌on‌ ‌coverage as well. You might also want to think about long-term care insurance. ‌It’s not just the long-term care costs that can be expensive, it’s medical insurance too. ‌In order to save money, you might like to research it while you’re still young. Even if you have some sort of health insurance, taking care of yourself is a surefire way to keep healthcare costs at bay. The most obvious places to start is eating a nutritious and balanced diet and engaging in physical activity. Don’t take any risks‌ ‌with‌ ‌your‌ ‌portfolio. Suppose you’re planning to retire at 50. You should be more conservative with your portfolio in your late 40s than your peers who plan to keep working until 65. ‌The objective is to avoid what’s called‌ ‌”sequence‌ ‌of‌ ‌return‌ ‌risk.” ‌This is the risk of having a series of bad markets occur at a time when your finances are particularly fragile. In fact, according to Dr. Wade Pfau, professor of retirement income at the American College of Financial Services, this is what makes the first couple of years in retirement so dangerous. “I’ve estimated that if somebody is planning for a 30-year retirement, the market returns they experience in the first 10 years can explain 80% of the retirement outcome,” he told Barron’s. “If you get a market downturn early on, and markets recover later on, that doesn’t help all that much when you’re spending from that portfolio because you have less remaining to benefit from the subsequent market recovery.” The solution? “There are four ways to manage the sequence-of-return risk,” Dr. Pfau adds. “One, spend conservatively. Two, spend flexibly.” You can manage sequence-of-return risk if you can reduce your spending after a market downturn by not selling as many shares to meet spending needs. “A third option is to be strategic about volatility in your portfolio, even using the idea of a rising equity glide path,” he states. “The fourth option is using buffer assets like cash, a reverse mortgage or whole life policy with cash value.” Create a 10-year financial buffer. “At least five years before their early retirement date, investors should set aside the amount of money required to provide income for their first five years of retirement,” says Phil Lubinski, CFP, co-founder of IncomeConductor. “This will effectively put a 10-year buffer between the money they need for early income and any market volatility that could take place during their five-year countdown to retirement.” By setting aside this money from their main retirement savings, investors are able to protect the wealth they’ve accumulated. ‌The recommended five years of income can be rolled into a new IRA. ‌These funds can then be invested in a portfolio designed for capital preservation, such as one using cash-based investments such as‌ ‌Treasury‌ ‌Bills‌ ‌or‌ ‌bonds, suggest E. Napoletano and Benjamin Curry in Forbes. With a separate account for the money you’ll need for retirement, you give yourself a cushion in case the market experiences‌ ‌volatility. ‌You’ll have years to bounce back from any losses experienced in your remaining investments under this model. Phase 3: ‌Maintaining and Sustaining Your Finances So, you were able to retire early. Congratulations! ‌However, while you’re in the initial stage of retirement, keep an eye on your compass and be prepared to correct course. Keep your retirement funds secure. “One of the biggest misconceptions many people have is that retirement simply means living off of their pension, Social Security, or retirement savings,” notes Pierre Raymond, cofounder of Global Equity Analytics & Research Services LLC (GEARS). “While this may be the case for a minority of people, the latter reveals that some Americans have still not placed any stress on their financial future when they reach the age of retirement.” A retiree’s expenses can become more manageable by investing in various stocks and portfolios, or perhaps taking out an annuity. An annuity offers a guaranteed lifetime income. Because of this, it’s an ideal supplement to other income sources. Raymond also suggests that you have an investment portfolio and minimize withdrawals from retirement funds. And, as mentioned several times already, think about how you can introduce new income streams. Some suggestions would be: Starting a blog or online course. Renting out a spare bedroom. Providing baby-or-petsitting services. House-sit internationally. Being a freelancer or local business consultant. Tutoring. Selling handmade goods online. Take a strategic approach to‌ ‌Social‌ ‌Security. Did you know ‌you‌ ‌can‌ ‌‌‌manage ‌the‌ ‌size‌ ‌of‌ ‌your‌ ‌Social‌ ‌Security‌ ‌check? ‌Yes, you can – to an‌ ‌extent. ‌The key is when you start getting‌ ‌benefits. “About 1 out of 3 Social Security recipients apply for benefits at the earliest age, which is 62,” writes author and certified financial planner Liz Weston. “It’s often a mistake.” “Benefits grow by a guaranteed 5% to 8% each year that the applicant delays,” ‌she‌ ‌adds. “Starting early also can stunt the survivor benefit that one spouse will have to live on when the other dies.” Don’t rush it. ‌Wait‌‌ ‌‌until the right time comes. ‌This will increase your Social Security benefits. Seek the advice of‌ ‌a‌ ‌financial‌ ‌advisor. In order to retire early there are two major challenges to consider: It takes less time to save for retirement. After retirement, you’ll have more free time. You should work with a financial advisor regularly — unless you’re a financial expert yourself. ‌An advisor can help you to develop an investment strategy so that you can meet your retirement goals. ‌In addition, a financial planner can show you how much you have to invest per month to hit your goals over‌ ‌time. Even after retirement, it’s possible for you to work with your advisor to ensure that your retirement funds last. ‌Income streams include dividend income, required minimum distributions, Social Security, defined-benefit plans, and rental income from real estate. Trust is imperative since you’ll probably work together for a long time. ‌Likewise, an advisor’s fee shouldn’t just be based on their time, but also their expertise. ‌In the end, hiring an advisor with the right expertise is more than worth it. Follow your plan, but enjoy life as well. Discipline and time are both essential for executing and maintaining your plan. ‌Save and invest while you can, but don’t forget to take advantage of your youth. ‌If you dream of touring Patagonia, you should do it when you’re younger and ‌in‌ ‌good‌ ‌health. In the words of early retiree Steven Adcock, “Sacrifice is necessary to retire early, but it’s not all we do, either. It is important to treat and reward ourselves along the way by celebrating those smaller achievements.” Frequently Asked Retirement Questions When can I retire? There is no set age to retire. ‌As long as you are able to retire, you can leave the workforce whenever you wish. There are some factors, however, that may limit when you can‌ ‌retire. ‌Pensions are usually available to employees after 20 to 30 years of service. Aside from that, Social Security benefits aren’t available until the age of 62. And Medicare won’t kick in until ‌65. ‌So, people covered by their employer’s health insurance may not be able to retire until 65. How‌ ‌much‌ ‌money‌ ‌do‌ ‌I‌ ‌need‌ ‌for retirement? An individual’s retirement income depends on a variety of factors. The factors considered include Social Security benefits, monthly expenses, retirement age, and life expectancy. ‌It’s helpful to have a financial advisor help you figure out how much you’ll need for a comfortable retirement. How will early retirement affect my Social Security benefits? In general, you can receive Social Security retirement benefits as early as‌ ‌age 62. ‌Benefits may, however,‌ ‌be‌ ‌reduced‌ ‌by‌ ‌up‌ ‌to‌ ‌30%. “Workers planning for their retirement should be aware that retirement benefits depend on age at retirement,” notes the Social Security Administration. “If a worker begins receiving benefits before his/her normal (or full) retirement age, the worker will receive a reduced benefit. A worker can choose to retire as early as age 62, but doing so may result in a reduction of as much as 30 percent.” “Starting to receive benefits after normal retirement age may result in larger benefits,” adds the SSA. “With delayed retirement credits, a person can receive his or her largest benefit by retiring at age 70.” For each month before normal retirement age, you lose 5/9 of one percent of your benefits. ‌When the number of months over 36 is exceeded, the benefit is reduced by 5/12 of one percent per month. “For example, if the number of reduction months is 60 (the maximum number for retirement at 62 when normal retirement age is 67), then the benefit is reduced by 30 percent,” the SSA states. “This maximum reduction is calculated as 36 months times 5/9 of 1 percent plus 24 months times 5/12 of 1 percent.” Should I pay off my mortgage before retiring? At the end of the day, it’s a personal choice. ‌People who itemize deductions can reduce their taxes by paying mortgage interest. ‌In addition, if the interest rate is low enough, it might make more sense financially to invest money rather than pay off the debt. If you plan on retiring comfortably, it’s important to think about how paying off your mortgage will impact your ability to do so. ‌Though a debt-free retirement is ideal, don’t use too much money from a retirement account to pay off a house. What does a good monthly retirement income look like? An individual’s definition of an adequate monthly retirement income may differ from another’s. ‌Various factors will determine how much retirement income is adequate. ‌This includes your retirement lifestyle, any dependents you have (kids, grandkids, debts, etc.) and your health. A good retirement income is usually between 70% and 80% of an individual’s last income before retirement. Article by John Rampton, Due About the Author John Rampton is an entrepreneur and connector. When he was 23 years old while attending the University of Utah he was hurt in a construction accident. His leg was snapped in half. He was told by 13 doctors he would never walk again. Over the next 12 months he had several surgeries, stem cell injections and learned how to walk again. During this time he studied and mastered how to make money work for you, not against you. He has since taught thousands through books, courses and written over 5000 articles online about finance, entrepreneurship and productivity. He has been recognized as the Top Online Influencers in the World by Entrepreneur Magazine and Finance Expert by Time . He is the Founder and CEO of Due. Updated on Jun 14, 2022, 3:35 pm (function() { var sc = document.createElement("script"); sc.type = "text/javascript"; sc.async = true;sc.src = "//mixi.media/data/js/95481.js"; sc.charset = "utf-8";var s = document.getElementsByTagName("script")[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(sc, s); }()); window._F20 = window._F20 || []; _F20.push({container: 'F20WidgetContainer', placement: '', count: 3}); _F20.push({finish: true});.....»»

Category: blogSource: valuewalkJun 14th, 2022

Check out 18 pitch decks that legal-tech startups used to raise millions

Insider has collected legal-tech pitch decks that startup founders used to nab VC funding. See decks from Contractbook, Evisort, Disco and more. The legal-tech space raised more than $1 billion in 2021.Samantha Lee/Insider Funding for legal tech surpassed $1 billion in 2021.  VC firms, private equity, and even traditional law players are pouring money in.  Check out these 18 pitch decks for examples of how legal-tech startup founders sold their vision.  See more stories on Insider's business page. As law firms and their clients seek to digitize and streamline work, VCs have been opening their wallets to the growing legal-tech space. The total value of deals in the global legal-tech market through the end of the third quarter of 2021 clocked in at $1.47 billion — far surpassing the $607 million figure from all of 2020, according to data from PitchBook.PE firms invested upwards of a record-breaking $7 billion in legal tech and outsourced legal services in 2021, according to estimates by JEGI. The figure is likely to be larger, since many PE firms don't disclose their deal numbers.Here's a look at our legal-tech pitch deck collection.PaladinKristen Sonday, Paladin's co-founder and chief executive officer.Courtesy of Sonday.Paladin, which pitches itself as an innovator in the emerging field of "justice tech," has a pro bono management platform that it hopes will revolutionize how law firms and corporate legal departments engage with legal-services groups.The company offers free versions of its tools to legal-services companies. The platform is meant to streamline communications between the pro bono departments of law firms or corporate legal departments and the outside groups looking for those services, according to co-founder Kristen Sonday.Its Series A round was led by World Within, an impact fund based in Atlanta, with other investors including Mark Cuban and Hyde Park Ventures. Investors also include Vamos Ventures, C2 Ventures, and Sorenson Institute.See the 14-slide pitch deck that helped the pro bono tech startup Paladin score an $8 million Series A DellaChristopher Frerebeau, founder and CEO of DellaDellaContract review startup Della announced in March that it raised a $2.5 million seed round, led by Pragmatech Ventures.Founded in 2018, the London-based startup uses artificial intelligence to help lawyers review contracts faster. The startup wants to enable businesses to become less reliant on law firms for low-value tasks, and founder Christopher Frerebeau sees a large demand for those services.Legal-tech startup Della used this 14-page pitch deck to raise $2.5 million in seed fundingProof Technology Eric Voogt, a longtime trial lawyer, founded Proof Technology.Proof TechnologyProof Technology, a service of process and e-discovery platform, announced in March 2022 that it had raised $7 million in Series A funding. Blue Heron Capital and the LegalTech Fund led the round.In 2017, longtime trial lawyer Eric Voogt founded Proof because he grew frustrated with an inability to provide legal services to the 80% of Americans who can't afford them.The legal-tech startup streamlines the first stages of the litigation process, helping law firms deliver complaints and subpoenas to parties of a lawsuit more quickly and cheaply.Here's the 14-page pitch deck that legal-tech startup Proof Technology used to raise a $7 million Series ANew Era ADRRich Lee, New Era ADR's CEO and cofounder.New Era ADRNew Era ADR, an alternative dispute-resolution platform, raised $4.6 million in seed funding led by NextView Ventures.New Era helps companies handle large legal disputes virtually, from filing a case to uploading documents during discovery. The company hopes to drive efficiency and predictability by providing set timelines and fixed fees, which are split among the parties. An expedited arbitration of 60 days costs $10,000, and a standard arbitration of 100 days costs $35,000.See the 13-page pitch deck legal-disputes startup New Era ADR used to nab $4.6 million in seed fundingJustpointJustpoint founder Victor Bornstein.JustpointJustpoint, a legal-tech startup that matches personal injury victims with lawyers, raised an additional $6.9 million in a seed extension round led by Divergent Capital and Charge Ventures.Founded in 2018, Justpoint uses artificial intelligence to help personal injury claimants find the best lawyers suited to their case.Founder Victor Bornstein came up with the idea after struggling to consistently find high-quality lawyers for his family, who he said have been victims of human rights violations like political persecution not once, but five times.Here's the 15-page pitch deck that landed personal injury lawyer startup Justpoint an extra $6.9 million in seed fundingTime by PingRyan Alshak, CEO and cofounder of Time by PingTime by PingLegal-tech startup Time by Ping announced in March 2022 that it raised $36.5 million for its Series B.Ryan Alshak, an attorney, and Kourosh Zamani, a business executive, founded the company in 2016 as a way to help lawyers and other professionals automate the cumbersome timekeeping process. Time by Ping integrates with commonly used programs like Microsoft Suite, email, Slack, and internet browsers to track how much lawyers spend on each task. It then automatically creates time entries using natural language processing and machine learning, and presents that data in a dashboard.Here's the 22-page pitch deck that legal timekeeping startup Time by Ping used to nab a $36.5 million Series BLegal.ioLegal.io is a legal hiring marketplace for enterprise companies.Legal.ioLegal.io, a hiring marketplace for legal talent, announced in March it raised a $11.6 million Series A round led by Tiger Global.Founded in 2015 by a former DLA Piper lawyer, Legal.io helps large enterprise companies like Zoom, Medallia, and Nextdoor hire lawyers and other legal professionals. It has over 40 enterprise customers, and 70% of those are publicly listed companies with legal departments, according to Pieter Gunst, the startup's founder and CEO.Legal.io was founded on the thesis that as online networks like LinkedIn become more mature, there was a greater need for industry-specific hiring platforms. The startup is geared toward the needs of the legal industry, especially as lawyers are increasingly eyeing nontraditional paths away from Big Law.Here's the 17-page pitch deck legal-job marketplace Legal.io used to impress Tiger Global and raise an $11.6 million Series APainWorthMike Zouhri and Chris Trudel, the cofounders of PainWorth.Darren Jacknisky/Bluefish StudiosPainWorth, a personal injury claim tool, raised a $1.7 million ($2.1 CAD) seed round in December 2021.Founded in 2019, the Canadian startup combs through cases and other data to help personal injury victims calculate how much their claims are worth.PainWorth's cofounder Mike Zouhri came up with the idea after being hit by a drunk driver in early 2019. Growing frustrated by the lack of clarity from personal injury lawyers, many of whom refuse to give any useful information until a prospective client signs a contract that binds them to a hefty fee, Zouhri decided to make his own tool to help figure out the value of his claim.Check out the 13-page pitch deck that legal-tech startup PainWorth used to nab $1.7 million for its seed roundLawtradesRaad Ahmed, founder and CEO of Lawtrades.Leonard OkporLawtrades, an online hiring marketplace for freelance legal work, raked in $6 million for its Series A in December 2021.In 2016, Raad Ahmed and Ashish Walia, both former lawyers, created an easy, all-in-one app for companies to hire legal talent. A growing number of white-collar professionals have been leaving their companies in droves in search of better work-life balance, flexibility, and personal fulfillment. Lawtrades has more than 1,000 freelance lawyers, paralegals, and other legal specialists on its network, Ahmed said.Companies can use Lawtrades' matchmaking algorithm to find legal talent for specific engagements, and can use built-in calendar, video conference, and time-tracking features to manage the project from start to finish. Hiring lawyers through Lawtrades is also much cheaper than hiring one from a Big Law firm. Lawtrades lawyers cost companies around $150 to $250 an hour, depending on the practice area. Here's the futuristic 24-page pitch deck that landed legal freelancing app Lawtrades a $6-million Series ACourtCorrectLudwig Bull, who founded CourtCorrect in 2019.CourtCorrectCourtCorrect, which helps individuals and businesses submit and manage civil cases, snapped up $2.95 million (£2.2 million) in seed round funding in November 2021.Founded in 2019 in London, the legal-tech startup brings together claimants, defendants, lawyers, and judges into a single platform, where they can bring cases and reach resolutions without having to go to court.Investors included RLC Ventures, Ascension Ventures (UK), and The Twenty Minute VC. Visionaries Club and other angel investors also participated in the round.See the 12-page pitch deck that landed legal-tech startup CourtCorrect nearly $3 million in seed fundingMalbekHemanth Puttaswamy, CEO and co-founder of Malbek.MalbekMalbek, which helps companies' legal, sales, and finance teams manage and analyze their contracts, announced in September 2021 that it raised $15.3 million for its Series A.Contract lifecycle management, or CLM, has been red-hot in the legal-tech space. Of the $1.4 billion invested in legal-tech during the first half of 2021, almost a quarter was snapped up by six contract companies, including Ironclad, Contractbook, and Icertis. SoftBank recently led the $115 million Series C for ContractPodAi, another CLM company.Founded in 2017, Malbek helps these departments through the entire contracting process, from drafting contracts with optimal terms through tracking contractual obligations after they're signed.The Series A was led by Atlanta-based Noro-Moseley Partners, which invests in early-growth tech and healthcare companies. TDF Ventures and Osage Venture Partners also participated in the round.This 11-page pitch deck scored a contract-management startup $15.3 million for its Series AContractPodAiSoftBank founder Masa Son.Reuters/Issei KatoA startup looking to streamline how companies handle contracts nabbed an investment from one of the world's most high-profile investors in a nod to the rising interest in legal tech.  ContractPodAi, which helps in-house legal teams automate and manage their contracts, raised a $115 million Series C in late September 2021 led by SoftBank. The round quintupled ContractPodAi's valuation since its last funding round in 2019, though the company declined to disclose specific valuation numbers.The investment came from SoftBank's Vision Fund 2. Its predecessor, the original $100 billion megafund Vision Fund, has invested in dozens of household names including WeWork, Uber, and DoorDash. While some of the fund's bets were wildly successful, others fell short of expectations.ContractPodAi is the first legal-tech investment by either of SoftBank's Vision Funds.Here's the 7-page pitch deck that legal-tech startup ContractPodAi used to convince SoftBank's Masa Son to lead its $115 million Series CJus MundiJean-Rémi de Maistre, CEO and co-founder of Jus Mundi.Jus MundiJus Mundi, an AI-powered legal search engine for international law and arbitration, snapped up $10 million for its Series A in September 2021.In 2019, Jean-Rémi de Maistre, a former lawyer at the International Court of Justice, co-launched the company after realizing how hard it was to conduct research for cross-border legal cases.Paris-based Jus Mundi raised a €1 million ($1.17 USD) seed round in March 2020, spurring a fivefold growth in annual recurring revenue over the span of 2020, according to the company. Its most recent $10 million Series A was led by C4 Ventures, a European VC firm founded by Pascal Cagni, a former head of Apple Europe. The VC firm has also invested in hot-ticket companies like Foursquare, Nest, and Via.Here's the 16-page pitch deck that landed legal research company Jus Mundi a $10 million Series ALawVuLawVu co-founders Tim Boyne and Sam Kidd.LawVuLawVu, an end-to-end software platform for in-house legal teams, snapped up a $17 million Series A in August 2021.Founded in 2015, the New Zealand-based startup enables companies' in-house lawyers to manage contracts, documents, billing, and more on one platform. The funding round was led by the private-equity firm Insight Partners, which has invested in other legal-tech companies like DocuSign, Kira Systems, and ContractPodAI, as well as big-ticket businesses like Twitter, Shopify, and Hello Fresh. AirTree Ventures, an Australia-based venture-capital firm, co-led the Series A.See the 12-page pitch deck that LawVu, a startup that wants to be Salesforce for lawyers, used to nab $17 million from investors like Insight PartnersAthennianAthennian's CEO and founder, Adrian Camara.AthennianAthennian, which helps law firms and legal departments manage data and workflow around legal entities, raised a $7 million CAD (more than $5.5 million USD) Series A extension in the beginning of March 2021, nearly doubling its initial $8 million Series A round last year. Athennian's revenue and headcount more than doubled since the original Series A, according to founder and CEO Adrian Camara. He declined to disclose revenue numbers, but said that the sales and marketing team grew from 35 people in September to around 70 in March.Launched in 2017, Athennian is used by nearly 200 legal departments and law firms, including Dentons, Fastkind, and Paul Hastings, to automate documents like board minutes, stock certificates, and shareholder consents. The Series A extension was led by Arthur Ventures. New investors Touchdown Ventures and Clio's CEO, Jack Newton, also participated in the round, alongside Round13 Capital and other existing investors. To date, Athennian has raised $17 million CAD, or around $14 million USD, in venture capital funding, per Pitchbook.Here's the small but mighty pitch deck that nearly doubled legal tech Athennian's Series A to $12 million.EvisortEvisort's CEO and co-founder Jerry Ting.(Courtesy of Jerry Ting)Contract tech is the frontrunner in the legal tech space, as companies across industries seek to streamline their contract creation, negotiation, and management processes.Evisort, a contract lifecycle management (CLM) platform, raised $35 million in its Series B announced late February 2021, bringing total funding to $55.5 million. The private equity firm General Atlantic led its latest funding round, with participation from existing investors Amity Ventures, Microsoft's venture firm M12, and Vertex Ventures.Founded in 2016, Evisort uses artificial intelligence to help businesses categorize, search, and act on documents.Its CEO Jerry Ting founded Evisort while he was still attending Harvard Law School. He spent one summer working at Fried Frank, but soon realized that he didn't want to be a lawyer because he didn't want to spend excruciating hours manually reading fifty-page contracts. He did, however, recognize how important they are to corporations, and co-founded Evisort as a tool to locate and track valuable information like a contract's expiration date and obligations like payment dates.Evisort's CEO walks through the 11-page pitch deck that the contract software startup used to nab $35 million from investors like General Atlantic — and lays out its path to an IPOContractbookNiels Brøchner, Jarek Owczarek, and Viktor Heide founded Contractbook to offer a client-centric tool to manage contracts,ContractbookTry to imagine the contracts negotiation process, and one might conjure up a scene where a sheaf of papers, tucked discreetly into a manila folder, is shuttled from one law office to the mahogany table of another. With a stroke of a fountain pen, the deal is sealed.Those old-school methods have long been replaced with the adoption of PDFs, redlined versions of which zip from email inbox to inbox. Now, contracting is undergoing another digital shift that will streamline the process as companies are becoming more comfortable with tech and are seeking greater efficiencies — and investors are taking note.Contractbook, a Denmark-based contract lifecycle management platform, raised $9.4 million in its Series A investment round late 2020, led by venture capital titan Bessemer Venture Partners. In November 2019, Gradient Ventures, Google's AI-focused venture fund, led Contractbook's $3.9 million seed round.Founded in Copenhagen in 2017, Contractbook uses data to automate documents, offering an end-to-end contracts platform for small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs). Niels Brøchner, the company's CEO and co-founder, said that Contractbook was born out of the notion that existing contract solutions failed to use a document's data — from names of parties to the folder the document is stored in — to automate the process and drive workflow.Here's the 13-page pitch deck that Contractbook, which wants to take on legal tech giants like DocuSign, used to raise $9.4 million from investors like Bessemer VenturesDiscoKiwi Camara, CEO and cofounder of Disco.DISCOCloud-based technology is having its moment, especially in the legal industry.As attorneys have been propelled to work remotely amid the pandemic, data security and streamlined work processes are top-of-mind for law firms, leading them to adopt cloud technology. Investors are taking note. Disco, a cloud-based ediscovery platform that uses artificial intelligence to streamline the litigation process, snapped up $60 million in equity financing in October 2020.Its Series F, led by Georgian Partners and also backed by VC titans like Bessemer Venture Partners and LiveOak Venture Partners, brings total investment to $195 million, valuing the company at $785 million.Launched in Houston in 2012, Disco offers AI-fueled products geared towards helping lawyers review and analyze vast quantities of documents, allowing them to more efficiently determine which ones are relevant to a case.The CEO of Disco, a legal tech that sells cloud-based discovery software, walked us through a 20-page pitch deck the startup used to nab $60 millionBlackBoilerDan Broderick, cofounder and CEO of BlackBoiler.BlackBoilerBlackBoiler is an automated contract markup software that's used by Am Law 25 firms and several Fortune 1000 companies.The software uses machine learning to automate the process of reviewing and revising documents in "track changes." This saves attorneys the time they would typically spend marking up contracts that often use standard boilerplate language.As a pre-execution software used in the negotiation and markup stage of the contracts process, BlackBoiler has carved out a unique space in the $35 billion contracts industry, said Dan Broderick, a lawyer who co-founded the company in 2015 and is now its CEO. Broderick walked Insider through the pitch deck the company used to attract funding from investors, including DocuSign as well as 10 attorneys that run the gamut from Am Law 50 partners to general counsel at large corporations.Check out the 14-page pitch deck that contract-editing startup BlackBoiler used to nab $3.2 million from investors including DocuSignRead the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderJun 8th, 2022

Check out these 41 pitch decks fintechs disrupting trading, investing, and banking used to raise millions in funding

Looking for examples of real fintech pitch decks? Check out pitch decks that Qolo, Lance, and other startups used to raise money from VCs. Check out these pitch decks for examples of fintech founders sold their vision.Yulia Reznikov/Getty Images Insider has been tracking the next wave of hot new startups that are blending finance and tech.  Check out these pitch decks to see how fintech founders sold their vision. See more stories on Insider's business page. Fintech funding has been on a tear.In 2021, fintech funding hit a record $132 billion globally, according to CB Insights, more than double 2020's mark.Insider has been tracking the next wave of hot new startups that are blending finance and tech. Check out these pitch decks to see how fintech founders are selling their vision and nabbing big bucks in the process. You'll see new financial tech geared at freelancers, fresh twists on digital banking, and innovation aimed at streamlining customer onboarding. New twists on digital bankingZach Bruhnke, cofounder and CEO of HMBradleyHMBradleyConsumers are getting used to the idea of branch-less banking, a trend that startup digital-only banks like Chime, N26, and Varo have benefited from. The majority of these fintechs target those who are underbanked, and rely on usage of their debit cards to make money off interchange. But fellow startup HMBradley has a different business model. "Our thesis going in was that we don't swipe our debit cards all that often, and we don't think the customer base that we're focusing on does either," Zach Bruhnke, cofounder and CEO of HMBradley, told Insider. "A lot of our customer base uses credit cards on a daily basis."Instead, the startup is aiming to build clientele with stable deposits. As a result, the bank is offering interest-rate tiers depending on how much a customer saves of their direct deposit.Notably, the rate tiers are dependent on the percentage of savings, not the net amount. "We'll pay you more when you save more of what comes in," Bruhnke said. "We didn't want to segment customers by how much money they had. So it was always going to be about a percentage of income. That was really important to us."Check out the 14-page pitch deck fintech HMBradley, a neobank offering interest rates as high as 3%, used to raise an $18.25 million Series APersonal finance is only a text awayYinon Ravid, the chief executive and cofounder of Albert.AlbertThe COVID-19 pandemic has underscored the growing preference of mobile banking as customers get comfortable managing their finances online.The financial app Albert has seen a similar jump in activity. Currently counting more than six million members, deposits in Albert's savings offering doubled from the start of the pandemic in March 2020 to May of this year, from $350 million to $700 million, according to new numbers released by the company. Founded in 2015, Albert offers automated budgeting and savings tools alongside guided investment portfolios. It's looked to differentiate itself through personalized features, like the ability for customers to text human financial experts.Budgeting and saving features are free on Albert. But for more tailored financial advice, customers pay a subscription fee that's a pay-what-you-can model, between $4 and $14 a month. And Albert's now banking on a new tool to bring together its investing, savings, and budgeting tools.Fintech Albert used this 10-page pitch deck to raise a $100 million Series C from General Atlantic and CapitalG 'A bank for immigrants'Priyank Singh and Rohit Mittal are the cofounders of Stilt.StiltRohit Mittal remembers the difficulties he faced when he first arrived in the United States a decade ago as a master's student at Columbia University.As an immigrant from India, Mittal had no credit score in the US and had difficulty integrating into the financial system. Mittal even struggled to get approved to rent an apartment and couch-surfed until he found a roommate willing to offer him space in his apartment in the New York neighborhood Morningside Heights.That roommate was Priyank Singh, who would go on to become Mittal's cofounder when the two started Stilt, a financial-technology company designed to address the problems Mittal faced when he arrived in the US.Stilt, which calls itself "a bank for immigrants," does not require a social security number or credit history to access its offerings, including unsecured personal loans.Instead of relying on traditional metrics like a credit score, Stilt uses data such as education and employment to predict an individual's future income stability and cash flow before issuing a loan. Stilt has seen its loan volume grow by 500% in the past 12 months, and the startup has loaned to immigrants from 160 countries since its launch. Here are the 15 slides Stilt, which calls itself 'a bank for immigrants,' used to raise a $14 million Series AAn IRA for alternativesHenry Yoshida is the co-founder and CEO of retirement fintech startup Rocket Dollar.Rocket DollarFintech startup Rocket Dollar, which helps users invest their individual retirement account (IRA) dollars into alternative assets, just raised $8 million for its Series A round, the company announced on Thursday.Park West Asset Management led the round, with participation from investors including Hyphen Capital, which focuses on backing Asian American entrepreneurs, and crypto exchange Kraken's venture arm. Co-founded in 2018 by CEO Henry Yoshida, CTO Rick Dude, and VP of marketing Thomas Young, Rocket Dollar now has over $350 million in assets under management on its platform. Yoshida sold his first startup, a roboadvisor called Honest Dollar, to Goldman Sachs' investment management division for an estimated $20 million.Yoshida told Insider that while ultra-high net worth investors have been investing self-directed retirement account dollars into alternative assets like real estate, private equity, and cryptocurrency, average investors have not historically been able to access the same opportunities to invest IRA dollars in alternative assets through traditional platforms.Here's the 34-page pitch deck a fintech that helps users invest their retirement savings in crypto and real estate assets used to nab $8 millionA trading app for activismAntoine Argouges, CEO and founder of TulipshareTulipshareAn up-and-coming fintech is taking aim at some of the world's largest corporations by empowering retail investors to push for social and environmental change by pooling their shareholder rights.London-based Tulipshare lets individuals in the UK invest as little as one pound in publicly-traded company stocks. The upstart combines individuals' shareholder rights with other like-minded investors to advocate for environmental, social, and corporate governance change at firms like JPMorgan, Apple, and Amazon.The goal is to achieve a higher number of shares to maximize the number of votes that can be submitted at shareholder meetings. Already a regulated broker-dealer in the UK, Tulipshare recently applied for registration as a broker-dealer in the US. "If you ask your friends and family if they've ever voted on shareholder resolutions, the answer will probably be close to zero," CEO and founder Antoine Argouges told Insider. "I started Tulipshare to utilize shareholder rights to bring about positive corporate change that has an impact on people's lives and our planet — what's more powerful than money to change the system we live in?"Check out the 14-page pitch deck from Tulipshare, a trading app that lets users pool their shareholder votes for activism campaignsDigital tools for independent financial advisorsJason Wenk, founder and CEO of AltruistAltruistJason Wenk started his career at Morgan Stanley in investment research over 20 years ago. Now, he's running a company that is hoping to broaden access to financial advice for less-wealthy individuals. The startup raised $50 million in Series B funding led by Insight Partners with participation from investors Vanguard and Venrock. The round brings the Los Angeles-based startup's total funding to just under $67 million.Founded in 2018, Altruist is a digital brokerage built for independent financial advisors, intended to be an "all-in-one" platform that unites custodial functions, portfolio accounting, and a client-facing portal. It allows advisors to open accounts, invest, build models, report, trade (including fractional shares), and bill clients through an interface that can advisors time by eliminating mundane operational tasks.Altruist aims to make personalized financial advice less expensive, more efficient, and more inclusive through the platform, which is designed for registered investment advisors (RIAs), a growing segment of the wealth management industry. Here's the pitch deck for Altruist, a wealth tech challenging custodians Fidelity and Charles Schwab, that raised $50 million from Vanguard and InsightRethinking debt collection Jason Saltzman, founder and CEO of ReliefReliefFor lenders, debt collection is largely automated. But for people who owe money on their credit cards, it can be a confusing and stressful process.  Relief is looking to change that. Its app automates the credit-card debt collection process for users, negotiating with lenders and collectors to settle outstanding balances on their behalf. The fintech just launched and closed a $2 million seed round led by Collaborative Ventures. Relief's fundraising experience was a bit different to most. Its pitch deck, which it shared with one investor via Google Slides, went viral. It set out to raise a $1 million seed round, but ended up doubling that and giving some investors money back to make room for others.Check out a 15-page pitch deck that went viral and helped a credit-card debt collection startup land a $2 million seed roundHelping small banks lendTKCollateralEdgeFor large corporations with a track record of tapping the credit markets, taking out debt is a well-structured and clear process handled by the nation's biggest investment banks and teams of accountants. But smaller, middle-market companies — typically those with annual revenues ranging up to $1 billion — are typically served by regional and community banks that don't always have the capacity to adequately measure the risk of loans or price them competitively. Per the National Center for the Middle Market, 200,000 companies fall into this range, accounting for roughly 33% of US private sector GDP and employment.Dallas-based fintech CollateralEdge works with these banks — typically those with between $1 billion and $50 billion in assets — to help analyze and price slices of commercial and industrial loans that previously might have gone unserved by smaller lenders.On October 20th, CollateralEdge announced a $3.5 million seed round led by Dallas venture fund Perot Jain with participation from Kneeland Youngblood (a founder of the healthcare-focused private-equity firm Pharos Capital) and other individual investors.Here's the 10-page deck CollateralEdge, a fintech streamlining how small banks lend to businesses, used to raise a $3.5 million seed roundA new way to assess creditworthinessPinwheel founders Curtis Lee, Kurt Lin, and Anish Basu.PinwheelGrowing up, Kurt Lin never saw his father get frustrated. A "traditional, stoic figure," Lin said his father immigrated to the United States in the 1970s. Becoming part of the financial system proved even more difficult than assimilating into a new culture.Lin recalled visiting bank after bank with his father as a child, watching as his father's applications for a mortgage were denied due to his lack of credit history. "That was the first time in my life I really saw him crack," Lin told Insider. "The system doesn't work for a lot of people — including my dad," he added. Lin would find a solution to his father's problem years later while working with Anish Basu, and Curtis Lee on an automated health savings account. The trio realized the payroll data integrations they were working on could be the basis of a product that would help lenders work with consumers without strong credit histories."That's when the lightbulb hit," said Lin, Pinwheel's CEO.In 2018, Lin, Basu, and Lee founded Pinwheel, an application-programming interface that shares payroll data to help both fintechs and traditional lenders serve consumers with limited or poor credit, who have historically struggled to access financial products. Here's the 9-page deck that Pinwheel, a fintech helping lenders tap into payroll data to serve consumers with little to no credit, used to raise a $50 million Series BAn alternative auto lenderTricolorAn alternative auto lender that caters to thin- and no-credit Hispanic borrowers is planning a national expansion after scoring a $90 million investment from BlackRock-managed funds. Tricolor is a Dallas-based auto lender that is a community development financial institution. It uses a proprietary artificial-intelligence engine that decisions each customer based on more than 100 data points, such as proof of income. Half of Tricolor's customers have a FICO score, and less than 12% have scores above 650, yet the average customer has lived in the US for 15 years, according to the deck.A 2017 survey by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation found 31.5% of Hispanic households had no mainstream credit compared to 14.4% of white households. "For decades, the deck has been stacked against low income or credit invisible Hispanics in the United States when it comes to the purchase and financing of a used vehicle," Daniel Chu, founder and CEO of Tricolor, said in a statement announcing the raise.An auto lender that caters to underbanked Hispanics used this 25-page deck to raise $90 million from BlackRock investors A new way to access credit The TomoCredit teamTomoCreditKristy Kim knows first-hand the challenge of obtaining credit in the US without an established credit history. Kim, who came to the US from South Korea, couldn't initially get access to credit despite having a job in investment banking after graduating college. "I was in my early twenties, I had a good income, my job was in investment banking but I could not get approved for anything," Kim told Insider. "Many young professionals like me, we deserve an opportunity to be considered but just because we didn't have a Fico, we weren't given a chance to even apply," she added.Kim started TomoCredit in 2018 to help others like herself gain access to consumer credit. TomoCredit spent three years building an internal algorithm to underwrite customers based on cash flow, rather than a credit score.TomoCredit, a fintech that lends to thin- and no-credit borrowers, used this 17-page pitch deck to raise its $10 million Series AHelping streamline how debts are repaidMethod Financial cofounders Jose Bethancourt and Marco del Carmen.Method FinancialWhen Jose Bethancourt graduated from the University of Texas at Austin in May 2019, he faced the same question that confronts over 43 million Americans: How would he repay his student loans?The problem led Bethancourt on a nearly two-year journey that culminated in the creation of a startup aimed at making it easier for consumers to more seamlessly pay off all kinds of debt.  Initially, Bethancourt and fellow UT grad Marco del Carmen built GradJoy, an app that helped users better understand how to manage student loan repayment and other financial habits. GradJoy was accepted into Y Combinator in the summer of 2019. But the duo quickly realized the real benefit to users would be helping them move money to make payments instead of simply offering recommendations."When we started GradJoy, we thought, 'Oh, we'll just give advice — we don't think people are comfortable with us touching their student loans,' and then we realized that people were saying, 'Hey, just move the money — if you think I should pay extra, then I'll pay extra.' So that's kind of the movement that we've seen, just, everybody's more comfortable with fintechs doing what's best for them," Bethancourt told Insider. Here is the 11-slide pitch deck Method Financial, a Y Combinator-backed fintech making debt repayment easier, used to raise $2.5 million in pre-seed fundingQuantum computing made easyQC Ware CEO Matt Johnson.QC WareEven though banks and hedge funds are still several years out from adding quantum computing to their tech arsenals, that hasn't stopped Wall Street giants from investing time and money into the emerging technology class. And momentum for QC Ware, a startup looking to cut the time and resources it takes to use quantum computing, is accelerating. The fintech secured a $25 million Series B on September 29 co-led by Koch Disruptive Technologies and Covestro with participation from D.E. Shaw, Citi, and Samsung Ventures.QC Ware, founded in 2014, builds quantum algorithms for the likes of Goldman Sachs (which led the fintech's Series A), Airbus, and BMW Group. The algorithms, which are effectively code bases that include quantum processing elements, can run on any of the four main public-cloud providers.Quantum computing allows companies to do complex calculations faster than traditional computers by using a form of physics that runs on quantum bits as opposed to the traditional 1s and 0s that computers use. This is especially helpful in banking for risk analytics or algorithmic trading, where executing calculations milliseconds faster than the competition can give firms a leg up. Here's the 20-page deck QC Ware, a fintech making quantum computing more accessible, used to raised its $25 million Series BSimplifying quant modelsKirat Singh and Mark Higgins, Beacon's cofounders.BeaconA fintech that helps financial institutions use quantitative models to streamline their businesses and improve risk management is catching the attention, and capital, of some of the country's biggest investment managers.Beacon Platform, founded in 2014, is a fintech that builds applications and tools to help banks, asset managers, and trading firms quickly integrate quantitative models that can help with analyzing risk, ensuring compliance, and improving operational efficiency. The company raised its Series C on Wednesday, scoring a $56 million investment led by Warburg Pincus with support from Blackstone Innovations Investments, PIMCO, and Global Atlantic. Blackstone, PIMCO, and Global Atlantic are also users of Beacon's tech, as are the Commonwealth Bank of Australia and Shell New Energies, a division of Royal Dutch Shell, among others.The fintech provides a shortcut for firms looking to use quantitative modelling and data science across various aspects of their businesses, a process that can often take considerable resources if done solo.Here's the 20-page pitch deck Beacon, a fintech helping Wall Street better analyze risk and data, used to raise $56 million from Warburg Pincus, Blackstone, and PIMCOA new data feed for bond tradingMark Lennihan/APFor years, the only way investors could figure out the going price of a corporate bond was calling up a dealer on the phone. The rise of electronic trading has streamlined that process, but data can still be hard to come by sometimes. A startup founded by a former Goldman Sachs exec has big plans to change that. BondCliQ is a fintech that provides a data feed of pre-trade pricing quotes for the corporate bond market. Founded by Chris White, the creator of Goldman Sachs' defunct corporate-bond-trading system, BondCliQ strives to bring transparency to a market that has traditionally kept such data close to the vest. Banks, which typically serve as the dealers of corporate bonds, have historically kept pre-trade quotes hidden from other dealers to maintain a competitive advantage.But tech advancements and the rise of electronic marketplaces have shifted power dynamics into the hands of buy-side firms, like hedge funds and asset managers. The investors are now able to get a fuller picture of the market by aggregating price quotes directly from dealers or via vendors.Here's the 9-page pitch deck that BondCliQ, a fintech looking to bring more data and transparency to bond trading, used to raise its Series AFraud prevention for lenders and insurersFiordaliso/Getty ImagesOnboarding new customers with ease is key for any financial institution or retailer. The more friction you add, the more likely consumers are to abandon the entire process.But preventing fraud is also a priority, and that's where Neuro-ID comes in. The startup analyzes what it calls "digital body language," or, the way users scroll, type, and tap. Using that data, Neuro-ID can identify fraudulent users before they create an account. It's built for banks, lenders, insurers, and e-commerce players."The train has left the station for digital transformation, but there's a massive opportunity to try to replicate all those communications that we used to have when we did business in-person, all those tells that we would get verbally and non-verbally on whether or not someone was trustworthy," Neuro-ID CEO Jack Alton told Insider.Founded in 2014, the startup's pitch is twofold: Neuro-ID can save companies money by identifying fraud early, and help increase user conversion by making the onboarding process more seamless. In December Neuro-ID closed a $7 million Series A, co-led by Fin VC and TTV Capital, with participation from Canapi Ventures. With 30 employees, Neuro-ID is using the fresh funding to grow its team and create additional tools to be more self-serving for customers.Here's the 11-slide pitch deck a startup that analyzes consumers' digital behavior to fight fraud used to raise a $7 million Series AAI-powered tools to spot phony online reviews FakespotMarketplaces like Amazon and eBay host millions of third-party sellers, and their algorithms will often boost items in search based on consumer sentiment, which is largely based on reviews. But many third-party sellers use fake reviews often bought from click farms to boost their items, some of which are counterfeit or misrepresented to consumers.That's where Fakespot comes in. With its Chrome extension, it warns users of sellers using potentially fake reviews to boost sales and can identify fraudulent sellers. Fakespot is currently compatible with Amazon, BestBuy, eBay, Sephora, Steam, and Walmart."There are promotional reviews written by humans and bot-generated reviews written by robots or review farms," Fakespot founder and CEO Saoud Khalifah told Insider. "Our AI system has been built to detect both categories with very high accuracy."Fakespot's AI learns via reviews data available on marketplace websites, and uses natural-language processing to identify if reviews are genuine. Fakespot also looks at things like whether the number of positive reviews are plausible given how long a seller has been active.Fakespot, a startup that helps shoppers detect robot-generated reviews and phony sellers on Amazon and Shopify, used this pitch deck to nab a $4 million Series AE-commerce focused business bankingMichael Rangel, cofounder and CEO, and Tyler McIntyre, cofounder and CTO of Novo.Kristelle Boulos PhotographyBusiness banking is a hot market in fintech. And it seems investors can't get enough.Novo, the digital banking fintech aimed at small e-commerce businesses, raised a $40.7 million Series A led by Valar Ventures in June. Since its launch in 2018, Novo has signed up 100,000 small businesses. Beyond bank accounts, it offers expense management, a corporate card, and integrates with e-commerce infrastructure players like Shopify, Stripe, and Wise.Founded in 2018, Novo was based in New York City, but has since moved its headquarters to Miami. Here's the 12-page pitch deck e-commerce banking startup Novo used to raise its $40 million Series AShopify for embedded financeProductfy CEO and founder, Duy VoProductfyProductfy is looking to break into embedded finance by becoming the Shopify of back-end banking services.Embedded finance — integrating banking services in non-financial settings — has taken hold in the e-commerce world. But Productfy is going after a different kind of customer in churches, universities, and nonprofits.The San Jose, Calif.-based upstart aims to help non-finance companies offer their own banking products. Productfy can help customers launch finance features in as little as a week and without additional engineering resources or background knowledge of banking compliance or legal requirements, Productfy founder and CEO Duy Vo told Insider. "You don't need an engineer to stand up Shopify, right? You can be someone who's just creating art and you can use Shopify to build your own online store," Vo said, adding that Productfy is looking to take that user experience and replicate it for banking services.Here's the 15-page pitch deck Productfy, a fintech looking to be the Shopify of embedded finance, used to nab a $16 million Series ADeploying algorithms and automation to small-business financingJustin Straight and Bernard Worthy, LoanWell co-foundersLoanWellBernard Worthy and Justin Straight, the founders of LoanWell, want to break down barriers to financing for small and medium-size businesses — and they've got algorithms and automation in their tech arsenals that they hope will do it.Worthy, the company's CEO, and Straight, its chief operating and financial officer, are powering community-focused lenders to fill a gap in the SMB financing world by boosting access to loans under $100,000. And the upstart is known for catching the attention, and dollars, of mission-driven investors. LoanWell closed a $3 million seed financing round in December led by Impact America Fund with participation from SoftBank's SB Opportunity Fund and Collab Capital.LoanWell automates the financing process — from underwriting and origination, to money movement and servicing — which shaves down an up-to-90-day process to 30 days or even same-day with some LoanWell lenders, Worthy said. SMBs rely on these loans to process quickly after two years of financial uncertainty. But the pandemic illustrated how time-consuming and expensive SMB financing can be, highlighted by efforts like the federal government's Paycheck Protection Program.Community banks, once the lifeline to capital for many local businesses, continue to shutter. And demands for smaller loan amounts remain largely unmet. More than half of business-loan applicants sought $100,000 or less, according to 2018 data from the Federal Reserve. But the average small-business bank loan was closer to six times that amount, according to the latest data from a now discontinued Federal Reserve survey.Here's the 14-page pitch deck LoanWell used to raise $3 million from investors like SoftBank.Catering to 'micro businesses'Stefanie Sample is the founder and CEO of FundidFundidStartups aiming to simplify the often-complex world of corporate cards have boomed in recent years.Business-finance management startup Brex was last valued at $12.3 billion after raising $300 million last year. Startup card provider Ramp announced an $8.1 billion valuation in March after growing its revenue nearly 10x in 2021. Divvy, a small business card provider, was acquired by Bill.com in May 2021 for approximately $2.5 billion.But despite how hot the market has gotten, Stefanie Sample said she ended up working in the space by accident. Sample is the founder and CEO of Fundid, a new fintech that provides credit and lending products to small businesses.This May, Fundid announced a $3.25 million seed round led by Nevcaut Ventures. Additional investors include the Artemis Fund and Builders and Backers. The funding announcement capped off the company's first year: Sample introduced the Fundid concept in April 2021, launched its website in May, and began raising capital in August."I never meant to do Fundid," Sample told Insider. "I never meant to do something that was venture-backed."Read the 12-page deck used by Fundid, a fintech offering credit and lending tools for 'micro businesses'Embedded payments for SMBsThe Highnote teamHighnoteBranded cards have long been a way for merchants with the appropriate bank relationships to create additional revenue and build customer loyalty. The rise of embedded payments, or the ability to shop and pay in a seamless experience within a single app, has broadened the number of companies looking to launch branded cards.Highnote is a startup that helps small to mid-sized merchants roll out their own debit and pre-paid digital cards. The fintech emerged from stealth on Tuesday to announce it raised $54 million in seed and Series A funding.Here's the 12-page deck Highnote, a startup helping SMBs embed payments, used to raise $54 million in seed and Series A fundingHelping small businesses manage their taxesComplYant's founder Shiloh Jackson wants to help people be present in their bookkeeping.ComplYantAfter 14 years in tax accounting, Shiloh Johnson had formed a core philosophy around corporate accounting: everyone deserves to understand their business's money and business owners need to be present in their bookkeeping process.She wanted to help small businesses understand "this is why you need to do what you're doing and why you have to change the way you think about tax and be present in your bookkeeping process," she told Insider. The Los Angeles native wanted small businesses to not only understand business tax no matter their size but also to find the tools they needed to prepare their taxes in one spot. So Johnson developed a software platform that provides just that.The 13-page pitch deck ComplYant used to nab $4 million that details the tax startup's plan to be Turbotax, Quickbooks, and Xero rolled into one for small business ownersInvoice financing for SMBsStacey Abrams and Lara Hodgson, Now co-foundersNowAbout a decade ago, politician Stacey Abrams and entrepreneur Lara Hodgson were forced to fold their startup because of a kink in the supply chain — but not in the traditional sense.Nourish, which made spill-proof bottled water for children, had grown quickly from selling to small retailers to national ones. And while that may sound like a feather in the small business' cap, there was a hang-up."It was taking longer and longer to get paid, and as you can imagine, you deliver the product and then you wait and you wait, but meanwhile you have to pay your employees and you have to pay your vendors," Hodgson told Insider. "Waiting to get paid was constraining our ability to grow."While it's not unusual for small businesses to grapple with working capital issues, the dust was still settling from the Great Recession. Abrams and Hodgson couldn't secure a line of credit or use financing tools like factoring to solve their problem. The two entrepreneurs were forced to close Nourish in 2012, but along the way they recognized a disconnect in the system.  "Why are we the ones borrowing money, when in fact we're the lender here because every time you send an invoice to a customer, you've essentially extended a free loan to that customer by letting them pay later," Hodgson said. "And the only reason why we were going to need to possibly borrow money was because we had just given ours away for free to Whole Foods," she added.Check out the 7-page deck that Now, Stacey Abrams' fintech that wants to help small businesses 'grow fearlessly', used to raise $29 millionCheckout made easyRyan Breslow.Ryan BreslowAmazon has long dominated e-commerce with its one-click checkout flows, offering easier ways for consumers to shop online than its small-business competitors.Bolt gives small merchants tools to offer the same easy checkouts so they can compete with the likes of Amazon.The startup raised its $393 million Series D to continue adding its one-click checkout feature to merchants' own websites in October.Bolt markets to merchants themselves. But a big part of Bolt's pitch is its growing network of consumers — currently over 5.6 million — that use its features across multiple Bolt merchant customers. Roughly 5% of Bolt's transactions were network-driven in May, meaning users that signed up for a Bolt account on another retailer's website used it elsewhere. The network effects were even more pronounced in verticals like furniture, where 49% of transactions were driven by the Bolt network."The network effect is now unleashed with Bolt in full fury, and that triggered the raise," Bolt's founder and CEO Ryan Breslow told Insider.Here's the 12-page deck that one-click checkout Bolt used to outline its network of 5.6 million consumers and raise its Series DPayments infrastructure for fintechsQolo CEO and co-founder Patricia MontesiQoloThree years ago, Patricia Montesi realized there was a disconnect in the payments world. "A lot of new economy companies or fintech companies were looking to mesh up a lot of payment modalities that they weren't able to," Montesi, CEO and co-founder of Qolo, told Insider.Integrating various payment capabilities often meant tapping several different providers that had specializations in one product or service, she added, like debit card issuance or cross-border payments. "The way people were getting around that was that they were creating this spider web of fintech," she said, adding that "at the end of it all, they had this mess of suppliers and integrations and bank accounts."The 20-year payments veteran rounded up a group of three other co-founders — who together had more than a century of combined industry experience — to start Qolo, a business-to-business fintech that sought out to bundle back-end payment rails for other fintechs.Here's the 11-slide pitch deck a startup that provides payments infrastructure for other fintechs used to raise a $15 million Series ABetter use of payroll dataAtomic's Head of Markets, Lindsay DavisAtomicEmployees at companies large and small know the importance — and limitations — of how firms manage their payrolls. A new crop of startups are building the API pipes that connect companies and their employees to offer a greater level of visibility and flexibility when it comes to payroll data and employee verification. On Thursday, one of those names, Atomic, announced a $40 million Series B fundraising round co-led by Mercato Partners and Greylock, alongside Core Innovation Capital, Portage, and ATX Capital. The round follows Atomic's Series A round announced in October, when the startup raised a $22 million Series A from investors including Core Innovation Capital, Portage, and Greylock.Payroll startup Atomic just raised a $40 million Series B. Here's an internal deck detailing the fintech's approach to the red-hot payments space.Saving on vendor invoicesHoward Katzenberg, Glean's CEO and cofounderGleanWhen it comes to high-flying tech startups, headlines and investors typically tend to focus on industry "disruption" and the total addressable market a company is hoping to reach. Expense cutting as a way to boost growth typically isn't part of the conversation early on, and finance teams are viewed as cost centers relative to sales teams. But one fast-growing area of business payments has turned its focus to managing those costs. Startups like Ramp and established names like Bill.com have made their name offering automated expense-management systems. Now, one new fintech competitor, Glean, is looking to take that further by offering both automated payment services and tailored line-item accounts-payable insights driven by machine-learning models. Glean's CFO and founder, Howard Katzenberg, told Insider that the genesis of Glean was driven by his own personal experience managing the finance teams of startups, including mortgage lender Better.com, which Katzenberg left in 2019, and online small-business lender OnDeck. "As a CFO of high-growth companies, I spent a lot of time focused on revenue and I had amazing dashboards in real time where I could see what is going on top of the funnel, what's going on with conversion rates, what's going on in terms of pricing and attrition," Katzenberg told Insider. See the 15-slide pitch deck Glean, a startup using machine learning to find savings in vendor invoices, used to raise $10.8 million in seed fundingReal-estate management made easyAgora founders Noam Kahan, CTO, Bar Mor, CEO, and Lior Dolinski, CPOAgoraFor alternative asset managers of any type, the operations underpinning sales and investor communications are a crucial but often overlooked part of the business. Fund managers love to make bets on markets, not coordinate hundreds of wire transfers to clients each quarter or organize customer-relationship-management databases.Within the $10.6 trillion global market for professionally managed real-estate investing, that's where Tel Aviv and New York-based startup Agora hopes to make its mark.Founded in 2019, Agora offers a set of back-office, investor relations, and sales software tools that real-estate investment managers can plug into their workflows. On Wednesday, Agora announced a $9 million seed round, led by Israel-based venture firm Aleph, with participation from River Park Ventures and Maccabee Ventures. The funding comes on the heels of an October 2020 pre-seed fund raise worth $890,000, in which Maccabee also participated.Here's the 15-slide pitch deck that Agora, a startup helping real-estate investors manage communications and sales with their clients, used to raise a $9 million seed roundAccess to commercial real-estate investing LEX Markets cofounders and co-CEOs Drew Sterrett and Jesse Daugherty.LEX MarketsDrew Sterrett was structuring real-estate deals while working in private equity when he realized the inefficiencies that existed in the market. Only high-net worth individuals or accredited investors could participate in commercial real-estate deals. If they ever wanted to leave a partnership or sell their stake in a property, it was difficult to find another investor to replace them. Owners also struggled to sell minority stakes in their properties and didn't have many good options to recapitalize an asset if necessary.In short, the market had a high barrier to entry despite the fact it didn't always have enough participants to get deals done quickly. "Most investors don't have access to high-quality commercial real-estate investments. How do we have the oldest and largest asset class in the world and one of the largest wealth creators with no public and liquid market?" Sterrett told Insider. "It sort of seems like a no-brainer, and that this should have existed 50 or 60 years ago."This 15-page pitch deck helped LEX Markets, a startup making investing in commercial real estate more accessible, raise $15 millionInsurance goes digitalJamie Hale, CEO and cofounder of LadderLadderFintechs looking to transform how insurance policies are underwritten, issued, and experienced by customers have grown as new technology driven by digital trends and artificial intelligence shape the market. And while verticals like auto, homeowner's, and renter's insurance have seen their fair share of innovation from forward-thinking fintechs, one company has taken on the massive life-insurance market. Founded in 2017, Ladder uses a tech-driven approach to offer life insurance with a digital, end-to-end service that it says is more flexible, faster, and cost-effective than incumbent players.Life, annuity, and accident and health insurance within the US comprise a big chunk of the broader market. In 2020, premiums written on those policies totaled some $767 billion, compared to $144 billion for auto policies and $97 billion for homeowner's insurance.Here's the 12-page deck that Ladder, a startup disrupting the 'crown jewel' of the insurance market, used to nab $100 millionData science for commercial insuranceTanner Hackett, founder and CEO of CounterpartCounterpartThere's been no shortage of funds flowing into insurance-technology companies over the past few years. Private-market funding to insurtechs soared to $15.4 billion in 2021, a 90% increase compared to 2020. Some of the most well-known consumer insurtech names — from Oscar (which focuses on health insurance) to Metromile (which focuses on auto) — launched on the public markets last year, only to fall over time or be acquired as investors questioned the sustainability of their business models. In the commercial arena, however, the head of one insurtech company thinks there is still room to grow — especially for those catering to small businesses operating in an entirely new, pandemic-defined environment. "The bigger opportunity is in commercial lines," Tanner Hackett, the CEO of management liability insurer Counterpart, told Insider."Everywhere I poke, I'm like, 'Oh my goodness, we're still in 1.0, and all the other businesses I've built were on version three.' Insurance is still in 1.0, still managing from spreadsheets and PDFs," added Hackett, who also previously co-founded Button, which focuses on mobile marketing. See the 8-page pitch deck Counterpart, a startup disrupting commercial insurance with data science, used to raise a $30 million Series BSmarter insurance for multifamily propertiesItai Ben-Zaken, cofounder and CEO of Honeycomb.HoneycombA veteran of the online-insurance world is looking to revolutionize the way the industry prices risk for commercial properties with the help of artificial intelligence.Insurance companies typically send inspectors to properties before issuing policies to better understand how the building is maintained and identify potential risks or issues with it. It's a process that can be time-consuming, expensive, and inefficient, making it hard to justify for smaller commercial properties, like apartment and condo buildings.Insurtech Honeycomb is looking to fix that by using AI to analyze a combination of third-party data and photos submitted by customers through the startup's app to quickly identify any potential risks at a property and more accurately price policies."That whole physical inspection thing had really good things in it, but it wasn't really something that is scalable and, it's also expensive," Itai Ben-Zaken, Honeycomb's cofounder and CEO, told Insider. "The best way to see a property right now is Google street view. Google street view is usually two years old."Here's the 10-page Series A pitch deck used by Honeycomb, a startup that wants to revolutionize the $26 billion market for multifamily property insuranceHelping freelancers with their taxesJaideep Singh is the CEO and co-founder of FlyFin, an AI-driven tax preparation software program for freelancers.FlyFinSome people, particularly those with families or freelancing businesses, spend days searching for receipts for tax season, making tax preparation a time consuming and, at times, taxing experience. That's why in 2020 Jaideep Singh founded FlyFin, an artificial-intelligence tax preparation program for freelancers that helps people, as he puts it, "fly through their finances." FlyFin is set up to connect to a person's bank accounts, allowing the AI program to help users monitor for certain expenses that can be claimed on their taxes like business expenditures, the interest on mortgages, property taxes, or whatever else that might apply. "For most individuals, people have expenses distributed over multiple financial institutions. So we built an AI platform that is able to look at expenses, understand the individual, understand your profession, understand the freelance population at large, and start the categorization," Singh told Insider.Check out the 7-page pitch deck a startup helping freelancers manage their taxes used to nab $8 million in fundingDigital banking for freelancersJGalione/Getty ImagesLance is a new digital bank hoping to simplify the life of those workers by offering what it calls an "active" approach to business banking. "We found that every time we sat down with the existing tools and resources of our accountants and QuickBooks and spreadsheets, we just ended up getting tangled up in the whole experience of it," Lance cofounder and CEO Oona Rokyta told Insider. Lance offers subaccounts for personal salaries, withholdings, and savings to which freelancers can automatically allocate funds according to custom preset levels. It also offers an expense balance that's connected to automated tax withholdings.In May, Lance announced the closing of a $2.8 million seed round that saw participation from Barclays, BDMI, Great Oaks Capital, Imagination Capital, Techstars, DFJ Frontier, and others.Here's the 21-page pitch deck Lance, a digital bank for freelancers, used to raise a $2.8 million seed round from investors including BarclaysSoftware for managing freelancersWorksome cofounder and CEO Morten Petersen.WorksomeThe way people work has fundamentally changed over the past year, with more flexibility and many workers opting to freelance to maintain their work-from-home lifestyles.But managing a freelance or contractor workforce is often an administrative headache for employers. Worksome is a startup looking to eliminate all the extra work required for employers to adapt to more flexible working norms.Worksome started as a freelancer marketplace automating the process of matching qualified workers with the right jobs. But the team ultimately pivoted to a full suite of workforce management software, automating administrative burdens required to hire, pay, and account for contract workers.In May, Worksome closed a $13 million Series A backed by European angel investor Tommy Ahlers and Danish firm Lind & Risør.Here's the 21-slide pitch deck used by a startup that helps firms like Carlsberg and Deloitte manage freelancersPayments and operations support HoneyBook cofounders Dror Shimoni, Oz Alon, and Naama Alon.HoneyBookWhile countless small businesses have been harmed by the pandemic, self-employment and entrepreneurship have found ways to blossom as Americans started new ventures.Half of the US population may be freelance by 2027, according to a study commissioned by remote-work hiring platform Upwork. HoneyBook, a fintech startup that provides payment and operations support for freelancers, in May raised $155 million in funding and achieved unicorn status with its $1 billion-plus valuation.Durable Capital Partners led the Series D funding with other new investors including renowned hedge fund Tiger Global, Battery Ventures, Zeev Ventures, and 01 Advisors. Citi Ventures, Citigroup's startup investment arm that also backs fintech robo-advisor Betterment, participated as an existing investor in the round alongside Norwest Venture partners. The latest round brings the company's fundraising total to $227 million to date.Here's the 21-page pitch deck a Citi-backed fintech for freelancers used to raise $155 million from investors like hedge fund Tiger GlobalPay-as-you-go compliance for banks, fintechs, and crypto startupsNeepa Patel, Themis' founder and CEOThemisWhen Themis founder and CEO Neepa Patel set out to build a new compliance tool for banks, fintech startups, and crypto companies, she tapped into her own experience managing risk at some of the nation's biggest financial firms. Having worked as a bank regulator at the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and in compliance at Morgan Stanley, Deutsche Bank, and the enterprise blockchain company R3, Patel was well-placed to assess the shortcomings in financial compliance software. But Patel, who left the corporate world to begin work on Themis in 2020, drew on more than just her own experience and frustrations to build the startup."It's not just me building a tool based on my personal pain points. I reached out to regulators. I reached out to bank compliance officers and members in the fintech community just to make sure that we're building it exactly how they do their work," Patel told Insider. "That was the biggest problem: No one built a tool that was reflective of how people do their work."Check out the 9-page pitch deck Themis, which offers pay-as-you-go compliance for banks, fintechs, and crypto startups, used to raise $9 million in seed fundingConnecting startups and investorsHum Capital cofounder and CEO Blair SilverbergHum CapitalBlair Silverberg is no stranger to fundraising.For six years, Silverberg was a venture capitalist at Draper Fisher Jurvetson and Private Credit Investments making bets on startups."I was meeting with thousands of founders in person each year, watching them one at a time go through this friction where they're meeting a ton of investors, and the investors are all asking the same questions," Silverberg told Insider. He switched gears about three years ago, moving to the opposite side of the metaphorical table, to start Hum Capital, which uses artificial intelligence to match investors with startups looking to fundraise.On August 31, the New York-based fintech announced its $9 million Series A. The round was led by Future Ventures with participation from Webb Investment Network, Wavemaker Partners, and Partech. This 11-page pitch deck helped Hum Capital, a fintech using AI to match investors with startups, raise a $9 million Series A.Helping LatAm startups get up to speedKamino cofounders Gut Fragoso, Rodrigo Perenha, Benjamin Gleason, and Gonzalo ParejoKaminoThere's more venture capital flowing into Latin America than ever before, but getting the funds in founders' hands is not exactly a simple process.In 2021, investors funneled $15.3 billion into Latin American companies, more than tripling the previous record of $4.9 billion in 2019. Fintech and e-commerce sectors drove funding, accounting for 39% and 25% of total funding, respectively.  However, for many startup founders in the region who have successfully sold their ideas and gotten investors on board, there's a patchwork of corporate structuring that's needed to access the funds, according to Benjamin Gleason, who was the chief financial officer at Groupon LatAm prior to cofounding Brazil-based fintech Kamino.It's a process Gleason and his three fellow Kamino cofounders have been through before as entrepreneurs and startup execs themselves. Most often, startups have to set up offshore financial accounts outside of Brazil, which "entails creating a Cayman [Islands] holding company, a Delaware LLC, and then connecting it to a local entity here and also opening US bank accounts for the Cayman entity, which is not trivial from a KYC perspective," said Gleason, who founded open-banking fintech Guiabolso in Sao Paulo. His partner, Gonzalo Parejo, experienced the same toils when he founded insurtech Bidu."Pretty much any international investor will usually ask for that," Gleason said, adding that investors typically cite liability issues."It's just a massive amount of bureaucracy, complexity, a lot of time from the founders. All of this just to get the money from the investor that wants to give them the money," he added.Here's the 8-page pitch deck Kamino, a fintech helping LatAm startups with everything from financing to corporate credit cards, used to raise a $6.1M pre-seed roundThe back-end tech for beautyDanielle Cohen-Shohet, CEO and founder of GlossGeniusGlossGeniusDanielle Cohen-Shohet might have started as a Goldman Sachs investment analyst, but at her core she was always a coder.After about three years at Goldman Sachs, Cohen-Shohet left the world of traditional finance to code her way into starting her own company in 2016. "There was a period of time where I did nothing, but eat, sleep, and code for a few weeks," Cohen-Shohet told Insider. Her technical edge and knowledge of the point-of-sale payment space led her to launch a software company focused on providing behind-the-scenes tech for beauty and wellness small businesses.Cohen-Shohet launched GlossGenius in 2017 to provide payments tech for hair stylists, nail technicians, blow-out bars, and other small businesses in the space.Here's the 11-page deck GlossGenius, a startup that provides back-end tech for the beauty industry, used to raise $16 millionRead the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytJun 6th, 2022

Check out these 45 pitch decks fintechs disrupting trading, investing, and banking used to raise millions in funding

Looking for examples of real fintech pitch decks? Check out pitch decks that Qolo, Lance, and other startups used to raise money from VCs. Check out these pitch decks for examples of fintech founders sold their vision.Yulia Reznikov/Getty Images Insider has been tracking the next wave of hot new startups that are blending finance and tech.  Check out these pitch decks to see how fintech founders sold their vision. See more stories on Insider's business page. Fintech funding has been on a tear.In 2021, fintech funding hit a record $132 billion globally, according to CB Insights, more than double 2020's mark.Insider has been tracking the next wave of hot new startups that are blending finance and tech. Check out these pitch decks to see how fintech founders are selling their vision and nabbing big bucks in the process. You'll see new financial tech geared at freelancers, fresh twists on digital banking, and innovation aimed at streamlining customer onboarding. Pay-as-you-go compliance for banks, fintechs, and crypto startupsNeepa Patel, Themis' founder and CEOThemisWhen Themis founder and CEO Neepa Patel set out to build a new compliance tool for banks, fintech startups, and crypto companies, she tapped into her own experience managing risk at some of the nation's biggest financial firms. Having worked as a bank regulator at the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and in compliance at Morgan Stanley, Deutsche Bank, and the enterprise blockchain company R3, Patel was well-placed to assess the shortcomings in financial compliance software. But Patel, who left the corporate world to begin work on Themis in 2020, drew on more than just her own experience and frustrations to build the startup."It's not just me building a tool based on my personal pain points. I reached out to regulators. I reached out to bank compliance officers and members in the fintech community just to make sure that we're building it exactly how they do their work," Patel told Insider. "That was the biggest problem: No one built a tool that was reflective of how people do their work."Check out the 9-page pitch deck Themis, which offers pay-as-you-go compliance for banks, fintechs, and crypto startups, used to raise $9 million in seed fundingDeploying algorithms and automation to small-business financingJustin Straight and Bernard Worthy, LoanWell co-foundersLoanWellBernard Worthy and Justin Straight, the founders of LoanWell, want to break down barriers to financing for small and medium-size businesses — and they've got algorithms and automation in their tech arsenals that they hope will do it.Worthy, the company's CEO, and Straight, its chief operating and financial officer, are powering community-focused lenders to fill a gap in the SMB financing world by boosting access to loans under $100,000. And the upstart is known for catching the attention, and dollars, of mission-driven investors. LoanWell closed a $3 million seed financing round in December led by Impact America Fund with participation from SoftBank's SB Opportunity Fund and Collab Capital.LoanWell automates the financing process — from underwriting and origination, to money movement and servicing — which shaves down an up-to-90-day process to 30 days or even same-day with some LoanWell lenders, Worthy said. SMBs rely on these loans to process quickly after two years of financial uncertainty. But the pandemic illustrated how time-consuming and expensive SMB financing can be, highlighted by efforts like the federal government's Paycheck Protection Program.Community banks, once the lifeline to capital for many local businesses, continue to shutter. And demands for smaller loan amounts remain largely unmet. More than half of business-loan applicants sought $100,000 or less, according to 2018 data from the Federal Reserve. But the average small-business bank loan was closer to six times that amount, according to the latest data from a now discontinued Federal Reserve survey.Here's the 14-page pitch deck LoanWell used to raise $3 million from investors like SoftBank.Helping small businesses manage their taxesComplYant's founder Shiloh Johnson wants to help people be present in their bookkeeping.ComplYantAfter 14 years in tax accounting, Shiloh Johnson had formed a core philosophy around corporate accounting: everyone deserves to understand their business's money and business owners need to be present in their bookkeeping process.She wanted to help small businesses understand "this is why you need to do what you're doing and why you have to change the way you think about tax and be present in your bookkeeping process," she told Insider. The Los Angeles native wanted small businesses to not only understand business tax no matter their size but also to find the tools they needed to prepare their taxes in one spot. So Johnson developed a software platform that provides just that.The 13-page pitch deck ComplYant used to nab $4 million that details the tax startup's plan to be Turbotax, Quickbooks, and Xero rolled into one for small business ownersHelping LatAm startups get up to speedKamino cofounders Guto Fragoso, Rodrigo Perenha, Benjamin Gleason, and Gonzalo Parejo.KaminoThere's more venture capital flowing into Latin America than ever before, but getting the funds in founders' hands is not exactly a simple process.In 2021, investors funneled $15.3 billion into Latin American companies, more than tripling the previous record of $4.9 billion in 2019. Fintech and e-commerce sectors drove funding, accounting for 39% and 25% of total funding, respectively.  However, for many startup founders in the region who have successfully sold their ideas and gotten investors on board, there's a patchwork of corporate structuring that's needed to access the funds, according to Benjamin Gleason, who was the chief financial officer at Groupon LatAm prior to cofounding Brazil-based fintech Kamino.It's a process Gleason and his three fellow Kamino cofounders have been through before as entrepreneurs and startup execs themselves. Most often, startups have to set up offshore financial accounts outside of Brazil, which "entails creating a Cayman [Islands] holding company, a Delaware LLC, and then connecting it to a local entity here and also opening US bank accounts for the Cayman entity, which is not trivial from a KYC perspective," said Gleason, who founded open-banking fintech Guiabolso in Sao Paulo. His partner, Gonzalo Parejo, experienced the same toils when he founded insurtech Bidu."Pretty much any international investor will usually ask for that," Gleason said, adding that investors typically cite liability issues."It's just a massive amount of bureaucracy, complexity, a lot of time from the founders. All of this just to get the money from the investor that wants to give them the money," he added.Here's the 8-page pitch deck Kamino, a fintech helping LatAm startups with everything from financing to corporate credit cards, used to raise a $6.1M pre-seed round 'A bank for immigrants'Priyank Singh and Rohit Mittal are the cofounders of Stilt.StiltRohit Mittal remembers the difficulties he faced when he first arrived in the United States a decade ago as a master's student at Columbia University.As an immigrant from India, Mittal had no credit score in the US and had difficulty integrating into the financial system. Mittal even struggled to get approved to rent an apartment and couch-surfed until he found a roommate willing to offer him space in his apartment in the New York neighborhood Morningside Heights.That roommate was Priyank Singh, who would go on to become Mittal's cofounder when the two started Stilt, a financial-technology company designed to address the problems Mittal faced when he arrived in the US.Stilt, which calls itself "a bank for immigrants," does not require a social security number or credit history to access its offerings, including unsecured personal loans.Instead of relying on traditional metrics like a credit score, Stilt uses data such as education and employment to predict an individual's future income stability and cash flow before issuing a loan. Stilt has seen its loan volume grow by 500% in the past 12 months, and the startup has loaned to immigrants from 160 countries since its launch. Here are the 15 slides Stilt, which calls itself 'a bank for immigrants,' used to raise a $14 million Series A Saving on vendor invoicesHoward Katzenberg, Glean's CEO and cofounder.GleanWhen it comes to high-flying tech startups, headlines and investors typically tend to focus on industry "disruption" and the total addressable market a company is hoping to reach. Expense cutting as a way to boost growth typically isn't part of the conversation early on, and finance teams are viewed as cost centers relative to sales teams. But one fast-growing area of business payments has turned its focus to managing those costs. Startups like Ramp and established names like Bill.com have made their name offering automated expense-management systems. Now, one new fintech competitor, Glean, is looking to take that further by offering both automated payment services and tailored line-item accounts-payable insights driven by machine-learning models. Glean's CFO and founder, Howard Katzenberg, told Insider that the genesis of Glean was driven by his own personal experience managing the finance teams of startups, including mortgage lender Better.com, which Katzenberg left in 2019, and online small-business lender OnDeck. "As a CFO of high-growth companies, I spent a lot of time focused on revenue and I had amazing dashboards in real time where I could see what is going on top of the funnel, what's going on with conversion rates, what's going on in terms of pricing and attrition," Katzenberg told Insider. See the 15-slide pitch deck Glean, a startup using machine learning to find savings in vendor invoices, used to raise $10.8 million in seed fundingBetter use of payroll dataAtomic's Head of Markets, Lindsay Davis.AtomicEmployees at companies large and small know the importance — and limitations — of how firms manage their payrolls. A new crop of startups are building the API pipes that connect companies and their employees to offer a greater level of visibility and flexibility when it comes to payroll data and employee verification. On Thursday, one of those names, Atomic, announced a $40 million Series B fundraising round co-led by Mercato Partners and Greylock, alongside Core Innovation Capital, Portage, and ATX Capital. The round follows Atomic's Series A round announced in October, when the startup raised a $22 million Series A from investors including Core Innovation Capital, Portage, and Greylock.Payroll startup Atomic just raised a $40 million Series B. Here's an internal deck detailing the fintech's approach to the red-hot payments space.Data science for commercial insuranceTanner Hackett, founder and CEO of Counterpart.CounterpartThere's been no shortage of funds flowing into insurance-technology companies over the past few years. Private-market funding to insurtechs soared to $15.4 billion in 2021, a 90% increase compared to 2020. Some of the most well-known consumer insurtech names — from Oscar (which focuses on health insurance) to Metromile (which focuses on auto) — launched on the public markets last year, only to fall over time or be acquired as investors questioned the sustainability of their business models. In the commercial arena, however, the head of one insurtech company thinks there is still room to grow — especially for those catering to small businesses operating in an entirely new, pandemic-defined environment. "The bigger opportunity is in commercial lines," Tanner Hackett, the CEO of management liability insurer Counterpart, told Insider."Everywhere I poke, I'm like, 'Oh my goodness, we're still in 1.0, and all the other businesses I've built were on version three.' Insurance is still in 1.0, still managing from spreadsheets and PDFs," added Hackett, who also previously co-founded Button, which focuses on mobile marketing. See the 8-page pitch deck Counterpart, a startup disrupting commercial insurance with data science, used to raise a $30 million Series BCrypto staking made easyEthan and Eric Parker, founders of crypto-investing app Giddy.GiddyFrom the outside looking in, cryptocurrency can seem like a world of potential, but also one of complexity. That's because digital currencies, which can be traded, invested in, and moved like traditional currencies, operate on decentralized blockchain networks that can be quite technical in nature. Still, they offer the promise of big gains and have been thrusted into the mainstream over the years, converting Wall Street stalwarts and bankers.But for the everyday investor, a fear of missing out is settling in. That's why brothers Ethan and Eric Parker built Giddy, a mobile app that enables users to invest in crypto, earn passive income on certain crypto holdings via staking, and get into the red-hot space of decentralized finance, or DeFi."What we're focusing on is giving an opportunity for people who otherwise couldn't access DeFi because it's just technically too difficult," Eric Parker, CEO at Giddy, told Insider. Here's the 7-page pitch deck Giddy, an app that lets users invest in DeFi, used to raise an $8 million seed roundAccess to commercial real-estate investing LEX Markets cofounders and co-CEOs Drew Sterrett and Jesse Daugherty.LEX MarketsDrew Sterrett was structuring real-estate deals while working in private equity when he realized the inefficiencies that existed in the market. Only high-net worth individuals or accredited investors could participate in commercial real-estate deals. If they ever wanted to leave a partnership or sell their stake in a property, it was difficult to find another investor to replace them. Owners also struggled to sell minority stakes in their properties and didn't have many good options to recapitalize an asset if necessary.In short, the market had a high barrier to entry despite the fact it didn't always have enough participants to get deals done quickly. "Most investors don't have access to high-quality commercial real-estate investments. How do we have the oldest and largest asset class in the world and one of the largest wealth creators with no public and liquid market?" Sterrett told Insider. "It sort of seems like a no-brainer, and that this should have existed 50 or 60 years ago."This 15-page pitch deck helped LEX Markets, a startup making investing in commercial real estate more accessible, raise $15 millionHelping streamline how debts are repaidMethod Financial cofounders Jose Bethancourt and Marco del Carmen.Method FinancialWhen Jose Bethancourt graduated from the University of Texas at Austin in May 2019, he faced the same question that confronts over 43 million Americans: How would he repay his student loans?The problem led Bethancourt on a nearly two-year journey that culminated in the creation of a startup aimed at making it easier for consumers to more seamlessly pay off all kinds of debt.  Initially, Bethancourt and fellow UT grad Marco del Carmen built GradJoy, an app that helped users better understand how to manage student loan repayment and other financial habits. GradJoy was accepted into Y Combinator in the summer of 2019. But the duo quickly realized the real benefit to users would be helping them move money to make payments instead of simply offering recommendations."When we started GradJoy, we thought, 'Oh, we'll just give advice — we don't think people are comfortable with us touching their student loans,' and then we realized that people were saying, 'Hey, just move the money — if you think I should pay extra, then I'll pay extra.' So that's kind of the movement that we've seen, just, everybody's more comfortable with fintechs doing what's best for them," Bethancourt told Insider. Here is the 11-slide pitch deck Method Financial, a Y Combinator-backed fintech making debt repayment easier, used to raise $2.5 million in pre-seed fundingSmarter insurance for multifamily propertiesItai Ben-Zaken, cofounder and CEO of Honeycomb.HoneycombA veteran of the online-insurance world is looking to revolutionize the way the industry prices risk for commercial properties with the help of artificial intelligence.Insurance companies typically send inspectors to properties before issuing policies to better understand how the building is maintained and identify potential risks or issues with it. It's a process that can be time-consuming, expensive, and inefficient, making it hard to justify for smaller commercial properties, like apartment and condo buildings.Insurtech Honeycomb is looking to fix that by using AI to analyze a combination of third-party data and photos submitted by customers through the startup's app to quickly identify any potential risks at a property and more accurately price policies."That whole physical inspection thing had really good things in it, but it wasn't really something that is scalable and, it's also expensive," Itai Ben-Zaken, Honeycomb's cofounder and CEO, told Insider. "The best way to see a property right now is Google street view. Google street view is usually two years old."Here's the 10-page Series A pitch deck used by Honeycomb, a startup that wants to revolutionize the $26 billion market for multifamily property insuranceRetirement accounts for cryptoTodd Southwick, CEO and co-founder of iTrustCapital.iTrustCapitalTodd Southwick and Blake Skadron stuck to a simple mandate when they were building out iTrustCapital, a $1.3 billion fintech that strives to offer cryptocurrencies to the masses via dedicated individual retirement accounts."We wanted to make a product that we would feel happy recommending for our parents to use," Southwick, the CEO of iTrustCapital, told Insider. That guiding framework resulted in a software system that helped to digitize and automate the traditionally clunky and paper-based process of setting up an IRA for alternative assets, Southwick said. "We saw a real opportunity within the self-directed IRAs because we knew at that point in time, there was a fairly small segment of people that was willing to deal with the inconvenience of having to set up an IRA" for crypto, Southwick said. The process often involved phone calls to sales reps and over-the-counter trading desks, paper and fax machines, and days of wait time.iTrustCapital allows customers to buy and sell cryptocurrencies using tax-advantaged IRAs with no monthly account fees. The startup provides access to 25 cryptocurrencies like bitcoin, ethereum, and dogecoin — charging a 1% transaction fee on crypto trades — as well as gold and silver.iTrustCapital, a fintech simplifying how to set up a crypto retirement account, used this 8-page pitch deck to raise a $125 million Series AA new way to assess creditworthinessPinwheel founders Curtis Lee, Kurt Lin, and Anish Basu.PinwheelGrowing up, Kurt Lin never saw his father get frustrated. A "traditional, stoic figure," Lin said his father immigrated to the United States in the 1970s. Becoming part of the financial system proved even more difficult than assimilating into a new culture.Lin recalled visiting bank after bank with his father as a child, watching as his father's applications for a mortgage were denied due to his lack of credit history. "That was the first time in my life I really saw him crack," Lin told Insider. "The system doesn't work for a lot of people — including my dad," he added. Lin would find a solution to his father's problem years later while working with Anish Basu, and Curtis Lee on an automated health savings account. The trio realized the payroll data integrations they were working on could be the basis of a product that would help lenders work with consumers without strong credit histories."That's when the lightbulb hit," said Lin, Pinwheel's CEO.In 2018, Lin, Basu, and Lee founded Pinwheel, an application-programming interface that shares payroll data to help both fintechs and traditional lenders serve consumers with limited or poor credit, who have historically struggled to access financial products. Here's the 9-page deck that Pinwheel, a fintech helping lenders tap into payroll data to serve consumers with little to no credit, used to raise a $50 million Series BA new data feed for bond tradingMark Lennihan/APFor years, the only way investors could figure out the going price of a corporate bond was calling up a dealer on the phone. The rise of electronic trading has streamlined that process, but data can still be hard to come by sometimes. A startup founded by a former Goldman Sachs exec has big plans to change that. BondCliQ is a fintech that provides a data feed of pre-trade pricing quotes for the corporate bond market. Founded by Chris White, the creator of Goldman Sachs' defunct corporate-bond-trading system, BondCliQ strives to bring transparency to a market that has traditionally kept such data close to the vest. Banks, which typically serve as the dealers of corporate bonds, have historically kept pre-trade quotes hidden from other dealers to maintain a competitive advantage.But tech advancements and the rise of electronic marketplaces have shifted power dynamics into the hands of buy-side firms, like hedge funds and asset managers. The investors are now able to get a fuller picture of the market by aggregating price quotes directly from dealers or via vendors.Here's the 9-page pitch deck that BondCliQ, a fintech looking to bring more data and transparency to bond trading, used to raise its Series AA trading app for activismAntoine Argouges, CEO and founder of Tulipshare.TulipshareAn up-and-coming fintech is taking aim at some of the world's largest corporations by empowering retail investors to push for social and environmental change by pooling their shareholder rights.London-based Tulipshare lets individuals in the UK invest as little as one pound in publicly-traded company stocks. The upstart combines individuals' shareholder rights with other like-minded investors to advocate for environmental, social, and corporate governance change at firms like JPMorgan, Apple, and Amazon.The goal is to achieve a higher number of shares to maximize the number of votes that can be submitted at shareholder meetings. Already a regulated broker-dealer in the UK, Tulipshare recently applied for registration as a broker-dealer in the US. "If you ask your friends and family if they've ever voted on shareholder resolutions, the answer will probably be close to zero," CEO and founder Antoine Argouges told Insider. "I started Tulipshare to utilize shareholder rights to bring about positive corporate change that has an impact on people's lives and our planet — what's more powerful than money to change the system we live in?"Check out the 14-page pitch deck from Tulipshare, a trading app that lets users pool their shareholder votes for activism campaignsThe back-end tech for beautyDanielle Cohen-Shohet, CEO and founder of GlossGeniusGlossGeniusDanielle Cohen-Shohet might have started as a Goldman Sachs investment analyst, but at her core she was always a coder.After about three years at Goldman Sachs, Cohen-Shohet left the world of traditional finance to code her way into starting her own company in 2016. "There was a period of time where I did nothing, but eat, sleep, and code for a few weeks," Cohen-Shohet told Insider. Her technical edge and knowledge of the point-of-sale payment space led her to launch a software company focused on providing behind-the-scenes tech for beauty and wellness small businesses.Cohen-Shohet launched GlossGenius in 2017 to provide payments tech for hair stylists, nail technicians, blow-out bars, and other small businesses in the space.Here's the 11-page deck GlossGenius, a startup that provides back-end tech for the beauty industry, used to raise $16 millionPrivate market data on the blockchainPat O'Meara, CEO of Inveniam.InveniamFor investors in publicly-traded stocks, there's typically no shortage of company data to guide investment decisions. Company financials are easily accessible and vetted by teams of regulators, lawyers, and accountants.But in the private markets — which encompass assets that range from real estate to private credit and private equity — that isn't always the case. Within real estate, for example, valuations of a specific slice of property are often the product of heavily-worked Excel models and a lot of institutional knowledge, leaving them susceptible to manual error at many points along the way.Inveniam, founded in 2017, is a software company that tokenizes the business data of private companies on the blockchain. Using a distributed ledger allows Inveniam to keep track of who is touching the data and what they are doing to it. Check out the 16-page pitch deck for Inveniam, a blockchain-based startup looking to be the Refinitiv of private-market dataHelping freelancers with their taxesJaideep Singh is the CEO and co-founder of FlyFin, an AI-driven tax preparation software program for freelancers.FlyFinSome people, particularly those with families or freelancing businesses, spend days searching for receipts for tax season, making tax preparation a time consuming and, at times, taxing experience. That's why in 2020 Jaideep Singh founded FlyFin, an artificial-intelligence tax preparation program for freelancers that helps people, as he puts it, "fly through their finances." FlyFin is set up to connect to a person's bank accounts, allowing the AI program to help users monitor for certain expenses that can be claimed on their taxes like business expenditures, the interest on mortgages, property taxes, or whatever else that might apply. "For most individuals, people have expenses distributed over multiple financial institutions. So we built an AI platform that is able to look at expenses, understand the individual, understand your profession, understand the freelance population at large, and start the categorization," Singh told Insider.Check out the 7-page pitch deck a startup helping freelancers manage their taxes used to nab $8 million in funding Shopify for embedded financeProductfy CEO and founder, Duy Vo.ProductfyProductfy is looking to break into embedded finance by becoming the Shopify of back-end banking services.Embedded finance — integrating banking services in non-financial settings — has taken hold in the e-commerce world. But Productfy is going after a different kind of customer in churches, universities, and nonprofits.The San Jose, Calif.-based upstart aims to help non-finance companies offer their own banking products. Productfy can help customers launch finance features in as little as a week and without additional engineering resources or background knowledge of banking compliance or legal requirements, Productfy founder and CEO Duy Vo told Insider. "You don't need an engineer to stand up Shopify, right? You can be someone who's just creating art and you can use Shopify to build your own online store," Vo said, adding that Productfy is looking to take that user experience and replicate it for banking services.Here's the 15-page pitch deck Productfy, a fintech looking to be the Shopify of embedded finance, used to nab a $16 million Series AReal-estate management made easyAgora founders Noam Kahan, CTO, Bar Mor, CEO, and Lior Dolinski, CPO.AgoraFor alternative asset managers of any type, the operations underpinning sales and investor communications are a crucial but often overlooked part of the business. Fund managers love to make bets on markets, not coordinate hundreds of wire transfers to clients each quarter or organize customer-relationship-management databases.Within the $10.6 trillion global market for professionally managed real-estate investing, that's where Tel Aviv and New York-based startup Agora hopes to make its mark.Founded in 2019, Agora offers a set of back-office, investor relations, and sales software tools that real-estate investment managers can plug into their workflows. On Wednesday, Agora announced a $9 million seed round, led by Israel-based venture firm Aleph, with participation from River Park Ventures and Maccabee Ventures. The funding comes on the heels of an October 2020 pre-seed fund raise worth $890,000, in which Maccabee also participated.Here's the 15-slide pitch deck that Agora, a startup helping real-estate investors manage communications and sales with their clients, used to raise a $9 million seed roundCheckout made easyBolt's Ryan Breslow.Ryan BreslowAmazon has long dominated e-commerce with its one-click checkout flows, offering easier ways for consumers to shop online than its small-business competitors.Bolt gives small merchants tools to offer the same easy checkouts so they can compete with the likes of Amazon.The startup raised its $393 million Series D to continue adding its one-click checkout feature to merchants' own websites in October.Bolt markets to merchants themselves. But a big part of Bolt's pitch is its growing network of consumers — currently over 5.6 million — that use its features across multiple Bolt merchant customers. Roughly 5% of Bolt's transactions were network-driven in May, meaning users that signed up for a Bolt account on another retailer's website used it elsewhere. The network effects were even more pronounced in verticals like furniture, where 49% of transactions were driven by the Bolt network."The network effect is now unleashed with Bolt in full fury, and that triggered the raise," Bolt's founder and CEO Ryan Breslow told Insider.Here's the 12-page deck that one-click checkout Bolt used to outline its network of 5.6 million consumers and raise its Series DHelping small banks lendCollateralEdge's Joel Radtke, cofounder, COO, and president, and Joe Beard, cofounder and CEO.CollateralEdgeFor large corporations with a track record of tapping the credit markets, taking out debt is a well-structured and clear process handled by the nation's biggest investment banks and teams of accountants. But smaller, middle-market companies — typically those with annual revenues ranging up to $1 billion — are typically served by regional and community banks that don't always have the capacity to adequately measure the risk of loans or price them competitively. Per the National Center for the Middle Market, 200,000 companies fall into this range, accounting for roughly 33% of US private sector GDP and employment.Dallas-based fintech CollateralEdge works with these banks — typically those with between $1 billion and $50 billion in assets — to help analyze and price slices of commercial and industrial loans that previously might have gone unserved by smaller lenders.On October 20th, CollateralEdge announced a $3.5 million seed round led by Dallas venture fund Perot Jain with participation from Kneeland Youngblood (a founder of the healthcare-focused private-equity firm Pharos Capital) and other individual investors.Here's the 10-page deck CollateralEdge, a fintech streamlining how small banks lend to businesses, used to raise a $3.5 million seed round Quantum computing made easyQC Ware CEO Matt Johnson.QC WareEven though banks and hedge funds are still several years out from adding quantum computing to their tech arsenals, that hasn't stopped Wall Street giants from investing time and money into the emerging technology class. And momentum for QC Ware, a startup looking to cut the time and resources it takes to use quantum computing, is accelerating. The fintech secured a $25 million Series B on September 29 co-led by Koch Disruptive Technologies and Covestro with participation from D.E. Shaw, Citi, and Samsung Ventures.QC Ware, founded in 2014, builds quantum algorithms for the likes of Goldman Sachs (which led the fintech's Series A), Airbus, and BMW Group. The algorithms, which are effectively code bases that include quantum processing elements, can run on any of the four main public-cloud providers.Quantum computing allows companies to do complex calculations faster than traditional computers by using a form of physics that runs on quantum bits as opposed to the traditional 1s and 0s that computers use. This is especially helpful in banking for risk analytics or algorithmic trading, where executing calculations milliseconds faster than the competition can give firms a leg up. Here's the 20-page deck QC Ware, a fintech making quantum computing more accessible, used to raised its $25 million Series BSimplifying quant modelsKirat Singh and Mark Higgins, Beacon's cofounders.BeaconA fintech that helps financial institutions use quantitative models to streamline their businesses and improve risk management is catching the attention, and capital, of some of the country's biggest investment managers.Beacon Platform, founded in 2014, is a fintech that builds applications and tools to help banks, asset managers, and trading firms quickly integrate quantitative models that can help with analyzing risk, ensuring compliance, and improving operational efficiency. The company raised its Series C on Wednesday, scoring a $56 million investment led by Warburg Pincus with support from Blackstone Innovations Investments, PIMCO, and Global Atlantic. Blackstone, PIMCO, and Global Atlantic are also users of Beacon's tech, as are the Commonwealth Bank of Australia and Shell New Energies, a division of Royal Dutch Shell, among others.The fintech provides a shortcut for firms looking to use quantitative modelling and data science across various aspects of their businesses, a process that can often take considerable resources if done solo.Here's the 20-page pitch deck Beacon, a fintech helping Wall Street better analyze risk and data, used to raise $56 million from Warburg Pincus, Blackstone, and PIMCOInvoice financing for SMBsStacey Abrams and Lara Hodgson, Now cofounders.NowAbout a decade ago, politician Stacey Abrams and entrepreneur Lara Hodgson were forced to fold their startup because of a kink in the supply chain — but not in the traditional sense.Nourish, which made spill-proof bottled water for children, had grown quickly from selling to small retailers to national ones. And while that may sound like a feather in the small business' cap, there was a hang-up."It was taking longer and longer to get paid, and as you can imagine, you deliver the product and then you wait and you wait, but meanwhile you have to pay your employees and you have to pay your vendors," Hodgson told Insider. "Waiting to get paid was constraining our ability to grow."While it's not unusual for small businesses to grapple with working capital issues, the dust was still settling from the Great Recession. Abrams and Hodgson couldn't secure a line of credit or use financing tools like factoring to solve their problem. The two entrepreneurs were forced to close Nourish in 2012, but along the way they recognized a disconnect in the system.  "Why are we the ones borrowing money, when in fact we're the lender here because every time you send an invoice to a customer, you've essentially extended a free loan to that customer by letting them pay later," Hodgson said. "And the only reason why we were going to need to possibly borrow money was because we had just given ours away for free to Whole Foods," she added.Check out the 7-page deck that Now, Stacey Abrams' fintech that wants to help small businesses 'grow fearlessly', used to raise $29 millionInsurance goes digitalJamie Hale, CEO and cofounder of Ladder.LadderFintechs looking to transform how insurance policies are underwritten, issued, and experienced by customers have grown as new technology driven by digital trends and artificial intelligence shape the market. And while verticals like auto, homeowner's, and renter's insurance have seen their fair share of innovation from forward-thinking fintechs, one company has taken on the massive life-insurance market. Founded in 2017, Ladder uses a tech-driven approach to offer life insurance with a digital, end-to-end service that it says is more flexible, faster, and cost-effective than incumbent players.Life, annuity, and accident and health insurance within the US comprise a big chunk of the broader market. In 2020, premiums written on those policies totaled some $767 billion, compared to $144 billion for auto policies and $97 billion for homeowner's insurance.Here's the 12-page deck that Ladder, a startup disrupting the 'crown jewel' of the insurance market, used to nab $100 millionEmbedded payments for SMBsThe Highnote team.HighnoteBranded cards have long been a way for merchants with the appropriate bank relationships to create additional revenue and build customer loyalty. The rise of embedded payments, or the ability to shop and pay in a seamless experience within a single app, has broadened the number of companies looking to launch branded cards.Highnote is a startup that helps small to mid-sized merchants roll out their own debit and pre-paid digital cards. The fintech emerged from stealth on Tuesday to announce it raised $54 million in seed and Series A funding.Here's the 12-page deck Highnote, a startup helping SMBs embed payments, used to raise $54 million in seed and Series A fundingAn alternative auto lenderDaniel Chu, CEO and founder of Tricolor.TricolorAn alternative auto lender that caters to thin- and no-credit Hispanic borrowers is planning a national expansion after scoring a $90 million investment from BlackRock-managed funds. Tricolor is a Dallas-based auto lender that is a community development financial institution. It uses a proprietary artificial-intelligence engine that decisions each customer based on more than 100 data points, such as proof of income. Half of Tricolor's customers have a FICO score, and less than 12% have scores above 650, yet the average customer has lived in the US for 15 years, according to the deck.A 2017 survey by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation found 31.5% of Hispanic households had no mainstream credit compared to 14.4% of white households. "For decades, the deck has been stacked against low income or credit invisible Hispanics in the United States when it comes to the purchase and financing of a used vehicle," Daniel Chu, founder and CEO of Tricolor, said in a statement announcing the raise.An auto lender that caters to underbanked Hispanics used this 25-page deck to raise $90 million from BlackRock investorsA new way to access credit The TomoCredit team.TomoCreditKristy Kim knows first-hand the challenge of obtaining credit in the US without an established credit history. Kim, who came to the US from South Korea, couldn't initially get access to credit despite having a job in investment banking after graduating college. "I was in my early twenties, I had a good income, my job was in investment banking but I could not get approved for anything," Kim told Insider. "Many young professionals like me, we deserve an opportunity to be considered but just because we didn't have a Fico, we weren't given a chance to even apply," she added.Kim started TomoCredit in 2018 to help others like herself gain access to consumer credit. TomoCredit spent three years building an internal algorithm to underwrite customers based on cash flow, rather than a credit score.TomoCredit, a fintech that lends to thin- and no-credit borrowers, used this 17-page pitch deck to raise its $10 million Series AAn IRA for alternativesHenry Yoshida is the co-founder and CEO of retirement fintech startup Rocket Dollar.Rocket DollarFintech startup Rocket Dollar, which helps users invest their individual retirement account (IRA) dollars into alternative assets, just raised $8 million for its Series A round, the company announced on Thursday.Park West Asset Management led the round, with participation from investors including Hyphen Capital, which focuses on backing Asian American entrepreneurs, and crypto exchange Kraken's venture arm. Co-founded in 2018 by CEO Henry Yoshida, CTO Rick Dude, and VP of marketing Thomas Young, Rocket Dollar now has over $350 million in assets under management on its platform. Yoshida sold his first startup, a roboadvisor called Honest Dollar, to Goldman Sachs' investment management division for an estimated $20 million.Yoshida told Insider that while ultra-high net worth investors have been investing self-directed retirement account dollars into alternative assets like real estate, private equity, and cryptocurrency, average investors have not historically been able to access the same opportunities to invest IRA dollars in alternative assets through traditional platforms.Here's the 34-page pitch deck a fintech that helps users invest their retirement savings in crypto and real estate assets used to nab $8 millionConnecting startups and investorsHum Capital cofounder and CEO Blair Silverberg.Hum CapitalBlair Silverberg is no stranger to fundraising.For six years, Silverberg was a venture capitalist at Draper Fisher Jurvetson and Private Credit Investments making bets on startups."I was meeting with thousands of founders in person each year, watching them one at a time go through this friction where they're meeting a ton of investors, and the investors are all asking the same questions," Silverberg told Insider. He switched gears about three years ago, moving to the opposite side of the metaphorical table, to start Hum Capital, which uses artificial intelligence to match investors with startups looking to fundraise.On August 31, the New York-based fintech announced its $9 million Series A. The round was led by Future Ventures with participation from Webb Investment Network, Wavemaker Partners, and Partech. This 11-page pitch deck helped Hum Capital, a fintech using AI to match investors with startups, raise a $9 million Series A.Payments infrastructure for fintechsQolo CEO and co-founder Patricia Montesi.QoloThree years ago, Patricia Montesi realized there was a disconnect in the payments world. "A lot of new economy companies or fintech companies were looking to mesh up a lot of payment modalities that they weren't able to," Montesi, CEO and co-founder of Qolo, told Insider.Integrating various payment capabilities often meant tapping several different providers that had specializations in one product or service, she added, like debit card issuance or cross-border payments. "The way people were getting around that was that they were creating this spider web of fintech," she said, adding that "at the end of it all, they had this mess of suppliers and integrations and bank accounts."The 20-year payments veteran rounded up a group of three other co-founders — who together had more than a century of combined industry experience — to start Qolo, a business-to-business fintech that sought out to bundle back-end payment rails for other fintechs.Here's the 11-slide pitch deck a startup that provides payments infrastructure for other fintechs used to raise a $15 million Series ASoftware for managing freelancersWorksome cofounder and CEO Morten Petersen.WorksomeThe way people work has fundamentally changed over the past year, with more flexibility and many workers opting to freelance to maintain their work-from-home lifestyles.But managing a freelance or contractor workforce is often an administrative headache for employers. Worksome is a startup looking to eliminate all the extra work required for employers to adapt to more flexible working norms.Worksome started as a freelancer marketplace automating the process of matching qualified workers with the right jobs. But the team ultimately pivoted to a full suite of workforce management software, automating administrative burdens required to hire, pay, and account for contract workers.In May, Worksome closed a $13 million Series A backed by European angel investor Tommy Ahlers and Danish firm Lind & Risør.Here's the 21-slide pitch deck used by a startup that helps firms like Carlsberg and Deloitte manage freelancersPersonal finance is only a text awayYinon Ravid, the chief executive and cofounder of Albert.AlbertThe COVID-19 pandemic has underscored the growing preference of mobile banking as customers get comfortable managing their finances online.The financial app Albert has seen a similar jump in activity. Currently counting more than six million members, deposits in Albert's savings offering doubled from the start of the pandemic in March 2020 to May of this year, from $350 million to $700 million, according to new numbers released by the company. Founded in 2015, Albert offers automated budgeting and savings tools alongside guided investment portfolios. It's looked to differentiate itself through personalized features, like the ability for customers to text human financial experts.Budgeting and saving features are free on Albert. But for more tailored financial advice, customers pay a subscription fee that's a pay-what-you-can model, between $4 and $14 a month. And Albert's now banking on a new tool to bring together its investing, savings, and budgeting tools.Fintech Albert used this 10-page pitch deck to raise a $100 million Series C from General Atlantic and CapitalGRethinking debt collection Jason Saltzman, founder and CEO of ReliefReliefFor lenders, debt collection is largely automated. But for people who owe money on their credit cards, it can be a confusing and stressful process.  Relief is looking to change that. Its app automates the credit-card debt collection process for users, negotiating with lenders and collectors to settle outstanding balances on their behalf. The fintech just launched and closed a $2 million seed round led by Collaborative Ventures. Relief's fundraising experience was a bit different to most. Its pitch deck, which it shared with one investor via Google Slides, went viral. It set out to raise a $1 million seed round, but ended up doubling that and giving some investors money back to make room for others.Check out a 15-page pitch deck that went viral and helped a credit-card debt collection startup land a $2 million seed roundBlockchain for private-markets investing Carlos Domingo is cofounder and CEO of Securitize.SecuritizeSecuritize, founded in 2017 by the tech industry veterans Carlos Domingo and Jamie Finn, is bringing blockchain technology to private-markets investing. The company raised $48 million in Series B funding on June 21 from investors including Morgan Stanley and Blockchain Capital.Securitize helps companies crowdfund capital from individual and institutional investors by issuing their shares in the form of blockchain tokens that allow for more efficient settlement, record keeping, and compliance processes. Morgan Stanley's Tactical Value fund, which invests in private companies, made its first blockchain-technology investment when it coled the Series B, Securitize CEO Carlos Domingo told Insider.Here's the 11-page pitch deck a blockchain startup looking to revolutionize private-markets investing used to nab $48 million from investors like Morgan StanleyE-commerce focused business bankingMichael Rangel, cofounder and CEO, and Tyler McIntyre, cofounder and CTO of Novo.Kristelle Boulos PhotographyBusiness banking is a hot market in fintech. And it seems investors can't get enough.Novo, the digital banking fintech aimed at small e-commerce businesses, raised a $40.7 million Series A led by Valar Ventures in June. Since its launch in 2018, Novo has signed up 100,000 small businesses. Beyond bank accounts, it offers expense management, a corporate card, and integrates with e-commerce infrastructure players like Shopify, Stripe, and Wise.Founded in 2018, Novo was based in New York City, but has since moved its headquarters to Miami. Here's the 12-page pitch deck e-commerce banking startup Novo used to raise its $40 million Series ABlockchain-based credit score tech John Sun, Anna Fridman, and Adam Jiwan are the cofounders of fintech startup Spring Labs.Spring LabsA blockchain-based fintech startup that is aiming to disrupt the traditional model of evaluating peoples' creditworthiness recently raised $30 million in a Series B funding led by credit reporting giant TransUnion.Four-year-old Spring Labs aims to create a private, secure data-sharing model to help credit agencies better predict the creditworthiness of people who are not in the traditional credit bureau system. The founding team of three fintech veterans met as early employees of lending startup Avant.Existing investors GreatPoint Ventures and August Capital also joined in on the most recent round.  So far Spring Labs has raised $53 million from institutional rounds.TransUnion, a publicly-traded company with a $20 billion-plus market cap, is one of the three largest consumer credit agencies in the US. After 18 months of dialogue and six months of due diligence, TransAmerica and Spring Labs inked a deal, Spring Labs CEO and cofounder Adam Jiwan told Insider.Here's the 10-page pitch deck blockchain-based fintech Spring Labs used to snag $30 million from investors including credit reporting giant TransUnionDigital banking for freelancersJGalione/Getty ImagesLance is a new digital bank hoping to simplify the life of those workers by offering what it calls an "active" approach to business banking. "We found that every time we sat down with the existing tools and resources of our accountants and QuickBooks and spreadsheets, we just ended up getting tangled up in the whole experience of it," Lance cofounder and CEO Oona Rokyta told Insider. Lance offers subaccounts for personal salaries, withholdings, and savings to which freelancers can automatically allocate funds according to custom preset levels. It also offers an expense balance that's connected to automated tax withholdings.In May, Lance announced the closing of a $2.8 million seed round that saw participation from Barclays, BDMI, Great Oaks Capital, Imagination Capital, Techstars, DFJ Frontier, and others.Here's the 21-page pitch deck Lance, a digital bank for freelancers, used to raise a $2.8 million seed round from investors including BarclaysDigital tools for independent financial advisorsJason Wenk, founder and CEO of AltruistAltruistJason Wenk started his career at Morgan Stanley in investment research over 20 years ago. Now, he's running a company that is hoping to broaden access to financial advice for less-wealthy individuals. The startup raised $50 million in Series B funding led by Insight Partners with participation from investors Vanguard and Venrock. The round brings the Los Angeles-based startup's total funding to just under $67 million.Founded in 2018, Altruist is a digital brokerage built for independent financial advisors, intended to be an "all-in-one" platform that unites custodial functions, portfolio accounting, and a client-facing portal. It allows advisors to open accounts, invest, build models, report, trade (including fractional shares), and bill clients through an interface that can advisors time by eliminating mundane operational tasks.Altruist aims to make personalized financial advice less expensive, more efficient, and more inclusive through the platform, which is designed for registered investment advisors (RIAs), a growing segment of the wealth management industry. Here's the pitch deck for Altruist, a wealth tech challenging custodians Fidelity and Charles Schwab, that raised $50 million from Vanguard and InsightPayments and operations support HoneyBook cofounders Dror Shimoni, Oz Alon, and Naama Alon.HoneyBookWhile countless small businesses have been harmed by the pandemic, self-employment and entrepreneurship have found ways to blossom as Americans started new ventures.Half of the US population may be freelance by 2027, according to a study commissioned by remote-work hiring platform Upwork. HoneyBook, a fintech startup that provides payment and operations support for freelancers, in May raised $155 million in funding and achieved unicorn status with its $1 billion-plus valuation.Durable Capital Partners led the Series D funding with other new investors including renowned hedge fund Tiger Global, Battery Ventures, Zeev Ventures, and 01 Advisors. Citi Ventures, Citigroup's startup investment arm that also backs fintech robo-advisor Betterment, participated as an existing investor in the round alongside Norwest Venture partners. The latest round brings the company's fundraising total to $227 million to date.Here's the 21-page pitch deck a Citi-backed fintech for freelancers used to raise $155 million from investors like hedge fund Tiger GlobalFraud prevention for lenders and insurersFiordaliso/Getty ImagesOnboarding new customers with ease is key for any financial institution or retailer. The more friction you add, the more likely consumers are to abandon the entire process.But preventing fraud is also a priority, and that's where Neuro-ID comes in. The startup analyzes what it calls "digital body language," or, the way users scroll, type, and tap. Using that data, Neuro-ID can identify fraudulent users before they create an account. It's built for banks, lenders, insurers, and e-commerce players."The train has left the station for digital transformation, but there's a massive opportunity to try to replicate all those communications that we used to have when we did business in-person, all those tells that we would get verbally and non-verbally on whether or not someone was trustworthy," Neuro-ID CEO Jack Alton told Insider.Founded in 2014, the startup's pitch is twofold: Neuro-ID can save companies money by identifying fraud early, and help increase user conversion by making the onboarding process more seamless. In December Neuro-ID closed a $7 million Series A, co-led by Fin VC and TTV Capital, with participation from Canapi Ventures. With 30 employees, Neuro-ID is using the fresh funding to grow its team and create additional tools to be more self-serving for customers.Here's the 11-slide pitch deck a startup that analyzes consumers' digital behavior to fight fraud used to raise a $7 million Series AAI-powered tools to spot phony online reviews Saoud Khalifah, founder and CEO of Fakespot.FakespotMarketplaces like Amazon and eBay host millions of third-party sellers, and their algorithms will often boost items in search based on consumer sentiment, which is largely based on reviews. But many third-party sellers use fake reviews often bought from click farms to boost their items, some of which are counterfeit or misrepresented to consumers.That's where Fakespot comes in. With its Chrome extension, it warns users of sellers using potentially fake reviews to boost sales and can identify fraudulent sellers. Fakespot is currently compatible with Amazon, BestBuy, eBay, Sephora, Steam, and Walmart."There are promotional reviews written by humans and bot-generated reviews written by robots or review farms," Fakespot founder and CEO Saoud Khalifah told Insider. "Our AI system has been built to detect both categories with very high accuracy."Fakespot's AI learns via reviews data available on marketplace websites, and uses natural-language processing to identify if reviews are genuine. Fakespot also looks at things like whether the number of positive reviews are plausible given how long a seller has been active.Fakespot, a startup that helps shoppers detect robot-generated reviews and phony sellers on Amazon and Shopify, used this pitch deck to nab a $4 million Series ANew twists on digital bankingZach Bruhnke, cofounder and CEO of HMBradleyHMBradleyConsumers are getting used to the idea of branch-less banking, a trend that startup digital-only banks like Chime, N26, and Varo have benefited from. The majority of these fintechs target those who are underbanked, and rely on usage of their debit cards to make money off interchange. But fellow startup HMBradley has a different business model. "Our thesis going in was that we don't swipe our debit cards all that often, and we don't think the customer base that we're focusing on does either," Zach Bruhnke, cofounder and CEO of HMBradley, told Insider. "A lot of our customer base uses credit cards on a daily basis."Instead, the startup is aiming to build clientele with stable deposits. As a result, the bank is offering interest-rate tiers depending on how much a customer saves of their direct deposit.Notably, the rate tiers are dependent on the percentage of savings, not the net amount. "We'll pay you more when you save more of what comes in," Bruhnke said. "We didn't want to segment customers by how much money they had. So it was always going to be about a percentage of income. That was really important to us."Check out the 14-page pitch deck fintech HMBradley, a neobank offering interest rates as high as 3%, used to raise an $18.25 million Series ARead the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderMay 17th, 2022

Wall Street Internship Checklist: How to land a competitive 2023 summer internship in investment banking, trading, or asset management

Use Insider's reporting to stay on top of the recruiting cycle, and learn how to impress interviewers from Goldman Sachs to Morgan Stanley to Blackstone. How to land a summer internship on Wall Street.Reuters/herval Summer internships at Wall Street banks boast some of the most sought-after undergrad opportunities. Many interviews are happening in-person again after two mostly virtual years.  The search can begin 12 to 18 months ahead of time. Use our reporting to give you an edge. See more stories on Insider's business page. Today's Wall Street interns could turn out to be tomorrow's managing directors.Even if that's a bit of a stretch, it's true that summer internships at leading financial-services firms are a tried-and-true gateway to full time employment at investment banks, private-equity firms, and hedge funds. They pay well, too, with many interns at both bulge-bracket and boutique banks earning a prorated summer salary on a scale that's upwards of $100,000.As you might imagine, actually landing one of these internships is notoriously competitive. The biggest US banks can receive hundreds of thousands of applications for a relatively small number of roles each summer — meaning they can be tougher to crack than landing a spot at an Ivy League university.Take Goldman Sachs, for instance, which accepted just 1.5% of candidates into its 2022 summer internship class out of more than 236,000 applications worldwide, according to a person with knowledge of the bank's recruiting efforts.So how do you become one of the lucky few to receive such an offer? Experts say that a sense of ambition, the willingness to hustle, and investing plenty of time into preparation are all crucial.Insider's comprehensive reporting includes more than a dozen stories on everything from what interns do, to how to nail your interviews, to the types of prep questions to expect when you meet with managing directors or HR.Check out our robust Wall Street internship coverage here — and, if you're in the running for an internship for next summer, get in touch with this reporter to share your story.Insider's Wall Street reporter Reed Alexander can be reached via email at ralexander@insider.com, or SMS/the encrypted app Signal at (561) 247-5758.Interview advice from top bankersAlexandra Soto of Lazard, left, and Claire O'Connor of Barclays, right.Courtesy of Lazard and BarclaysAfter two years of mostly virtual recruiting, Wall Street's hunger games are back — and this time, they're taking place largely in person.Claire O'Connor, a managing director and head of loan capital markets and acquisition finance at Barclays in New York, says that the return to in-person recruiting is generally a good thing. "This is such a people business," O'Connor told Insider. "Making those personal connections early on is really important, both for the candidates as well as for people on my side of the table to really get to know people, understand what motivates them, and what drives them."Insider spoke to three high-powered executives from Barclays, RBC Capital Markets, and Lazard, who offered their best advice for those looking to nail their interviews and stand out. Here's what they told us.How to land a Wall Street summer internship: Top investment bankers reveal their best advice, from asking the right questions to cold calling executivesWhat not to do in a virtual interviewAsier Romero/Shutterstock; Rachel Mendelson/InsiderDuring the depths of the COVID-19 pandemic, students participating in virtual recruiting for investment-banking and hedge fund internships were often aided by a little trick up their sleeves: digital cheat sheets.If you're participating in any virtual interviews this year, using this hack could be tempting — but students should think twice about trying it, because those who got caught were taken off of recruiters' lists last year.Finance students used digital cheat sheets to land internships during the pandemic. Here's what they looked like — and what happened when they got caught.What you need to know about Goldman SachsBrendan McDermid/File Photo/ReutersLast month, Goldman Sachs representatives delivered a campus recruiting presentation to finance students at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, one of Wall Street's most trusted repositories from which to source talent.The bank shared two slideshows — nearly 30 pages in all — bursting with information about the firm's investment-banking and asset-management summer analyst programs. Insider got a hold of the slides.The two presentations highlight stats, data, and dozens of details about the bank's business lines. Use them to study up on how Goldman operates before tossing your hat into the ring.Applying for a Goldman Sachs internship next year? Check out 29 leaked slides that reveal everything from what the gig entails to how its asset managers raise money.What does a Goldman analyst do anyway?Young bankers on Wall Street are feeling stressed due to lack of technical knowledge.RichVintage/Getty ImagesHeadline-grabbing deals, calls with titans of industry, dinner with your pals in the city, and of course, hammering out a few unavoidable Excel spreadsheets.These are just a few hallmarks of the lives of entry-level investment-banking analysts at Goldman Sachs, according to a mock daily schedule created by recruiters at the powerhouse Wall Street firm. Here's what Goldman Sachs says is a typical day in the life of its analysts, from calls with CEOs to eating dinner at your deskWhat is an 'exit opportunity'?Samantha Lee/InsiderThe journey from investment banking to private equity is a well-worn path, and so-called "exit opportunities" — that is, where juniors bankers can conceivably go to work into after moving on from banking — fuels much intrigue and even jealousy among the intern and analyst sets.Exit opps are such an important consideration that PJT Partners, one of Wall Street's most prestigious elite boutique banks, even tabulated all the exit opps of 70 of its junior bankers from 2012 to 2020, in an effort to flex the bank's top employment outcomes to internship hopefuls.PJT presented this information in a slide at a recent Wharton undergrad presentation. It was subsequently obtained by Insider. The boutique bank says its former junior staffers go on to work for a bevy of blockbuster buy-side heavyweights, like Blackstone, Apollo, and KKR, to name a few. Leaked data reveals the most popular 'exit opportunities' for PJT Partners' junior bankers — from Blackstone to Centerbridge PartnersWhen does investment-banking internship recruiting start?Samantha Lee/Business InsiderIn recent years, investment banks have opened application portals and kicked off campus recruiting earlier and earlier. Insiders say it's a reflection of the urgency they feel to lock up the most competitive undergrad talent."When you think about the recruiting timeline and the matriculation to full-time analyst program, that journey really starts two years earlier," Andrea O'Neal, a senior coach with Management Leadership for Tomorrow, an organization that helps prepare diverse students for finance industry careers, told Insider in an interview in 2021.We mapped out the timeline to nab an IB summer analyst role, which can begin as early as 24 months before the summer gigs actually doInterview prep: What is an investment-banking 'superday'?Samantha Lee/Business InsiderAs investment-banking interview rounds advance, candidates may be called into "superdays," which indicate that a search process is nearing its conclusion. Sometimes, banks even fly and pay for lodging for their top out-of-state to travel to New York or wherever the company is conducting its superdays, in order to meet those candidates in person.Superdays are competitive, rapid-fire sequences of interview rounds, which are typically conducted by senior bankers such as managing directors and vice presidents. They're intense, and candidates should expect worldwide experiences meeting — and trying to impress — multiple company leaders in a relatively short period of time.Insider obtained two lists of questions developed by Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley, which can help you think through your interview prep strategy.REVEALED: 22 questions from Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley to help prep prospective interns for intense 'superday' interviewsWhat kind of work do investment-banking summer interns do? Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images; Nicolas Economou/NurPhoto via Getty Images; Samantha Lee/InsiderOnce you successfully nail an internship offer and go from applicant to intern, what can you expect to do on the job?In the summer of 2021, we asked an IB summer analyst at a leading large-cap bank to break down a week in their life. The intern created a detailed schedule featuring colorful nuggets like what their final project consisted of, the kind of feedback they received from managers, and how they enjoyed a late-night ice cream party with colleagues at the office until 2:30 a.m.From socializing in Manhattan to working on live deals, here's what you can expect.Inside the Wall Street internship: A 21-year-old investment-banking intern walked us through a 75-hour work week churning out pitch decks, partying in Brooklyn, and digging into ice cream at the office after midnightInside Wall Street's diversity recruiting programsWilliam Pemberton, Citi senior analyst.Courtesy of CitigroupNumerous banks have established specialized recruiting programs focused on diverse candidates, or those who identify as Black, Indigenous, Latinx, members of the LGBTQ+ community, and others.Citigroup is one such firm. Last year, the Wall Street bank shared an exclusive look at its Early ID program with Insider. The program, which was established five years ago, receives thousands of applications per year, giving diverse students a chance to begin their recruiting process several months earlier than the rest of the applicant pool.Citi Early ID candidates can apply for internships in business lines such as markets; consumer services; human resources; and banking, capital markets, and advisory. One successful Citi banker who went through the program, William Pemberton, broke down how it works for us.Citigroup showed us how its Early ID program trains and mentors thousands of diverse candidates every year to help them ace their interviews and land internships at the global bankHow to turn your internship into a full-time offerTamia Marrow shared tips for landing a full-time offer and how to ace your internship.Tamia MarrowGrowing up in Burlington, North Carolina, Tamia Marrow never expected she'd find her way to one of the most prestigious asset managers in the global finance industry. But the first-gen student who worked at McDonalds in high school to save up for her first car — a 2006 Honda Pilot costing $8,000 — nevertheless managed to pull it off.In spite of the challenges she experienced interning virutally during the pandemic, Marrow impressed her supervisors and landed a return offer to join the firm she graduated college. She shared with Insider how she did it, offering powerful advice for others endeavoring to follow in her footsteps.A first-generation college student from an HBCU crushed her virtual internship at BlackRock and landed a full-time offer. She laid out how to turn a summer gig on Wall Street into a coveted full-time job.Consulting internships at McKinsey, BCG, and Bain are kicking off earlier than everConsulting firms are moving their recruiting timelines for summer interns up so they aren't left in investment banks' dust.Sean Murphy/Getty ImagesInvestment banks are known to start their internship recruiting processes 12 to 18 months ahead of time, but they're hardly alone. The Big 3 consulting firms — McKinsey, Bain, and the Boston Consulting Group — are progressively moving the kickoffs to their internship searches earlier and earlier, as Insider reported in 2021.For instance, BCG last year opened up its 2022 summer internship applications six to eight weeks earlier than previous years. McKinsey's first application deadline was a month earlier than it was the year before.Insider is tracking the consulting internship timeline and talking to decision-makers about why it's starting earlier — a sign, they say, that consulting giants are keen to duke it out with banks to nab the best talent before they're off the market.Insider spoke to recruiting experts, college career counselors, and hiring managers at leading consulting firms to understand why they're pushing their internship timelines up so dramatically.Getting your foot in the door on the buy-sideGeneral Atlantic managing director Alex Crisses walked Insider through the growth-equity investment firm's elite summer souring internship.Courtesy of General AtlanticGeneral Atlantic managing director Alex Crisses has an intriguing thesis: Betting on the gut instincts of college kids could result in some of the $65 billion growth-equity investor's smartest plays.Every summer, Crisses' team brings on about six to eight interns. They mainly focus on sourcing and pitching opportunities that would fall within one of the firm's five investment sectors: technology, consumer, financial services, life sciences, and healthcare.Crisses, GA's head of new investment sourcing and co-head of emerging growth, walked us through the buy-side firm's highly competitive but growing summer internship program, which accepts about 2% of applicants.Inside General Atlantic's undergrad internship, where just 2% of applicants are selected to pitch new investments in cmopanies like Duolingo and RiskifiedPrivate-equity mega-funds like KKR want undergradsGrace Koa is the head of talent acquisition at KKR.KKRAfter years of mainly recruiting analysts from the junior rungs of investment banks, private-equity firms are no longer keen to wait as patiently for entry-level bankers to transition from Wall Street to the buy-side after completing two years on the desk.Now, they're engaged in heated battles with investment banks to recruit talent directly from college campuses. Last year, Grace Koo, head of talent acquisition at private-equity giant KKR, told Insider about how the firm is broadening out the group of schools it relies upon to source future dealmakers for its burgeoning analyst program.A KKR talent exec says the private-equity firm's college recruiting is expanding beyond core target schoolsThe secrets of successful networkingAmy Cheetham is a partner at California-based venture capital firm Costanoa Ventures.Lisa DeneffeExperts say cold outreach is an effective tool to secure a summer internship, and research backs that up. Research published by the National Association of Colleges and Employers in 2020 found that 70% of the more than 540 interns surveyed said they'd landed an internship through cold outreach.But how do you break the ice and make cold outreach feel, well, not quite so cold? Insider asked a top venture capitalist who got her start as an intern at JPMorgan Chase — and used effective email networking with people she didn't already know to help her get the gig in the first place.It took about 150 emails in all, according to Amy Cheetham, a partner at Costanoa Ventures, an early-stage investment firm based in Palo Alto, California. Along the way, she learned important lessons about how to get a foot in the door on Wall Street if you don't already have a Rolodex of industry contacts.How to use cold emails to land a gig working on Wall Street, according to a JPMorgan banking analyst turned VC who did it herselfDisclosure: KKR is a large shareholder in Axel Springer, which owns Business Insider.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytMay 10th, 2022

Big Tech salaries revealed: How much engineers, developers, and product managers make at companies including Apple, Amazon, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Intel, Uber, IBM, and Salesforce

US tech giants are growing quickly, minting money, and looking to hire thousands of employees in 2022. Here's what you can make as you prepare to job search this year. Business Insider analyzed salary data for workers at top tech companies.SrdjanPav/Getty Images Business Insider analyzed salary data for thousands of workers to reveal how much large tech companies pay. We crunched the numbers for companies including Airbnb, Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Salesforce, Snap, and Uber. The data, which US companies report in visa applications for foreign workers, sheds light on how engineers, designers, and others are compensated in the competitive industry. Big US technology companies have powered their way through the pandemic, posting impressive growth, minting money, and hiring rapidly.In July of last year, the tech-industry association CompTIA reported that the sector experienced job growth in 10 out of the previous 12 months — a standout performance given the lockdowns last year. Tech firms added more than 80,000 workers in the US through the first half of 2021, it added.Google's parent company, Alphabet, hired more than 4,000 employees in the second quarter alone. Overall, more than 300,000 open tech jobs were posted in June, with software and app developers, IT-support specialists and project managers, systems engineers and architects, and systems analysts in highest demand. Jobs in emerging tech, such as AI, accounted for more than a quarter of open positions.Companies are required to disclose information including salary (or, in some cases, salary ranges) when they hire foreign workers under the H-1B visa program, giving insight into what these tech giants are willing to shell out for talent.So, to get a sense of what salaries in the industry are like these days, Business Insider analyzed the US Office of Foreign Labor Certification's disclosure data for permanent and temporary foreign workers to find out what companies pay employees in key roles, including engineers, designers, and salespeople.When you're done checking out this industry data, take a look at Insider's searchable database of over 250,000 salaries from more than 250 companies so you can know how much you should be paid.Google's software engineers can make more than $300,000.Google CEO Sundar Pichai.Justin Sullivan/Getty ImagesGoogle is often touted as one of the best places to work, with compensation to match.A software engineer was offered $353,000, a vice president of engineering can get $475,000, and a senior vice president recently took in an annual salary of $650,000. Here's a look at many other positions and how much they pay across Google.The company's Cloud business has been aggressively building out its workforce as it tries to catch its larger cloud rivals Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure.Here's a peek at the salaries Google Cloud pays US-based engineers, managers, and more.Amazon cloud-solutions architects are paid $90,800 to $185,000, depending on location and skills.Adam Selipsky, the Amazon Web Services boss.Albert Gea/ReutersAmazon's cloud unit, now run by Adam Selipsky, has continued hiring for technical and business talent to support its dominant cloud-computing business.Insider reviewed more than 200 H-1B visas that Amazon's cloud unit applied for from January to June to reveal how much it paid software developers, data scientists, marketers, salespeople, business analysts, and more. The highest-paid employees, according to that data, can make as much as $185,000 in base salary.Check out the details here.Senior marketing jobs at Apple can pay up to $325,000.Apple CEO Tim Cook.Roy Rochlin/WireImage/Getty ImagesApple closed another successful fiscal year in September 2021, growing revenue by 33% and generating $95 billion in profit from sales of iPhones, iPads, Macs, and other devices and services.Analysts have predicted that the tech giant is on track to become the first company to hit $3 trillion in market value this year after being the first to reach the $1 trillion and $2 trillion marks — and Apple is bringing on a cadre of visa-holding overseas workers to help it.Check out the salaries Apple pays for positions such as software developers, electrical engineers, computer and information systems managers, and statisticians.Apple's advertising is legendary, and its broader marketing efforts are integral to the company's success. The iPhone maker regularly gets attention for its cinematic campaigns. The company sponsors visas for a range of well-paid marketing jobs. Here are the salaries of advertising- and marketing-focused roles at Apple and other tech giants including Airbnb and Facebook.Most salaries at Dell are in the six-figure range — with some exceptionsDell CEO Michael Dell.DellHeightened demand for hardware during the pandemic led to record earnings for companies like Dell despite supply chain woes. Some employees reaped nearly $200,000 for their part in the company's boom.While senior-level roles tend to be top earners, an Insider analysis of 381 approved H-1B visas for Dell workers found that a technical staff member in software engineering based in Texas earned $198,083.It's a top range salary, but many other roles across engineering, analyst and sales positions earned at least six figures — with exceptions, like some business and sales analysts. Here's how much Dell paid US-based engineering, analyst, product-management, and sales roles.Senior DoorDash jobs in engineering and sales make upwards of $250,000DoorDash CEO Tony XuNoam Galai/Getty Images for TechCrunchDoorDash's service has become a staple for households around the country. The company is getting into rapid grocery delivery and expanding overseas, and it has been paying to attract the right employees for these growing ambitions.A software engineer at DoorDash can make as much as $250,000 in annual salary, according to compensation data compiled by Insider. A project manager on the growth side can pull in $240,000 a year. And on the business side, a director of sales strategy and operations is paid $265,000 a year.These high salaries across technical and business roles reflect the company's need to attract talent as it competes against big rivals. See many other DoorDash jobs and salaries here.HPE employees designing software earn up to $232,259Hewlett Packard Enterprise CEO Antonio Neri.AP Photo/Richard DrewHewlett Packard Enterprise's next move, through partnerships like one with networking startup Pensando, is developing hardware that will help the enterprise process data close to where it lives.It's heavily investing in its staff to do so. Insider analyzed approved visas for HPE workers and found software employees throughout California, North Carolina and Texas consistently earning $160,000 to $232,259.See the full list of HPE engineers, managers, and sales salaries.IBM employees can make as much as $335,000 in base salary.IBM CEO Arvind Krishna.Brian Ach/Getty Images for WiredUnder CEO Arvind Krishna, IBM is trying to reinvent itself for the cloud-computing era, dominated so far by Amazon, Microsoft, Alibaba, and Google.IBM's 2019 purchase of the open-source-software firm Red Hat for $34 billion was a defining moment when the company bet big on hybrid cloud and artificial intelligence. Part of IBM's reinvention includes growing its 350,000-strong employee base to add engineering talent in cloud, hybrid cloud, and AI, as well as in fields like strategy, consulting, and business analysis.Business Insider analyzed the 241 H-1B visas IBM applied for since January to find out what it pays engineers, business analysts and consultants, digital strategists, and more. The highest-paid IBM employees can make as much as $335,000 in base salary, according to that data.Check out all the jobs and salaries here.Instacart has more than 100 open positionsInstacart CEO Fidji SimoInstacartInstacart under new CEO Fidji Simo is doubling down on working with grocery stores for its delivery service. And the company is hiring up on the corporate side to carry this strategy out.Right now the company has more than 100 open positions listed on its website. And a look at the salaries it's paying shows the company is willing to spend big, especially for technical roles.An engineering manager makes $240,000 in salary; senior software engineers make upwards of $190,000. On the business side, an account executive makes $160,000.Check out all the Instacart compensation data Insider compiled here.Intel engineering managers can make more than $300,000.Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger.Horacio Villalobos-Corbis/Getty ImagesIntel is battling slowing revenue growth, shrinking margins, and rising competition from Taiwan Semiconductor, AMD, Nvidia, and others.There's also a semiconductor shortage to contend with, while marquee customers like Apple are designing their own chips.For all of this, Intel relies on scientists, researchers, managers, marketers, and different types of software and hardware engineers.Here's a peek at the salaries Intel pays some of these employees, based on roles from almost 1,000 approved visa applications that the company filed with authorities.Engineering roles at Lyft range make between $122,000 and $189,100Logan Green, Lyft cofounder and CEO.Noah Berger/AP PhotoLyft may be the second place ridesharing company by revenue, but employee salaries are still on par with its number one competitor, Uber.Engineers at Lyft — depending on the speciality — can earn between $122,000 and $189,100, with engineering managers making $235,654. The averages are based on an Insider analysis of salary data from the US Office of Foreign Labor Certification.Read how much Lyft paid employees across 18 tech and non-tech roles. A Facebook engineering director can make roughly $360,000Facebook COO Sheryl SandbergMatt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images for Vanity FairFacebook employees consistently make well into the six figures. An in-house ad-agency director hired in the past year earns a salary of just over $330,000. An engineering director makes roughly $360,000.Pay depends on the job, of course, but increasingly on where the worker is based, too. A data analyst in California, for example, makes $130,000 to $150,000 a year. One data analyst in Texas makes $128,000, and another $111,000. A software engineer in New York makes $160,000. One in Rhode Island and another in Texas make $118,000 a year.Here are all the latest data on Facebook salaries.Microsoft's highest-paying jobs include software engineers, sales managers, and researchers.Employees at Microsoft.Bryan Thomas/Getty ImagesWe analyzed Microsoft's more than 1,400 active foreign-worker visas in 2020 to find the titles with the highest salaries and provided a salary range for each role.We focused this list on roles that pay $175,000 or more at the high end of the range and categorized them based on information we found in job postings. The highest salary we found, for a channel sales manager, was $250,000.In internal Microsoft surveys obtained by Business Insider, 55% of staff said in 2020 that their combined salary, bonus, and equity was competitive with similar jobs at other companies, down from 65% in 2017.Here's the full list of jobs and salaries, covering positions such as cloud-solutions architect, legal counsel, silicon engineer, and software engineering lead.A senior manager of software engineering at Salesforce is paid more than $215,000.Employees outside the Salesforce Tower.Noam Galai/Contributor/Getty ImagesSalesforce is embracing a hybrid mindset, giving employees the option to work remotely part time, and it expects to increase its number of permanently remote workers, too.That flexibility is opening up talent pools for the company. Last September, the company said it was planning to add over 12,000 jobs over the next year. And Chief People Officer Brent Hyder told the San Francisco Chronicle last April that Salesforce's hiring spree this year would exceed 15,000 employees.Insider analyzed the 206 H-1B visas Salesforce applied for from January to March to find out how much it paid workers in areas like engineering, data analytics, and product management. Software engineers can make more than $200,000 in salary, the data showed.Here's the full list of positions and pay.Snap offers base salaries ranging from $59,000 to $500,000.Snap CEO Evan Spiegel.Steve Jennings/Getty Images for TechCrunchSnap, the company behind Snapchat, has had a growth spurt. And it's been staffing up to support ambitions in areas like augmented reality, short-form video, and original shows. The company now has about 4,000 employees in 15 countries.Snap said in May that it was committed to paying all employees a livable wage that "contributes to healthy work-life integration and to the local economy in which we work." It offers a minimum of $15,000 in equity grants to new hires and said its baseline annual pay rate for employees at its headquarters in Santa Monica is $70,000.In late 2020 and 2021, Snap offered annual base salaries ranging from $59,000 to $500,000 for various roles, according to data from H-1B visa applications analyzed by Business Insider.Check out all the Snap jobs and pay here.TikTok salaries range from $60,000 to nearly half a million dollarsByteDance founder and CEO Zhang Yiming.Zheng Shuai/VCG via Getty ImagesByteDance and its subsidiary TikTok, the social media app that skyrocketed in popularity last year, paid employees $59,700 to $480,000 in 2020 and 2021, according to approved foreign labor certification applications reviewed by Insider.Technology roles trended toward the high end of the pay scale, with senior engineering directors taking home $440,000 to $480,000 annually. At the low end, staff accountants earned $59,700 and HR generalists made $68,408.Across all positions, the median annual base salary at TikTok and ByteDance was $188,500.Here are the salaries of product, engineering, data science, research, monetization and other roles at TikTok and ByteDance. Uber competes with the biggest Silicon Valley companies, and its salaries show that.Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi.Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images for UberThough Uber has gone through rounds of job cuts in recent years, its compensation for many full-time positions is competitive with the biggest Silicon Valley tech firms.Senior engineers can earn salaries of well over $200,000, while data scientists can pull in almost $150,000 and senior product managers can make about $190,000 or more, excluding any equity or bonus.Lyft competes for similar talent. Check out the full list of Uber and Lyft positions and salaries here.Waymo pays $122,000 to $300,000, depending on the type of job and location.Waymo co-CEO Tekedra Mawakana and UiPath CEO Daniel Dines.Stefanie Keenan/Getty Images/Bertrand Guay/AFP via GettyFew industries are blowing up like artificial intelligence and big data. PitchBook estimated that spending on AI software and hardware would reach $138 billion in 2021 and grow at a rate of 23% in the next three years.All that investment fuels an equally explosive jobs market. The job-search site ZipRecruiter showed more than 60,000 AI-engineer jobs listed. Those roles pay very well, with annual compensation as high as $304,500.Business Insider analyzed US visa-application data from the first quarter of 2021 for permanent and temporary foreign workers to find out what 10 top AI companies pay engineers, researchers, and other professionals in the field of big data and machine learning.Waymo relies heavily on AI to train the software that controls its autonomous vehicles. The Alphabet unit pays $122,000 to $300,000, depending on the type of job and location, according to the data.Here's the full salary data for Waymo, Snowflake, UiPath, Databricks, DataRobot, Samsara, ByteDance, Cruise, Dataminr, and OpenAI.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderApr 28th, 2022

A Complete Timeline of Elon Musk’s Business Endeavors

From early venture Zip2 to his latest pursuit of Twitter With Elon Musk close to claiming a new role as owner of Twitter after a winning bid to purchase it for $44 billion this week, the billionaire entrepreneur can add the social media app to a long list of business ventures he has led, invested in, and supported over his lengthy career. Here’s a timeline of Musk’s most notable business endeavors—both successful and not—over the past three decades. 1995: Zip2 Along with his brother, Musk founded Zip2, an online business directory, as an online alternative to the standard paper yellow pages. (Google would not launch until 1998.) He sold it for over $300 million in 1999 to Compaq Computer Corporation. Musk was ousted as CEO in 1996, however, when the board of directors decided to install a more experienced leader in his stead. [time-brightcove not-tgx=”true”] 1999: X.com Musk invested some of his windfall from the Zip2 sale into his next venture: X.com, an online bank, launched with three other co-founders. X.com’s business model was innovative for its time, in that it incentivized sign-ups and eased the process of transferring funds digitally, with no need for mail or traditional banking infrastructure. In an interview with CBS MarketWatch at the time of the launch, Musk explained his business: “There are no minimum balances. You can open an account and receive a $20 promotional offer in your checking account. You can move $8 to your S&P fund, $3 each to your money market and bond fund, and be left with $6 in your checking.” He went on to expand more philosophically on the new company: “In my view, the Internet had gone through a couple of stages and was ready for another stage,” he said. “The first stage was where people could trust the Internet for information. This was perhaps ’95 or ’96. The second was to trust the Internet for purchases and begin to use credit cards online to buy books, toys, pet food and that kind of thing. I think we’re at the third stage now where people are ready to use the Internet as their main financial repository.” 2000: PayPal X.com merged with software company Confinity just one year later, forming PayPal, a secure online payments platform with a foundation in payments conducted for PalmPilots. PayPal would go on to be one of his most successful companies; Musk and his partners, including Confinity co-founder Peter Thiel, sold it to eBay in 2002 for a $1.5 billion stock deal. However, it was a rough start. PayPal was named at one point as one of the “worst business ideas” of 1999, and Musk himself was again removed from his role as CEO while on honeymoon in 2000, replaced by the board with Thiel. After going public on the NASDAQ stock exchange in 2002, eBay snapped up PayPal. They would hold onto PayPal until 2015, spinning it off into a separate entity. 2002: SpaceX Musk next set his sights on a lofty goal: space exploration, and the future colonization Mars. In the past 20 years, SpaceX has dealt with a series of rocket launch failures and Starship explosions. But it has also become a heavy-hitter in the space industry with a number of records to its name, including being the first private company to send a craft to the International Space Station and send astronauts to orbit. It is known for its reusable rockets. SpaceX is also behind the development of Starlink, a constellation of satellites intended to offer commercial internet service around the globe. 2002: The Musk Foundation Founded as a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, the Musk Foundation is one of Musk’s least-talked-about endeavors. Its stated goals including supporting renewable energy and pediatric research and education, and the developing of “safe artificial intelligence to benefit humanity.” Between 2002 and 2018 it handed out around $25 million, about half of that to OpenAI, a company owned by Musk himself. (Since 2012, Musk has also been a signatory of The Giving Pledge, in which many of the world’s richest people have committed to giving away the majority of their wealth at some point.) 2004: Tesla These days, Musk is perhaps best known for his leadership at Tesla, the electric car company named after famed inventor Nikola Tesla. Valued at over $1 trillion at one point in 2021, Tesla was founded in 2003 by two other men; Musk entered a Series A funding round with an investment of $6.5 million, and eventually took an increasingly active role in the company. He has been CEO since 2008. The Model 3 is the most popular electric car in production today, with over one million units sold globally. Tesla has come in for its fair share of controversy, however, from dealing with long production and fulfillment delays to safety issues with its vehicles and employee complaints about working conditions and management practices. 2006: SolarCity Founded by his cousins in 2006, SolarCity received Musk’s patronage from the offset; he was their primary financial backer. A solar energy company that became the leading residential solar installer in the U.S. by the mid-2010s, SolarCity installed solar energy systems that were leased to residential users. Musk, via Tesla, acquired SolarCity in 2016 for $2.6 billion in stock and incorporated it into its operations as Tesla Energy. 2015: OpenAI Musk co-founded OpenAI as a non-profit in 2015, with a for-profit artificial intelligence research lab component; it was started with a $1 billion collective pledge from its founders. Musk has been open about his interest in developing “friendly” AI that supports humanity, but he ended up resigning from the board in 2018 due to conflicts with Tesla’s AI projects. 2016: Neuralink Another research endeavor, Musk co-founded Neuralink in 2016 with the goal of working on “brain-machine interfaces,” or BMIs, that can be implanted directly into the body. Neuroscientists have been skeptical of Neuralink’s research and claims. While they currently conduct experiments on animals, they moved plans to begin working on human subjects to 2022. 2016: The Boring Company Founded with the intention of helping dispel city traffic via underground tunnels as a subsidiary of SpaceX, the Boring Company is one of Musk’s side projects. Its aim: build tunnels. They first experimented by tunneling under the SpaceX factory in California. The Boring Company became an independent entity in 2018, and in 2021 completed a tunnel project in Las Vegas to shuttle visitors beneath the Las Vegas Convention Center. It is currently working on further tunnel projects in Las Vegas for underground transport. Other projects are primarily speculative. Musk once spoke boldly about an ambitious “Hyperloop” system, creating tunnels across the country to revolutionize and speed up underground mass transport between cities. However, Hyperloop mentions have been scrubbed from the Boring Company’s website. 2022: Twitter After buying up enough stock to make him a majority shareholder by April 1, Musk made the move to purchase Twitter for $44 billion at the end of April. His plans include making Twitter “better than ever” by “enhancing the product with new features, making the algorithms open source to increase trust, defeating the spam bots, and authenticating all humans.” 🚀💫♥️ Yesss!!! ♥️💫🚀 pic.twitter.com/0T9HzUHuh6 — Elon Musk (@elonmusk) April 25, 2022.....»»

Category: topSource: timeApr 27th, 2022

Where Are Russia"s Gold Reserves Actually Stored?

Where Are Russia's Gold Reserves Actually Stored? Submitted by Ronan Manly, BullionStar.com In the current environment of weaponized Western sanctions against Russia, and the critical importance of monetary gold reserves as Russia’s ultimate asset, a timely question to ask is where Russia’s gold reserves are actually stored. The location of Russia’s gold reserves is especially intriguing given the ongoing freeze of Russia’s foreign exchange reserves - dollar, euro, pound - by Western powers, and the fact that there is a US Congress Bill being introduced by a group of US senators to try to ‘freeze’ Russia’s gold.     At the outset, some clarifications. Most of the gold reserves of the Russian Federation are owned and managed by the Bank of Russia. And with the Bank of Russia being owned by the Russian Federation, these gold reserves of the Bank of Russia are gold reserves of the Russian Federation. Russia’s National Wealth Fund (NWF) can also invest in gold and other precious metals. While the NWF “is managed by the Russian Ministry of Finance based on investment procedures and terms established by the Russian Government, the operational investment of the NWF is carried out by the Bank of Russia.” So if the NWF also holds gold, which it may well do, then this gold would also classify as part of the gold reserves of the Russian Federation. Additionally, the Russian Federation’s ‘State Fund of Precious Metals and Precious Stones’ (Gosfund), which is administered by Russian Federation institution ‘The Gokhran’, is also authorised to hold gold. The Gosfund then may well also hold gold, which would also be classified as part of the Russian Federations’ gold reserves. This article, however, will look just at the monetary gold reserves of the Bank of Russia, which at this time are claimed (by the Bank of Russia) to total 2,299 tonnes. Bank of Russia monetary gold reserves, 2299 tonnes as of February 2022, Source: www.GoldChartsRUs.com From 400 tonnes to 2300 tonnes of gold In the central bank gold market, the Bank of Russia stands out for having increased its monetary gold reserves by nearly six-fold over a mere 12 years via gold buying in the domestic Russian market. This gold was sourced from Russian gold refiners by Russian commercial banks, refined to a high standard in Russian gold refineries, and then sold by the Russian commercial banks to the Bank of Russia. Back in 2007, the Bank of Russia held about 400 tonnes of monetary gold. Towards the end of 2007, the Bank began aggressively adding to its gold holdings, and by early 2011 Russian gold reserves had exceeded 800 tonnes. By the end of 2014, this figure had swelled to more than 1200 tonnes of gold. By late 2016, the total breached 1600 tonnes. And by mid 2018, the Bank of Russia held more than 2000 tonnes of monetary gold. The growth trajectory slowed down slightly towards the end of 2018, but by early 2020, the Bank of Russia claimed to hold nearly 2300 tonnes of gold, an official figure which has not changed by much since that time (since the Bank of Russia says that it stopped buying gold over most of that time). The reason for providing this growth summary of Russian central bank gold holdings since 2007 is that it might have some bearing on where the Bank of Russia has stored the additional gold that it purchased over the 2008-2020 period. The First Visit - January 2011 One of the first references to the Bank of Russia’s contemporary gold storage policy is from 24 January 2011, and is from a press release feature on the Russian government’s own website, where we find that: “Prime Minister Vladimir Putin visited the central depository of Russia’s Central Bank, which holds two-thirds of the country’s gold and foreign exchange reserves.” This press release, which said that Putin was the first ever Russian prime minister to visit the gold vault facility, was accompanied by a now well-known photo of Putin holding a gold bar (see below). Vladimir Putin holding a gold bar during a tour of a Bank of Russia gold vault in Moscow, January 2011. Source The press release also has three other accompanying photos of Putin and an entourage touring the depository, one (see below) with the caption: “At the central depository located in downtown Moscow, the prime minister toured the storage facilities for currency reserves and observed the process of control weighing and packing precious metals.” Putin and entourage touring Bank of Russia Moscow vault, January 2011. Source There is also a well-used photo of Putin looking on as a vault employee in blue overalls takes a gold bar out of a wooden storage box: At the time in January 2011, the Bank of Russia's gold bars were stored in small wooden boxes, as per this photo. Source And a photo of strong cloth bags that presumably hold coins, but as to whether these are general circulation ruble coins, or gold bullion ruble coins, it’s not clear. Probably investment gold coins of ‘George the Victorious’. Coins in strong cloth bags in a Moscow vault of the Bank of Russia, January 2011. Source. During the tour of the Moscow vault (note that the Russian government didn’t specify where in Moscow the gold vault was located), Putin asked the then deputy chairman of the Russian central bank, Georgy Luntovsky, where the gold in the vault primarily came from, to which Luntovsky replied that they “bought the gold from commercial banks, citing Nomos Bank, VTB and MDM Bank as key partners.” As to the storage space and the storage arrangements, the press release stated that: “the central depository has an area of 17,000 square metres with 1,500 square metres occupied by the stored reserves. In addition to gold bars kept in plastic and wooden cases, an emergency stock of banknotes is stored. A standard gold bar weighs between 10kg and 14 kg, and small bars weigh between 100g and 1,000 g. The majority of Russia’s gold reserves is stored in standard bars.” At this time in January 2011, the Bank of Russia claimed to hold about 800 tonnes of gold, and if two thirds of this gold was stored in the Moscow vault, that would be about 533 tonnes. Ulitsa Pravdy - Truth Street, Moscow There are a heap of additional photos available on Russian websites of Putin’s January 2011 tour of the Bank of Russia’s Moscow gold vault, such as the following images from Russian newspaper Komsomolskaya Pravda (www.kp.ru) which can be seen here and below. Putin & Co enter vault storing gold in wooden boxes (to the right in the photo), January 2011Vault employee opening a wooden box containing gold bars, Bank of Russia vaults, MoscowVault employee in blue overalls displays a gold bar taken out of a wooden box, January 2011Reservoir Dogs, but missing a guy in a tracksuit, January 2011Close up of wooden boxes which contain gold bars, January 2011 There are also some photos of the same vault on the Sdelanounas.ru website here and below, and interestingly, the person posting these photos said the vaults in question are the Gokhran vaults in Moscow, and not the Bank of Russia vaults. A mistake in terminology? Maybe. Maybe not. That poster also claimed (on 20 September 2013) that one third of the Bank of Russia's gold reserves were at that time being stored in St.Petersburg (more on that below). Gold bars on metal trolleys, Bank of Russia Moscow gold vault, January 2011Russian gold bars lined up on trolleys in the Bank of Russia's Moscow gold vault, January 2011 Fast forward two years to 11 February 2013, and Bloomberg ran a story about Russia’s gold reserves, with the headline “Putin Turns Black Gold to Bullion as Russia Outbuys World”. At this time in February 2013, the Bank of Russia claimed to have 958 tonnes of gold, i.e. an increase of about 160 tonnes over January 2011, but the Bank (or Bloomberg) was still quoting that ‘two thirds’ of this gold was in Moscow. This ‘two thirds’ quote could only be true in 2011 and 2013 if the Bank of Russia constantly allocated two thirds of its continual gold purchases to the Moscow vault and one third to elsewhere. Otherwise it was just a convenient quote circulated by the Bank of Russia that may have been true in 2011 but that Bloomberg continued to use in 2013. However, Bloomberg did provide one interesting piece of information, in that it revealed that the general address and street location of the Moscow gold vault is under a building in Pravda Street in central Moscow:    “Russia keeps about two-thirds of its stockpile in a greenish gray stone-and-glass building on Ulitsa Pravdy, or Truth Street, in central Moscow. The road is named after Pravda, the official newspaper of the Communist Party, which also was headquartered there." "On 24 January 2011... [Putin] toured the 17,000 square-meter facility, which includes 1,500 square meters of storage, with First Deputy Chairman Georgy Luntovsky, posing for photographs lifting an ingot. Most of the bars weigh 10 to 14 kilograms (22 to 31 pounds) and are boxed in plastic or wooden crates alongside an emergency supply of banknotes.” Prophetically, this Bloomberg article also had a quote from Russian parliamentarian Evgeny Fedorov, who told Bloomberg in February 2013 that: “The more gold a country has, the more sovereignty it will have if there’s a cataclysm with the dollar, the euro, the pound or any other reserve currency”. Exactly 9 years later that cataclysm came about in the form of Western powers freezing the Bank of Russia’s foreign exchange reserves in all of the US dollar, euro and pound.   Fast forward another 4 years from February 2013 to 1 February 2017, and an article appeared on the website “Russia Beyond” written by Alexander Bratersky and titled “Where are Russia’s vast gold reserves hidden?”. At this time at the end of January 2017, the Bank of Russia claimed to have over 1600 tonnes of gold, which was 650 tonnes more than February 2013, and twice as much gold as in January 2011. Putin holding a gold bar for a photoshoot. Location unknown Yekaterinburg and St. Petersburg In his article, Bratersky was still quoting the ‘two thirds’ of the gold being in Moscow. This could only have been true if the Russians had been continually allocating two thirds of new purchases to the Moscow storage location, but could also be one of those snippets of information which may have been true in 2011 but may not be so accurate all through Russia’s vast gold accumulation exercise of 2011 – 2020. But one important piece of new information which Bratersky did add was that the rest of the Russian gold that was not stored in Moscow was being stored in the cities of St. Petersburg and Yekaterinburg. For he wrote:     “While Russia does not have a Fort Knox, almost two-thirds of the nation’s gold is kept in a Central Bank repository in Moscow. The rest is stored away in St. Petersburg and Yekaterinburg. The gold is kept in bullions weighing from 100 grams to 14 kilograms.” Note that in his article, Bratersky did not provide any sources to his claims that ‘one third’ of Russian gold is stored in some combination of locations in St. Petersburg and Yekaterinburg.  For many people outside Russia, St Petersburg will need no introduction, as St Petersburg along with Moscow is one of Russia’s ‘two capitals’ and a major (and famous) historical and cultural Russian city on the Baltic Sea adjacent to Finland and Estonia. In fact,  St Petersburg, is a gateway between Russia and the rest of Europe. St. Petersburg is also Putin's home city. But the city of Yekaterinburg, which is 1700 kms east of Moscow and the capital of the Urals region, may be less well known. While Yekaterinburg is Russia’s fourth largest city in terms of population, it is often known as Russia’s ‘third city’ since, in addition to Moscow and St Petersburg, Yekaterinburg is culturally and scientifically important. Yekaterinburg is also logistically critical as it is located “in the main international transportation corridor which leads from Central Russia to the Far East and is the node of the Urals railway system. It has the largest number of direct railway connections of any big regional center and is third in terms of the number of flights.” Yekaterinburg (sometimes known as Ekaterinburg) is also home to a precious metals refinery in the form of the “Ekaterinburg non-ferrous metals processing plant”, a refinery which was an LBMA Good Delivery Refinery until it got suspended by the LBMA in May 2018. But Bratersky was not the first to state that Bank of Russia gold was being stored in St Petersburg and Yekaterinburg, because a Russian article from July 2015 on the website Vegchel.ru also stated this. At that time, the Bank of Russia claimed to hold about 1240 tonnes of gold. The Vegchel.ru article wrote: “Today, two-thirds of the gold and foreign exchange reserves of the Russian Federation are stored in the Central Bank's Central Bank, located in Moscow on Pravda Street. …The central depository was created in 1940 on the basis of the USSR State Bank Administration. Now the Central Depository is part of the developed system of the Bank of Russia. In addition to the main storage unit in Moscow, inter-regional storage facilities are located in St. Petersburg and Yekaterinburg. In general, the system responsible for the distribution of the country's cash has 608 multi-level cash settlement centers, each of which has storage facilities. “The storage of gold reserves is carried out mainly in gold bars weighing from 10 to 14 kg, there are also measured bars, the weight of which is from 100 grams to one kilogram.  There are about 6,100 boxes of precious metal ingots in the Central Vault.” These boxes which the Vegchel.ru article referred to, are the wooden boxes which you can see in the photos (above) during Putin’s tour of the Moscow gold vault in January 2011. A Far Larger Vault - January 2018 Fast Forward to January 2018, and the reporters from Russian newspaper Komsomolskaya Pravda (www.kp.ru) were back, this time being granted exclusive access to what looked like a far bigger and far more modern gold vault of the Bank of Russia in Moscow. Gone were the small wooden boxes, replaced instead by football field size spaces filled with towers of metal latticed containers, each container holding 20 large gold bars. The vault employees in the vault were also wearing wine coloured overalls. The KP staff who visited the gold vault were reporter Yevgeny Belyakov and photojournalist Vladimir Velengurin. There are many articles on Russian websites with multiple photos of this gold vault taken by the KP photographer in January 2018. Such as the Russia-Insider website here. Additional photos can be seen on the Yaplakal.com website here. Bank of Russia Moscow gold vault, January 2018KP reporter Yevgeny Belyakov shows authorisation for entering the Bank of Russia gold vault, Moscow. January 2018KP reporter looking at a metal latticed box which contains 20 large gold bars.Vault employees handling Russian gold bars - Notice the 20 bar arrangement in the containers Notably, the vault which the KP reporters visited in January 2018 also stored thousands of silver bars arranged on pallets and covered with cardboard (see photos below). So the Bank of Russia is not just a gold stacker, but a silver stacker too. Large Russian silver bars stored on pallets in the Bank of Russia vaults in Moscow.Hundreds of pallets of Silver bars stored in the same vault space as the gold bars of the Bank of Russia, Moscow. Conclusion So is the central depository vault on Ulitsa Pravdy (Pravda Street) in Moscow which Putin toured in January 2011 (and which contains the wooden boxes of gold bars), the same vault which the KP news reporters visited in February 2018? Possibly. The vault space was described in 2011 as a "an area of 17,000 square metres with 1,500 square metres occupied by the stored reserves", so it's feasible that the area used to store gold bars was extended as the Bank of Russia's gold reserves expanded massively over 2011 - 2020. So there could be gold bars still sorted in small wooden boxes as well as stored in the large metal containers (20 bars per container). Where are the photos of the gold vaults of in the Bank of Russia's St. Petersburg and Bank of Russia's Yekaterinburg locations? Answer - There aren't any photos within the St. Petersburg and Yekaterinburg gold vaults as far as I can see. If you know otherwise, please highlight sources for such photos in the comments below. Is the 'two thirds' of the gold in Moscow under 'Truth Street' and the 'one third' elsewhere thesis still valid, or was it ever valid? What is the 'Truth? No one outside of official circles knows the answer. But it would make sense from a diversification and security point of view not to store all the gold in the same location. Could the Russian Federation be storing strategic gold reserves outside Russia? Yes, but they would be very foolish to have been storing any gold in the vaults of Western powers such as in the Bank of England in London or the Federal Reserve in New York or the Banque de France in Paris, as gold in such locations would have been confiscated and frozen by now. But Russia could be storing some of its gold in China, in Beijing or Shanghai. Not so far fetched.     Does Russia's National Wealth Fund hold gold? Possibly. Does the Gokhran's Gosfund store gold? Possibly. Could Russia hold more gold than it claims to hold? Probably. The Bank of Russia has 7 main regional branches and 73 divisional offices, the addresses of all of which can be seen here. In theory, any of these regional or divisional offices could be storing Bank of Russia gold. Furthermore, the Vegchel.ru article (above) said that the Bank of Russia currency distribution system "includes 608 cash processing centres and almost all of them has a storage facility." In theory, any of these storage facilities could be used to store Bank of Russia gold.  Additionally, all of the large Russian banks, such as VTB, Gazprombank, Sberbank, Otkritie and Sovcombank, are active in the Russian gold market, and many of these banks have their own private vaults. Since these banks work closely with Russia's central bank in the domestic Russian gold market, its feasible that the large Russian commercial banks could store gold bars on behalf of the Bank of Russia or the NWF or the Gokhran.  There are also the precious metals refineries such as Krastsvetmet, Prioksky, and Moscow Special Alloys Plant, which are all 100% owned by the Russian Federation. All of these refiners have secure precious vaults, which could be used to store Russian Federation gold. In short, Putin's tour of a gold vault in 2011 (11 years ago) and Russian reporters visiting a gold vault in 2018 (4 years ago) are great for optics and marketing - and the Bank of Russia has been very successful in this regard - but without some hard facts about bar numbers and locational details from the Russian government and Bank of Russia, we still don't know the true state, size and location of the Russian Federation's gold reserves. Which is not surprising, since as Chris Powell of GATA has said in the past and will say again: "the amounts, location, and disposition of government gold reserves are secrets more sensitive than the amounts, location, and disposition of nuclear weapons. Indeed, under nuclear weapons control treaties, governments with nuclear weapons have often shared that sort of information, even with hostile powers. But gold reserve information is far more tightly held and most gold information provided officially is actually disinformation. Why is it this way? It's because gold is an even more powerful weapon than nukes -- an alternative currency that is not necessarily under any government's power; a determinant of the value of other currencies, interest rates, government bonds, and equities." *  *  * This article was originally published on the BullionStar.com website under a similar title "Where is the Russian Federation’s Gold Stored?" Tyler Durden Tue, 04/26/2022 - 05:00.....»»

Category: worldSource: nytApr 26th, 2022

Equity crowdfunding gives startups an alternative to venture capital by raising money from smaller investors

Equity crowdfunding allows private companies to raise money by issuing securities to many investors (the crowd) in exchange for cash. Equity crowdfunding lets the general public in on private-market investingHalfpoint Images/Getty Equity crowdfunding allows startups and early-stage companies to issue ownership stakes to many investors in exchange for capital. Shareholders stand to profit if the company does well, but can lose all of their money if the company fails. The Securities and Exchange Commission oversees equity crowdfunding because it involves issuing shares of the company. Every startup needs capital, and securing that money can be a challenge. Traditionally, businesses looking to get going would look to some of the most common sources of funding, including business loans, angel investors, venture capitalists, or even an initial public offering of stock.Nowadays, crowdfunding is an increasingly popular form of fundraising that lets founders raise capital on their own, bypass institutional funding, and retain more control over their companies. The idea behind crowdfunding is to convince large numbers of people to invest in or donate to a cause or business. There are several different types of crowdfunding, including an approach that allows companies to offer partial ownership in the form of equity.What is equity crowdfunding?Equity crowdfunding is the one type of crowdfunding that most closely mimics conventional methods of raising capital. It's used primarily by startups or early-stage companies. The founders, following a regulated process, issue securities (stock) to the public on a crowdfunding platform in exchange for cash.Other types of crowdfunding include rewards-based crowdfunding in which investors receive a new product or other reward and donation crowdfunding where investors neither receive nor expect a reward. Debt-based crowdfunding operates much like a bank loan, except the "loan" comes from the crowd.Note: Equity crowdfunding is overseen by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA).Among the most well-known and successful equity crowdfunding platforms are:WefunderWefunder has attracted a broad range of startups including an online encyclopedia, bionic pancreas, and film production. Any US-based startup can apply to join the platform, which charges a flat fee of 7.5% of funds raised only if the campaign is successful.StartEngineStartEngine carries a wide variety of listings including environment-friendly startups, tech companies, and a smattering of Cannabidiol (CBD) entries as well. Companies pay a fixed fee plus a dollar percentage of capital raised and an equity share.RepublicRepublic, owned and maintained by OpenDeal Inc., was set up in 2016 for US-based companies. The platform includes health and wellness startups, fintech companies, and cryptocurrency platforms. Startups pay a 6% charge on funds raised, but only if the funding goal is reached.MainvestMainvest, founded in 2018, specializes in supporting small brick-and-mortar businesses by letting investors deploy "community capital into the neighborhoods where they live, visit, and enjoy." Mainvest does not charge an upfront fee to launch a campaign and if the raise is not successful, there is no fee. Otherwise "in-network" funds (those you raise) are charged a 3% fee and "out-of-network" funds from Mainvest investors carry a 9% fee. Additional fees may apply.SeedInvestSeedInvest is an exclusive marketplace that accepts just 1% of the startups that apply. The platform entertains a broad range of US startups seeking funding from robotics to food and beverage to several different types of healthcare platforms. Startups pay a 7.5% placement fee and 5% equity.3 steps to raising capital with equity crowdfunding Before you start, determine the amount of financing you will need, refine your business plan, and prepare for the questions you're likely to face in the due diligence phase of your campaign.The amount you raise determines the certification requirements for your financial statement. Less than $107,000 only requires a company officer to certify. Amounts from $107,000 to $535,000 require independent review. Anything more than $535,000 requires independently reviewed or audited financial statements.Once you've laid the groundwork, the process of choosing a platform and conducting a campaign begins.1. Choose an equity crowdfunding platformStart by researching platforms and zeroing in on those that tend to support projects similar to yours. "Many platforms specialize and have a pool of investors looking for specific types of investments," says Chris Rawley, founder and CEO of agriculture crowdfunding platform Harvest Returns.Learn about SEC regulation of crowdfunding platforms including Reg CF, Reg D, Reg A+, and others. "Each of these has implications regarding the marketing of the offering, future reporting requirements and future capital raise implications," says Jay Jung, managing partner and founder of Embarc Advisors, who urges founders to make sure the platform is knowledgeable when it comes to these regulations.Ask pointed questions about the platform to ensure you will get the support you desire.CEO Jason Frishman at private fundraising company Netcapital advises founders to ask three questions as part of the platform vetting process: "How expensive is this funding portal going to be for me to use? How quickly can I get my deal live on the platform? And how will the platform help me get attention for my offering?"Warning: Safdar Alam, CEO of the equity crowdfunding platform Maydan Capital Select, cautions that platforms that don't commit to significant due diligence pass all this risk onto retail investors and provide less support to founders.Once you've chosen a platform that meets your needs, register and prepare for the next step — selling yourself and your company.2. Pitch your businessYour pitch to potential investors can be in writing or a video, depending on what format the platform accepts or prefers. Factors to consider with either include:Take a personal approach. Share who you are and why you started this project. Be relatable.Share the mission. Explain the goal and the impact it will have on people, society, and the world.Explain what's in it for investors.Be transparent about how the funds will be used. Explain why outside funding is needed."Beware of platforms that ask you to bring a large number of investors long before you can launch a raise," cautions Rawley. "Additionally, ensure you fully understand the fees and any equity splits the platform may require." 3. Promote your campaignAll platforms have a system for running a campaign. Some are tightly structured, and others are more flexible. Make sure you understand the promotional structure of the platform you choose."The way the bigger platforms work is that they have certain events that get triggered which then leads to your startup being promoted on the platform," says Anna Gudmundson, CEO and founder of the startup, Sensate BioSelf Technology."It's a bit like if you build a website or a blog. Unless you promote it, not many people are going to visit it, and it's important that the founders understand the dynamics and algorithms that the platforms use to promote it to the crowd investors."Warning: Many sites will only let you access your funds if you reach your fundraising goal. Otherwise, the money raised is returned to investors.What happens after you've raised the money?What's next for startups once they raise funds through equity crowdfunding? Some use it for the stated purpose of the campaign and concentrate on growing the business. Others move on to banks or angel investors for their next or follow-on campaigns. Many return to the original crowdfunding platform for a second or even third round.Much of what happens next depends on the platform you select. If you have wisely selected a platform that does its due diligence and isn't full of low-quality candidates, ask about post-investment involvement, Alam says. "Platforms that request regular updates from founders should be valued compared to platforms that do not want any contact with the founders post-investment."What are equity crowdfunding's benefits and drawbacks?As with any funding system, equity crowdfunding has pros and cons, both for founders and investors. ProsThe biggest benefit to investors and founders alike is that nonaccredited investors are able to participate, increasing the pool of potential backers. "Depending on the way you structure your traditional raise, you may be limited to the number of nonaccredited investors, or you may not be able to have any," says Andrea Sager, a lawyer and owner of The Legalpreneur, a legal advice subscription service for small businesses.  "Crowdfunding allows you to let any number of nonaccredited investors in."The convenience for backers of investing online also makes raising capital easier for founders. "Anyone can invest with the click of a button. It doesn't get any easier than that for someone to be able to invest in your company," notes Frishman.Alam points to the versatility of equity crowdfunding. "This approach can also be used alongside more traditional fundraising from venture capital firms – as the entire round does not need to be executed on a crowdfunding platform."The ability to control the pace of the raise, is another issue that falls in favor of equity crowdfunding according to Steven Weinstein, CEO of early-stage growth investor Seismic Capital. "Typically when working with venture capitalists, startups are tied to quick turnaround times and deadlines to bring the product or service to market, regardless of whether or not it aligns with the time needed to refine the offering. With crowdfunding, startups are able to take a patient capital approach, forgoing immediate returns with the intent of gaining more substantial, lasting returns as their company grows."Equity crowdfunding is also a good way to engage the community and allow your customers to become part of the business, says Gudmundson. "Your customers are people who actually understand your product, so you're allowing them to be part of the round, as well as professional investors who find valuable early-stage companies to invest in as part of their high risk/reward portfolio."ConsEquity crowdfunding is time consuming and the involvement it requires from founders can hurt the bottom line. "It can quickly become a distraction to the true business if you don't have a solid marketing plan in place," notes Sager.Capitalization tables listing hundreds of small investors may scare off larger investors or worse, trigger disclosure requirements that can be costly and complicated, says Jung. "Thankfully, several crowdfunding platforms have introduced workarounds that allow the investors in the crowdfunding campaign to be aggregated as one registered shareholder on the cap table." Frishman points out that while equity crowdfunding platforms can be a big help in marketing a company, they do not underwrite or guarantee a successful capital raise. "A big trap when launching a campaign is assuming the platform will raise all the money for you."Alam points to another potential shortcoming that founders and investors should watch for. "Platforms that do not commit to significant due diligence, and pass all this risk onto retail investors without support, will treat the founders and the startup very differently than a platform that focuses on a lower volume of deals and specializes in specific sectors." Crowdfunding campaigns require intense involvement on the part of founders. As Gudmundson says: "The main thing is to understand that it doesn't run itself. Simply creating a page with your product on it is unlikely to raise much money." ProsConsOpen to nonaccredited investorsOffers easy online accessibilityVersatile (combine with traditional funding)Pace controlled by the founderEncourages community engagementCampaign can distract from businessPotential for lengthy cap tables to trigger disclosureSuccessful offerings not guaranteedPossible lack of due diligence from platformIntense involvement required of foundersIs equity crowdfunding right for you?Since equity crowdfunding is similar to traditional fundraising in many ways, it will seem more familiar to founders with prior experience. Strong support from the right platform along with an easier process makes equity crowdfunding a good match for inexperienced first-timers as well.Review the pros and cons, especially the amount of involvement required. If you decide equity crowdfunding is for you, read and take the advice of experts to heart:"Marketing is key when it comes to crowdfunding. Having an existing audience or community tends to make crowdfunding easier," says Sager.Remember that just being listed on on a platform with tens of thousands of potential investors doesn't necessarily mean you're reach your funding target, Rawley says. "Investors are still looking for a solid team, executable business plan, and a path to an exit."Also remember that a large "anchor investor" will lend credibility to your campaign, Jung says. "Sometimes we will see a $2 million raise with an anchor investor coming in with a 10%-30% of the offering."Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderApr 25th, 2022