Don't Let Your Small Business Fall Victim To Cybercriminals

Benzinga | March 05, 2020

Be aware of the malicious work e-mail. The new message in your inbox, seemingly from your boss or human resources, is actually the most common way hackers gain access to small business networks and potentially sensitive client data. Ensuring that your business is protected against ransomware attacks has rapidly grown from being an amenity to a necessity. In 2019, 43% of cyberattacks were aimed at small businesses. And in an equally unsettling statistic, a research survey conducted by insurance company Hiscox found that digital attacks cost businesses of all sizes an average of $200,000 last year, a 488% increase over the 2018 average.

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FINANCE

Alchemy launches Small Business Lending SaaS Platform to fully automate Commercial Lending Process

Alchemy | April 07, 2022

Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (SME) are the backbone of the world economy. They play a major role in economic development, job creation, and innovation. Furthermore, SMEs create up to 50% of employment worldwide and represent almost 90% of commerce worldwide. According to research, entrepreneurs and business owners will create over 600 million jobs in the next 10 years which will consist of 70% of new jobs around the globe. Today, small business owners are less likely to receive funding from large national or international banks. Instead, they rely on their own savings to bootstrap their business. According to the International Finance Corporation (IFC), there are 65 million small businesses or 40% of all SMEs in the world who have unmet financing needs. In other words, small business owners need funding to give them the boost they need to grow and expand their business. There are many emerging markets such as Latin America, that have started to explore credit information infrastructure where lenders and financing companies can underwrite small businesses by accessing the SME's credit history and banking transactions. Alchemy along with other partners in Latin America and around the world have built white labeled software that can help launch lending companies to start offering much needed financing products for millions of SMEs worldwide. Alchemy has assisted in developing government backed lending systems and automated crucial elements of the small business lending decision points. To properly underwrite a small business, the lending software must be able to automatically verify the small business's corporate information as well as the true owner's personal identity. We can automatically verify all small business owners' personal identity to provide a high level of confidence that these applicants are using their identity. Cash flow is another critical element of SME lending underwriting decision. Identity verification, personal and corporate credit tells us the history and behavior of the business, but it may not necessarily tell us the current financial health of the business. Alchemy has integrated with partners such as Codat and Plaid, which offer a deep dive into a company's cash flow and financial stability. We've spent years perfecting our automated application process, decision engine, and workflows that allows lenders to negotiate with their borrowers before a final offer is signed. Alchemy's powerful loan management system can manage line of credit, installment loans, and revenue-based repayment structures. The Alchemy lending system covers repayments, payment reminders, and collections modules to help lenders to stay on top of their portfolio and investment.

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FINANCE

Slice Adds Remodeling Contractors to Small Business General Liability Insurance Coverage

Slice | April 04, 2022

Slice Labs Inc. (Slice), a technology company with the first on-demand insurance platform, announced the addition of remodeling contractors to the covered classes under the AERO Insurance brand. Agents can now quote, bind and issue for 70 different classes in 42 states + D.C. In the fall of 2021, Slice and Appalachian Underwriters partnered on the development and distribution of Contractors General Liability Insurance via the new brand AERO Insurance. Data from the first quarter of 2022 continues to show tremendous growth with 46% month-over-month growth. “With remodelers being such a large group of the contractors industry, we’re very pleased to offer coverage. Not only do we want agents to have the best digital experience, we want them to be able to have access to the widest set of coverage, including hard to place coverage.” Tim Atta, founder and CEO of Slice Labs About Slice Labs Slice Labs Inc. is building the future of insurance by enabling insurers, MGAs, and technology platforms to build intelligent and intuitive, on-demand digital insurance products via Slice’s cloud-based platform. Founded in 2015 and headquartered in New York City, Slice has been consistently recognized as an insurance and technology leader by industry publications, awards, and Tier 1 publications. About Appalachian Underwriters, Inc Appalachian Underwriters, Inc. (AUI) offers a leading insurance wholesale brokerage outlet for agents looking to bring their clients a broad selection of quality products. AUI is a Nationwide MGA that specializes in Workers'​ Compensation, Commercial Specialty, and Personal Lines products. The company also offers a brokerage unit that expands their product offering beyond their Managed Programs and allows them to place large specialized risks. AUI’s “one–stop” approach affords the convenience of dealing with one sales and administration staff, while gaining access to a wide range of high quality companies. Appalachian Underwriters is a wholly owned subsidiary of Acrisure.

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TECHNOLOGY

OYO UK partners with PredictHQ to drive more accurate forecasts with AI and data-driven demand solutions

OYO | March 16, 2022

OYO, the leading travel technology brand today announced a partnership with PredictHQ, the demand intelligence company, to provide OYO with the necessary data and insights to drive demand and enable smarter pricing and packaging of its rooms. The collaboration will see OYO use PredictHQ's enriched and verified event data and allow OYO to use data and AI, to empower patrons and guests, turning the challenges of a post-pandemic era into opportunities for the future. It will also see OYO become a more data and tech-focused company that makes data-informed decisions, and enables guests to easily research, book and change their reservations and allow patrons to prepare for busy and quiet periods as effectively as possible. "The pandemic blew demand patterns to pieces, but there is a lot for travel companies to be optimistic about if they're armed with the right data. With domestic travel being super competitive and as international and business travel rebound, it's never been more important for accommodation providers to uncover and quickly act adapt to events driving surges in demand, to ensure they are ready to meet very welcome influxes of guests." PredictHQ CEO & Co-Founder Campbell Brown "We work with many of the world's largest accommodation providers, and the partnership with OYO, especially given their focus on providing a cutting-edge user experience for their customers, is one we're very proud of." Welcoming PredictHQ as a partner, Aman Aneja, Director of Revenue Management at OYO UK says, "While OYO has always been a tech-first, data-driven organisation, the collaboration with PredictHQ offers us additional data and deeper insights to deliver more value and solutions to our patrons and guests." He adds, "OYO is accelerating its innovation in travel and hospitality by implementing fresh tech that can accommodate and adapt to new customer expectations. This is a requirement to remain a healthy business in today's reality, but equally important is to offer new technologies that exceed current customer expectations and preferences." "Technology-led businesses have emerged from the pandemic in a stronger position, which is why it was so important for OYO to invest in technology, and learn to do more from less so that we are positioned to be the best partner for our patrons and the best brand for guests," concludes Aman. PredictHQ covers 19 categories of events, including sports, conferences, school and college holidays, and unscheduled events such as severe weather and natural disasters. About PredictHQ PredictHQ, the demand intelligence company, empowers global organizations to anticipate changes in demand for their products and services. PredictHQ's demand intelligence API aggregates events from hundreds of sources and verifies, enriches, and ranks them by predicted impact so companies can proactively discover catalysts that will impact demand. With PredictHQ, businesses gain a leg up on the competition and remain confident in their ability to meet customers' ever-changing needs. About OYO OYO is a global platform that empowers entrepreneurs and small businesses with hotels and homes by providing full-stack technology that increases revenue and eases operations; bringing easy-to-book, affordable, and trusted accommodation to customers around the world. OYO offers 40+ integrated products and solutions to patrons who operate over 157,000 hotel and home storefronts across India, Europe, Southeast Asia and 35 countries.

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FINANCE

Castlelake and Chesswood Announce Forward Flow Purchase Agreement for Equipment Loan and Lease Receivables

Castlelake | March 17, 2022

Castlelake L.P. ("Castlelake"), a global alternative investment manager with 17 years of experience investing in asset-rich opportunities, and Chesswood Group Limited, a specialty finance company with 40 years of experience in the commercial equipment finance market, today announced an agreement for the forward purchase of diversified equipment loan and lease receivables originated by Chesswood subsidiaries Pawnee Leasing Corporation and Tandem Finance Inc. Through the agreement, vehicles managed by Castlelake will acquire up to $400 million of small ticket equipment loan and lease receivables. The funds from the forward flow agreement are expected to enable Chesswood's subsidiaries to continue growing originations alongside market demand by providing off-balance sheet funding for loan originations. "We are pleased to partner with the management of Chesswood, Pawnee and Tandem as they continue to expand their well-established equipment financing footprint with small and medium-sized business across the U.S.," said Armin Rothauser, Partner, Lending at Castlelake. "We believe this agreement enables us to help meet the need for capital in a growing market, support the continued growth of an experienced market participant and provide interesting exposure to our investors." "The industry consolidation that has taken place over the past decade in U.S. small and mid-size equipment finance has created a unique growth opportunity for both Pawnee Leasing and Tandem Finance. Castlelake's expertise in equipment finance and focus on asset-rich, cash-flowing opportunities make them an ideal partner for the Chesswood Group of Companies." Jeff Fields, Chief Executive Officer of Chesswood Capital Management "We are excited to announce this transaction as we continue to grow our equipment finance volumes in the United States. This agreement expands on our strategic initiatives which seek to diversify revenue and earnings streams for Chesswood Group," said Ryan Marr President & CEO of Chesswood Group. Castlelake's specialty finance experience spans more than $3 billion of investments across more than 3,500 commercial and industrial loans and over 5 million consumer receivable accounts. The Chesswood team has originated and serviced equipment loan and lease contracts across the credit spectrum through multiple credit cycles, including the global financial crisis and the COVID-19 pandemic. About Castlelake, L.P. Castlelake, L.P. is a global alternative investment manager focused on investments in real assets, specialty finance and aviation. Founded in 2005, Castlelake manages approximately $21 billion of assets. The Castlelake team comprises more than 200 experienced professionals, including 89 investment professionals, across six offices in North America, Europe and Asia. About Chesswood Group Limited Through three wholly-owned subsidiaries in the United States and five subsidiaries in Canada, Chesswood Group Limited is a North American specialty finance company publicly traded on the Toronto Stock Exchange. Colorado-based Pawnee Leasing Corporation, founded in 1982, finances a highly diversified portfolio of commercial equipment leases and loans through relationships with over 600 brokers in the United States. Tandem Finance Inc. provides commercial equipment financing in the U.S. through the equipment vendor channel.

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