FINANCE

EVO Payments and Bank of Ireland Renew Exclusive Alliance Agreement for Merchant Acquiring and Payment Processing Services

EVO Payments | November 30, 2021

Merchant Acquiring and Payment Processing Services
EVO Payments, Inc. (“EVO”), a leading global provider of payment technology integrations and acquiring solutions, and Bank of Ireland Group (“Bank of Ireland”), one of the largest financial services groups in Ireland, today announced an extension of their existing exclusive referral relationship for merchant acquiring services in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.

EVO and Bank of Ireland will continue to provide payment services according to the exclusive marketing alliance, which operates under the name BOI Payment Acceptance (“BOIPA”). BOIPA, which was formed in 2014, provides EVO’s payments expertise to service merchants throughout Ireland and the UK, supporting Bank of Ireland’s extensive customer relationships across its Branch Network, Business Banking, Corporate Banking and digital channels.

“I am very pleased with the extension of our alliance with Bank of Ireland to provide leading payments solutions to merchants across the market. Since its launch in 2014, the alliance has been extremely successful supporting the payments needs of the Bank’s business customers. We look forward to continuing our longstanding relationship with Bank of Ireland to enhance digital payments acceptance across its customer base and the Irish market.”

Darren Wilson, President, International, EVO

“We greatly value our relationship with EVO and the very strong customer value proposition that we believe EVO brings to our extensive customer franchise,” added Henry Dummer, Director of Everyday Banking, Bank of Ireland. “We are excited to extend this alliance as we believe EVO’s leading payments solutions and excellence in customer service closely aligns with our long-term goal of providing increasingly digital solutions to our customers.”

About EVO Payments, Inc.
EVO Payments, Inc. is a leading payment technology and services provider. EVO offers an array of innovative, reliable, and secure payment solutions to merchants ranging from small and mid-size enterprises to multinational companies and organizations across the globe. As a fully integrated merchant acquirer and payment processor in over 50 markets and 150 currencies worldwide, EVO provides competitive solutions that promote business growth, increase customer loyalty, and enhance data security in the international markets it serves.

About Bank of Ireland
Bank of Ireland Group is one of the largest financial services groups in Ireland providing a broad range of banking and other financial services. The Group has a large network of branches and ATM outlets in Ireland, as well as partnerships in the UK with the Post Office and the AA. The Group’s international business is conducted by its Corporate Banking and Global Markets teams operating from Dublin, London, and offices in continental Europe and the United States.

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MANAGEMENT

SGH to Acquire Stratus Technologies

SMART Global Holdings, Inc. | June 30, 2022

SMART Global Holdings, Inc. (“SGH” or the “Company”) (Nasdaq: SGH) announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement with affiliates of Siris Capital Group, LLC, to acquire Stratus Technologies (“Stratus”), a global leader in simplified, protected, and autonomous computing solutions in the data center and at the Edge. Under the terms of the agreement, SGH will pay $225 million in cash at closing and an earn-out payment of up to $50 million, based on the gross profit performance of the Stratus business during the first full 12 fiscal months of Stratus following the closingConsistent with the Company’s existing lines of business, Stratus delivers differentiated technology solutions to specialty end markets. In particular, the addition of Stratus’ high-availability, fault-tolerant computing platforms, software, and services will expand the Company’s Intelligent Platform Solutions (“IPS”) business to better serve Stratus and IPS customers worldwide. This transaction builds upon our successful track record of M&A at SGH, The high-availability and fault-tolerant capabilities of Stratus will expand our IPS offerings in Edge, Core, and Cloud, and will enable us to more comprehensively address our combined customers’ needs. We look forward to welcoming the Stratus team to SGH. Strategic and Financial Benefits Diversified solutions in the data center and at the Edge: Stratus’ high-availability and fault-tolerant platforms, software, and services expand IPS’ technology offerings. Large-scale global customer base: Stratus has a strong global customer base, including more than half of the Fortune 100 companies. Differentiated technology: Stratus offers differentiated products and services, consistent with SGH’s focus on providing value-add solutions for specialty end markets. Comprehensive services: Stratus’ services capabilities and infrastructure will result in adding more than $80M of higher margin, recurring revenue for IPS. Strong financial profile expected to be immediately accretive: The transaction is expected to be immediately accretive to gross margin, non-GAAP EPS, and free cash flow. “By joining SGH, we significantly expand our customer reach and capabilities to deliver data center and Edge solutions and services, enabling our customers to run their most important mission-critical applications, We are excited to join SGH, and look forward to contributing to the company’s growth. Their operating model and acquisition strategy offer tremendous opportunity to our customers, partners, and employees.” -Dave Laurello, President and CEO of Stratus. Transaction Terms and Financing Under the terms of the agreement, which has been approved by the boards of directors of both companies, SGH will make an initial cash payment of $225 million upon closing. Additionally, Stratus equity holders have the potential to receive an earn-out payment up to $50 million based on the gross profit performance of the Stratus business during the first full 12 fiscal months of Stratus following the closing of the transaction, payable in cash, ordinary shares of SGH, or a mix of cash and ordinary shares of SGH (at SGH’s election). The transaction is subject to requisite regulatory approvals and satisfaction of customary closing conditions. The transaction is not subject to any financing contingency. SGH exited its third fiscal quarter with cash and cash equivalents of $387 million and an additional $250 million revolving credit facility available for use. Following the close of the transaction, which is expected to occur in the second half of calendar year 2022, SGH expects to incorporate the Stratus brand and trademarks into the SGH portfolio of businesses and will operate Stratus under its Intelligent Platform Solutions Group. For more information about this transaction, please visit https://www.sghcorp.com/stratus/. About Stratus For leaders digitally transforming their operations to drive predictable, peak performance with minimal risk, Stratus ensures the continuous availability of business-critical applications by delivering zero-touch Edge Computing platforms that are simple to deploy and maintain, protected from interruptions and threats, and autonomous. For 40 years, we have provided reliable and redundant zero-touch computing, enabling global Fortune 500 companies and small-to-medium sized businesses to securely and remotely turn data into actionable intelligence at the Edge, Cloud and Data Center – driving uptime and efficiency.For more information, please visit https://www.stratus.com/. About SGH At SGH, our companies are united by a drive to raise the bar, execute with discipline and focus on what’s next for the technologies that support and advance the world. Across computing, memory, and LED lighting solutions, we build long-term strategic partnerships with our customers. Backed by a proven leadership team, we operate with excellence around the globe while unlocking new avenues of growth for our business and industry.Learn more about us at SGHcorp.com. About Siris Siris is a leading private equity firm that invests primarily in mature technology and telecommunications companies with mission-critical products and services, facing industry changes or other significant transitions. Siris' development of proprietary research to identify opportunities and its extensive collaboration with its Executive Partners and Advisors are integral to its approach. Siris' Executive Partners and Advisors are experienced senior operating executives that actively participate in key aspects of the transaction lifecycle to help identify opportunities and drive strategic and operational value. Siris is based in New York, Silicon Valley and West Palm Beach, and has raised nearly $6 billion in cumulative capital commitments.

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FINANCE, BUSINESS STRATEGY

Counterpart Launches AI-Powered Crime Coverage For Small Businesses Backed by Aspen Insurance

Counterpart | September 16, 2022

Counterpart, the AI-driven management liability insurtech for small businesses, today announced the launch of Crime insurance. The policy can be purchased on a standalone basis or packaged with its existing Directors & Officers, Employment Practices, and Fiduciary insurance lines. Backed by Aspen, the Crime insurance expansion reinforces Counterpart’s commitment to using its cutting-edge technology to address critical exposures of small businesses.Employee theft costs businesses $50 billion annually, and costs are rising at a rate of 15% per year, according to the U.S Department of Commerce. The new offering helps identify employee theft and social engineering perils by utilizing Counterpart’s proprietary machine learning-based underwriting system, which includes employee sentiment analysis, as well as proactive risk mitigation guidelines. “Small businesses often lack the internal auditing and risk management capabilities of larger businesses, which can make them more susceptible to Crime risk. Our extensive underwriting experience, proprietary data infrastructure, and increased market presence have enabled us to craft a Crime product that complements our existing insurance lines,We are grateful for the continued support of the well-respected team at Aspen, along with many of our broker partners, who have helped us develop a very competitive product.” Mike Levins, Head of Insurance at Counterpart Crime insurance is available for small businesses with less than 250 employees and less than $100 million in revenue and total assets through Counterpart’s wholesale broker partners. “Counterpart continues to impress CRC Group and the brokerage community with its effective and efficient quoting and binding tools. Now, with their Crime capabilities, we can rely on Counterpart as a one-stop shop for comprehensive management liability coverage for our valued Insureds,” said Dan Lazarz, Director, CRC - ExecPro Group. “Counterpart has established an impressive track record of innovation,” said Zac Clammer, Executive Vice President, Management Liability at Aspen. “We are pleased to continue developing our partnerships with Counterpart across the growing portfolio of excess and primary small business insurance products that we are bringing to market.” Small businesses should contact their broker about Counterpart insurance coverage and can learn more about Counterpart’s products and services by visiting: yourcounterpart.com About Counterpart Counterpart is an AI-driven management liability insurance solution for the 21st century workplace. The company offers modern Directors & Officers, Employment Practices, Excess and Fiduciary products for small businesses. Through data mining and advanced analytics, the company's rating systems measure risk more efficiently while requiring less information from the broker and applicant. Counterpart’s distinctive approach to underwriting is complemented by a suite of products and services that help brokers and insureds proactively manage exposures throughout the term of the policy. For more information, visit yourcounterpart.com About Aspen Insurance Holdings Limited Aspen provides insurance and reinsurance coverage to clients in various domestic and global markets through wholly-owned subsidiaries and offices in Australia, Bermuda, Canada, Singapore, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States. For the year ended December 31, 2021, Aspen reported $13.8 billion in total assets, $7.6 billion in gross reserves, $2.8 billion in total shareholders’ equity, and $3.9 billion in gross written premiums. Aspen's operating subsidiaries have been assigned a rating of “A-” (Strong) by Standard & Poor’s Financial Services LLC and an “A” (“Excellent”) by A.M. Best Company Inc.

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FINANCE, SMALL BUSINESS ADVICE

Valley Bank Launches Community Lending Platform

Valley Bank | September 09, 2022

Valley National Bank today announced the launch of a Community Lending platform to streamline processing as it ramps up its efforts to provide more financial products, resources and connections to women and minority-owned businesses. In 2021, Valley made more than 6,181 small business loans in low-to-moderate-income census tracts and to businesses with a gross annual revenue of $1 million or less. Valley’s Community Lending Team, which focuses specifically on providing financing solutions to women and minority-owned small businesses within this space, quickly realized the need for a separate platform to organize the program across the Bank’s four states. This new platform makes the application and lending process much easier and faster by reducing a great deal of paperwork that would normally take weeks to process. The new platform offers women and minority-owned businesses easier access to traditional products such as payroll, commercial mortgages and merchant services, while also looking at qualifications for loans with a different lens. Instead of just considering traditional requirements related to cash flow and having three years of business history, the bank is also considering personal and business credit scores. Under the leadership of National Director of Community Lending Thais R. Sullivan, the department now consists of 15 dedicated professionals and reaches across Valley Bank’s U.S. footprint from New York south through Florida, into underserved communities where businesses often don’t qualify for traditional lending. “The Community Lending team is committed to looking at financing for these small businesses differently,” said Sullivan. “We examine their growth potential rather than their current size to determine how we can help drive long-term growth. The launch of this platform will help us as we help small businesses along the path to growth and future success.” Sullivan and her team of experienced professionals worked to create the products, resources and relationships to ensure the Community Lending team could provide timely access to the crucial elements to help businesses in need. The regional leaders for Community Lending are: Luis De La Hoz, Regional Director of Community Lending New Jersey Martine Pierre-Paul, Regional Director of Community Lending Florida/Alabama Michael Warrington, Regional Director of Community Lending New York “During the pandemic we became painfully aware how many businesses weren’t in a position to qualify for emergency funding programs like the Paycheck Protection Program,” said Sullivan. “Minority-owned businesses in particular were less likely to apply, not because they didn’t need the funding, but because they weren’t set up to qualify.” With a lack of professional relationships or experienced mentors that could help find paths to financing, many small business owners lacked the vital documentation needed to obtain a traditional loan. In addition to providing access to its own banking products and services, Valley Bank’s Community Lending solutions include leveraging strong partnerships with national and regional organizations that can provide additional education, mentorship and financing resources. These organizations include such groups as the Small Business Administration (SBA), Palm Beach County Black Business Investment Corporation (BBIC), and National Entrepreneurship Association (NEC). Valley Bank’s Community Lending team members have been working with underserved small businesses for more than two years to create custom financial solutions that make a difference. As two examples: Juan Garay, a disabled veteran and president of Facility Services Solutions Group in Edison, New Jersey, first turned to Valley Bank in 2020. “Valley helped to connect us with loans and grant opportunities,” Garay said, “and guided us in certifying our organization as a Disabled Veteran Owned Business, Minority Business Enterprise and Small Business Enterprise.” Dr. Angie Mason, DPT, OTR/L and Dr. Tyre Patterson, DPT were struggling to get financing for their startup business Dynamic Duo PT+ in West Palm Beach, Florida, despite having over a decade of experience in their field. “Valley Bank provided us real financial guidance and connected us to other professionals we needed to help our business thrive,” said Dr. Angie Mason. “We opened the doors to our office in May of this year.” About Valley As the principal subsidiary of Valley National Bancorp, Valley National Bank is a regional bank with approximately $54 billion in assets. Valley is committed to giving people and businesses the power to succeed. Valley operates many convenient branch locations across New Jersey, New York, Florida and Alabama, and is committed to providing the most convenient service, the latest innovations and an experienced and knowledgeable team dedicated to meeting customer needs. Helping communities grow and prosper is the heart of Valley’s corporate citizenship philosophy. To learn more about Valley, go to www.valley.com or call our Customer Service Center at 800-522-4100.

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TECHNOLOGY, SMALL BUSINESS ADVICE

CyberCatch and Arizona Small Business Association Announce Partnership to Help Small Businesses in Arizona Mitigate Cyber Risk

CyberCatch | September 22, 2022

CyberCatch, today, jointly announced with the Arizona Small Business Association (ASBA), a strategic partnership to enable Arizona's small businesses to quickly and easily implement necessary cyber security controls for digital success.According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, there are more than 590,000 small businesses (those with fewer than 500 employees) in Arizona, and these businesses employ nearly 43.5% of the state's private workforce. Small businesses are the growth engine of Arizona's economy, and this partnership provides a valuable tool for continued success,said Debbie Hann, Chief Operating Officer, ASBA. We are delighted to partner with CyberCatch to keep Arizona's small businesses one step ahead of cyber threats, so they can continue to grow and succeed digitally. Nearly all small businesses are digital these days, and need to stay proactive, said Hann.ASBA is pleased to take a leadership position with this program and announce a new ASBA membership benefit in the form of a subscription to CyberCatch, at a discount. CyberCatch's patented, innovative, cybersecurity Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) solution is specifically designed for small businesses and enables quick and easy implementation of all necessary controls for continuous cyber security. The SaaS solution automatically and continuously tests cyber security controls to detect security holes for prompt remediation so attackers cannot exploit and ensures ongoing compliance and cyber risk mitigation. "CyberCatch is a one-stop-shop for small businesses. We are honored to partner with ASBA. Our compliments to ASBA for their foresight and forward thinking to recognize cyber risk as a key threat to small businesses in Arizona and to partner with us to craft a valuable and timely solution for their members and prospective members to assure their continued success." Sai Huda, founder, chairman and CEO, CyberCatch. The root cause of data thefts and ransomware is security holes which derive from missing or ineffective cybersecurity controls that the small business is unaware of," said Huda. "Small businesses have limited resources and generally don't know what cyber security controls to implement or how to implement them in order to be secure from cyber threats, and now must comply with new requirements such as Zero Trust. ASBA and CyberCatch aim to fill those gaps in small business knowledge, with this innovative new partnership. This member benefit gives small businesses immediate savings and continual digital compliance and security. To learn more about this benefit, visit website. About Arizona Small Business Association The Arizona Small Business Association (ASBA) was founded in 1973 and serves as the collective voice of small businesses in Arizona by driving a better environment for all of us to do business. Today, ASBA is focused on delivering statewide education, mentoring, networking, and advocacy programs, providing innovative entrepreneurs with the resources necessary to grow and evolve in an ever-changing marketplace. For more information, visit website. About CyberCatch CyberCatch is a unique, patented cybersecurity Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) company that protects small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) from cyberattacks by focusing on the root cause why SMBs fall victim: security holes. It provides an innovative cloud-based SaaS platform coupled with deep subject matter expertise to help SMBs implement just the right type and amount of cybersecurity controls. The platform then performs automated testing of controls from three dimensions: outside-in, inside-out and social engineering. It generates the Cyber Breach Score to continuously measure cyber risk and finds security holes and guides the SMB to fix them promptly, so attackers can't exploit any missing or broken controls to break in and steal data or infect ransomware. CyberCatch's continuous value proposition:

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Block Stocks Swiss AG offers an all-in-one Security Token Sale Platform and Digital Token Exchange designed for Startups and Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) - one of the most profitable industries in the history of financial markets. Our Token Sale Platform offers 360* solutions in the areas of Legal, KYC/AML, Finance, IT and Marketing. Each company raising capital on our platform will receive immediate assistance from our teams, which will facilitate the whole fundraising process from start to finish, so Startups and SMEs can focus on what they are doing best — growing their businesses.

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