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Embraer (ERJ) Teams Up With LHX to Upgrade KC-390 Millennium

Embraer (ERJ) reveals its strategic partnership agreement with L3Harris to build an advanced version of the KC-390 Millennium tactical tanker aircraft for the U.S. Air Force. Embraer S.A. ERJ revealed its strategic partnership agreement with L3Harris Technologies LHX to build an Agile Tanker aircraft, which will be an advanced version of the KC-390 Millennium tactical tanker aircraft, for the U.S. Air Force. The agreement is expected to support the U.S. Air Force in meeting operational imperatives and refueling needs in a contested mission area.Details of the AgreementAs part of the agreement, Embraer and L3Harris will be involved in augmenting the operational capabilities of the KC-390 Millennium tactical tanker aircraft. The work involves upgrading the aircraft with advanced technology to make it efficient and sustainable in contested mission areas.LHX and ERJ will be outfitting the aircraft with tactical network settings that will support the Joint All-Domain Command and Control requirements of the air force.Benefits of the UpgradeThe KC-390 Millennium is a new-generation military multi-mission airlift aircraft. It brings unrivaled mobility, high productivity and operation flexibility at low operational costs on a single and unique modern platform.The aircraft can refuel military aircraft with a variable speed drogue, receive fuel, and take off and land from short and improvised runways. These allow for greater mission area coverage.The latest initiative by Embraer and L3Harris to upgrade the aircraft with meaningful and critical operational capabilities will increase its versatility and resiliency to perform in challenging mission areas. Moreover, Embraer’s state-of-the-art platform and systems, in combination with L3Harris’ mission-driven solutions, should make this next-generation aircraft more attractive for the air force.This may result in a steady flow of contracts from Pentagon involving the upgraded KC-390 aircraft for Embraer, thus boosting its revenue generation prospects from defense businesses.Growth ProspectsThe continuously changing dynamics of the defense landscape and rising warfare challenges are propelling the demand for technologically advanced weapons and equipment. In this context, aerial refueling plays a vital role in military operations and may witness an increase in demand in the days ahead amid the current threat environment.Per the report from MarketWatch, the global military aerial refueling tanker market size is likely to expand at a CAGR of 12.3% over the 2022-2030 period. Such abounding growth prospects may benefit Embraer, considering its capability in building the aircraft tanker, which suits military missions.Other defense players that can enjoy the perks of the expanding aerial refueling tanker market size are as follows:Boeing’s BA KC-46 features multiple layers of combat-ready defensive countermeasures to detect, avoid, defeat and survive threats. The KC-46A provides data and fuel to the joint force. Armed with data links and Advanced Battle Management System integration, the KC-46 connects multi-domain warfighters, providing tactical situational awareness.The long-term earnings growth rate of Boeing is pegged at 4%. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for BA’s 2022 sales suggests a growth rate of 14.8% from the prior-year period.Airbus’s EADSY A330 MRTT is the most capable new-generation tanker, which is combat-proven and comes with unique multi-role capabilities. The A330 MRTT can carry up to 111 tons of fuel and support the deployment of four fighter aircraft plus 50 personnel and 12 tons of freight in one direction.Airbus has a long-term earnings growth rate of 12.4%. EADSY boasts an average earnings surprise of 53.9% in the trailing four quarters.Price PerformanceShares of Embraer have risen 12.4% in the past three months compared with the industry’s growth of 1.1%.Image Source: Zacks Investment ResearchZacks RankEmbraer currently sports a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here. Zacks Names "Single Best Pick to Double" From thousands of stocks, 5 Zacks experts each have chosen their favorite to skyrocket +100% or more in months to come. From those 5, Director of Research Sheraz Mian hand-picks one to have the most explosive upside of all. It’s a little-known chemical company that’s up 65% over last year, yet still dirt cheap. With unrelenting demand, soaring 2022 earnings estimates, and $1.5 billion for repurchasing shares, retail investors could jump in at any time. This company could rival or surpass other recent Zacks’ Stocks Set to Double like Boston Beer Company which shot up +143.0% in little more than 9 months and NVIDIA which boomed +175.9% in one year.Free: See Our Top Stock And 4 Runners UpWant the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report The Boeing Company (BA): Free Stock Analysis Report EmbraerEmpresa Brasileira de Aeronautica (ERJ): Free Stock Analysis Report Airbus Group (EADSY): Free Stock Analysis Report L3Harris Technologies Inc (LHX): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksSep 23rd, 2022

FuelCell Energy Reports Third Quarter of Fiscal 2022 Results

Third Quarter Fiscal 2022 Financial Highlights(All comparisons are year-over-year unless otherwise noted) Revenues of $43.1 million compared to $26.8 million Gross loss of $(4.2) million compared to gross profit of $1.1 million Loss from operations of $(28.0) million compared to $(10.6) million Backlog of $1.284 billion as of July 31, 2022, compared to $1.299 billion as of July 31, 2021 DANBURY, Conn., Sept. 08, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- FuelCell Energy, Inc. (NASDAQ:FCEL) -- a global leader in decarbonizing power and producing hydrogen through our proprietary, state-of-the-art fuel cell platforms to enable a world empowered by clean energy -- today reported financial results and key business highlights for its third quarter ended July 31, 2022. "For the third quarter, we achieved our strongest quarterly revenue in five years, reflecting product sales and continued progress on our Powerhouse business strategy," said Mr. Jason Few, President and CEO. "We delivered Ex Works six modules to Korea Fuel Cell Co., Ltd. during the quarter, and we have completed manufacturing the eight modules needed to fulfill the order placed by Korea Fuel Cell Co., Ltd. in June 2022 and expect to deliver those modules Ex Works and recognize the resulting revenue in the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2022. The delivery of the six modules along with a 75% increase in revenues from the Company's Generation portfolio led to significantly increased total revenues in the third fiscal quarter, compared to the comparable prior-year quarter." "We are focused on continuing to improve our execution of our project backlog and growing our generation portfolio," continued Mr. Few. "This year, we have strengthened our project management team as well as invested in digitization tools to enhance project management effectiveness. We continue to advance our strategic agenda in terms of infrastructure, solutions, and talent to support our medium- and long-term goals. These steps include continued investment in both capability and capacity, which are targeted to enhance our global commercial organization and manufacturing capabilities as well as support our engineering focus on commercializing our carbon capture, carbon separation and solid oxide platforms." Mr. Few continued, "FuelCell Energy is in a dynamic period of transition as we work to launch several new solutions to support the accelerating energy transition. Earlier this year, we highlighted the approximately $2 trillion in combined, cumulative total addressable market opportunities through 2030 which we believe may be served by our commercially available solutions and those that are actively under development by the Company. Global policy support for clean energy continues to drive our confidence in our target to deliver revenue of over $300 million by the end of fiscal year 2025 and revenue exceeding $1 billion by the end of fiscal year 2030." Mr. Few concluded, "We are excited to see the expansive policy support package for clean energy and storage that was recently enacted in the United States. We believe that the Inflation Reduction Act is supportive of potential customers making investments utilizing our solutions. We expect that the various policy mechanisms within the Inflation Reduction Act will provide businesses with the long-term market and tax certainty needed to make important investment decisions, including in hiring, manufacturing, and partnerships. With this legislation, users and producers of fuel cell technology will be able to take advantage of investment tax credits, production tax credits for clean power and hydrogen, and carbon capture utilization and sequestration credits. Together, we believe these are important incentives for building and deploying more clean energy assets across the country, ensuring the United States leverages its rich natural resources, and decarbonizing our most challenging sectors without deindustrialization. The investments FuelCell Energy is making in our business are well aligned with these policy goals." Consolidated Financial Metrics In this press release, FuelCell Energy refers to various GAAP (U.S. generally accepted accounting principles) and non-GAAP financial measures. The non-GAAP financial measures may not be comparable to similarly titled measures being used and disclosed by other companies. FuelCell Energy believes that this non-GAAP information is useful to gaining an understanding of its operating results and the ongoing performance of its business. A reconciliation of EBITDA, Adjusted EBITDA and any other non-GAAP measures is contained in the appendix to this press release.   Three Months Ended July 31, (Amounts in thousands) 2022   2021   Change Total revenues $ 43,104     $ 26,820     $ 16,284   Gross (loss) profit   (4,180 )     1,100       (5,280 ) Loss from operations   (27,997 )     (10,585 )     (17,412 ) Net Loss   (28,977 )     (11,997 )     (16,980 ) Net loss attributable to common stockholders   (30,214 )     (12,797 )     (17,417 ) Net loss per share basic and diluted $ (0.08 )   $ (0.04 )   $ (0.04 )             EBITDA   (22,731 )     (6,076 )     (16,655 ) Adjusted EBITDA $ (20,770 )   $ (5,173 )   $ (15,597 ) Third Quarter of Fiscal 2022 Results Note: All comparisons between periods are between the third quarter of fiscal 2022 and the third quarter of fiscal 2021, unless otherwise specified. Third quarter revenues of $43.1 million represents an increase of 61% from the comparable prior-year quarter. Product revenues were $18.0 million in the third quarter of fiscal 2022 (compared to no product revenues in the comparable prior-year period). The increase in product revenues was a result of module sales to Korea Fuel Cell Co. ("KFC") for which the Company recognized $18.0 million on the delivery Ex Works of six fuel cell modules from the Company's facility in Torrington, CT in June 2022. Service agreements revenues decreased 37% to $9.0 million from $14.3 million. The decrease in revenues for the third quarter of fiscal 2022 is primarily due to the fact that there were fewer module exchanges and fewer non-routine maintenance activities during the third quarter of fiscal 2022 than during the third quarter of fiscal 2021. Generation revenues increased 75% to $10.9 million from $6.2 million, primarily due to the completion of the Long Island Power Authority ("LIPA") Yaphank project during the three months ended January 31, 2022, and the higher operating output of the generation fleet portfolio as a result of module exchanges during the last nine months of fiscal year 2021. Generation revenues for the third quarter of fiscal 2022 also include sales of renewable energy credits (which resulted in an increase in generation revenues of approximately $1.7 million for the third quarter of fiscal 2022). Advanced Technologies contract revenues decreased 17% to $5.2 million from $6.2 million. Compared to the third quarter of fiscal 2021, Advanced Technologies contract revenues recognized under the Joint Development Agreement with ExxonMobil Technology and Engineering Company f/k/a ExxonMobil Research and Engineering Company ("EMTEC") were approximately $3.1 million lower during the third quarter of fiscal 2022, offset by an increase in revenue recognized under government contracts and other contracts of $2.0 million for the third quarter of fiscal 2022. Gross loss for the third quarter of fiscal 2022 totaled $(4.2) million, compared to a gross profit of $1.1 million in the comparable prior-year quarter.  The increase in gross loss was driven by higher manufacturing variances, $6.9 million of non-capitalizable costs related to construction of the Toyota project, and lower Advanced Technologies contract margin, partially offset by reduced generation gross loss (excluding the impact of non-capitalizable costs related to construction of the Toyota project) and higher service gross profit.   Operating expenses for the third quarter of fiscal 2022 increased to $23.8 million from $11.7 million in the third quarter of fiscal 2021. Administrative and selling expenses increased to $14.2 million from $8.7 million due to higher sales, marketing and consulting costs, as the Company is investing in rebranding and accelerating its sales and commercialization efforts including increasing the size of its sales and marketing teams, which resulted in an increase in compensation expense from an increase in headcount. Research and development expenses of $9.7 million during the quarter, up from $3.0 million in the third quarter of fiscal 2021, reflect increased spending on the Company's ongoing commercial development efforts related to our solid oxide platform and carbon capture solutions compared to the comparable prior year period. Net loss was $(29.0) million in the third quarter of fiscal 2022, compared to net loss of $(12.0) million in the third quarter of fiscal 2021 driven primarily by a gross loss (compared to a gross profit in the third quarter of fiscal 2021) and higher operating expenses. Additionally, the provision for income tax was higher in the third quarter of fiscal 2022 compared to the third quarter of fiscal 2021. Adjusted EBITDA totaled $(20.8) million in the third quarter of fiscal 2022, compared to Adjusted EBITDA of $(5.2) million in the third quarter of fiscal 2021. Please see the discussion of non-GAAP financial measures, including Adjusted EBITDA, in the appendix at the end of this release. The net loss per share attributable to common stockholders in the third quarter of fiscal 2022 was $(0.08), compared to $(0.04) in the third quarter of fiscal 2021. The higher net loss per common share is primarily due to the higher net loss attributable to common stockholders, partially offset by the higher number of weighted average shares outstanding due to share issuances since July 31, 2021. Cash, Restricted Cash and Financing Update Cash and cash equivalents and restricted cash and restricted cash equivalents totaled $479.6 million as of July 31, 2022 compared to $460.2 million as of October 31, 2021. Unrestricted cash and cash equivalents totaled $456.5 million compared to $432.2 million as of October 31, 2021. Restricted cash and cash equivalents were $23.2 million, of which $5.6 million was classified as current and $17.5 million was classified as non-current, compared to $28.0 million of restricted cash and cash equivalents as of October 31, 2021, of which $11.3 million was classified as current and $16.7 million was classified as non-current. On July 12, 2022, the Company entered into an Open Market Sale Agreement with Jefferies LLC, B. Riley Securities, Inc., Barclays Capital Inc., BMO Capital Markets Corp., BofA Securities, Inc., Canaccord Genuity LLC, Citigroup Global Markets Inc., J.P. Morgan Securities LLC and Loop Capital Markets LLC (the "Open Market Sale Agreement") with respect to an at the market offering program under which the Company may, from time to time, offer and sell up to 95.0 million shares of the Company's common stock. During the quarter, the Company sold approximately 18.5 million shares under the Open Market Sale Agreement at an average sale price of $3.63 per share. Of this 18.5 million shares, approximately 7.8 million shares were issued and settled during the period ended July 31, 2022, resulting in gross proceeds of approximately $27.9 million before deducting sales commissions and fees, and net proceeds to the Company of approximately $27.2 million after deducting commissions and fees totaling approximately $0.7 million. The balance of approximately 10.7 million shares were settled subsequent to July 31, 2022, resulting in gross proceeds (before deducting sales commissions) of approximately $39.2 million, and net proceeds to the Company of approximately $38.4 million after deducting commissions totaling approximately $0.8 million. Operations and Commercialization Update During the quarter, the Company continued to make progress on projects for which we have executed power and/or hydrogen purchase agreements, with updates regarding certain current projects provided below.                 Groton Sub Base. In July 2021, the Company achieved mechanical completion, executed the interconnect agreement, and commenced the process of commissioning the 7.4 MW platform at the U.S. Navy Submarine Base in Groton, CT (the "Groton Project"). On September 14, 2021, the Company disclosed that the process of commissioning the Groton Project was temporarily suspended due to a needed repair. Following the completion of that repair, the Company resumed commissioning of the Groton Project. During the resumed commissioning process, the Company observed operating parameter data from one of the two fuel cell platforms installed at the project site that indicated a mechanical component was not performing according to engineered specifications. The Company subsequently determined that component should be removed from the project site to facilitate the necessary repair and upgrade. On April 7, 2022, the Company announced that it had completed the necessary repairs and upgrades to the mechanical component, reinstalled the mechanical component at the project site, and restarted the process of commissioning. During the restarted commissioning process, the Company encountered performance anomalies primarily in the mixer eductor oxidizer ("MEO") which is a sophisticated piece of equipment specific to the Groton Project designed to optimize fuel and air flows. The Company is considering operating the project at a reduced output of 3 MW per platform at the start of commercial operations in order to optimize performance of each of the two MEO units. Over a period of approximately one year, the Company anticipates implementing upgrades to each of the two MEO units in order to bring the platform to its rated capacity of 7.4 MW. Under extensions previously received from the U.S. Navy, the deadline by which commercial operations are to be achieved is September 30, 2022. We expect that the Groton Project could be commercially operational by September 30, 2022 at a reduced power output of approximately 6 MW. However, commencement of operations at a reduced output of approximately 6 MW requires approval by the Connecticut Municipal Electric Energy Cooperative ("CMEEC") and the U.S. Navy. Although the Company is in discussions with CMEEC and the U.S. Navy, no assurance can be given that CMEEC and the U.S. Navy will provide such approval. This platform is expected to highlight the ability of FuelCell Energy's platforms to perform at high efficiencies and provide low CO2 to MWh output. Incorporation of the platform into a microgrid is expected to demonstrate the capacity of FuelCell Energy's platforms to increase grid stability and resilience while supporting the U.S. military's efforts to fortify base energy supply and demonstrate the U.S. Navy's commitment to clean, reliable power with microgrid capabilities. Toyota – Port of Long Beach, CA. This 2.3 MW trigeneration platform will produce electricity, hydrogen and water. Fuel cell platform equipment has been built and delivered to the site, civil construction work has significantly advanced, and certain portions of the platform have advanced to the conditioning phase of project deployment. We continue to anticipate that the remaining construction and commissioning activity will be completed in late calendar year 2022 or early calendar year 2023. Derby, CT. On-site civil construction of this 14.0 MW project continues to advance, the Company has largely completed the foundational construction, and balance of plant components have been delivered and installed on site. This utility scale fuel cell platform will contain five SureSource 3000 fuel cell systems that will be installed on engineered platforms alongside the Housatonic River. To date, the Company has invested approximately $26.2 million into the project, with the majority of site work complete and the electrical and mechanical balance of plant installed. The Company continues work with the utility customer, United Illuminating, on the interconnection process, the timing of which will drive the continued development of the site, including the delivery of the ten fuel cell modules required to complete the project. Manufacturing Output, Capacity and Expansion. For the three months ended July 31, 2022, we operated at an annualized production rate of approximately 36.5 MW, which is an increase from the annualized production rate of 35 MW for the three months ended July 31, 2021. We are working to increase our production rate during the remainder of fiscal year 2022 and are targeting achieving a rate capable of producing 40 to 45 MW on an annualized basis by the end of fiscal year 2022. At this time, the maximum annualized capacity (module manufacturing, final assembly, testing and conditioning) is 100 MW per year under the Torrington facility's current configuration when being fully utilized. The Torrington facility is sized to accommodate the eventual annualized production capacity of up to 200 MW per year with additional capital investment in machinery, equipment, tooling, and inventory. We expect to continue to make investments in the remainder of fiscal year 2022 in our factories for molten carbonate and solid oxide production capacity expansion; the addition of test facilities for new products and components; the expansion of our laboratories; and upgrades to and expansion of our business systems. Commercialization Update.   The Company continues to advance its solid oxide platform research, including increasing production of solid oxide fuel cell modules and expanding manufacturing capacity. The Company continues to work with Idaho National Laboratories on a demonstration high-efficiency electrolysis platform. This project, done in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Energy, is intended to demonstrate that the Company's platform can operate at higher electrical efficiency than currently available electrolysis technologies through the inclusion of an external heat source. To further accelerate the commercialization activity for the solid oxide platform, the Company recently commenced the design and construction of two advanced prototypes targeted for fiscal year 2023 completion: (i) a 250 kW power generation platform, and (ii) a 1 MW high-efficiency electrolysis platform. Backlog       As of July 31,       (Amounts in thousands)   2022   2021   Change   Product   $ 38,312   $ -   $ 38,312     Service     112,238     127,048     (14,810 )   Generation     1,103,396     1,109,343     (5,947 )   License     -     22,182     (22,182 )   Advanced Technologies     30,217     40,027     (9,810 )   Total Backlog   $ 1,284,163   $ 1,298,600   $ (14,437 ) Backlog decreased by approximately 1.1% to $1.28 billion as of July 31, 2022, compared to $1.30 billion as of July 31, 2021, primarily as a result of a reduction in Service and Advanced Technologies contract backlog, offset by the addition of product sales backlog (specifically, the addition of product sales backlog from the module order received from KFC). Advanced Technologies contract backlog primarily represents remaining revenue under our Joint Development Agreement with EMTEC and government projects. Note that in the first quarter of fiscal 2022, approximately $22.2 million of backlog, which was previously classified as "Service and license" backlog, was reclassified to "Product" backlog as a result of the settlement agreement with POSCO Energy and KFC. Only projects for which we have an executed power purchase agreement ("PPA") or an executed Hydrogen Power Purchase Agreement are included in generation backlog, which represents future revenue under long-term agreements. Together, the service and generation portion of backlog had a weighted average term of approximately 18 years, with weighting based on the dollar amount of backlog and utility service contracts of up to 20 years in duration at inception. Backlog represents definitive agreements executed by the Company and our customers. Projects sold to customers (and not retained by the Company) are included in product sales and service backlog and the related generation backlog is removed upon the sale. Conference Call Information FuelCell Energy will host a conference call today beginning at 10:00 a.m. EDT to discuss third quarter results for fiscal year 2022 as well as key business highlights. Participants can access the live call via webcast on the Company website or by telephone as follows: The live webcast of the call and supporting slide presentation will be available at www.fuelcellenergy.com. To listen to the call, select "Investors" on the home page, proceed to the "Events & Presentations" page and then click on the "Webcast" link listed under the September 8th earnings call event, or click here. Alternatively, participants can dial 646-960-0699 and state FuelCell Energy or the conference ID number 1099808. The replay of the conference call will be available via webcast on the Company's Investors' page at www.fuelcellenergy.com approximately two hours after the conclusion of the call. Cautionary Language This news release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of the safe harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 regarding future events or our future financial performance that involve certain contingencies and uncertainties, including those discussed in our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended October 31, 2021 in the section entitled "Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations". The forward-looking statements include, without limitation, statements with respect to the Company's anticipated financial results and statements regarding the Company's plans and expectations regarding the continuing development, commercialization and financing of its current and future fuel cell technologies, the expected timing of completion of the Company's ongoing projects, the Company's business plans and strategies, the markets in which the Company expects to operate, and the size and scope of its total addressable market opportunities, which is an estimate based on currently available public information and the application of management's current assumptions and business judgment. Projected and estimated numbers contained herein are not forecasts and may not reflect actual results. These forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance, and all forward-looking statements are subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those projected. Factors that could cause such a difference include, without limitation: general risks associated with product development and manufacturing; general economic conditions; changes in interest rates, which may impact project financing; supply chain disruptions; changes in the utility regulatory environment; changes in the utility industry and the markets for distributed generation, distributed hydrogen, and fuel cell power plants configured for carbon capture or carbon separation; potential volatility of commodity and energy prices that may adversely affect our projects; availability of government subsidies and economic incentives for alternative energy technologies; our ability to remain in compliance with U.S. federal and state and foreign government laws and regulations and the listing rules of The Nasdaq Stock Market; rapid technological change; competition; the risk that our bid awards will not convert to contracts or that our contracts will not convert to revenue; market acceptance of our products; changes in accounting policies or practices adopted voluntarily or as required by accounting principles generally accepted in the United States; factors affecting our liquidity position and financial condition; government appropriations; the ability of the government and third parties to terminate their development contracts at any time; the ability of the government to exercise "march-in" rights with respect to certain of our ...Full story available on Benzinga.com.....»»

Category: earningsSource: benzingaSep 8th, 2022

The 29 best outdoor games to enjoy when it"s nice out, from Spikeball to giant Jenga

We rounded up the best outdoor games both adults and kids can play any time of the year, from lawn bowling to cornhole. When you buy through our links, Insider may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more.PutterBall is a travel-friendly version of mini golf that you can easily set up in someone's backyard or in a park.Amazon Outdoor games are a great way to gather in your backyard for some fun. We rounded up the best outdoor games for all ages to play. From spikeball to flag football, there are tons of outdoor games to play with friends and family. Fresh air, sunshine, and good company. Enjoying the outdoors with your loved ones is a special treat, a good memory waiting to be made. Whether it's a family barbeque that lasts all night or a day trip to the beach with your friends, outdoor games are always a great way to bond with your group. Up the ante at your next outdoor event with any of these games below. From Speedminton (badminton's durable, fast-flying sibling) to a giant wooden dice game, these games will have your friends and family laughing with excitement.Here are the 29 best outdoor games of 2022:Speedminton, Badminton's faster, more durable, and weather-resistant siblingAmazonEnjoy the fun of badminton without worrying about the wind or climate. Coming in three different birdie types (Fun, Match, and Night), Speedminton's birdie (or Speeder, as they're called) is made out of durable plastic that makes them whizzingly fast. Able to be played in nearly all conditions and easy enough for all ages, this Speedminton set is fun and exciting for everyone to enjoy.A giant version of Connect 4 that everyone can participate inAmazonA classic game that's uniquely recognizable, Connect 4 has been around for decades. But now, the pressure's on! With this giant Connect 4 set, you'll be playing this game with all eyes on you and your opponent. Large enough to invite audience participation, this supersized Connect 4 kit is fun for all.A flying disc game that'll test your teamworkAmazonThe concept is simple: In a team of two, use the flying disc to knock off the other team's bottle. Catch the disc and falling bottle and you've saved yourself from losing a point. Great to plan on the sand or on grass, Bottle Bash is super fun, easy to learn, and a great way to test your teamwork skills!The set of giant dice you'll never loseAmazonThis giant wooden dice set is great for any age and is so satisfying to play. Who wouldn't get excited to play with giant wooden dice? A great set to have at any lawn party, this set comes with 6 giant dice, a collapsible carrying bucket + lid, laminated score cards, and instructions for over 20 dice games to play. Choose your game and battle it out!A ladder ball set that won't budgeAmazonWe don't know why, but throwing things is fun. And throwing things onto other things is even more fun. Ladder ball makes a statement with its impressive build and height and is great for any sized party. This kit comes with everything you need from carrying to set-up and is made from heavy-duty PVC, ensuring that the structure is sturdy and won't budge.Kubb, a Viking-inspired gameAmazonKubb is a game that's easy to learn, is ultra fun, and promotes team building. A hybrid of horseshoe and bowling, Kubb's rules can be modified to create games lasting from 5 minutes to games that continue on for over an hour. As your skills get higher, strategy and precision will be your greatest companions, and the (friendly) competition is on.Lawn darts that can be played anywhereAmazonDarts are a fun game that have little-to-no barrier to entry. But make them outdoors, durable, and glow-in-the-dark? Sold. A fun game for all, these Lawn Darts are great for any event and perfect for any sized group. Make the game harder or easier by moving the target and join teams or play solo — the rules are up to you!A football training set that doubles as a gameAmazonA bit unconventional but endlessly entertaining, this throwing net was originally made for football training sessions. But who knew it would be so fun? Use the numbers on the targets as points and play solo or in teams to test your accuracy and skill. This net has a quick setup and breakdown factor which makes it easy to pop up at any outdoor event. And the feeling of tossing the football directly in the pocket? So satisfying.A hybrid foursquare soccer gameCrossnetWith the world's first four-square soccer game, the classic game of four-square just got a crazy upgrade. Ideal for barbeques, beach days, backyard parties, or even training sessions, Crossnet's four-square soccer is addictively fun. With each member standing in the four spots of the net, the rule of soccer applies — anything but your hands. Spikeball, an easy outdoor game to set up and learnDICK'S Sporting GoodsWhen you tire of volleyball, give Spikeball a try, especially on beach trips. Instead of hitting a ball over a net, this game revolves around a miniature netted trampoline that you bounce a ball into.Classic cornholeAmazonCornhole is a classic outdoor game that only requires a board and bean bags to toss as you test your aim and try to get them on the board. It makes for a perfect activity to bring to the beach or to a tailgate.Outdoor board games like giant JengaAmazonThese large-sized versions of popular board games bring the fun from the coffee table to the backyard. Some also make great conversation pieces during outdoor parties, too.Tossing gamesWayfairTossing games seem basic, but they're fun and usually small and travel-friendly to store in a reusable bag or backpack.Mini golfYard GamesIf you want the mini-golf experience in the comfort of your own home, PutterBall is the way to go. The felt-lined mat, along with two putters, four golf balls, and six turf hole covers, make it a game that's also portable to bring to a friend's backyard or a nearby park.If you'd rather go to a driving range, check out our guides to the best golf clubs for all skill levels, golf balls, and golf gloves.CroquetAmazonCroquet is one of the best ways to pass time at a barbecue. There are endless ways to arrange wickets and end posts to make a game easier or challenging.HorseshoesAmazonA horseshoe set is always a fan-favorite game to play in a grassy area or on the beach. Plus, a set of horseshoes is easy to carry around in a case and portable for traveling.BocceRonnie Kaufman/Getty ImagesBocce is one of the more engaging and team-focused outdoor games. It's not as commonly played as some others in this guide, but once you get started, you'll want to play all day.Net games, like volleyball and badmintonGrass volleyball at Golden Gate Park.Lily LiWhen you have a wide grass field or yards of sand for an outdoor game, put up a portable net for an impromptu game of volleyball. If you don't like to bump and serve with your hands, badminton offers a similar experience with a lightweight racket and birdie.KanJam, a fun frisbee gameKan JamKanJam is a great game to bring to the beach and play on the sand. Simply gather a team outside and try to get the frisbee into the cans. You'll soon have many people wanting to join in on the fun.ShuffleboardAmazonThis game immediately brings back memories of cruise ship days, except this one is played on a driveway. All you need are the two cue sticks, pucks, and sidewalk chalk. Think of it as outdoor hockey, but with a twist.Capture the FlagAmazonCapture the flag is a game you probably haven't played since middle school, but it's a low-impact, football-like activity you can play with kids and adults.Flying disc or frisbeeChristopher Kimmel/Alpine Edge Photography/Getty ImagesBetter known as a frisbee, this is a great toy for playing catch with your dog or tossing around with your friends. If throwing a disc around seems tame, challenge them to a competitive game of Ultimate.Jump ropeSearsI used to jump for hours on my driveway when I was young, and it's a great way to double-dutch and hop along — all while getting some exercise in. I love beaded ones because they are typically longer and the beads make you know when to jump as they hit the pavement, but braided wired ones work just as well. HopscotchAmazonFun to play with kids, this hopscotch ring set lets you set up a game anywhere — no chalk needed.Yard pongAmazonAlso known as bucket ball, the game comes with three balls of different weights for beginners and pros alike. It's like beer pong, except more family-appropriate. Plus: The buckets can also be used to build sandcastles.Outdoor bowlingBed Bath & BeyondStrikes, spares, and turkeys aren't limited to bowling alleys. Outdoor bowling sets are available for your next backyard get-together and are typically built from weather-resistant materials, too, so they'll last for spring and summertime.Potato sack racesAmazonYes, you can order potato sacks for racing outdoors, just like back in summer camp. Expect endless laughs — and some stumbles — with this simple family activity.Anything involving water gunsTargetOn days when the sun is out and on full blast, water gun battles are a fun way to cool down. However, if there are kids around, be very mindful as some water guns can be strong enough to cause pain or injury.Blowing bubblesAmazonBlowing bubbles is less of a game and more of something to do outside but, nevertheless, they are great for all ages.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderSep 6th, 2022

Is The Ethereum Merge Priced In?

Is The Ethereum Merge Priced In? By Hal Press, founder of North Rock Digital, first published in Bankless What’s Up With The Merge? As we approach the Merge, we wanted to provide a write-up on how we are thinking about the Ethereum ecosystem and specifically Merge-related investments. This is meant as a follow-up to the prior article we wrote on Ethereum, which can be found here.  Since I published the original article in January much has transpired, some assumptions have changed and the outlook for the future has been altered. Despite this, the core thesis remains, Ethereum is set to undergo the largest structural shift in the history of crypto. Back in January, the path to the Merge was extremely uncertain. Now, that path has crystalized. The final testnet, Goerli, was recently completed successfully and a Mainnet target date has been set for Sep 15/16.  So where do we stand? The Biggest Structural Shift in Crypto History Regarding the Merge the thesis has not changed, Ethereum is set to undergo a massive structural shift as expenses will effectively be reduced to zero. The shift will give rise to the first large-scale structural demand asset in crypto history. As we have stated in our core thesis many times, this paper will address what has changed and new topics not discussed in the prior article. First, it is useful to highlight aspects of the core Ethereum model to get a sense of some of the key fundamentals such as supply reduction and the post-Merge staking rate.  The largest shift since last December is that ETH-denominated fees have fallen significantly. However, there is an interesting dynamic at play here. Although fees have declined, active users have experienced a steady uptrend since late June.  This may seem inconsistent as more users should lead to higher gas. However, we believe this dynamic is caused by recent efficiency optimizations of various popular Ethereum applications. The best and most significant example is Opensea, which in migrating Seaport (from Wyvern) increased gas efficiency by 35%. This has led to a reduction in gas that doesn’t correlate to a decline in activity.  In fact, multiple indicators suggest that despite the low gas readings activity has been increasing recently (more on the specifics here later). This raises an interesting question: what is the optimal fee run rate for Ethereum? Higher fees mean more ETH is burned and post-Merge also correlates to a higher staking rate, but these higher fees also limit adoption.  As we saw in ’21, when fees are too high, some users get pushed to other L1 ecosystems. After roll-ups scale appropriately, Ethereum should be able to achieve both high fees and continued adoption. In the current environment though, it is interesting to think about the optimal mix. We believe the optimal point is approximately the point at which fees are high enough to burn all new issuance. This will enable ETH supply to be stable while also keeping fees low enough not to inhibit adoption. Interestingly, of late, fees have found an equilibrium near this point. Lower fees also seem to be having a positive impact on adoption as active users have begun to increase after a long downtrend.  Despite the fact that we seem to be near an optimal fee run rate, the reduced fees do negatively impact various model outputs. This impact is not critical as at the current run rate the burn would still be still large enough for ETH to be slightly deflationary post-Merge. Importantly, the current run rate would continue to drive structural demand as the majority of issuance is unlikely to be sold, while fees that are used must be purchased off the open market.  The staking rate will increase post-Merge by ~100 bps from 4.2% to 5.2%. However, this does not properly illustrate the true impact. To fully appreciate the shift, we must evaluate the real yield rather than the nominal yield. While the current nominal yield is ~4.2%, the real yield is close to zero, as 4.4% of new ETH is issued every year. In this context, the real yield is currently ~0% but will increase to ~5% post-Merge. This is an enormous shift and will create the highest real yield in crypto by a large margin. The only other comparable yield is BNB with a 1% real yield. ETH’s 5% yield will be a market-leading figure. What is the significance of this yield? Stakers will receive a net ~5% rate, which equates to 100/5= ~20x earnings. This multiple is considerably cheaper than the revenue multiple because the staking participation rate is quite low, meaning stakers receive an outsized share of total rewards. This is one of the key advantages of ETH from an investment standpoint.  As there are so many other uses for ETH, throughout the crypto ecosystem, most ETH ends up locked in those applications rather than staked. This in turn allows stakers to receive an outsized real yield.  In terms of the flows, ETH will transition from enduring structural outflows of ~$18mm/day to structural inflows of ~$0.3mm/day. While the demand side of the flow equation has softened, the complete reduction of the supply side remains the most important variable. Our estimate for the ETH-denominated supply reduction is actually larger than it was previously. This is due to the fact that the price declines from the highs have not been accompanied by a corresponding hash rate reduction. As a result, miner profitability has decreased dramatically, and they are likely selling close to 100% of mined ETH. For calculation’s sake, I have assumed 80% of miner issuance is being sold. In this context, ETH has found an equilibrium in which miners sell roughly 10.8k ETH ($18mm USD) per day. Given that fees have been averaging ~$2mm this yields a net outflow of ~$16mm. Post Merge this sell pressure will reduce to zero, and it is projected that there will be a structural inflow of ~$0.3mm/day post-Merge.  To conclude, while many of the numbers have shifted meaningfully in the last eight months, the conclusion remains roughly the same, ETH will shift from requiring ~$18mm of new money entering the asset to keep the price from declining to requiring ~$0.3mm exiting to keep the price from increasing.  To summarize, the staking rate and structural demand are lower than they were 6 months ago. However, this is to be expected in a period of slower activity, and if activity continues to rebound these rates will increase. The primary investment case remains the same, there is an enormous opportunity to front-run the largest structural shift in the history of crypto.  Another point that I think is often overlooked here is that the Merge is more than a shift in supply and demand. It is also a massive fundamental upgrade for Ethereum as the network becomes much more efficient and secure in many ways. This is part of what differentiates the Merge from prior BTC halvings.  It is 3x as large of a supply reduction combined with a massive improvement in fundamentals compared to a decline in fundamentals in the case of BTC halvings (reduced security).  Finally, there are two additional dynamics worth discussing. 1. Time Harvesting Before addressing how this relates to ETH it is important to lay some contextual groundwork.  Why is it that the SPX (or virtually any US/Global equity index) has been such a profitable and consistent investment vehicle over the long term? Most people think this dynamic has been driven almost entirely by earnings growth and multiple expansion. They would posit that if growth slows or the multiple stops expanding these investments would be unlikely to have positive returns going forward. This is incorrect.  The primary and most reliable source of growth for the price of these indices has been the passage of time.  Here is an example to illustrate this somewhat unintuitive point. A lemonade stand, LEMON (LEMON = The Enterprise, $LEMON = LEMON shares), earns $1 each year. There are 10 shares of $LEMON outstanding. LEMON has no cash or debt on its balance sheet. The market currently values $1 of ex-growth equity earnings at a 10x multiple. What is LEMON worth today? What about each share of $LEMON?  If we assume that next year LEMON will continue to earn $1 annually while the market applies the same multiple, what will LEMON/$LEMON be worth in a year? Take a minute and come to an answer.  If you answered $10/$1 for the first pair of questions you are correct. If you answered $10/$1 for the second pair, you are not. For part 1, LEMON is worth $10 as the market applies a 10x multiple to its $1 of earnings and assigns 0 value to its balance sheet. For part 2, the market continues to apply a 10x multiple to the $1 of earnings, but importantly, it also assigns $1 to the $1 of cash that now sits on LEMON’s balance sheet. LEMON is now worth $11 and each share is worth $1.10. When companies earn money, the money doesn’t disappear, it flows to the company’s balance sheet and the value of it accrues to the owners of the business (the equity holders). $LEMON has appreciated 10% in a year due to the earnings they have generated, despite 0 growth and 0 multiple expansion.  This is the power of earnings yield paired with the passage of time.  Crypto hasn’t benefited from this dynamic at all. In fact, crypto actually suffers from the reverse effect. Since almost all crypto projects’ expenses are greater than their revenues, they must dilute their holders to generate the funds necessary to cover their negative net income. As a result, unless earnings grow or their multiple expands, the price of each individual token will decline. The most notable exception I can think of is BNB, which is the sole current L1 to generate more revenue than expenses. It is no surprise the chart of BNB/BTC is essentially up only and recently broke an ATH. ETH will enter this exclusive class the moment it transitions to PoS. Post-merge ETH will generate a real yield of approximately 5%. This yield will be very different from virtually every other (non-BNB) L1 where the staking yield simply comes from inflation that offsets the yield. All else equal ETH holders will earn 5% each year. Time will become a tailwind rather than the headwind it is for 99.9% of other projects.  This will also change the psychology of holders and incentivize a stronger long-term buy and hold approach, effectively locking up more illiquid supply. Additionally, the “real yield” thesis and the fact that ETH will be the first large-scale real yield crypto asset will be particularly appealing to many institutions and should help accelerate institutional adoption. 2. The Wall of Worry Throughout the last few months, investors have been extremely skeptical about technical risks, edge cases, and timing risks.  The latest edge case that has generated attention is the potential for PoW forks of Ethereum that live on after the Merge. Some PoW maximalists (miners etc.) would prefer to use PoW ETH and think that a forked version of the current ETH is superior to ETC, which already exists as a PoW alternative. We do not believe there is much value in the fork, but our opinion on this matter is not particularly relevant.  The important point is that this fork will have no impact on post-Merge PoS ETH. All of the potential risks are either easily managed or not risks in the first place. For example, replay attacks will most probably not be an issue as the PoW chain is unlikely to use the same chain ID. Furthermore, even if they maliciously choose to use the same chain ID, this can be managed by either not interacting with the PoW chain or first sending the assets to a splitter contract.  Finally, even if a user does get replay attacked, it will only impact that individual user’s assets and not the overall health of the chain. What the PoW fork does do is provide a dividend to ETH holders, further adding to the value of the Merge. If the fork has any value, ETH holders will be able to send it to an exchange and sell it for additional capital, much of which will then be recycled back into PoS ETH. While we view this as a positive for the Merge-related investment case, many are worried about the potential risks and a litany of other edge cases. We have weighed each risk and concluded the upside far outweighs the downside.  Nonetheless, these concerns are keeping many long-term believers sidelined.  As we approach the Merge many of these issues will be addressed. Eventually, many of these skeptics will be converted, creating fueling continued inflows as we approach the event and culminating with a large set of buyers who will purchase ETH the day the Merge occurs successfully. This should help offset any “sell the news” dynamic.  Just last month, less than 1/3 of people thought the Merge would occur before October. Now the date has been confirmed for mid-September and still, the market is only pricing in two-thirds chance of it occurring before October. Given this backdrop how should we expect prices to move as we approach the Merge? This is the central question. First, we acknowledge the reality that macro will continue to have a large impact on absolute price levels despite the Merge. However, it is still reasonable to think through how Merge related alpha will evolve over the coming weeks. In our opinion, the path gets harder to predict the further out you look but then at some point when you’ve gone far enough it starts to become easier again. Short-Term Despite the narrative that has already been building around the Merge, positioning is still quite light within the more discretionary pockets of the market. Perpetual funding has remained negative for most of the rally since June, indicating that there are more shorts than longs in the perp market. Recently, Bitfinex longs, another notable discretionary pocket of ETH exposure, were reduced back to the lows. IMO, this light positioning is likely due to many larger participants viewing this move as a “bear market rally” and therefore wanting to put hedges on as we have continued higher. Historically, there is a large contingent of investors, who lean in the direction of BTC maximalism and will always look to fade the Merge narrative. Their theses primarily revolve around one of two central points.  The first is: “the Merge has been 6 months away for 6 years.” The second concern is around technical/execution risk. After evaluating the timing and execution risk, we have become comfortable with both. After the final testnet, Goerli, was successfully Merged earlier this week, the core developers set a target for the Mainnet Merge for September 15/16. All that remains is coordination. While many are concerned about the execution risk, the upgrade has been tested extremely rigorously over the years and cross-checked by many teams. Furthermore, one of the core pillars of Ethereum is resilience. This is the reason there are so many different clients–the redundancy acts as a safety net to protect against singular edge cases or bugs. Multiple, usually well over two, unrelated fluke events occurring simultaneously would be required to affect the protocol. This built-in resilience, the most accomplished developer team in the space, and many years of preparation have given us comfort that a technical issue, though a risk, is unlikely.  Given the cautious positioning and constant desire to “fade” the trade, I expect the next four weeks to follow a similar path as the prior four. There will be periods of pronounced fear as people overanalyze extremely unlikely edge cases. However, I expect the price declines around these periods to be shallow as there are many underexposed parties looking to add exposure on any weakness. Furthermore, almost everyone selling ETH over these next few weeks is only selling it tactically and planning to buy it back at some point before, or immediately after the Merge occurs.  This dynamic means net outflows are measured. On the flip side, I expect the hype around the Merge to magnify significantly as the date comes into focus and the narrative is picked up by the mainstream media. As I believe the thesis is extremely compelling and digestible by both institutional and retail capital, I expect inflows to accelerate as we approach the Merge creating a higher high, higher low dynamic as we approach the date.  What happens once the Merge actually occurs? Normally, you would think there would be risk of a “sell the news” reaction; many investors concerned about technical risk, plan to buy post-Merge. They believe they will capture the structural effect of the Merge without the technical risks. The post-Merge period will also depend on how much FOMO is generated as we approach the Merge and positioning when we actually get there.  We do expect significant buy flows and follow-through directly after the Merge as it is effectively “de-risked.” Medium-Term We expect a period of range trading as short-term traders sell, and this sell flow will be digested by the structural demand and larger slower moving institutional accounts. Price action in this period is less predictable and depends on the macro environment. As I have said previously, macro is incredibly hard to predict, but I will offer a few thoughts, nonetheless.  The crypto macro environment is driven by one core metric: whether adoption is growing, stable, or declining. This metric is somewhat impacted by the broader macro environment, but ultimately what matters most is this adoption metric. The reason this metric affects prices is because adoption also drives the long-term flow of funds into or out of the space. Simply put, when users are adopting crypto, they are generally also investing new money into the crypto ecosystem, and this is what drives the macro. When adoption is declining macro is hostile, when it is flat, macro is neutral and when it is growing, macro is accommodating. So how does the macro look today?  For the majority of the last 8-9 months, we have been in a declining adoption environment with a net outflow of users departing the ecosystem.   From May ’21 until the end of June daily active users have experienced a declining trend. Over the last ~6 weeks, we have seen a nascent recovery as users have steadily been increasing. This is a green shoot and indicates a potential thawing of the macro environment. We had been in a declining adoption phase, and we have now, at least, entered a stable adoption phase and potentially an increasing adoption phase. There are other green shoots that have been sprouting recently as well. After many weeks of redemptions, Tether has started to slowly mint new coins. After a long period of outflows, new money has started to enter the space again.  This impact is not unique to the Ethereum ecosystem, AVAX has also recently seen daily active users increase. NFT users and transactions have been stable recently. And certain web searches have started to positively inflect, while others are more stable. These are not dramatic increases, nothing like the exponential increases we saw at the start of the ’21 bull market. This is why I label them green shoots. They are still young and fragile. If they are smothered, they will likely wither and die, but if nurtured they could grow into something material.  We think the broader macro environment will play a key role in determining whether these green shoots live or die. To us, inflation is by far the most important macroeconomic variable; therefore, we believe that if inflation moderates and allows the fed to pivot and ease monetary policy there is a good chance these green shoots will grow stronger. However, if inflation remains high and the fed is forced to continue tightening policy they will likely be smothered and die. Predicting the course of inflation is not our primary domain, however, due to its significance in markets today, we studied it closely. After review, we feel moderating inflation is the most likely outcome, which should give these green shoots a chance to blossom.  Another advantage, in favor of a more sustained bottom, is the fact that an enormous amount of vesting from project launches in the last 24 months has now been absorbed. Furthermore, as most of the projects are down 70-95%, the USD notional size of all future vesting is also vastly reduced. Together, these two dynamics help meaningfully reduce the overall daily supply the space must absorb.   Lastly, the final variable that we think will impact this equation is none other than the Merge. Investors underestimate the impact the Merge will have on the macro environment of the entire space. There is some uncertainty about how much the supply reduction caused by prior BTC halvings has fueled the ensuing price action rather than coincidentally aligning with the natural cycles of human emotion and monetary policy.  We sympathize with these uncertainties and think there has been an element of luck in the timing. However, we think the supply reductions also had an impact and the truth likely lies somewhere in the middle. Another common criticism is that supply changes don’t drive price and all that matters are demand changes. We are not in accord with this thinking. A supply reduction is not different than a demand addition. Let’s say miners sell 10k ETH/day, and instead of getting rid of this sell pressure we simply add 10k ETH/day of buy pressure. This would have the exact same impact as eliminating the miners’ sell pressure but would be a demand change rather than a supply change. It is obvious these two options would have the same impact and it, therefore, makes no sense to us why one would matter more than another.  If we then believe that BTC halvings have impacted crypto’s macro, then it stands to reason that the Merge should do the same. While ETH dominance is significantly lower than BTC dominance at the time of the last halving, the impact from the Merge is nearly as large as the prior BTC halving as a % of total crypto market cap and significantly larger on an absolute basis.  Post-Merge crypto will be relieved of ~$16mm of daily supply. This is not an insignificant amount. To recognize this, it is useful to consider the cumulative impact. We think a TWAP of 70k ETH per week would have a market impact. That is effectively the impact the Merge will have except it doesn’t stop after a year; it continues into perpetuity. This has the potential to positively influence the entire space as the positive flow impact trickles into other parts of the market. This should provide an added macro tailwind to help nurture the green shoots we referenced earlier and increases their odds of survival. To conclude, if macro moderates at all, there is a real chance that what began as a bounce off of a capitulation bottom morphs into a more sustainable and organic recovery and the Merge should help aid this process. Long-Term In the long-term, the future becomes easier to predict, as structural flows are most important over this time horizon and easier to forecast. This is where the Merge’s impact is most pronounced. As long as Ethereum’s network adoption continues, which we deem likely, structural demand will remain and further inflows will also exist. This should result in sustainable and consistent appreciation, especially compared to other tokens, over many years (hopefully decades) to come. We expect Ethereum to surpass Bitcoin as the largest cryptocurrency within the next few years as we believe flows are the most important variable in crypto. Ethereum will forever have a flow tailwind post-Merge. Bitcoin will forever have a flow headwind. To get a sense for how things may look, the BNB/BTC chart is a good place to start.  BNB/BTC has steadily increased and made multiple new ATHs during this bear market despite little narrative momentum. We believe this is primarily due to the fact that BNB is the only L1 with structural demand. Post-Merge Ethereum will have greater structural demand than BNB both on an absolute and market cap weighted basis. Investment Strategies to Win the Merge 1. ETH/BTC Before evaluating the ETH/BTC trade it is necessary to provide some more general context on the PoW vs PoS debate. Much of the following is paraphrased from the appendix of the first article but it is worth reiterating. We believe PoS is a fundamentally more secure system for a variety of reasons. Firstly, each unit of security costs less with PoS. To understand why PoS provides more efficient security than PoW we first need to explore how these consensus mechanisms generate security in the first place. A consensus mechanism is as secure as the cost to 51% attack it. The efficiency of the system can then be measured by the cost (issuance) required to generate a unit amount of security.  In other words, how many dollars the network has to pay out to receive $1 of protection from a 51% attack. For PoW, the cost of a 51% attack is primarily the hardware required to obtain 51% of the hash rate. The relevant metric is how much money miners require to invest $1 in mining hardware. The math tends to work out close to 1 to 1 meaning miners require 100% annual rate of return on their investment or in other words $1 of annual issuance for each $1 they spend on hardware and utilities. In this context, the network needs to issue roughly $1 of supply each year to generate $1 of security. In the case of PoS, stakers are not required to purchase hardware, so the question becomes what return do stakers demand to lock up their stake in the PoS consensus mechanism? In general, stakers require a significantly lower rate of return than the 100% miners typically demand. The primary reason for this is that there is no incremental cost outlay and their assets do not depreciate (mining hardware typically depreciates close to 0 after a few years). The required rate should generally fall in the 3-10% range. As we calculated earlier, the current estimated post-Merge staking rate of 5% falls right in the middle of this range. This means that to gain $1 of security a PoS needs to issue $0.03-$0.10 of issuance. This is 10x-33x more efficient than PoW (20x more in the case of Ethereum’s PoS).  To conclude, this means that a PoS network can issue ~1/20th the issuance of a PoW network and be just as secure. In the case of ETH, they will actually issue about 1/10th of the issuance and the network will be twice as secure as it was during PoW. This efficiency is not the only advantage. Both consensus mechanisms share a common issue, which is that the security of the chain is correlated to the price of the token. This has the potential to create a self-reinforcing negative feedback loop whereby the reduction in token price causes a reduction in security, which therefore causes a decrease in confidence and drives a further decrease in token price and then repeats. PoS has a natural defense against this dynamic, PoW doesn’t. The attack vector for PoS is much more secure than PoW. First, to attack a PoS system you must control a majority of the stake. To do this you must purchase at least as many tokens as are staked from the market. However, not all tokens are available for sale. In fact, much of the supply is never traded and is effectively illiquid. Furthermore, and most importantly, with each token acquired the next token becomes harder and more expensive to acquire.  In the case of Ethereum, only ~1/3 of tokens are liquid (moved in the last 90 days). This means that once a steady state staking participation rate of closer to 30% has been reached it will be extremely difficult no matter the amount of money possessed, to attack the network. An attacker would need to purchase the entire liquid supply, which is impractical and nearly impossible. Another important feature of this defense mechanism is that it is relatively unaffected by price. Because the limiting factor to attack is liquid supply rather than money it does not get much easier to attack the network with lower prices. If there is not enough liquid supply (measured as a % of total tokens) to purchase, it doesn’t matter how cheap each token becomes because the limiting factor is not price. This price-insensitive defense mechanism is incredibly important to deter the potential negative feedback loop that declining prices could otherwise create. In the case of PoW, in addition to being 20x less efficient, there is no such defense mechanism. Each hardware unit may be marginally harder to acquire than the next, but there is no direct relationship, and if there is a correlation that does exist, it is weak at best. Importantly, it also becomes significantly easier to attack at lower prices as the number of hardware units required decreases linearly with price and the supply of hardware units does not change. It is not reflexive in the manner the PoS liquid supply defense is.  Other advantages of PoS such as better energy efficiency and better healing mechanisms are articulated clearly elsewhere, therefore we will not focus on them in this piece.  Another misconception about PoS is that it drives centralization by rewarding large stakers more than small stakers. We believe this to be incorrect. While large stakers receive more staking rewards than smaller stakers, this does not drive centralization. Centralization is the process by which large stakeholders increase their percentage of the stake over time. This is not what occurs in the PoS system. As large stakers have a larger stake to begin with, the larger rewards do not increase their percentage of the pool. For example, if 10 ETH is staked between two counterparties, Counterparty X has 9 ETH and counterparty Z has 1 ETH. X controls 90% of the stake. A year later X will have received 0.45 ETH and Z will have received .05 ETH. X has received 9 times the amount of rewards as Z. However, X still controls 90% of the stake and Z still controls 10%. The proportions have not been altered and therefore no centralization has occurred.  These inherent differences impact the debate around ETH/BTC. Most consider ETH a totally different asset to BTC as they do think is designed to be a decentralized SoV (replace gold), while BTC is. We believe in many important ways Ethereum is better suited to be a long-term SoV than Bitcoin. Before we compare the two, it is first necessary to evaluate Bitcoin’s current security model and how it may evolve over time. As discussed earlier, a system’s security is derived from the cost of a 51% attack. As a PoW network, this cost is determined by the amount of money it would take to purchase enough hardware rigs and other equipment/electricity necessary to control 51% of the hash power. This is roughly equivalent to the cost necessary to recreate the current mining hash rate that exists on the network. In an efficient market (mostly an accurate assumption over the medium/long term), the total hash rate is a product of the value of the issuance that miners receive. Bitcoin is as secure as the value of its issuance. As discussed earlier, this security is both inefficient and importantly lacks the reflexive defense of a PoS system. What happens when Bitcoin halves its issuance every four years? The system fundamentally becomes 50% less secure assuming all other variables are held constant. Historically, this has not been a large problem as the value of the issuance (and therefore the security) is a function of two variables: the number of tokens issued and the value of each token. As the price of the tokens has more than doubled around every halving cycle, this has more than compensated for the issuance reduction on an absolute basis. The absolute security of the network has increased through each cycle despite the number of tokens being issued halving. However, this is not a sustainable dynamic long-term for multiple reasons. First, it is not realistic to expect the value of each token to continue to more than double with each cycle. An exponential price increase is mathematically impossible to sustain over long periods of time. To illustrate this point, if BTC price doubled every halving cycle it would exceed global M2 after ~7 more halving cycles. Eventually, BTC price will stop increasing at this rate; when it does each halving cycle will drastically cut into its security. If the BTC price declines around the halving cycle, the security reduction will be even more significant and could trigger the negative feedback loop referred to earlier. This security system is fundamentally unsustainable so long as prices are capped, which they are. The only way to counter this issue is to generate meaningful fee revenue. This fee revenue could then replace some of the issuance and continue providing an incentive for miners and therefore provide security even after issuance is reduced. The issue for Bitcoin is that fee revenue has been negligible, and also declining, over a long period of time. In our opinion, the only practical way to generate security over the long term is through significant fee revenue. Therefore, to function as a sustainable SoV a system must generate fees. The alternative is tail emissions, which guarantees inflation compromising the SoV utility. Long-term security represents the most important property of an SoV. For example, gold has captured the majority of the SoV market for so long as nearly all market participants are confident that it will remain legitimate long into the future. For a crypto asset to become an adopted and successful SoV, it too must convince the market that it is extremely secure and that its legitimacy is guaranteed. This can only be possible if the protocol’s security budget is sustainable for the long term, inherently favoring a PoS system that has a large and durable fee pool. We believe the most likely candidate for this system is ETH. It is one of only two L1s with a significant fee pool. The other, BNB, is extremely centralized.  Credible neutrality is the second critically important characteristic of a successful SoV. Gold has no allegiance or reliance on anything. This independence creates its success as an SoV. For another asset to be widely adopted as an SoV it must also be credibly neutral. For a cryptocurrency credible neutrality is accomplished through decentralization. Today, the most decentralized cryptocurrency is undoubtedly Bitcoin. This is primarily because Bitcoin has very little development effort, and the protocol is mainly ossified, but nonetheless, the fact remains that it is by far the most decentralized protocol today. If you tried to kill Bitcoin today, it would be extremely hard. If you tried to kill ETH today, it would still be extremely hard, but likely easier than BTC.  However, we believe it is more important to look at the end state than the current state so long as there is a realistic path to achieve this end state. Ethereum has a clear roadmap ahead of it. We believe that while we are currently only in the middle of this roadmap, eventually (I’d estimate ~8-12 years) this roadmap will be complete, and the significance of the core developer team will fade. At this point, ETH will have a compelling case that it is more decentralized than BTC in addition to possessing far superior long-term security.  Contrary to popular belief, PoS naturally promotes decentralization more than PoW. Larger PoW miners receive a clear benefit from economies of scale, which drives centralization. Scale is much less relevant for PoS as the cost of setting up a node is vastly lower than a PoW rig and there is no real benefit to large-scale electricity as the electricity required for PoS is 99%+ lower. The economy of scale is a large factor for PoW but is not for PoS. 400,000 unique ETH validators exist today and the top 5 holders only control 2.33% of the stake (excluding smart contract deposit). This level of decentralization and diversity separates ETH from all other PoS L1s. Furthermore, this compares to BTC favorably as the top 5 mining pools today control 70% of the hashrate. While some critics will point out that liquid staking providers control an overwhelming portion of Ethereum’s stake, we believe these concerns are overblown. Additionally, we expect these concerns to be addressed by the liquid staking protocols and expect additional checks to be put in place to further protect against these concerns.  In summary, PoS is a fundamentally better consensus mechanism for a crypto SoV. This is the reason the Merge will represent a major milestone on Ethereum’s roadmap, marking a critical juncture in its journey to become the most appealing cryptographic SoV. The fundamental reasons discussed above are the reason we favor the ETH/BTC trade long-term and specifically around the Merge. However, flows, and specifically structural flows, are most important in determining price. It is the structural shift in flows that the Merge triggers that makes this trade so appealing and why the Merge is such a large catalyst for it. Historically, the structural flow for both BTC and ETH have been quite similar. Although ETH has had a smaller market cap its issuance has been ~3x larger on a market cap weighted basis. This larger issuance has made it extremely difficult for ETH to ever surpass Bitcoin in market cap as it would require ETH to absorb 3x the daily USD denominated supply. An interesting exercise is to think about the chart above and what the inputs are as clearly there has been a strong relationship (stronger than normal correlation would imply). The charted values are a product of tokens issued and token price. What happens if you reduce the tokens issued variable but want to retain the relationship? You must increase token price. So what should we expect to happen when we reduce the token issued variable for Ethereum by 90%? This is not to say that price should 10x to offset this reduction as the impacts are not necessarily linear, but the relationships are worth considering.  To conclude, post-Merge the passage of time will forever be a flow tailwind for Ethereum while for Bitcoin it will always be a headwind. Ultimately, this straightforward reality is what we believe will be the primary driver of the eventual flippening. 2. Staking Derivatives As Ethereum is such a large ecosystem many other areas will be tangentially affected by the Merge. As an investor, it is often interesting (and profitable) to consider the second and third-order effects of certain catalysts to search for opportunities that may be inefficiently priced in the market. Regarding the Merge, there are many options such as L2s, DeFi, and Liquid Staking Derivative (LSD) protocols. After a comprehensive review of the different alternatives, we have concluded that the liquid staking protocols are set to be the largest fundamental beneficiaries of the Merge (even more so than ETH).  The thesis is simple. The LSD protocols’ revenues are directly impacted by the price of ETH plus multiple other Merge related tailwinds that compound each other.  Additionally, their largest expense, the cost of subsidizing the liquidity pool between their staking derivate token and native ETH, declines, effectively to zero, shortly after the Merge. At a high level, I expect a 4-7x Merge driven increase in ETH protocol revenue (assuming only modest a ETH price increase) and a 60-80% reduction in their largest expense. This is a uniquely powerful fundamental impact.  We must examine the revenue and expense model of these protocols to fully comprehend this thesis. Using Lido as an example, as it is the largest of the LSD protocols, let’s examine the model. Note that these principles also apply to the other players as they are generally quite similar. Lido generates revenue as a percentage of the staking rewards that accrue to their liquid staking derivatives, stETH. Lido receives 5% of all staking rewards generated. If a user deposits 10 ETH for 10 stETH and generates an additional 0.4 stETH over the course of a year. The user keeps 90% of 0.4, the validator keeps 5% and Lido keeps the other 5%. As can be seen, Lido’s revenue is purely a function of the staking rewards generated on its LSD.  These staking rewards are a function of four separate variables: total ETH staked, ETH staking rate, LSD market share, and ETH price. Importantly, the staking rewards are the product of all four variables. If multiple variables are impacted their effect on the output compounds. In other words, if you double one and triple the other the impact on the staking rewards is 600%. All the variables, except market share, are directly impacted by the Merge. Total ETH staked will likely increase dramatically from the current 12% to closer to ~30% a 150% increase. As discussed earlier, the staking rate is likely to increase from 4% to ~5%, a 25% increase. There is no reason to think the Merge will significantly impact LSD market share so we can assume this is held constant and has no impact. Lastly, for the sake of this exercise let’s assume a 50% increase in the price of ETH. The aggregate effect of these different variables is 250%*118%*150%= 444% or a ~4.4x increase in revenue.  Expenses also meaningfully drop. The largest expense of these LSD protocols is incentivizing the liquidity pools between their LSD and native ETH. Given there are no withdrawals yet, it is extremely important to create deep liquidity to manage large flows between the LSD and native ETH. However, once withdrawals are enabled these incentives will no longer be required. As there will then be an arbitrage if the two ever differ materially, natural market forces will keep them relatively pegged as arbitrageurs buy the LSD on any dips.  This will allow the LSD protocols to drastically reduce their issuance (expenses), which will also materially reduce the sell pressure on the tokens.  LDO is trading at ~144x revenue on a pre-Merge number but this declines to ~31x when you look at it on a post-Merge number. While not overly cheap by traditional measures, this is attractive for a high-growth strategic asset in the crypto space where valuations are typically elevated. Importantly, this is real revenue that will accrue to the protocol.  A common concern among LDO critics is that this revenue does not get returned to holders. They often compare the protocol to Uniswap for this reason. While it is true the revenue is not passed through to token holders at current, we do not think this is a legitimate concern nor do we think the Uniswap comparison is correct—just because token holders do not receive cash flow today does not mean they will not in the future. We believe there will be a time when these returns are enabled. We also know that multiple large stakeholders agree on this issue. Furthermore, we do not think Lido should return cash today and would actually be very concerned with management’s competence if they did. This is an extremely early-stage business (~1.5 years old) that is still in its infancy growth phase. They require regular cash raises and are burning cash on a run rate basis today (this will change post-Merge). It would not be sensible to raise money from investors to cover the burn and then distribute protocol revenue to token holders, in turn increasing the burn. This would be akin to a startup paying out investor distributions with early revenue despite not generating enough revenue to cover expenses. This would never happen in the traditional capital markets because it is not rational.  Many crypto participants are also concerned about Lido’s dominant market share. They have 90% share of the LSD market and stETH makes up ~31% of total staked ETH. While we think the concerns around centralization are overstated, we still believe Lido should remain below 33% share of staked ETH to eliminate any doubt about Ethereum’s credible neutrality. As far as the investment case for the protocol we do not think a 33% market share cap is concerning. In our opinion, there are many other growth vectors Lido can pursue other than market share, and the investment is already quite compelling with its current share.  To conclude, Lido is a key piece of infrastructure in the Ethereum ecosystem that has established product market fit and dominant market share in what will remain an incredibly fast-growing portion of the market. In our opinion, the frequently cited concerns around the protocol are either misplaced or misrepresented. Furthermore, it is reasonably priced considering its past and expected future growth prospects and therefore represents one of the most investable assets in the space. While Lido is the market leader and largest player there are two other LSD protocols, Rocketpool and Stakewise, that also merit consideration. There are many unique aspects of each LSD and intricate detail that could be expanded upon. However, for the sake of digestibility, we will focus primarily on the high-level differences and expand upon the finer points in future discussions. Both RPL and SWISE should benefit from any share that Lido cedes due to the centralization concerns. While we think any Lido share losses will be modest, even modest losses for Lido would equate to outsized gains for the smaller players. For example, if LDO loses 4% market share, RPL gains 2.5% of that, and SWISE gains 1.5%, LDO will lose ~12% of their market share but RPL will gain ~50% and SWISE ~125%.   The 2nd largest player in the market, Rocketpool (RPL), has a unique staking mechanism and tokenomics. To stake through RPL, validators must pair RPL with native ETH and are required to maintain a minimum ratio between the two. This dynamic creates predictable and guaranteed demand for RPL as the ETH staking participation rises and more validators adopt the solution. Another benefit of RPL is the practice of validators pooling with other users, allowing the required ETH to set up a staking node to be reduced from the normal 32 ETH to only 16 ETH. This reduced minimum allows for smaller operators to set up nodes and further incentivizes decentralization. This makes RPL a perfect complementary player to LDO, which should act as a tailwind for RPL’s market share as they will be a primary beneficiary of Lido’s effective market share cap.  Lastly, Stakewise is another interesting alternative to LDO. Their model is very similar to LDO’s but they are focused increasingly on institutional adoption, which should position them well for a post-Merge marketplace. They also benefit from a highly driven and professional team that has continued to execute well. Notably, they have discussed plans to eventually implement token-holder-friendly tokenomics that would see token holders directly receive excess protocol revenue. Additionally, SWISE has been gaining notable traction with larger accounts looking to diversify their staking products (one proposal alone was recently approved by Nexus Mutual which would increase their TVL by 20-25%). As they are the smallest player with the highest valuation, they are likely the highest risk/reward investment in the category.  To conclude, it’s hard to differentiate between value within the group. LDO is the cheapest and most secure, but with the least market share upside. SWISE is the most expensive, but with the most market share upside and RPL is in between with the added benefit of unique tokenomics and a decentralizing staking mechanism. Relative valuations are rational which suggests to us the market is efficiently pricing the different opportunities. We have elected to own all three. We believe the LSD tokens are the highest EV Merge-related investments! They will likely outperform ETH, but investors should expect higher volatility and lower liquidity. The Merge Is Coming The Ethereum Merge is coming. There’s no doubt about it. With the date locked in for September 15th or 16th, this will be the biggest structural change in the history of crypto. There are a lot of dynamics at play that investors need to consider. Hopefully, this report helps you parse through all the information. What’s the key takeaway? The Merge is not priced in. * * * Tyler Durden Fri, 08/19/2022 - 09:58.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeAug 19th, 2022

Scaling Ethereum: The Role Of Rollups

Scaling Ethereum: The Role Of Rollups Authored by Conor Ryder via Kaiko.com, The growth of Decentralized Finance and more recently NFTs exposed Ethereum’s lack of scaling solutions for all to see. During the Bored Ape Yacht Club land sale only a few months ago, buyers paid over $10,000 in transaction fees per NFT, which surpassed the $6,000 or so price tag of the NFT itself. These transaction costs rear their ugly head every time the Ethereum network becomes congested - think times of extreme volatility like the Terra collapse or the Celsius crisis recently. Whatever your thoughts on Ether as an investment, the fact that the cost of using the network can exceed the price of the item being bought is a clear sign that the Ethereum blockchain isn’t fit for purpose in its current state. This Deep Dive will take a look at the data behind Layer 2 rollups, Ethereum’s quickest solution for scaling the network in the short term. There are two main ways to scale Ethereum: Improve the transaction capacity of the blockchain itself. The most effective way to upgrade the blockchain but also the most complicated. Sharding and other upgrades may not be seen for another year or more. Move to Layer 2. Instead of doing all the computational work on Layer 1 (Ethereum blockchain), a solution is to move the bulk of the work to Layer 2 - an off-chain network that reduces the computational strain on the Ethereum mainchain. The Layer 2 protocols responsible for achieving this scalability solution are called rollups. Layer 2 rollups are the fastest way to help Ethereum scale in the short term. Blockchain Improvements Improvements are being planned to the Ethereum network, most notably the Merge in September, which should see the energy consumption of the Ethereum blockchain reduced by about 99%. However, contrary to what some may think, the Merge itself won’t be a big factor in helping Ethereum solve its scalability issues. These fixes are due to come later in 2023 when the network begins the process of sharding. Sharding is beyond the scope of this deep dive but it essentially entails splitting the network into shards or seperate pieces in order to reduce congestion and improve transaction throughput. Transaction throughput is where Ethereum struggles compared to its ambitions to be the backbone of a new financial system. Currently, Ethereum can only handle about 15 transactions per second, compared to Visa’s 24,000 and Solana’s 50,000. Only when Ethereum completes its roadmap of sharding and other updates to the blockchain will it reach the elusive 100,000 transactions per second. We can see that optimistic and zK rollups offer respectable throughput improvements and when we factor in that there are, and will be, multiple protocols offering capacity for transactions, that throughput number starts to approach Visa’s level. In the absence of widespread upgrades to the blockchain, rollups definitely serve a purpose for the Ethereum network in the near term - with lower fees comes more adoption. Ethereum Fees Transaction fees on the Ethereum network are currently at their lowest levels since December 2020. A falling transaction fee is exactly what Ethereum needs, however in this instance it's related to a lack of demand. TVL of DeFi projects has plummeted while NFTs are in their first ever bear market, all combining to bring blockspace demand to recent lows. However, the low fees do offer us a glimpse into how Ethereum users might interact with protocols in the future if the fees weren’t so prohibitive. As decentralized exchange volume decreases year to date, one would assume that this paints a sufficient picture of the activity on these platforms. However, an interesting trend to examine is trade count, which arguably shows the actual usage on an exchange. Trade size is also a useful barometer for whale vs. retail activity and for the purposes of this article, a smaller trade size is indicative of more retail usage. Take Uniswap and Curve for example, Ethereum’s two largest decentralized exchanges by volume. Have users adjusted their behaviors in light of the lower fees? The answer is yes. The lowest transaction fees in nearly two years have seen trade sizes on the decentralized exchanges, such as Uniswap above, plummet while trade count actually rises. More trades are being placed by Uniswap users as transaction costs are low. Lower fees make DeFi more accessible to the average user and less geared towards whales, a nuance that is most definitely pivotal for the adoption of DeFi.  One decentralized exchange that is geared towards whales is Curve, an exchange specializing in stablecoin trading. We’ve observed a similar trend there where average trade size has fallen by over 80% while trade count rises. In contrast, Coinbase volumes are hovering around yearly lows as average trade size and trade count are both moving lower. In bear markets, volumes plummet on centralized exchanges as general interest among the public wanes. DeFi, however, still has plenty of use cases during a bear market (look at Curve’s role in the Terra collapse) and we can see that one factor of on-chain activity is Ethereum transaction fees, rather than general interest.  Reducing fees is priority number one for the Ethereum community in order to drive underlying adoption of the network. The quickest way to do that is via rollups. State of Rollups There are two main types of rollups, Optimistic and zK rollups, and their cost saving benefits have been clear to see already. Below are the fee comparisons between various Layer 2’s and Ethereum, according to l2fees.info. Optimistic and zK rollups mainly differ on their treatment of transaction veracity - how do we know the block being sent back to the Ethereum network does not contain fake transactions? Optimistic Rollups Optimistic rollups (ORs) presume transactions are valid when sending rolled up transactions back to the Ethereum blockchain, hence the name Optimistic. This assumption can be tested with a process called fraud proofs, where an onlooker can claim a transaction is fraudulent. The period for this usually spans 7 days, which is widely accepted as the biggest drawback of optimistic rollups. An exchange might logistically struggle to support immediate withdrawals if it was subject to a 7 day waiting period on transactions.  The two largest ORs are Arbitrum, which has yet to release a token, and Optimism, which launched a token on June 1st this year. There are other Layer 2 protocols with tokens that investors can get exposure to, such as Boba, a governance token for the Boba network, another optimistic rollup. Dydx is also a governance token, this time for the operation of the Layer 2 version of the decentralized exchange, which depends on zK rollups. IMX is a Layer 2 scaling solution for NFTs on Ethereum and differs slightly from the other governance tokens as it also can be used to pay transaction fees on the platform. The market seemed to start arriving at the conclusion that optimistic rollups were just a band aid over a bigger issue as since the Optimism (OP) token launch, it underperformed not only ETH but also other Layer 2 protocols.  However, with the announcement of a final date for the Merge, the market became more bullish on the Ethereum blockchain as a whole and Optimism started to outperform. This bullish sentiment is also evident in the futures market for OP which has seen a large buildup of open interest while the funding rate has moved positive in the last week. zK Rollups While Optimistic rollups presume all transactions are valid and allow onlookers to submit fraud proofs, “Zero knowledge” (zK) rollups do the work of validating each transaction themselves by submitting a validity proof along with each bundle of transactions. This is why they are more computationally intensive and up until recently, not EVM compatible, but it is also why they are far faster at settlements and withdrawals - there is no need for a window for fraud proof. This near-instant settlement is extremely appealing to exchanges who need to be able to satisfy user withdrawals in a timely manner; exactly why dydx has already adopted a zK rollup on Layer 2. Due to the computational intensity of zK rollups, OR’s were initially rolled out quickest while developers worked on what was deemed the ‘holy grail’ of rollups, a zK rollup that was EVM compatible. In the last couple of weeks we may have witnessed the beginning of the zK rollup era, as three teams, Polygon, Matter Labs and Scroll, all announced breakthroughs with EVM compatible zK rollups.  Layer 2s and DEXs Looking specifically at Uniswap and Curve’s breakdown of TVL, we can see that only a small portion of their value sit on Layer 2 optimistic rollups (Optimism and Arbitrum): 1.9% on Uniswap and 1.8% on Curve. Uniswap currently has 97% of TVL sitting on the Ethereum mainchain, while Curve has 92%. It’s reasonable to expect that once a zK EVM compatible rollup is rolled out that this number will decrease and move towards Layer 2, allowing more DEX users to avail of the cheaper fees on offer. Conclusion Layer 2 rollups are an essential part of Ethereum’s short/mid-term scaling strategy and possibly even in the long term as the rollups will sit on top of the improved Ethereum network.  It looks as if zK rollups are beginning to arbitrage away the competitive advantages of optimistic rollups, and if the teams working on an EVM compatible zK rollup can successfully launch their products, I expect them to gain a large amount of market share, potentially with traffic directed from decentralized exchanges.   Vitalik Buterin: “my advice to teams like Optimism and Arbitrum is that I think they should start zK-ifying themselves fairly soon.” Tyler Durden Thu, 08/04/2022 - 22:20.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: nytAug 5th, 2022

Break Free Of The Swirl Impeding Your Company’s Growth

New Book By Growth and Strategy Expert Richard S. Hawkes Provides Playbook For Transformative Organizational Change “Too many people live with a gnawing feeling that their team and indeed, their organization as a whole, could and should run more smoothly, more purposefully, and more effectively…But they are unable to actualize it amidst the daily swirl,” […] New Book By Growth and Strategy Expert Richard S. Hawkes Provides Playbook For Transformative Organizational Change “Too many people live with a gnawing feeling that their team and indeed, their organization as a whole, could and should run more smoothly, more purposefully, and more effectively…But they are unable to actualize it amidst the daily swirl,” contends business and strategy expert Richard S. Hawkes, CEO of Growth River. In his new book, NAVIGATE THE SWIRL: 7 Crucial Conversations For Business Transformation (Wiley, April 19, 2022), Hawkes shares what he has learned guiding hundreds of organizations, large and small, on their growth journeys, and lays out a playbook for leading transformative change, applicable at any stage of a company’s development. 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); Q2 2022 hedge fund letters, conferences and more At the heart of the author’s approach is the underlying concept that teams and organizations are not machines in which leaders can swap people like parts; they will resist. Growth cannot be achieved by replacing dysfunctional parts. “People are anything but predictable, and a mechanistic outlook on business gives rise to leadership approaches that are limited at best,” Hawkes explains. He carries this concept through the three interconnected sections of the book, which – taken together – provide both context and a hands-on leadership toolkit. Tips For Organizations To Break Free Of The Swirl In Part One, Framing the Conversation, the author introduces new ways for teams to address three critical domains that must ultimately align for people to fully embrace and sustain change: leadership and culture, roles and capabilities, and strategies and customer experience. Then in Part Two, The Evolution of the Enterprise, he introduces the four stages of organizational growth he has identified as common across all companies and industries, illustrating how each stage – from Independent Contributors to Directive Leadership to Distributed Leadership to Leaders Leading Leaders – represents a greater capacity to manage complexity, enact transformation, and respond to changing conditions with agility. Finally, in Part Three, The Seven Crucial Conversations, Hawkes lays out how organizations can successfully navigate from each stage to the next. This requires a series of ongoing, intentional conversations that have the power to align, reimagine, and consciously upgrade the “social system” in which teams work. Ultimately, the Seven Conversations are a template for creating and sustaining High Performing Teams, which Hawkes describes as the “secret agents” of transformation. The Conversations are: Activating Purpose Great teams are animated by purpose. This first conversation involves such critical questions as: Does this team have a leader willing and able to activate a shared team purpose? How will decisions be made in this team? What is the shared purpose of the team? Driving Focus Whereas Activating Purpose is all about the structure, format, and shared vision, Driving Focus is about getting clarity around priorities, visualizing the team’s work together, and energizing around the goals of the team. This conversation deals with questions including: Are team members focused on a shared transformational journey? Is the destination clear? Have gaps and primary constraints been identified? Shifting Mindset Teams must learn to embrace their diversity of perspectives and transform them into a tremendous asset. This means creating agreements to support one another, be accountable, and be coachable. This conversation involves questions such as: Are team members able to bring their best efforts to the team’s success? Are they accountable and coachable, giving and receiving feedback? Do they resolve conflicts directly at the source? Specifying Roles and Capabilities Individuals and teams, alike, have roles to play in moving the organization forward. Clarifying roles to ensure that everyone knows who is accountable for what, and what perspectives they represent, is critical. Questions in this conversation include: Does every key capability and concern in the team’s purview have an owner advocate? Are the roles and responsibilities clear? Are creative tensions leveraged? Streamlining Interdependencies Teams are not freestanding. They exist in the larger organizational social system, and must optimize cross-functional business processes and pay attention to how they interact with multiple functions, teams, and sometimes even multiple businesses. It’s crucial to answer such questions as: What other teams do we need to align with? Are the points of interdependence within and across teams explicit? Are shared processes and handoffs efficient? Do rewards, and incentives support working as a team? Aligning Strategies Change initiatives often start with strategy, but Hawkes argues that prior to strategy, the issues dealt with in the first five conversations must be hammered out. It is then time to focus on questions such as: Is there a strategy and a strategic planning process in place? What is the role of the team in this process? Is the path towards competitive advantage clear? Implementing Initiatives “You don’t always know what’s around the bend in the river until you get there,” writes Hawkes. Conversation Seven is about achieving laser focus on the quality and impact of the team’s initiatives. Do team members plan and manage programs and projects effectively? Can the team forecast demand and budget their projects? Are there sufficient dashboards for measuring and tracking performance? “The Swirl is an absorbing state of organizational inertia. There is always another problem to solve, pain point to acknowledge, issue to fix, turf battle to win, drama to ameliorate, or political challenge to overcome. And in the midst of it all, we lose track of the future,” asserts Hawkes. NAVIGATE THE SWIRL provides the tools leaders need to break free of the Swirl – whether their organization is facing good news, like a new market opportunity, or bad news, like increased competitive pressures – and lays out a roadmap for wielding influence in the complex, adaptive social systems of today’s organizations. About the Author Richard S. Hawkes, author of NAVIGATE THE SWIRL, is the Founder of Growth River, an international consultancy that guides leaders and teams to create higher performance in businesses and organizations. Hawkes helps companies identify and resolve constraints to success. Clients include Edward Jones, GENEWIZ, Hitachi, Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson, and Mars. He sees purpose-driven, customer-focused, team-based, multi-stakeholder businesses as the best bet for solving the world’s biggest problems. Hawkes received a B.A. in Computer Science and German Literature from Hamilton College and an M.B.A. in Marketing and Organizational Development from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. For more information, visit: www.growthriver.com Updated on Jul 22, 2022, 2:46 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: valuewalkJul 23rd, 2022

We"ve got nearly 50 pitch decks that 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 BAnalyzing financial contractsEric Chang and Alex Schumacher, co-founders of ClairaClairaIt was a match made in heaven — at least the Wall Street type.Joseph Squeri, a former CIO at Citadel and Barclays, had always struggled with the digitization of financial documents. When he was tapped by Brady Dougan, the former chief executive of Credit Suisse, to build out an all-digital investment bank in Exos, Squeri spent the first year getting let down by more than a dozen tools that lacked a depth in financial legal documents. His solution came in the form of Alex Schumacher and Eric Chang who had the tech and financial expertise, respectively, to build the tool he needed.Schumacher is an expert in natural-language processing and natural-language understanding, having specialized in turning unstructured text into useful business information.Chang spent a decade as a trader and investment strategist at Goldman Sachs, BlackRock, and AQR. He developed a familiarity with the kinds of financial documents Squeri wanted to digitize, such as the terms and conditions information from SEC filings and publicly traded securities and transactions, like municipal bonds and collateralized loan obligations (CLOs). The three converged at Exos, Squeri as its COO and CTO, Schumacher as the lead data scientist, and Chang as head of tech and strategy. See the 14-page pitch deck that sold Citi on Claira, a startup using AI to help firms read through financial contracts in a fraction of the timeSimplifying 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: businessinsiderJul 11th, 2022

Chinese Bank Run Turns Violent After Angry Crowd Storms Bank of China Branch Over Frozen Deposits

Chinese Bank Run Turns Violent After Angry Crowd Storms Bank of China Branch Over Frozen Deposits While the world of high, and not so high finance, is obsessing over the volatility of cryptos and recent painful losses for overlevered players who - much to the amazement of plain vanilla equity investors - were not bailed out by a magnanimous Fed (which however only rescues stock markets, not cryptos), things in China with its $54 trillion financial system, or more than double the size of assets across US commercial banks, are once again getting heated. As Reuters reports, a large crowd of angry Chinese bank depositors faced off with police Sunday in the city of Zhengzhou, and many were injured as they were taken away, amid the freezing of their deposits by some rural-based banks. The banks froze millions of dollars worth of deposits in April, telling customers they were upgrading their internal systems. The banks have not issued any communication on the matter since, depositors said. According to Chinese media the frozen deposits across the various local banks could be worth up to $1.5 billion and authorities are investigating the three banks. On Sunday, about 1,000 people gathered outside the Zhengzhou branch of China's central bank on Sunday to demand action; they held up banners and chanted slogans on the wide steps of the entrance to a branch of China’s central bank in the city of Zhengzhou in Henan province, about 620 kilometers (380 miles) southwest of Beijing. People hold banners and chant slogans during a protest at the entrance to a branch of China’s central bank in Zhengzhou in central China’s Henan Province. A large crowd of angry Chinese bank depositors faced off with police Sunday, some reportedly injured as they were roughly taken away The protesters are among thousands of customers who opened accounts at six rural banks in Henan and neighboring Anhui province that offered higher interest rates. They later found they could not withdraw their funds after media reports that the head of the banks’ parent company was on the run and wanted for financial crimes. Videos and photographs on social media showed depositors waving banners and throwing plastic bottles at approaching security guards who then roughly dragged some of the protesters away. Citizens storm the Bank of China in Zhengzhou over bank account freezes. Banks froze millions of dollars in deposits last April, simply explaining to savers that they need to upgrade their internal systems. Since then, customers have not received any kind of communication. pic.twitter.com/XS9zuXRuEK — RadioGenova (@RadioGenova) July 10, 2022 Besides uniformed police, there were the teams of men in plain T-shirts. A banking regulator and a local government official arrived, but their attempts to talk to the crowd were shouted down. “We came today and wanted to get our savings back, because I have elderly people and children at home, and the inability to withdraw savings has seriously affected my life,” said a woman from Shandong province, who only gave her last name, Zhang, out of fear of retribution. Zhang and another protester, a man from Beijing surnamed Yang, told the AP the protesters had heard from the officials before and don’t believe what they say. The police then announced to the protesters from a vehicle with a megaphone that they were an illegal assembly and would be detained and fined if they didn’t leave. Around 10 a.m., the men in T-shirts rushed the crowd and dispersed them. Zhang said she saw women dragged down the stairs of the bank entrance. Zhang herself was hit, and said she asked the officer, “Why did you hit me?” According to her, he responded: “What’s wrong with beating you?” Yang said he was hit by two security officers including one who had fallen off the stairs and mistakenly thought in the chaos that Yang had hit or pushed him. 中国女性储户勇敢冲塔,对面虽然不是坦克,但是比坦克还要厉害 pic.twitter.com/dqR4OUm9Wr — 河南村镇银行维权 (@Qwaszx179730654) July 10, 2022 “Although repeated protests and demonstrations don’t necessarily have a big impact, I think it is still helpful if more people get to know about us, and understand or sympathize with us,” Yang said. “Each time you do it, you might make a difference. Although you will get hit, they can’t really do anything to you, right?” "I feel so aggrieved I can't even explain it to you," Zhang, 40, told Reuters. Zhang said he had been hoping to retrieve about 170,000 yuan ($25,000) deposited with one of the banks, the Zhecheng Huanghuai Community Bank. Zhang said he had suffered injuries to his foot and thumb, and was taken away by four unidentified security personnel at around midday. Security personnel outnumbered protesters by around three to one, he said. "They did not say they would beat us if we refused to leave. They just used the loudspeaker to say that we were breaking the law by petitioning. That's ridiculous. It's the banks that are breaking the law." This is huge. Don't know how this will end. Henan bank is NOT the only one that is having problems with liquidity. All four Chinese banks are having the same issue. Some depositors found they can save and can NOT withdraw money with their bank cards. #bankrun #China #CCP pic.twitter.com/5WYYgpmIWP — Jennifer Zeng 曾錚 (@jenniferatntd) July 10, 2022 The banks, which include the Yuzhou Xinminsheng Village Bank and the Shangcai Huimin Country Bank, are under investigation by the authorities for illegal fundraising, the state-run Global Times reported. The protesters were eventually bused to various sites where Zhang said they were forced to sign a letter guaranteeing they would not gather anymore. Late Sunday, Henan banking regulators posted a short notice on their website saying that authorities are speeding up the verification of customer funds in four of the banks and the formulation of a plan to resolve the situation to protect the rights and interests of the public. More than 1,000 depositors from across the country had planned to gather in Zhengzhou last month to try to withdraw their money but they were unable to when their COVID-19 health codes, which determine if one can travel, switched to a "no travel" status. Tyler Durden Sun, 07/10/2022 - 19:00.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeJul 10th, 2022

Bright MLS Launches Teams Pro

Bright MLS, which serves over 100,000 real estate professionals from Pennsylvania to Virginia, has announced the launch of Teams Pro, an upgrade to its Teams offering that introduces new capabilities, including enhanced goal setting, performance management and team productivity visualizations. The company says Teams Pro follows the successful launch of Teams by Bright in late… The post Bright MLS Launches Teams Pro appeared first on RISMedia. Bright MLS, which serves over 100,000 real estate professionals from Pennsylvania to Virginia, has announced the launch of Teams Pro, an upgrade to its Teams offering that introduces new capabilities, including enhanced goal setting, performance management and team productivity visualizations. The company says Teams Pro follows the successful launch of Teams by Bright in late 2021. The original offering, now being used by over 900 teams across the Mid-Atlantic, offers the ability for a Team Lead to establish their team in the MLS; build the team’s brand recognition and visibility on listings; route workflows more efficiently; and easily track volume and rankings, all within Bright’s system, the company said. Each of Teams Pro’s features work with the basic offering to help teams function more effectively by allowing the establishment of business and financial objectives. As more data is input and included in Teams Pro, the system will help team leads make decisions driven by this data, including advanced goal setting and reporting visualizations, a release stated. BrightMLS notes that teams have become a significant force in the real estate industry, but software and systems often fail to account for changing needs around sales and listing attribution, contact routing, and tracking. The company says Teams by Bright addresses this challenge head-on by offering a unique solution within the Bright MLS system that reflects the needs of the hundreds of teams within Bright’s footprint. “The response to Teams by Bright has been overwhelmingly positive. Team leads are telling us that their longstanding communication and attribution challenges are addressed by Teams by Bright. This tells us that brokers and agents were ready to stop the tedious spreadsheet tracking and use the MLS as a tool to harness their teams’ power,” said Scott Iverson, Bright MLS director of Product Management. “The additional features offered by Teams Pro will further serve this important subscriber segment, helping team leads continue to navigate critical resource management decisions, optimize team member performance, and further position them for success.” For more information, visit brightmls.com/products/teams. The post Bright MLS Launches Teams Pro appeared first on RISMedia......»»

Category: realestateSource: rismediaJul 8th, 2022

Kriegman & Smith, Inc. Celebrates 50 Years of Multifamily Investment and Property Management Business Across Generations

Kriegman & Smith, Inc., a multifamily real estate investment and property management firm, is marking its 50th anniversary. This milestone underscores not only the longevity of the business, but just as important, the number of properties that have remained under management with the company over multiple generations, throughout New Jersey... The post Kriegman & Smith, Inc. Celebrates 50 Years of Multifamily Investment and Property Management Business Across Generations appeared first on Real Estate Weekly. Kriegman & Smith, Inc. on June 23, 2022, held a party for employees at Park Ave. Club in Florham Park. More than 150 employees and family members attended, where they celebrated 2020 and 2021 missed holiday parties and, of course, the Company’s 50th Anniversary.  A long list of more than 25 employees that have been with the firm since the “last millennium” were recognized. Kriegman & Smith, Inc., a multifamily real estate investment and property management firm, is marking its 50th anniversary. This milestone underscores not only the longevity of the business, but just as important, the number of properties that have remained under management with the company over multiple generations, throughout New Jersey and Pennsylvania.  Founded by Michael Smith and Sam Kriegman in 1972, the firm grew from one desk and two northern New Jersey communities comprising 240 units to a portfolio of 6,000 apartment and townhouse units in two states. The company owns and manages garden apartments, mid-rises, luxury high rises, and townhouse-style duplex apartments across a range of rental rates. Kriegman & Smith’s portfolio also includes properties it manages for third-party investors, including three non-profit affordable housing properties. Today, the company is run by second-generation Co-Owner Jeffrey Smith and Co-Owner Adam Kaplan, who are committed to the firm’s founding principles: a dedication to maintaining high-quality luxury and affordable workforce housing available for renters – for those just starting out in life to residents who remain tenants for decades. “Kriegman & Smith’s history has not only been one of growth through acquisition and third-party partnerships, but also one that demonstrates longevity and stability among its properties, as well as employees. We’ve always been committed to long-term goals and relationships,” Kaplan said. A history of longstanding relationships The company is still managing the original buildings it started with 50 years ago.Forty-five percent of Kriegman & Smith’s third-party management clients have been with the company for 10 or more years.Since 2015, the portfolio has grown by 17% and includes properties from the northern to the southern-most counties in New Jersey and that extend into central Pennsylvania, as well.The firm manages over 200 employees across its portfolio.One-third of the Kriegman & Smith team have worked there for 10 or more years, and half of these employees have been with the firm for more than two decades. “One reason why we have maintained so many properties and retained so many employees across generations is that our core values have never wavered and are still our guiding principles 50 years later,” said Smith. “We treat each building as if it were our own. That’s never changed.  “To that end, we are committed to delivering well-maintained properties that have benefited from strong investment in their upkeep and upgrades, with high-quality components meant to serve multiple generations of owners, managers and tenants,” Smith noted.  The company has also invested substantially in its own infrastructure to meet the challenging rental environment. “We’re a small company committed to running our buildings with the same values our founders relied upon, but much like the large national firms, we have invested in the latest, most sophisticated property management technology to optimize operating procedures,” said Kaplan, referring to its back-end integration with the firm’s website and digital tools for leasing agents, regional managers, resident managers and maintenance teams.  An owner’s perspective in third-party property management Smith attributes some of the company’s success and longevity to the owners’ approach to property management, which has fueled its growth as a niche management operator for investor/owners and its expansion of services for those clients.  “Generational owners of multifamily properties turn to us because they will get more personalized service than they would from the bigger players, who cannot provide the same high level of attention we can. These clients know that, as a third-generation, family-owned and -operated company, we appreciate the owner’s perspective and understand the importance of relationships and responsiveness across stakeholders—from the owners themselves to their leasing teams, superintendents and of course, residents,” said Smith.   Property owners speak and work directly with Smith and Kaplan, without having to go through gatekeepers and a corporate chain of command, and appreciate the flexibility available to them to meet their varied needs, instead of cookie cutter services. Lisa D’Allesandro, a managing member at Candal Properties LLC, has been a client of Kriegman & Smith since 2015, which manages their Hackensack, NJ, luxury high rise building with 267 units, concurs,” Like Kriegman & Smith, we are a family-owned business, too, and appreciate the hands-on service and accessibility of the firm’s management team.  There are some formulas you just don’t change, and like us, they treat their staff like family.” Longstanding management of senior residences Kriegman & Smith also operates multiple communities for low-income seniors, some for 35 years or longer. “We are among a small group of property management companies that manage both market rate and subsidized properties,” said Kaplan. “We’re very proud of this and value those properties and our relationships with them.”Those relationships have extended to both the management team and company employees getting personally involved, from showing up to flip burgers at barbeques to setting up and coordinating a COVID-19 vaccination drive at three sites through a partnership with Walgreen’s. For example, in January 2021, when vaccines were not yet widely available and appointments were challenging to access, the Kriegman & Smith team was able to get residents vaccinated and volunteered on site at all three residences in Union and Nutley as part of the company’s commitment to community service. Kriegman & Smith celebrated its 50th anniversary officially with an employee event on June 23. More information about the company is at www.kriegmanandsmith.com.  The post Kriegman & Smith, Inc. Celebrates 50 Years of Multifamily Investment and Property Management Business Across Generations appeared first on Real Estate Weekly......»»

Category: realestateSource: realestateweeklyJul 7th, 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: businessinsiderJun 30th, 2022

Zscaler (ZS) Adds AI/ML Capabilities to Zero Trust Exchange

Zscaler's (ZS) latest Zero Trust Exchange security platform upgrade makes it AI and ML-enabled to enhance SSE implementation by organizations and offer better digital experiences to its users. Zscaler ZS recently announced the addition of new artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) capabilities to its zero-trust security solution — Zscaler Zero Trust Exchange (“ZTE”). With this update, the company intends to improve the implementation of Security Service Edge (SSE) by organizations while preventing them from the most advanced cyber attacks.The AI-backed SSE platform will ensure simplified adoption of Zscaler’s zero trust architecture among the users with assurance of a better digital experience and unique protection.Zscaler’s ZTE is a purpose-built cloud platform that reduces risks in digital businesses by ensuring safer digital transformation than traditional virtual private networks and firewalls. It enables direct and secure connections based on trust built upon users’ identity and contexts, such as their location, their device’s security posture, the content being exchanged and the application being requested. Currently, the platform is operating across 150 data centers worldwide.The newly updated ZTE platform features AI-powered phishing prevention to detect and block credential theft and browser exploitation from phishing pages, AI-powered segmentation to simplify user-to-app segmentation while minimizing attack surfaces and stopping lateral movement with AI-based policy recommendations. It also features AI-powered root cause analysis that instantly identifies root causes of poor user experiences 180 times faster and enables security teams to focus more on blocking attacks and less on time-consuming troubleshooting issues. Zscaler, Inc. Price and Consensus Zscaler, Inc. price-consensus-chart | Zscaler, Inc. QuoteZscaler’s latest update to ZTE intends to ensure that the organizations get access to automated threat detection and better protection with reduced risks.Recently, Zscaler extended its partnership with Amazon’s AMZN Amazon Web Services (AWS) to help enterprises securely accelerate their transition to the cloud. The company unveiled a new Posture Control solution — Cloud-Native Application Protection Platform — built on AWS.The company extended its ZTE solution to the Amazon subsidiary. Currently, Zscaler facilitates enterprises’ inline inspection of Internet traffic from cloud workloads utilizing deep integration with Amazon’s cloud-native technologies, which include AWS Secrets Manager, AWS CloudFormation, Gateway Load Balancer and AWS Auto Scaling.Last year in September, the global cloud security leader inked a partnership with TD SYNNEX SNX to provide ZTE solutions to the business partners and organizations.Through this deal, Zscaler accelerated TD SYNNEX’s security portfolio while offering more agility to its business partners as their network and security needs continue to evolve. Zscaler enhanced its available options for speeding up the migration journey into zero trust architecture.Zacks Rank & A Key PickZscaler and TD SYNNEX currently carry a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold), while Amazon has a Zacks Rank of 5 (Strong Sell). Shares of ZS, SNX and AMZN have plunged 25.9%, 22.7% and 34.8%, respectively, in the past year.A better-ranked stock from the broader Computer and Technology sector is Analog Devices ADI flaunting a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). You can see the complete list of today's Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.The Zacks Consensus Estimate for Analog Devices' third-quarter fiscal 2022 earnings has been revised upward by 24 cents to $2.42 per share over the past 60 days. For fiscal 2022, earnings estimates have moved 81 cents north to $9.24 per share in the past 60 days.Analog Devices' earnings beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate in each of the preceding four quarters, the average surprise being 7.7%. Shares of ADI have fallen 12.9% in the past year. 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days Just released: Experts distill 7 elite stocks from the current list of 220 Zacks Rank #1 Strong Buys. They deem these tickers "Most Likely for Early Price Pops." Since 1988, the full list has beaten the market more than 2X over with an average gain of +25.4% per year. So be sure to give these hand-picked 7 your immediate attention. See them now >>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report Amazon.com, Inc. (AMZN): Free Stock Analysis Report Analog Devices, Inc. (ADI): Free Stock Analysis Report TD SYNNEX Corp. (SNX): Free Stock Analysis Report Zscaler, Inc. (ZS): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksJun 24th, 2022

Five Below, Inc. Announces First Quarter Fiscal 2022 Financial Results

PHILADELPHIA, PA, June 08, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Five Below, Inc. (NASDAQ:FIVE) today announced financial results for the first quarter ended April 30, 2022. For the first quarter ended April 30, 2022: Net sales increased by 7.0% to $639.6 million from $597.8 million in the first quarter of fiscal 2021; comparable sales decreased by 3.6% versus the first quarter of fiscal 2021. The Company opened 35 new stores and ended the quarter with 1,225 stores in 40 states. This represents an increase in stores of 12.7% from the end of the first quarter of fiscal 2021. Operating income was $42.3 million compared to $63.7 million in the first quarter of fiscal 2021. The effective tax rate was 22.3% compared to 20.9% in the first quarter of fiscal 2021. Net income was $32.7 million compared to $49.6 million in the first quarter of fiscal 2021. Diluted income per common share was $0.59 compared to $0.88 in the first quarter of fiscal 2021. The benefit from share-based accounting was approximately $0.03 in the first quarter of fiscal 2022 compared to $0.04 in the first quarter of fiscal 2021. The Company repurchased 247,132 shares in the first quarter of fiscal 2022 at a cost of approximately $40.0 million. Joel Anderson, President and CEO of Five Below, stated, "While first quarter sales were softer than expected, disciplined cost management enabled us to deliver against our earnings outlook. We are well positioned from an inventory standpoint with improved in-stocks and accelerated receipts for Summer and Back to School. We are pleased with the progress our teams are making across our strategic priorities, which are key to delivering on our vision for future growth, the Triple-Double. With the planned openings and conversions in fiscal 2022, we are on track to end the year with nearly half of our stores in the new Five Beyond format." Mr. Anderson continued, "In addition, we are capitalizing on real-time opportunities in the marketplace, including merchandise and real estate, while piloting new products and services that embody the rituals of life and milestones of growing up. With that said, as we look to the balance of the year, we expect the macro environment to remain challenging. We know that during these times, our customer seeks out value even more. We are well positioned to deliver on our commitment to bring fresh, new WOW products that our customers want, at extreme value, and with an amazing shopping experience." Second Quarter and Fiscal 2022 Outlook:The Company expects the following results for the second quarter and full year fiscal 2022: For the second quarter of Fiscal 2022: Net sales are expected to be in the range of $675 million to $695 million based on opening approximately 30 new stores and assuming an approximate 2% to 5% decrease in comparable sales. Net income is expected to be in the range of $41 million to $48 million. Diluted income per common share is expected to be in the range of $0.74 to $0.86 on approximately 55.8 million diluted weighted average shares outstanding. For the full year of Fiscal 2022: Net sales are expected to be in the range of $3.04 billion to $3.12 billion based on opening approximately 160 new stores and assuming an approximate flat to 2% decrease in comparable sales. Net income is expected to be in the range of $271 million to $293 million. Diluted income per common share is expected to be in the range of $4.85 to $5.24 on approximately 55.8 million diluted weighted average shares outstanding. Gross capital expenditures are expected to be approximately $225 million in fiscal 2022. Conference Call Information:A conference call to discuss the financial results for the first quarter of fiscal 2022 is scheduled for today, June 8, 2022, at 4:30 p.m. Eastern Time. Investors and analysts interested in participating in the call are invited to dial 412-902-6753 approximately 10 minutes prior to the start of the call. A live audio webcast of the conference call will be available online at investor.fivebelow.com in the investor relations section of the website. A taped replay of the conference call will be available within two hours of the conclusion of the call and can be accessed both online and by dialing 412-317-0088. The pin number to access the telephone replay is 1634094. The replay will be available for approximately two weeks after the call. Forward-Looking Statements:This news release includes forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 as contained in Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, which reflect management's current views and estimates regarding the Company's industry, business strategy, goals and expectations concerning its market position, future operations, margins, profitability, capital expenditures, liquidity and capital resources, store count potential and other financial and operating information. Investors can identify these statements by the fact that they use words such as "anticipate," "assume," "believe," "continue," "could," "estimate," "expect," "intend," "may," "plan," "potential," "predict," "project," "future" and similar terms and phrases. The Company cannot assure investors that future developments affecting the Company will be those that it has anticipated. Actual results may differ materially from these expectations due to risks and uncertainties associated with the COVID-19 pandemic (including closures of our stores, adverse impacts on our sales and operations, future impairment charges and the risk of global recession, and the impact of government regulation), risks related to disruption to the global supply chain, risks related to the Company's strategy and expansion plans, risks related to disruptions in our information technology systems and our ability to maintain and upgrade those systems, risks related to the inability to successfully implement our online retail operations, risks related to cyberattacks or other cyber incidents, risks related to our ability to select, obtain, distribute and market merchandise profitably, risks related to our reliance on merchandise manufactured outside of the United States, the availability of suitable new store locations and the dependence on the volume of traffic to our stores, risks related to changes in consumer preferences and economic conditions, risks related to increased operating costs, including wage rates, risks related to extreme weather, pandemic outbreaks (in addition to COVID-19), global political events, war, terrorism or civil unrest (including any resulting store closures, damage, or loss of inventory), risks related to leasing, owning or building distribution centers, risks related to our ability to successfully manage inventory balance and inventory shrinkage, quality or safety concerns about the Company's merchandise, increased competition from other retailers including online retailers, risks related to the seasonality of our business, risks related to our ability to protect our brand name and other intellectual property, risks related to customers' payment methods, risks related to domestic and foreign trade restrictions including duties and tariffs affecting our domestic and foreign suppliers and increasing our costs, including, among others, the direct and indirect impact of current and potential tariffs imposed and proposed by the United States on foreign imports, risks associated with the restrictions imposed by our indebtedness on our current and future operations, the impact of changes in tax legislation and accounting standards and risks associated with leasing substantial amounts of space. For further details and a discussion of these risks and uncertainties, see the Company's periodic reports, including the annual report on Form 10-K, quarterly reports on Form 10-Q and current reports on Form 8-K, filed with or furnished to the Securities and Exchange Commission and available at www.sec.gov. If one or more of these risks or uncertainties materialize, or if any of the Company's assumptions prove incorrect, the Company's actual results may vary in material respects from those projected in these forward-looking statements. Any forward-looking statement made by the Company in this news release speaks only as of the date on which the Company makes it. Factors or events that could cause the Company's actual results to differ may emerge from time to time, and it is not possible for the Company to predict all of them. The Company undertakes no obligation to publicly update any forward-looking statement, whether as a result of new information, future developments or otherwise, except as may be required by any applicable securities laws. About Five Below:Five Below is a leading high-growth value retailer offering trend-right, high-quality products loved by tweens, teens and beyond. We believe life is better when customers are free to "let go & have fun" in an amazing experience filled with unlimited possibilities. With most items priced between $1 and $5, and some extreme value items priced beyond $5 in our incredible Five Beyond offering, Five Below makes it easy to say YES! to the newest, coolest stuff across eight awesome Five Below worlds: Style, Room, Sports, Tech, Create, Party, Candy and New & Now. Founded in 2002 and headquartered in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Five Below today has over 1,200 stores in 40 states. For more information, please visit www.fivebelow.com or find Five Below on Instagram, TikTok, Twitter and Facebook @FiveBelow. Investor Contact:Five Below, Inc.Christiane PelzVice President, Investor Relations & Treasury215-207-2658Christiane.Pelz@fivebelow.com  FIVE BELOW, INC.Consolidated Balance Sheets(Unaudited)(in thousands)     April 30, 2022   January 29, 2022   May 1, 2021 Assets             Current assets:             Cash and cash equivalents   $ 120,501   $ 64,973   $ 84,170 Short-term investment securities     189,140     277,141     299,289 Inventories     504,182     455,104     326,710 Prepaid income taxes and tax receivable     4,511     11,325     2,248 Prepaid expenses and other current assets     87,280     96,196     55,175 Total current assets     905,614     904,739     767,592 Property and equipment, net     799,765     777,497     624,775 Operating lease assets     1,232,246     1,151,395     1,023,883 Long-term investment securities     10,182     37,717     8,684 Other assets     12,973     9,112     18,794     $ 2,960,780   $ 2,880,460   $ 2,443,728               Liabilities and Shareholders' Equity             Current liabilities:            .....»»

Category: earningsSource: benzingaJun 8th, 2022

SentinelOne (S) Unveils AI-Powered Security Mapping Solution

SentinelOne (S) rolls out its Singularity Vulnerability Mapping, an AI-powered security solution that helps organizations assess, prioritize and remediate security threats at machine speed. SentinelOne S recently announced the availability of its Singularity Vulnerability Mapping Solution.SentinelOne’s Singularity Vulnerability Mapping is an AI-powered solution that delivers vulnerability assessment, prioritization and remediation at machine speed.The new solution leverages the company’s Singularity XRD and Ivanti’s unified IT platform to provide security teams with autonomous scanning capabilities. This helps the IT and security teams to gain visibility across the enterprise network and thus remediate data breaches and security threats in a single click.The latest launch will strengthen SentinelOne’s portfolio of security solutions, thus helping it gain momentum among customers globally amid the ongoing data breach crisis.SentinelOne, Inc. Price and Consensus  SentinelOne, Inc. price-consensus-chart | SentinelOne, Inc. Quote Security Solutions: A Significant Growth StrategyThe adoption of cloud computing has been growing rapidly in the past decade. The advent of the pandemic resulted in a rapid transition to work from home and the hybrid work model, which has further accelerated the adoption of the cloud.As more and more organizations move toward adopting the cloud, identity threats and data breaches continue to rise exponentially. The rising security threats have been a constant reminder for organizations across industries to upgrade their existing IT infrastructure. Per a Markets and Markets report, the global cybersecurity market is expected to witness a CAGR of 9.5%, reaching $345.38 billion by 2026.These trends bode well with cybersecurity solutions providers such as SentinelOne. The company provides a wide range of security solutions and constantly upgrades its integrations.SentinelOne's extended detection and response (XDR) platform, one of its key solutions, automates the entire threat detection process with artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms, instead of relying on human analysts. The company recently enhanced XDR’s by partnering with companies such as Okta, Microsoft, ServiceNow and Mandiant, among others.These advanced integrations help the company cater to the growing demand for real-time solutions to monitor and combat data breaches. As of Apr 30, 2022, SentinelOne ‘s total customer count reached 7,450, up 55% year over year.In the fiscal 2022, SenitnelOne witnessed year-over-year revenue growth of 120% at $205 million. The company expects revenue growth of 97-99% in fiscal 2023.SentinelOne, which currently holds a Zacks Rank #4 (Sell), faces stiff competition in the addressable market from the likes of CrowdStrike CRWD, Zscaler ZS and VMware VMW.You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.CrowdStrike expects revenue growth of 51%-52% in fiscal 2023. The company recently introduced a new capability called Humio for Falcon. This solution extends the data retention of CrowdStrike Falcon telemetry for more than a year, thus enhancing threat analytics and threat hunting abilities for organizations.Zscaler which anticipates a 60% revenue growth in fiscal 2022, recently expanded its security service edge (SSE) framework. It added three industry-first Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA) innovations to its portfolio for IT and security teams to confidently replace legacy firewalls and VPNs. These innovations minimize the attack surface and prevent lateral movement and stop compromised users and insider threats with private app protection.Though VMWare has not provided any guidance for fiscal 2023, the company has been striving toward scaling its security solutions business by upgrading and enhancing its portfolio. The company recently introduced significant enhancements to its unique lateral security capabilities. These improvements will help VMware customers to achieve strong security for both modern and traditional applications across multi-cloud environments Zacks' Top Picks to Cash in on Electric Vehicles Big money has already been made in the Electric Vehicle (EV) industry. But, the EV revolution has not hit full throttle yet. There is a lot of money to be made as the next push for future technologies ramps up. Zacks’ Special Report reveals 5 picks investorsSee 5 EV Stocks With Extreme Upside Potential >>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report VMware, Inc. (VMW): Free Stock Analysis Report SentinelOne, Inc. (S): Free Stock Analysis Report Zscaler, Inc. (ZS): Free Stock Analysis Report CrowdStrike (CRWD): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksJun 8th, 2022

SentinelOne (S) Unveils Integration for AWS Security Hub

SentinelOne (S) announces its integration with AWS Security Hub, providing a solution to help filter high-fidelity threats. SentinelOne S has been experiencing a significant growth in demand for the company’s cybersecurity solutions.In the last reported quarter, SentinelOne revenues were up 109% year-over-year, at $78.3 million. However, SentinelOne shares  has plunged 52.6% in the year-to-date period compared with the Zacks Computers - IT Servicesfall of 25.6% and Zacks Computer and Technologysector’s decline of 27.5%.SentinelOne recently announced a new integration with Amazon’s AMZN Amazon Web Services (AWS) Security Hub.The new integration, which is available on the SentinelOne Singularity Marketplace, helps filter high-fidelity threat information from SentinelOne agents running on AWS.The SentinelOne integration will allow organizations to effectively defend cloud workloads by gaining centralized insights from SentinelOne, AWS services and additional security tools.The AWS Security Hub then accumulates, organizes and prioritizes the security alerts, thus allowing security teas to respond to any threat in progress.With the global rise of data breaches and security threats, the latest move is anticipated to help SentinelOne gain strong momentum among customers, as organizations are constantly reminded to upgrade security infrastructures.SentinelOne, Inc. Price and Consensus  SentinelOne, Inc. price-consensus-chart | SentinelOne, Inc. Quote Expanding Security Solutions Portfolio Bodes WellAs more and more organizations move toward the adoption of the cloud, identity threats and data breaches continue to rise exponentially. Businesses now require solutions to detect security threats and data breaches before attackers steal and exploit enterprise identities.According to Cybersecurity Ventures, it is being anticipated that the need to protect increasingly digitized business, Internet of Things (IoT) devices, and consumers will propel global spending on cybersecurity solutions to $1.75 trillion by 2025.Per a Verizon report, 82% of breaches involved a human element, including social attacks, errors and misuse. While the existing infrastructure works, there are gaps that need to be secured with the advent of better and much-advanced cybersecurity solutions. These gaps can be fulfilled by cybersecurity solutions and advanced integrations.In the current times, when cybersecurity is a mission-critical need in every industry vertical, demand for SentinelOne’s security solutions and XDR platform remains significantly strong.SentinelOne has been riding on accretive partnerships and acquisitions.Recently, the company announced the integration of the SentinelOne XDR platform directly with Okta’s OKTA identity management capabilities.The integration of the XDR Response to Okta’s platform will allow IT teams to quickly respond to credential compromises and identity-based attacks, while minimizing enterprise risk.Moreover, the company also launched integrations with Microsoft MSFT.SentinelOne had announced SentinelOne App for Microsoft’s Azure Active Directory (Azure AD). The integration combines endpoint security and identity capabilities to advance Zero Trust architecture.The Singularity App for Azure AD allows organizations to alert teams across the organization whenever an endpoint is at risk, thus enabling them to enforce the principles of Zero Trust.To cater to the demand for real-time solutions to combat security breaches, SentinelOne has been upgrading its cybersecurity solutions. SentinelOne’s efforts to upgrade and improve its solutions are likely to help this Zacks Rank #4 (Sell) company witness robust growth in the near term.You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here. Free: Top Stocks for the $30 Trillion Metaverse Boom The metaverse is a quantum leap for the internet as we currently know it - and it will make some investors rich. Just like the internet, the metaverse is expected to transform how we live, work and play. Zacks has put together a new special report to help readers like you target big profits. The Metaverse - What is it? And How to Profit with These 5 Pioneering Stocks reveals specific stocks set to skyrocket as this emerging technology develops and expands.Download Zacks’ Metaverse Report now >>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report Amazon.com, Inc. (AMZN): Free Stock Analysis Report Microsoft Corporation (MSFT): Free Stock Analysis Report SentinelOne, Inc. (S): Free Stock Analysis Report Okta, Inc. (OKTA): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksJun 6th, 2022

MoneyGram"s (MGI) Tie-Up to Boost Wallet Usage in Saudi Arabia

MoneyGram (MGI) teams up with Mobily Pay to offer seamless global digital money transfers utilizing the latter's mobile wallet powered by MGI's capabilities. MoneyGram International, Inc. MGI recently collaborated with the renowned mobile wallet Mobily Pay, which is enabled by Mobily — the leading telecommunications and digital service provider in Saudi Arabia. The tie-up will introduce the innovative money transfer capabilities of MoneyGram on the Mobily Pay mobile wallet, which will enable millions of Saudi Arabian consumers to utilize the mobile wallet for making digital money transfers across the globe.The latest move, which is likely to go live in later 2022, will leverage MGI’s global network of over 200 countries and regions to enable money transfers for the country’s Mobily Pay users. The tie-up marks yet another instance of financial technology companies accessing MoneyGram’s widespread global money transfer network through the successful integration of MGI’s rapidly expanding white label offering. White labeling is basically a legal protocol that permits one product or service to be sold and rebranded under another company's brand.Meanwhile, the collaboration in discussion is likely to be a win-win situation for both partners. The latest move is likely to pave the way for the cutting-edge API-backed infrastructure and superior technology of MoneyGram to boost the number of payments processed by it. Subsequently, MGI might witness an increased customer base across one of the biggest remittance countries and rapidly growing mobile wallets markets (Saudi Arabia). For Mobily Pay, the partnership will empower it to introduce services and enhance scale, thereby bolstering the prevailing digital offerings suite.Through initiatives similar to the latest one, MoneyGram intends to deepen its leading market position in a fast-growing mobile wallet market. Mobile wallets emerged as one of the most popular contactless payment methods amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Factors such as the fast pace of globalization, prosperous cross-border trade, higher usage of smartphones and increased Internet penetration continue to contribute to the growth of the global mobile wallet market, per a report published by the strategic consulting and market research firm BlueWeave Consulting. Per the same source, the market is anticipated to witness a CAGR of 25% over the 2018-2028 period. Such promising growth prospects substantiate the timeliness of MoneyGram’s recent digital alliance with Mobily Pay.Another notable endeavor of MoneyGram clearly highlighted through the latest initiative in Saudi Arabia is its keen interest in boosting digital growth in the Middle East. There are a number of reasons for MGI’s intensified focus on capturing growth prospects of the Middle East market. Growing demand for contactless payments accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic, higher smartphone usage by the tech-savvy population and an increased Internet penetration persuaded several digital platforms to penetrate the region, and MoneyGram, which boasts a strong digital arm, followed suit.It took years for MoneyGram to build a robust digital platform through continuous partnerships and technological advancements. These efforts bore fruits as MGI can now be counted among one of the leading and most trustworthy international money transfer companies. In spite of the success achieved, MoneyGram remains focused on opportunities to enhance its digital platform. As a testament to the same, MGI agreed to be acquired by Chicago-based private equity firm Madison Dearborn Partners, LLC for $1.8 billion. Expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2022, the buyout is likely to upgrade MoneyGram’s digital platform by utilizing the acquirer’s payments prowess and experience in boosting the digital business.Shares of MoneyGram have gained 45.8% in the past six months against the industry’s decline of 11.2%.Image Source: Zacks Investment ResearchMGI currently carries a Zacks Rank #4 (Sell).Stocks to ConsiderSome better-ranked stocks in the Finance space are CB Financial Services, Inc. CBFV, East West Bancorp, Inc. EWBC and First Republic Bank FRC. While CB Financial Services flaunts a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), East West Bancorp and First Republic Bank carry a Zacks Rank of 2 (Buy) at present. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.CB Financial Services delivered a trailing four-quarter earnings surprise of 18.65%, on average. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for CBFV’s 2022 earnings suggests an improvement of 20.5% from the corresponding year-ago reported figures. The consensus mark for CB Financial Services’ 2022 earnings has moved 19.3% north in the past 60 days.The bottom line of East West Bancorp outpaced estimates in three of the last four quarters and missed once, the average surprise being 6.25%. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for EWBC’s 2022 earnings suggests an improvement of 14.9%, while the same for revenues suggests growth of 16.5% from the corresponding year-ago reported figures. The consensus mark for East West Bancorp’s 2022 earnings has moved 6.2% north in the past 60 days.First Republic Bank’s earnings surpassed estimates in each of the trailing four quarters, the average surprise being 7.36%. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for FRC’s 2022 earnings suggests an improvement of 10%, while the same for revenues suggests growth of 18.6% from the corresponding year-ago reported figures. The consensus mark for First Republic Bank’s 2022 earnings has moved 2.4% north in the past 60 days.Shares of CB Financial Services, East West Bancorp and First Republic Bank have lost 1.2%, 4.6% and 27.3%, respectively, in the past six months. Zacks Names "Single Best Pick to Double" From thousands of stocks, 5 Zacks experts each have chosen their favorite to skyrocket +100% or more in months to come. From those 5, Director of Research Sheraz Mian hand-picks one to have the most explosive upside of all. It’s a little-known chemical company that’s up 65% over last year, yet still dirt cheap. With unrelenting demand, soaring 2022 earnings estimates, and $1.5 billion for repurchasing shares, retail investors could jump in at any time. This company could rival or surpass other recent Zacks’ Stocks Set to Double like Boston Beer Company which shot up +143.0% in little more than 9 months and NVIDIA which boomed +175.9% in one year.Free: See Our Top Stock and 4 Runners Up >>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report MoneyGram International Inc. (MGI): Free Stock Analysis Report First Republic Bank (FRC): Free Stock Analysis Report East West Bancorp, Inc. (EWBC): Free Stock Analysis Report CB Financial Services, Inc. (CBFV): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksJun 5th, 2022

SentinelOne (S) XDR-Okta Integration to Boost Incident Response

SentinelOne (S) unveils the integration of its XDR Platform with Okta, providing a solution to accelerate incident response and minimize data breaches. SentinelOne S recently announced the integration of the SentinelOne XDR platform directly with Okta’s OKTA identity management capabilities.Okta is a vendor-neutral cloud-based identity and access solution that requires no tradeoffs between ease of use and full functionality.The integration of the XDR Response to Okta’s platform will enable security management and IT teams to quickly respond to credential compromises and identity-based attacks, thus minimizing enterprise risk. With SentinelOne across enterprise attack surfaces and Okta enforcing identity policies, organizations enjoy the best of both worlds in a single solution.The latest move is anticipated to help SentinelOne gain strong momentum among customers globally since the rising data breaches and security threats are a constant reminder to upgrade security infrastructures.SentinelOne, Inc. Price and Consensus  SentinelOne, Inc. price-consensus-chart | SentinelOne, Inc. Quote Rising Data Breaches Aids Adoption For SentinelOne XDR PlatformWith identity-based threats and data breaches on the rise, more so since the onset of the pandemic, businesses now require the ability to detect when attackers exploit, misuse, or steal enterprise identities.As more and more organizations accelerate towards digitization and race to adopt the public cloud, both human and non-human identities continue to increase exponentially. Since attackers mainly use credentials and leverage Active Directory (AD), it has now become critical to detect identity-based activity.According to the 2022 Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report, 82% of breaches involved the human element, including the use of stolen credentials. While existing solutions secure various pieces of the enterprise, they are often siloed, causing gaps in visibility and making it difficult to achieve a holistic understanding of an organization’s security posture.In the present times, cybersecurity is a mission-critical infrastructure in every geography, industry vertical and organization size. Thus, the demand environment for SentinelOne security solutions, especially SentinelOne’s cutting-edge autonomous XDR platform, remains incredibly strong.The company has been performing extremely well with broad-based strength across new customer adds, existing customer renewals and upsells. In fiscal 2022, the company’s strategic partners grew to more than 20% of its business, including Managed Security Service Providers, Incident Response (IR) firms, and Managed Detection and Response providers.Moreover, SentinelOne’s platform is constantly expanding with new partners and acquisitions.Recently, SentinelOne acquired Attivo Networks, an identity security and lateral movement protection company with a significantly large global customer base hundreds, including Fortune 500 organizations. With Attivo's user-centric identity capabilities, SentinelOne will be able to support an even more comprehensive zero trust framework.Notably, the organization has also launched integrations of ServiceNow NOW and Mandiant MNDT, thus expanding its partner base.Earlier this year, Mandiant selected SentinelOne as a global go-to-market partner.Mandiant is one of the world’s leading IR firms. The partnership helps top incident response consultants leverage SentinelOne’s XDR platform to investigate and remediate breaches.SentinelOne also announced the SentinelOne App for ServiceNow Security Incident Response (SIR), unifying IT and security teams across organizations to provide a more comprehensive end-to-end security solution across cloud environments.The integration of SentinelOne directly into ServiceNow enables customers of both companies to use the ServiceNow platform to triage threats.In the present situation, organizations across industries, from technology to global consumer brands, need to embrace digital conversion and move to the cloud very soon. As a cybersecurity platform covering endpoints and surfaces of all types, cloud workloads, mobile devices and IoT devices and now identity, SentinelOne has a strategic advantage and anticipates witnessing robust growth in the ongoing fiscal year.SentinelOne, which currently holds a Zacks Rank #4 (Sell), has declined 44% in the year-to-date period compared with the Zacks Computers - IT Servicesfall of 15.8% and Zacks Computer and Technologysector’s decline of 23.8%.You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here. How to Profit from the Hot Electric Vehicle Industry Global electric car sales in 2021 more than doubled their 2020 numbers. And today, the electric vehicle (EV) technology and very nature of the business is changing quickly. The next push for future technologies is happening now and investors who get in early could see exceptional profits. See Zacks' Top Stocks to Profit from the EV Revolution >>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report SentinelOne, Inc. (S): Free Stock Analysis Report ServiceNow, Inc. (NOW): Free Stock Analysis Report Okta, Inc. (OKTA): Free Stock Analysis Report Mandiant, Inc. (MNDT): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksJun 1st, 2022

A U.S. Recession Remains Unlikely

In his Daily Market Notes report to investors, while commenting on a recession, Louis Navellier wrote: Unlikely U.S. Recession Another huge late rally out of the red on Friday continued into early trading today.  The market continues to seek a firm bottom in the strong downward trend, with the Dow now on the worst losing streak since 1923. Naysayers […] In his Daily Market Notes report to investors, while commenting on a recession, Louis Navellier wrote: Unlikely U.S. Recession Another huge late rally out of the red on Friday continued into early trading today.  The market continues to seek a firm bottom in the strong downward trend, with the Dow now on the worst losing streak since 1923. Naysayers point to the VIX not being able to stay above 30 for long as a lack of a sign of capitulation. Credit spreads are also not reflecting fears of a serious economic slowdown and fixed income new issuance remains firm.  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 Walter Schloss Series in PDF Get the entire 10-part series on Walter Schloss 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 The S&P Index has bounced meaningfully every time it tests a close below an official 20% correction below its early January all-time high. The primary bull case that a U.S. recession remains unlikely is the strong balance sheet of consumers, bolstered by market gains of $40 trillion during the pandemic having only given back $5 trillion this year, and the still very healthy employment picture. Market pundits argue that the strong consumer may actually make it more difficult for the Fed to achieve its determination to bring down inflation trends, increasing the likelihood their monetary tightening will overshoot an attempt at a soft landing. This week there is another wave of retail store earnings releases, including Nordstrom, Inc. (NYSE:JWN), Best Buy Co Inc (NYSE:BBY), Macy's Inc (NYSE:M), and Costco Wholesale Corporation (NASDAQ:COST), which may confirm or offset the brutal declines seen in Target and Walmart last week. While there is some relief in the Covid trends in China, the numbers are rising again in the U.S. with the CDC saying a third of Americans, the more vulnerable ones, should consider remasking indoors. On the Russian front, Starbucks has announced they will follow McDonald's and sell their stores in the country. Interest rates are modestly higher this morning, but the 10-year U.S. rate at 2.81% remains well off its recent highs.  Crude oil & natural gas remain near their highs for the year and gasoline continues to set new all-time highs.  The U.S. dollar is softer, having now retraced a full month of gains. Crypto has stabilized but remains at a year low. Interestingly, overall earnings estimates are holding up well, thanks primarily to big increases in the energy sector as analysts cautiously wait for more guidance from management teams. Consumer Sentiment Is Key Despite the opening strength this morning, the market still feels heavy with the elephant in the room being the retail investors, who after pumping $1.3 trillion into equities during the pandemic have only pulled out $46 billion in the last 7 week selloff, largely sitting on their hands so far. As with the economy, consumer sentiment is perhaps the key to market trends in the weeks ahead until the next earnings cycle. Continue to upgrade the quality of your portfolio opportunistically until a firm bottom is established. Coffee Beans Despite the immense popularity of European soccer domestically and around the world, nowhere comes even close to the overall earning power of elite U.S. athletes. According to Forbes' latest Highest-Paid Athletes ranking, 35 out of the 50 are Americans. The list takes into account on- and off-field earnings of athletes, and it is the incredibly lucrative deals that the established U.S. players are signing away from their day job that really tips the balance. Source: Statista. See the full story here. Updated on May 23, 2022, 12:17 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 23rd, 2022

PEBB Enterprises and Banyan Development Acquire Significant Portfolio at the Research Park at Florida Atlantic University®

PEBB Enterprises and joint venture partner Banyan Development closed another major office acquisition in the companies’ home base of Boca Raton. The venture paid $37.5 million for a long-term ground leasehold interest position in the Research Park at Florida Atlantic University®, consisting of a portfolio of seven multi-tenant office buildings... The post PEBB Enterprises and Banyan Development Acquire Significant Portfolio at the Research Park at Florida Atlantic University® appeared first on Real Estate Weekly. PEBB Enterprises and joint venture partner Banyan Development closed another major office acquisition in the companies’ home base of Boca Raton. The venture paid $37.5 million for a long-term ground leasehold interest position in the Research Park at Florida Atlantic University®, consisting of a portfolio of seven multi-tenant office buildings totaling 308,305 square feet. The sale of the ground lease closed on April 28. The seller was an international sovereign wealth fund represented by Avison Young’s Florida Capital Markets Group. PEBB and Banyan plan to embark on a substantial improvement program to upgrade the office-based research park and drive leasing activity in conjunction with the Research Park at FAU’s existing economic development team. The portfolio is currently 65% occupied. It is the only state university-affiliated research park in South Florida and considered a premier technology business incubator for the region. Not only does the Research Park at FAU possess strong fundamentals in central Boca Raton, but it also has immediate access to a talented and motivated workforce and direct connection to the FAU campus. The Research Park at FAU allows for companies to work in partnership with FAU faculty across the University’s ten (10) colleges to collaborate and transform the property into a cutting-edge research & development park that can strengthen and diversify Boca Raton’s business community. Collective goals are to grow and evolve the park as a leading university-affiliated healthcare and medical hub, as well as a biotech advanced engineering center, building upon a community where entrepreneurs and academic researchers come together to collaborate and develop thriving businesses. The group also sees tremendous opportunity in the fields of artificial intelligence, sensors, machine learning and others where the University already has a significant presence.  The long-term lease landlord remains the Research Park at FAU’s governing Authority, the Florida Atlantic Research and Development Authority, with a dual research and development and economic development mission, aligned with Florida Atlantic University. PEBB and Banyan have worked closely with the Research Park at FAU and will continue to work with it to pursue its mission. “The commitment of the PEBB and Banyan teams to strengthening the tenant roster with companies focused on R&D and creating new technological and economic energy for Boca Raton and Palm Beach County is very exciting as we continue to seek to be the premier destination for innovative R&D companies in Florida,” said Andrew Duffell, president of the Research Park at FAU. For PEBB, the acquisition continues a trend of investing in Boca Raton office properties with value-add potential. In 2021, the company purchased the 1801 Building in Midtown Boca and 5900 Building within the Park at Broken Sound. “This is a unique opportunity to own and operate prime office space adjacent to the FAU campus,” said PEBB Enterprises President and CEO Ian Weiner. “The portfolio’s immediate access to I-95 and the Boca Raton Airport make it extremely appealing to tenants. We continue to target new investment opportunities in Boca Raton, which is underserved from an office supply standpoint.” Located at 3600-3998 FAU Blvd., the office buildings were completed between 1998 and 2001. The portfolio has a diverse mix of medical, technology and research businesses. Notable tenants include American Sugar Refining, Xeriant, Baptist Health Surgery Center, FAU College of Medicine Clinical Skills Simulation Center, Institute of Regenerative Medicine, Sandow Media, GenesisCare and 4ocean. “We will target best-in-class tenants that complement the strong existing roster and align with the Research Park at FAU’s and the University’s broader mission,” said Jason Sher, Principal at Banyan Development. Avison Young Principal Keith O’Donnell listed the portfolio on behalf of the seller and led the off-market transaction. “It was clear to me who the perfect buyers for the Research Park at FAU would be from the start,” said O’Donnell. “PEBB and Banyan will bring a local, deep legacy experience to this incredible park.” Avison Young’s Greg Martin, Principal and Managing Director of the firm’s Fort Lauderdale and Boca Raton offices, and his team have generated value through leasing at the Research Park at FAU for the past decade. He, along with team members Justin Cope and Lisa Blumer, will continue to oversee leasing at the property. “We are excited about the new ownership group and the energy they will bring to the property,” said Martin. Boca Raton’s commercial real estate sector is consistently attracting national interest from companies seeking to expand or relocate their operations, according to City of Boca Raton Economic Development Manager Jessica Del Vecchio. “The opportunity to work with PEBB Enterprises and Banyan Development, as local ownership of this property, will allow our team to work efficiently and effectively when new innovative startups come to town to scout office space in the highly sought-after Research Park at FAU,” said Del Vecchio.  PEBB and Banyan frequently partner on developments and investments in Palm Beach County. The companies developed the transformative Mainstreet at Boynton Beach project and jointly own the mixed-use Boca Lake in Boca Raton and a future development site in Delray Beach. The post PEBB Enterprises and Banyan Development Acquire Significant Portfolio at the Research Park at Florida Atlantic University® appeared first on Real Estate Weekly......»»

Category: realestateSource: realestateweeklyMay 2nd, 2022

Colliers Arranges $66.9 Million Acquisition Financing for a 933-Unit Multifamily Value Add Portfolio

Colliers Capital Markets announced it has arranged the $66.9 million acquisition and repositioning financing for a six-property, 933-unit multifamily portfolio located across Memphis, Tennessee and Columbia, South Carolina. Colliers worked on behalf of the sponsor, Lexington Partners, LLC and LAZ Investments, to secure the loan from Ready Capital Corporation. A... The post Colliers Arranges $66.9 Million Acquisition Financing for a 933-Unit Multifamily Value Add Portfolio appeared first on Real Estate Weekly. Colliers Capital Markets announced it has arranged the $66.9 million acquisition and repositioning financing for a six-property, 933-unit multifamily portfolio located across Memphis, Tennessee and Columbia, South Carolina. Colliers worked on behalf of the sponsor, Lexington Partners, LLC and LAZ Investments, to secure the loan from Ready Capital Corporation. A Colliers Boston Capital Markets team representing the sponsor was led by Executive Vice President John Broderick, who partnered with Executive Vice President and US Debt & Equity Platform Leader Jeff Black, and was supported by Vice Presidents Sean Burke and Bryan Koop, US Capital Markets – The Analytics Group Managing Director Chris Chou and Analyst Chris Moore. The portfolio consists of multiple properties across the rapidly-growing Sun Belt cities of Memphis and Columbia. The two Memphis mid-rise apartment developments, known as Azur Tower and SoMa Apartments, are both located within the thriving Memphis Medical District. Four garden-style apartment developments — Copperfield Apartments, Creekside Place, Retreat at Broad River and Riverbanks Retreat — are situated in the desirable West Columbia neighborhood. Lexington Partners, as the new owner, plans to carry out a major renovation of the portfolio. The wide-ranging capital improvement project will substantially upgrade the apartment units, common areas and exterior of the properties. Interior upgrades will include sleek new flooring and countertops as well as kitchen and bathroom appliance replacement. Exterior renovations will include replacing walkways and decks to create an even more homey environment as well as parking lot upgrades. “It was a pleasure to work with the Lexington Partners and LAZ Investment teams, who will capitalize on their vast knowledge and understanding of resident needs to reshape  this portfolio to meet current lifestyle demands,” said Broderick . “The company’s visionary approach has firmly established it as a leader in the value-add multifamily space by being able to recognize opportunities and having the in-house expertise to execute a thoughtful and creative business plan resulting in smartly repositioned multifamily communities.” Lexington Partners is one of the most active multi-family residential developers in Connecticut and the Southeastern United States. Together with InnoConn Construction Corp, its construction arm, Lexington Partners has over 30 years of experience specializing in the acquisition, adaptive reuse and new construction developments in both the commercial and residential segments. The areas of Columbia and Memphis have been growing quickly. During the last four years, downtown Memphis has been reshaped, with $13 billion in revitalization projects bringing a new vibrancy and energy to the area, while the population in Columbia has increased 10% since 2010, reflecting the area’s significant desirability. The high concentration of logistics, medical, and government jobs have helped to stabilize both economies over the past 10 years. The post Colliers Arranges $66.9 Million Acquisition Financing for a 933-Unit Multifamily Value Add Portfolio appeared first on Real Estate Weekly......»»

Category: realestateSource: realestateweeklyApr 26th, 2022

Aon (AON) Ties Up to Boost Prowess to Meet Clients" ESG Needs

Aon (AON) teams up with BNY Mellon for rolling out solutions either focused on addressing the ESG needs of clients or to bring about the upgrade of data and analytics. Aon plc AON recently inked a multifaceted data and digital partnership with the global investments company, The Bank of New York Mellon Corporation BK, so that both the companies can make use of their innovative capabilities to devise solutions to meet the constantly changing needs of clients.First and foremost, the partnership entails the combined utilization of Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) data and analytics prowess coupled with the unique data sets of Aon and BNY Mellon. This collective utilization tends to address the ESG needs of global clients. Given the evolving requirements of clients, after the completion of its primary endeavor, the tie-up will also look forward to upgrading solutions in the areas of digital assets and data and analytics. A powerful data and analytics portfolio has always remained the priority of AON management to strengthen the insurance broker.With the help of improved analytics, data sets and actionable insights into the ESG portfolio-level exposure developed due to the tie-up, clients will be empowered to arrive at enhanced investment strategy decisions. Both partners will also look forward to extending Aon's proprietary ESG fund ratings to asset owners for helping them gain a better understanding of the procedure followed by asset managers to integrate ESG into one’s investments, operations and organizational processes. Therefore, corporations, institutional asset managers and investors will greatly benefit from the latest collaboration.The recent initiative on the part of Aon is expected to improve net-zero reporting transparency, which, in turn, will simplify the portfolio management and research process of the insurance broker. Meanwhile, BK, boasting of holding unique knowledge about ESG trends, seems to be the perfect partner to complement AON’s endeavor to establish an ESG-focused ecosystem for its clients.  Also, tie-ups similar to the latest one seem to be opportune considering the increasing importance of companies to integrate ESG policies and consequently manage ESG risks. These capabilities are required to sustain the competitive scope of organizations. Meanwhile, investors also remain increasingly inclined to invest in companies that have a robust ESG program in place. The robust ESG program can attract massive pools of capital from investors and boost the long-term growth prospects of companies.To capitalize on the prevailing scenario, Aon delivers a varied suite of consulting and advisory solutions for navigating ESG issues for benefiting clients.Shares of Aon have rallied 39.2% in a year compared with the industry’s growth of 11.2%. AON currently carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). Image Source: Zacks Investment ResearchOther Stocks to ConsiderSome other top-ranked stocks in the insurance space are Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. AJG and Brown & Brown, Inc. BRO. While Arthur J. Gallagher sports a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), Brown & Brown carries a Zacks Rank #2 at present. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.The bottom line of Arthur J. Gallagher outpaced estimates in each of the last four quarters, the average being 8.76%. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for Arthur J. Gallagher’s 2022 earnings suggests an improvement of 41.1%, while the same for revenues suggests growth of 7.5% from the corresponding year-ago reported figures. The consensus mark for AJG’s 2022 earnings has moved 28% north in the past 30 days.Brown & Brown’s earnings surpassed estimates in each of the last four quarters, the average surprise being 17.39%. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for Brown & Brown’s 2022 earnings suggests an improvement of 5.9%, while the same for revenues suggests growth of 11.7% from the corresponding year-ago reported figures. BRO has a Growth Score of B.Shares of Arthur J. Gallagher and Brown & Brown have rallied 32.5% and 44%, respectively, in a year. Just Released: Zacks Top 10 Stocks for 2022 In addition to the investment ideas discussed above, would you like to know about our 10 top buy-and-hold tickers for the entirety of 2022? Last year's 2021 Zacks Top 10 Stocks portfolio returned gains as high as +147.7%. Now a brand-new portfolio has been handpicked from over 4,000 companies covered by the Zacks Rank. Don’t miss your chance to get in on these long-term buysAccess Zacks Top 10 Stocks for 2022 today >>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report The Bank of New York Mellon Corporation (BK): Free Stock Analysis Report Aon plc (AON): Free Stock Analysis Report Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. (AJG): Free Stock Analysis Report Brown & Brown, Inc. (BRO): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksApr 19th, 2022