ZeBrand 's A.I. Branding Platform Empowers Small Business and Startups with Self-Generating Branding Toolkits.

Cision PR Newswire | September 11, 2020

ZeBrand is a complete DIY branding platform that uses algorithmic logic to create complete brand strategies and generate brand designs and identities for emerging businesses. The service aims to make branding more accessible than ever and is efficient, simple, and cost-effective. Companies are guided by the service as they refine and distill their thinking about who their target customer is, their vision, brand story, and messaging. ZeBrand's artificial intelligence then gathers this information and creates complete brand blueprints that provide value previously accessible to only large internationally known brands with larger budgets and time commitments.

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Zane Lamprey, Creator of Adv3nture Hoodie (the most funded fashion Kickstarter ever) & Founder of #MonkeyRum explains why you should have an unreasonable goal.


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FINANCE

Slice Adds Remodeling Contractors to Small Business General Liability Insurance Coverage

Slice | April 04, 2022

Slice Labs Inc. (Slice), a technology company with the first on-demand insurance platform, announced the addition of remodeling contractors to the covered classes under the AERO Insurance brand. Agents can now quote, bind and issue for 70 different classes in 42 states + D.C. In the fall of 2021, Slice and Appalachian Underwriters partnered on the development and distribution of Contractors General Liability Insurance via the new brand AERO Insurance. Data from the first quarter of 2022 continues to show tremendous growth with 46% month-over-month growth. “With remodelers being such a large group of the contractors industry, we’re very pleased to offer coverage. Not only do we want agents to have the best digital experience, we want them to be able to have access to the widest set of coverage, including hard to place coverage.” Tim Atta, founder and CEO of Slice Labs About Slice Labs Slice Labs Inc. is building the future of insurance by enabling insurers, MGAs, and technology platforms to build intelligent and intuitive, on-demand digital insurance products via Slice’s cloud-based platform. Founded in 2015 and headquartered in New York City, Slice has been consistently recognized as an insurance and technology leader by industry publications, awards, and Tier 1 publications. About Appalachian Underwriters, Inc Appalachian Underwriters, Inc. (AUI) offers a leading insurance wholesale brokerage outlet for agents looking to bring their clients a broad selection of quality products. AUI is a Nationwide MGA that specializes in Workers'​ Compensation, Commercial Specialty, and Personal Lines products. The company also offers a brokerage unit that expands their product offering beyond their Managed Programs and allows them to place large specialized risks. AUI’s “one–stop” approach affords the convenience of dealing with one sales and administration staff, while gaining access to a wide range of high quality companies. Appalachian Underwriters is a wholly owned subsidiary of Acrisure.

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FINANCE

Crossroads Systems to Acquire Leading Small Business Lender, Fountainhead

Crossroads Systems Inc. | December 17, 2021

Crossroads Systems, Inc., a holding company focused on investing in businesses that promote economic vitality and community development, announced today that it has reached an agreement in principle to acquire Fountainhead, a leading national, non-bank, direct commercial lender specializing in business financing for small to midsize businesses. Founded by some of the most experienced and accomplished Small Business Administration (SBA) lenders in the industry, Fountainhead finances the growth of small business borrowers, in addition to working with referral partners at community banks, credit unions, and others through their industry-leading referral program. The Fountainhead team has collectively been involved in financing over $28 billion in total projects throughout their careers by providing SBA 7(a), SBA 504, and low loan-to-value (LTV) conventional loans across all 50 states and US territories. Fountainhead's SBA products provide capital to deserving small businesses through the SBA 7(a) program. Additionally, their SBA 504 and conventional loan programs provide low leveraged loan opportunities with up to 65% LTV first lien commercial real estate loans on owner-occupied/operated properties. Over the past nearly two years, Fountainhead has also operated at the forefront of providing aid to support America's small businesses through the SBA's Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) effort. Since the inception of the program, Fountainhead has closed and funded nearly 300,000 PPP loans, becoming the nation's sixth most active PPP lender in 2021 alone. "Our acquisition of Fountainhead, a national SBA and major PPP lender, allows us to further diversify our small business product mix and offer more financing solutions to even more deserving businesses across the country. This combination, when added to our existing partnerships with Enhanced Capital Group and Rise Line Business Credit, two other leading nationwide lending firms, will enable us to capture additional SBA loan business which fit perfectly within our growing pipeline of small business opportunities. On behalf of our entire organization, I'd like to formally welcome Fountainhead to the Crossroads family." Eric Donnelly, CEO of Crossroads Fountainhead Founder and CEO, Chris Hurn added: "We could not have found a better partner to help us expand our mission of providing the smartest, fastest financing possible to owners of every well-run small to mid-sized business in America. We're looking forward to working alongside the Crossroads team over the coming months and years to make that a reality." This agreement was unanimously approved by the members of both Crossroads' and Fountainhead's Boards of Directors. The deal remains subject to the consent of and final approval by the SBA and is expected to close in the first half of 2022. Additional terms have not been disclosed. Fountainhead is one of only 14 nonbank lenders approved to make SBA 7(a) loans under its Small Business Lending Company (SBLC) license. Additionally, Fountainhead has one of SBA's Preferred Lender Partner (PLP) designations, which roughly 10% of participating SBA lenders earn. The PLP is the highest level of approval and status that a lender can hold, offering full delegation of lending authority. About Crossroads Systems, Inc. Crossroads Systems, Inc. is a holding company focused on investing in businesses that promote economic vitality and community development. Crossroads' subsidiary, Capital Plus Financial (CPF), is a certified Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) and Certified B-Corp, which supports Hispanic homeownership with a long-term, fixed-rate single-family mortgage product. About Fountainhead Fountainhead SBF and Fountainhead Commercial Capital (collectively, "Fountainhead") is a nationwide, non-bank, direct lender specializing in the SBA 7(a), SBA 504, and low LTV (<65%) conventional commercial real estate loans.

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MARKETING AND NETWORKING

B12 launches multi-user functionality, making it easier for professional service providers to work with their teams

B12 | May 05, 2022

To help professional service providers more easily scale their businesses, B12 continues to enhance its online platform, introducing the ability for customers to add team members to their accounts. This evolution of B12's platform enables business owners to invite staff, contractors, and other collaborators to their account, allowing for easier delegation of tasks, centralized oversight of client interactions, and greater team efficiency. "Small business owners work for themselves – but that doesn't always mean they work by themselves, Business growth is such a huge goal for entrepreneurs, and with growth often comes team expansion. We wanted to make it as easy as possible for businesses to grow with B12, and that meant making it easy for owners to work with their teams on B12." -Nitesh Banta, Co-Founder and CEO of B12 B12's new team-based subscription packages provide small business owners with an easy-to-use, all-in-one platform to help them better attract, win, and serve clients online. Designed to meet the specific needs of business owners offering professional services, key features include: A custom-built professional website: An AI-powered website builder creates industry-specific drafts that are then tailored by expert copywriters and designers. The result is a professional-looking, fully optimized website that showcases each business's unique identity in under 30 days. Tools to win and engage clients: Business owners have access to on-site conversion banners, email marketing, client intake forms, and online scheduling, all within B12. Support for business operations: Back-office tasks are streamlined with embedded invoicing, contract management, and the ability to accept eSignatures and online payments. When team members are added in B12, they have access to many of these tools. Specific access is based on the permissions granted by the business owner, which can be changed or removed at any time. This flexibility means that as a business evolves, so can the size and capabilities of its team. "How businesses work is chang While small businesses have core staff, they also do project-based work. When speaking with business owners, we realized that their definition of team included both full-time employees and contractors that pulse in and out of projects. To support the varied needs of small businesses, it was important to make our team tools flexible and adaptable, with as few constraints for owners as responsibly possible." -Adam Marcus, B12's Co-Founder and CTO The launch of B12's new team capabilities comes in conjunction with the company's celebration of National Small Business Week, which runs from May 2nd - May 7th. B12 is honoring the resiliency, persistence, and creativity of entrepreneurs across the country with free online events, resources, and customer recognition. To view past and upcoming activities, visit www.b12.io/nsbw-online-events-2022. About B12 B12 is a web-based platform for professional service providers that helps them attract, win, and serve clients online. Within 30 days, B12 sets customers up with a website backed by powerful tools to help busy owners manage all aspects of winning and working with clients – including appointment scheduling, client intake, contact management, contracts and eSignatures, and online payments. B12 has worked with more than 150,000 businesses and is powered by technology built by the team's MIT-, and Berkeley-trained researchers. The company's open-source automation system called Orchestra pairs experts and AI to make tasks 15x more efficient than other platforms. B12 was founded in 2015 and has raised $28.1M from VCs and investors, including Breyer Capital, General Catalyst, SV Angel, and Tola Capital. Visit www.b12.io to learn more.

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BUSINESS STRATEGY

LegalShield Partners with NEWITY to Empower, Protect and Equip Small Businesses with Legal Services and Solutions

LegalShield | May 20, 2022

As we continue to spotlight small businesses during May, LegalShield, the leading provider of membership-based legal services and identity theft protection plans, announces a partnership with NEWITY, the small business marketplace dedicated to creating equitable access to SBA loans and trusted business service providers. As NEWITY’s official legal services provider, its 115,000 small business members will have access to LegalShield’s Small Business Legal Plans, services, and network of provider law firms Our organization cares deeply about the success and sustainability of small businesses and providing them with the tools and resources needed to survive and thrive. It’s important to us to partner with other organizations, like NEWITY, who are champions for small businesses so together, we can create a meaningful impact, said Jeff Bell, CEO of LegalShield. “We are committed to helping our community access the best business resources that enable their growth and profitability, LegalShield’s affordable legal and cyber protection tools are essential to protect the businesses our members have worked so hard to build.” -Luke LaHaie, Co-CEO and Co-Founder at NEWITY LegalShield has legal plans to help small business owners and entrepreneurs make smarter, safer business decisions. From launch phase to growth phase and beyond, members can connect to professional lawyers for advice, guidance and to assist with all legal needs pertaining to the business. NEWITY members will also have access to IDShield for Business, which provides businesses and employers with cybersecurity protection tools, reputation management, recovery services and more. About LegalShield A trailblazer in the democratization of affordable access to legal advice, counsel, protection, and representation, LegalShield is the world's largest platform for legal, identity, and reputation management services protecting individuals and businesses across North America. Founded in 1972, LegalShield, and its privacy management company, IDShield, has provided individuals, families, businesses, and employers with tools and services needed to affordably live a just and secure life. Through technology and innovation, LegalShield is disrupting the traditional legal system and transforming how and where people receive legal guidance and services, with access to thousands of qualified, trusted attorneys and law firms. To learn more about LegalShield and IDShield products and services, visit LegalShield.com and IDShield.com. About NEWITY NEWITY is America's Small Business Marketplace, focused on empowering entrepreneurs with access to trusted service providers and affordable loan solutions – all in one place. NEWITY was founded in 2020 to better service Paycheck Protection Program loans. Today, NEWITY uses leading technologies to help small businesses access services that make running their business more efficient and more profitable. To join NEWITY’s growing small business community, visit NEWITYmarket.com.

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