SMALL BUSINESS TRENDS

HUB Retirement and Private Wealth Introduces Retirement Select for Small Businesses

HUB Retirement And Private Wealth | March 30, 2021

HUB Retirement and Private Wealth (HUB RPW), a division of Hub International Limited (HUB), declared today the dispatch of HUB Retirement Select, a comprehensive solution for small-to mid-sized businesses searching for conveniences customarily stood to enormous associations, packaged into an improved, single retirement plan solution.

"Today, employers are asked to do more to support their employees' health and financial wellbeing and provide a clearer path to retirement," said Joe DeNoyior, National President of HUB RPW. "HUB Retirement Select offers employers retirement amenities that are traditionally offered to larger organizations, eases the administrative and fiduciary risk burden, and adds value to their benefits offering for talent management. And it serves as a sophisticated retirement option if they're in a state requiring a mandated and voluntary retirement plan."

HUB Retirement Select obliges small-to mid-sized businesses, all things considered, - from proprietor just associations to those with many workers. Businesses access trend setting innovation and investigation, driving retirement benefits trained professionals and consistence support at a moderate expense. Likewise, numerous representatives who might be uncertain about contributing and settling on retirement choices can helpfully get to speculation direction from HUB Retirement Select's overseen account administrations.

Additionally, HUB Retirement Select is a highly competitive alternative option to state-mandated and voluntary retirement plans for employers. In the absence of a federal mandate, nearly a dozen U.S. states (California, Illinois, Oregon, Washington, New York, Vermont, Connecticut, New Jersey, Massachusetts, and Maryland) and one city (Seattle) have already enacted mandated and voluntary retirement programs.

HUB RPW keeps on reinforcing its administrations with the expansion of ability and assets that help more comprehensive procedures for customers. HUB RPW works with plan supporters to make a retirement offering that lines up with their business methodology, while assisting them with exploring guardian hazard and engage their representatives to seek after their monetary objectives. HUB RPW gives venture warning administrations on more than $93 billion in resources through its SEC-enrolled RIAs.

About HUB Retirement and Private Wealth

HUB Retirement and Private Wealth offers institutional and retirement services to for-profit and not-for-profit organizations and customized private wealth management services to individuals and families. HUB Retirement and Private Wealth employees are Registered Representatives of and offer Securities and Advisory services through various Broker Dealers and Registered Investment Advisers, which may or may not be affiliated with HUB International. Insurance services are offered through HUB International, an affiliate. Global Retirement Partners, LLC, Silverstone Asset Management, LLC, Hub International Investment Advisory Services, Inc., and Sheridan Road Advisors, LLC are SEC registered investment advisors and wholly owned subsidiaries of HUB International.

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Also anticipate more mobile apps from businesses designed to be used around special events throughout the year, for everything from Mother’s Day to March Madness.


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TECHNOLOGY

FIS Helps Small and Mid-Sized Financial Institutions Digitally Transform Through New Embedded Finance Capabilities in Partnership with Treasury Prime

FIS | May 16, 2022

The global economy’s digital transformation is accelerating, and community and regional banks are seeking ways to offer the most advanced digital capabilities and open new channels for distribution. To help these financial institutions meet the growing need for digitally-native banking experiences and grow their client base, FIS® (NYSE: FIS) has announced a new embedded finance offering developed in partnership with Treasury Prime. Embedded finance is a key industry trend that enables any company to become a fintech company by embedding financial services capabilities such as banking, credit, payments, insurance and investments in their digital channels. By making it easier for small and mid-size financial institutions to offer enhanced digital banking services to their customers, FIS’ embedded finance offering can empower them to compete in new ways. Through this innovative application programming interface (APIs)-based offering, FIS’ banking clients and the businesses they serve will have new ways to manage deposits, accounts payables and other critical banking processes digitally and remotely. Embedded finance can also help financial institutions create new revenue streams by expanding their client base outside their traditionally local footprint. Embedded finance is a growing trend in the market because it allows businesses to bring innovative ideas quickly to market by combining financial services with user experiences right at point of need, said Kelly Beatty, Head of Payments at FIS. Embedded finance also extends the seamless convenience of in-app purchases—like for a ride-share—to commercial uses such as lending, paying bills, contractors, and insurance. These are all experiences centered around the needs of customers. By integrating financial services into business software, those consumer expectations are met in new channels and extend the vast reach of financial services. “The banks that take advantage of embedded services now have the opportunity to become the foundation for a new generation of financial institutions, Banks are starting to see the potential revenue streams embedded finance promises, and we’re excited to be working with FIS to help these clients with the processes, security and integration to deploy these banking services rapidly.” -Chris Dean, co-founder and CEO at Treasury Prime. The first financial institution to tap into FIS’ embedded finance services is Grasshopper, a leading-edge, digital commercial bank. Grasshopper partnered with HUMBL, a Web 3 blockchain company with both consumer and commercial divisions, to utilize their bank services, powered by FIS and Treasury Prime, across its user base. “We are very excited to partner with FIS and Treasury Prime on this large and growing embedded finance opportunity, Our vision has been clear from the start: we wanted to better serve the needs of fintechs, small and medium-sized businesses, and the venture community. This BaaS platform and sophisticated set of APIs allows us to leverage technology and provide an enhanced banking experience for our clients.” -Chris Tremont, Chief Digital Officer at Grasshopper. About FIS FIS is a leading provider of technology solutions for financial institutions and businesses of all sizes and across any industry globally. We enable the movement of commerce by unlocking the financial technology that powers the world’s economy. Our employees are dedicated to advancing the way the world pays, banks and invests through our trusted innovation, system performance and flexible architecture. We help our clients use technology in innovative ways to solve business-critical challenges and deliver superior experiences for their customers. Headquartered in Jacksonville, Florida, FIS is a member of the Fortune 500® and the Standard & Poor’s 500® Index. To learn more, visit www.fisglobal.com. Follow FIS on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter (@FISGlobal).

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BUSINESS STRATEGY

Vejii Announces Definitive Purchase Agreement to Acquire VEDGEco USA Inc., a leading online B2B wholesale platform for plant-based products

Vejii Holdings Inc. | December 24, 2021

Vejii Holdings Ltd. ("Vejii" or the "Company"), a North American online marketplace for plant-based and sustainable products, is pleased to announce that it has entered into a share purchase agreement (the "Purchase Agreement") to acquire VEDGEco USA Inc. ("VEDGEco"), a leading online business-to-business ("B2B") wholesale platform for plant-based products. "VEDGEco launched as one of the first online wholesale platforms dedicated to providing restaurants and independent grocers with a large selection of high-quality plant-based options. This meant that small business owners could at last gain access to a large selection of plant-based products and ingredients without the requirements that typical larger national distributors have in place, such as large minimum order sizes." Kory Zelickson, CEO of Vejii Pursuant to the terms of the Purchase Agreement, the Company will acquire 100% of the issued and outstanding shares (the "Purchased Shares") of VEDGEco (the "Transaction") from the shareholders of VEDGEco (the "Vendors"). The total purchase price for the Purchased Shares will be US$6,250,000, payable as follows: (a) on the date of the closing of the Transaction (the "Closing"), the Company will issue such number of common shares of the Company (each, a "Common Share") with a deemed value of $3,500,000 (the "Consideration Shares") to the Vendors, as determined based on a price per Consideration Share of the greater of (i) C$0.35 per Consideration Share and (ii) the closing price of the Common Shares on the Canadian Securities Exchange on the date immediately preceding the announcement by the Company of the Transaction, converted into United States dollars at the Bank of Canada exchange rate on such date; and (b) earn-out payments up to a maximum of US$2,750,000, payable in Common Shares (the "Earn-Out Shares"), priced in the context of the market, to be issued to the Vendors upon VEDGEco meeting certain milestones as more particularly set out in the Purchase Agreement. The Consideration Shares and the Earn-Out Shares issued under the Purchase Agreement are subject to a statutory hold period of four months and one day, restrictions on transfer under applicable United States ("U.S.") securities laws and a contractual lock-up as set out in the Purchase Agreement (the "Voluntary Lock Up"). Subject to compliance with applicable securities laws, 12.5% of the Consideration Shares and the Earn-Out Shares will be released from the Voluntary Lock Up on a quarterly basis for a period of 24 months from the date of issuance. VEDGEco's key personnel are expected to continue to run the operations of VEDGEco following closing of the Transaction. The Transaction is expected to close on or around December 31, 2021. Closing of the Transaction is subject to customary closing conditions. The Transaction will significantly augment Vejii's offering of plant-based brands, which have, to date, through ShopVejii.com and VeganEssentials.com, leveraged Vejii's platform for sales, marketing and order fulfillment and distribution across the U.S. and Canada via Vejii Fulfillment Services. "We heard consistently from the brands that we serve that they were seeking to make the leap from e-commerce, to grocery and foodservice distribution. This could mean shipping samples, managing broker relationships, or gaining access to those restaurants and grocers not served by the larger wholesalers," added Zelickson. "We already work with our brand partners on a business-to-consumer ("B2C") strategy through our marketplace, but now we can also help our brand partners get access to distribution in local restaurants and grocers, expanding Vejii's capabilities from just B2C to also include B2B and food service." "I built VEDGEco out of a necessity, given the limited plant-based options available in the small and local grocers and restaurants where I live in Kailua, Hawaii," said Trevor Hitch, CEO of VEDGEco. "Most of us are likely to have our first experience trying new plant-based products at a restaurant before purchasing those items to enjoy at home. With VEDGEco, our mission is to make plant-based options more broadly available by making them accessible to thousands of local restaurants across America. This access gives owners the ability to test products on their menu through our easy-to-use platform, without the need for long-term commitments or high, minimum order volumes. Owners can then see what works for their customer base and then return to re-order or test new options." The Transaction is expected to drive synergies across purchasing, customer service, technology, and logistics for Vejii and VEDGEco. Vejii will also be able to leverage VEDGEco's existing facilities in Hawaii, Northern California and Georgia, while providing VEDGEco with access to its facilities in Texas, Wisconsin, and its soon-to-be operational third-party logistics operation in Southern California. "The acquisition of VEDGEco will allow us to add a new revenue stream while increasing our buying power and margins with large brands, and also adding tremendous value for the brands on our platform. As restaurants and grocers expand their plant-based offerings, we will be strategically positioned to serve them while helping plant-based brands scale their businesses by offering those brands access to national distribution through the VEDGEco wholesale platform." Darren Gill, COO of Vejii In addition to providing VEDGEco's existing offering of wholesale plant-based products, Vejii will now have the ability to significantly expand VEDGEco's product selection by leveraging its existing case-lot purchasing and expanding the range of products on its platform through VEDGEco. VEDGEco operates its distribution centers from Hawaii and California, which will further expand Vejii's distribution network, reducing shipping costs and expanding the Company's offering of regionalized same-day delivery. About VEDGEco USA Inc. Headquartered in Kailua Hawaii, and launched in 2020 VEDGEco, the first nationwide plant-based foodservice distributor, helps restaurants go vegan by offering a selection of uncompromisingly delicious plant-based options that are easy to prepare. With a goal of bringing the freedom of food choice to all restaurants and businesses, VEDGEco distributes plant-based products in bulk to the restaurant and wholesale food industry, as well as to consumers across the U.S. Carrying a carefully curated selection of the best plant-based meat, dairy, and egg alternatives, VEDGEco ships frozen and in recyclable and compostable packaging to reduce our carbon footprint. About Vejii Holdings Inc. Headquartered in Kelowna B.C, Vejii is a unified digital marketplace and fulfillment platform featuring thousands of plant-based and sustainable-living products from a growing list of hundreds of vendors. The platform offers an easy-to-use, omnichannel experience for both vendors and buyers, leveraging big data and artificial intelligence to elegantly connect brands with a targeted consumer base, both organically and through specialized marketing programs. Dynamic fulfillment services empower brands to offer tier-one service, with ongoing engagement being driven through features like smart lists, subscription programs, reordering functions, sampling programs, and more. The Company also owns and operates U.S.-based Veg Essentials LLC ("Vegan Essentials"), which operates VeganEssentials.com. A staple of the plant-based community, Vegan Essentials was established in 1997 and contributes more than 20 years of consumer insight, data, and buying power. VeganEssentials.com was awarded best online vegan store from 2005-2018, as well as best online vegan grocer from 2018-2021 by VegNews Magazine.

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TECHNOLOGY

Aryaka Launches Accelerate Global Partner Program

Aryaka | January 28, 2022

Aryaka®, the leader in fully managed SD-WAN and SASE, announced today the launch of its Accelerate Global Partner Program, which unifies the company’s partner-led go-to-market strategy under a single comprehensive program for channel partners of all types worldwide. The new program empowers them to tap into an expanded revenue opportunity made possible by Aryaka’s new all-in-one SD-WAN and secure access service edge (SASE) solutions packaged and priced for businesses of all sizes. “Strong channel partnerships have been part of Aryaka’s success from day one. With the launch of the Aryaka Accelerate Global Partner Program, we’re putting a stake in the ground as a partner-led organization with the breakthrough solutions, simplified packaging and go-to-market alignment they need to seize the rising revenue opportunity in secure cloud-first networks and fast-track their business growth.” Ian McEwan, chief revenue officer at Aryaka The global launch builds on the November 1, 2021, introduction of the Aryaka Accelerate Agent Partner Program for commission-based sales agents and technology services brokerages (TSBs) by extending benefits tailored to match partner business strategies across North America; Europe, Africa and the Middle East (EMEA); and Asia-Pacific (APAC). These include margin-based value-added resellers (VARs), managed services providers (MSPs) and IT distributors; white-label service providers and systems integrators (SIs); and IT marketplaces and strategic alliances. The Aryaka Accelerate Global Partner Program begins with a top-down commitment to the channel that has enabled innovations and resources with partners in mind, including: Expanded Channel Team – Aryaka has added highly experienced channel specialists to its team, including new leaders Craig Patterson, channel chief and vice president of sales – Americas, and Ed Pearce, national channel director – North America. They join Rich Farbman, regional vice president – Americas, and Lisette Sens, vice president of channel sales – International. Increased Total Addressable Market (TAM) – Aryaka’s new all-in-one SD-WAN and SASE services are based on the company’s new, industry-leading FlexCore™ technology that combines Layer 2 and 3 networking, enabling partners to deliver services optimized for performance or cost. This flexibility also expands the total addressable market for Aryaka’s services to include businesses of all sizes – from global enterprises to regional small and medium businesses (SMBs). Simplified Packaging and Pricing – Aryaka’s new SmartConnect EZ + SmartConnect Pro and Prime EZ solutions are easy to quote, sell and consume with “T-shirt” sized pricing and standard service tiers, speeding time to revenue for partners. New Co-managed Network Option – Aryaka’s new AppAssure™ application enables VAR, MSP and white-label partners with the network visibility required to co-manage their clients’ networks, increasing their value and wallet share. Last-Mile Services Revenue – Uniquely, Aryaka can offer its network-as-a-service solution with the last-mile connections included, offering partners an additional revenue opportunity. Training and Certification – Aryaka has a self-paced, online training program for sales and technical competencies. An updated certification program for the new solutions will be rolled out in 2022. Sales and Marketing Alignment – As a channel-led company, Aryaka works in lockstep with partners to align and enable sales and marketing activities, such as strategic account mapping, marketing resources, co-investment in co-marketing and co-selling, and all-new account-based sales and marketing programs to generate leads for qualified partners. Lucrative Incentives – Aryaka offers a range of sales incentives tailored to partner types, such as commission multipliers and increased margin opportunities. Customer Success – In addition to two levels of expert support, Aryaka provides customer success managers (CSMs) devoted to retaining and growing partners’ accounts. “Aryaka has made good on its promises to invest in a partner-led strategy by introducing SD-WAN and SASE solutions that are easy for partners to sell,” said Craig Patterson, channel chief and vice president of sales – Americas. “With the launch of the Aryaka Accelerate Global Partner Program, we’re now wrapping that with alignment, enablement, incentives and support resources to drive success for agents, VARs and MSPs worldwide.” "Aryaka's success in EMEA and APAC has always been driven by a mutually beneficial, partner-led approach,” Lisette Sens, vice president of channel sales – International. “We're delighted to continue the great work we've done in EMEA and APAC by extending the Aryaka Accelerate Global Partner Program to supplement our all-in-one SD-WAN and SASE offerings with additional investment into training, alignment and incentives."

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TECHNOLOGY

Firstbase Startup Platform Adds Wise to Initiate Instant Cross-Border Payments

Firstbase | June 08, 2022

Firstbase, the first all-in-one OS that allows anyone to incorporate a U.S. company and manage their entire business on a single platform, today announced a partnership with Wise (LON: WISE)—the global technology company that built the best way to move money around the world—to integrate the Wise Platform API into Firstbase Loop. Now any business can experience seamless account creation and verification with Wise directly through the Firstbase platform. Firstbase makes it easy for anyone in the world to incorporate a company in the U.S., while Wise makes it possible to instantly move money abroad more with lower exchange fees and other costs than traditional banking solutions. The tens of thousands of existing businesses on Firstbase now have a fast and affordable way to send money internationally, joining the 13M people and businesses using Wise—processing over $8B in cross-border transactions every month and saving customers over $1B a year by using the real exchange rate. Research conducted by Wise discovered that 46% of small businesses around the world operate internationally. Over half (51%) reported that the complexity of making and managing international payments is a major deterrent to either venturing or further expanding overseas. Ninety-five percent of the companies that incorporate with Firstbase onboard a business banking product. Over 80% of these companies that incorporate using Firstbase come from 180+ countries, with the largest markets including India, the United Kingdom, Nigeria, Pakistan, and Canada. As such, Firstbase customers require a cross-border, multi-currency financial solution that keeps pace with their company’s global footprint. Now with Wise seamlessly integrated into Firstbases’s all-encompassing platform, affordable international payments are readily available to match the digital demands facing today's founders. Wise ensures that all businesses have a trustworthy and transparent solution to send money abroad, which is now accessible within the Firstbase operating system,” said Ryan Zagone, Americas Partnerships Lead at Wise. “By integrating with Firstbase Loop, newly incorporated companies around the globe can now send money safely and with ease. “The global reach of Firstbase companies means we need financial solutions that work across the world, and that’s exactly what Wise offers our platform, Now any U.S. entity that Firstbase serves has an international money transfer solution they can count on with Wise.” -Firstbase CEO and founder Mark Milastsivy. About Firstbase Firstbase is the first all-in-one company OS that helps anyone launch, grow, and manage a U.S.-based business. With a growing suite of products, Firstbase makes it easy for founders to incorporate their business, access critical growth tools, and manage their company from a single online dashboard—no matter where they are located anywhere in the world. More than 15,000 founders from over 180 countries trusted Firstbase to help them launch their business. Start and grow your company in minutes at https://www.firstbase.io/ About Wise Wise is a global technology company building the best way to move money worldwide. With the Wise account, people and businesses can hold over 50 currencies, move money between countries and spend money abroad. Large companies and banks use Wise technology too; an entirely new cross-border payments network that will one day power money without borders for everyone, everywhere. However you use the platform, Wise is on a mission to make your life easier and save you money. 13 million people and businesses use Wise, which processes over £6 billion in cross-border transactions every month, saving customers over £1 billion a year.

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