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Coronavirus live updates: Small town businesses face uncertain restarts; doctors issue a warning

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As many U.S. states continue to lift coronavirus lockdown restrictions, some are pausing their reopenings in the face of worrisome data around new cases and hospitalizations. States like Texas, Arizona and Arkansas have seen a surge in infections, calling into question aggressive reopening strategies. 

Officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Friday additional lockdowns may be needed if rising infection data doesn’t improve, and some researchers are warning the resurgences in some states isn’t even the “second wave” that many feared — it’s still just the first. 

This is CNBC’s live blog covering all the latest news on the coronavirus outbreak. This blog will be updated throughout the day as the news breaks. 

  • Global cases: More than 7.67 million
  • Global deaths: At least 426,268
  • U.S. cases: More than 2.04 million
  • U.S. deaths: At least 114,669

The data above was compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

Italy, Germany, France and Netherlands sign contract with Astrazeneca for Covid-19 vaccine

9:21 a.m. ET — Italy, Germany, France and the Netherlands have signed a contract with Astrazeneca to provide European citizens with a coronavirus vaccine, Italy’s health minister Roberto Speranza said, according to a Reuters report. The contract will supply 400 million doses of the vaccine.

Astrazeneca’s vaccine is currently in development with the University of Oxford and its experimentation phase is expected to be completed in the fall. Speranza said the first batch of doses would be available at the end of the year, Reuters reported.

EU governments issued a mandate on Friday instructing the European Commission to negotiate advance purchases of promising Covid-19 vaccines. However, it’s unclear if there would be enough money available for these purchases. —Sarah Whitten

San Francisco doctors, back from volunteering in NY, issue a warning

9:15 a.m. ET — San Francisco doctors who risked their lives and volunteered to help coronavirus patients in New York have now returned home – and they are urging people to follow public safety guidelines, CNBC’s Christina Farr reports.

“A lot of people are feeling done with this pandemic,” said Dr. Ethan Weiss, a cardiologist based in San Francisco. “They don’t understand this is how it is going to be for a while.”

As states begin to re-open, people are itching to resume life after months of lockdowns. However, the virus is still spreading across the country and public health experts are concerned about the reported increase in diagnosed cases and hospitalizations in some states. —Emma Newburger

Your guide to coronavirus testing

Shalonda Williams-Hampton, 32, has her blood taken by Northwell Health medical workers for the antibody tests that detect whether a person has developed immunity to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) at the First Baptist Cathedral of Westbury in Westbury, New York, May 13, 2020.

Shannon Stapleton | Reuters

How one New Jersey Main St. is preparing to reopen

Village Brewing in Somerville, New Jersey, closed on March 16. Since then it’s been surviving on takeout and delivery orders, which are about 10% of usual business.

Will Feuer

9:04 a.m. ET — With New Jersey set to shift into its next phase of reopening on Monday, business owners in Somerville are getting ready to salvage what remains of the usually bustling summer season.

Businesses on Somerville’s popular Main St. like Village Brewing and Verve Restaurant have endured more than 12 weeks of closure already, but on Monday, they’ll be able to partially open for outdoor service. Town officials and business owners are petitioning the state to close Main St., a state highway, to traffic so that retailers and restaurants can bring their business entirely outdoors, where the virus appears to spread less easily.

For Somerville, the pandemic hit right in the middle of something of an upswing for the town, which was attracting new businesses and younger residents in recent years. Depending on the severity of the pandemic’s economic impact and the speed of the rebound, the threat could be existential for many on Main St.

“We would be naive to think that any of us, or any district, no matter where you are in the country, is going to come out of this situation completely unscathed,” Natalie Pinero, executive director of the Downtown Somerville Alliance, said. “I think that there is a genuine concern for our businesses.” —Will Feuer

Small town businesses face uncertain restarts

8:31 a.m. ET — As local economies reopen and lockdown restrictions lift, small town businesses face uncertainty around a restart to operations. 

The pandemic issued a swift, clean halt to business for many. But returning isn’t as cleanly laid out for business owners like Russ Loub, who runs a steakhouse in the college town of Manhattan, Kansas. Loub estimates coronavirus shutdowns resulted in 4,000 canceled reservations almost instantaneously, and he now wonders what the fall football season will look like with a modified college semester. 

“There’s so much unknown. That’s really the most difficult part of it,” Loub told CNBC’s Jesse Pound. “I’m sure if you talk to anyone else, they’ll tell you the same thing. It’s the unknown things that are the scariest.” —Sara Salinas

India reports record daily new cases

A medical worker in PPE coveralls seen outside the emergency ward at AIIMS, on June 11, 2020 in New Delhi, India.

Sanjeev Verma | Hindustan Times | Getty Images

8:07 a.m. ET — India reported 11,458 new cases of the coronavirus on Saturday, the highest single-day increase for the country to date, the Associated Press reports. The jump pushes the nation’s total infections past 300,000 to 308,993. 

The Health Ministry recorded 386 coronavirus-related deaths, bringing the total to 8,884, according to the AP. 

The nation of 1.3 billion people instituted a strict lockdown in late March, but last week began reopening shopping malls, houses of worship and restaurants, the AP reports. Since reopening, the country has recorded close to 100,000 new cases of Covid-19.

India now holds the fourth highest infection total in the world, behind the U.S., Brazil and Russia, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. —Sara Salinas

Read CNBC’s previous coronavirus live coverage here: Food market shut in Beijing after 45 cases; hospitalizations rise in some U.S. states

Source: https://www.cnbc.com/2020/06/13/coronavirus-live-updates.html

Fintech

Accept.inc secures $90M in debt and equity to scale its digital mortgage lending platform

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A lot of startups were built to help people make all-cash offers on homes with the purpose of gaining an edge against other buyers, especially in ultra-competitive markets. 

Accepti.inc is a Denver-based company that is attempting to create a new category in real estate technology. To help scale its digital mortgage lending platform, the company announced today that it has secured $90 million in debt and equity – with $78 million in debt and $12 million in equity. Signal Fire led the equity portion of its financing, which also included participation from existing seed investors Y Combinator and DN Capital.

Accept.inc describes itself as an iLender, or a “technology-enabled lender” that gives people a way to submit all-cash offers on a home upon qualifying for a mortgage.

Using its platform, a buyer gets qualified first and then can start looking for homes that fall at or under the amount he or she is approved for. They can purchase a more expensive home, but any amount above what they are approved for would have to come out of pocket. Historically, most buyers don’t know that they will have to pay out of pocket until they’ve made an offer on a specific home and an appraisal comes under the amount of the price they are paying for a home. In those cases, the buyer has to cough up the difference out of pocket. With Accept.inc., its execs tout, buyers know upfront how much they are approved for and can spend on a new home “so there are no surprises later.”

SignalFire Founding Partner and CTO Ilya Kirnos describes Accept.inc as “the first and only iLender.”

He points out that since it is a lender, Accept.inc doesn’t make its money by charging buyers fees like some others in the all-cash offer space.

“Unlike ‘iBuyers’ or ‘alternative iBuyers,’ Accept.inc fronts the cash to buy a house and then makes money off mortgage origination and title, meaning sellers, homebuyers and their agents pay no additional cost for the service,” he told TechCrunch.

IBuyers instead buy homes from sellers who signed up online, make a profit by often fixing up and selling those homes and then helping people purchase a different home with all cash. They also make money by charging transaction fees. A slew of companies operate in the space including established players such as Opendoor and Zillow and newer players such as Homelight.

Image credit: Accept.inc. Left to right: Co-founders Adam Pollack, Nick Friedman and Ian Perrex.

Since its 2016 inception, Accept.inc says it has helped thousands of buyers, agents and sellers close on “hundreds of millions of dollars” in homes. The company saw ”14x” growth in 2020 and from June 2020 to June 2021, it achieved “10x” growth in terms of the size of its team and number of transactions and revenue, according to CEO and co-founder Adam Pollack. Accept.inc wants to use its new capital to build on that momentum and meet demand.

Pollack and Nick Friedman met while in college and started building Accept.inc with the goal of “turning every offer into a cash offer.” The pair essentially “failed for two years,” half-jokes Pollack.

“We basically became an encyclopedia of 1,000 ways the idea of helping people make all-cash offers wouldn’t work,” he said.

The team went through Y Combinator in the winter of 2019 and that’s when they created the iLender concept. In the iLender model, the company uses its cash to buy a house for buyers. Once the loan with Accept.inc is ready to close, the company sells back the house to the buyer “at no additional cost or fees.”

“Basically what we learned through those two years is that you have to vertically integrate all of your core competencies, and you can’t rely on third parties to own or manage your special sauce for you,” Pollack told TechCrunch. “We also realized that if you’re going to build a cash offer for anyone who could afford a mortgage, you’ve got to make it a full bona fide cash offer that closes in three days as opposed to a better version of what existed. And you have to own that, and take the risk that comes with it and be comfortable with that.”

The benefits of their model, the pair say, is that buyers get to be cash buyers, sellers can close in as little as 32 hours, and agents “get a guaranteed commission check.” 

“Our mission is that everyone should have an equal chance at homeownership,” Friedman said. “We not only want to level the playing field, we want to create a new standard.”

Buyers using Accept.inc win 6-7 times more frequently, the company claims. With its new capital, It also plans to double its team of 90 and enter new markets outside of its home base of Denver.

SignalFire Partner Chris Scoggins believes that Accept.inc is different from other lenders in that its focus is on “winning the home, not just servicing the loan, with a business model that’s 10x more capital-efficient than other players in the market.

The team is driven…to level the playing field for homebuyers who today lose out against all-cash offers from home-flippers and wealthy individuals,” he added. “We see an enormous opportunity for Accept.inc to become the backbone of the future of mortgage lending.”

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Source: https://techcrunch.com/2021/06/24/accept-inc-secures-90m-in-debt-equity/

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CNBC

Apple’s AirPods Max fall to a new all-time low of $489 at Amazon

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All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

With good looks, quality construction and great natural sound, Apple’s AirPods Max headphones tick all the right boxes, but they’re mighty expensive at $550. However, you can now pick up a pair from Amazon at $490, the lowest price we’ve seen yet. That’s still not inexpensive by any means, but it’s a substantial savings on high-end headphones that only came out seven months ago. 

Buy Apple AirPods Max (pink) at Amazon – $490 Buy Apple AirPods Max (sky blue) at Amazon – $489 Buy Apple AirPods Max (space gray) at Amazon – $489

With an Engadget review score of 84, the AirPods Max earned a spot in our list of the best headphones you can buy. They look and feel great thanks to the aluminum and metal design, breathable mesh fabric and large earcups. A rotating crown and dedicated button let you switch between ANC and and regular modes, and it’s easy to switch seamlessly between iPhones, Macs and iPads. They offer hands-free capability with Siri, and you can go for up to 20 hours between charges with both ANC and spatial sound enabled.  

AirPods Max offer a more natural sound experience than other headphones, with bass that’s not overcooked. Active noise cancellation quality is right up there, though not quite on par with Sony’s WH-1000XM4 ANC headphones. And they support Apple’s Dolby Atmos-powered spatial audio on iPhones, iPads and Macs right now, and will come to Apple TV this fall. The main drawback is that they won’t stream Apple’s new lossless audio. 

Still, they deliver in nearly every other area and are especially useful for folks with Apple devices. $60 is a substantial discount for an Apple product this new, so if you’re interested, it would be best to act soon. 

Follow @EngadgetDeals on Twitter for the latest tech deals and buying advice.

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Source: https://www.engadget.com/apple-airpods-max-good-deal-amazon-124026253.html?src=rss_b2c

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Ventureburn

SA agritech releases AI-enabled OmnioFarm to modernise African poultry farming

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The founders of South African cryptocurrency investment platform Africrypt have disappeared along with $3.6 billion (R51.4 billion) worth of Bitcoin, according to a report….

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Source: https://ventureburn.com/2021/06/sa-agritech-releases-ai-enabled-omniofarm-to-modernise-african-poultry-farming/

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Fintech

Visa to acquire open banking platform Tink for more than $2 billion

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Visa has announced plans to acquire Tink for €1.8 billion, or $2.15 billion at today’s exchange rate. Tink has been a leading fintech startup in Europe focused on open banking application programming interface (API).

Today’s move comes a few months after Visa abandoned its acquisition of Plaid, another popular open banking startup. Originally, Visa planned to spend $5.3 billion to acquire the American startup. But the company had to call off the acquisition after running into a regulatory wall.

Tink offers a single API so that customers can connect to bank accounts from their own apps and services. For instance, you can leverage Tink’s API to access account statements, initiate payments, fetch banking information and refresh this data regularly.

While banks and financial institutions now all have to offer open banking interfaces due to EU’s Payment Services Directive PSD2, there’s no single standard. Tink integrates with 3,400 banks and financial institutions.

App developers can use the same API call to interact with bank accounts across various financial institutions. As you may have guessed, it greatly simplifies the adoption of open banking features.

300 banks and fintech startups use Tink’s API to access third-party bank information — clients include PayPal, BNP Paribas, American Express and Lydia. Overall, Tink covers 250 million bank customers across Europe.

Based in Stockholm, Sweden, Tink operations should continue as usual after the acquisition. Visa plans to retain the brand and management team.

According to Crunchbase data, Tink has raised over $300 million from Dawn Capital, Eurazeo, HMI Capital, Insight Partners, PayPal Ventures, Creades, Heartcore Capital and others.

“For the past ten years we have worked relentlessly to build Tink into a leading open banking platform in Europe, and we are incredibly proud of what the whole team at Tink has created together,” Tink co-founder and CEO Daniel Kjellén said in a statement. “We have built something incredible and at the same time we have only scratched the surface.”

“Joining Visa, we will be able to move faster and reach further than ever before. Visa is the perfect partner for the next stage of Tink’s journey, and we are incredibly excited about what this will bring to our employees, customers and for the future of financial services.”

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Source: https://techcrunch.com/2021/06/24/visa-to-acquire-open-banking-platform-tink-for-more-than-2-billion/

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