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Class launches tool to help accountants connect with independent auditors

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ASX-listed Class Limited (ASX:CL1), Australia’s leading wealth accounting technology company, has launched an online tool to help accountants find suitable SMSF auditors as they adhere to auditor independence requirements.

As a result of the restructured APES 110 Code of Ethics for Professional Accountants, all SMSF audits need to be conducted by an independent auditor. It will not be possible for an accounting practice to offer both accounting and audit services to the same SMSF client.

According to market research, the change will see the administrators of about 30-40% of all SMSFs searching for a new, independent, auditor. This is estimated at more than 200,000 SMSFs that will need to be audited by an independent business.

To assist the market with this process, the new Class tool will allow accountants to request quotes from multiple providers that connect directly to the Class product suite, including some of the largest SMSF audit companies in Australia.

“The enhancement of the auditor independence requirements will see a significant movement in the SMSF audit market, so we have provided a facility that allows an accounting business to find an audit provider that operates on an integrated technology platform,” Class CEO, Andrew Russell, said. “By partnering with a provider that can integrate with their own technology systems, they can ensure that the relocation of the audit work is as streamlined as possible, and as efficient as it can be.

“It will allow accounting practices to make the decision to work with an audit partner based on automation through technology integrations, in addition to other factors such as price and agreed service levels.”

Launch partners include Super Know How, Unison and BDO Audits. All three providers leverage a high level of data integration to Class to provide an efficient end-to-end process to their clients, and together show potential to service a significant proportion of the SMSF audit market.

The tool can be accessed here.

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Source: https://australianfintech.com.au/class-launches-tool-to-help-accountants-connect-with-independent-auditors/

Fintech

StackSource Brings Innovation to Commercial Real Estate Lending

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Fintech’s innovations in the real estate market for homebuyers have prompted the emergence of an entire new kind of fintech company, the mortgagetech, that specializes in leveraging technology to improve the homebuying experience for all parties involved.

Less discussed are the ways that technology is helping those involved in the commercial end of the real estate market do their jobs better and more efficiently. To this end, we caught up with Tim Milazzo, co-founder and CEO of StackSource, a company that connects borrowers and lenders seeking commercial real estate financing.

Headquartered in New York City and founded in 2015, StackSource recently made fintech headlines with the appointment of commercial real estate industry veteran Richard Caldwell as EVP – Head of Originations. We talked with Milazzo via email about his company, how it serves the CRE industry, and the importance of blending technical innovation with human experience and talent.

What problem does your technology solve and who does it solve it for? 

Tim Milazzo: StackSource simplifies the process of finding the best commercial mortgage for a given property investment by tracking the loan programs of hundreds of active lenders and offering borrowers a transparent experience.

Commercial mortgage brokerage has traditionally been a local, relationship-driven game. If you’re buying a home in 2021, you can know your rate and get pre-approved for a mortgage in minutes. But in commercial real estate, finding the right financing is only unlocked by developing relationships with the right set of lenders based on dozens of variables from the property’s asset type, location, income, and physical characteristics, as well as the borrower’s track record, financial strength, and business plan. We’ve streamlined that process of finding and connecting with suitable lenders to boost the investors’ financial returns with the right debt.

What in your background gave you the confidence to tackle this challenge? 

Milazzo: My first exposure to commercial real estate was through family ties. My father was a successful commercial real estate broker in New York City, so I’d hear stories about office building negotiations at the dinner table growing up. While I went to college to study Finance, I interned at a large real estate firm, where I was known as the smart spreadsheet kid that sat in the corner. Honestly, I didn’t come away with a big interest in the industry at that time; my eye was on big tech companies. I went on to work in advertising technology, first with Google and later with Facebook. I came back to commercial real estate because I found an area where online technology could deliver a superior value proposition: helping investors find the best financing for a commercial property investment without the need to track hundreds of lenders’ programs themselves.

What do you think is the most misunderstood aspect of investing in commercial real estate? 

Milazzo: Many old-school brokers are quick to point out that commercial real estate is a “relationship business.” And that’s true. But what’s missed is the fact that it’s also an information business. If you can leverage the correct information, you can scale beyond your local relationships in the capital markets, which is a significant advantage.

You recently launched a new Chrome browser extension to make the discovery process easier. Can you tell us more about this feature?

Milazzo: We’ve been delivering competitive financing quotes to real estate investor clients for a couple of years now. Still, we wanted to go the extra mile in the name of transparency and efficiency. We came up with a tool that draws on our pool of loan quote data to allow real estate investors to apply financing quotes to any commercial property listing across the web and analyze potential investment opportunities. Sourcing acquisition opportunities is a competitive process, and this tool can add speed and accuracy to acquisition analysis. It’s completely free and open, with no obligation to use our financing service.

One interesting aspect of StackSource is how you combine a technology platform with a fleet of experienced industry veterans. How do you see the balance between enabling technologies and “the human touch”? 

Milazzo: The commercial mortgage space is not nearly as commoditized as residential mortgages. Even in the most “simple” commercial mortgage lending scenarios, where we can go as far as automating an instant soft quote, these are major financial investments, and borrowers want the guidance of an experienced Capital Advisor from submission to close.

How did COVID-19 impact your business and customers?

Milazzo: We doubled our market share in 2020 as many investors were looking for answers on how to secure the best financing for their real estate investment properties. People were staying home, and our online process is easy to access from anywhere, which was especially attractive. At the same time, funding from many local banks was pulled back in response to the pandemic. We even saw many traditional financing sources get distracted by things like issuing PPP loans, while we kept our focus on the long-term and stayed exclusively focused on commercial real estate.

What can we expect from StackSource over the balance of 2021? 

Milazzo: We just raised our first proper fundraising round for the company in Q2, allowing us to push the limits of how efficient the commercial mortgage origination process can become. Think automated quotes on specific qualified properties and integrating additional data sources seamlessly into the investment and financing process.


Photo by George Becker from Pexels

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Source: https://finovate.com/stacksource-brings-innovation-to-commercial-real-estate-lending/

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Fintech

Squire, a Barbershop tech platform, triples its valuation (again) with Tiger Global

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When co-founders Songe LaRon and Dave Salvant first began barbershop tech platform Squire in 2016, they leaned in quite literally: the duo bought a barbershop in Chelsea, New York to see first-hand how the business worked. For one year, the co-founders religiously worked at the shop, now owned by a larger barbershop chain, handling every bit of the business (except cutting hair).

Five years later, the co-founders view that first-hand experience of the barber industry as a key moment in the history of Squire, now a 175-person company with a tech platform used by over 2,000 shops across three continents. After last raising a Series C in December, and tripling its valuation, Squire announced today that it has raised a $60 million round led by Tiger Global.

And, it tripled its valuation, again. Off of 300% year over year revenue growth, the New York startup is now valued at $750 million. It’s a massive uptick: A little over a year ago, Squire was valued at $75 million.

Like many startups these days, Squire wasn’t searching for capital when Tiger Global, which participated in its Series B and C rounds, offered to lead its next financing. The startup has only spent 10% of its previous round, a $45 million equity round, and now has tens of millions more of money in its bank. Ultimately, its decision to bring on more capital is so it can expand in the U.K. and Canada more aggressively – even in the wake of early-stage competitors like Boulevard. Squire’s dry powder also puts the co-founders in a position where they can acquire companies, a strategy that Salvant is into and plans to be “aggressive about.”

Squire also announced today the official launch of a product that has been in the roadmap since inception: Squire Capital. Squire Capital is a money management platform with tools that are tailored to the needs of barbershop operations, such as instant payments. Squire’s core business has been more around appointments, loyalty programs, and the installment of contactless payment, now with a fintech layer that aims to offer a more niche service than current financial services heavyweights like Square or Paypal.

Fintech is a “natural next frontier” for Squire, says Salvant, because the startup already has deep insights into how its businesses operate and how they process sales; now, it wants to add another service so it can offer a more holistic experience to them.

Squire Capital was built with Bond, a venture-backed fintech infrastructure startup that aims to help enterprise operations launch their own banking products. After experimenting with a $15 million debt financing arm around the time of its Series C, Squire isn’t offering loans at this time – hoping to find a better way to scale offerings in the future.

Squire is on route to becoming a historical, and unfortunately still rare, Black-led unicorn. Salvant talked about the significance of that feat, noting that this was “the optimal outcome” when founding the company. He hopes that VCs and investors will start to invest more in Black founders with Squire as a data point of a success story.

“Let’s face it, we’re not typical founders, we don’t look the same and we don’t act the same,” Salvant said. “I just want to serve as a lighthouse and this is validation for myself, my co-founder, but more importantly, what’s coming after us.”

PlatoAi. Web3 Reimagined. Data Intelligence Amplified.
Click here to access.

Source: https://techcrunch.com/2021/07/28/squire-a-barbershop-tech-platform-triples-its-valuation-again-with-tiger-global/

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Fintech

Squire, a Barbershop tech platform, triples its valuation (again) with Tiger Global

Published

on

When co-founders Songe LaRon and Dave Salvant first began barbershop tech platform Squire in 2016, they leaned in quite literally: the duo bought a barbershop in Chelsea, New York to see first-hand how the business worked. For one year, the co-founders religiously worked at the shop, now owned by a larger barbershop chain, handling every bit of the business (except cutting hair).

Five years later, the co-founders view that first-hand experience of the barber industry as a key moment in the history of Squire, now a 175-person company with a tech platform used by over 2,000 shops across three continents. After last raising a Series C in December, and tripling its valuation, Squire announced today that it has raised a $60 million round led by Tiger Global.

And, it tripled its valuation, again. Off of 300% year over year revenue growth, the New York startup is now valued at $750 million. It’s a massive uptick: A little over a year ago, Squire was valued at $75 million.

Like many startups these days, Squire wasn’t searching for capital when Tiger Global, which participated in its Series B and C rounds, offered to lead its next financing. The startup has only spent 10% of its previous round, a $45 million equity round, and now has tens of millions more of money in its bank. Ultimately, its decision to bring on more capital is so it can expand in the U.K. and Canada more aggressively – even in the wake of early-stage competitors like Boulevard. Squire’s dry powder also puts the co-founders in a position where they can acquire companies, a strategy that Salvant is into and plans to be “aggressive about.”

Squire also announced today the official launch of a product that has been in the roadmap since inception: Squire Capital. Squire Capital is a money management platform with tools that are tailored to the needs of barbershop operations, such as instant payments. Squire’s core business has been more around appointments, loyalty programs, and the installment of contactless payment, now with a fintech layer that aims to offer a more niche service than current financial services heavyweights like Square or Paypal.

Fintech is a “natural next frontier” for Squire, says Salvant, because the startup already has deep insights into how its businesses operate and how they process sales; now, it wants to add another service so it can offer a more holistic experience to them.

Squire Capital was built with Bond, a venture-backed fintech infrastructure startup that aims to help enterprise operations launch their own banking products. After experimenting with a $15 million debt financing arm around the time of its Series C, Squire isn’t offering loans at this time – hoping to find a better way to scale offerings in the future.

Squire is on route to becoming a historical, and unfortunately still rare, Black-led unicorn. Salvant talked about the significance of that feat, noting that this was “the optimal outcome” when founding the company. He hopes that VCs and investors will start to invest more in Black founders with Squire as a data point of a success story.

“Let’s face it, we’re not typical founders, we don’t look the same and we don’t act the same,” Salvant said. “I just want to serve as a lighthouse and this is validation for myself, my co-founder, but more importantly, what’s coming after us.”

PlatoAi. Web3 Reimagined. Data Intelligence Amplified.
Click here to access.

Source: https://techcrunch.com/2021/07/28/squire-a-barbershop-tech-platform-triples-its-valuation-again-with-tiger-global/

Continue Reading

Fintech

Squire, a Barbershop tech platform, triples its valuation (again) with Tiger Global

Published

on

When co-founders Songe LaRon and Dave Salvant first began barbershop tech platform Squire in 2016, they leaned in quite literally: the duo bought a barbershop in Chelsea, New York to see first-hand how the business worked. For one year, the co-founders religiously worked at the shop, now owned by a larger barbershop chain, handling every bit of the business (except cutting hair).

Five years later, the co-founders view that first-hand experience of the barber industry as a key moment in the history of Squire, now a 175-person company with a tech platform used by over 2,000 shops across three continents. After last raising a Series C in December, and tripling its valuation, Squire announced today that it has raised a $60 million round led by Tiger Global.

And, it tripled its valuation, again. Off of 300% year over year revenue growth, the New York startup is now valued at $750 million. It’s a massive uptick: A little over a year ago, Squire was valued at $75 million.

Like many startups these days, Squire wasn’t searching for capital when Tiger Global, which participated in its Series B and C rounds, offered to lead its next financing. The startup has only spent 10% of its previous round, a $45 million equity round, and now has tens of millions more of money in its bank. Ultimately, its decision to bring on more capital is so it can expand in the U.K. and Canada more aggressively – even in the wake of early-stage competitors like Boulevard. Squire’s dry powder also puts the co-founders in a position where they can acquire companies, a strategy that Salvant is into and plans to be “aggressive about.”

Squire also announced today the official launch of a product that has been in the roadmap since inception: Squire Capital. Squire Capital is a money management platform with tools that are tailored to the needs of barbershop operations, such as instant payments. Squire’s core business has been more around appointments, loyalty programs, and the installment of contactless payment, now with a fintech layer that aims to offer a more niche service than current financial services heavyweights like Square or Paypal.

Fintech is a “natural next frontier” for Squire, says Salvant, because the startup already has deep insights into how its businesses operate and how they process sales; now, it wants to add another service so it can offer a more holistic experience to them.

Squire Capital was built with Bond, a venture-backed fintech infrastructure startup that aims to help enterprise operations launch their own banking products. After experimenting with a $15 million debt financing arm around the time of its Series C, Squire isn’t offering loans at this time – hoping to find a better way to scale offerings in the future.

Squire is on route to becoming a historical, and unfortunately still rare, Black-led unicorn. Salvant talked about the significance of that feat, noting that this was “the optimal outcome” when founding the company. He hopes that VCs and investors will start to invest more in Black founders with Squire as a data point of a success story.

“Let’s face it, we’re not typical founders, we don’t look the same and we don’t act the same,” Salvant said. “I just want to serve as a lighthouse and this is validation for myself, my co-founder, but more importantly, what’s coming after us.”

PlatoAi. Web3 Reimagined. Data Intelligence Amplified.
Click here to access.

Source: https://techcrunch.com/2021/07/28/squire-a-barbershop-tech-platform-triples-its-valuation-again-with-tiger-global/

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