TECHNOLOGY

Thumbtack Announces Front Desk – a First-of-its-Kind Concierge Service – to Help Small Businesses Grow More Sustainably

Thumbtack | March 10, 2022

Thumbtack, the modern home management platform, today announced the launch of its latest offering for local professionals: Front Desk. This new concierge service is personalized to help small businesses turn even more potential customers into confirmed jobs. Now, hundreds of thousands of small business owners can optimize their operations to be more efficient and more profitable.

“Today, our Front Desk team responds to inquiries in 2 minutes, which means customers are finding help faster than ever and pros are growing their businesses more sustainably. We’re helping pros spend less time in the office or on the phone — and more time on the job. In the future, we envision Front Desk helping independent business owners manage more of their growth factors on Thumbtack. Chat is just the beginning.”

Jeff Grant, COO at Thumbtack

The labor shortage has severely impacted the home improvement, repair, and maintenance industries with 52 percent of home pros reporting difficulty hiring in our recent Economic Sentiment Survey. Despite the shortage of available qualified workers, home pros are busier than ever – 73 percent expect their company's financial situation to be the same or better in the next quarter. And, they're seeking help to keep up with demand — with more than one third (36 percent) attempting to fill full or part-time positions last quarter. Our new Front Desk offering helps pros minimize the effects of the labor shortage by giving them peace of mind that their customers are getting near instant, effective, and high-quality support while allowing them to focus on their craft.

“The Front Desk team has been phenomenal. Customers reach out to us at all times of the day, including at night,” said Michele Bottone, owner of Lazy B Fencing and Staining. “Prior to using Front Desk, we wouldn’t see the messages until the next day because we are out in the field or at home with family. Now it doesn’t matter when customers reach out because they get responded to right away and it’s helped us engage them more efficiently. The customers also enjoy the quick response from our team. It’s been great!”

To start, Thumbtack’s Front Desk team conducts an onboarding call with each pro to understand their business goals and preferences in order to set up personalized responses for future customers – much like a personal assistant. From there, based on the package that best fits each pro’s needs, the Front Desk team handles messaging with customers on behalf of the pro (days, evenings, even weekends) and books jobs for them based on their availability and any other personal preferences. Customers get a personalized experience depending on the independent pro they’ve reached out to.

During initial testing of Front Desk, local service professionals saw, on average, 20 percent higher job conversion, and 28 percent higher customer satisfaction ratings. To learn more about Thumbtack, download the app (available on iOS and Android). 

About Thumbtack
Thumbtack is a technology leader building the modern home management platform. Through the Thumbtack app, homeowners can effortlessly manage their homes — confidently knowing what to do, when to do it, and who to hire. Bringing the $500 billion home services industry online, Thumbtack empowers millions of homeowners to fix, maintain, and improve their most valuable asset. Hundreds of thousands of local service professionals, from painters and plumbers to photographers and math tutors, use the Thumbtack platform to grow their business each year.

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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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TECHNOLOGY,FINANCE

Finli Raises $6M to Bring Mobile-First Payment Management to Service-Based Businesses

Finli | July 11, 2022

Finli, a payment management platform built for service-based small businesses in the US, has announced the close of its $6 million Seed fundraising round, led by the Urban Innovation Fund. Motley Fool Ventures, M13, Alumni Ventures, and all existing investors also participated in the round. The new injection of funds will be used to expand Finli's team and business banking capabilities, moving towards becoming a holistic financial services solution. According to the U.S. Small Business Administration Office of Advocacy, 99.9% of US businesses are small businesses. Existing banking and administrative platforms have not built their solutions with the small business of today in mind, many of whom are utilizing five or more services to manage client billing and payments. "'Our mission is to provide underserved businesses with the financial tools that they need to manage and grow their businesses without taking on hefty fees or complicated workflows. By meeting them where they are, we are giving them back time and money, We intentionally built Finli to solve cumbersome business challenges so that owners and operators can focus on growing their business and not chasing payments." -Lori Shao, CEO of Finli Finli's platform is thoughtfully designed for businesses to manage all aspects of invoicing and payments communication, allowing them to use familiar tools and customers to easily pay outstanding invoices through their mobile devices. "Customers love Finli because it is so easy to use. The Finli team is totally dedicated to lifting up small businesses and owner-operators – and it shows, Many service providers are fearful of big tech taking advantage of them with hidden costs and complex integrations. Finli allows small businesses to regain control – delighting their customers and making more money in the process." -Clara Brenner, Co-Founder and Managing Partner at Urban Innovation Fund Finli's platform allows small businesses to invoice on the go: sending invoices, looking up customer information, creating recurring invoices and checking on payment status from a phone. New users are able to set up an account and issue an invoice in under one minute through their mobile device, desktop or any other device. There are zero merchant transaction fees for business bank-to-bank transfers. Cash and check payments can be reconciled through Finli's platform and businesses can manage collections through automated emails & text messages. Finli's seed round brings total funding to $9.5 million. Existing investors include Mac Venture Capital, Slauson and Co, Core Innovation Capital, Techstars and Muse Capital. For more SMB Resources, visit Finli's Finsider blog. About Finli Finli is on a mission to financially lift local communities. An all-in-one payment management platform built for service-based small businesses in the US, Finli allows businesses to manage invoices, payments and customer communication in a single platform. Join the thousands of businesses who have saved hours this week with Finli, visit www.finli.com. And for more business resources, visit Finli's Finsider blog

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FINANCE

Mississippi-Based Community Bank Selects Fintech to Effectively Serve Small Businesses

Teslar Software | June 16, 2022

First Security Bank and Teslar Software announced their partnership to expedite and streamline processes across the bank’s loan department. The Batesville, Miss.-based bank plans to leverage Teslar’s configurable lending process automation platform, starting with the exceptions management module“From the beginning, we were impressed with Teslar’s robust products and how user friendly their technology is,” said Justin Hill, president of First Security Bank. “Efficiency is a top priority for us, and with Teslar, we are reimagining our lending operations. By automating our loan processes, employees will no longer have to navigate cumbersome, manual tasks. The time savings will result in faster loan turnaround times to our customers, improving their overall experience.” Small business lending accounts are a significant portion of First Security Bank’s loan portfolio, and Teslar’s platform will allow the bank to better serve these businesses by providing exception tracking, centralized data and transparency into customers’ portfolios. “Efficiency goes hand in hand with a bank’s success; the more productive an institution becomes, the more time they have to focus on strategic, growth-oriented initiatives, First Security Bank is empowering their lenders with the powerful tools and centralized data needed to effectively support the Mississippi communities that rely on them, and we are proud to be a part of their solution.” -Joe Ehrhardt, CEO and founder of Teslar Software. About Teslar Software Teslar Software, founded in 2008, is a configurable lending process automation platform for community financial institutions. Teslar transforms commercial lending by providing easy access to centralized, relevant information to balance portfolios, optimize profits and help community bankers effectively serve their customers. Named Best Solution for Lending by the 2021 FinXTech Awards, Teslar Software continues to earn their reputation as a top technology provider for community institutions. Please visit www.teslarsoftware.com to learn more.

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BUSINESS STRATEGY

BuildESG Unveils All-In-One ESG Solution for Asset Managers and Small Businesses to Accelerate ESG Adoption

BuildESG | June 20, 2022

BuildESG recently launched the BuildESG Hub, a holistic software and service solution to deploy, manage and scale ESG programs for small businesses, asset managers and their portfolios. The digital platform is a powerful tool for aligning ESG practices with core business strategies, offering a best-in-class digital user experience that provides a 360-degree view of ESG processes, and offers access to resources, expert guidance and a community forum. “The BuildESG Hub arose because we saw a gap in the market — we couldn’t find a simple solution that would help companies understand the basics of ESG, why it matters and how to establish a foundation of practical policies and processes that were applicable across sectors and company maturity levels, So, our team of ESG experts, investors and technologists built a platform that combines digital tools and ESG expertise that companies and investors need to set and meet their ESG goals.” -BuildESG Founder & CEO James Lindstrom The BuildESG Hub offers both free and paid packages. For those who need more guidance, we felt it was important to offer guidance alternatives in the form of a community forum and ESG experts under a flat fee versus the hourly model of most consulting firms. Lindstrom added. BuildESG members and teams at various membership tiers are able to. Deploy ESG Programs. For companies that do not yet have an ESG program, the platform includes basic education and a methodical building of a foundation of processes and policies. Deployment starts with access to introduction to ESG training content and user-friendly, digital assessments of a company’s existing policies and processes, resulting in a digital action list to establish a solid foundation for future ESG initiatives, such as quantitative data tracking. Access Support Resources. In order to support building a foundation, BuildESG provides guides, templates, due diligence and vendor assessments and a portfolio-wide content retention library. Connect with Peers through the BuildESG Forum. BuildESG’s platform drives connections and community among our members by helping share best practices, tools and intelligence. Additional paid features include: Hands-on Introductory and Annual ESG Training. Portfolio Analytics for Asset Managers. Premium Private Equity Industry Benchmarking Reports. Detailed Benchmarking Process-Level Data. Expert ESG Guidance from BuildESG Experts. Annual Company and Portfolio Reviews from BuildESG Experts About BuildESG BuildESG is a software and services ESG platform with 50+ ESG subject-matter experts at the helm. BuildESG’s solutions address the reporting, framework and ratings advisory, data collection and analytics needs of its Fortune 500 and global private equity firm clients. BuildESG serves clients across industries, with certain expertise in the financial services, private equity and energy and power sectors. BuildESG has offices in New York; Greenwich, Conn.; and Berkeley, Calif.To learn more, please contact info@buildesg.com or visit https://buildesg.com.

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