BUSINESS STRATEGY

NerdWallet Acquires Fundera, The Go-To Small Business Resource

Fundera | October 30, 2020

NerdWallet™, a website and app that provides financial guidance to more than 160 million consumers every year, has acquired Fundera, the go-to financial resource for the 28 million small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) operating in the United States. Through this acquisition, NerdWallet will expand its financial guidance and financing options for small business owners, establishing a stronger foothold in the SMB market and advancing its mission of providing clarity for all of life's financial decisions. This will be NerdWallet's second acquisition of 2020; the company recently acquired Know Your Money, a U.K.-based comparison site to fuel its international expansion efforts.

Spotlight

If your business is looking for a better, more personal way to connect with customers, Periscope is the answer. The Twitter-owned live-streaming iOS and Android app lets anyone broadcast video for free, giving small businesses an easy, fast and affordable way to communicate with customers in real-time.


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FINANCE

Finastra collaborates with Microsoft to bring embedded financing options to thousands of businesses with Banking as a Service

Finastra | April 13, 2022

Finastra today announced a Banking as a Service (BaaS) collaboration with Microsoft to bring new lending options to thousands of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) – a sector severely underserved when it comes to accessing finance. SMEs using Microsoft Dynamics 365 will be able to access and unlock vital financing offers without leaving their business management platform. This move will enable SME owners to access relevant and valuable business financing in a seamless and frictionless manner. Users will be able to unlock lending options within Dynamics 365. With consent from the SME, the solution will use information an SME already stores within Microsoft Dynamics 365, making it easier for them to apply for lending. The ability to provide banks with additional information, including accounts receivable and payable records, will improve lending decisions and time to cash for SMEs. Finastra's expansive network of over 5,000 financial institutions in the US will allow SMEs to access the most relevant and valuable financing options for their specific business needs. "We are extremely excited to bring this additional finance capability to SMEs to ease the process of accessing capital, and power competitive financing offers in less time. This lending proposition for Microsoft Dynamics 365 reinforces Finastra's leadership in open and embedded finance. It demonstrates the huge benefit that embedded and contextual finance will bring to the industry and the communities within it. We look forward to continuing our long-standing collaboration with Microsoft and working closely on this and future impactful projects." Angus Ross, Chief Revenue Officer, Banking as a Service, at Finastra "We are proud to further expand our relationship with Finastra to drive new value for small and medium enterprises, the backbone of job creation in the world's economy," said Bill Borden, Corporate Vice President of Worldwide Financial Services at Microsoft. "By embedding secure access to key financial services in the context of Microsoft Dynamics 365, our SME customers will have a faster path to the financing options and critical capital they need to thrive." The Finastra SME embedded finance solution on Microsoft Dynamics 365 will be integrated with open APIs through Finastra's FusionFabric.cloud platform. The solution is expected to go live in Summer this year, with initial focus on North America customers. About Finastra Finastra is building an open platform that accelerates collaboration and innovation in financial services, creating better experiences for people, businesses and communities. Supported by the broadest and deepest portfolio of financial services software, Finastra delivers this vitally important technology to financial institutions of all sizes across the globe, including 90 of the world's top 100 banks. Our open architecture approach brings together a number of partners and innovators. Together we are leading the way in which applications are written, deployed and consumed in financial services to evolve with the changing needs of customers. About FusionFabric.cloud FusionFabric.cloud is a scalable, open and collaborative platform built by Finastra. It brings together an ecosystem of financial institutions, core providers, developers and fintechs, as well as embedders and distributors of financial services. Financial institutions use FusionFabric.cloud to enhance efficiency, create new experiences for customers and offer services through new distributor channels as part of Banking as a Service (BaaS). Embedders and distributors can tap in to the platform to source, and integrate with, financial institutions which can quickly produce new financial products in context.

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BUSINESS STRATEGY

IRI and HRB Brands Partner to Drive Category Growth providing support for support for small- to midsize brands

IRI | December 16, 2021

IRI®, a fast-growing, global leader in innovative solutions and services for consumer, retail and media companies, today announced HRB Brands LLC (HRB) is utilizing IRI’s deep category segmentation and demographic profiles to guide its path forward for both its legacy brands and newly acquired personal care brands purchased from Helen of Troy in June 2021. “Our success leans heavily on the insights and tools IRI provides. We are the David among the giants in our categories. IRI helps us compete day in and day out within established segments and channels as well as in new ‘whitespace’ opportunities we’ve discovered,” said Jim Daniels, chief executive officer for HRB Brands. “HRB Brands is on a significant growth trajectory with our retailers. Consumer and economic trends are in our favor, and with IRI’s help we expect to reach our goals faster than was possible before.” Through the partnership, HRB Brands has utilized IRI’s Unify® visualization platform, which brings together multiple, disparate data sources to identify emerging market trends and opportunities. Unify offers a single access point to all IRI Liquid Data® solutions, which aggregate and visualize point-of-sale and de-identified consumer panel data to provide a holistic view of consumer trends and purchase behavior in real time. “IRI’s shopper insights solutions have enabled HRB Brands and other mid-market retailers and manufacturers to develop a deeper understanding of their consumers. By gaining new insights into demographics, segmentation and purchase behaviors, IRI has helped HRB Brands successfully identify opportunities to drive innovation to best connect its portfolio of brands with the varying needs of consumers.” Robert Porod, executive vice president of Mid-Market National for IRI About High Ridge Brands LLC HRB Brands is one of the largest independent branded personal care companies in North America. HRB Brands holds leading market positions in the hair care and skin cleansing categories with iconic brands including ZEST®, VO5®, COAST®, Rave® SGX NYC®, THICKER FULLER HAIR®, Zero Frizz® and LA LOOKS®. HRB Brands is a portfolio company of Tengram Capital Partners. About IRI IRI is a fast-growing, leading provider of big data, predictive analytics and forward-looking insights that help CPG, OTC health care organizations, retailers, and financial services and media companies grow their businesses. With the largest repository of purchase, media, social, causal and loyalty data, all integrated into an on-demand, cloud-based technology platform, IRI is empowering the personalization revolution, helping to guide its more than 5,000 clients around the world in their quests to remain relentlessly relevant, capture market share, connect with consumers, collaborate with key constituents and deliver market-leading growth. About IRI’s Mid-Market Growth Practice The Mid-Market Growth Practice of IRI provides high-tech and high-touch support for small- to midsize manufacturers. Regardless of company size, IRI has a data solution that drives understanding and growth. Companies benefit from access to all the same tested and proven solutions offered to IRI global partners, enabling companies of all sizes to democratize data, streamline analytics and, ultimately, win in the marketplace.

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SMALL BUSINESS ADVICE

New digital growth partnership to spotlight ecommerce success for UK startups

Outfund, Diginius | June 14, 2021

The UK’s largest ecommerce investor and a leading digital insights specialist have joined forces to help accelerate business transition online. And the news comes at a time when firms across all sectors are seeking to capitalise on the rapid growth of online sales and marketing, with the UK e-commerce market projected to reach over £80.67bn in 2021. Upstart Outfund has partnered with Diginius, a London-based technology company, who specialise in digital marketing and ecommerce solutions, which has already acquired big brand attention with the likes of Dreams, Thomas Lyte and Skinny Dip onboard. And with the latest ONS figures for April indicating a strong continued demand for online sales, the new venture seems well placed to solidify business’ reputation in an increasingly competitive ecommerce sphere: “We’re delighted to be joining forces with Outfund,” said Diginius CEO Nate Burke. “Today’s digital market is booming, but it’s an ever more saturated landscape that needs to deliver a unique differentiator and a genuine chance for skilled startups to succeed. “What this partnership enables is for firms to not only to get the financial support they need, but also the real-time insight and perspective on which marketplaces are performing successfully, and which present the most avenues for growth, all tailored to the individual needs of the client and their sector.” Outfund, which has already helped deliver growth for the likes of Onto and The Vegan Kind, two firms in increasingly popular spheres of electric car and vegan food subscriptions, recently announced an £100m commitment to ecommerce and subscription-based firms over the next 12 months. The business has already raised over £37m, delivering a service that helps online businesses accelerate their online activities without giving away equity. And with Diginius partnership now sealed, Outfund CEO Daniel Lipinski believes more firms can look to make their mark on the ecommerce landscape: “Outfund and Diginius both provide critical services for e-commerce and SaaS companies - funding and PPC/analytics respectively. “Whilst almost all businesses will require these services throughout their existence, in most instances it is done so in isolation. “Through our partnership with Diginius, we are combining our funding with their analytics expertise so that these areas work synonymously, with the ultimate goal of driving our shared client’s growth to new heights.” With data integration and support across all major marketing and advertising platforms, Diginius empowers organisations to achieve maximum impact from their online sales and activities. For more information, visit https://www.diginius.com/. Further details on Outfund can be found at https://www.out.fund/.

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TECHNOLOGY

Sage Partners with The BOSS Network to empower Black women entrepreneurs with the launch of the Sage Invest in Progress grant

Sage | January 27, 2022

Sage, the leader in accounting, financial, HR and payroll technology for small and mid-sized businesses, in partnership with The BOSS Network, an online community of professional and entrepreneurial women, today announce the launch of the Sage Invest in Progress grant to support black women entrepreneurs in their first five years of business. The goal is to help remove barriers to capital that many entrepreneurs – especially women entrepreneurs in the black community – disproportionally face when starting a business. The Sage Invest in Progress Grant will award $10,000 in funding to 25 Black women entrepreneurs to help them successfully grow their business. Sage Invest in Progress will also include a 12-month program of entrepreneurial mentorship and education, helping grant awardees with coaching, connections, and removing capital barriers to address the disparity gap so that they can have the confidence to reach their full potential. Each Sage Invest in Progress grant awardee will receive: $10,000 USD grant Quarterly business training courses through BOSS University sponsored by Sage, including topics on Marketing, Finance, Customer Service, and Business Strategy Access to The BOSS Network online community Complimentary Sage Business Cloud Accounting software “It has been reported that the single greatest barrier to success for new businesses and startups is access to capital—and minorities make up less than 1% of founders that receive that investment. With The BOSS Impact fund, we are working with partners like Sage to address that disparity head on. The Sage Invest in Progress program will build on the work of The BOSS Network to not only empower Black women entrepreneurs but also arm them with the resources they need to lead successful businesses and increase their market share.” Cameka Smith, founder, The BOSS Network The Sage Invest in Progress grant is a three-year commitment to support the newly announced BOSS Impact Fund, which is focused on investing in Black women-led businesses and preparing entrepreneurs to build scalable, growth aggressive companies. The goal of the BOSS Impact Fund is to raise investment funding for 500+ Black women entrepreneurs over the next three years. “At Sage, we have committed to knocking down barriers that foster an advantage for some groups while creating obstacles for others. Capital investment is one area that we’ve recognized as a barrier, particularly for black businesswomen,” said Aziz Benmalek, interim managing director, Sage North America. “Sage is dedicated to being a part of a cultural shift that will help bring about a business community that is more equitable and sustainable for all.” To apply or for more information, visit BOSSImpactFund.com. The grant application process is powered by HelloAlice, a grant-funding platform designed for entrepreneurs and small businesses. The application window opens January 26, 9 a.m. ET, and closes February 25, 5 p.m. ET. Grant awardees will be announced in late March. About Sage Sage exists to knock down barriers so everyone can thrive, starting with the millions of small- and mid-sized businesses served by us, our partners and accountants. Customers trust our finance, HR and payroll software to make work and money flow. By digitising business processes and relationships with customers, suppliers, employees, banks and governments, our digital network connects SMBs, removing friction and delivering insights. Knocking down barriers also means we use our time, technology and experience to tackle digital inequality, economic inequality and the climate crisis. About The Boss Network Founded by Cameka Smith, BOSS™ is an acronym for “Bringing Out Successful Sisters,” and the network’s mission is to promote and encourage the small business spirit and career development of women. The BOSS Network is an online community of professional and entrepreneurial women who support each other through conversation, online, and event-based networking. To find out more about The BOSS Network, please visit www.TheBOSSNetwork.org. The BOSS Network was named as a Forbes’ “Top 10 Career and Entrepreneurial websites for Women.” More than 200,000 active women members throughout the United States are engaged through our social and digital programming. The BOSS Network’s latest initiative is the BOSS Impact Fund, with a focus on grant funding for 500+ Black women entrepreneurs, over the next three years. In addition, each grant recipient will have admission to the BOSS Business University, a digital mentorship program that will provide a comprehensive entrepreneurship curriculum, to assist in long-term business growth.

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Spotlight

If your business is looking for a better, more personal way to connect with customers, Periscope is the answer. The Twitter-owned live-streaming iOS and Android app lets anyone broadcast video for free, giving small businesses an easy, fast and affordable way to communicate with customers in real-time.

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