INVNT acquires storytelling strategy firm, Folk Hero- Tempemail – Blog – 10 minute

Global live brand storytelling agency, INVNT, has acquired New York-based brand strategy firm, Folk Hero.
The company works with global companies across the fashion and lifestyle sector such as Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessy and Calzedonia Group, as well as direct-to-consumer clients like Purple Mattress and banking and financial services organizations.
Folk Hero specialises in bringing story strategies to the executive level, creating brand narratives to emphasise the brands’ operating and organizing principles.
The firm helps its clients develop unusually compelling brand narratives, architecture, identity and tone-of-voice, all underpinned by a robust research methodology and deep understanding of contemporary consumer behaviors.
The move sees INVNT provide these brand strategy services to both new and existing clients, as complementary to or independent from the agency’s existing live brand storytelling offering, and that of its fast-growing branded content studio, HEVĒ.
Folk Hero was established by award-winning brand strategist Rob Klingensmith, who has spent more than 20 years crafting brand stories for fashion, lifestyle and tech brands. He has previously held roles at Omnicom-owned advertising agencies Goodby, Silverstein & Partners and TBWA in San Francisco, as well as Marcel Worldwide in Paris, where he led a global brand strategy team.
Klingensmith says: “A folk hero is a story so good it has to be told—it’s a memorable, elemental narrative that far from fleeting, lingers in a person’s memory long after their first encounter, and demands to be shared. Developing these stories is what drives me, and I am thrilled to be joining an agency that shares this passion for brand storytelling in all forms.”
As CEO, Klingensmith will lead and grow Folk Hero’s offering as a part of the INVNT and HEVĒ family.
Klingensmith will work out of INVNT’s New York headquarters and report to the group’s chief creative officer, Paul Blurton.
Blurton says: “Folk Hero is the ideal complement to the live and digital brand storytelling capabilities provided by INVNT and HEVĒ.
“Working as we do across numerous industries and clients, it’s always so refreshing to meet companies that have devoted time and effort to creating their own master brand narrative. It becomes the wellspring for every other creative expression of that brand. This is what Folk Hero does so effectively, and it’s why this acquisition makes so much sense.”
Kristina McCoobery, COO at INVNT, says: “INVNT’s acquisition of Folk Hero ladders up to our overarching vision to be the best brand storytellers in the world. We recognize that to achieve our vision, we must evolve our offering to meet our clients at whatever stage of the storytelling cycle they need us.
“At a time when many of the old rules of marketing are changing, we believe that the brands with the best stories, told well, will win. And when our clients win, we win.”

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Malaysian firm offers AI-based profiling of Chinese visitors for virus – Benchmarking Change- Tempemail – Blog – 10 minute

Malaysia’s MYEG Services Bhd said on Wednesday it had developed a coronavirus risk-profiling system for visitors from China and was offering the artificial intelligence-based service to the governments of Malaysia and the Philippines.
Malaysia has imposed a temporary ban on visitors from Chinese provinces placed on lockdown by the China’s government, in a bid to stem the spread of the virus. Malaysia has reported 22 infections, and the Philippines has reported three confirmed cases including one death.
MYEG Services Bhd said its system creates a health-risk profile using a person’s historical geolocation information and other parameters. MYEG has partnered with Beijing-based travel agency Phoenix Travel Worldwide for the project.
The fully-automated system analyses a “vast number of available data points, including visitors’ previous known whereabouts as well as heart rate and blood pressure readings crossed-referenced against public transportation ridership and exposure to locations with incidences of infections,” MYEG said in a statement to the stock exchange.
“In addition, the system provides ongoing engagement with the visitor within the country, thus enabling health authorities to be alerted of any anomalies and to take immediate appropriate measures such as in the event that evacuation or quarantine of affected persons are necessary.”

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Infosys Set To Acquire Cloud Consultancy firm Simplus- Tempemail – Blog – 10 minute

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Global tech giant Infosys has announced that it will be acquiring US-based Simplus, a Salesforce partner, for $250 million. The fourth quarter of the financial year 2019-2020 will see the closing of this acquisition which is subject to customary closing conditions. This deal is of $200 million with considerations for any contingencies suggesting payment for the acquisition of shares that are subject to closing adjustments. 
Simplus is best known for its cloud consulting, change management, training and data integration services it does for Salesforce. Mainly owned by founders, key employees and other investors, Salesforce has a minority stake in Simplus. The company recorded a revenue of $67.1 million in the fiscal year ending January 31, 2020. 
In a statement, Infosys said that this acquisition, when coupled with Fluido acquisition, would further elevate Infosys’ position as an end-to-end Salesforce enterprise cloud solutions and services provider, offering clients unparalleled capabilities for cloud-first digital transformation. 
By bringing in Salesforce expertise, knowledge of the industry and huge clientele across industries, Infosys would be at the advantage of delving more into its next-generation digital services and consulting. 
Simplus already has offices across North America, Sydney, London, Melbourne, and Manila, where there is a large delivery center. 

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Massive Powership Firm Willing to Bail Out Eskom for Half the CostIT News Africa – Up to date technology news, IT news, Digital news, Telecom news, Mobile news, Gadgets news, Analysis and Reports – Blog – 10 minute

February 5, 2020 • General, Industries, Mining & Energy
One of the world’s largest powership firms, Karpowership has submitted a proposal to South Africa. This new plan seeks to effectively “plug” the power deficit the country is facing, upwards of 3,000MW, Reuters reports.

Sourced from EE Publishing.

“We have made a submission to the department as of last Friday and they received information on what is possible, where and how we would look to do it”, says Patrick O’Driscoll, Karpowership’s director of Global Sales. He continues to say that several injection points have already been identified by the company in order to pump the grid with power.
Karpowership is currently providing about 4,100MW of electricity to nations in the Middle East, Asia, eight African nations and even Cuba. This massive undertaking is conducted by its fleet of 25 powerships. An excess of 4,400MW worth of new ships is also in plans to be constructed at their Turkey shipyard.
Each ship can supply a country’s power grid a range of power options from 30MW to up to and around 600MW and for as long as they are contracted. O’Driscoll also says “speed of delivery” is their most important focus, and that they had recently operated a 120MW contract in Senegal within nine weeks.
Most importantly for the cash-strapped Eskom, is that these powerships can run on many different fuels, the usual being natural gas and even liquefied natural gas which is cheaper than diesel – the source of fuel that Eskom spends millions of dollars annually to supply.
“I can give guarantees and assurances that Karpowership will be significantly less, maybe even half the cost of those peakers”, Reuters quotes him on Eskom’s open-cycle gas turbines.
What are Powerships?
Imagine them as small, privately-owned floating power stations that moor off the coast of a country and generate backup power. They are designed to supply power 24-hours a day, seven days a week. The electrical supply is managed on-board, with a sophisticated control room that matches the control facilities of any high-end modern land-based power station.
Powerships generate electricity in a number of high power alternators in their hulls, which are fed by fuel lines that lead to fuel storage tanks from the respective harbour’s storage facilities. Each ship also has a backup fuel tank on-board to prevent any unnecessary power interruptions.  A few ships off the coast of South Africa could effectively eliminate the need for load-shedding, EE Publishing writes.
Edited by Luis Monzon
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Alphabet becomes a Trillion dollar Firm. What Now?- Tempemail – Blog – 10 minute

Within a few days after Sundar Pichai held over the reins of Alphabet, Alphabet seems to be topping the tech world already. Google’s parent company, Alphabet, becomes the fourth-largest company in the US that has attained a market value of more than $1 trillion. Alphabet becomes a successor of Apple, Amazon and Microsoft.
Sundar Pichai Did The Magic?
It’s worth saying that Alphabet has achieved this milestone just within a month after Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin had stepped down from their respective positions of CEO and President positions of Alphabet. 
In December 2019, Larry Page had handed over the reins to Google CEO Sundar Pichai. This made Pichai the CEO of both Google and Alphabet.
Also Read:
The Rise Of Sundar Pichai
What is Wall Street Saying?
As per experts, Alphabet is slated to report its fourth-quarter earnings by February 3rd. Based on this, Wall Street analysts are expecting Alphabet to report revenue of around $46.9 billion, a surge up to around 20 percent. 
Are All Trillion-Dollar Companies Economically Sound?
Experts say that a trillion-dollar valuation doesn’t always talk about the company’s overall economic health of a company. Also, investors don’t use this in a meaningful way either. 
Until last year, the trillion-dollar companies were the most profitable companies in the world. However, there were some exceptions like Saudi Aramco topping the list, Apple coming second and Alphabet at 7th.
There is a high probability that the next company expected to hit the trillion-dollar market would be Facebook. There have been no official confirmations yet, but figures suggest the same. 

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Insight Partners acquires data backup firm Veeam for US$5 billion- Tempemail – Blog – 10 minute

In the first mega acquisition of 2020, software investor Insight Partners has announced to acquire Veeam Software, the leader in backup solutions that deliver cloud data management, for $5 billion. Veeam which has a significant presence in India, will now become a US company, while continuing its global expansion from offices in 30 countries and with customers in over 160 countries.
As part of the acquisition, William H. Largent has been promoted to Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and Danny Allan will work as Chief Technology Officer (CTO).
“With the acquisition, we are excited that our current US workforce of more than 1,200 will be expanded and strengthened to acquire and support more customers,” said Largent. “Veeam has one of the highest caliber global workforces of any technology company, and we believe this acquisition will allow us to scale our team and technology at an unrivalled pace,” he added.
Insight Partners invested in Veeam at the beginning of 2019.
With over $1 billion in annual sales and more than 365,000 customers worldwide, Veeam launched a number of new innovations over the last year, cementing its position in the global market. The company grew by 171 per cent year-on-year with over 100 per cent growth in total bookings in India in the first quarter of 2019. Veeam also witnessed a growth of 50 per cent (YoY) in terms of partners added in Q1 2019 in the country.
“We are committed to supporting Veeam’s next phase of leadership and growth in the US, continued market-share leadership position in EMEA and continued global expansion,” said Insight Partners Managing Director and Veeam Board member Mike Triplett.
The acquisition is expected to close during the first quarter of 2020.
Veeam recently launched new cloud-native solutions that will enable customers to manage, migrate, orchestrate and protect data across AWS and Microsoft Azure environment.
Founded in 1995, Insight Partners currently has over $20 billion of assets under management and has cumulatively invested in more than 300 companies worldwide.

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The youngest new partner at the venture firm Felicis Ventures, Niki Pezeshki, on how he wins deals – gpgmail


Felicis Ventures has, in its roughly 13 years of existence, established a reputation in venture circles as a smart early-stage investment firm that’s willing to make bets almost anywhere in the world. Founded by ex-Googler Aydin Senkut, the San Francisco-based firm has also demonstrated a knack for attracting talented investors into the fold, including another former Google executive, Wesley Chan; Sundeep Peechu, who held various product roles at Intel before joining the firm in 2010; and Renata Quintini, an investor who Felicis eventually lost to Lux Capital (which more recently lost her to her own firm, Renegade Partners, which is reportedly raising a $300 million debut fund).

We talked this morning with yet another member of Felicis, Niki Pezeshki, who, following several promotions, has just became the youngest partner in the firm’s history. For aspiring VCs out there, we wondered how Pezeshki landed the role — and how he’s managing to win deals. Following is part of that conversation, edited lightly for length.

TC: Everyone wants to work in VC. How did you land this gig?

NP: Out of undergrad [at the University of Southern California], I went to work for [private equity firm] Vista Equity Partners.They hire, like, four people out of undergrad every year at USC. I was in Austin [where the firm is based] for three years. It was amazing. I didn’t know what I was getting into at the time — Vista has blossomed into this incredible fund — but it grounded me in the fundamentals of business and what is a good software investment. I think it made me more numbers-focused than a lot of other venture capitalists. I may get flamed for saying this, but I come to the world of venture with a much more numbers-driven and formulaic approach to understanding business that I think helps me pick good investments.

TC: How did you wind up in the Bay Area?

NP: My family is from LA so I came to California to work for Climate Corp. for a year; I worked in sales strategy and operations. I wanted a bit of operating experience. But I love investing so much; I wanted to go back to it. So I got a job with [PE firm] Summit Partners, where you’re doing hardcore outbound sourcing and learning how to reach out to people and get conversations started and figuring out [who you should be learning more about] out of hundreds of founders.

While there, Felicis randomly reached out to me through a friend of a friend, who said, ‘You should meet Sundeep,’ and they told Sundeep, ‘Sundeep, you should meet Niki,’ and though I hadn’t thought about venture, a lot of what they were doing really resonated with me. In many ways, I’m doing what I was doing at Summit, but with a much wider aperture.

TC: You were just promoted to partner from principal, up from senior associate, where you started in 2016. What does that mean on a practical level?

NP: A lot of the role won’t be much different than in the past year. I think from an external-facing perspective, it gives me more credibility with founders and investors. It’s one more thing that I can use to win great deals.

TC: What’s one competitive deal that you’ve won already?

NP: Modus in Seattle. It’s a [tech-driven] escrow startup that is to the title and brokerage industry what Compass is to real estate. I led the Series A deal for that company and I’m on the board and I got lot of credibility internally for that. I think they were thinking of promoting me next year or the year after, but they were like, ‘Dang, Niki just led a competitive Series A round. Let’s give him ammunition.’ [Laughs.]

TC: How did the deal come together, and what do you think won them over?

NP: I think three things: bonding with the founders, conviction about their company and speed. I’d heard that they were going to be in town for two weeks, fundraising, and I knew their goal was to leave the area with a term sheet. A lot of firms are fairly bureaucratic and it’s hard for them to spin up their team and do due diligence that quickly, but Felicis has a small team and I had conviction about the space already, so when they came through, I told them how excited I was to do something on their timeline.

We also bonded over [an up-and-coming] DJ. It’s also about creating that human connection with founders. I have a bunch of friends who are founders who say it often feels very transactional, their relationship with investors. You want to support these people.

TC: You don’t have tons of operating experience. You aren’t alone in this, but plenty of VCs will argue that to founders that it’s crucial. How do you counter this?

NP: Some founders do want more operational expertise, others don’t care that much unless the VC once ran a multibillion-dollar company. If you’re Martin Casado [of Andreessen Horowitz] and someone really loves Nicira, I’m probably not going to win against him.

But I’m relatively young compared with other partners, and I’m really passionate, and I think that comes across in the fundraising process. I think founders know that I will take a call any time, and help them build an amazing model for their business, and really help them prep for their next fundraising process, and help them with any VP recruits.

I’m still building my track record, so founders know that I care and that my incentives are aligned with theirs. If a founding team is successful, I’ll be successful versus someone who is already sitting on 15 boards and will show up once a quarter and try to own the room and who is less invested in whether or not the company does well because [that investor] has already been successful. I want every single portfolio company to do incredibly well. I want that to come across. And I think it does.


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New investment firm wants to change the way we fund early stage companies — from New Hampshire – gpgmail


The three founders of York IE have a vision about how to change the way early stage startups get funding. They have experience shattering norms, having built a successful startup, Dyn, in Manchester, New Hampshire, which is not exactly a hot-bed of startup activity.

The founders want to take that same spirit and apply it to investing, while maintaining its headquarters in New Hampshire (and Boston). In fact, the three founders — Kyle York, Joe Raczka and Adam Coughlin — launched Dyn and built it to $30 million in ARR before taking a dime in venture funding. They went onto raise $88 million before being acquired by Oracle in 2016. They believe they can apply the lessons that they learned to other early stage startups.

“We think, especially in B2B and SaaS, there is a way to build a scalable, effective and efficient business without chasing massive fund raises, diluting your company, bringing on traditional venture investors and chasing those kind of on-paper vanity metrics,” company CEO and co-founder Kyle York told gpgmail.

For the past five years, while working at Oracle after the acquisition, the founders have been testing their theories while advising startups and acting as angel investors. They believed it was time to take all of those learnings and apply it to their own firm.

“I started thinking about how to transition out of Oracle, and what I wanted to do from a career perspective and we wanted to build a modern investment firm less focused on how to deploy as much capital as possible for the limited partners, and more on working with the entrepreneurs to help coach them on a path to success,” York said.

The company still wants to act as investors, and to make money along the way, but they want to help build more solid, grounded companies. York says that they want the founders truly understand that they are selling a part of their company in exchange for those dollars, and that it makes sense to have a strong foundation before taking on money.

York wants to change this culture of fund raising for fund raising’s sake. He acknowledges that some companies with deep tech or deep infrastructure require that kind of substantial up-front investment to get off the ground, but SaaS companies are supposed to be able to take advantage of modern technology to build companies more easily, and he wants to see them build solid companies first and foremost.

“The goal shouldn’t be to raise more capital. The goal should be to build a healthy successful, scalable company,” he said.

To put their money where their mouth is, the new firm will not take management fees. “We are investing like a normal investor and coming through with an equity position, but we are betting on the future. In essence, if the startup wins, then we win.”


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Kabbage acquires Radius Intelligence, the marketing tech firm with a database of 20M small businesses – gpgmail


Data is the new oil, as the saying goes, and today Kabbage — a fintech startup backed by SoftBank that has built a business around lending up to $250,000 to small and medium enterprises, using AI-based algorithms to help determine the terms of the loan — is picking up an asset to expand its own data trove as it looks to expand into further SMB financial services. The company has acquired Radius Intelligence, the marketing technology firm that has built a database of information on some 20 million small and medium businesses in the US.

Terms of the deal are not being disclosed, but notably, it comes on the heels of a sightly tumultuous period for Radius. Last year, the company announced a merger with its big competitor Leadspace, only to quietly cancel the deal three months later. Then two months after that, it replaced its longtime CEO.

Radius — which is backed by some $120 million from investors that include Founders Fund, David Sacks, Salesforce Ventures, AME Cloud Ventures and the actor Jared Leto among others — last had a valuation of around $200 million according to PitchBook, but that was prior to these events. Kabbage, meanwhile, has raised hundreds of millions in equity and debt and is valued at over $1 billion. The deal will be financed off Kabbage’s own balance sheet and will not require the company to raise more funds, I understand.

Rob Frohwein, Kabbage’s co-founder and CEO, said in an interview that the plan is to integrate Radius’ tech and IP into the Kabbage platform — the task will be overseen by Radius’ current CEO, Joel Carusone — as well as Radius’ tech team of 20 engineers, who will work for the Atlanta-based startup out of its office in San Francisco.

He also added that Radius’ current products — which include market intelligence and contact information for employees at SMBs in the US, along with a host of related solutions, which up to now had been gathered both via public sources and the businesses updating the information themselves; as well as the technology for merging disparate sources of data and ferreting out the “valid” pieces that are worth retaining and throwing out what is out of date — will not be sold any longer via Radius. From now on, there will be only one customer for all that data: Kabbage itself.

To note: the company had already been a user of Radius’ data to help its own marketing team connect with new and and existing customers.

“We have known the company for a long time,” said Frohwein. Other customers that Radius lists on its site include Square, American Express, LendingTree, FirstData, MetLife, Sam’s Club, Yahoo and more.

This doesn’t mean that Kabbage might not offer the SMB intelligence in a format to businesses directly via its own platform at some point, but it also means that as Kabbage expands into services that might compete with some of Radius’ now-former customers — payments and merchant acquirer services, as well as tools to help SMBs grow their own customer funnels are some that are on the cards for the coming months — it will have an edge on them because of the data on users that it will now own.

The deal underscores two bigger trends among startups that focus on enterprise customers. First, it points to  ongoing consolidation in the world of marketing tech, in part as businesses look for ways to better compete against the likes of Microsoft and Salesforce, which are also continually building out their stacks of services. And we will likely see more activity from stronger fintech companies keen to expand their platforms to provide more touchpoints and revenue streams from existing customers, as well as more services to expand the customer base overall.

“We’re thrilled to join the Kabbage team. As a company dedicated to small business analytics and data management, we’ve always had a deep respect for Kabbage’s data-driven technology and focus,” Radius CEO Carusone said in a statement. “Our companies have complementary technical architectures and domain experience for decision making. With Kabbage, we can build a more sophisticated analytics solution to identify, reach and serve small businesses.”

Kabbage itself is not looking for new funding at the moment, Frohwein said, but he added also that it is on a fast trajectory at the moment but still a ways away from an IPO, so I wouldn’t discount more raises in the future. The company is currently on track to see revenues up 40% versus last year, with customers up 60%.

“We’re always looking to grow,” he said.


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India’s mobile payments firm MobiKwik reaches rare key profit milestone – gpgmail


Indian mobile payments firm MobiKwik has reached a milestone very few of its local rivals can even contemplate: not burning money. The 10-year-old Gurgaon-headquartered firm said Tuesday it is now generating a profit excluding interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization.

“We have been in an ecosystem where we have seen a lot of high-growth and several regulatory changes in the payments domain. But what we realized was that payments alone is likely not going to be a very profitable business,” Bipin Singh, co-founder and CEO of MobiKwik, told gpgmail in an interview.

To get to the path of profitability, MobiKwik has made a number of significant changes to its business in recent years. It stopped participating in the race of getting more and more users and fight with the likes of Paytm, which has raised more than $2 billion to date.

Paytm remains unprofitable and an analysis of its financial performance shows that this is not going to change anytime soon. Google, which also offers a payments service in India, has no shortage of cash either.

Upasana Taku, co-founder and COO of MobiKwik, recalled an offsite meeting where someone asked her why Kotak and ICICI banks, both of which have about 15 million to 20 million customers, are profitable but wallet apps with tens of millions of users are not. MobiKwik, which employs 400 people, has 110 million users, she said.

In last two and a half years, MobiKwik has cut down on cashback it bandies out to users — a practice followed by nearly every company offering a payments solution in India — and focused on building financial services on top of its wallet app to retain customers and find additional revenue sources.

The company continues to focus on its mobile wallet and payments processing businesses that account for about 65% of its revenue, but its growing suite of financial services such as providing credits and insurance to customers is already bringing rest of the revenue, she said.

That’s not surprising. Fewer than 50 million credit cards are in circulation in India currently, and for people with limited income, getting a loan remains a major challenge.

“Even the population that has access to smartphones and cheap internet data can’t get a credit card in India. We found it a good match for the growth of our payments app. We started serving these users who have the discipline to repay money and have certain kind of income,” the couple said, who are now also donning the role of angel investors.

MobiKwik works with banks and other lenders to finance loans worth Rs 5,000 ($69) to Rs 100,000 ($1380). In the 18 months the service has been live, MobiKwik has offered 800,000 loans and disbursed $100 million. Its health insurance starts at as little as $1.3 a month.

MobiKwik expects its revenue to hit $66 million in the financial year that ends in March next year, up from $28 million a year earlier. The company, which expects to turn fully profitable in the next two years, plans to go public soon afterwards.

MobiKwik competes with a number of players, many of which are increasingly adding financial services such as loans to their platforms. Because these digital platforms are able to process loans without the need of salespeople and support staff, it becomes feasible for banks to chase customers with weak financial power.

India’s overall retail credit demand is expected to grow 60% to $771 billion over the next four years, according to the Digital Lenders Association of India.


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