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IPO Report: GitLab IPO: 5 things to know about the all-remote software company valued at $11 billion

Gitlab will raise more than $800 million in a 10.4 million-share offering, at a price of $77 a share......»»

Category: topSource: marketwatchOct 13th, 2021

IPO Report: GitLab IPO: 5 things to know about the all-remote software company valued at $11 billion

Gitlab will raise more than $800 million in a 10.4 million-share offering, at a price of $77 a share......»»

Category: topSource: marketwatchOct 13th, 2021

Check out 21 pitch decks that fintechs looking to disrupt trading, banking, and lending used to raise millions

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 VC funding hit a fresh quarterly record of $22.8 billion in the first three months of 2021, according to CB Insights data. While mega-rounds helped propel overall funding, new cash was spread across 614 deals. 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. Simplifying quant models Kirat Singh and Mark Higgins, Beacon's cofounders. Beacon A fintech that helps financial institutions use quantitative models to streamline their businesses and improve risk management is catching the attention, and capital, of some of the country's biggest investment managers.Beacon Platform, founded in 2014, is a fintech that builds applications and tools to help banks, asset managers, and trading firms quickly integrate quantitative models that can help with analyzing risk, ensuring compliance, and improving operational efficiency. The company raised its Series C on Wednesday, scoring a $56 million investment led by Warburg Pincus with support from Blackstone Innovations Investments, PIMCO, and Global Atlantic. Blackstone, PIMCO, and Global Atlantic are also users of Beacon's tech, as are the Commonwealth Bank of Australia and Shell New Energies, a division of Royal Dutch Shell, among others.The fintech provides a shortcut for firms looking to use quantitative modelling and data science across various aspects of their businesses, a process that can often take considerable resources if done solo.Here's the 20-page pitch deck Beacon, a fintech helping Wall Street better analyze risk and data, used to raise $56 million from Warburg Pincus, Blackstone, and PIMCOInvoice financing for SMBs Stacey Abrams and Lara Hodgson, Now cofounders. Now About a decade ago, politician Stacey Abrams and entrepreneur Lara Hodgson were forced to fold their startup because of a kink in the supply chain - but not in the traditional sense.Nourish, which made spill-proof bottled water for children, had grown quickly from selling to small retailers to national ones. And while that may sound like a feather in the small business' cap, there was a hang-up."It was taking longer and longer to get paid, and as you can imagine, you deliver the product and then you wait and you wait, but meanwhile you have to pay your employees and you have to pay your vendors," Hodgson told Insider. "Waiting to get paid was constraining our ability to grow."While it's not unusual for small businesses to grapple with working capital issues, the dust was still settling from the Great Recession. Abrams and Hodgson couldn't secure a line of credit or use financing tools like factoring to solve their problem. The two entrepreneurs were forced to close Nourish in 2012, but along the way they recognized a disconnect in the system. "Why are we the ones borrowing money, when in fact we're the lender here because every time you send an invoice to a customer, you've essentially extended a free loan to that customer by letting them pay later," Hodgson said. "And the only reason why we were going to need to possibly borrow money was because we had just given ours away for free to Whole Foods," she added.Check out the 7-page deck that Now, Stacey Abrams' fintech that wants to help small businesses 'grow fearlessly', used to raise $29 millionInsurance goes digital Jamie Hale, CEO and cofounder of Ladder. Ladder Fintechs looking to transform how insurance policies are underwritten, issued, and experienced by customers have grown as new technology driven by digital trends and artificial intelligence shape the market. And while verticals like auto, homeowner's, and renter's insurance have seen their fair share of innovation from forward-thinking fintechs, one company has taken on the massive life-insurance market. Founded in 2017, Ladder uses a tech-driven approach to offer life insurance with a digital, end-to-end service that it says is more flexible, faster, and cost-effective than incumbent players.Life, annuity, and accident and health insurance within the US comprise a big chunk of the broader market. In 2020, premiums written on those policies totaled some $767 billion, compared to $144 billion for auto policies and $97 billion for homeowner's insurance.Here's the 12-page deck that Ladder, a startup disrupting the 'crown jewel' of the insurance market, used to nab $100 millionEmbedded payments for SMBs The Highnote team. Highnote Branded cards have long been a way for merchants with the appropriate bank relationships to create additional revenue and build customer loyalty. The rise of embedded payments, or the ability to shop and pay in a seamless experience within a single app, has broadened the number of companies looking to launch branded cards.Highnote is a startup that helps small to mid-sized merchants roll out their own debit and pre-paid digital cards. The fintech emerged from stealth on Tuesday to announce it raised $54 million in seed and Series A funding.Here's the 12-page deck Highnote, a startup helping SMBs embed payments, used to raise $54 million in seed and Series A fundingAn alternative auto lender Daniel Chu, CEO and founder of Tricolor. Tricolor An alternative auto lender that caters to thin- and no-credit Hispanic borrowers is planning a national expansion after scoring a $90 million investment from BlackRock-managed funds. Tricolor is a Dallas-based auto lender that is a community development financial institution. It uses a proprietary artificial-intelligence engine that decisions each customer based on more than 100 data points, such as proof of income. Half of Tricolor's customers have a FICO score, and less than 12% have scores above 650, yet the average customer has lived in the US for 15 years, according to the deck.A 2017 survey by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation found 31.5% of Hispanic households had no mainstream credit compared to 14.4% of white households. "For decades, the deck has been stacked against low income or credit invisible Hispanics in the United States when it comes to the purchase and financing of a used vehicle," Daniel Chu, founder and CEO of Tricolor, said in a statement announcing the raise.An auto lender that caters to underbanked Hispanics used this 25-page deck to raise $90 million from BlackRock investorsA new way to access credit The TomoCredit team. TomoCredit Kristy Kim knows first-hand the challenge of obtaining credit in the US without an established credit history. Kim, who came to the US from South Korea, couldn't initially get access to credit despite having a job in investment banking after graduating college. "I was in my early twenties, I had a good income, my job was in investment banking but I could not get approved for anything," Kim told Insider. "Many young professionals like me, we deserve an opportunity to be considered but just because we didn't have a Fico, we weren't given a chance to even apply," she added.Kim started TomoCredit in 2018 to help others like herself gain access to consumer credit. TomoCredit spent three years building an internal algorithm to underwrite customers based on cash flow, rather than a credit score.TomoCredit, a fintech that lends to thin- and no-credit borrowers, used this 17-page pitch deck to raise its $10 million Series AAn IRA for alternatives Henry Yoshida is the co-founder and CEO of retirement fintech startup Rocket Dollar. Rocket Dollar Fintech startup Rocket Dollar, which helps users invest their individual retirement account (IRA) dollars into alternative assets, just raised $8 million for its Series A round, the company announced on Thursday.Park West Asset Management led the round, with participation from investors including Hyphen Capital, which focuses on backing Asian American entrepreneurs, and crypto exchange Kraken's venture arm. Co-founded in 2018 by CEO Henry Yoshida, CTO Rick Dude, and VP of marketing Thomas Young, Rocket Dollar now has over $350 million in assets under management on its platform. Yoshida sold his first startup, a roboadvisor called Honest Dollar, to Goldman Sachs' investment management division for an estimated $20 million.Yoshida told Insider that while ultra-high net worth investors have been investing self-directed retirement account dollars into alternative assets like real estate, private equity, and cryptocurrency, average investors have not historically been able to access the same opportunities to invest IRA dollars in alternative assets through traditional platforms.Here's the 34-page pitch deck a fintech that helps users invest their retirement savings in crypto and real estate assets used to nab $8 millionConnecting startups and investors Hum Capital cofounder and CEO Blair Silverberg. Hum Capital Blair Silverberg is no stranger to fundraising.For six years, Silverberg was a venture capitalist at Draper Fisher Jurvetson and Private Credit Investments making bets on startups."I was meeting with thousands of founders in person each year, watching them one at a time go through this friction where they're meeting a ton of investors, and the investors are all asking the same questions," Silverberg told Insider. He switched gears about three years ago, moving to the opposite side of the metaphorical table, to start Hum Capital, which uses artificial intelligence to match investors with startups looking to fundraise.On August 31, the New York-based fintech announced its $9 million Series A. The round was led by Future Ventures with participation from Webb Investment Network, Wavemaker Partners, and Partech. This 11-page pitch deck helped Hum Capital, a fintech using AI to match investors with startups, raise a $9 million Series A.Payments infrastructure for fintechs Qolo CEO and co-founder Patricia Montesi. Qolo Three years ago, Patricia Montesi realized there was a disconnect in the payments world. "A lot of new economy companies or fintech companies were looking to mesh up a lot of payment modalities that they weren't able to," Montesi, CEO and co-founder of Qolo, told Insider.Integrating various payment capabilities often meant tapping several different providers that had specializations in one product or service, she added, like debit card issuance or cross-border payments. "The way people were getting around that was that they were creating this spider web of fintech," she said, adding that "at the end of it all, they had this mess of suppliers and integrations and bank accounts."The 20-year payments veteran rounded up a group of three other co-founders - who together had more than a century of combined industry experience - to start Qolo, a business-to-business fintech that sought out to bundle back-end payment rails for other fintechs.Here's the 11-slide pitch deck a startup that provides payments infrastructure for other fintechs used to raise a $15 million Series ASoftware for managing freelancers Worksome cofounder and CEO Morten Petersen. Worksome The way people work has fundamentally changed over the past year, with more flexibility and many workers opting to freelance to maintain their work-from-home lifestyles.But managing a freelance or contractor workforce is often an administrative headache for employers. Worksome is a startup looking to eliminate all the extra work required for employers to adapt to more flexible working norms.Worksome started as a freelancer marketplace automating the process of matching qualified workers with the right jobs. But the team ultimately pivoted to a full suite of workforce management software, automating administrative burdens required to hire, pay, and account for contract workers.In May, Worksome closed a $13 million Series A backed by European angel investor Tommy Ahlers and Danish firm Lind & Risør.Here's the 21-slide pitch deck used by a startup that helps firms like Carlsberg and Deloitte manage freelancersPersonal finance is only a text away Yinon Ravid, the chief executive and cofounder of Albert. Albert The COVID-19 pandemic has underscored the growing preference of mobile banking as customers get comfortable managing their finances online.The financial app Albert has seen a similar jump in activity. Currently counting more than six million members, deposits in Albert's savings offering doubled from the start of the pandemic in March 2020 to May of this year, from $350 million to $700 million, according to new numbers released by the company. Founded in 2015, Albert offers automated budgeting and savings tools alongside guided investment portfolios. It's looked to differentiate itself through personalized features, like the ability for customers to text human financial experts.Budgeting and saving features are free on Albert. But for more tailored financial advice, customers pay a subscription fee that's a pay-what-you-can model, between $4 and $14 a month. And Albert's now banking on a new tool to bring together its investing, savings, and budgeting tools.Fintech Albert used this 10-page pitch deck to raise a $100 million Series C from General Atlantic and CapitalGRethinking debt collection Jason Saltzman, founder and CEO of Relief Relief For lenders, debt collection is largely automated. But for people who owe money on their credit cards, it can be a confusing and stressful process. Relief is looking to change that. Its app automates the credit-card debt collection process for users, negotiating with lenders and collectors to settle outstanding balances on their behalf. The fintech just launched and closed a $2 million seed round led by Collaborative Ventures. Relief's fundraising experience was a bit different to most. Its pitch deck, which it shared with one investor via Google Slides, went viral. It set out to raise a $1 million seed round, but ended up doubling that and giving some investors money back to make room for others.Check out a 15-page pitch deck that went viral and helped a credit-card debt collection startup land a $2 million seed roundBlockchain for private-markets investing Carlos Domingo is cofounder and CEO of Securitize. Securitize Securitize, founded in 2017 by the tech industry veterans Carlos Domingo and Jamie Finn, is bringing blockchain technology to private-markets investing. The company raised $48 million in Series B funding on June 21 from investors including Morgan Stanley and Blockchain Capital.Securitize helps companies crowdfund capital from individual and institutional investors by issuing their shares in the form of blockchain tokens that allow for more efficient settlement, record keeping, and compliance processes. Morgan Stanley's Tactical Value fund, which invests in private companies, made its first blockchain-technology investment when it coled the Series B, Securitize CEO Carlos Domingo told Insider.Here's the 11-page pitch deck a blockchain startup looking to revolutionize private-markets investing used to nab $48 million from investors like Morgan StanleyE-commerce focused business banking Michael Rangel, cofounder and CEO, and Tyler McIntyre, cofounder and CTO of Novo. Kristelle Boulos Photography Business banking is a hot market in fintech. And it seems investors can't get enough.Novo, the digital banking fintech aimed at small e-commerce businesses, raised a $40.7 million Series A led by Valar Ventures in June. Since its launch in 2018, Novo has signed up 100,000 small businesses. Beyond bank accounts, it offers expense management, a corporate card, and integrates with e-commerce infrastructure players like Shopify, Stripe, and Wise.Founded in 2018, Novo was based in New York City, but has since moved its headquarters to Miami. Here's the 12-page pitch deck e-commerce banking startup Novo used to raise its $40 million Series ABlockchain-based credit score tech John Sun, Anna Fridman, and Adam Jiwan are the cofounders of fintech startup Spring Labs. Spring Labs A blockchain-based fintech startup that is aiming to disrupt the traditional model of evaluating peoples' creditworthiness recently raised $30 million in a Series B funding led by credit reporting giant TransUnion.Four-year-old Spring Labs aims to create a private, secure data-sharing model to help credit agencies better predict the creditworthiness of people who are not in the traditional credit bureau system. The founding team of three fintech veterans met as early employees of lending startup Avant.Existing investors GreatPoint Ventures and August Capital also joined in on the most recent round. So far Spring Labs has raised $53 million from institutional rounds.TransUnion, a publicly-traded company with a $20 billion-plus market cap, is one of the three largest consumer credit agencies in the US. After 18 months of dialogue and six months of due diligence, TransAmerica and Spring Labs inked a deal, Spring Labs CEO and cofounder Adam Jiwan told Insider.Here's the 10-page pitch deck blockchain-based fintech Spring Labs used to snag $30 million from investors including credit reporting giant TransUnionDigital banking for freelancers JGalione/Getty Images Lance is a new digital bank hoping to simplify the life of those workers by offering what it calls an "active" approach to business banking. "We found that every time we sat down with the existing tools and resources of our accountants and QuickBooks and spreadsheets, we just ended up getting tangled up in the whole experience of it," Lance cofounder and CEO Oona Rokyta told Insider. Lance offers subaccounts for personal salaries, withholdings, and savings to which freelancers can automatically allocate funds according to custom preset levels. It also offers an expense balance that's connected to automated tax withholdings.In May, Lance announced the closing of a $2.8 million seed round that saw participation from Barclays, BDMI, Great Oaks Capital, Imagination Capital, Techstars, DFJ Frontier, and others.Here's the 21-page pitch deck Lance, a digital bank for freelancers, used to raise a $2.8 million seed round from investors including BarclaysDigital tools for independent financial advisors Jason Wenk, founder and CEO of Altruist Altruist Jason Wenk started his career at Morgan Stanley in investment research over 20 years ago. Now, he's running a company that is hoping to broaden access to financial advice for less-wealthy individuals. The startup raised $50 million in Series B funding led by Insight Partners with participation from investors Vanguard and Venrock. The round brings the Los Angeles-based startup's total funding to just under $67 million.Founded in 2018, Altruist is a digital brokerage built for independent financial advisors, intended to be an "all-in-one" platform that unites custodial functions, portfolio accounting, and a client-facing portal. It allows advisors to open accounts, invest, build models, report, trade (including fractional shares), and bill clients through an interface that can advisors time by eliminating mundane operational tasks.Altruist aims to make personalized financial advice less expensive, more efficient, and more inclusive through the platform, which is designed for registered investment advisors (RIAs), a growing segment of the wealth management industry. Here's the pitch deck for Altruist, a wealth tech challenging custodians Fidelity and Charles Schwab, that raised $50 million from Vanguard and InsightPayments and operations support HoneyBook cofounders Dror Shimoni, Oz Alon, and Naama Alon. HoneyBook While countless small businesses have been harmed by the pandemic, self-employment and entrepreneurship have found ways to blossom as Americans started new ventures.Half of the US population may be freelance by 2027, according to a study commissioned by remote-work hiring platform Upwork. HoneyBook, a fintech startup that provides payment and operations support for freelancers, in May raised $155 million in funding and achieved unicorn status with its $1 billion-plus valuation.Durable Capital Partners led the Series D funding with other new investors including renowned hedge fund Tiger Global, Battery Ventures, Zeev Ventures, and 01 Advisors. Citi Ventures, Citigroup's startup investment arm that also backs fintech robo-advisor Betterment, participated as an existing investor in the round alongside Norwest Venture partners. The latest round brings the company's fundraising total to $227 million to date.Here's the 21-page pitch deck a Citi-backed fintech for freelancers used to raise $155 million from investors like hedge fund Tiger GlobalFraud prevention for lenders and insurers Fiordaliso/Getty Images Onboarding new customers with ease is key for any financial institution or retailer. The more friction you add, the more likely consumers are to abandon the entire process.But preventing fraud is also a priority, and that's where Neuro-ID comes in. The startup analyzes what it calls "digital body language," or, the way users scroll, type, and tap. Using that data, Neuro-ID can identify fraudulent users before they create an account. It's built for banks, lenders, insurers, and e-commerce players."The train has left the station for digital transformation, but there's a massive opportunity to try to replicate all those communications that we used to have when we did business in-person, all those tells that we would get verbally and non-verbally on whether or not someone was trustworthy," Neuro-ID CEO Jack Alton told Insider.Founded in 2014, the startup's pitch is twofold: Neuro-ID can save companies money by identifying fraud early, and help increase user conversion by making the onboarding process more seamless. In December Neuro-ID closed a $7 million Series A, co-led by Fin VC and TTV Capital, with participation from Canapi Ventures. With 30 employees, Neuro-ID is using the fresh funding to grow its team and create additional tools to be more self-serving for customers.Here's the 11-slide pitch deck a startup that analyzes consumers' digital behavior to fight fraud used to raise a $7 million Series AAI-powered tools to spot phony online reviews Saoud Khalifah, founder and CEO of Fakespot. Fakespot Marketplaces like Amazon and eBay host millions of third-party sellers, and their algorithms will often boost items in search based on consumer sentiment, which is largely based on reviews. But many third-party sellers use fake reviews often bought from click farms to boost their items, some of which are counterfeit or misrepresented to consumers.That's where Fakespot comes in. With its Chrome extension, it warns users of sellers using potentially fake reviews to boost sales and can identify fraudulent sellers. Fakespot is currently compatible with Amazon, BestBuy, eBay, Sephora, Steam, and Walmart."There are promotional reviews written by humans and bot-generated reviews written by robots or review farms," Fakespot founder and CEO Saoud Khalifah told Insider. "Our AI system has been built to detect both categories with very high accuracy."Fakespot's AI learns via reviews data available on marketplace websites, and uses natural-language processing to identify if reviews are genuine. Fakespot also looks at things like whether the number of positive reviews are plausible given how long a seller has been active.Fakespot, a startup that helps shoppers detect robot-generated reviews and phony sellers on Amazon and Shopify, used this pitch deck to nab a $4 million Series ANew twists on digital banking Zach Bruhnke, cofounder and CEO of HMBradley HMBradley Consumers are getting used to the idea of branch-less banking, a trend that startup digital-only banks like Chime, N26, and Varo have benefited from. The majority of these fintechs target those who are underbanked, and rely on usage of their debit cards to make money off interchange. But fellow startup HMBradley has a different business model. "Our thesis going in was that we don't swipe our debit cards all that often, and we don't think the customer base that we're focusing on does either," Zach Bruhnke, cofounder and CEO of HMBradley, told Insider. "A lot of our customer base uses credit cards on a daily basis."Instead, the startup is aiming to build clientele with stable deposits. As a result, the bank is offering interest-rate tiers depending on how much a customer saves of their direct deposit.Notably, the rate tiers are dependent on the percentage of savings, not the net amount. "We'll pay you more when you save more of what comes in," Bruhnke said. "We didn't want to segment customers by how much money they had. So it was always going to be about a percentage of income. That was really important to us."Check out the 14-page pitch deck fintech HMBradley, a neobank offering interest rates as high as 3%, used to raise an $18.25 million Series ARead the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: nytOct 13th, 2021

IPO Report: GitLab IPO: 5 things to know about the all-remote software company that could be valued at nearly $10 billion

GitLab Inc. is expected to price its shares and begin trading on the Nasdaq in the coming week in what has been an extraordinarily busy year of initial public offerings......»»

Category: topSource: marketwatchOct 12th, 2021

Check out 20 pitch decks that fintechs looking to disrupt trading, banking, and lending used to raise millions

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 VC funding hit a fresh quarterly record of $22.8 billion in the first three months of 2021, according to CB Insights data. While mega-rounds helped propel overall funding, new cash was spread across 614 deals. 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. Invoice financing for SMBs Stacey Abrams and Lara Hodgson, Now cofounders. Now About a decade ago, politician Stacey Abrams and entrepreneur Lara Hodgson were forced to fold their startup because of a kink in the supply chain - but not in the traditional sense.Nourish, which made spill-proof bottled water for children, had grown quickly from selling to small retailers to national ones. And while that may sound like a feather in the small business' cap, there was a hang-up."It was taking longer and longer to get paid, and as you can imagine, you deliver the product and then you wait and you wait, but meanwhile you have to pay your employees and you have to pay your vendors," Hodgson told Insider. "Waiting to get paid was constraining our ability to grow."While it's not unusual for small businesses to grapple with working capital issues, the dust was still settling from the Great Recession. Abrams and Hodgson couldn't secure a line of credit or use financing tools like factoring to solve their problem. The two entrepreneurs were forced to close Nourish in 2012, but along the way they recognized a disconnect in the system. "Why are we the ones borrowing money, when in fact we're the lender here because every time you send an invoice to a customer, you've essentially extended a free loan to that customer by letting them pay later," Hodgson said. "And the only reason why we were going to need to possibly borrow money was because we had just given ours away for free to Whole Foods," she added.Check out the 7-page deck that Now, Stacey Abrams' fintech that wants to help small businesses 'grow fearlessly', used to raise $29 millionInsurance goes digital Jamie Hale, CEO and cofounder of Ladder. Ladder Fintechs looking to transform how insurance policies are underwritten, issued, and experienced by customers have grown as new technology driven by digital trends and artificial intelligence shape the market. And while verticals like auto, homeowner's, and renter's insurance have seen their fair share of innovation from forward-thinking fintechs, one company has taken on the massive life-insurance market. Founded in 2017, Ladder uses a tech-driven approach to offer life insurance with a digital, end-to-end service that it says is more flexible, faster, and cost-effective than incumbent players.Life, annuity, and accident and health insurance within the US comprise a big chunk of the broader market. In 2020, premiums written on those policies totaled some $767 billion, compared to $144 billion for auto policies and $97 billion for homeowner's insurance.Here's the 12-page deck that Ladder, a startup disrupting the 'crown jewel' of the insurance market, used to nab $100 millionEmbedded payments for SMBs The Highnote team. Highnote Branded cards have long been a way for merchants with the appropriate bank relationships to create additional revenue and build customer loyalty. The rise of embedded payments, or the ability to shop and pay in a seamless experience within a single app, has broadened the number of companies looking to launch branded cards.Highnote is a startup that helps small to mid-sized merchants roll out their own debit and pre-paid digital cards. The fintech emerged from stealth on Tuesday to announce it raised $54 million in seed and Series A funding.Here's the 12-page deck Highnote, a startup helping SMBs embed payments, used to raise $54 million in seed and Series A fundingAn alternative auto lender Daniel Chu, CEO and founder of Tricolor. Tricolor An alternative auto lender that caters to thin- and no-credit Hispanic borrowers is planning a national expansion after scoring a $90 million investment from BlackRock-managed funds. Tricolor is a Dallas-based auto lender that is a community development financial institution. It uses a proprietary artificial-intelligence engine that decisions each customer based on more than 100 data points, such as proof of income. Half of Tricolor's customers have a FICO score, and less than 12% have scores above 650, yet the average customer has lived in the US for 15 years, according to the deck.A 2017 survey by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation found 31.5% of Hispanic households had no mainstream credit compared to 14.4% of white households. "For decades, the deck has been stacked against low income or credit invisible Hispanics in the United States when it comes to the purchase and financing of a used vehicle," Daniel Chu, founder and CEO of Tricolor, said in a statement announcing the raise.An auto lender that caters to underbanked Hispanics used this 25-page deck to raise $90 million from BlackRock investorsA new way to access credit The TomoCredit team. TomoCredit Kristy Kim knows first-hand the challenge of obtaining credit in the US without an established credit history. Kim, who came to the US from South Korea, couldn't initially get access to credit despite having a job in investment banking after graduating college. "I was in my early twenties, I had a good income, my job was in investment banking but I could not get approved for anything," Kim told Insider. "Many young professionals like me, we deserve an opportunity to be considered but just because we didn't have a Fico, we weren't given a chance to even apply," she added.Kim started TomoCredit in 2018 to help others like herself gain access to consumer credit. TomoCredit spent three years building an internal algorithm to underwrite customers based on cash flow, rather than a credit score.TomoCredit, a fintech that lends to thin- and no-credit borrowers, used this 17-page pitch deck to raise its $10 million Series AAn IRA for alternatives Henry Yoshida is the co-founder and CEO of retirement fintech startup Rocket Dollar. Rocket Dollar Fintech startup Rocket Dollar, which helps users invest their individual retirement account (IRA) dollars into alternative assets, just raised $8 million for its Series A round, the company announced on Thursday.Park West Asset Management led the round, with participation from investors including Hyphen Capital, which focuses on backing Asian American entrepreneurs, and crypto exchange Kraken's venture arm. Co-founded in 2018 by CEO Henry Yoshida, CTO Rick Dude, and VP of marketing Thomas Young, Rocket Dollar now has over $350 million in assets under management on its platform. Yoshida sold his first startup, a roboadvisor called Honest Dollar, to Goldman Sachs' investment management division for an estimated $20 million.Yoshida told Insider that while ultra-high net worth investors have been investing self-directed retirement account dollars into alternative assets like real estate, private equity, and cryptocurrency, average investors have not historically been able to access the same opportunities to invest IRA dollars in alternative assets through traditional platforms.Here's the 34-page pitch deck a fintech that helps users invest their retirement savings in crypto and real estate assets used to nab $8 millionConnecting startups and investors Hum Capital cofounder and CEO Blair Silverberg. Hum Capital Blair Silverberg is no stranger to fundraising.For six years, Silverberg was a venture capitalist at Draper Fisher Jurvetson and Private Credit Investments making bets on startups."I was meeting with thousands of founders in person each year, watching them one at a time go through this friction where they're meeting a ton of investors, and the investors are all asking the same questions," Silverberg told Insider. He switched gears about three years ago, moving to the opposite side of the metaphorical table, to start Hum Capital, which uses artificial intelligence to match investors with startups looking to fundraise.On August 31, the New York-based fintech announced its $9 million Series A. The round was led by Future Ventures with participation from Webb Investment Network, Wavemaker Partners, and Partech. This 11-page pitch deck helped Hum Capital, a fintech using AI to match investors with startups, raise a $9 million Series A.Payments infrastructure for fintechs Qolo CEO and co-founder Patricia Montesi. Qolo Three years ago, Patricia Montesi realized there was a disconnect in the payments world. "A lot of new economy companies or fintech companies were looking to mesh up a lot of payment modalities that they weren't able to," Montesi, CEO and co-founder of Qolo, told Insider.Integrating various payment capabilities often meant tapping several different providers that had specializations in one product or service, she added, like debit card issuance or cross-border payments. "The way people were getting around that was that they were creating this spider web of fintech," she said, adding that "at the end of it all, they had this mess of suppliers and integrations and bank accounts."The 20-year payments veteran rounded up a group of three other co-founders - who together had more than a century of combined industry experience - to start Qolo, a business-to-business fintech that sought out to bundle back-end payment rails for other fintechs.Here's the 11-slide pitch deck a startup that provides payments infrastructure for other fintechs used to raise a $15 million Series ASoftware for managing freelancers Worksome cofounder and CEO Morten Petersen. Worksome The way people work has fundamentally changed over the past year, with more flexibility and many workers opting to freelance to maintain their work-from-home lifestyles.But managing a freelance or contractor workforce is often an administrative headache for employers. Worksome is a startup looking to eliminate all the extra work required for employers to adapt to more flexible working norms.Worksome started as a freelancer marketplace automating the process of matching qualified workers with the right jobs. But the team ultimately pivoted to a full suite of workforce management software, automating administrative burdens required to hire, pay, and account for contract workers.In May, Worksome closed a $13 million Series A backed by European angel investor Tommy Ahlers and Danish firm Lind & Risør.Here's the 21-slide pitch deck used by a startup that helps firms like Carlsberg and Deloitte manage freelancersPersonal finance is only a text away Yinon Ravid, the chief executive and cofounder of Albert. Albert The COVID-19 pandemic has underscored the growing preference of mobile banking as customers get comfortable managing their finances online.The financial app Albert has seen a similar jump in activity. Currently counting more than six million members, deposits in Albert's savings offering doubled from the start of the pandemic in March 2020 to May of this year, from $350 million to $700 million, according to new numbers released by the company. Founded in 2015, Albert offers automated budgeting and savings tools alongside guided investment portfolios. It's looked to differentiate itself through personalized features, like the ability for customers to text human financial experts.Budgeting and saving features are free on Albert. But for more tailored financial advice, customers pay a subscription fee that's a pay-what-you-can model, between $4 and $14 a month. And Albert's now banking on a new tool to bring together its investing, savings, and budgeting tools.Fintech Albert used this 10-page pitch deck to raise a $100 million Series C from General Atlantic and CapitalGRethinking debt collection Jason Saltzman, founder and CEO of Relief Relief For lenders, debt collection is largely automated. But for people who owe money on their credit cards, it can be a confusing and stressful process. Relief is looking to change that. Its app automates the credit-card debt collection process for users, negotiating with lenders and collectors to settle outstanding balances on their behalf. The fintech just launched and closed a $2 million seed round led by Collaborative Ventures. Relief's fundraising experience was a bit different to most. Its pitch deck, which it shared with one investor via Google Slides, went viral. It set out to raise a $1 million seed round, but ended up doubling that and giving some investors money back to make room for others.Check out a 15-page pitch deck that went viral and helped a credit-card debt collection startup land a $2 million seed roundBlockchain for private-markets investing Carlos Domingo is cofounder and CEO of Securitize. Securitize Securitize, founded in 2017 by the tech industry veterans Carlos Domingo and Jamie Finn, is bringing blockchain technology to private-markets investing. The company raised $48 million in Series B funding on June 21 from investors including Morgan Stanley and Blockchain Capital.Securitize helps companies crowdfund capital from individual and institutional investors by issuing their shares in the form of blockchain tokens that allow for more efficient settlement, record keeping, and compliance processes. Morgan Stanley's Tactical Value fund, which invests in private companies, made its first blockchain-technology investment when it coled the Series B, Securitize CEO Carlos Domingo told Insider.Here's the 11-page pitch deck a blockchain startup looking to revolutionize private-markets investing used to nab $48 million from investors like Morgan StanleyE-commerce focused business banking Michael Rangel, cofounder and CEO, and Tyler McIntyre, cofounder and CTO of Novo. Kristelle Boulos Photography Business banking is a hot market in fintech. And it seems investors can't get enough.Novo, the digital banking fintech aimed at small e-commerce businesses, raised a $40.7 million Series A led by Valar Ventures in June. Since its launch in 2018, Novo has signed up 100,000 small businesses. Beyond bank accounts, it offers expense management, a corporate card, and integrates with e-commerce infrastructure players like Shopify, Stripe, and Wise.Founded in 2018, Novo was based in New York City, but has since moved its headquarters to Miami. Here's the 12-page pitch deck e-commerce banking startup Novo used to raise its $40 million Series ABlockchain-based credit score tech John Sun, Anna Fridman, and Adam Jiwan are the cofounders of fintech startup Spring Labs. Spring Labs A blockchain-based fintech startup that is aiming to disrupt the traditional model of evaluating peoples' creditworthiness recently raised $30 million in a Series B funding led by credit reporting giant TransUnion.Four-year-old Spring Labs aims to create a private, secure data-sharing model to help credit agencies better predict the creditworthiness of people who are not in the traditional credit bureau system. The founding team of three fintech veterans met as early employees of lending startup Avant.Existing investors GreatPoint Ventures and August Capital also joined in on the most recent round. So far Spring Labs has raised $53 million from institutional rounds.TransUnion, a publicly-traded company with a $20 billion-plus market cap, is one of the three largest consumer credit agencies in the US. After 18 months of dialogue and six months of due diligence, TransAmerica and Spring Labs inked a deal, Spring Labs CEO and cofounder Adam Jiwan told Insider.Here's the 10-page pitch deck blockchain-based fintech Spring Labs used to snag $30 million from investors including credit reporting giant TransUnionDigital banking for freelancers JGalione/Getty Images Lance is a new digital bank hoping to simplify the life of those workers by offering what it calls an "active" approach to business banking. "We found that every time we sat down with the existing tools and resources of our accountants and QuickBooks and spreadsheets, we just ended up getting tangled up in the whole experience of it," Lance cofounder and CEO Oona Rokyta told Insider. Lance offers subaccounts for personal salaries, withholdings, and savings to which freelancers can automatically allocate funds according to custom preset levels. It also offers an expense balance that's connected to automated tax withholdings.In May, Lance announced the closing of a $2.8 million seed round that saw participation from Barclays, BDMI, Great Oaks Capital, Imagination Capital, Techstars, DFJ Frontier, and others.Here's the 21-page pitch deck Lance, a digital bank for freelancers, used to raise a $2.8 million seed round from investors including BarclaysDigital tools for independent financial advisors Jason Wenk, founder and CEO of Altruist Altruist Jason Wenk started his career at Morgan Stanley in investment research over 20 years ago. Now, he's running a company that is hoping to broaden access to financial advice for less-wealthy individuals. The startup raised $50 million in Series B funding led by Insight Partners with participation from investors Vanguard and Venrock. The round brings the Los Angeles-based startup's total funding to just under $67 million.Founded in 2018, Altruist is a digital brokerage built for independent financial advisors, intended to be an "all-in-one" platform that unites custodial functions, portfolio accounting, and a client-facing portal. It allows advisors to open accounts, invest, build models, report, trade (including fractional shares), and bill clients through an interface that can advisors time by eliminating mundane operational tasks.Altruist aims to make personalized financial advice less expensive, more efficient, and more inclusive through the platform, which is designed for registered investment advisors (RIAs), a growing segment of the wealth management industry. Here's the pitch deck for Altruist, a wealth tech challenging custodians Fidelity and Charles Schwab, that raised $50 million from Vanguard and InsightPayments and operations support HoneyBook cofounders Dror Shimoni, Oz Alon, and Naama Alon. HoneyBook While countless small businesses have been harmed by the pandemic, self-employment and entrepreneurship have found ways to blossom as Americans started new ventures.Half of the US population may be freelance by 2027, according to a study commissioned by remote-work hiring platform Upwork. HoneyBook, a fintech startup that provides payment and operations support for freelancers, in May raised $155 million in funding and achieved unicorn status with its $1 billion-plus valuation.Durable Capital Partners led the Series D funding with other new investors including renowned hedge fund Tiger Global, Battery Ventures, Zeev Ventures, and 01 Advisors. Citi Ventures, Citigroup's startup investment arm that also backs fintech robo-advisor Betterment, participated as an existing investor in the round alongside Norwest Venture partners. The latest round brings the company's fundraising total to $227 million to date.Here's the 21-page pitch deck a Citi-backed fintech for freelancers used to raise $155 million from investors like hedge fund Tiger GlobalFraud prevention for lenders and insurers Fiordaliso/Getty Images Onboarding new customers with ease is key for any financial institution or retailer. The more friction you add, the more likely consumers are to abandon the entire process.But preventing fraud is also a priority, and that's where Neuro-ID comes in. The startup analyzes what it calls "digital body language," or, the way users scroll, type, and tap. Using that data, Neuro-ID can identify fraudulent users before they create an account. It's built for banks, lenders, insurers, and e-commerce players."The train has left the station for digital transformation, but there's a massive opportunity to try to replicate all those communications that we used to have when we did business in-person, all those tells that we would get verbally and non-verbally on whether or not someone was trustworthy," Neuro-ID CEO Jack Alton told Insider.Founded in 2014, the startup's pitch is twofold: Neuro-ID can save companies money by identifying fraud early, and help increase user conversion by making the onboarding process more seamless. In December Neuro-ID closed a $7 million Series A, co-led by Fin VC and TTV Capital, with participation from Canapi Ventures. With 30 employees, Neuro-ID is using the fresh funding to grow its team and create additional tools to be more self-serving for customers.Here's the 11-slide pitch deck a startup that analyzes consumers' digital behavior to fight fraud used to raise a $7 million Series AAI-powered tools to spot phony online reviews Saoud Khalifah, founder and CEO of Fakespot. Fakespot Marketplaces like Amazon and eBay host millions of third-party sellers, and their algorithms will often boost items in search based on consumer sentiment, which is largely based on reviews. But many third-party sellers use fake reviews often bought from click farms to boost their items, some of which are counterfeit or misrepresented to consumers.That's where Fakespot comes in. With its Chrome extension, it warns users of sellers using potentially fake reviews to boost sales and can identify fraudulent sellers. Fakespot is currently compatible with Amazon, BestBuy, eBay, Sephora, Steam, and Walmart."There are promotional reviews written by humans and bot-generated reviews written by robots or review farms," Fakespot founder and CEO Saoud Khalifah told Insider. "Our AI system has been built to detect both categories with very high accuracy."Fakespot's AI learns via reviews data available on marketplace websites, and uses natural-language processing to identify if reviews are genuine. Fakespot also looks at things like whether the number of positive reviews are plausible given how long a seller has been active.Fakespot, a startup that helps shoppers detect robot-generated reviews and phony sellers on Amazon and Shopify, used this pitch deck to nab a $4 million Series ANew twists on digital banking Zach Bruhnke, cofounder and CEO of HMBradley HMBradley Consumers are getting used to the idea of branch-less banking, a trend that startup digital-only banks like Chime, N26, and Varo have benefited from. The majority of these fintechs target those who are underbanked, and rely on usage of their debit cards to make money off interchange. But fellow startup HMBradley has a different business model. "Our thesis going in was that we don't swipe our debit cards all that often, and we don't think the customer base that we're focusing on does either," Zach Bruhnke, cofounder and CEO of HMBradley, told Insider. "A lot of our customer base uses credit cards on a daily basis."Instead, the startup is aiming to build clientele with stable deposits. As a result, the bank is offering interest-rate tiers depending on how much a customer saves of their direct deposit.Notably, the rate tiers are dependent on the percentage of savings, not the net amount. "We'll pay you more when you save more of what comes in," Bruhnke said. "We didn't want to segment customers by how much money they had. So it was always going to be about a percentage of income. That was really important to us."Check out the 14-page pitch deck fintech HMBradley, a neobank offering interest rates as high as 3%, used to raise an $18.25 million Series ARead the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderOct 7th, 2021

Camber Energy: What If They Made a Whole Company Out of Red Flags? – Kerrisdale

Kerrisdale Capital is short shares of Camber Energy Inc (NYSEAMERICAN:CEI). Camber is a defunct oil producer that has failed to file financial statements with the SEC since September 2020, is in danger of having its stock delisted next month, and just fired its accounting firm in September. Its only real asset is a 73% stake […] Kerrisdale Capital is short shares of Camber Energy Inc (NYSEAMERICAN:CEI). Camber is a defunct oil producer that has failed to file financial statements with the SEC since September 2020, is in danger of having its stock delisted next month, and just fired its accounting firm in September. Its only real asset is a 73% stake in Viking Energy Group Inc (OTCMKTS:VKIN), an OTC-traded company with negative book value and a going-concern warning that recently violated the maximum-leverage covenant on one of its loans. (For a time, it also had a fake CFO – long story.) Nonetheless, Camber’s stock price has increased by 6x over the past month; last week, astonishingly, an average of $1.9 billion worth of Camber shares changed hands every day. if (typeof jQuery == 'undefined') { document.write(''); } .first{clear:both;margin-left:0}.one-third{width:31.034482758621%;float:left;margin-left:3.448275862069%}.two-thirds{width:65.51724137931%;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element input{border:0;border-radius:0;padding:8px}form.ebook-styles .af-element{width:220px;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer{width:115px;float:left;margin-left: 6px;}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer input.submit{width:115px;padding:10px 6px 8px;text-transform:uppercase;border-radius:0;border:0;font-size:15px}form.ebook-styles .af-body.af-standards input.submit{width:115px}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy{width:100%;font-size:12px;margin:10px auto 0}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy p{font-size:11px;margin-bottom:0}form.ebook-styles .af-body input.text{height:40px;padding:2px 10px !important} form.ebook-styles .error, form.ebook-styles #error { color:#d00; } form.ebook-styles .formfields h1, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-logo, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-footer { display: none; } form.ebook-styles .formfields { font-size: 12px; } form.ebook-styles .formfields p { margin: 4px 0; } Get The Full Henry Singleton Series in PDF Get the entire 4-part series on Henry Singleton in PDF. Save it to your desktop, read it on your tablet, or email to your colleagues (function($) {window.fnames = new Array(); window.ftypes = new Array();fnames[0]='EMAIL';ftypes[0]='email';}(jQuery));var $mcj = jQuery.noConflict(true); Q2 2021 hedge fund letters, conferences and more Is there any logic to this bizarre frenzy? Camber pumpers have seized upon the notion that the company is now a play on carbon capture and clean energy, citing a license agreement recently entered into by Viking. But the “ESG Clean Energy” technology license is a joke. Not only is it tiny relative to Camber’s market cap (costing only $5 million and granting exclusivity only in Canada), but it has embroiled Camber in the long-running escapades of a western Massachusetts family that once claimed to have created a revolutionary new combustion engine, only to wind up being penalized by the SEC for raising $80 million in unregistered securities offerings, often to unaccredited investors, and spending much of it on themselves. But the most fascinating part of the CEI boondoggle actually has to do with something far more basic: how many shares are there, and why has dilution been spiraling out of control? We believe the market is badly mistaken about Camber’s share count and ignorant of its terrifying capital structure. In fact, we estimate its fully diluted share count is roughly triple the widely reported number, bringing its true, fully diluted market cap, absurdly, to nearly $900 million. Since Camber is delinquent on its financials, investors have failed to fully appreciate the impact of its ongoing issuance of an unusual, highly dilutive class of convertible preferred stock. As a result of this “death spiral” preferred, Camber has already seen its share count increase 50- million-fold from early 2016 to July 2021 – and we believe it isn’t over yet, as preferred holders can and will continue to convert their securities and sell the resulting common shares. Even at the much lower valuation that investors incorrectly think Camber trades for, it’s still overvalued. The core Viking assets are low-quality and dangerously levered, while any near- term benefits from higher commodity prices will be muted by hedges established in 2020. The recent clean-energy license is nearly worthless. It’s ridiculous to have to say this, but Camber isn’t worth $900 million. If it looks like a penny stock, and it acts like a penny stock, it is a penny stock. Camber has been a penny stock before – no more than a month ago, in fact – and we expect that it will be once again. Company Background Founded in 2004, Camber was originally called Lucas Energy Resources. It went public via a reverse merger in 2006 with the plan of “capitaliz[ing] on the increasing availability of opportunistic acquisitions in the energy sector.”1 But after years of bad investments and a nearly 100% decline in its stock price, the company, which renamed itself Camber in 2017, found itself with little economic value left; faced with the prospect of losing its NYSE American listing, it cast about for new acquisitions beginning in early 2019. That’s when Viking entered the picture. Jim Miller, a member of Camber’s board, had served on the board of a micro-cap company called Guardian 8 that was working on “a proprietary new class of enhanced non-lethal weapons”; Guardian 8’s CEO, Steve Cochennet, happened to also be part owner of a Kansas-based company that operated some of Viking’s oil and gas assets and knew that Viking, whose shares traded over the counter, was interested in moving up to a national exchange.2 (In case you’re wondering, under Miller and Cochennet’s watch, Guardian 8’s stock saw its price drop to ~$0; it was delisted in 2019.3) Viking itself also had a checkered past. Previously a shell company, it was repurposed by a corporate lawyer and investment banker named Tom Simeo to create SinoCubate, “an incubator of and investor in privately held companies mainly in P.R. China.” But this business model went nowhere. In 2012, SinoCubate changed its name to Viking Investments but continued to achieve little. In 2014, Simeo brought in James A. Doris, a Canadian lawyer, as a member of the board of directors and then as president and CEO, tasked with executing on Viking’s new strategy of “acquir[ing] income-producing assets throughout North America in various sectors, including energy and real estate.” In a series of transactions, Doris gradually built up a portfolio of oil wells and other energy assets in the United States, relying on large amounts of high-cost debt to get deals done. But Viking has never achieved consistent GAAP profitability; indeed, under Doris’s leadership, from 2015 to the first half of 2021, Viking’s cumulative net income has totaled negative $105 million, and its financial statements warn of “substantial doubt regarding the Company’s ability to continue as a going concern.”4 At first, despite the Guardian 8 crew’s match-making, Camber showed little interest in Viking and pursued another acquisition instead. But, when that deal fell apart, Camber re-engaged with Viking and, in February 2020, announced an all-stock acquisition – effectively a reverse merger in which Viking would end up as the surviving company but transfer some value to incumbent Camber shareholders in exchange for the national listing. For reasons that remain somewhat unclear, this original deal structure was beset with delays, and in December 2020 (after months of insisting that deal closing was just around the corner) Camber announced that it would instead directly purchase a 51% stake in Viking; at the same time, Doris, Viking’s CEO, officially took over Camber as well. Subsequent transactions through July 2021 have brough Camber’s Viking stake up to 69.9 million shares (73% of Viking’s total common shares), in exchange for consideration in the form of a mixture of cash, debt forgiveness,5 and debt assumption, valued in the aggregate by Viking at only $50.7 million: Camber and Viking announced a new merger agreement in February 2021, aiming to take out the remaining Viking shares not owned by Camber and thus fully combine the two companies, but that plan is on hold because Camber has failed to file its last 10-K (as well as two subsequent 10-Qs) and is thus in danger of being delisted unless it catches up by November. Today, then, Camber’s absurd equity valuation rests entirely on its majority stake in a small, unprofitable oil-and-gas roll-up cobbled together by a Canadian lawyer. An Opaque Capital Structure Has Concealed the True Insanity of Camber’s Valuation What actually is Camber’s equity valuation? It sounds like a simple question, and sources like Bloomberg and Yahoo Finance supply what looks like a simple answer: 104.2 million shares outstanding times a $3.09 closing price (as of October 4, 2021) equals a market cap of $322 million – absurd enough, given what Camber owns. But these figures only tell part of the story. We estimate that the correct fully diluted market cap is actually a staggering $882 million, including the impact of both Camber’s unusual, highly dilutive Series C convertible preferred stock and its convertible debt. Because Camber is delinquent on its SEC filings, it’s difficult to assemble an up-to-date picture of its balance sheet and capital structure. The widely used 104.2-million-share figure comes from an 8-K filed in July that states, in part: As of July 9, 2021, the Company had 104,195,295 shares of common stock issued and outstanding. The increase in our outstanding shares of common stock from the date of the Company’s February 23, 2021 increase in authorized shares of common stock (from 25 million shares to 250 million shares), is primarily due to conversions of shares of Series C Preferred Stock of the Company into common stock, and conversion premiums due thereon, which are payable in shares of common stock. This bland language belies the stunning magnitude of the dilution that has already taken place. Indeed, we estimate that, of the 104.2 million common shares outstanding on July 9th, 99.7% were created via the conversion of Series C preferred in the past few years – and there’s more where that came from. The terms of Camber’s preferreds are complex but boil down to the following: they accrue non- cash dividends at the sky-high rate of 24.95% per year for a notional seven years but can be converted into common shares at any time. The face value of the preferred shares converts into common shares at a fixed conversion price of $162.50 per share, far higher than the current trading price – so far, so good (from a Camber-shareholder perspective). The problem is the additional “conversion premium,” which is equal to the full seven years’ worth of dividends, or 7 x 24.95% ≈ 175% of face value, all at once, and is converted at a far lower conversion price that “will never be above approximately $0.3985 per share…regardless of the actual trading price of Camber’s common stock” (but could in principle go lower if the price crashes to new lows).6 The upshot of all this is that one share of Series C preferred is now convertible into ~43,885 shares of common stock.7 Historically, all of Camber’s Series C preferred was held by one investor: Discover Growth Fund. The terms of the preferred agreement cap Discover’s ownership of Camber’s common shares at 9.99% of the total, but nothing stops Discover from converting preferred into common up to that cap, selling off the resulting shares, converting additional preferred shares into common up to the cap, selling those common shares, etc., as Camber has stated explicitly (and as Discover has in fact done over the years) (emphasis added): Although Discover may not receive shares of common stock exceeding 9.99% of its outstanding shares of common stock immediately after affecting such conversion, this restriction does not prevent Discover from receiving shares up to the 9.99% limit, selling those shares, and then receiving the rest of the shares it is due, in one or more tranches, while still staying below the 9.99% limit. If Discover chooses to do this, it will cause substantial dilution to the then holders of its common stock. Additionally, the continued sale of shares issuable upon successive conversions will likely create significant downward pressure on the price of its common stock as Discover sells material amounts of Camber’s common stock over time and/or in a short period of time. This could place further downward pressure on the price of its common stock and in turn result in Discover receiving an ever increasing number of additional shares of common stock upon conversion of its securities, and adjustments thereof, which in turn will likely lead to further dilution, reductions in the exercise/conversion price of Discover’s securities and even more downward pressure on its common stock, which could lead to its common stock becoming devalued or worthless.8 In 2017, soon after Discover began to convert some of its first preferred shares, Camber’s then- management claimed to be shocked by the results and sued Discover for fraud, arguing that “[t]he catastrophic effect of the Discover Documents [i.e. the terms of the preferred] is so devastating that the Discover Documents are prima facie unconscionable” because “they will permit Discover to strip Camber of its value and business well beyond the simple repayment of its debt.” Camber called the documents “extremely difficult to understand” and insisted that they “were drafted in such a way as to obscure the true terms of such documents and the total number of shares of common stock that could be issuable by Camber thereunder. … Only after signing the documents did Camber and [its then CEO]…learn that Discover’s reading of the Discover Documents was that the terms that applied were the strictest and most Camber unfriendly interpretation possible.”9 But the judge wasn’t impressed, suggesting that it was Camber’s own fault for failing to read the fine print, and the case was dismissed. With no better options, Camber then repeatedly came crawling back to Discover for additional tranches of funding via preferred sales. While the recent spike in common share count to 104.2 million as of early July includes some of the impact of ongoing preferred conversion, we believe it fails to include all of it. In addition to Discover’s 2,093 shares of Series C preferred held as of February 2021, Camber issued additional shares to EMC Capital Partners, a creditor of Viking’s, as part of a January agreement to reduce Viking’s debt.10 Then, in July, Camber issued another block of preferred shares – also to Discover, we believe – to help fund Viking’s recent deals.11 We speculate that many of these preferred shares have already been converted into common shares that have subsequently been sold into a frenzied retail bid. Beyond the Series C preferred, there is one additional source of potential dilution: debt issued to Discover in three transactions from December 2020 to April 2021, totaling $20.5 million in face value, and amended in July to be convertible at a fixed price of $1.25 per share.12 We summarize our estimates of all of these sources of potential common share issuance below: Might we be wrong about this math? Absolutely – the mechanics of the Series C preferreds are so convoluted that prior Camber management sued Discover complaining that the legal documents governing them “were drafted in such a way as to obscure the true terms of such documents and the total number of shares of common stock that could be issuable by Camber thereunder.” Camber management could easily set the record straight by revealing the most up- to-date share count via an SEC filing, along with any additional clarifications about the expected future share count upon conversion of all outstanding convertible securities. But we're confident that the current share count reported in financial databases like Bloomberg and Yahoo Finance significantly understates the true, fully diluted figure. An additional indication that Camber expects massive future dilution relates to the total authorized shares of common stock under its official articles of incorporation. It was only a few months ago, in February, that Camber had to hold a special shareholder meeting to increase its maximum authorized share count from 25 million to 250 million in order to accommodate all the shares to be issued because of preferred conversions. But under Camber’s July agreement to sell additional preferred shares to Discover, the company (emphasis added) agreed to include proposals relating to the approval of the July 2021 Purchase Agreement and the issuance of the shares of common stock upon conversion of the Series C Preferred Stock sold pursuant to the July 2021 Purchase Agreement, as well as an increase in authorized common stock to fulfill our obligations to issue such shares, at the Company’s next Annual Meeting, the meeting held to approve the Merger or a separate meeting in the event the Merger is terminated prior to shareholder approval, and to use commercially reasonable best efforts to obtain such approvals as soon as possible and in any event prior to January 1, 2022.13 In other words, Camber can already see that 250 million shares will soon not be enough, consistent with our estimate of ~285 million fully diluted shares above. In sum, Camber’s true overvaluation is dramatically worse than it initially appears because of the massive number of common shares that its preferred and other securities can convert into, leading to a fully diluted share count that is nearly triple the figure found in standard information sources used by investors. This enormous latent dilution, impossible to discern without combing through numerous scattered filings made by a company with no up-to-date financial statements in the public domain, means that the market is – perhaps out of ignorance – attributing close to one billion dollars of value to a very weak business. Camber’s Stake in Viking Has Little Real Value In light of Camber’s gargantuan valuation, it’s worth dwelling on some basic facts about its sole meaningful asset, a 73% stake in Viking Energy. As of 6/30/21: Viking had negative $15 million in shareholder equity/book Its financial statements noted “substantial doubt regarding the Company’s ability to continue as a going ” Of its $101.3 million in outstanding debt (at face value), nearly half (48%) was scheduled to mature and come due over the following 12 months. Viking noted that it “does not currently maintain controls and procedures that are designed to ensure that information required to be disclosed by the Company in the reports it files or submits under the Exchange Act are recorded, processed, summarized, and reported within the time periods specified by the Commission’s rules and forms.” Viking’s CEO “has concluded that these [disclosure] controls and procedures are not effective in providing reasonable assurance of compliance.” Viking disclosed that a key subsidiary, Elysium Energy, was “in default of the maximum leverage ratio covenant under the term loan agreement at June 30, 2021”; this covenant caps the entity’s total secured debt to EBITDA at 75 to 1.14 This is hardly a healthy operation. Indeed, even according to Viking’s own black-box estimates, the present value of its total proved reserves of oil and gas, using a 10% discount rate (likely generous given the company’s high debt costs), was $120 million as of 12/31/20,15 while its outstanding debt, as stated above, is $101 million – perhaps implying a sliver of residual economic value to equity holders, but not much. And while some market observers have recently gotten excited about how increases in commodity prices could benefit Camber/Viking, any near-term impact will be blunted by hedges put on by Viking in early 2020, which cover, with respect to its Elysium properties, “60% of the estimated production for 2021 and 50% of the estimated production for the period between January, 2022 to July, 2022. Theses hedges have a floor of $45 and a ceiling ranging from $52.70 to $56.00 for oil, and a floor of $2.00 and a ceiling of $2.425 for natural gas” – cutting into the benefit of any price spikes above those ceiling levels.16 Sharing our dreary view of Viking’s prospects is one of Viking’s own financial advisors, a firm called Scalar, LLC, that Viking hired to prepare a fairness opinion under the original all-stock merger agreement with Camber. Combining Viking’s own internal projections with data on comparable-company valuation multiples, Scalar concluded in October 2020 that Viking’s equity was worth somewhere between $0 and $20 million, depending on the methodology used, with the “purest” methodology – a true, full-blown DCF – yielding the lowest estimate of $0-1 million: Camber’s advisor, Mercer Capital, came to a similar conclusion: its “analysis indicated an implied equity value of Viking of $0 to $34.3 million.”17 It’s inconceivable that a majority stake in this company, deemed potentially worthless by multiple experts and clearly experiencing financial strains, could somehow justify a near-billion-dollar valuation. Instead of dwelling on the unpleasant realities of Viking’s oil and gas business, Camber has drawn investor attention to two recent transactions conducted by Viking with Camber funding: a license agreement with “ESG Clean Energy,” discussed in further detail below, and the acquisition of a 60.3% stake in Simson-Maxwell, described as “a leading manufacturer and supplier of industrial engines, power generation products, services and custom energy solutions.” But Viking paid just $8 million for its Simson-Maxwell shares,18 and the company has just 125 employees; it defies belief to think that this purchase was such a bargain as to make a material dent in Camber’s overvaluation. And what does Simson-Maxwell actually do? One of its key officers, Daryl Kruper (identified as its chairman in Camber’s press release), describes the company a bit less grandly and more concretely on his LinkedIn page: Simson Maxwell is a power systems specialist. The company assembles and sells generator sets, industrial engines, power control systems and switchgear. Simson Maxwell has service and parts facilities in Edmonton, Calgary, Prince George, Vancouver, Nanaimo and Terrace. The company has provided its western Canadian customers with exceptional service for over 70 years. In other words, Simson-Maxwell acts as a sort of distributor/consultant, packaging industrial- strength generators and engines manufactured by companies like GE and Mitsubishi into systems that can provide electrical power, often in remote areas in western Canada; Simson- Maxwell employees then drive around in vans maintaining and repairing these systems. There’s nothing obviously wrong with this business, but it’s small, regional (not just Canada – western Canada specifically), likely driven by an unpredictable flow of new large projects, and unlikely to garner a high standalone valuation. Indeed, buried in one of Viking’s agreements with Simson- Maxwell’s selling shareholders (see p. 23) are clauses giving Viking the right to purchase the rest of the company between July 2024 and July 2026 at a price of at least 8x trailing EBITDA and giving the selling shareholders the right to sell the rest of their shares during the same time frame at a price of at least 7x trailing EBITDA – the kind of multiples associated with sleepy industrial distributors, not fast-growing retail darlings. Since Simon-Maxwell has nothing to do with Viking’s pre-existing assets or (alleged) expertise in oil and gas, and Viking and Camber are hardly flush with cash, why did they make the purchase? We speculate that management is concerned about the combined company’s ability to maintain its listing on the NYSE American. For example, when describing its restruck merger agreement with Viking, Camber noted: Additional closing conditions to the Merger include that in the event the NYSE American determines that the Merger constitutes, or will constitute, a “back-door listing”/“reverse merger”, Camber (and its common stock) is required to qualify for initial listing on the NYSE American, pursuant to the applicable guidance and requirements of the NYSE as of the Effective Time. What does it take to qualify for initial listing on the NYSE American? There are several ways, but three require at least $4 million of positive stockholders’ equity, which Viking, the intended surviving company, doesn’t have today; another requires a market cap of greater than $75 million, which management might (quite reasonably) be concerned about achieving sustainably. That leaves a standard that requires a listed company to have $75 million in assets and revenue. With Viking running at only ~$40 million of annualized revenue, we believe management is attempting to buy up more via acquisition. In fact, if the goal is simply to “buy” GAAP revenue, the most efficient way to do it is by acquiring a stake in a low-margin, slow- growing business – little earnings power, hence a low purchase price, but plenty of revenue. And by buying a majority stake instead of the whole thing, the acquirer can further reduce the capital outlay while still being able to consolidate all of the operation’s revenue under GAAP accounting. Buying 60.3% of Simson-Maxwell seems to fit the bill, but it’s a placeholder, not a real value-creator. Camber’s Partners in the Laughable “ESG Clean Energy” Deal Have a Long History of Broken Promises and Alleged Securities Fraud The “catalyst” most commonly cited by Camber Energy bulls for the recent massive increase in the company’s stock price is an August 24th press release, “Camber Energy Secures Exclusive IP License for Patented Carbon-Capture System,” announcing that the company, via Viking, “entered into an Exclusive Intellectual Property License Agreement with ESG Clean Energy, LLC (‘ESG’) regarding ESG’s patent rights and know-how related to stationary electric power generation, including methods to utilize heat and capture carbon dioxide.” Our research suggests that the “intellectual property” in question amounts to very little: in essence, the concept of collecting the exhaust gases emitted by a natural-gas–fueled electric generator, cooling it down to distill out the water vapor, and isolating the remaining carbon dioxide. But what happens to the carbon dioxide then? The clearest answer ESG Clean Energy has given is that it “can be sold to…cannabis producers”19 to help their plants grow faster, though the vast majority of the carbon dioxide would still end up escaping into the atmosphere over time, and additional greenhouse gases would be generated in compressing and shipping this carbon dioxide to the cannabis producers, likely leading to a net worsening of carbon emissions.20 And what is Viking – which primarily extracts oil and gas from the ground, as opposed to running generators and selling electrical power – supposed to do with this technology anyway? The idea seems to be that the newly acquired Simson-Maxwell business will attempt to sell the “technology” as a value-add to customers who are buying generators in western Canada. Indeed, while Camber’s press-release headline emphasized the “exclusive” nature of the license, the license is only exclusive in Canada plus “up to twenty-five locations in the United States” – making the much vaunted deal even more trivial than it might first appear. Viking paid an upfront royalty of $1.5 million in cash in August, with additional installments of $1.5 and $2 million due by January and April 2022, respectively, for a total of $5 million. In addition, Viking “shall pay to ESG continuing royalties of not more than 15% of the net revenues of Viking generated using the Intellectual Property, with the continuing royalty percentage to be jointly determined by the parties collaboratively based on the parties’ development of realistic cashflow models resulting from initial projects utilizing the Intellectual Property, and with the parties utilizing mediation if they cannot jointly agree to the continuing royalty percentage”21 – a strangely open-ended, perhaps rushed, way of setting a royalty rate. Overall, then, Viking is paying $5 million for roughly 85% of the economics of a technology that might conceivably help “capture” CO2 emitted by electric generators in Canada (and up to 25 locations in the United States!) but then probably just re-emit it again. This is the great advance that has driven Camber to a nearly billion-dollar market cap. It’s with good reason that on ESG Clean Energy’s web site (as of early October), the list of “press releases that show that ESG Clean Energy is making waves in the distributive power industry” is blank: If the ESG Clean Energy license deal were just another trivial bit of vaporware hyped up by a promotional company and its over-eager shareholders, it would be problematic but unremarkable; things like that happen all the time. But it’s the nature and history of Camber/Viking’s counterparty in the ESG deal that truly makes the situation sublime. ESG Clean Energy is in fact an offshoot of the Scuderi Group, a family business in western Massachusetts created to develop the now deceased Carmelo Scuderi’s idea for a revolutionary new type of engine. (In a 2005 AP article entitled “Engine design draws skepticism,” an MIT professor “said the creation is almost certain to fail.”) Two of Carmelo’s children, Nick and Sal, appeared in a recent ESG Clean Energy video with Camber’s CEO, who called Sal “more of the brains behind the operation” but didn’t state his official role – interesting since documents associated with ESG Clean Energy’s recent small-scale capital raises don’t mention Sal at all. Buried in Viking’s contract with ESG Clean Energy is the following section, indicating that the patents and technology underlying the deal actually belong in the first instance to the Scuderi Group, Inc.: 2.6 Demonstration of ESG’s Exclusive License with Scuderi Group and Right to Grant Licenses in this Agreement. ESG shall provide necessary documentation to Viking which demonstrates ESG’s right to grant the licenses in this Section 2 of this Agreement. For the avoidance of doubt, ESG shall provide necessary documentation that verifies the terms and conditions of ESG’s exclusive license with the Scuderi Group, Inc., a Delaware USA corporation, having an address of 1111 Elm Street, Suite 33, West Springfield, MA 01089 USA (“Scuderi Group”), and that nothing within ESG’s exclusive license with the Scuderi Group is inconsistent with the terms of this Agreement. In fact, the ESG Clean Energy entity itself was originally called Scuderi Clean Energy but changed its name in 2019; its subsidiary ESG-H1, LLC, which presides over a long-delayed power-generation project in the small city of Holyoke, Massachusetts (discussed further below), used to be called Scuderi Holyoke Power LLC but also changed its name in 2019.22 The SEC provided a good summary of the Scuderi Group’s history in a 2013 cease-and-desist order that imposed a $100,000 civil money penalty on Sal Scuderi (emphasis added): Founded in 2002, Scuderi Group has been in the business of developing a new internal combustion engine design. Scuderi Group’s business plan is to develop, patent, and license its engine technology to automobile companies and other large engine manufacturers. Scuderi Group, which considers itself a development stage company, has not generated any revenue… …These proceedings arise out of unregistered, non-exempt stock offerings and misleading disclosures regarding the use of offering proceeds by Scuderi Group and Mr. Scuderi, the company’s president. Between 2004 and 2011, Scuderi Group sold more than $80 million worth of securities through offerings that were not registered with the Commission and did not qualify for any of the exemptions from the Securities Act’s registration requirement. The company’s private placement memoranda informed investors that Scuderi Group intended to use the proceeds from its offerings for “general corporate purposes, including working capital.” In fact, the company was making significant payments to Scuderi family members for non-corporate purposes, including, large, ad hoc bonus payments to Scuderi family employees to cover personal expenses; payments to family members who provided no services to Scuderi; loans to Scuderi family members that were undocumented, with no written interest and repayment terms; large loans to fund $20 million personal insurance policies for six of the Scuderi siblings for which the company has not been, and will not be, repaid; and personal estate planning services for the Scuderi family. Between 2008 and 2011, a period when Scuderi Group sold more than $75 million in securities despite not obtaining any revenue, Mr. Scuderi authorized more than $3.2 million in Scuderi Group spending on such purposes. …In connection with these offerings [of stock], Scuderi Group disseminated more than 3,000 PPMs [private placement memoranda] to potential investors, directly and through third parties. Scuderi Group found these potential investors by, among other things, conducting hundreds of roadshows across the U.S.; hiring a registered broker-dealer to find investors; and paying numerous intermediaries to encourage people to attend meetings that Scuderi Group arranged for potential investors. …Scuderi Group’s own documents reflect that, in total, over 90 of the company’s investors were non-accredited investors… The Scuderi Group and Sal Scuderi neither admitted nor denied the SEC’s findings but agreed to stop violating securities law. Contemporary local news coverage of the regulatory action added color to the SEC’s description of the Scuderis’ fund-raising tactics (emphasis added): Here on Long Island, folks like HVAC specialist Bill Constantine were early investors, hoping to earn a windfall from Scuderi licensing the idea to every engine manufacturer in the world. Constantine said he was familiar with the Scuderis because he worked at an Islandia company that distributed an oil-less compressor for a refrigerant recovery system designed by the family patriarch. Constantine told [Long Island Business News] he began investing in the engine in 2007, getting many of his friends and family to put their money in, too. The company held an invitation-only sales pitch at the Marriott in Islandia in February 2011. Commercial real estate broker George Tsunis said he was asked to recruit investors for the Scuderi Group, but declined after hearing the pitch. “They were talking about doing business with Volkswagen and Mercedes, but everything was on the come,” Tsunis said. “They were having a party and nobody came.” Hot on the heels of the SEC action, an individual investor who had purchased $197,000 of Scuderi Group preferred units sued the Scuderi Group as well as Sal, Nick, Deborah, Stephen, and Ruth Scuderi individually, alleging, among other things, securities fraud (e.g. “untrue statements of material fact” in offering memoranda). This case was settled out of court in 2016 after the judge reportedly “said from the bench that he was likely to grant summary judgement for [the] plaintiff. … That ruling would have clear the way for other investors in Scuderi to claim at least part of a monetary settlement.” (Two other investors filed a similar lawsuit in 2017 but had it dismissed in 2018 because they ran afoul of the statute of limitations.23) The Scuderi Group put on a brave face, saying publicly, “The company is very pleased to put the SEC matter behind it and return focus to its technology.” In fact, in December 2013, just months after the SEC news broke, the company entered into a “Cooperative Consortium Agreement” with Hino Motors, a Japanese manufacturer, creating an “engineering research group” to further develop the Scuderi engine concept. “Hino paid Scuderi an initial fee of $150,000 to join the Consortium Group, which was to be refunded if Scuderi was unable to raise the funding necessary to start the Project by the Commencement Date,” in the words of Hino’s later lawsuit.24 Sure enough, the Scuderi Group ended up canceling the project in early October 2014 “due to funding and participant issues” – but it didn’t pay back the $150,000. Hino’s lawsuit documents Stephen Scuderi’s long series of emailed excuses: 10/31/14: “I must apologize, but we are going to be a little late in our refund of the Consortium Fee of $150,000. I am sure you have been able to deduce that we have a fair amount of challenging financial problems that we are working through. I am counting on financing for our current backlog of Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) projects to provide the capital to refund the Consortium Fee. Though we are very optimistic that the financial package for our PPA projects will be completed successfully, the process is taking a little longer than I originally expected to complete (approximately 3 months longer).” 11/25/14: “I am confident that we can pay Hino back its refund by the end of January. … The reason I have been slow to respond is because I was waiting for feedback from a few large cornerstone investors that we have been negotiating with. The negotiations have been progressing very well and we are close to a comprehensive financing deal, but (as often happens) the back and forth of the negotiating process takes ” 1/12/15: “We have given a proposal to the potential high-end investors that is most interested in investing a large sum of money into Scuderi Group. That investor has done his due-diligence on our company and has communicated to us that he likes our proposal but wants to give us a counter ” 1/31/15: “The individual I spoke of last month is one of several high net worth individuals that are currently evaluating investing a significant amount of equity capital into our That particular individual has not yet responded with a counter proposal, because he wishes to complete a study on the power generation market as part of his due diligence effort first. Though we learned of the study only recently, we believe that his enthusiasm for investing in Scuderi Group remains as strong as ever and steady progress is being made with the other high net worth individuals as well. … I ask only that you be patient for a short while longer as we make every effort possible to raise the monies need[ed] to refund Hino its consortium fee.” Fed up, Hino sued instead of waiting for the next excuse – but ended up discovering that the Scuderi bank account to which it had wired the $150,000 now contained only about $64,000. Hino and the Scuderi Group then entered into a settlement in which that account balance was supposed to be immediately handed over to Hino, with the remainder plus interest to be paid back later – but Scuderi didn’t even comply with its own settlement, forcing Hino to re-initiate its lawsuit and obtain an official court judgment against Scuderi. Pursuant to that judgment, Hino formally requested an array of documents like tax returns and bank statements, but Scuderi simply ignored these requests, using the following brazen logic:25 Though as of this date, the execution has not been satisfied, Scuderi continues to operate in the ordinary course of business and reasonably expects to have money available to satisfy the execution in full in the near future. … Responding to the post- judgment discovery requests, as a practical matter, will not enable Scuderi to pay Hino any faster than can be achieved by Scuderi using all of its resources and efforts to conduct its day-to-day business operations and will only serve to impose additional and unnecessary costs on both parties. Scuderi has offered and is willing to make payments every 30 days to Hino in amounts not less than $10,000 until the execution is satisfied in full. Shortly thereafter, in March 2016, Hino dropped its case, perhaps having chosen to take the $10,000 per month rather than continue to tangle in court with the Scuderis (though we don’t know for sure). With its name tarnished by disgruntled investors and the SEC, and at least one of its bank accounts wiped out by Hino Motors, the Scuderi Group didn’t appear to have a bright future. But then, like a phoenix rising from the ashes, a new business was born: Scuderi Clean Energy, “a wholly owned subsidiary of Scuderi Group, Inc. … formed in October 2015 to market Scuderi Engine Technology to the power generation industry.” (Over time, references to the troubled “Scuderi Engine Technology” have faded away; today ESG Clean Energy is purportedly planning to use standard, off-the-shelf Caterpillar engines. And while an early press release described Scuderi Clean Energy as “a wholly owned subsidiary of Scuderi Group,” the current Scuderi/ESG Clean Energy, LLC, appears to have been created later as its own (nominally) independent entity, led by Nick Scuderi.) As the emailed excuses in the Hino dispute suggested, this pivot to “clean energy” and electric power generation had been in the works for some time, enabling Scuderi Clean Energy to hit the ground running by signing a deal with Holyoke Gas and Electric, a small utility company owned by the city of Holyoke, Massachusetts (population 38,238) in December 2015. The basic idea was that Scuderi Clean Energy would install a large natural-gas generator and associated equipment on a vacant lot and use it to supply Holyoke Gas and Electric with supplemental electric power, especially during “peak demand periods in the summer.”26 But it appears that, from day one, Holyoke had its doubts. In its 2015 annual report (p. 80), the company wrote (emphasis added): In December 2015, the Department contracted with Scuderi Clean Energy, LLC under a twenty (20) year [power purchase agreement] for a 4.375 MW [megawatt] natural gas generator. Uncertain if this project will move forward; however Department mitigated market and development risk by ensuring interconnection costs are born by other party and that rates under PPA are discounted to full wholesale energy and resulting load reduction cost savings (where and if applicable). Holyoke was right to be uncertain. Though its 2017 annual report optimistically said, “Expected Commercial Operation date is April 1, 2018” (p. 90), the 2018 annual report changed to “Expected Commercial Operation is unknown at this time” – language that had to be repeated verbatim in the 2019 and 2020 annual reports. Six years after the contract was signed, the Scuderi Clean Energy, now ESG Clean Energy, project still hasn’t produced one iota of power, let alone one dollar of revenue. What it has produced, however, is funding from retail investors, though perhaps not as much as the Scuderis could have hoped. Beginning in 2017, Scuderi Clean Energy managed to sell roughly $1.3 million27 in 5-year “TIGRcub” bonds (Top-Line Income Generation Rights Certificates) on the small online Entrex platform by advertising a 12% “minimum yield” and 16.72% “projected IRR” (based on 18.84% “revenue participation”) over a 5-year term. While we don’t know the exact terms of these bonds, we believe that, at least early on, interest payments were covered by some sort of prepaid insurance policy, while later payments depend on (so far nonexistent) revenue from the Holyoke project. But Scuderi Clean Energy had been aiming to raise $6 million to complete the project, not $1 million; indeed, this was only supposed to be the first component of a whole empire of “Scuderi power plants”28 that would require over $100 million to build but were supposedly already under contract.29 So far, however, nothing has come of these other projects, and, seemingly suffering from insufficient funding, the Holyoke effort languished. (Of course, it might have been more investor-friendly if Scuderi Clean Energy had only accepted funding on the condition that there was enough to actually complete construction.) Under the new ESG Clean Energy name, the Scuderis tried in 2019 to raise capital again, this time in the form of $5 million of preferred units marketed as a “5 year tax free Investment with 18% cash-on-cash return,” but, based on an SEC filing, it appears that the offering didn’t go well, raising just $150,000. With funding still limited and the Holyoke project far from finished, the clock is ticking: the $1.3 million of bonds will begin to mature in early 2022. It was thus fortunate that Viking came along when it did to pay ESG Clean Energy a $1.5 million upfront royalty for its incredible technology. Interestingly, ESG Clean Energy began in late 2020 to provide extremely detailed updates on its Holyoke construction progress, including items as prosaic as “Throughout the week, ESG had met with and continued to exchange numerous e-mails with our mechanical engineering firm.” With frequent references to the “very fluid environment,” the tone is unmistakably defensive. Consider the September update (emphasis not added): Reading between the lines, we believe the intended message is this: “We didn’t just take your money and run – honest! We’re working hard!” Nonetheless, someone appears to be unhappy, as indicated by the FINRA BrokerCheck report for one Eric Willer, a former employee of Fusion Analytics, which was listed as a recipient of sales compensation in connection with the Scuderi Clean Energy bond offerings. Willer may now be in hot water: a disclosure notice dated 3/31/2021 reads: “Wells Notice received as a preliminary determination to recommend disciplinary action of fraud, negligent misrepresentation, and recommendation without due diligence in the sale of bonds issued by Scuderi Holyoke,” with a further investigation still pending. We wait eagerly for additional updates. Why does the saga of the Scuderis matter? Many Camber investors seem to have convinced themselves that the ESG Clean Energy “carbon capture” IP licensed by Viking has enormous value and can plausibly justify hundreds of millions of dollars of incremental market cap. As we explained above, we find this thoroughly implausible even without getting into Scuderi family history: in the end, the “technology” will at best add a smidgen of value to some generators in Canada. But track records matter too, and the Scuderi track record of failed R&D, delays, excuses, and alleged misuse of funds is worth considering. These people have spent six years trying and failing to sell power to a single municipally owned utility company in a single small city in western Massachusetts. Are they really about to end climate change? The Case of the Fictitious CFO Since Camber is effectively a bet on Viking, and Viking, in its current form, has been assembled by James Doris, it’s important to assess Doris’s probity and good judgment. In that connection, it’s noteworthy that, from December 2014 to July 2016, at the very start of Doris’s reign as Viking’s CEO and president, the company’s CFO, Guangfang “Cecile” Yang, was apparently fictitious. (Covering the case in 2019, Dealbreaker used the headline “Possibly Imaginary CFO Grounds For Very Real Fraud Lawsuit.”) This strange situation was brought to light by an SEC lawsuit against Viking’s founder, Tom Simeo; just last month, a US district court granted summary judgment in favor of the SEC against Simeo, but Simeo’s penalties have yet to be determined.30 The court’s opinion provided a good overview of the facts (references omitted, emphasis added): In 2013, Simeo hired Yang, who lives in Shanghai, China, to be Viking’s CFO. Yang served in that position until she purportedly resigned in July 2016. When Yang joined the company, Simeo fabricated a standing resignation letter, in which Yang purported to “irrevocably” resign her position with Viking “at any time desired by the Company” and “[u]pon notification that the Company accepted [her] resignation”…Simeo forged Yang’s signature on this document. This letter allowed Simeo to remove Yang from the position of CFO whenever he pleased. Simeo also fabricated a power of attorney purportedly signed by Yang that allowed Simeo to “affix Yang’s signature to any and all documents,” including documents that Viking had to file with the SEC. Viking represented to the public that Yang was the company’s CFO and a member of its Board of Directors. But “Yang never actually functioned as Viking’s CFO.” She “was not involved in the financial and strategic decisions” of Viking during the Relevant Period. Nor did she play any role in “preparing Viking’s financial statements or public filings.” Indeed, at least as of April 3, 2015, Yang did not do “any work” on Viking’s financial statements and did not speak with anyone who was preparing them. She also did not “review or evaluate Viking’s internal controls over financial reporting.” Further, during most or all of the Relevant Period, Viking did not compensate Yang despite the fact that she was the company’s highest ranking financial employee. Nevertheless, Simeo says that he personally paid her in cash. Yang’s “sole point of contact” at Viking was Simeo. Indeed Simeo was “the only person at Viking who communicated with Yang.” Thus many people at Viking never interacted with Yang. Despite the fact that Doris has served as Viking’s CEO since December 2014, he “has never met or spoken to Yang either in person or through any other means, and he has never communicated with Yang in writing.” … To think Yang served as CFO during this time, but the CEO and other individuals involved with Viking’s SEC filings never once spoke with her, strains all logical credulity. It remains unclear whether Yang is even a real person. When the SEC asked Simeo directly (“Is it the case that you made up the existence of Ms. Yang?”) he responded by “invoking the Fifth Amendment.”31 While the SEC’s efforts thus far have focused on Simeo, the case clearly raises the question of what Doris knew and when he knew it. Indeed, though many of the required Sarbanes-Oxley certifications of Viking’s financial statements during the Yang period were signed by Simeo in his role as chairman, Doris did personally sign off on an amended 2015 10-K that refers to Yang as CFO through July 2016 and includes her complete, apparently fictitious, biography. Viking has also disclosed the following, which we believe pertains to the Yang affair (emphasis added): In April of 2019, the staff (the “Staff”) of the SEC’s Division of Enforcement notified the Company that the Staff had made a preliminary determination to recommend that the SEC file an enforcement action against the Company, as well as against its CEO and its CFO, for alleged violations of Section 17(a) of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5 thereunder [laws that pertain to securities fraud] during the period from early 2014 through late 2016. The Staff’s notice is not a formal allegation or a finding of wrongdoing by the Company, and the Company has communicated with the Staff regarding its preliminary determination. The Company believes it has adequate defenses and intends to vigorously defend any enforcement action that may be initiated by the SEC.32 Perhaps the SEC has moved on from this matter and will let Doris and Viking off the hook, but the fact pattern is eyebrow-raising nonetheless. A similarly troubling incident came soon after the time of Yang’s “resignation,” when Viking’s auditing firm resigned, withdrew its recent audit report, and wrote a letter “advising the Company that it believed an illegal act may have occurred” – because of concerns that had nothing to do with Yang. First, Viking accounted for the timing of a grant of shares to a consultant in apparent contradiction of the terms of the written agreement with the consultant – a seemingly minor issue. But, under scrutiny from the auditor, Viking “produced a letter… (the version which was provided to us was unsigned), from the consultant stating that the Agreement was invalidated verbally.” Reading between the lines, the “uncomfortable” auditor suspected that this letter was a fake, created just to get him off Viking’s back. In another incident, the auditor “became aware that seven of the company’s loans…were due to be repaid” in August 2016 but hadn’t been, creating a default that would in turn “trigger[] a cross-default clause contained in 17 additional loans” – but Viking claimed it “had secured an oral extension to the loans from the broker-dealer representing the lenders by September 6, 2016” – after the loans’ maturity dates – “so the Company did not need to disclose ‘the defaults under these loans’ after such time since the loans were not in default.” It’s easy to see why an auditor would object to this attitude toward financial disclosure – no need to mention a default in August as long as you can secure a verbal agreement resolving it by September! Against this backdrop of disturbing behavior, the fact that Camber just dismissed its auditing firm three weeks ago on September 16th, even with delisting looming if the company can’t become current again with its SEC filings by November, seems even more unsettling. Have Camber and Viking management earned investors’ trust? Conclusion It’s not clear why, back in 2017, Lucas Energy changed its name to “Camber” specifically, but we’d like to think the inspiration was England’s Camber Castle. According to Atlas Obscura, the castle was supposed to help defend the English coast, but it took so long to build that its “advanced design was obsolete by the time of its completion,” and changes in the local environment meant that “the sea had receded so far that cannons fired from the fort would no longer be able to reach any invading ships.” Still, the useless castle was “manned and serviced” for nearly a century before being officially decommissioned. Today, Camber “lies derelict and almost unheard of.” But what’s in a name? Article by Kerrisdale Capital Management Updated on Oct 5, 2021, 12:06 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: valuewalkOct 5th, 2021

How London Became a Global Center for Fintech and What U.S. Tech Hubs Can Learn From It

When Silicon Valley veteran Eileen Burbidge moved to London in 2004, it was only meant to be temporary. With more than a decade of experience at tech stalwarts including Apple, Sun Microsystems and Verizon Wireless, the Chicago native felt a stint in Europe might help advance her career back in the U.S. With no language… When Silicon Valley veteran Eileen Burbidge moved to London in 2004, it was only meant to be temporary. With more than a decade of experience at tech stalwarts including Apple, Sun Microsystems and Verizon Wireless, the Chicago native felt a stint in Europe might help advance her career back in the U.S. With no language barrier and an emerging software-development market, London was an obvious choice. She took on a job as product director for a newly launched startup named Skype. Nearly 20 years later, Burbidge is still there. Now co-founder and partner of early-stage venture-capital firm Passion Capital, she has established herself as an intrinsic part of London’s financial technology, or “fintech,” scene. Burbidge was the digital representative on former Prime Minister David Cameron’s business advisory panel and was honored by Queen Elizabeth II in 2015 as a member of the Order of the British Empire—or MBE—for services to U.K. business. She also served as tech ambassador for the office of the mayor of London, and is now a fintech envoy to the U.K. Treasury. [time-brightcove not-tgx=”true”] It’s little surprise then that Burbidge sees London firmly at the beating heart of the tech-forward financial world. “It’s got the unique combination of a financial-services heritage, with 300 of the world’s banking headquarters based here, plus progressive policy-makers who support fintech innovation,” she tells TIME over video call from her home office in North London. The U.K. capital has for centuries been a center of global finance, with long-established trading exchanges and trusted banking and insurance institutions. In the digital era, it has become an emerging hub for fintech companies, which use technology to improve financial services. Not even the uncertainty presented by the U.K.’s departure from the European Union in early 2020, coupled with the disruption of the global pandemic, has stemmed growth. Venture-capital firms invested $4.57 billion in U.K.-based fintech companies last year, making the country second only to the U.S., where investment was $19.6 billion, according to growth platform Tech Nation’s annual report on the U.K. tech sector. And in the first half of 2021 alone, U.K. tech companies raised more than $18 billion worth of venture-capital funding, according to figures compiled for the U.K.’s Digital Economy Council. “Investors showing their confidence in London’s fintech offering reinforces our city’s position as a leading global hub for this important and growing industry,” Sadiq Khan, the mayor of London, says in a statement. “Despite the impact of Brexit and the pandemic, we’ve seen record levels of funding for fintech businesses in the first six months of the year.” The success story of this boom in fintech innovation has undoubtedly been so-called challenger banks— digital-only banking apps that use cloud-based infrastructure, embedded artificial intelligence, and agile frameworks to give consumers easier and faster access to banking services and financial products. Companies like Revolut, Starling Bank and Monzo have raised increasingly large sums of money and established themselves as household names among their tech-savvy, largely millennial and Gen Z consumer base, many of whom have eschewed traditional retail banking in favor of these more user-friendly banking apps. How London evolved to become a challenger to established hubs for innovation in the U.S. has lessons for entrepreneurs and investors who find an increasingly difficult regulatory environment and a shrinking talent pool for development in California, New York or Texas. Burbidge, one of the key architects of the fintech boom, sees a changing of the guard. “Before long my colleagues [in the U.S.] stopped asking when I was coming back and by 2016 were instead coming across to join me,” she says. When Burbidge set about building her team at Skype in 2004, the lack of qualified workers was one of the biggest challenges she faced. “Despite this burgeoning tech and digital sector in London, it was impossible for me to find a product manager, and the first few hires I made all came over from the States.” Now, she says there is a “wide concentration of developers, so much more than San Jose or New York.” That change has been helped in part by shifts in London’s economic ecosystem in the past decade. As a bruised City of London emerged from the financial crisis, it had lost its shine for some workers, who had seen how antiquated technology and a lack of innovation were stagnating progress and career development. Public attitudes toward the City had cooled amid austerity measures that also exacerbated problems for those who were unbanked or underserved by traditional outlets. It was this environment that led Starling Bank’s founder Anne Boden—who spent 30 years working for traditional banking heavyweights that had been battered by the crisis, like ABN Amro, Royal Bank of Scotland and Allied Irish Banks—to launch her own bank in 2014. “I noticed that banking hadn’t progressed technologically, and this frustrated me,” says Boden. “The big banks seemed to be stuck in the past … Their systems were slow and yet no one seemed to be improving them. I realized that if I wanted to see a real digital bank in action, I would have to launch one myself.” Boden says she founded Starling as “a more human alternative to the banks of the past.” The digital bank, which counts Fidelity and the Qatar Investment Authority among its backers, was recently valued at $1.7 billion. Many others in the financial industry had similar sentiments to Boden’s, and left the industry to join some of London’s burgeoning startups or create their own fintechs. As attitudes have shifted, the conveyor belt that once took the brightest young minds from the halls of Europe’s top universities to the trading floors and deal rooms of investment banks has slowed, and fintechs have been reaping the benefits. Nikolay Storonsky, the British-Russian CEO of Revolut, says it was London’s talent pool that was most compelling when he established the company in 2015. “We have a hugely diverse U.K. workforce—more than 80 nationalities—many of whom were Londoners already, and others who were enthusiastic to come here.” Dan Kitwood—Getty ImagesLondon’s Canary Wharf business district, where fintech company Revolut is based Storonsky, a former derivatives trader at Lehman Brothers and Credit Suisse, was also able to tap two talent pipelines to fuel the company’s phenomenal growth. “London’s eminence as a world financial centre is a huge advantage. There’s deep experience and talent here, both from the financial sector and from the startup world,” he says in an email. Burbidge found that what wasn’t as established in London was the early-stage venture-capital funding network that startups need to grow, and that creates unicorns. In the U.K., venture-capital firms have typically been later-stage investors, meaning startup founders have had to rely on angel investors, bank loans and even their own cash for early funding. Burbidge and her two business partners at the time, Robert Dighero and Stefan Glaenzer, who has since left the firm, decided to replicate the Silicon Valley model of first-round funding through Passion Capital when they founded it in 2009. They were determined to back exciting and dynamic startups, leading to standout investments in GoCardless in 2011 and Monzo in 2015. The latter neobank, known for its distinctive colorful debit cards that can be used abroad without fees, has since surpassed a $1 billion valuation and is piloting a beta version of its app in the U.S. in partnership with Sutton Bank. A major reason challenger banks have been able to thrive in London is a supportive regulatory environment, says Storonsky, whose Revolut is now valued at $33 billion, making it the U.K.’s most valuable tech company in history. U.K. watchdog the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has taken an active role, engaging with banks and new fintech companies on consumer-focused solutions, and it has established a world-class sandbox, where approved new fintech firms can test products with real consumers. Yet by 2016, just as the fintech industry was becoming established in London, storm clouds loomed on the horizon. That summer, the British public voted to leave the E.U.—although notably voters in London backed Remain by 60-40. London’s financial industry grew into what it is today partly because its rules mirrored those of the E.U., allowing for seamless transactions. Many in the London-based fintech industry were concerned about how Brexit might change the legal framework that the City operates within. The U.K. ultimately left the bloc last January, but Burbidge says that there has been no doomsday scenario so far: “We certainly haven’t seen the big asset managers or banks clear out of London. Perhaps that’s because it’s been the home of traditional financial-services institutions for so long—there’s still a draw.” The regulatory environment remains advantageous for fintech companies post-Brexit, she says. “If you’re going to be a fintech you do have to be regulated and domiciled, which means you’re subject to compliance. And the U.K. is one of the most progressive and forward-thinking homes for fintech.” For the industry to continue growing, however, it will also require the pool of talent to be continually replenished, but restrictions on freedom of movement between the U.K. and the E.U. may make that harder. The U.K. fintech industry employed 76,500 people in 2017, and that was projected to reach 105,500 by 2030 if immigration rules remained as they were. Simon Schmincke, a partner at venture-capital firm Creandum, which has invested in several U.K. fintech companies, says that bringing in talent from other countries is becoming a headache for many companies: “I am stunned that in two years, we still haven’t figured out how to bring smart people in quickly. And that is having both a negative impact on individual companies and on the country’s image.” It used to be that “everyone was welcome as long as you worked hard and smart,” Schmincke says. “Now, that image is fading.” Last year, after the U.K. formally left the E.U., Britain’s Finance Minister Rishi Sunak commissioned businessman Ron Kalifa to chair an independent strategic review of how the U.K. government, regulators, and companies can support the growth and widespread adoption of fintech and maintain Britain’s global reputation in the sector. The government has committed to adopting a number of the report’s recommendations. “We’ve set out a road map to sharpen the U.K.’s competitive advantage and deliver a more open, green and technologically advanced financial-services sector,” a spokesperson for the U.K. Treasury said. The government plans to support U.K. fintech companies by introducing new visa routes for foreign workers, enhancing its regulatory toolbox, reforming its market-listing rules and exploring a central-bank digital currency, the spokesperson said. These kinds of reforms will be necessary for London to retain its competitive edge, according to Shampa Roy-Mukherjee, associate professor and director of impact and innovation at the Royal Docks School of Business and Law, University of East London. European countries such as Malta and Lithuania are taking advantage of the uncertainty caused by Brexit to offer new homes to London-based fintech companies, she says. “These countries are able to provide the fintech companies regulatory authorization to trade with the E.U., which the U.K. currently cannot provide.” U.S. investors haven’t been scared off by Brexit—and in fact have helped to power the U.K.’s fintech industry to greater heights. John Doran, general partner at U.S. growth-capital firm TCV, an investor in Revolut, says in an email that the company’s fundamentals were the key consideration. “We look to invest behind exceptionally driven visionary founders, who are building category leaders in industries undergoing a massive structural shift, and Revolut has all of these things.” It also has the size and clout to pursue growth in the U.S. market. Similarly to Monzo’s relationship with Sutton, Revolut currently partners with Metropolitan Commercial Bank, but it applied for an independent U.S. banking license in March and began offering services to small and medium-size businesses in the U.S. Burbidge is skeptical that the success of London could be as easily replicated across the pond. “It’s definitely down to the culture and ecosystem,” she says. “Because the U.S. is so siloed in terms of regulation, the success of financial-services hubs would be difficult to replicate.” She says entrepreneurs in London are more mindful of customer outcomes than their U.S. counterparts. Partly in an effort to avoid comparisons with payday-loan apps that have been criticized for predatory tactics in recent years, many U.K. founders have worked to ensure that “wellness and mental health are built in at the core of new startups,” Burbidge says. “Historically this hasn’t been part of the startup culture in the U.S.” She adds that the FCA is more attuned to these issues and wields “a far greater influence” in the U.K. than regulators do in the U.S. “While attitudes toward financial inclusion and customer outcomes are shifting over there, I believe if they had started thinking earlier about it as a proposition, they would have attracted further investment and customers. It’s a missed opportunity for the U.S.” America’s biggest bank has taken notice of the particular advantages the U.K. market offers too. On Sept. 21, JPMorgan Chase launched its digital bank, Chase, in the U.K., marking the commercial bank’s first foray outside the U.S. in its 222-year history. It is attempting to attract U.K. consumers in the competitive market with a range of cash-back and savings offers. The bank has indicated it is in it for the long haul, and is prepared to spend hundreds of millions of dollars to become profitable in the U.K. Burbidge isn’t planning on leaving London anytime soon either, and remains its biggest cheerleader. “It’s a city with a massive commercial center, but it’s also the policymaking hub of the U.K. and additionally so creative and diverse that it’s as if you combined all of San Francisco, New York City, Washington, D.C., and Los Angeles all into one megacity,” she says. “It’s hard to beat.” —With reporting by Eloise Barry/London.....»»

Category: topSource: timeOct 1st, 2021

Check out 18 pitch decks that fintechs looking to disrupt trading, banking, and lending used to raise millions

Check out examples of real fintech pitch decks. You'll see pitch decks from Qolo, Lance, and other startups that nabbed millions in VC funding. 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 VC funding hit a fresh quarterly record of $22.8 billion in the first three months of 2021, according to CB Insights data. While mega-rounds helped propel overall funding, new cash was spread across 614 deals. 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. Embedded payments for SMBs The Highnote team. Highnote Branded cards have long been a way for merchants with the appropriate bank relationships to create additional revenue and build customer loyalty. The rise of embedded payments, or the ability to shop and pay in a seamless experience within a single app, has broadened the number of companies looking to launch branded cards.Highnote is a startup that helps small to mid-sized merchants roll out their own debit and pre-paid digital cards. The fintech emerged from stealth on Tuesday to announce it raised $54 million in seed and Series A funding.Here's the 12-page deck Highnote, a startup helping SMBs embed payments, used to raise $54 million in seed and Series A fundingAn alternative auto lender Daniel Chu, CEO and founder of Tricolor. Tricolor An alternative auto lender that caters to thin- and no-credit Hispanic borrowers is planning a national expansion after scoring a $90 million investment from BlackRock-managed funds. Tricolor is a Dallas-based auto lender that is a community development financial institution. It uses a proprietary artificial-intelligence engine that decisions each customer based on more than 100 data points, such as proof of income. Half of Tricolor's customers have a FICO score, and less than 12% have scores above 650, yet the average customer has lived in the US for 15 years, according to the deck.A 2017 survey by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation found 31.5% of Hispanic households had no mainstream credit compared to 14.4% of white households. "For decades, the deck has been stacked against low income or credit invisible Hispanics in the United States when it comes to the purchase and financing of a used vehicle," Daniel Chu, founder and CEO of Tricolor, said in a statement announcing the raise.An auto lender that caters to underbanked Hispanics used this 25-page deck to raise $90 million from BlackRock investorsA new way to access credit The TomoCredit team. TomoCredit Kristy Kim knows first-hand the challenge of obtaining credit in the US without an established credit history. Kim, who came to the US from South Korea, couldn't initially get access to credit despite having a job in investment banking after graduating college. "I was in my early twenties, I had a good income, my job was in investment banking but I could not get approved for anything," Kim told Insider. "Many young professionals like me, we deserve an opportunity to be considered but just because we didn't have a Fico, we weren't given a chance to even apply," she added.Kim started TomoCredit in 2018 to help others like herself gain access to consumer credit. TomoCredit spent three years building an internal algorithm to underwrite customers based on cash flow, rather than a credit score.TomoCredit, a fintech that lends to thin- and no-credit borrowers, used this 17-page pitch deck to raise its $10 million Series AAn IRA for alternatives Henry Yoshida is the co-founder and CEO of retirement fintech startup Rocket Dollar. Rocket Dollar Fintech startup Rocket Dollar, which helps users invest their individual retirement account (IRA) dollars into alternative assets, just raised $8 million for its Series A round, the company announced on Thursday.Park West Asset Management led the round, with participation from investors including Hyphen Capital, which focuses on backing Asian American entrepreneurs, and crypto exchange Kraken's venture arm. Co-founded in 2018 by CEO Henry Yoshida, CTO Rick Dude, and VP of marketing Thomas Young, Rocket Dollar now has over $350 million in assets under management on its platform. Yoshida sold his first startup, a roboadvisor called Honest Dollar, to Goldman Sachs' investment management division for an estimated $20 million.Yoshida told Insider that while ultra-high net worth investors have been investing self-directed retirement account dollars into alternative assets like real estate, private equity, and cryptocurrency, average investors have not historically been able to access the same opportunities to invest IRA dollars in alternative assets through traditional platforms.Here's the 34-page pitch deck a fintech that helps users invest their retirement savings in crypto and real estate assets used to nab $8 millionConnecting startups and investors Hum Capital cofounder and CEO Blair Silverberg. Hum Capital Blair Silverberg is no stranger to fundraising.For six years, Silverberg was a venture capitalist at Draper Fisher Jurvetson and Private Credit Investments making bets on startups."I was meeting with thousands of founders in person each year, watching them one at a time go through this friction where they're meeting a ton of investors, and the investors are all asking the same questions," Silverberg told Insider. He switched gears about three years ago, moving to the opposite side of the metaphorical table, to start Hum Capital, which uses artificial intelligence to match investors with startups looking to fundraise.On August 31, the New York-based fintech announced its $9 million Series A. The round was led by Future Ventures with participation from Webb Investment Network, Wavemaker Partners, and Partech. This 11-page pitch deck helped Hum Capital, a fintech using AI to match investors with startups, raise a $9 million Series A.Payments infrastructure for fintechs Qolo CEO and co-founder Patricia Montesi. Qolo Three years ago, Patricia Montesi realized there was a disconnect in the payments world. "A lot of new economy companies or fintech companies were looking to mesh up a lot of payment modalities that they weren't able to," Montesi, CEO and co-founder of Qolo, told Insider.Integrating various payment capabilities often meant tapping several different providers that had specializations in one product or service, she added, like debit card issuance or cross-border payments. "The way people were getting around that was that they were creating this spider web of fintech," she said, adding that "at the end of it all, they had this mess of suppliers and integrations and bank accounts."The 20-year payments veteran rounded up a group of three other co-founders - who together had more than a century of combined industry experience - to start Qolo, a business-to-business fintech that sought out to bundle back-end payment rails for other fintechs.Here's the 11-slide pitch deck a startup that provides payments infrastructure for other fintechs used to raise a $15 million Series ASoftware for managing freelancers Worksome cofounder and CEO Morten Petersen. Worksome The way people work has fundamentally changed over the past year, with more flexibility and many workers opting to freelance to maintain their work-from-home lifestyles.But managing a freelance or contractor workforce is often an administrative headache for employers. Worksome is a startup looking to eliminate all the extra work required for employers to adapt to more flexible working norms.Worksome started as a freelancer marketplace automating the process of matching qualified workers with the right jobs. But the team ultimately pivoted to a full suite of workforce management software, automating administrative burdens required to hire, pay, and account for contract workers.In May, Worksome closed a $13 million Series A backed by European angel investor Tommy Ahlers and Danish firm Lind & Risør.Here's the 21-slide pitch deck used by a startup that helps firms like Carlsberg and Deloitte manage freelancersPersonal finance is only a text away Yinon Ravid, the chief executive and cofounder of Albert. Albert The COVID-19 pandemic has underscored the growing preference of mobile banking as customers get comfortable managing their finances online.The financial app Albert has seen a similar jump in activity. Currently counting more than six million members, deposits in Albert's savings offering doubled from the start of the pandemic in March 2020 to May of this year, from $350 million to $700 million, according to new numbers released by the company. Founded in 2015, Albert offers automated budgeting and savings tools alongside guided investment portfolios. It's looked to differentiate itself through personalized features, like the ability for customers to text human financial experts.Budgeting and saving features are free on Albert. But for more tailored financial advice, customers pay a subscription fee that's a pay-what-you-can model, between $4 and $14 a month. And Albert's now banking on a new tool to bring together its investing, savings, and budgeting tools.Fintech Albert used this 10-page pitch deck to raise a $100 million Series C from General Atlantic and CapitalGRethinking debt collection Jason Saltzman, founder and CEO of Relief Relief For lenders, debt collection is largely automated. But for people who owe money on their credit cards, it can be a confusing and stressful process. Relief is looking to change that. Its app automates the credit-card debt collection process for users, negotiating with lenders and collectors to settle outstanding balances on their behalf. The fintech just launched and closed a $2 million seed round led by Collaborative Ventures. Relief's fundraising experience was a bit different to most. Its pitch deck, which it shared with one investor via Google Slides, went viral. It set out to raise a $1 million seed round, but ended up doubling that and giving some investors money back to make room for others.Check out a 15-page pitch deck that went viral and helped a credit-card debt collection startup land a $2 million seed roundBlockchain for private-markets investing Carlos Domingo is cofounder and CEO of Securitize. Securitize Securitize, founded in 2017 by the tech industry veterans Carlos Domingo and Jamie Finn, is bringing blockchain technology to private-markets investing. The company raised $48 million in Series B funding on June 21 from investors including Morgan Stanley and Blockchain Capital.Securitize helps companies crowdfund capital from individual and institutional investors by issuing their shares in the form of blockchain tokens that allow for more efficient settlement, record keeping, and compliance processes. Morgan Stanley's Tactical Value fund, which invests in private companies, made its first blockchain-technology investment when it coled the Series B, Securitize CEO Carlos Domingo told Insider.Here's the 11-page pitch deck a blockchain startup looking to revolutionize private-markets investing used to nab $48 million from investors like Morgan StanleyE-commerce focused business banking Michael Rangel, cofounder and CEO, and Tyler McIntyre, cofounder and CTO of Novo. Kristelle Boulos Photography Business banking is a hot market in fintech. And it seems investors can't get enough.Novo, the digital banking fintech aimed at small e-commerce businesses, raised a $40.7 million Series A led by Valar Ventures in June. Since its launch in 2018, Novo has signed up 100,000 small businesses. Beyond bank accounts, it offers expense management, a corporate card, and integrates with e-commerce infrastructure players like Shopify, Stripe, and Wise.Founded in 2018, Novo was based in New York City, but has since moved its headquarters to Miami. Here's the 12-page pitch deck e-commerce banking startup Novo used to raise its $40 million Series ABlockchain-based credit score tech John Sun, Anna Fridman, and Adam Jiwan are the cofounders of fintech startup Spring Labs. Spring Labs A blockchain-based fintech startup that is aiming to disrupt the traditional model of evaluating peoples' creditworthiness recently raised $30 million in a Series B funding led by credit reporting giant TransUnion.Four-year-old Spring Labs aims to create a private, secure data-sharing model to help credit agencies better predict the creditworthiness of people who are not in the traditional credit bureau system. The founding team of three fintech veterans met as early employees of lending startup Avant.Existing investors GreatPoint Ventures and August Capital also joined in on the most recent round. So far Spring Labs has raised $53 million from institutional rounds.TransUnion, a publicly-traded company with a $20 billion-plus market cap, is one of the three largest consumer credit agencies in the US. After 18 months of dialogue and six months of due diligence, TransAmerica and Spring Labs inked a deal, Spring Labs CEO and cofounder Adam Jiwan told Insider.Here's the 10-page pitch deck blockchain-based fintech Spring Labs used to snag $30 million from investors including credit reporting giant TransUnionDigital banking for freelancers JGalione/Getty Images Lance is a new digital bank hoping to simplify the life of those workers by offering what it calls an "active" approach to business banking. "We found that every time we sat down with the existing tools and resources of our accountants and QuickBooks and spreadsheets, we just ended up getting tangled up in the whole experience of it," Lance cofounder and CEO Oona Rokyta told Insider. Lance offers subaccounts for personal salaries, withholdings, and savings to which freelancers can automatically allocate funds according to custom preset levels. It also offers an expense balance that's connected to automated tax withholdings.In May, Lance announced the closing of a $2.8 million seed round that saw participation from Barclays, BDMI, Great Oaks Capital, Imagination Capital, Techstars, DFJ Frontier, and others.Here's the 21-page pitch deck Lance, a digital bank for freelancers, used to raise a $2.8 million seed round from investors including BarclaysDigital tools for independent financial advisors Jason Wenk, founder and CEO of Altruist Altruist Jason Wenk started his career at Morgan Stanley in investment research over 20 years ago. Now, he's running a company that is hoping to broaden access to financial advice for less-wealthy individuals. The startup raised $50 million in Series B funding led by Insight Partners with participation from investors Vanguard and Venrock. The round brings the Los Angeles-based startup's total funding to just under $67 million.Founded in 2018, Altruist is a digital brokerage built for independent financial advisors, intended to be an "all-in-one" platform that unites custodial functions, portfolio accounting, and a client-facing portal. It allows advisors to open accounts, invest, build models, report, trade (including fractional shares), and bill clients through an interface that can advisors time by eliminating mundane operational tasks.Altruist aims to make personalized financial advice less expensive, more efficient, and more inclusive through the platform, which is designed for registered investment advisors (RIAs), a growing segment of the wealth management industry. Here's the pitch deck for Altruist, a wealth tech challenging custodians Fidelity and Charles Schwab, that raised $50 million from Vanguard and InsightPayments and operations support HoneyBook cofounders Dror Shimoni, Oz Alon, and Naama Alon. HoneyBook While countless small businesses have been harmed by the pandemic, self-employment and entrepreneurship have found ways to blossom as Americans started new ventures.Half of the US population may be freelance by 2027, according to a study commissioned by remote-work hiring platform Upwork. HoneyBook, a fintech startup that provides payment and operations support for freelancers, in May raised $155 million in funding and achieved unicorn status with its $1 billion-plus valuation.Durable Capital Partners led the Series D funding with other new investors including renowned hedge fund Tiger Global, Battery Ventures, Zeev Ventures, and 01 Advisors. Citi Ventures, Citigroup's startup investment arm that also backs fintech robo-advisor Betterment, participated as an existing investor in the round alongside Norwest Venture partners. The latest round brings the company's fundraising total to $227 million to date.Here's the 21-page pitch deck a Citi-backed fintech for freelancers used to raise $155 million from investors like hedge fund Tiger GlobalFraud prevention for lenders and insurers Fiordaliso/Getty Images Onboarding new customers with ease is key for any financial institution or retailer. The more friction you add, the more likely consumers are to abandon the entire process.But preventing fraud is also a priority, and that's where Neuro-ID comes in. The startup analyzes what it calls "digital body language," or, the way users scroll, type, and tap. Using that data, Neuro-ID can identify fraudulent users before they create an account. It's built for banks, lenders, insurers, and e-commerce players."The train has left the station for digital transformation, but there's a massive opportunity to try to replicate all those communications that we used to have when we did business in-person, all those tells that we would get verbally and non-verbally on whether or not someone was trustworthy," Neuro-ID CEO Jack Alton told Insider.Founded in 2014, the startup's pitch is twofold: Neuro-ID can save companies money by identifying fraud early, and help increase user conversion by making the onboarding process more seamless. In December Neuro-ID closed a $7 million Series A, co-led by Fin VC and TTV Capital, with participation from Canapi Ventures. With 30 employees, Neuro-ID is using the fresh funding to grow its team and create additional tools to be more self-serving for customers.Here's the 11-slide pitch deck a startup that analyzes consumers' digital behavior to fight fraud used to raise a $7 million Series AAI-powered tools to spot phony online reviews Saoud Khalifah, founder and CEO of Fakespot. Fakespot Marketplaces like Amazon and eBay host millions of third-party sellers, and their algorithms will often boost items in search based on consumer sentiment, which is largely based on reviews. But many third-party sellers use fake reviews often bought from click farms to boost their items, some of which are counterfeit or misrepresented to consumers.That's where Fakespot comes in. With its Chrome extension, it warns users of sellers using potentially fake reviews to boost sales and can identify fraudulent sellers. Fakespot is currently compatible with Amazon, BestBuy, eBay, Sephora, Steam, and Walmart."There are promotional reviews written by humans and bot-generated reviews written by robots or review farms," Fakespot founder and CEO Saoud Khalifah told Insider. "Our AI system has been built to detect both categories with very high accuracy."Fakespot's AI learns via reviews data available on marketplace websites, and uses natural-language processing to identify if reviews are genuine. Fakespot also looks at things like whether the number of positive reviews are plausible given how long a seller has been active.Fakespot, a startup that helps shoppers detect robot-generated reviews and phony sellers on Amazon and Shopify, used this pitch deck to nab a $4 million Series ANew twists on digital banking Zach Bruhnke, cofounder and CEO of HMBradley HMBradley Consumers are getting used to the idea of branch-less banking, a trend that startup digital-only banks like Chime, N26, and Varo have benefited from. The majority of these fintechs target those who are underbanked, and rely on usage of their debit cards to make money off interchange. But fellow startup HMBradley has a different business model. "Our thesis going in was that we don't swipe our debit cards all that often, and we don't think the customer base that we're focusing on does either," Zach Bruhnke, cofounder and CEO of HMBradley, told Insider. "A lot of our customer base uses credit cards on a daily basis."Instead, the startup is aiming to build clientele with stable deposits. As a result, the bank is offering interest-rate tiers depending on how much a customer saves of their direct deposit.Notably, the rate tiers are dependent on the percentage of savings, not the net amount. "We'll pay you more when you save more of what comes in," Bruhnke said. "We didn't want to segment customers by how much money they had. So it was always going to be about a percentage of income. That was really important to us."Check out the 14-page pitch deck fintech HMBradley, a neobank offering interest rates as high as 3%, used to raise an $18.25 million Series ARead the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderSep 29th, 2021

DELL Offers Long-Term Outlook, Launches Share Buyback Program

Dell (DELL) expects to witness revenue CAGR of 3-4% and earnings CAGR of more than 6% through fiscal 2026. The company launches a share buyback plan of $5 billion. Dell Technologies DELL provided a long-term outlook at its online Securities Analyst Meeting on Sep 23. The company expects to witness revenue CAGR of 3-4% and earnings CAGR of more than 6% through fiscal 2026.Net income to adjusted free cash flow conversion is expected to be greater than 100% through this period. Dell targets to return 40-60% of adjusted free cash flow to shareholders through share buybacks and quarterly dividend.In this aspect, Dell announced a share repurchase program worth $5 billion. Upon receiving approval from its board of directors post the VMware VMW spin-off, the company expects to start paying dividend, beginning first-quarter fiscal 2023. Currently, Dell expects to return $1 billion annually through dividend payment.Dell expects the VMware spin-off to complete in early November, subject to closing conditions, including favorable private letter ruling from the IRS.Dell shares increased 3.5% to $102.69 at close on Sep 23. Year to date, Dell shares are up 40.1% compared with the Zacks IT-Services return of 23.8%.Dell Technologies Inc. Price and Consensus Dell Technologies Inc. price-consensus-chart | Dell Technologies Inc. QuoteDell’s Prospects Powered by Edge, Telecom & Multi-CloudDell has been benefiting from strong PC sales due to solid demand for commercial PCs, driven by coronavirus-led remote-working and online-learning wave. Dell was ranked third by both Gartner and IDC among all PC vendors, trailing Lenovo LNVGY and HP HPQ in their latest second-quarter report.Dell now envisions Multi-cloud, Edge and Telecom as its next long-term growth drivers. In its presentation the company stated that 92% of companies are using multiple clouds while 82% uses hybrid cloud environments, up from 55% from five years ago.Edge presents a $110-billion market opportunity with estimated CAGR of 17% over 2020-2024. More than 50% of new IT infrastructure is expected to be deployed at Edge by 2023, which presents tremendous growth opportunity for Dell.Telecom is a $114-billion market opportunity, and is expected to witness a CAGR of 2% over 2020-2024. Dell’s strong partner base presents significant growth opportunities in the expanding 5G ecosystem.Dell’s served addressable market (including hardware, services and software) is currently worth $1.3 trillion and is expected to witness a CAGR of 6% between 2020 and 2024.Dells’ core market, which currently comprises of PC, peripherals, server, storage and hardware deployment and support, is worth $670 billion, and is expected to witness a CAGR of 3% through 2024.Extended markets that include IaaS, technology outsourcing, telecom networking, data management and system infrastructure software are valued at $650 billion and are expected to witness a CAGR of 8% through 2024.Revenue Outlook in DetailDell expects Infrastructure Solutions Group (“ISG”) revenues to grow in fiscal 2022 and 2023, driven by expanding total addressable market.        Dell expects ISG revenues to witness a CAGR of 3-5% through 2026 driven by server market share gain, multi-cloud, telecom and Edge.For Client Solutions Group (“CSG”) revenues are anticipated to witness a CAGR of 2-3% through 2026, driven by the work-from-anywhere trend and small & medium business growth.Dell maintained its third-quarter fiscal 2022 guidance. The company still expects revenues to increase in the mid-to-high teens range on a year-over-year basis and experience above-normal sequential growth.The Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) company expects strong CSG results, with revenues up in high-single digit, sequentially. ISG revenues are expected to grow low-single digit, sequentially. Time to Invest in Legal Marijuana If you’re looking for big gains, there couldn’t be a better time to get in on a young industry primed to skyrocket from $17.7 billion back in 2019 to an expected $73.6 billion by 2027. After a clean sweep of 6 election referendums in 5 states, pot is now legal in 36 states plus D.C. Federal legalization is expected soon and that could be a still greater bonanza for investors. Even before the latest wave of legalization, Zacks Investment Research has recommended pot stocks that have shot up as high as +285.9%. You’re invited to check out Zacks’ Marijuana Moneymakers: An Investor’s Guide. It features a timely Watch List of pot stocks and ETFs with exceptional growth potential.Today, Download Marijuana Moneymakers FREE >>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 HP Inc. (HPQ): Free Stock Analysis Report VMware, Inc. (VMW): Free Stock Analysis Report Dell Technologies Inc. (DELL): Free Stock Analysis Report Lenovo Group Ltd. (LNVGY): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksSep 24th, 2021

3 Stocks to Buy on Rising Cloud Infrastructure Spending

The cloud-based service market that includes IaaS and SaaS has been growing in importance since the coronavirus outbreak, which is helping companies like Microsoft (MSFT) and Alphabet (GOOGL). The cloud infrastructure market was already doing great and the pandemic provided it a further boost. The pandemic saw millions working, learning, playing and shopping from home, which helped the cloud business grow further.Given that the pandemic is far from over and people are still reeling under fears of the coronavirus, cloud business is only going to grow further. This has seen major players shelling out billions of dollars to expand their cloud services.Cloud Infrastructure Spending GrowingAccording to a new report from Synergy Research Group, the past-year-and-a-half has seen billions of dollars getting invested by companies to enhance their cloud business. The report mentions that the cloud ecosystem market recorded revenues of $235 billion globally in the first half of 2021.The cloud infrastructure services accounted for $150 billion or 63% of this total amount. The cloud infrastructure services include software-as-a-service (SaaS), infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS), platform-as-a-service (PaaS) and hosted private cloud services.Although the pandemic has somewhat eased this year, the work and learn-from home trend is still continuing. In fact, the pandemic has made millions dependent on technology, which is further helping the cloud services market. According to the report, revenues from cloud infrastructure services grew 37% year over year in the first half of 2021.Of this, revenues from SaaS grew over 25%. Besides spending on colocation, leasing and data centre construction grew by 17% in the first half of this year.As more people worked and learned remotely, demand for storage soared. This made organizations shift focus to building business resiliency. Several companies started to accelerate their digital transformation, which made them adopt and consume cloud services.Cloud Market Poised to GrowSince the onset of the pandemic the concept of working, learning and shopping has changed. This has seen companies fast adopting SaaS. At the same time, most businesses are shifting data and information to technological and digital platforms to safely remain afloat amid this competition. This, in turn, is benefiting the cloud business.And to keep things going cloud providers are boosting infrastructure spending.A separate report form Canalys shows, global cloud infrastructure spending hit $47 billion in the second quarter, growing 36% quarter over quarter. This means expenditure was higher by over $5 billion in the second quarter and more than $12 billion on a year-over-year basis.Increasing spending has led to companies earning higher revenues, with big players leading the race. According to Canalys, the top three cloud service providers in the second quarter were Amazon.com, Inc.’s AMZN Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Corporation’s MSFT Microsoft Azure and Alphabet, Inc.’s GOOGL Google Cloud.According to a report from IDC, spending on compute and storage cloud infrastructure is expected to witness a CAGR of 11.3% from 2021 to 2025.Our ChoicesBox, Inc. BOX is a provider of a cloud content management platform. The platform enables internal and external collaboration on content, automation of content-driven business processes, development of custom applications, data protection, security and compliance features.The company’s expected earnings growth rate for the current year is 15.7%. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for current-year earnings has improved 5.7% over the past 60 days. Box carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.Microsoft Corporation is one of the largest broad-based technology providers in the world.  It is also a public cloud provider that can deliver a wide variety of IaaS and PaaS solutions at scale.The company’s expected earnings growth rate for the current year is 8.4%. The company’s shares have gained 7% in the past three months. Microsoft carries a Zacks Rank #2.Alphabet Inc. is one of the most innovative companies in the modern technological age. Over the last few years, the company has evolved from primarily being a search-engine provider to cloud computing, ad-based video and music streaming, autonomous vehicles, healthcare providers and others.The company’s expected earnings growth rate for the current year is 73.8%. The company’s shares have gained 10.1% in the past three months.  Alphabet carries a Zacks Rank #2. Infrastructure Stock Boom to Sweep America A massive push to rebuild the crumbling U.S. infrastructure will soon be underway. It’s bipartisan, urgent, and inevitable. Trillions will be spent. Fortunes will be made. The only question is “Will you get into the right stocks early when their growth potential is greatest?” Zacks has released a Special Report to help you do just that, and today it’s free. Discover 7 special companies that look to gain the most from construction and repair to roads, bridges, and buildings, plus cargo hauling and energy transformation on an almost unimaginable scale.Download FREE: How to Profit from Trillions on Spending for Infrastructure >>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 Alphabet Inc. (GOOGL): Free Stock Analysis Report Box, Inc. (BOX): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksOct 15th, 2021

Inside the World of Black Bitcoin, Where Crypto Is About Making More Than Just Money

“We can operate on an even playing field in the digital world” At the Black Blockchain Summit, there is almost no conversation about making money that does not carry with it the possibility of liberation. This is not simply a gathering for those who would like to ride whatever bumps and shocks, gains and losses come with cryptocurrency. It is a space for discussing the relationship between money and man, the powers that be and what they have done with power. Online and in person, on the campus of Howard University in Washington, D.C., an estimated 1,500 mostly Black people have gathered to talk about crypto—decentralized digital money backed not by governments but by blockchain technology, a secure means of recording transactions—as a way to make money while disrupting centuries-long patterns of oppression. [time-brightcove not-tgx=”true”] “What we really need to be doing is to now utilize the technology behind blockchain to enhance the quality of life for our people,” says Christopher Mapondera, a Zimbabwean American and the first official speaker. As a white-haired engineer with the air of a lecturing statesman, Mapondera’s conviction feels very on-brand at a conference themed “Reparations and Revolutions.” Along with summit organizer Sinclair Skinner, Mapondera co-founded BillMari, a service that aims to make it easier to transmit cryptocurrency to wherever the sons and daughters of Africa have been scattered. So, not exactly your stereotypical “Bitcoin bro.” Contrary to the image associated with cryptocurrency since it entered mainstream awareness, almost no one at the summit is a fleece-vest-wearing finance guy or an Elon Musk type with a grudge against regulators. What they are is a cross section of the world of Black crypto traders, educators, marketers and market makers—a world that seemingly mushroomed during the pandemic, rallying around the idea that this is the boon that Black America needs. In fact, surveys indicate that people of color are investing in cryptocurrency in ways that outpace or equal other groups—something that can’t be said about most financial products. About 44% of those who own crypto are people of color, according to a June survey by the University of Chicago’s National Opinion Research Center. In April, a Harris Poll reported that while just 16% of U.S. adults overall own cryptocurrency, 18% of Black Americans have gotten in on it. (For Latino Americans, the figure is 20%.) The actor Hill Harper of The Good Doctor, a Harvard Law School friend of former President Barack Obama, is a pitchman for Black Wall Street, a digital wallet and crypto trading service developed with Najah Roberts, a Black crypto expert. And this summer, when the popular money-transfer service Cash App added the option to purchase Bitcoin, its choice to explain the move was the MC Megan Thee Stallion. “With my knowledge and your hustle, you’ll have your own empire in no time,” she says in an ad titled “Bitcoin for Hotties.” Read more: Americans Have Learned to Talk About Racial Inequality. But They’ve Done Little to Solve It But, as even Megan Thee Stallion acknowledges in that ad, pinning one’s economic hopes on crypto is inherently risky. Many economic experts have described crypto as little better than a bubble, mere fool’s gold. The rapid pace of innovation—it’s been little more than a decade since Bitcoin was created by the enigmatic, pseudonymous Satoshi Nakamoto—has left consumers with few protections. Whether the potential is worth those risks is the stuff of constant, and some would say, infernal debate. Jared Soares for TIMECleve Mesidor, who founded the National Policy Network of Women of Color in Blockchain What looms in the backdrop is clear. In the U.S., the median white family’s wealth—reflecting not just assets minus debt, but also the ability to weather a financial setback—sat around $188,200, per the Federal Reserve’s most recent measure in 2019. That’s about eight times the median wealth of Black families. (For Latino families, it’s five times greater; the wealth of Asian, Pacific Island and other families sits between that of white and Latino families, according to the report.) Other estimates paint an even grimmer picture. If trends continue, the median Black household will have zero wealth by 2053. The summit attendees seem certain that crypto represents keys to a car bound for somewhere better. “Our digital selves are more important in some ways than our real-world selves,” Tony Perkins, a Black MIT-trained computer scientist, says during a summit session on “Enabling Black Land and Asset Ownership Using Blockchain.” The possibilities he rattles off—including fractional ownership of space stations—will, to many, sound fantastical. To others, they sound like hope. “We can operate on an even playing field in the digital world,” he says. The next night, when in-person attendees gather at Barcode, a Black-owned downtown D.C. establishment, for drinks and conversation, there’s a small rush on black T-shirts with white lettering: SATOSHI, they proclaim, IS BLACK. That’s an intriguing idea when your ancestors’ bodies form much of the foundation of U.S. prosperity. At the nation’s beginnings, land theft from Native Americans seeded the agricultural operations where enslaved Africans would labor and die, making others rich. By 1860, the cotton-friendly ground of Mississippi was so productive that it was home to more millionaires than anywhere else in the country. Government-supported pathways to wealth, from homesteading to homeownership, have been reliably accessible to white Americans only. So Black Bitcoiners’ embrace of decentralized currencies—and a degree of doubt about government regulators, as well as those who have done well in the traditional system—makes sense. Skinner, the conference organizer, believes there’s racial subtext in the caution from the financial mainstream regarding Bitcoin—a pervasive idea that Black people just don’t understand finance. “I’m skeptical of all of those [warnings], based on the history,” Skinner, who is Black American, says. Even a drop in the value of Bitcoin this year, which later went back up, has not made him reticent. “They have petrol shortages in England right now. They’ll blame the weather or Brexit, but they’ll never have to say they’re dumb. Something don’t work in Detroit or some city with a Black mayor, we get a collective shame on us.” Read more: America’s Interstate Slave Trade Once Trafficked Nearly 30,000 People a Year—And Reshaped the Country’s Economy The first time I speak to Skinner, the summit is still two weeks away. I’d asked him to talk through some of the logistics, but our conversation ranges from what gives money value to the impact of ride-share services on cabbies refusing Black passengers. Tech often promises to solve social problems, he says. The Internet was supposed to democratize all sorts of things. In many cases, it defaulted to old patterns. (As Black crypto policy expert Cleve Mesidor put it to me, “The Internet was supposed to be decentralized, and today it’s owned by four white men.”) But with the right people involved from the start of the next wave of change—crypto—the possibilities are endless, Skinner says. Skinner, a Howard grad and engineer by training, first turned to crypto when he and Mapondera were trying to find ways to do ethanol business in Zimbabwe. Traditional international transactions were slow or came with exorbitant fees. In Africa, consumers pay some of the world’s highest remittance, cell phone and Internet data fees in the world, a damaging continuation of centuries-long wealth transfers off the continent to others, Skinner says. Hearing about cryptocurrency, he was intrigued—particularly having seen, during the recession, the same banking industry that had profited from slavery getting bailed out as hundreds of thousands of people of color lost their homes. So in 2013, he invested “probably less than $3,000,” mostly in Bitcoin. Encouraged by his friend Brian Armstrong, CEO of Coinbase, one of the largest platforms for trading crypto, he grew his stake. In 2014, when Skinner went to a crypto conference in Amsterdam, only about eight Black people were there, five of them caterers, but he felt he had come home ideologically. He saw he didn’t need a Rockefeller inheritance to change the world. “I don’t have to build a bank where they literally used my ancestors to build the capital,” says Skinner, who today runs a site called I Love Black People, which operates like a global anti-racist Yelp. “I can unseat that thing by not trying to be like them.” Eventually, he and Mapondera founded BillMari and became the first crypto company to partner with the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe to lower fees on remittances, the flow of money from immigrants overseas back home to less-developed nations—an economy valued by the World Bank and its offshoot KNOMAD at $702 billion in 2020. (Some of the duo’s business plans later evaporated, after Zimbabwe’s central bank revoked approval for some cryptocurrency activities.) Skinner’s feelings about the economic overlords make it a bit surprising that he can attract people like Charlene Fadirepo, a banker by trade and former government regulator, to speak at the summit. On the first day, she offers attendees a report on why 2021 was a “breakout year for Bitcoin,” pointing out that major banks have begun helping high-net-worth clients invest in it, and that some corporations have bought crypto with their cash on hand, holding it as an asset. Fadirepo, who worked in the Fed’s inspector general’s office monitoring Federal Reserve banks and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, is not a person who hates central banks or regulation. A Black American, she believes strongly in both, and in their importance for protecting investors and improving the economic position of Black people. Today she operates Guidefi, a financial education and advising company geared toward helping Black women connect with traditional financial advisers. It just launched, for a fee, direct education in cryptocurrency. Crypto is a relatively new part of Fadirepo’s life. She and her Nigerian-American doctor husband earn good salaries and follow all the responsible middle-class financial advice. But the pandemic showed her they still didn’t have what some of his white colleagues did: the freedom to walk away from high-risk work. As the stock market shuddered and storefronts shuttered, she decided a sea change was coming. A family member had mentioned Bitcoin at a funeral in 2017, but it sounded risky. Now, her research kept bringing her back to it. Last year, she and her husband bought $6,000 worth. No investment has ever generated the kinds of returns for them that Bitcoin has. “It has transformed people’s relationship with money,” she says. “Folks are just more intentional … and honestly feeling like they had access to a world that was previously walled off.” Read more: El Salvador Is Betting on Bitcoin to Rebrand the Country — and Strengthen the President’s Grip She knows frauds exists. In May, a federal watchdog revealed that since October 2020, nearly 7,000 people have reported losses of more than $80 million on crypto scams—12 times more scam reports than the same period the previous year. The median individual loss: $1,900. For Fadirepo, it’s worrying. That’s part of why she helps moderate recurring free learning and discussion options like the Black Bitcoin Billionaires chat room on Clubhouse, which has grown from about 2,000 to 130,000 club members this year. Jared Soares for TIMECharlene Fadirepo, a banker and former government regulator, near the National Museum of African American History and Culture There’s a reason Black investors might prefer their own spaces for that kind of education. Fadirepo says it’s not unheard-of in general crypto spaces—theoretically open to all, but not so much in practice—to hear that relying on the U.S. dollar is slavery. “To me, a descendant of enslaved people in America, that was painful,” she says. “There’s a lot of talk about sovereignty, freedom from the U.S. dollar, freedom from inflation, inflation is slavery, blah blah blah. The historical context has been sucked out of these conversations about traditional financial systems. I don’t know how I can talk about banking without also talking about history.” Back in January, I found myself in a convenience store in a low-income and predominantly Black neighborhood in Dallas, an area still living the impact of segregation decades after its official end. I was there to report on efforts to register Black residents for COVID-19 shots after an Internet-only sign-up system—and wealthier people gaming the system—created an early racial disparity in vaccinations. I stepped away to buy a bottle of water. Inside the store, a Black man wondered aloud where the lottery machine had gone. He’d come to spend his usual $2 on tickets and had found a Bitcoin machine sitting in its place. A second Black man standing nearby, surveying chip options, explained that Bitcoin was a form of money, an investment right there for the same $2. After just a few questions, the first man put his money in the machine and walked away with a receipt describing the fraction of one bitcoin he now owned. Read more: When a Texas County Tried to Ensure Racial Equity in COVID-19 Vaccinations, It Didn’t Go as Planned I was both worried and intrigued. What kind of arrangement had prompted the store’s owner to replace the lottery machine? That month, a single bitcoin reached the $40,000 mark. “That’s very revealing, if someone chooses to put a cryptocurrency machine in the same place where a lottery [machine] was,” says Jeffrey Frankel, a Harvard economist, when I tell him that story. Frankel has described cryptocurrencies as similar to gambling, more often than not attracting those who can least afford to lose, whether they are in El Salvador or Texas. Frankel ranks among the economists who have been critical of El Salvador’s decision to begin recognizing Bitcoin last month as an official currency, in part because of the reality that few in the county have access to the internet, as well as the cryptocurrency’s price instability and its lack of backing by hard assets, he says. At the same time that critics have pointed to the shambolic Bitcoin rollout in El Salvador, Bitcoin has become a major economic force in Nigeria, one of the world’s larger players in cryptocurrency trading. In fact, some have argued that it has helped people in that country weather food inflation. But, to Frankel, crypto does not contain promise for lasting economic transformation. To him, disdain for experts drives interest in cryptocurrency in much the same way it can fuel vaccine hesitancy. Frankel can see the potential to reduce remittance costs, and he does not doubt that some people have made money. Still, he’s concerned that the low cost and click-here ease of buying crypto may draw people to far riskier crypto assets, he says. Then he tells me he’d put the word assets here in a hard set of air quotes. And Frankel, who is white, is not alone. Darrick Hamilton, an economist at the New School who is Black, says Bitcoin should be seen in the same framework as other low-cost, high-risk, big-payoff options. “In the end, it’s a casino,” he says. To people with less wealth, it can feel like one of the few moneymaking methods open to them, but it’s not a source of group uplift. “Like any speculation, those that can arbitrage the market will be fine,” he says. “There’s a whole lot of people that benefited right before the Great Recession, but if they didn’t get out soon enough, they lost their shirts too.” To buyers like Jiri Sampson, a Black cryptocurrency investor who works in real estate and lives outside Washington, D.C., that perspective doesn’t register as quite right. The U.S.-born son of Guyanese immigrants wasn’t thinking about exploitation when he invested his first $20 in cryptocurrency in 2017. But the groundwork was there. Sampson homeschools his kids, due in part to his lack of faith that public schools equip Black children with the skills to determine their own fates. He is drawn to the capacity of this technology to create greater agency for Black people worldwide. The blockchain, for example, could be a way to establish ownership for people who don’t hold standard documents—an important issue in Guyana and many other parts of the world, where individuals who have lived on the land for generations are vulnerable to having their property co-opted if they lack formal deeds. Sampson even pitched a project using the blockchain and GPS technology to establish digital ownership records to the Guyanese government, which did not bite. “I don’t want to downplay the volatility of Bitcoin,” Sampson says. But that’s only a significant concern, he believes, if one intends to sell quickly. To him, Bitcoin represents a “harder” asset than the dollar, which he compares to a ship with a hole in it. Bitcoin has a limited supply, while the Fed can decide to print more dollars anytime. That, to Sampson, makes some cryptocurrencies, namely Bitcoin, good to buy and hold, to pass along wealth from one generation to another. Economists and crypto buyers aren’t the only ones paying attention. Congress, the Securities and Exchange Commission, and the Federal Reserve have indicated that they will move toward official assessments or regulation soon. At least 10 federal agencies are interested in or already regulating crypto in some way, and there’s now a Congressional Blockchain Caucus. Representatives from the Federal Reserve and the SEC declined to comment, but SEC Chairman Gary Gensler assured a Senate subcommittee in September that his agency is working to develop regulation that will apply to cryptocurrency markets and trading activity. Enter Cleve Mesidor, of the quip about the Internet being owned by four white men. When we meet during the summit, she introduces herself: “Cleve Mesidor, I’m in crypto.” She’s the first person I’ve ever heard describe herself that way, but not that long ago, “influencer” wasn’t a career either. A former Obama appointee who worked inside the Commerce Department on issues related to entrepreneurship and economic development, Mesidor learned about cryptocurrency during that time. But she didn’t get involved in it personally until 2013, when she purchased $200 in Bitcoin. After leaving government, she founded the National Policy Network of Women of Color in Blockchain, and is now the public policy adviser for the industry group the Blockchain Association. There are more men than women in Black crypto spaces, she tells me, but the gender imbalance tends to be less pronounced than in white-dominated crypto communities. Mesidor, who immigrated to the U.S. from Haiti and uses her crypto investments to fund her professional “wanderlust,” has also lived crypto’s downsides. She’s been hacked and the victim of an attempted ransomware attack. But she still believes cryptocurrency and related technology can solve real-world problems, and she’s trying, she says, to make sure that necessary consumer protections are not structured in a way that chokes the life out of small businesses or investors. “D.C. is like Vegas; the house always wins,” says Mesidor, whose independently published book is called The Clevolution: My Quest for Justice in Politics & Crypto. “The crypto community doesn’t get that.” Passion, she says, is not enough. The community needs to be involved in the regulatory discussions that first intensified after the price of a bitcoin went to $20,000 in 2017. A few days after the summit, when Mesidor and I spoke by phone, Bitcoin had climbed to nearly $60,000. At Barcode, the Washington lounge, Isaiah Jackson is holding court. A man with a toothpaste-commercial smile, he’s the author of the independently published Bitcoin & Black America, has appeared on CNBC and is half of the streaming show The Gentleman of Crypto, which bills itself as the one of the longest-running cryptocurrency shows on the Internet. When he was building websites as a sideline, he convinced a large black church in Charlotte, N.C., to, for a time, accept Bitcoin donations. He helped establish Black Bitcoin Billionaires on Clubhouse and, like Fadirepo, helps moderate some of its rooms and events. He’s also a former teacher, descended from a line of teachers, and is using those skills to develop (for a fee) online education for those who want to become crypto investors. Now, there’s a small group standing near him, talking, but mostly listening. Jackson was living in North Carolina when one of his roommates, a white man who worked for a money-management firm, told him he had just heard a presentation about crypto and thought he might want to suggest it to his wealthy parents. The concept blew Jackson’s mind. He soon started his own research. “Being in the Black community and seeing the actions of banks, with redlining and other things, it just appealed to me,” Jackson tells me. “You free the money, you free everything else.” Read more: Beyond Tulsa: The Historic Legacies and Overlooked Stories of America’s ‘Black Wall Streets’ He took his $400 savings and bought two bitcoins in October 2013. That December, the price of a single bitcoin topped $1,100. He started thinking about what kind of new car he’d buy. And he stuck with it, even seeing prices fluctuate and scams proliferate. When the Gentlemen of Bitcoin started putting together seminars, one of the early venues was at a college fair connected to an annual HBCU basketball tournament attended by thousands of mostly Black people. Bitcoin eventually became more than an investment. He believed there was great value in spreading the word. But that was then. “I’m done convincing people. There’s no point battling going back and forth,” he says. “Even if they don’t realize it, what [investors] are doing if they are keeping their bitcoin long term, they are moving money out of the current system into another one. And that is basically the best form of peaceful protest.”   —With reporting by Leslie Dickstein and Simmone Shah.....»»

Category: topSource: timeOct 15th, 2021

Allscripts (MDRX), CareMetx Tie Up for Better Patient Care

Allscripts' (MDRX) Veradigm enters collaboration with CareMetx to streamline specialty medication management for medical clinics and practices across the nation. Veradigm, a renowned healthcare data and technology solutions provider, and a business unit of Allscripts Healthcare Solutions MDRX, recently entered into a collaboration with CareMetx. Per the terms of the new agreement, CareMetx is expected to combine its solutions and services directly into the Veradigm AccelRx specialty medication platform.For investors’ note, CareMetx is a technology-enabled hub services company committed toward improving patients’ access to specialty medications. The AccelRx platform simplifies the specialty enrollment process for users of Veradigm and other electronic health record (“EHR”) software vendors.With the latest partnership, Allscripts aims to solidify its foothold in the global EHR solutions business. The EHR business is a part of the broader Core Clinical and Financial Solutions reportable segment of the company.Rationale Behind the PartnershipCurrently, patients’ prescriptions have to pass via a broad cross-section of healthcare industry stakeholders before they receive their specialty medication. Per a 2020 survey data on prescribers from Veradigm, it was found that the majority of physicians believe that patient medication adherence would improve if specialty medication prescriptions could be filled more easily and delivered to patients quicker.The agreement is likely to make Veradigm’s AccelRx automated solutions for specialty medication enrollment, among others, available directly to CareMetx clients. This, in turn, is expected to allow users of Veradigm and Allscripts’ EHRs to access CareMetx specialty medication patient access hub services via AccelRx. This combination is expected to lower the time-to-therapy for patients, drive increased adherence to their prescribed care plan and reduce administrative burden on medical practices.Per Veradigm’s management, working with hub services providers like CareMetx can lead to improvements in the specialty medication fulfillment process, and also reduces patient wait times, thereby aiding them to begin their prescribed therapies sooner.Industry ProspectsPer a report by Grand View Research, the global medication management system market was valued at $1.20 billion in 2016 and is projected to grow at a CAGR of 20.5% between 2018 and 2025. Factors like growing investments by hospitals to improve workflow, global adoption of IT in the healthcare sector and an increase in focus on reducing medication errors are likely to drive the market.Given the market potential, the latest partnership is expected to significantly boost Allscripts’ business on a global scale.Notable DevelopmentsOf late, Allscripts has witnessed a few notable developments across its businesses.In September, the company partnered with Eastern Health to advance health-care services and programs while maximizing health system efficiencies and general economic development in Newfoundland and Labrador.Allscripts, in August, announced robust second-quarter 2021 results, wherein it registered year-over-year uptick in both the top and bottom lines, along with a surge in total bookings.In June, the company’s Veradigm unit entered into a partnership with PRA Health, now a part of ICON plc ICLR, to create a vast EHR-based clinical research network that covers more than 25,000 physicians and 40 million patients across the United States.Comparison With PeersIn September, Allscripts’ peer NextGen Healthcare, Inc. NXGN announced that its Revenue Cycle Management (“RCM”) Services has been successfully optimized by Coastal Orthopedics (Coastal) for its billing and reporting purposes. The RCM Services is an extension of NextGen’s use of the NextGen Enterprise EHR and NextGen Practice Management solutions.Another renowned name in the healthcare technology space is Change Healthcare Inc. CHNG. The company, in August, introduced its Stratus Imaging PACS — a new comprehensive cloud software-as-a-service solution for radiology practices. Currently, the solution is in beta testing, with the company having plans to extend the same to hospitals in the future. 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. You know this company from its past glory days, but few would expect that it's poised for a monster turnaround. Fresh from a successful repositioning and flush with A-list celeb endorsements, it could rival or surpass other recent Zacks' Stocks Set to Double like Boston Beer Company which shot up +143.0% in a 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 Allscripts Healthcare Solutions, Inc. (MDRX): Free Stock Analysis Report ICON PLC (ICLR): Free Stock Analysis Report NEXTGEN HEALTHCARE, INC (NXGN): Free Stock Analysis Report Change Healthcare Inc. (CHNG): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here......»»

Category: topSource: zacksOct 13th, 2021

Futures Reverse Losses Ahead Of Key CPI Report

Futures Reverse Losses Ahead Of Key CPI Report For the second day in a row, an overnight slump in equity futures sparked by concerns about iPhone sales (with Bloomberg reporting at the close on Tuesday that iPhone 13 production target may be cut by 10mm units due to chip shortages) and driven be more weakness out of China was rescued thanks to aggressive buying around the European open. At 800 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis were up 35 points, or 0.1%, S&P 500 e-minis were up 10.25 points, or 0.24%, and Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 58.50 points, or 0.4% ahead of the CPI report due at 830am ET. 10Y yields dipped to 1.566%, the dollar was lower and Brent crude dropped below $83. JPMorgan rose as much as 0.8% in premarket trading after the firm’s merger advisory business reported its best quarterly profit. On the other end, Apple dropped 1% lower in premarket trading, a day after Bloomberg reported that the technology giant is likely to slash its projected iPhone 13 production targets for 2021 by as many as 10 million units due to prolonged chip shortages. Here are some of the biggest U.S. movers today: Suppliers Skyworks Solutions (SWKS US), Qorvo (ORVO) and Cirrus Logic (CRUS US) slipped Tuesday postmarket Koss (KOSS US) shares jump 23% in U.S. premarket trading in an extension of Tuesday’s surge after tech giant Apple was rebuffed in two patent challenges against the headphones and speakers firm Qualcomm (QCOM US) shares were up 2.7% in U.S. premarket trading after it announced a $10.0 billion stock buyback International Paper (IP US) in focus after its board authorized a program to acquire up to $2b of the company’s common stock; cut quarterly dividend by 5c per share Smart Global (SGH US) shares rose 2% Tuesday postmarket after it reported adjusted earnings per share for the fourth quarter that beat the average analyst estimate Wayfair (W US) shares slide 1.8% in thin premarket trading after the stock gets tactical downgrade to hold at Jefferies Plug Power (PLUG US) gains 4.9% in premarket trading after Morgan Stanley upgrades the fuel cell systems company to overweight, saying in note that it’s “particularly well positioned” to be a leader in the hydrogen economy Wall Street ended lower in choppy trading on Tuesday, as investors grew jittery in the run-up to earnings amid worries about supply chain problems and higher prices affecting businesses emerging from the pandemic. As we noted last night, the S&P 500 has gone 27 straight days without rallying to a fresh high, the longest such stretch since last September, signaling some fatigue in the dip-buying that pushed the market up from drops earlier this year. Focus now turn to inflation data, due at 0830 a.m. ET, which will cement the imminent arrival of the Fed's taper.  "A strong inflation will only reinforce the expectation that the Fed would start tapering its bond purchases by next month, that's already priced in," said Ipek Ozkardeskaya, senior analyst at Swissquote Bank. "Yet, a too strong figure could boost expectations of an earlier rate hike from the Fed and that is not necessarily fully priced in." The minutes of the Federal Reserve's September policy meeting, due later in the day, will also be scrutinized for signals that the days of crisis-era policy were numbered. Most European equities reverse small opening losses and were last up about 0.5%, as news that German software giant SAP increased its revenue forecast led tech stocks higher. DAX gained 0.7% with tech, retail and travel names leading. FTSE 100, FTSE MIB and IBEX remained in the red. Here are some of the biggest European movers today: Entra shares gain as much as 10% after Balder increases its stake and says it intends to submit a mandatory offer. Spie jumps as much as 10%, the biggest intraday gain in more than a year, after the French company pulled out of the process to buy Engie’s Equans services unit. Man Group rises as much as 8.3% after the world’s largest publicly traded hedge fund announced quarterly record inflows. 3Q21 net inflows were a “clear beat” and confirm pipeline strength, Morgan Stanley said in a note. Barratt Developments climbs as much as 6.3%, with analysts saying the U.K. homebuilder’s update shows current trading is improving. Recticel climbs 15% to its highest level in more than 20 years as the stock resumes trading after the company announced plans to sell its foams unit to Carpenter Co. Bossard Holding rises as much as 9.1% to a record high after the company reported 3Q earnings that ZKB said show strong growth. Sartorius gains as much as 5.9% after Kepler Cheuvreux upgrades to hold from sell and raises its price target, saying it expects “impressive earnings growth” to continue for the lab equipment company. SAP jumps as much as 5% after the German software giant increased its revenue forecast owing to accelerating cloud sales. Just Eat Takeaway slides as much as 5.8% in Amsterdam to the lowest since March 2020 after a 3Q trading update. Analysts flagged disappointing orders as pandemic restrictions eased, and an underwhelming performance in the online food delivery firm’s U.S. market. Earlier in the session, Asian stocks posted a modest advance as investors awaited key inflation data out of the U.S. and Hong Kong closed its equity market because of typhoon Kompasu. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index rose 0.2% after fluctuating between gains and losses, with chip and electronics manufacturers sliding amid concerns over memory chip supply-chain issues and Apple’s iPhone 13 production targets. Hong Kong’s $6.3 trillion market was shut as strong winds and rain hit the financial hub.  “Broader supply tightness continues to be a real issue across a number of end markets,” Morgan Stanley analysts including Katy L. Huberty wrote in a note. The most significant iPhone production bottleneck stems from a “shortage of camera modules for the iPhone 13 Pro/Pro Max due to low utilization rates at a Sharp factory in southern Vietnam,” they added. Wednesday’s direction-less trading illustrated the uncertainty in Asian markets as traders reassess earnings forecasts to factor in inflation and supply chain concerns. U.S. consumer price index figures and FOMC minutes due overnight may move shares. Southeast Asian indexes rose thanks to their cyclical exposure. Singapore’s stock gauge was the top performer in the region, rising to its highest in about two months, before the the nation’s central bank decides on monetary policy on Thursday. Japanese stocks fell for a second day as electronics makers declined amid worries about memory chip supply-chain issues and concerns over Apple’s iPhone 13 production targets.  The Topix index fell 0.4% to 1,973.83 at the 3 p.m. close in Tokyo, while the Nikkei 225 declined 0.3% to 28,140.28. Toyota Motor Corp. contributed the most to the Topix’s loss, decreasing 1.3%. Out of 2,181 shares in the index, 608 rose and 1,489 fell, while 84 were unchanged. Japanese Apple suppliers such as TDK, Murata and Taiyo Yuden slid. The U.S. company is likely to slash its projected iPhone 13 production targets for 2021 by as many as 10 million units as prolonged chip shortages hit its flagship product, according to people with knowledge of the matter Australian stocks closed lower as banks and miners weighed on the index. The S&P/ASX 200 index fell 0.1% to close at 7,272.50, dragged down by banks and miners as iron ore extended its decline. All other subgauges edged higher. a2 Milk surged after its peer Bubs Australia reported growing China sales and pointed to a better outlook for daigou channels. Bank of Queensland tumbled after its earnings release. In New Zealand, the S&P/NZX 50 index rose 0.2% to 13,025.18. In rates, Treasuries extended Tuesday’s bull-flattening gains, led by gilts and, to a lesser extent, bunds. Treasuries were richer by ~2bps across the long-end of the curve, flattening 5s30s by about that much; U.K. 30-year yield is down nearly 7bp, with same curve flatter by ~6bp. Long-end gilts outperform in a broad-based bull flattening move that pushed 30y gilt yields down ~7bps back near 1.38%. Peripheral spreads widen slightly to Germany. Cash USTs bull flatten but trade cheaper by ~2bps across the back end to both bunds and gilt ahead of today’s CPI release. In FX, the Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index fell by as much as 0.2% and the greenback weakened against all of its Group-of-10 peers; the Treasury curve flattened, mainly via falling yields in the long- end, The euro advanced to trade at around $1.1550 and the Bund yield curve flattened, with German bonds outperforming Treasuries. The euro’s volatility skew versus the dollar shows investors remain bearish the common currency as policy divergence between the Federal Reserve and the European Central Bank remains for now. The pound advanced with traders shrugging off the U.K.’s weaker-than-expected economic growth performance in August. Australia’s sovereign yield curve flattened for a second day while the currency underperformed its New Zealand peer amid a drop in iron ore prices. The yen steadied after four days of declines. In commodities, crude futures hold a narrow range with WTI near $80, Brent dipping slightly below $83. Spot gold pops back toward Tuesday’s best levels near $1,770/oz. Base metals are in the green with most of the complex up at least 1%. To the day ahead now, and the main data highlight will be the aforementioned US CPI reading for September, while today will also see the most recent FOMC meeting minutes released. Other data releases include UK GDP for August and Euro Area industrial production for August. Central bank speakers include BoE Deputy Governor Cunliffe, the ECB’s Visco and the Fed’s Brainard. Finally, earnings releases include JPMorgan Chase, BlackRock and Delta Air Lines. Market Snapshot S&P 500 futures up 0.1% to 4,346.25 STOXX Europe 600 up 0.4% to 459.04 MXAP up 0.2% to 194.60 MXAPJ up 0.4% to 638.16 Nikkei down 0.3% to 28,140.28 Topix down 0.4% to 1,973.83 Hang Seng Index down 1.4% to 24,962.59 Shanghai Composite up 0.4% to 3,561.76 Sensex up 0.8% to 60,782.71 Australia S&P/ASX 200 down 0.1% to 7,272.54 Kospi up 1.0% to 2,944.41 Brent Futures down 0.4% to $83.12/bbl Gold spot up 0.5% to $1,768.13 U.S. Dollar Index down 0.23% to 94.30 German 10Y yield fell 4.2 bps to -0.127% Euro little changed at $1.1553 Brent Futures down 0.4% to $83.12/bbl Top Overnight News from Bloomberg Vladimir Putin wants to press the EU to rewrite some of the rules of its gas market after years of ignoring Moscow’s concerns, to tilt them away from spot-pricing toward long-term contracts favored by Russia’s state run Gazprom, according to two people with knowledge of the matter. Russia is also seeking rapid certification of the controversial Nord Stream 2 pipeline to Germany to boost gas deliveries, they said. Federal Reserve Vice Chairman for Supervision Randal Quarles will be removed from his role as the main watchdog of Wall Street lenders after his title officially expires this week. The EU will offer a new package of concessions to the U.K. that would ease trade barriers in Northern Ireland, as the two sides prepare for a new round of contentious Brexit negotiations. U.K. Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak is on course to raise taxes and cut spending to control the budget deficit, while BoE Governor Andrew Bailey has warned interest rates are likely to rise in the coming months to curb a rapid surge in prices. Together, those moves would mark a simultaneous major tightening of both policy levers just months after the biggest recession in a century -- an unprecedented move since the BoE gained independence in 1997. Peter Kazimir, a member of the ECB’s Governing Council, was charged with bribery in Slovakia. Kazimir, who heads the country’s central bank, rejected the allegations A more detailed look at global markets courtesy of Newsquawk Asia-Pac stocks were mixed following the choppy performance stateside with global risk appetite cautious amid the rate hike bets in US and heading into key events including US CPI and FOMC Minutes, while there were also mild headwinds for US equity futures after the closing bell on reports that Apple is set to reduce output of iPhones by 10mln from what was initially planned amid the chip shortage. ASX 200 (unch.) was little changed as gains in gold miners, energy and tech were offset by losses in financials and the broader mining sector, with softer Westpac Consumer Confidence also limiting upside in the index. Nikkei 225 (-0.3%) was pressured at the open as participants digested mixed Machinery Orders data which showed the largest M/M contraction since February 2018 and prompted the government to cut its assessment on machinery orders, although the benchmark index gradually retraced most its losses after finding support around the 28k level and amid the recent favourable currency moves. Shanghai Comp. (+0.4%) also declined as participants digested mixed Chinese trade data in which exports topped estimates but imports disappointed and with Hong Kong markets kept shut due to a typhoon warning. Finally, 10yr JGBs were steady with price action contained after the curve flattening stateside and tentative mood heading to upcoming risk events, although prices were kept afloat amid the BoJ’s purchases in the market for around JPY 1tln of JGBs predominantly focused on 1-3yr and 5-10yr maturities. Top Asian News Gold Edges Higher on Weaker Dollar Before U.S. Inflation Report RBA Rate Hike Expectations Too Aggressive, TD Ameritrade Says LG Electronics Has Series of Stock-Target Cuts After Profit Miss The mood across European stocks has improved from the subdued cash open (Euro Stoxx 50 +0.5%; Stoxx 600 +0.3%) despite a distinct lack of newsflow and heading into the official start of US earnings season, US CPI and FOMC minutes. US equity futures have also nursed earlier losses and trade in modest positive territory across the board, with the NQ (+0.5%) narrowly outperforming owing to the intraday fall in yields, alongside the sectorial outperformance seen in European tech amid tech giant SAP (+4.7%) upgrading its full FY outlook, reflecting the strong business performance which is expected to continue to accelerate cloud revenue growth. As such, the DAX 40 (+0.7%) outperformed since the cash open, whilst the FTSE 100 (-0.2%) is weighed on by underperformance in its heavyweight Banking and Basic Resources sectors amid a decline in yields and hefty losses in iron ore prices. Elsewhere, the CAC 40 (+0.3%) is buoyed by LMVH (+2.0%) after the luxury name topped revenue forecasts and subsequently lifted the Retail sector in tandem. Overall, sectors are mixed with no clear bias. In terms of individual movers, Volkswagen (+3.5%) was bolstered amid Handelsblatt reports in which the Co was said to be cutting some 30k jobs as costs are too high vs competitors, whilst separate sources suggested the automaker is said to be mulling spinning off its Battery Cell and charging unit. Chipmakers meanwhile see mixed fortunes in the aftermath of sources which suggested Apple (-0.7% pre-market) is said to be slashing output amid the chip crunch. Top European News The Hut Shares Swing as Strategy Day Feeds Investor Concern U.K. Economy Grows Less Than Expected as Services Disappoint Man Group Gets $5.3 Billion to Lift Assets to Another Record Jeff Ubben and Singapore’s GIC Back $830 Million Fertiglobe IPO In FX, the Dollar looks somewhat deflated or jaded after yesterday’s exertions when it carved out several fresh 2021 highs against rival currencies and a new record peak vs the increasingly beleaguered Turkish Lira. In index terms, a bout of profit taking, consolidation and position paring seems to have prompted a pull-back from 94.563 into a marginally lower 94.533-246 range awaiting potentially pivotal US inflation data, more Fed rhetoric and FOMC minutes from the last policy meeting that may provide more clues or clarity about prospects for near term tapering. NZD/GBP - Both taking advantage of the Greenback’s aforementioned loss of momentum, but also deriving impetus from favourable crosswinds closer to home as the Kiwi briefly revisited 0.6950+ terrain and Aud/Nzd retreats quite sharply from 1.0600+, while Cable has rebounded through 1.3600 again as Eur/Gbp retests support south of 0.8480 yet again, or 1.1800 as a reciprocal. From a fundamental perspective, Nzd/Usd may also be gleaning leverage from the more forward-looking Activity Outlook component of ANZ’s preliminary business survey for October rather than a decline in sentiment, and Sterling could be content with reported concessions from the EU on NI customs in an effort to resolve the Protocol impasse. EUR/CAD/AUD/CHF - Also reclaiming some lost ground against the Buck, with the Euro rebounding from around 1.1525 to circa 1.1560, though not technically stable until closer to 1.1600 having faded ahead of the round number on several occasions in the last week. Meanwhile, the Loonie is straddling 1.2450 in keeping with WTI crude on the Usd 80/brl handle, the Aussie is pivoting 0.7350, but capped in wake of a dip in Westpac consumer confidence, and the Franc is rotating either side of 0.9300. JPY - The Yen seems rather reluctant to get too carried away by the Dollar’s demise or join the broad retracement given so many false dawns of late before further depreciation and a continuation of its losing streak. Indeed, the latest recovery has stalled around 113.35 and Usd/Jpy appears firmly underpinned following significantly weaker than expected Japanese m/m machinery orders overnight. SCANDI/EM - Not much upside in the Sek via firmer Swedish money market inflation expectations and perhaps due to the fact that actual CPI data preceded the latest survey and topped consensus, but the Cnh and Cny are firmer on the back of China’s much wider than forecast trade surplus that was bloated by exports exceeding estimates by some distance in contrast to imports. Elsewhere, further hawkish guidance for the Czk as CNB’s Benda contends that high inflation warrants relatively rapid tightening, but the Try has not derived a lot of support from reports that Turkey is in talks to secure extra gas supplies to meet demand this winter, according to a Minister, and perhaps due to more sabre-rattling from the Foreign Ministry over Syria with accusations aimed at the US and Russia. In commodities, WTI and Brent front-month futures see another choppy session within recent and elevated levels – with the former around USD 80.50/bbl (80.79-79.87/bbl) and the latter around 83.35/bbl (83.50-82.65/bbl range). The complex saw some downside in conjunction with jawboning from the Iraqi Energy Minster, who state oil price is unlikely to increase further, whilst at the same time, the Gazprom CEO suggested that the oil market is overheated. Nonetheless, prices saw a rebound from those lows heading into the US inflation figure, whilst the OPEC MOMR is scheduled for 12:00BST/07:00EDT. Although the release will not likely sway prices amidst the myriad of risk events on the docket, it will offer a peek into OPEC's current thinking on the market. As a reminder, the weekly Private Inventory report will be released tonight, with the DoE's slated for tomorrow on account of Monday's Columbus Day holiday. Gas prices, meanwhile, are relatively stable. Russia's Kremlin noted gas supplies have increased to their maximum possible levels, whilst Gazprom is sticking to its contractual obligations, and there can be no gas supplies beyond those obligations. Over to metals, spot gold and silver move in tandem with the receding Buck, with spot gold inching closer towards its 50 DMA at 1,776/oz (vs low 1,759.50/oz). In terms of base metals, LME copper has regained a footing above USD 9,500/t as stocks grind higher. Conversely, iron ore and rebar futures overnight fell some 6%, with overnight headlines suggesting that China has required steel mills to cut winter output. Further from the supply side, Nyrstar is to limit European smelter output by up to 50% due to energy costs. Nyrstar has a market-leading position in zinc and lead. LME zinc hit the highest levels since March 2018 following the headlines US Event Calendar 8:30am: Sept. CPI YoY, est. 5.3%, prior 5.3%; MoM, est. 0.3%, prior 0.3% 8:30am: Sept. CPI Ex Food and Energy YoY, est. 4.0%, prior 4.0%; MoM, est. 0.2%, prior 0.1% 8:30am: Sept. Real Avg Weekly Earnings YoY, prior -0.9%, revised -1.4% 2pm: Sept. FOMC Meeting Minutes DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap So tonight it’s my first ever “live” parents evening and then James Bond via Wagamama. Given my daughter (6) is the eldest in her year and the twins (4) the youngest (plus additional youth for being premature), I’m expecting my daughter to be at least above average but for my boys to only just about be vaguely aware of what’s going on around them. Poor things. For those reading yesterday, the Cameo video of Nadia Comanenci went down a storm, especially when she mentioned our kids’ names, but the fact that there was no birthday cake wasn’t as popular. So I played a very complicated, defence splitting 80 yard through ball but missed an open goal. Anyway ahead of Bond tonight, with all this inflation about I’m half expecting him to be known as 008 going forward. The next installment of the US prices saga will be seen today with US CPI at 13:30 London time. This is an important one, since it’s the last CPI number the Fed will have ahead of their next policy decision just 3 weeks from now, where investors are awaiting a potential announcement on tapering asset purchases. Interestingly the August reading last month was the first time so far this year that the month-on-month measure was actually beneath the consensus expectation on Bloomberg, with the +0.3% growth being the slowest since January. Famous last words but this report might not be the most interesting since it may be a bit backward looking given WTI oil is up c.7.5% in October alone. In addition, used cars were up +5.4% in September after falling in late summer. So given the 2-3 month lag for this to filter through into the CPI we won’t be getting the full picture today. I loved the fact from his speech last night that the Fed’s Bostic has introduced a “transitory” swear jar in his office. More on the Fedspeak later. In terms of what to expect this time around though, our US economists are forecasting month-on-month growth of +0.41% in the headline CPI, and +0.27% for core, which would take the year-on-year rates to +5.4% for headline and +4.1% for core. Ahead of this, inflation expectations softened late in the day as Fed officials were on the hawkish side. The US 10yr breakeven dropped -1.9bps to 2.49% after trading at 2.527% earlier in the session. This is still the 3rd highest closing level since May, and remains only 7bps off its post-2013 closing high. Earlier, inflation expectations continued to climb in Europe, where the 5y5y forward inflation swap hit a post-2015 high of 1.84%. Also on inflation, the New York Fed released their latest Survey of Consumer Expectations later in the European session, which showed that 1-year ahead inflation expectations were now at +5.3%, which is the highest level since the survey began in 2013, whilst 3-year ahead expectations were now at +4.2%, which was also a high for the series. The late rally in US breakevens, coupled with lower real yields (-1.6bps) meant that the 10yr Treasury yield ended the session down -3.5bps at 1.577% - their biggest one day drop in just over 3 weeks. There was a decent flattening of the yield curve, with the 2yr yield up +2.0bps to 0.34%, its highest level since the pandemic began as the market priced in more near-term Fed rate hikes. In the Euro Area it was a very different story however, with 10yr yields rising to their highest level in months, including among bunds (+3.5bps), OATs (+2.9bps) and BTPs (+1.0bps). That rise in the 10yr bund yield left it at -0.09%, taking it above its recent peak earlier this year to its highest closing level since May 2019. Interestingly gilts (-4.0bps) massively out-performed after having aggressively sold off for the last week or so. Against this backdrop, equity markets struggled for direction as they awaited the CPI reading and the start of the US Q3 earnings season today. By the close of trade, the S&P 500 (-0.24%) and the STOXX 600 (-0.07%) had both posted modest losses as they awaited the next catalyst. Defensive sectors were the outperformers on both sides of the Atlantic. Real estate (+1.34%) and utilities (+0.67%) were among the best performing US stocks, though some notable “reopening” industries outperformed as well including airlines (+0.83%), hotels & leisure (+0.51%). News came out after the US close regarding the global chip shortage, with Bloomberg reporting that Apple, who are one of the largest buyers of chips, would revise down their iPhone 13 production targets for 2021 by 10 million units. Recent rumblings from chip producers suggest that the problems are expected to persist, which will make central bank decisions even more complicated over the coming weeks as they grapple with increasing supply-side constraints that push up inflation whilst threatening to undermine the recovery. Speaking of central bankers, Vice Chair Clarida echoed his previous remarks and other communications from the so-called “core” of the FOMC that the current bout of inflation would prove largely transitory and that underlying trend inflation was hovering close to 2%, while admitting that risks were tilted towards higher inflation. Atlanta Fed President Bostic took a much harder line though, noting that price pressures were expanding beyond the pandemic-impacted sectors, and measures of inflation expectations were creeping higher. Specifically, he said, “it is becoming increasingly clear that the feature of this episode that has animated price pressures — mainly the intense and widespread supply-chain disruptions — will not be brief.” His ‘transitory swear word jar’ for his office was considerably more full by the end of his speech. As highlighted above, while President Bostic spoke US 10yr breakevens dropped -2bps and then continued declining through the New York afternoon. In what is likely to be Clarida’s last consequential decision on monetary policy before his term expires, he noted it may soon be time to start a tapering program that ends in the middle of next year, in line with our US economics team’s call for a November taper announcement. In that vein, our US economists have updated their forecasts for rate hikes yesterday, and now see liftoff taking place in December 2022, followed by 3 rate increases in each of 2023 and 2024. That comes in light of supply disruptions lifting inflation, a likely rise in inflation expectations (which are sensitive to oil prices), and measures of labour market slack continuing to outperform. For those interested, you can read a more in-depth discussion of this here. Turning to commodities, yesterday saw a stabilisation in prices after the rapid gains on Monday, with WTI (+0.15%) and Brent Crude (-0.27%) oil prices seeing only modest movements either way, whilst iron ore prices in Singapore were down -3.45%. That said it wasn’t entirely bad news for the asset class, with Chinese coal futures (+4.45%) hitting fresh records, just as aluminium prices on the London Metal Exchange (+0.13%) eked out another gain to hit a new post-2008 high. Overnight in Asia, equity markets are seeing a mixed performance with the KOSPI (+1.24%) posting decent gains, whereas the CSI (-0.06%), Nikkei (-0.22%) and Shanghai Composite (-0.69%) have all lost ground. The KOSPI’s strength came about on the back of a decent jobs report, with South Korea adding +671k relative to a year earlier, the most since March 2014. The Hong Kong Exchange is closed however due to the impact of typhoon Kompasu. Separately, coal futures in China are up another +8.00% this morning, so no sign of those price pressures abating just yet following recent floods. Meanwhile, US equity futures are pointing to little change later on, with those on the S&P 500 down -0.12%. Here in Europe, we had some fresh Brexit headlines after the UK’s Brexit minister, David Frost, said that the Northern Ireland Protocol “is not working” and was not protecting the Good Friday Agreement. He said that he was sharing a new amended Protocol with the EU, which comes ahead of the release of the EU’s own proposals on the issue today. But Frost also said that “if we are going to get a solution we must, collectively, deliver significant change”, and that Article 16 which allows either side to take unilateral safeguard measures could be used “if necessary”. Elsewhere yesterday, the IMF marginally downgraded their global growth forecast for this year, now seeing +5.9% growth in 2021 (vs. +6.0% in July), whilst their 2022 forecast was maintained at +4.9%. This masked some serious differences between countries however, with the US downgraded to +6.0% in 2021 (vs. +7.0% in July), whereas Italy’s was upgraded to +5.8% (vs. +4.9% in July). On inflation they said that risks were skewed to the upside, and upgraded their forecasts for the advanced economies to +2.8% in 2021, and to +2.3% in 2022. Looking at yesterday’s data, US job openings declined in August for the first time this year, falling to 10.439m (vs. 10.954m expected). But the quits rate hit a record of 2.9%, well above its pre-Covid levels of 2.3-2.4%. Here in the UK, data showed the number of payroll employees rose by +207k in September, while the unemployment rate for the three months to August fell to 4.5%, in line with expectations. And in a further sign of supply-side issues, the number of job vacancies in the three months to September hit a record high of 1.102m. Separately in Germany, the ZEW survey results came in beneath expectations, with the current situation declining to 21.6 (vs. 28.0 expected), whilst expectations fell to 22.3 (vs. 23.5 expected), its lowest level since March 2020. To the day ahead now, and the main data highlight will be the aforementioned US CPI reading for September, while today will also see the most recent FOMC meeting minutes released. Other data releases include UK GDP for August and Euro Area industrial production for August. Central bank speakers include BoE Deputy Governor Cunliffe, the ECB’s Visco and the Fed’s Brainard. Finally, earnings releases include JPMorgan Chase, BlackRock and Delta Air Lines. Tyler Durden Wed, 10/13/2021 - 08:13.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeOct 13th, 2021

Calix (CALX) Well Poised on Innovation and Collaborations

Calix (CALX) is likely to be a promising investment option on the back of its robust business model, accretive partnerships, and emerging technological innovation. With an unprecedented surge in high-bandwidth communications services coupled with the upward trajectory of vaccinations, majority of the global tech companies are resuming their operations in full swing. Many leading network operators have been reaping benefits from this trend, including Calix, Inc. CALX.The company’s business operations are driven by the secular changes in the communications industry. Thanks to its future-proof technological advancements, Calix has been able to capitalize on the benefits of the new-age hybrid work environment, and has accordingly aligned its business systems, real estate, and human resources.Calix is well poised to make a mark in the telco space in the long run backed by disciplined operating expense investment, gross margin expansion, increased predictability, and deliberate revenue growth. Increasing customer adoption of product and service offerings coupled with favorable product and customer mix, and back-to-back collaborations act as major tailwinds. Let’s discuss further.Focus on InnovationThe San Jose, CA-based cloud and software platforms provider believes that innovations are the driving force behind its successful broadband businesses. The company boasts a diverse bouquet of technologically advanced solutions, some of them being GigaSpire BLAST portfolio, Calix Experience Innovation Platform, Revenue EDGE platform, Calix Customer Success Services, and Calix Marketing Cloud.Recently, it unveiled Calix Operations Cloud that enables broadband service providers (BSPs) to streamline their operations with end-to-end visibility into the access network as well as across the entire subscriber base inside the premises. The company capitalizes on Big Data and analytics to monetize the complex infrastructure between subscribers and the cloud, thereby creating new revenue generation paths.Also, Calix has been actively participating in Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF) auctions to establish a streamlined connectivity infrastructure across rural and underserved areas, thereby eliminating digital disparity. In second-quarter 2021, Calix reported record revenues for the EXOS platform, up more than 275% as a result of accelerated deployments of the Revenue EDGE solution. With an ever-increasing subscriber base, it added 43 new BSP customers during the second quarter.Further, the enhanced Calix Premier Success Services for Marketing witnessed impressive growth while aiding BSP customers to improve marketing campaign ROI through more effective use of social media and digital marketing channels. A solid financial position, coupled with technologically advanced platforms and services, aids Calix to not only augment its wide set of prospective customers but also to capitalize on the lucrative opportunities in the long run.Accretive Partnerships Bode WellCalix is blessed with a thriving ecosystem of partners. A few months back, it had collaborated with the third-largest RDOF recipient based in Arkansas — Petit Jean Electric Cooperative. Per the alliance, Petit Jean capitalized on Calix’s portfolio of avant-garde connectivity solutions such as Revenue EDGE, Intelligent Access EDGE, Network Innovation Platform (AXOS), Calix Support Cloud, and Calix Marketing Cloud for the deployment of the best-in-class fiber-to-the-home network.The company also leveraged the expertise of Calix Services, particularly Premier Support Services, Professional Services and Premier Customer Success Services to optimize network and service planning. Post the deployment of these services, Petit Jean facilitated its customers with seamless online learning and remote working opportunities on the back of a future-proof fiber broadband network infrastructure.Further, it had partnered with CityWest to revamp the latter’s omnichannel marketing campaign performance with the creation of highly targeted, relevant, and engaging email campaigns. The British Columbia-based BSP capitalized on Calix Marketing Cloud, Calix Premier Customer Success Services and email marketing platform — Mailchimp. This combination not only enabled CityWest to streamline its campaign development but also boosted high-impact offers to maximize return on investment with actionable insights.It had also joined forces with CTC Telecom to upgrade the latter’s network and customer experience with avant-garde solutions. The telco had deployed GigaSpire BLAST u6 systems, Calix Support Cloud, and full Revenue EDGE portfolio to capture valuable subscriber data and performance insights, thereby providing a personalized and secure Wi-Fi experience to its customers. CTC Telecom also capitalized on Calix Customer Success Services to revamp installation and support processes for a streamlined network infrastructure. Post its deployment, the telco witnessed a 37% reduction in support call volumes with more than 34% fall in truck rolls.Wrapping UpDriven by such focused endeavors, Calix is well-positioned to benefit from customer base expansion amid the coronavirus-induced disruptions. Its near-term focus is on serving the needs of BSP customers while the long-term focus remains on finding like-minded BSP customers regardless of their type, size, or location. It is committed to aligning investments to its strategy and maintaining strong discipline over operating expenses. The transition of Calix into a communications cloud and software platform business will manifest in improved financial performance over the long term.Some prominent players in the industry are Jiayin Group Inc. JFIN, Square, Inc. SQ, and Bentley Systems, Incorporated BSY.Jiayin Group delivered a trailing four-quarter earnings surprise of 89%, on average.Square delivered a trailing four-quarter earnings surprise of 111.1%, on average.Bentley Systems delivered a trailing four-quarter earnings surprise of 32.5%, on average. Time to Invest in Legal Marijuana If you’re looking for big gains, there couldn’t be a better time to get in on a young industry primed to skyrocket from $17.7 billion back in 2019 to an expected $73.6 billion by 2027. After a clean sweep of 6 election referendums in 5 states, pot is now legal in 36 states plus D.C. Federal legalization is expected soon and that could be a still greater bonanza for investors. Even before the latest wave of legalization, Zacks Investment Research has recommended pot stocks that have shot up as high as +285.9%. You’re invited to check out Zacks’ Marijuana Moneymakers: An Investor’s Guide. It features a timely Watch List of pot stocks and ETFs with exceptional growth potential.Today, Download Marijuana Moneymakers FREE >>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 Calix, Inc (CALX): Free Stock Analysis Report Square, Inc. (SQ): Free Stock Analysis Report Jiayin Group Inc. Sponsored ADR (JFIN): Free Stock Analysis Report Bentley Systems, Incorporated (BSY): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here......»»

Category: topSource: zacksOct 12th, 2021

Futures Rebound From Overnight Slide As Oil Keeps Rising

Futures Rebound From Overnight Slide As Oil Keeps Rising US equity-index futures erased earlier declines, rebounding from a loss of as much as 0.8% helped by the start of the European session and easing mounting concerns about stagflation from rising energy prices, signs of widening regulatory scrutiny by China, and the upcoming third-quarter earnings which is expected to post a sharply slower pace of growth and beats than recent record quarters. At 730am ET, Dow e-minis were up 5 points, or 0.1%, S&P 500 e-minis were up 7.25 points, or 0.16%, and Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 46.75points, or 0.31%. Oiil rose 0.3% to $83.86/bbl while the dollar dipped and 10Y yield drifted back under 1.60%. Gains in tech stocks kept Nasdaq futures afloat on Tuesday, while energy names rose as Brent resumed gains, trading around $84/bbl on expectations that a power crisis from Asia to Europe will lift demand and tighten global balances. Higher oil prices and supply chain disruptions have set off alarm bells for businesses and consumers ahead of the third-quarter reporting season that kicks off on Wednesday with JPMorgan results.  "We believe that market participants could stay concerned over high energy prices translating into further acceleration in inflation, and thereby faster tightening by major central banks," said Charalambos Pissouros, head of research at JFD Group. In the pre-market, Tesla rose 0.7% after data showed the electric vehicle maker sold 56,006 China-made vehicles in September, the highest since it started production in Shanghai about two years ago. Oil firms including Exxon Mobil and Chevron Corp gained 0.1% and 0.3%, respectively, as Brent crude hit a near-three year high on energy crunch fears. Here are the notable movers: China’s Internet sector is one of the “most undervalued” in Morningstar’s coverage, says Ivan Su, an analyst, adding that Tencent (TCEHY US) and Netease (NTES US) are top picks MGM Resorts (MGM US) rises 2% in U.S. premarket trading after stock was upgraded to outperform from neutral and price target more than doubled to a Street-high $68 at Credit Suisse Quanterix (QTRX US) jumped 20% in Monday postmarket trading after the digital-health company announced that its Simoa phospho-Tau 181 blood test has been granted breakthrough device designation by the U.S. FDA as an aid in diagnostic evaluation of Alzheimer’s disease Relay Therapeutics (RLAY US) fell 7% in Monday postmarket trading after launching a $350 million share sale via Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan, Cowen, Guggenheim Securities Westwater Resources (WWR US) rose as much as 26% in Monday postmarket trading after its board of directors approved construction of the first phase of a production facility in Alabama for battery ready graphite products TechnipFMC (FTI US) in focus after co. was awarded a substantial long-term charter and services contract by Petrobras for the pipelay support vessel Coral do Atlântico Fastenal, which was one of the first companies to report Q3 earnings, saw its shares fall 2.4% in premarket trading on Tuesday, after the industrial distributor said the Covid-related boost was fading. The company said growth in the quarter was slightly limited by either slower expansion or contraction in sales of certain products related to the pandemic, when compared to the previous year quarter. While there was an uptick in sales of certain Covid-related supplies, the unit price of many products was down significantly, the company said in a statement.  Third-quarter sales and profit were in line with the average analyst estimate "While investors want to believe the narrative that stock markets can continue to move higher, this belief is bumping up against the reality of how the continued rise in energy prices, as well as supply-chain pressures, are likely to impact company profit margins,” said Michael Hewson, chief market analyst at CMC Markets in London. In Europe, losses led by basic resources companies and carmakers outweighed gains for utilities and tech stocks, pulling the Stoxx Europe 600 Index down 0.1%. Metals miner Rio Tinto was among the worst performers, dropping 2.7%. European equities climbed off the lows having lost over 1% in early trade. Euro Stoxx 600 was down -0.35% after dropping as much as 1.3% initially, led by basic resources companies and carmakers outweighed gains for utilities and tech stocks. The DAX is off 0.3%, FTSE 100 underperforms in a quiet morning for news flow. Miners, banks and autos are the weakest sectors after China reported a sharp drop in auto sales; utilities, tech and real estate post modest gains. European tech stocks slide, with the Stoxx Tech Index dropping as much as 1.4% in third straight decline, as another broker downgrades TeamViewer, while Prosus and chip stocks come under pressure. TeamViewer shares fall as much as 5.1% after Deutsche Bank downgrades the remote software maker to hold from buy following recent guidance cut. Asian stocks fell, halting a three-day rally as uncertainty over earnings deepened amid elevated inflation, higher bond yields and the risk of a widening Chinese crackdown on private industry. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index slid as much as 1.2%, led by technology and communication shares. Alibaba plunged 3.9% following a rally over the past week, while Samsung Electronics tumbled to a 10-month low after at least five brokers slashed their price targets, as China’s power crisis is seen worsening supply-chain disruptions. “Given the run-up in tech so far, it’s not difficult for investors to harvest profits first before figuring out if techs can maintain their growth when yields rise,” said Justin Tang, head of Asian research at United First Partners. Shares in Hong Kong and the mainland were among the worst performers after Chinese authorities kicked off an inspection of the nation’s financial regulators and biggest state-run banks in an effort to root out corruption. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index is down 12% from a February peak, with a global energy crunch lifting input prices and the debt crisis at China Evergrande Group weighing on the financial sector. Investors are waiting to see how this impacts earnings, according to Jun Rong Yeap, a market strategist at IG Asia.  “Increasing concerns on inflation potentially being more persistent have started to show up,” he said. “This comes along with the global risk-off mood overnight, as investors look for greater clarity from the earnings season on how margins are holding up, along with the corporate economic outlook.” Japan’s Topix index also fell, halting a two-day rally, amid concerns about a global energy crunch and the possibility of a widening Chinese crackdown on private industry. The Topix fell 0.7% to 1,982.68 at the 3 p.m. close in Tokyo, while the Nikkei 225 declined 0.9% to 28,230.61. SoftBank Group Corp. contributed the most to the Topix’s drop, decreasing 2.4%. Out of 2,181 shares in the index, 373 rose and 1,743 fell, while 65 were unchanged. “Market conditions were improving yesterday, but pushing for higher prices got tough when the Nikkei 225 approached its key moving averages,” said Masahiro Ichikawa, chief market strategist at Sumitomo Mitsui DS Asset Management.  The Nikkei’s 75-day moving average is about 28,500 and the 200-day moving average is about 28,700, so some investors were taking profits, he said. Japan’s spot power price increased to the highest level in nine months, as the global energy crisis intensifies competition for generation fuel before the winter heating season. In FX, the Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index reversed an overnight gain as the greenback slipped against all of its Group-of-10 peers. Risk sensitive Scandinavian currencies led gains, followed by the New Zealand and Australian dollars. The pound was little changed while speculators ramped up wagers on sterling’s decline at the fastest rate in more than two years, Commodity Futures Trading Commission data show, further breaking the link between anticipated rate increases and currency gains. The yen steadied after three days of declines. The Turkish lira extended its slide to a record low after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan hinted at a possible military offensive into neighboring Syria. Fixed-income was quiet by recent standards: Treasury futures were off lows of the day, improving as S&P 500 futures pare losses during European morning, and as cash trading resumed after Monday’s holiday. The 10Y yield dipped from 1.61% to 1.59% after hitting 1.65% based on futures pricing on Monday, but the big mover was on the front end, where 2-year yields climbed as much as 4bps to 0.35% the highest level since March 2020 reflecting increased expectations for Fed rate hikes, as Treasury cash trading resumed globally. Two coupon auctions during U.S. session -- of 3-and 10-year notes -- may weigh on Treasuries however.  Treasury and gilt curves bull-flatten with gilts outperforming at the back end. Bunds have a bull-steepening bias but ranges are narrow. Peripheral spreads tighten a touch with long-end Italy outperforming peers. In commodities, Crude futures drift higher in muted trade. WTI is up 0.25% near $80.70, Brent trades just shy of a $84-handle. Spot gold remains range-bound near $1,760/oz. Base metals are mixed with LME lead and nickel holding small gains, copper and aluminum in the red. Looking at the day ahead, central bank speakers include the Fed’s Vice Chair Clarida,Bostic and Barkin, as well as theECB’s President Lagarde, Makhlouf, Knot, Villeroy, Lane and Elderson. Data highlights from the US include the JOLTS job openings for August, and the NFIB’s small business optimism index for September which came in at 99.1, below last month's 100.1. The IMF will be releasing their latest World Economic Outlook. Market Snapshot S&P 500 futures little changed at 4,351.50 STOXX Europe 600 down 0.6% to 454.90 MXAP down 0.9% to 194.41 MXAPJ down 1.0% to 635.42 Nikkei down 0.9% to 28,230.61 Topix down 0.7% to 1,982.68 Hang Seng Index down 1.4% to 24,962.59 Shanghai Composite down 1.2% to 3,546.94 Sensex little changed at 60,149.85 Australia S&P/ASX 200 down 0.3% to 7,280.73 Kospi down 1.4% to 2,916.38 German 10Y yield fell 6 bps to -0.113% Euro up 0.1% to $1.1565 Brent Futures up 0.4% to $84.01/bbl Gold spot up 0.2% to $1,757.84 U.S. Dollar Index little changed at 94.29 Top Overnight Headlines from Bloomberg The EU drew record demand for its debut green bond, in the sector’s biggest-ever offering. The bloc registered more than 135 billion euros ($156 billion) in orders Tuesday for a sale of 12 billion euros of securities maturing in 2037 Investors are dumping negative-yielding debt at the fastest pace since February as concerns about inflation and reduced central bank stimulus propel global interest rates higher French President Emmanuel Macron unveiled a 30-billion-euro ($35 billion) plan to create the high-tech champions of the future and reverse years of industrial decline in the euro area’s second-largest economy British companies pushed the number of workers on payrolls above pre-coronavirus levels last month, an indication of strength in the labor market that may embolden the Bank of England to raise interest rates. As the Biden administration and governments around the world celebrate another advance toward an historic global tax accord, an obscure legal question in the U.S. threatens to tear it apart Chinese property developers are suffering credit rating downgrades at the fastest pace in five years, as a recent slump in new-home sales adds to concerns about the sector’s debt woes German investor confidence declined for a fifth month in October, adding to evidence that global supply bottlenecks and a surge in inflation are weighing on the recovery in Europe’s largest economy Social Democrat Olaf Scholz’s bid to succeed Angela Merkel as German chancellor is running into its first test as tensions emerge in talks to bridge policy differences with the Greens and pro-business Free Democrats A more detailed breakdown of global markets from Newsquawk Asian equity markets traded mostly lower following the indecisive mood stateside where the major indices gave back initial gains to finish negative amid lingering inflation and global slowdown concerns, with sentiment overnight also hampered by tighter Beijing scrutiny and with US equity futures extending on losses in which the Emini S&P retreated beneath its 100DMA. ASX 200 (-0.3%) was subdued as weakness in energy, tech and financials led the declines in Australia and with participants also digesting mixed NAB business survey data. Nikkei 225 (-0.9%) was on the backfoot after the Japan Center for Economic Research noted that GDP contracted 0.9% M/M in August and with retailers pressured after soft September sales updates from Lawson and Seven & I Holdings, while the KOSPI (-1.4%) was the laggard on return from holiday with chipmakers Samsung Electronics and SK Hynix subdued as they face new international taxation rules following the recent global minimum tax deal. Hang Seng (-1.4%) and Shanghai Comp. (-1.3%) adhered to the downbeat picture following a continued liquidity drain by the PBoC and with Beijing scrutinising Chinese financial institutions’ ties with private firms, while default concerns lingered after Evergrande missed yesterday’s payments and with Modern Land China seeking a debt extension on a USD 250mln bond to avoid any potential default. Finally, 10yr JGBs eked minimal gains amid the weakness in stocks but with demand for bonds limited after the recent subdued trade in T-note futures owing to yesterday’s cash bond market closure and following softer results across all metrics in the 30yr JGB auction. Top Asian News Alibaba Stock Revival Halted on Concerns of Rising Bond Yields Iron Ore Rally Pauses as China Steel Curbs Cloud Demand Outlook China’s Star Board Sees Rough Start to Fourth Quarter: ECM Watch Citi Lists Top Global Stock Picks for ‘Disruptive Innovations’ European bourses kicked the day off choppy but have since drifted higher (Euro Stoxx 50 -0.4%; Stoxx 600 Unch) as the region remains on standby for the next catalyst, and as US earnings season officially kicks off tomorrow – not to mention the US and Chinese inflation metrics and FOMC minutes. US equity futures have also nursed earlier losses and reside in relatively flat territory at the time of writing, with broad-based performance seen in the ES (Unch), NQ (+0.2%), RTY (-0.2%), YM (Unch). From a technical standpoint, some of the Dec contracts are now hovering around their respective 100 DMAs at 4,346 for the ES, 14,744 for the NQ, whilst the RTY sees its 200 DMA at 2,215, and the YM topped its 21 DMA at 34,321. Back to Europe, cash markets see broad-based downside with the SMI (-0.1%) slightly more cushioned amid gains in heavyweight Nestle (+0.6%). Sectors kicked off the day with a defensive bias but have since seen a slight reconfiguration, with Real Estate now the top performer alongside Food & Beverages, Tech and Healthcare. On the flip side, Basic Resources holds its position as the laggard following yesterday's marked outperformance and despite base metals (ex-iron) holding onto yesterday's gains. Autos also reside at the bottom of the bunch despite constructive commentary from China's Auto Industry Body CAAM, who suggested the chip supply shortage eased in China in September and expected Q4 to improve, whilst sources suggested Toyota aims to make up some lost production as supplies rebound. In terms of individual movers, GSK (+2.3%) shares spiked higher amid reports that its USD 54bln consumer unit has reportedly attracted buyout interest, according to sources, in turn lifting the FTSE 100 Dec future by 14 points in the immediacy. Elsewhere, easyJet (-1.9%) gave up its earlier gains after refraining on guidance, and despite an overall constructive trading update whereby the Co. sees positive momentum carried into FY22, with H1 bookings double those in the same period last year. Co. expects to fly up to 70% of FY19 planned capacity in FY22. In terms of commentary, the session saw the Germany ZEW release, which saw sentiment among experts deteriorate, citing the persisting supply bottlenecks for raw materials and intermediate products. The release also noted that 49.1% of expects still expect inflation to rise further in the next six months. Heading into earnings season, experts also expect profits to go down, particularly in export-tilted sectors such a car making, chemicals and pharmaceuticals. State-side, sources suggested that EU antitrust regulators are reportedly likely to open an investigation into Nvidia's (+0.6% Pre-Mkt) USD 54bln bid from Arm as concessions were not deemed sufficient. Top European News Soybeans Near 10-Month Low as Supply Outlook Expected to Improve EasyJet Boosts Capacity as Travel Rebound Gathers Pace Currency Traders Are Betting the BOE Is About to Make a Mistake Citi Lists Top Global Stock Picks for ‘Disruptive Innovations’ In FX, the Buck has reclaimed a bit more lost ground in consolidatory trade rather than any real sign of a change in fundamentals following Monday’s semi US market holiday for Columbus Day and ahead of another fairly light data slate comprising NFIB business optimism and JOLTS. However, supply awaits the return of cash Treasuries in the form of Usd 58 bn 3 year and Usd 38 bn 10 year notes and Fed commentary picks up pace on the eve of FOMC minutes with no less than five officials scheduled to speak. Meanwhile, broad risk sentiment has taken a knock in wake of a late swoon on Wall Street to give the Greenback and underlying bid and nudge the index up to fresh post-NFP highs within a 94.226-433 band. NZD/AUD - A slight change in fortunes down under as the Kiwi derives some comfort from the fact that the Aud/Nzd has not breached 1.0600 to the upside and Nzd/Usd maintaining 0.6950+ status irrespective of mixed NZ electric card sales data, while the Aussie takes on board contrasting NAB business conditions and confidence readings in advance of consumer sentiment, with Aud/Usd rotating either side of 0.7350. EUR/CAD/GBP/CHF/JPY - All rangy and marginally mixed against their US counterpart, as the Euro straddles 1.1560, the Loonie meanders between 1.2499-62 with less fuel from flat-lining crude and the Pound tries to keep sight of 1.3600 amidst corrective moves in Eur/Gbp following a rebound through 0.8500 after somewhat inconclusive UK labour and earnings data, but hardly a wince from the single currency even though Germany’s ZEW survey missed consensus and the institute delivered a downbeat assessment of the outlook for the coming 6 months. Elsewhere, the Franc continues to hold within rough 0.9250-90 extremes and the Yen is striving to nurse outsize losses between 113.00-50 parameters, with some attention to 1 bn option expiries from 113.20-25 for the NY cut. Note also, decent expiry interest in Eur/Usd and Usd/Cad today, but not as close to current spot levels (at the 1.1615 strike in 1.4 bn and between 1.2490-1.2505 in 1.1 bn respectively). SCANDI/EM - The Nok and Sek have bounced from lows vs the Eur, and the latter perhaps taking heed of a decline in Sweden’s registered jobless rate, but the Cnh and Cny remain off recent highs against the backdrop of more Chinese regulatory rigour, this time targeting state banks and financial institutions with connections to big private sector entities and the Try has thrown in the towel in terms of its fight to fend off approaches towards 9.0000 vs the Usd. The final straw for the Lira appeared to be geopolitical, as Turkish President Erdogan said they will take the necessary steps in Syria and are determined to eliminate threats, adding that Turkey has lost its patience on the attacks coming from Syrian Kurdish YPG controlled areas. Furthermore, he stated there is a Tal Rifaat pocket controlled by YPG below Afrin and that an operation could target that area which is under Russian protection. However, Usd/Try is off a new ATH circa 9.0370 as oil comes off the boil and ip came in above forecast. In commodities, WTI and Brent front-month futures are choppy and trade on either side of the flat mark in what is seemingly some consolidation and amid a distinct lack of catalysts to firmly dictate price action. The complex saw downticks heading into the European cash open in tandem with the overall market sentiment at the time, albeit the crude complex has since recovered off worst levels. News flow for the complex has also remained minimal as eyes now turn to any potential intervention by major economies in a bid to stem the pass-through of energy prices to consumers heading into winter. On that note, UK nat gas futures have been stable on the day but still north of GBP 2/Thm. Looking ahead, the weekly Private Inventory data has been pushed back to tomorrow on account of yesterday's Columbus Day holiday. Tomorrow will also see the release of the OPEC MOMR and EIA STEO. Focus on the former will be on any updates to its demand forecast, whilst commentary surrounding US shale could be interesting as it'll give an insight into OPEC's thinking on the threat of Shale under President Biden's "build back better" plan. Brent Dec trades on either side of USD 84/bbl (vs prev. 83.13-84.14 range) whilst WTI trades just under USD 81/bbl after earlier testing USD 80/bbl to the downside (USD 80-80.91/bbl range). Over to metals, spot gold and silver hold onto modest gains with not much to in the way of interesting price action, with the former within its overnight range above USD 1,750/oz and the latter still north of USD 22.50/oz after failing to breach the level to the downside in European hours thus far. In terms of base metals, LME copper is holding onto most of yesterday's gains, but the USD 9,500/t mark seems to be formidable resistance. Finally, Dalian and Singapore iron ore futures retreated after a four-day rally, with traders citing China's steel production regaining focus. US Event Calendar 6am: Sept. SMALL BUSINESS OPTIMISM 99.1,  est. 99.5, prior 100.1 10am: Aug. JOLTs Job Openings, est. 11m, prior 10.9m 11:15am: Fed’s Clarida Speaks at IIF Annual Meeting 12:30pm: Fed’s Bostic Speaks on Inflation at Peterson Institute 6pm: Fed’s Barkin Interviewed for an NPR Podcast DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap It’s my wife’s birthday today and the big treat is James Bond tomorrow night. However, I was really struggling to work out what to buy her. After 11.5 years together, I ran out of original ideas at about year three and have then scrambled round every year in an attempt to be innovative. Previous innovations have seen mixed success with the best example being the nearly-to-scale oil portrait I got commissioned of both of us from our wedding day. She had no idea and hated it at the closed eyes big reveal. It now hangs proudly in our entrance hall though. Today I’ve bought her a lower key gamble. Some of you might know that there is a US website called Cameo that you can pay famous people to record a video message for someone for a hefty fee. Well, all her childhood heroes on it were seemingly too expensive or not there. Then I saw that the most famous gymnast of all time, Nadia Comăneci, was available for a reasonable price. My wife idolised her as a kid (I think). So after this goes to press, I’m going to wake my wife up with a personalised video message from Nadia wishing her a happy birthday, saying she’s my perfect ten, and praising her for encouraging our three children to do gymnastics and telling her to keep strong while I try to get them to play golf instead. I’m not sure if this is a totally naff gift or inspired. When I purchased it I thought the latter but now I’m worried it’s the former! My guess is she says it’s naff, appreciates the gesture, but calls me out for the lack of chocolates. Maybe in this day and age a barrel of oil or a tank of petrol would have been the most valuable birthday present. With investor anticipation continuing to build ahead of tomorrow’s CPI release from the US, yesterday saw yet another round of commodity price rises that’s making it increasingly difficult for central banks to argue that inflation is in fact proving transitory. You don’t have to be too old to remember that back in the summer, those making the transitory argument cited goods like lumber as an example of how prices would begin to fall back again as the economy reopened. But not only have commodity aggregates continued to hit fresh highs since then, but lumber (+5.49%) itself followed up last week’s gains to hit its highest level in 3 months. Looking at those moves yesterday, it was a pretty broad-based advance across the commodity sphere, with big rises among energy and metals prices in particular. Oil saw fresh advances, with WTI (+1.47%) closing above $80/bbl for the first time since 2014, whilst Brent Crude (+1.53%) closed above $83/bbl for the first time since 2018. Meanwhile, Chinese coal futures (+8.00%) hit a record after the flooding in Shanxi province that we mentioned in yesterday’s edition, which has closed 60 of the 682 mines there, and this morning they’re already up another +6.41%. So far this year, the region has produced 30% of China’s coal supply, which gives you an idea as to its importance. And when it came to metals, aluminium prices (+3.30%) on the London Metal Exchange rose to their highest level since the global financial crisis, whilst Iron Ore futures in Singapore jumped +7.01% on Monday, and copper was also up +2.13%. The one respite on the inflation front was a further decline in natural gas prices, however, with the benchmark European future down -2.73%; thus bringing its declines to over -47% since the intraday high that was hit only last Wednesday. With commodity prices seeing another spike and inflation concerns resurfacing, this proved bad news for sovereign bonds as investors moved to price in a more hawkish central bank reaction. Yields in Europe rose across the continent, with those on 10yr bunds up +3.0bps to 0.12%, their highest level since May. The rise was driven by both higher inflation breakevens and real rates, and leaves bund yields just shy of their recent post-pandemic closing peak of -0.10% from mid-May. If they manage to surpass that point, that’ll leave them closer to positive territory than at any point since Q2 2019 when they last turned negative again. It was a similar story elsewhere, with 10yr yields on OATs (+2.6bps), BTPs (+3.9bps) and gilts (+3.1bps) likewise reaching their highest level in months. The sell-off occurred as money markets moved to price in further rate hikes from central banks, with investors now expecting a full 25 basis point hike from the Fed by the end of Q3 2022. It seems like another era, but at the start of this year before the Georgia Senate race, investors weren’t even pricing in a full hike by the end of 2023, whereas they’re now pricing in almost 4. So we’ve come a long way over 2021, though pre-Georgia the consensus CPI forecast on Bloomberg was just 2.0%, whereas it now stands at 4.3%, so it does fit with the story of much stronger-than-expected inflation inducing a hawkish response. Yesterday’s repricing came alongside a pretty minimal -0.15% move in the Euro versus the dollar, but that was because Europe was also seeing a similar rates repricing. Meanwhile, the UK saw its own ramping up of rate hike expectations, with investors pricing in at least an initial 15bps hike to 0.25% happening by the December meeting in just two months’ time. Overnight in Asia, stocks are trading in the red with the KOSPI (-1.46%), Shanghai Composite (-1.21%), Hang Seng (-1.20%), the Nikkei (-0.93%) and CSI (-0.82%) all trading lower on inflation concerns due to high energy costs and aggravated by a Wall Street Journal story that Chinese President Xi Jinping is increasing scrutiny of state-run banks and big financial institutions with inspections. Furthermore, there were signs of a worsening in the Evergrande debt situation, with the firm missing coupon payments on a 9.5% note due in 2022 and a 10% bond due in 2023. And there were fresh indications of a worsening situation more broadly, with Sinic Holdings Group Co. saying it doesn’t expect to pay the principal or interest on a $250m bond due on October 18. Separately in Japan, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said on Monday that he will raise pay for public workers and boost tax breaks to firms that boost wages to try and improve the country’s wealth distribution. Back to yesterday, and the commodity rally similarly weighed on thin-volume equity markets, though it took some time as the S&P 500 had initially climbed around +0.5% before paring back those gains to close down -0.69%. Before the late US sell-off, European indices were subdued, but the STOXX 600 still rose +0.05%, thanks to an outperformance from the energy sector (+1.49%), and the STOXX Banks Index (+0.13%) hit a fresh two-year high as the sector was supported by a further rise in yields. On the central bank theme, we heard from the ECB’s chief economist, Philip Lane, at a conference yesterday, where he said that “a one-off shift in the level of wages as part of the adjustment to a transitory unexpected increase in the price level does not imply a trend shift in the path of underlying inflation.” So clearly making a distinction between a more persistent pattern of wage inflation, which comes as the ECB’s recent forward guidance commits them to not hiking rates “until it sees inflation reaching two per cent well ahead of the end of its projection horizon and durably for the rest of the projection horizon”, as well as having confidence that “realised progress in underlying inflation is sufficiently advanced to be consistent with inflation stabilising at two per cent over the medium term”. Turning to the political scene, Brexit is likely to be in the headlines again today as the UK’s Brexit negotiator David Frost gives a speech in Lisbon where he’s expected to warn that the EU’s proposals on the Northern Ireland Protocol are insufficient. That comes ahead of a new set of proposals that are set to come from the EU tomorrow, with the two sides disagreeing on the extent of border controls required on trade from Northern Ireland with the rest of the UK. Those controls were put in place as part of the Brexit deal to prevent a hard border being put up between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, whilst also preserving the integrity of the EU’s single market. But the UK’s demands for adjustments have been met with opposition by the EU, and speculation has risen that the UK could trigger Article 16, which allows either side to take unilateral safeguard measures, if the protocol’s application “leads to serious economic, societal or environmental difficulties that are liable to persist, or to diversion of trade”. On the data front, there wasn’t much data to speak of with the US holiday, but Italy’s industrial production contracted by -0.2% in August, in line with expectations. To the day ahead now, andcentral bank speakers include the Fed’s Vice Chair Clarida,Bostic and Barkin, as well as theECB’s President Lagarde, Makhlouf, Knot, Villeroy, Lane and Elderson. Data highlights from the US include the JOLTS job openings for August, and the NFIB’s small business optimism index for September. In Europe, there’s also UK unemployment for August and the German ZEW Survey for October. Lastly, the IMF will be releasing their latest World Economic Outlook.     Tyler Durden Tue, 10/12/2021 - 07:56.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytOct 12th, 2021

4 Funds to Buy In Line With Thematic Trends in Q4

Thematic investing will continue to grow in the last quarter of 2021. Here are themes that can fetch investors solid returns. Over the past decade, the rapid change in consumer behavior and the pandemic have created a suitable environment for thematic investing. Last year, themes like work-from-home and do-it-yourself were super hits and this year, clean energy, artificial intelligence (AI), and cloud are also emerging as winners. Given the trend, let’s talk about four trends that investors can bet on in the last quarter of 2021:Cloud Computing & Cybersecurity are hot tech trends with immense potential to grow. The work & learn-from-home trend last year gave a significant boost to cloud computing and cybersecurity. Businesses had to shift from on-premise data storage to the cloud to facilitate remote working. But this called for the implementation of security in higher levels like multi-factor authentication (MFA) to enable automated authentication decisions for select users. Cybersecurity applications work much faster than the traditional system and thus have become a necessity for businesses.You can’t ignore the importance of AI & Robotics in the 4th Industrial Revolution. The rapid digital transformation, which is breaking barriers in the digital, physical and biological spheres, is caused by the fusion of technologies, with AI & Robotics being the centerpiece of such change. Businesses looking for optimizing operations, boosting profitability and driving innovation should adopt AI. In fact, AI and automation (read: robotics) are the solutions that can perform repetitive jobs at a scale larger than that of humans and also adapt to changing situations by learning things voluntarily. It adds value to business workflows and harnesses the power of human resources and machines to improve customer experience, giving businesses a competitive edge over others.Clean Technology can never run out of steam. The field has witnessed significant growth in the last few years, especially with governments emphasizing the adoption of cleaner and greener technology and investing billions in reversing the climate crisis. Government and businesses are deploying millions for clean power generation, smart agriculture and building retrofits. Tech bigwigs like Amazon have set up a $2-billion fund to invest in climate initiatives. In contrast, Alphabet’s Google has set goals to become carbon neutral by 2030, in line with President Joe Biden’s carbon-neutral goals.Last but one of the most effective trends is environmental, social, and governance (ESG) investing. Sustainable funds have proven to be capable of surviving market gyrations, especially during high volatility, and performed outstandingly during the pandemic. This theme has a plethora of niches like climate change, social justice and offers more ethical investing options for investors. In the second quarter of 2021, sustainable active funds attracted $8.4 billion, a new record.4 Top Fund PicksGiven thematic investment allows capitalizing on emerging trends, we have selected four funds that carry a Zacks Mutual Fund Rank #1 (Strong Buy) and have significant exposure to the themes mentioned above. These funds also have encouraging year-to-date (YTD) returns. Additionally, the minimum initial investment is within $5000. We expect these funds to outperform peers in the future.The question here is: why should investors consider mutual funds? Reduced transaction costs and portfolio diversification without several commission charges associated with stock purchases are primarily why one should be parking money in mutual funds (read more: Mutual Funds: Advantages, Disadvantages, and How They Make Investors Money).Fidelity Select Technology Portfolio FSPTX fund aims for capital appreciation. It invests primarily in equity securities, especially common stocks of companies engaged in offering, using, or developing products, processes, or services that will provide or benefit significantly from technological advances and improvements.This Zacks Sector – Tech product has a history of positive total returns for more than 10 years. Specifically, this non-diversified has returned 30.7% and 31.8% in the past three and five years, respectively. To see how this fund performed compared to its category, and other 1 and 2 Ranked Mutual Funds, please click here.FSPTX has an annual expense ratio of 0.69% versus the category average of 1.05%.New Alternatives Fund Class A NALFX seeks long-term capital growth with income as its secondary objective. It primarily invests in common stocks of companies and even in other equity securities such as real estate investment trusts and American Depository Receipts.This Zacks sector – Other product has a history of positive total returns for more than 10 years. Specifically, NALFX has three and five-year returns of 29.3% and 19.6%, respectively. To see how this fund performed compared in its category, and other 1 and 2 Ranked Mutual Funds, please click here.NALFX has an annual expense ratio of 0.96% compared to the category average of 1.26%.Parnassus Mid Cap Growth Fund - Investor PARNX aims for capital appreciation. The fund invests a majority of assets in mid-sized growth companies.This Zacks Sector – Large Cap Value has a history of positive total returns for more than 10 years. Specifically, PARNX has returned 17.7% and 15.7% for the three and five-year periods, respectively. To see how this fund performed compared to its category, and other 1 and 2 Ranked Mutual Funds, please click here.PARNX has an annual expense ratio of 0.83%, which is below the category average of 1.09%.Fidelity Select Software & IT Services Portfolio FSCSX aims for capital appreciation. The non-diversified fund invests most assets in common stocks of companies engaged in research, design, production or distribution of products or processes related to software or information-based services.This Zacks Sector – Tech product has a history of positive total returns for more than 10 years. Specifically, FSCSX has returned 27.3% and 28.3% over the past three and five-year period, respectively. To see how this fund performed compared to its category, and other 1 and 2 Ranked Mutual Funds, please click here.FSCSX has an annual expense ratio of 0.70% versus the category average of 1.05%.Want key mutual fund info delivered straight to your inbox?Zacks’ free Fund Newsletter will brief you on top news and analysis, as well as top-performing mutual funds, each week.Get it free >> Breakout Biotech Stocks with Triple-Digit Profit Potential The biotech sector is projected to surge beyond $2.4 trillion by 2028 as scientists develop treatments for thousands of diseases. They’re also finding ways to edit the human genome to literally erase our vulnerability to these diseases. Zacks has just released Century of Biology: 7 Biotech Stocks to Buy Right Now to help investors profit from 7 stocks poised for outperformance. Recommendations from previous editions of this report have produced gains of +205%, +258% and +477%. The stocks in this report could perform even better.See these 7 breakthrough stocks 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 Get Your Free (FSPTX): Fund Analysis Report Get Your Free (FSCSX): Fund Analysis Report Get Your Free (NALFX): Fund Analysis Report Get Your Free (PARNX): Fund Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research 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.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksOct 7th, 2021

Oracle"s (ORCL) Cloud Platform Utilized by K-12 School Systems

Oracle (ORCL) Cloud will help K-12 school systems to restructure finance, Human Resource (HR) and data-management processes to enhance resource optimization and operational efficiency. Oracle’s ORCL cloud services are being leveraged by K-12 school systems across the United States for improving management of students and faculty amid return to school as well as the adoption of hybrid learning environment.Oracle Cloud will aid these school systems to restructure finance, Human Resource (HR) and data-management processes to enhance resource optimization and operational efficiency, added the tech giant.K-12 school systems are utilizing various cloud-based solutions like Oracle Fusion Cloud Human Capital Management (HCM), Oracle Fusion Cloud Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) Oracle Analytics Cloud, Oracle Fusion Analytics Warehouse and  Oracle Fusion Cloud Enterprise Performance Management (EPM).Some of the notable K-12 school systems implementing Oracle Cloud are Allegheny Intermediate Unit, Wichita Public Schools, Montgomery County Intermediate Unit, Cherry Creek School District and Bucks County Intermediate Unit.Oracle Corporation Price and Consensus  Oracle Corporation price-consensus-chart | Oracle Corporation Quote Oracle Striving to Boost Presence in the Cloud SpaceDespite its late entry, Oracle has been endeavouring to grab a larger share of the prospective cloud market, which is dominated by the likes of Amazon’s AMZN Amazon Web Services and Microsoft’s MSFT Azure Cloud.The cloud computing market is being driven by accelerated workload migration to cloud owing to the remote work and flexible work model innovation. Migration to cloud offers benefits like improved scalability, easy deployment of applications and faster disaster-recovery management.Spurt in e-commerce and higher demand for cloud-native applications like streaming services is also driving the market. Adoption of pioneering technologies like machine learning, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Big Data is another catalyst.According to Fortune Business Insights report, the global cloud computing market is expected to witness a CAGR of 17.9% between 2021 and 2028 and reach $791.48 billion. Cloud computing market in education vertical is projected to witness a CAGR of 22.4% between 2020 and 2027, per a report available on Research And Markets.Oracle's software-as-a-service (SaaS), infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) and platform-as-a-service (PaaS) products are likely to grow strongly over the next few years as enterprises rapidly transition to cloud environment.In the last reported quarter, management noted that the company’s IaaS and SaaS business contributed 25% to total quarterly revenues with an annual run rate of $10 billion.Increased availability of Oracle cloud regions globally is consolidating its competitive position in the cloud computing market. The company currently has 30 cloud regions in the world.However, higher spend on product enhancements, especially toward cloud platform, amid increasing competition in the cloud domain from established players Amazon, Microsoft and Alphabet’s GOOGL Google Cloud as well as other medium- and small-sized cloud service providers is likely to limit margin expansion in the near term.Oracle currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 (Strong Buy) Rank stocks here. Zacks’ Top Picks to Cash in on Artificial Intelligence This world-changing technology is projected to generate $100s of billions by 2025. From self-driving cars to consumer data analysis, people are relying on machines more than we ever have before. Now is the time to capitalize on the 4th Industrial Revolution. Zacks’ urgent special report reveals 6 AI picks investors need to know about today.See 6 Artificial Intelligence 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 Amazon.com, Inc. (AMZN): Free Stock Analysis Report Microsoft Corporation (MSFT): Free Stock Analysis Report Oracle Corporation (ORCL): Free Stock Analysis Report Alphabet Inc. (GOOGL): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksOct 6th, 2021

HP (HPQ) Completes Teradici Acquisition, Strengthens Presence

HP's (HPQ) acquisition of Teradici will aid it in strengthening remote services and solutions, thereby enhancing the capabilities of its Personal Systems business segment. HP Inc. HPQ recently announced that it has completed the acquisition of the Canada-based global remote computing software innovator, Teradici Corporation. The financial terms of the deal, which was announced in July, have been kept under wraps.Teradici’s solutions enable secure access to high-performance computing from any PC, tablet or Chromebook. Thus, the acquisition is likely to broaden HP’s capabilities in the Personal Systems segment by delivering new compute models and software-enabled digital solutions, which are compliant with the hybrid work environment. It will also propel the company’s remote services and solutions to new heights.HP will be offering a single subscription for Teradici’s Engineering Emmy-Award-Winning solution, Cloud Access Software (“CAS”) and HP’s ZCentral Remote Boost Software to its broad customer base. CAS will enable the delivery of a highly responsive remote desktop experience with lossless, color-accurate, and distortion-free graphics.The subscription, which will be available by the end of this year, is likely to expand Teradici’s, the PCoIP (PC-over-IP technology) creator, global reach.HP Inc. Price and Consensus HP Inc. price-consensus-chart | HP Inc. QuoteAs the work-and-learn from home trend continues and likely to sustain in the post-pandemic scenario, people and organizations are spending more on remote services and improving at-home technology products. This, in turn, is driving demand for HP’s products.In June, HP completed the HyperX buyout. The gaming division of Kingston Technology Company, HyperX, is likely to provide a boost to HP’s Personal System business segment, which comprises gaming and peripheral services.During third-quarter fiscal 2021, HP’s Personal Systems revenues, which include commercial and consumer desktops and notebooks, personal computers, workstations, thin clients, commercial mobility devices, retail point-of-sale systems, displays and other related accessories, software, support and services, accounted for a whopping 68% of net revenues.Zacks Rank & Other Key PicksHP currently flaunts a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).Some other top-ranked stocks in the broader technology sector include Square SQ, Avnet AVT and Nikon NINOY, all sporting a Zacks Rank #1, at present. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.The long-term earnings growth rate for Square, Avnet and Nikon is currently pegged at 31.4, 25.4% and 51.6%, respectively. Zacks' Top Picks to Cash in on Artificial Intelligence In 2021, this world-changing technology is projected to generate $327.5 billion in revenue. Now Shark Tank star and billionaire investor Mark Cuban says AI will create "the world's first trillionaires." Zacks' urgent special report reveals 3 AI picks investors need to know about today.See 3 Artificial Intelligence 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 HP Inc. (HPQ): Free Stock Analysis Report Avnet, Inc. (AVT): Free Stock Analysis Report Nikon Corp. (NINOY): Free Stock Analysis Report Square, Inc. (SQ): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksOct 6th, 2021

NetApp (NTAP) To Buyout CloudCheckr to Augment Spot Portfolio

NetApp's (NTAP) CloudCheckr acquisition is aimed at bolstering the Spot by NetApp portfolio. NetApp NTAP inked an agreement to acquire CloudCheckr for an undisclosed sum. With the CloudCheckr buyout, the company is looking to bolster the Spot by NetApp FinOps solutions.CloudCheckr is a cloud optimization platform that helps enterprises to gain enhanced visibility regarding their cloud operations as well as extend tight security to the same along with cost reduction and cloud resource optimization. Founded in 2011, Rochester-based cloud company boasts more than 10K loyal users and over 200 employees.CloudCheckr will enhance NetApp’s CloudOps platform by adding cost management capabilities, cloud billing analytics, cloud compliance and security features. This combination will help users to gain significant operational cost visibility while accelerating implementation of infrastructure and business applications, noted the company. The latest acquisition follows the company’s earlier buyout of Data Mechanics in Jun 2021. Data Mechanics is a managed platform that enables clients to easily run Apache Spark on Kubernetes. The acquisition will help NetApp develop its latest Spot Wave offering.Earlier this year, NetApp unveiled Spot Wave by NetApp solution that will aid enterprises in lowering costs. It  also facilitates the development of data applications through a serverless infrastructure to deploy Apache Spark on the Kubernetes platform.NetApp, Inc. Price and Consensus  NetApp, Inc. price-consensus-chart | NetApp, Inc. Quote NetApp’s Robust Acquisition StrategyAcquisitions have helped NetApp  to enhance its presence in the storage market. The company’s acquisition of SolidFire for nearly $870 million is one of its important takeovers. The buyout bolstered NetApp’s flash-based storage product portfolio and helps it maintain a leading position in the flash storage domain.In the last reported quarter, the company’s All-Flash Array Business annualized net revenue run rate came in at $2.8 billion, up 23% year over year.Coming to recent acquisitions, NetApp’s acquisition of cloud services startup –– Spot –– in July last year is one of the pivotal buyouts.The acquisition of Spot bolstered NetApp’s Application Driven Infrastructure capabilities. Spot’s compute platform provides customers with solutions that help optimize workloads, while maintaining both service-level objective (SLO) and service-level agreement (SLA). The company also purchased CloudJumper (April 2020) and Talon Storage (March 2020). CloudJumper  is a cloud software company specializing in virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) solutions and remote desktop services' (RDS) domain. Talon Storage has boosted NetApp’s portfolio of cloud data services.Apart from acquisitions, NetApp’s performance is gaining from continued strength in the Hybrid Cloud and Public Cloud segments as well as robust billings growth.The company is also gaining from increasing clout of cloud-integrated all-flash solutions; File, Block and Object Software products; and hybrid multi-cloud offerings.Rapid adoption of Microsoft Azure NetApp Files is a major catalyst driving the company’s Public Cloud Services, which recorded annualized recurring revenues of $337 million in the first quarter of fiscal 2022, up 89% year over year.Higher expenditures on product development amid intense competition from fellow storage peers including Pure Storage are a concern.Zacks Rank & Stocks to ConsiderCurrently, NetApp carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).Some better-ranked stocks in the broader technology sector are Square SQ, HP Inc HPQ and Avnet AVT. All the stocks sport a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.Long-term earnings growth rate for Square, HP Inc and Avnet is pegged at 31.4%, 8.2% and 25.4%, respectively. Zacks' Top Picks to Cash in on Artificial Intelligence In 2021, this world-changing technology is projected to generate $327.5 billion in revenue. Now Shark Tank star and billionaire investor Mark Cuban says AI will create "the world's first trillionaires." Zacks' urgent special report reveals 3 AI picks investors need to know about today.See 3 Artificial Intelligence 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 HP Inc. (HPQ): Free Stock Analysis Report Avnet, Inc. (AVT): Free Stock Analysis Report NetApp, Inc. (NTAP): Free Stock Analysis Report Square, Inc. (SQ): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksOct 6th, 2021

4 Factors Supporting Stride"s (LRN) 69.5% Growth in YTD

Stride's (LRN) various investment initiatives and focus on kindergarten learning are commendable. Despite the Zacks Schools industry’s significant fall this year, Stride, Inc. LRN has been riding high, given solid technology-based products and services as well as a focus on kindergarten through 12th grade students. Career-oriented programs and investment in other businesses are adding to the bliss.Shares of this leading education services company have surged 69.5% so far this year while the industry has plummeted 66.5%. In fact, industry players like Grand Canyon Education, Inc. LOPE, American Public Education, Inc. APEI, and Strategic Education, Inc. STRA also declined 6.9%, 14.6%, and 21.7%, respectively, in the same period.The stock’s solid performance can be attributed to its impressive earnings surprise history, having surpassed analysts’ expectations in 17 of the last 19 quarters.Image Source: Zacks Investment ResearchYet, Stride and other industry players have been grappling with low enrollments and increased costs related to technology enhancement, marketing and advertising as well as other overhead costs.Let’s check out the factors supporting the solid prospects of this Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) company. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.Rising Demand for Technology-Based Products and ServicesAfter the COVID-19 crisis, the school industry is witnessing rising demand for online services. Stride has been benefiting from this pattern of demand. The company has been primarily focusing on technology-based products and services, which enable clients to attract, enroll, educate, track progress as well as support students on a scalable basis. These products and services are designed to help learners reach their educational goals through inspired teaching and personalized learning. Stride primarily provides services to public and private schools, school districts as well as charter boards. Also, it offers solutions to employers, government agencies and consumers through private schools operated by the company.Focus on Kindergarten & Skill Development Courses to Diversify ServicesIts core focus on kindergarten through 12th grade students for subjects like math, english, science and history helps them build a basic foundation of knowledge. These programs provide an alternative to traditional school options and serve student needs such as safety concerns, increased academic support, scheduling flexibility, physical/health restrictions or advanced learning.It is also focused on developing skills for grown-up students and adult learners to enable them enter careers in high-growth, on-demand industries including information technology, business as well as health services. The company also offers post-secondary Career Learning programs through Galvanize, Inc., Tech Elevator, Inc. and MedCerts, LLC subsidiaries. These programs include skills training in data science and software engineering, healthcare and medical fields, technology staffing along with talent development.Business Investments Via Partnerships & BuyoutsStride laid out various investment plans including partnerships with other businesses and organizations. The collaborative investments will be made with the intention of designing education programs aimed at teaching new skills to employees, introducing additional curriculum and expanding geographic footprint.In November 2020, it acquired MedCerts — an e-learning and training technology platform. MedCerts students participate in online, hands-on career training courses in healthcare and medical fields as they prepare for more than a dozen national healthcare certifications. The acquisition has expanded the company’s post-secondary skills training in healthcare and medical fields. It also plans to use MedCerts’ curriculum to create appropriate content for high school students. Additionally, it has acquired Tech Elevator — an intensive in-person and virtual live remote education provider.Strong Growth PotentialStride has strong prospects for fiscal 2022 and 2023. Earnings for fiscal 2022 and 2023 are expected to grow 2.3% and 14%, respectively, year over year. Also, its earnings are expected to rise 20% in the next five years. It has an impressive VGM Score. A VGM Score of B, supported by a Value and Growth Score of B, is another reason for investors to believe in its fundamentals.Cheaper Than Industry, Impressive ReturnsStride is a great pick for investors as it is cheaper than the industry. The trailing 12-month price-to-earnings multiple for the company is 20.91, cheaper than the industry’s 28.68.Also, its return on equity (ROE) is indicative of growth potential. Its ROE of 9.3% compares favorably with the industry average of 5.2%, implying that it is efficient in using shareholders’ funds. Zacks' Top Picks to Cash in on Artificial Intelligence In 2021, this world-changing technology is projected to generate $327.5 billion in revenue. Now Shark Tank star and billionaire investor Mark Cuban says AI will create "the world's first trillionaires." Zacks' urgent special report reveals 3 AI picks investors need to know about today.See 3 Artificial Intelligence 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 American Public Education, Inc. (APEI): Free Stock Analysis Report Strategic Education Inc. (STRA): Free Stock Analysis Report Grand Canyon Education, Inc. (LOPE): Free Stock Analysis Report Stride, Inc. (LRN): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksOct 6th, 2021

Carrier (CARR) Buys BrokerBay, Boosts Fire & Security Segment

Carrier (CARR) acquires BrokerBay to make it part of Supra for offering advanced digital solutions to North American real estate agents. Carrier Global Corporation’s CARR Carrier has completed the acquisition of BrokerBay, a leading developer of premium and user-friendly real estate management cloud solutions.BrokerBay’s software minimizes administrative workload of brokerage, and provides seamless real estate scheduling and showing experience. It also standardizes access to electronic lockbox systems.The acquisition of BrokerBay has added strength to Carrier’s portfolio of solutions within the Fire & Security business.BrokerBay will join Supra, Carrier’s real estate access solutions provider that is part of Fire & Security’s Access Solutions business.With solutions of both BrokerBay and Supra, Carrier intends to offer advanced digital solutions to North American real estate agents.  Further, the company remains optimistic that it will generate higher profits in the upcoming period.Carrier Global Corporation Price and Consensus Carrier Global Corporation price-consensus-chart | Carrier Global Corporation QuoteStrength in Fire & Security SegmentWith the acquisition of BrokerBay, Carrier has bolstered its subsidiary Supra.The segment has been benefiting from the company’s other subsidiaries of the same segment, namely Chubb, Det-Tronics, Kidde, Edwards, GST, Onity, Fireye, Marioff and others.Recently, Chubb unveiled Chubb visiON+ that offers a range of remote fire safety and security services to customers. This remains a positive for segmental growth.In addition, Det-Tronics introduced the BluEdge service platform that offers various services to customers who operate high hazard petroleum, oil and gas facilities.Further, Marioff inked an agreement with Rauma Marine Constructions for providing HI-FOG fire protection systems to the Finland navy. This remains a tailwind for the segment.Thus, this segment has become an integral part of the company, which generated $1.4 billion in revenues, accounting for 25.8% of total second-quarter net sales and increasing 32.7% on a year-over-year basis.Recent AcquisitionsThe recent move bodes well for Carrier’s growing efforts toward strengthening its portfolio of offerings. The company’s increasing strategic acquisitions have been acting as key catalysts in shaping up its growth trajectory.Apart from the recent buyout, the company completed the buyout of Guangdong Giwee Group and its subsidiaries, Guangdong Chigo Heating & Ventilation Equipment. The buyout added Guangdong’s portfolio of high-quality products to Carrier's portfolio of offerings. Further, it helped Carrier in penetrating the booming variable refrigerant flow and light commercial market.In addition, Carrier announced the acquisition of Nlyte Software, a leading company in data center infrastructure management software. The buyout will strengthen and expand its data center offerings, which will help it to offer customers advanced solutions related to HVAC equipment, building automation, controls, security as well as fire systems.Zacks Rank & Stocks to ConsiderCurrently, Carrier carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).Some better-ranked stocks in the broader technology sector include Nikon NINOY, Semtech Corporation SMTC and Avnet AVT, each currently flaunting a Zacks Rank of 1 (Strong Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.Long-term earnings growth rates for Nikon, Avnet, and Semtech are currently projected at 51.6%, 25.4%, and 12.5%, respectively. Zacks' Top Picks to Cash in on Artificial Intelligence In 2021, this world-changing technology is projected to generate $327.5 billion in revenue. Now Shark Tank star and billionaire investor Mark Cuban says AI will create "the world's first trillionaires." Zacks' urgent special report reveals 3 AI picks investors need to know about today.See 3 Artificial Intelligence 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 Avnet, Inc. (AVT): Free Stock Analysis Report Semtech Corporation (SMTC): Free Stock Analysis Report Nikon Corp. (NINOY): Free Stock Analysis Report Carrier Global Corporation (CARR): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksOct 6th, 2021