SMALL BUSINESS ADVICE

Insureon Expands Revenue Opportunities in the Small Business Insurance Space

Insureon | January 13, 2021

Insureon, the biggest free office for the online conveyance of business insurance to small and medium-sized businesses, is currently offering insurance financiers and organizations admittance to its exclusive innovation through another SaaS item called Insureon Accelerate. Insureon Accelerate empowers representatives and specialists to get to the biggest public transporters by means of a smoothed out statement accommodation measure.

Insureon Accelerate makes it feasible for insurance representatives and specialists the country over to take advantage of the $100 billion small and medium-sized business market, empowering new income streams, making operational efficiencies and expanding productivity.

"Due to manual processes and low profit margins, writing commercial insurance for small and medium-sized businesses hasn't in the past been very profitable for independent insurance agents and brokers," said Jeff Kroeger, Insureon's Chief Commercial Officer. "Insureon Accelerate automates the process, providing quotes that used to take hours or even days within minutes."

Accelerate is based on the very innovation that Insureon's web based business has been utilizing and improving for almost 10 years. That innovation includes Insureon's smoothed out general application, which permits single-passage admittance to the top transporters and significantly lessens the measure of time it takes to finish an application. In the previous a year, Insureon's innovation gave in excess of 2 million statements and over $500 million in premium for small and medium-sized businesses across the U.S.

"For years, the insurance industry has needed a technology solution for the problem of writing commercial insurance for small and medium-sized businesses in an efficient and profitable manner," said Dan Kazan, Insureon's Chief Executive Officer. "Insureon, as an online insurance agency itself, has been doing this successfully for years, and is now opening up its technology for use by the entire marketplace. This is a game-changer for everyone involved – the insurance brokerages and agencies, carriers, and most importantly, small and medium-sized businesses."

About Insureon

Headquartered in Chicago, Insureon is the largest independent agency for the online delivery of commercial insurance to small and medium-sized businesses. Its ecommerce platform allows customers to easily compare insurance quotes from top-rated companies, buy policies, and manage their coverage. Insureon is licensed in all 50 states and specializes in numerous industries. Insureon also licenses its technology to other brokerages, independent agencies and industry participants through its SaaS product, "Accelerate."

Spotlight

As a small or medium business professional, chances are you’ve heard about phishing. Phishing scams—ploys that cybercriminals use to trick unsuspecting people into revealing sensitive information and steal their identities—are a serious problem for both consumers and business owners. In fact, over the last five years, there has been a steady increase in attacks targeting businesses with less than 250 employees, with 43 percent of all attacks targeted at small businesses in 2015.1 But phishing attacks aren’t only targeting businesses, they’re also targeting employees in order to gain access to a business’ sensitive data. The number of spear phishing campaigns targeting employees increased by 55 percent in 2015.2


Other News
MARKETING AND NETWORKING

Wishpond Announces Acquisition of Viral Loops - a Leading Provider of Referral Marketing Solutions

Wishpond Technologies Ltd. | April 05, 2022

Wishpond Technologies Ltd., a provider of marketing-focused online business solutions, is pleased to announce that it has completed the acquisition (the "Acquisition") of certain assets and specified liabilities constituting substantially all of the business and assets of Viral Loops Limited ("Viral Loops") pursuant to an asset purchase agreement (the "APA") effective April 1, 2022. Headquartered in London, England, Viral Loops is a referral marketing software platform that helps companies acquire new customers and increase sales through the power of word-of-mouth and referral marketing. "We are very pleased to announce our first acquisition of 2022 and the fifth acquisition since Wishpond went public in December 2020. Viral Loops has built a company with tremendous brand recognition in the industry and has demonstrated consistent, strong revenue and EBITDA growth. Besides growing Viral Loops as a stand-alone business, we believe there are tremendous cross-sell opportunities for offering referral marketing solutions to Wishpond's existing customer base of over 3,000 small to medium sized businesses. We are thrilled to welcome the Viral Loops team to the growing Wishpond family." Ali Tajskandar, Chairman and CEO of Wishpond Founded in 2016, Viral Loops helps businesses unlock their viral growth through powerful referral marketing solutions. It allows businesses to design, create and manage referral programs that reinforce customer loyalty, attract new customers and decrease customer acquisition costs. Viral Loops provides its customers with customizable templates for referral marketing campaigns where customers can refer their network in exchange for rewards. Viral Loops' technology tracks and manages the effectiveness and results of the referral program and enables customers to manage the distribution of the rewards and discounts arising from the campaign. Viral Loops has strong revenue growth and over 15% EBITDA margins. Revenue in 2021 was US$800,000 generated from more than 700 diversified customers, half of whom are based in the United States. Viral Loops will continue to maintain its brand, website and client relationships, while Wishpond will provide operational support and cross selling opportunities. Wishpond expects Viral Loops product and services will enhance Wishpond's current product offerings and increase customer lifetime value. "We are thrilled that the Viral Loops team will be joining Wishpond," said Savvas Zortikis, CEO of Viral Loops. "Wishpond has established a model for servicing the online marketing needs of small and mid-sized enterprises. We believe that the Viral Loops technology will continue to flourish under Wishpond and that our customers will be well served under the Wishpond banner." In consideration for the acquisition of Viral Loops, Wishpond anticipates the total purchase price to be approximately US$2,300,000, consisting of an upfront payment of US$1,380,000 from cash on hand and a one-year performance earn-out in the expected amount of US$920,000 (the "Earn-Out"). The Earn-Out, which is based on a percentage of revenue of the acquired Viral Loops business, will be paid quarterly and may be paid in cash, common shares of Wishpond ("Shares"), or a combination thereof, at the Company's discretion. Any Shares that are issued will be at a deemed price per Share equal to the 10 trading day volume weighted average price of the Shares on the TSX Venture Exchange (the "TSXV"), subject to certain minimum share price requirements as per the APA and as permitted and approved by the TSXV. About Wishpond Technologies Ltd. Based out of Vancouver, British Columbia, Wishpond is a provider of marketing-focused online business solutions. Wishpond's vision is to become the leading provider of digital marketing solutions that empower entrepreneurs to achieve success online. The Company offers an "all-in-one" marketing suite that provides companies with marketing, promotion, lead generation, and sales conversion capabilities on one integrated platform. Wishpond replaces disparate marketing solutions with an easy-to-use product, for a fraction of the cost. Wishpond serves over 3,000 customers who are primarily small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) in a wide variety of industries. The Company has developed cutting-edge marketing technology solutions and continues to add new features and applications with great velocity. The Company employs a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) business model where substantially all the Company's revenue is subscription-based recurring revenue which provides excellent revenue predictability and cash flow visibility. Wishpond is listed on the TSX Venture Exchange under the ticker "WISH", and on the OTCQX Best Market under the ticker "WPNDF".

Read More

BUSINESS STRATEGY

MeridianLink® Announces Agreement to Acquire StreetShares®

MeridianLink | March 11, 2022

MeridianLink, Inc.®, a leading provider of modern software platforms for financial institutions and consumer reporting agencies, today announced that it has entered into an agreement to acquire StreetShares®, a mission-driven financial technology company that provides digital small business lending technology to banks and credit unions. StreetShares is an award-winning financial technology company that started in 2014 as a low-cost, digital lender to veteran-owned small businesses. StreetShares later launched its digital business lending platform to allow community banks and credit unions to affordably make small business loans with a 100% digital, omnichannel experience. “StreetShares’ commitment to providing lenders across the U.S. with state-of-the-art business lending capabilities, including business loans, automated decisioning, and business lines of credit, aligns with our focus on empowering more banks and credit unions to better serve consumers and communities. Adding the StreetShares team, technology, and strong partnerships with organizations like Fiserv to the MeridianLink family will accelerate our small business lending capabilities and further strengthen our MeridianLink One platform.” Nicolaas Vlok, CEO of MeridianLink The StreetShares Atlas Platform™ enables banks and credit unions to get up and running in a fully digital, business lending environment in 45 days or less. Built by experienced business bankers, The Atlas Platform enables community lenders to use data-driven technology to deliver a superior digital banking product experience to their small business customers. It also specifically addresses the key challenges in small business risk assessment and decisioning to meet the financing needs of small businesses efficiently. “StreetShares is thrilled to join forces with the innovators at MeridianLink to better serve America’s main street business owners,” said Mark L. Rockefeller, StreetShares co-founder and CEO. Mickey Konson, StreetShares co-founder and president added, “Enhancing MeridianLink’s platform with StreetShares’ Atlas Platform technology will provide community banks and credit unions with industry-leading tools to better serve small business customers.” About MeridianLink MeridianLink® is a leading provider of cloud-based software solutions for financial institutions, including banks, credit unions, mortgage lenders, specialty lending providers, and consumer reporting agencies. Headquartered in Costa Mesa, California, MeridianLink provides services to more than 1,900 customers, including a majority of the financial institutions on Forbes’ 2021 lists of America’s Best Credit Unions and Banks. About StreetShares StreetShares is a small business banking software-as-a-service (SaaS) technology company that powers community banks, credit unions, and non-financial organizations. Its Atlas Platform offers a full suite of digital, white-labeled, small business banking products to their customers. StreetShares technology was voted “Best in Show” by community bank executives at the American Banker Small Biz Banking Conference, and the StreetShares team has been recognized as EY Entrepreneurs of the Year, Innovators of the Year, and other honors.

Read More

TECHNOLOGY

WEX Launches Flume, a Dedicated Small Business Digital Payment Platform

WEX | April 27, 2022

WEX, the global commerce platform that simplifies the business of running a business, announced the launch today of Flume, a digital payment platform designed to enable fast, transparent payments for small and medium businesses (SMBs). The brainchild of the company’s incubator WEX Ventures, Flume is a unique digital wallet specifically designed to support the 30 million U.S. businesses currently relying primarily on slow, analog payment methods. Unlike most payment platforms focused on digitally enabled companies, Flume aims to help close the digital divide for overlooked trade-oriented businesses initially with less than $15 million in annual revenue. “As the old saying goes, time is money. And for a small business operating in a market that often caters to the needs of the large enterprises, time is in short supply. Flume seeks to level the playing field by offering mom-and-pop shops a personal CFO at their fingertips. Powered by an FDIC insured digital wallet, Flume will allow SMBs to focus on growing their business while enhancing productivity, saving money, and reducing costs.” Jay Dearborn, President, Corporate Payments at WEX Studies show that 80 percent of businesses still use paper checks for invoices. For the typical SMB that issues 450 invoices per month at an estimated cost of $15 per invoice, it costs $80,000 a year just to manually process invoices. Flume alleviates these issues by offering a transparent, digital payments platform that eliminates the need for a manual account payable (AP) and accounts receivable (AR) processes. Even without errors, it is anticipated to take 60-90 days for businesses to get paid on manual invoices, on average, depriving SMBs of income that could enable them to hire an additional 2 million employees. In industries like construction, payment delays are particularly challenging. By allowing businesses to send, store, and receive funds through a mobile and web app, Flume’s digital wallet will enable accelerated and real time payments. “Most SMBs still rely on paper-based processes to power their businesses, which has served them well for decades. But looking ahead to the next 10 years, we’ve heard from many of our customers, particularly in the trades, that their current workflows can’t keep up amid skyrocketing demand,” said Matt Roy, Co-Founder & General Manager of Flume at WEX. “Most tools on the market today are built for more modern, technology enabled companies leaving many of these physically-grounded businesses out of focus; that’s why we built Flume. Flume puts the power of customized, accessible software in their hands so they can stay focused on growth and not the paperwork.” In the coming months, WEX expects to roll Flume out in phases across specific, high-need industry hubs. The first phase will center on existing WEX fuel card users and new customers. Later this summer, WEX plans to release new software add-ons that will expand Flume to builders and tradesmen to increase payment speed and transparency for customers. Flume will be provided by WEX Payments, a state-licensed money transmitter, in conjunction with a partner commercial bank. To learn more about Flume please visit www.flumepay.com. About WEX WEX is the global commerce platform that simplifies the business of running a business. WEX has created a powerful ecosystem that offers seamlessly embedded, personalized solutions for its customers around the world. Through its rich data and specialized expertise in simplifying benefits, reimagining mobility and paying and getting paid, WEX aims to make it easy for companies to overcome complexity and reach their full potential.

Read More

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.

Read More

Spotlight

As a small or medium business professional, chances are you’ve heard about phishing. Phishing scams—ploys that cybercriminals use to trick unsuspecting people into revealing sensitive information and steal their identities—are a serious problem for both consumers and business owners. In fact, over the last five years, there has been a steady increase in attacks targeting businesses with less than 250 employees, with 43 percent of all attacks targeted at small businesses in 2015.1 But phishing attacks aren’t only targeting businesses, they’re also targeting employees in order to gain access to a business’ sensitive data. The number of spear phishing campaigns targeting employees increased by 55 percent in 2015.2

Resources