Crestmont Capital Announced $380 Million in Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Loans for Small Businesses

Business Wire | August 28, 2020

Crestmont Capital, a leader in small business lending, today announced it facilitated more than $380 million in Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans. Since initiating PPP applications on April 6, 2020, Crestmont Capital has provided access to a financial lifeline to more than 10,000 small businesses nationally. Crestmont Capital was one of the first lenders in the country to offer loans via the PPP to all small businesses, without requiring preexisting relationships. As a result, the demand for stimulus funds was massive, and overall Crestmont Capital received more than 25,000 applications totaling aggregate demand for more than $1 billion in new loans. Over 90% of the PPP borrowers had never received a loan through Crestmont Capital, thus enabling the company to expand its national reach and serve new businesses

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MSPs are up against cybercriminals that have adopted a standard, modern business model. And it's paying off. It's not news that cybercriminals, like most criminals, prefer to target weak and vulnerable victims.


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TECHNOLOGY

Switcher, Inc. Launches Shopify Solution for Small and Mid-Sized Businesses to Drive Video Commerce Sales through Shoppable Livestreams

Switcher, Inc. | June 10, 2022

Switcher, Inc. (Switcher), a leading content creation and video production software company trusted by customers across the globe, announced the launch of Cartr by Switcher Studio, a Shopify app that seamlessly integrates Shopify products with Switcher Studio’s iOS app to create branded shoppable livestreams on Facebook. This unique solution enables customers to easily add products to their online shopping cart by simply commenting on the livestream. Once a customer has selected an item from the livestream, Cartr, a chatbot, will deploy and request specifics in terms of size, color, and quantity. This technology takes video from a marketing tactic to a sales strategy and creates a new revenue stream for small and mid-sized businesses. Since the company’s founding in 2014, Switcher Studio has been helping small businesses and individuals create, edit, and share video content in a professional, polished manner without the need to invest in expensive technology and equipment. As live selling continues to grow in popularity, small and mid-sized businesses are looking for ways to tap into this new sales channel to not only drive revenue but expand their customer base by reaching new audiences on social media. “Our goal at Switcher is to change the way video gets made and empower small and mid-sized businesses to take ownership of creating video that drives sales, With live selling expected to generate $35 billion in sales by 2024, we wanted to create a video commerce solution that generates revenue, creates repeat buyers, and empowers small business owners to have the tools they need to compete with national and international brands.” -Nick Mattingly, CEO and Co-Founder, Switcher Studio Cartr simplifies the live selling process by allowing businesses to connect Switcher to their Shopify store to effortlessly manage inventory for their shoppable streams and deliver a seamless customer experience every time an in-stream purchase is made. Small and mid-sized businesses that use Cartr will benefit from: Selling live from iOS devices: Retailers can create branded shoppable livestreams for Facebook with just a few taps on their iPhone or iPad in the Switcher iOS app. No complicated technology or technical experts are needed. Simplifying Facebook Live shopping: Viewers can quickly and easily express their interest in a product right on Facebook during a livestream by commenting to add it to their cart in real time. Cartr helps customers finalize their orders via Facebook DM and then directs shoppers to the businesses’ secure checkout page within their Shopify store, allowing the customer relationship to stay between the buyer and seller. Streamlining inventory management: Retailers will decide which Shopify product collections they’d like to promote during their Facebook livestream, and Cartr and Shopify will manage inventory in one location, eliminating the hassle of multiple product catalogs. “Our business has been live selling since early 2021, We have been amazed by how easy the new Cartr app in Shopify makes live selling for boutique owners like us. Cartr makes it quicker to set up and integrate product collections from Shopify, with products magically showing up when we are ready to go live! When viewers comment on our Facebook Live Shopping events, the Cartr chatbot makes checkout so simple. We expect our customer base and sales to grow even further with Cartr. Live selling is a new sales channel that we are excited to continue investing in.” -Britney Renbarger, Owner of Pink Tag. Shopify is an all-in-one commerce platform developed for entrepreneurs to start, manage, or grow their businesses. Shopify serves creators and merchants in more than 175 countries and provides the building blocks needed to succeed in video commerce. To utilize the Cartr chatbot and create collections of products to use in your videos, businesses will need to have an existing Shopify store and install the Cartr plugin from the Shopify app store. Merchants will then start streaming live video to their Facebook Business Page using the companion app, Switcher Studio. The Switcher Studio iOS app can be accessed from the Apple App Store. Businesses will need an iOS device (iPhone or iPad). For additional support or resources, please visit the Switcher Studio Help Center. To see a live demo of Cartr by Switcher Studio, tune into Switcher’s Facebook and YouTube livestream on June 7, 2022, at 1 p.m. EDT. About Switcher, Inc. and Switcher Studio Founded in 2014, Switcher, Inc. helps creators and businesses produce videos more easily and affordably through its multicamera production software, Switcher Studio. Switcher Studio lets users sync multiple iOS devices to capture video content from many perspectives—to tell stories, showcase products, and more. And its real-time video editing features to ensure that content is dynamic and polished. Plus, Switcher's integrations with streaming platforms and video conferencing tools allow creators and brands to reach their communities nearly anywhere. The tech startup, based in Louisville, Kentucky, and Yverdon-les-Bains, Switzerland, employs 40+ team members. For more information, visit switcherstudio.com or download the Switcher Studio app.

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BUSINESS STRATEGY

ZenBusiness Joins Small Business Digital Alliance as Founding National Member

ZenBusiness | March 14, 2022

ZenBusiness, the only one-stop guided platform to help entrepreneurs launch, run, and grow a successful business, has joined the Small Business Digital Alliance (SBDA) as a National Member. As a founding member of the SBDA, ZenBusiness will work closely with other leading businesses, elected leaders and administration officials to connect current and aspiring entrepreneurs with the digital tools and resources for their businesses. ZenBusiness joins some of the nation’s leading companies spanning a host of industries to offer specialized guidance to America’s entrepreneurs including: Amazon, Square (Block, Inc.), Comcast, Google, Meta, PayPal, Principal Financial Group, TriNet, Venmo, Verizon, and Visa. “Today, every small business is a digital business. Finding customers, managing the books, and delivering products or services all require new levels of digital expertise. We are extremely proud to be part of this amazing group helping the nation’s heroic entrepreneurs and small business owners master the digital tools they need to find success.” ZenBusiness Co-Founder and COO Shanaz Hemmati The SBDA is a new public-private co-sponsorship between the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and Business Forward, Inc., a non-profit organization working with small business leaders in support of policies promoting America’s economic competitiveness, focused on connecting entrepreneurs with critical digital tools and resources to start and expand their businesses to scale for success, including in the burgeoning e-commerce economy. ZenBusiness will work closely with the SBDA to support the country’s growing small business sector by providing small business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs access to some of its business formation, education and financial services tools. In addition, the team at ZenBusiness will take part in briefings, panels and host trainings to help these individuals leverage new digital tools in their businesses. About ZenBusiness ZenBusiness, a Public Benefit Corporation, is the only one-stop guided platform tailored for the entrepreneur’s journey to launch, run, and grow a successful business. Empowering the new generation of entrepreneurs, ZenBusiness provides innovative tools, fintech, and world-class educational resources to support millions of small businesses on their journey to success -- all at an affordable and clear price. By giving entrepreneurs what they need -- worry-free services, frontline support, and an all-inclusive platform -- ZenBusiness makes taking the leap towards building a better life as easy as possible, allowing business owners to achieve a state of Zen. Founded in 2017, ZenBusiness is based in Austin, Texas. About SBDA The Small Business Digital Alliance (SBDA) is a joint co-sponsorship agreement between the SBA and Business Forward that brings together major players, influencers, and companies in the tech, e-commerce, benefits, and other industries to help small businesses connect with digital tools and reach new customers through expanded opportunities through trainings, tools, and expansion of their digital networks – free of charge.

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TECHNOLOGY

Thumbtack Announces Front Desk – a First-of-its-Kind Concierge Service – to Help Small Businesses Grow More Sustainably

Thumbtack | March 10, 2022

Thumbtack, the modern home management platform, today announced the launch of its latest offering for local professionals: Front Desk. This new concierge service is personalized to help small businesses turn even more potential customers into confirmed jobs. Now, hundreds of thousands of small business owners can optimize their operations to be more efficient and more profitable. “Today, our Front Desk team responds to inquiries in 2 minutes, which means customers are finding help faster than ever and pros are growing their businesses more sustainably. We’re helping pros spend less time in the office or on the phone — and more time on the job. In the future, we envision Front Desk helping independent business owners manage more of their growth factors on Thumbtack. Chat is just the beginning.” Jeff Grant, COO at Thumbtack The labor shortage has severely impacted the home improvement, repair, and maintenance industries with 52 percent of home pros reporting difficulty hiring in our recent Economic Sentiment Survey. Despite the shortage of available qualified workers, home pros are busier than ever – 73 percent expect their company's financial situation to be the same or better in the next quarter. And, they're seeking help to keep up with demand — with more than one third (36 percent) attempting to fill full or part-time positions last quarter. Our new Front Desk offering helps pros minimize the effects of the labor shortage by giving them peace of mind that their customers are getting near instant, effective, and high-quality support while allowing them to focus on their craft. “The Front Desk team has been phenomenal. Customers reach out to us at all times of the day, including at night,” said Michele Bottone, owner of Lazy B Fencing and Staining. “Prior to using Front Desk, we wouldn’t see the messages until the next day because we are out in the field or at home with family. Now it doesn’t matter when customers reach out because they get responded to right away and it’s helped us engage them more efficiently. The customers also enjoy the quick response from our team. It’s been great!” To start, Thumbtack’s Front Desk team conducts an onboarding call with each pro to understand their business goals and preferences in order to set up personalized responses for future customers – much like a personal assistant. From there, based on the package that best fits each pro’s needs, the Front Desk team handles messaging with customers on behalf of the pro (days, evenings, even weekends) and books jobs for them based on their availability and any other personal preferences. Customers get a personalized experience depending on the independent pro they’ve reached out to. During initial testing of Front Desk, local service professionals saw, on average, 20 percent higher job conversion, and 28 percent higher customer satisfaction ratings. To learn more about Thumbtack, download the app (available on iOS and Android). About Thumbtack Thumbtack is a technology leader building the modern home management platform. Through the Thumbtack app, homeowners can effortlessly manage their homes — confidently knowing what to do, when to do it, and who to hire. Bringing the $500 billion home services industry online, Thumbtack empowers millions of homeowners to fix, maintain, and improve their most valuable asset. Hundreds of thousands of local service professionals, from painters and plumbers to photographers and math tutors, use the Thumbtack platform to grow their business each year.

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TECHNOLOGY

Symphony Technology Group Announces the Launch of Skyhigh Security

Symphony Technology Group | March 28, 2022

Symphony Technology Group (“STG”), a leading Menlo Park-based private equity firm focused on the software, data, and analytics sectors, today announced the launch of Skyhigh Security. The new portfolio company was created to satisfy the growing cloud security requirements for large and small organizations. Skyhigh Security’s unique approach extends security beyond data access to securing how the data is used. Its data-aware Security Service Edge (SSE) is built to meet the needs of the modern workforce with security that follows the data and users wherever they are. Earlier this year, STG announced it would be splitting McAfee Enterprise into two organizations- Trellix and Skyhigh Security- to better focus on the very distinct markets of Extended Detection and Response (XDR) and the SSE. At that time STG also announced that Gee Rittenhouse, who previously led Cisco’s cyber security business, would serve as CEO of the SSE business, bringing deep cloud security expertise. “Skyhigh Security has emerged as a dedicated cloud security company that is laser-focused on propelling businesses forward with a comprehensive and converged approach to data security. We’re committed to investing in this business, which is in one of the most important markets in security, SSE.” William Chisholm, managing partner, STG “With the majority of data in the cloud and users accessing it from everywhere, a new approach to security is needed,” said Rittenhouse. “Skyhigh Security has created a comprehensive security platform to secure both data access and data use via unified policies and data awareness. Organizations can now have complete visibility and control and seamlessly monitor and mitigate security risks—achieving lower associated costs, driving greater efficiencies and keeping pace with the speed of innovation.” “Organizations are at a crossroads navigating the hybrid workforce,” said Frank Dickson, vice president, IDC. “While the ‘work from anywhere’ model creates flexibility and agility, it can also be a point of security vulnerability, challenging perimeters and endpoints and opening new attack surfaces in the cloud. These organizations need a best-in-class cloud-native solution that simplifies the implementation of cloud security to protect data regardless of where it lies.” “Protecting the way data is used is as important as the way data is accessed we must implement a powerful data-centric defense to meet the demands of how work is conducted today,” said Dan Meacham, chief information security officer, Legendary Entertainment. “Skyhigh Security’s platform approach is completely integrated and simple to use. With over 10 years focus on cloud security, they are a pioneer in the SSE space. Skyhigh Security’s innovations have been validated both by analysts and customers alike. It is truly one of the most solid and unique SSE solutions in the market today.” The Skyhigh Security SSE Portfolio includes Secure Web Gateway (SWG), Cloud Access Security Broker (CASB), Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA), Cloud Data Loss Prevention (DLP), Remote Browser Isolation technology, Cloud Firewall and Cloud Native Application Protection Platform (CNAPP). The company was most recently named a Leader in the 2022 Gartner® Magic Quadrant™ for Security Service Edge and recognized in the 2022 Critical Capabilities for SSE for its MVISION Unified Cloud Edge (UCE) solution. Gartner does not endorse any vendor, product or service depicted in our research publications, and does not advise technology users to select only those vendors with the highest ratings. Gartner research publications consist of the opinions of Gartner's research organization and should not be construed as statements of fact. Gartner disclaims all warranties, expressed or implied, with respect to this research, including any warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose. About Skyhigh Security Skyhigh Security protects organizations with cloud-native security solutions that are both data-aware and simple to use. Its market-leading Security Service Edge (SSE) Portfolio goes beyond data access and focuses on data use, allowing organizations to collaborate from any device and from anywhere without sacrificing security.

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Spotlight

MSPs are up against cybercriminals that have adopted a standard, modern business model. And it's paying off. It's not news that cybercriminals, like most criminals, prefer to target weak and vulnerable victims.

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