Many Fortune Global 2000 companies have thousands of vendors with contracts that have been neglected for long periods of time because the value of the contracts are too small and too numerous to warrant proper procurement specialists’ time. Enter Pactum, a Mountain View, CA-based tech startup founded in 2019 to help companies uncover hidden value in supplier contracts. Pactum increases the value of vendor or employee contracts by negotiating win- win agreements on a massive scale.
Today, Pactum announced it has closed $3 million seed financing to enable global companies to automate personalized commercial negotiations on a massive scale. The round led by Berlin-based Project A, a V.C. focused on innovative startups, with investments by DocuSign and other previous Pactum investors.
Founded by Kaspar Korjus, Kristjan Korjus, and Martin Rand, Pactum is an AI-based system that helps global companies to autonomously offer personalized, commercial negotiations on a massive scale. The company autonomously negotiates supplier contracts, which releases significant capital to the bottom line while also improving terms for vendors. Pactum was built by luminaries from Skype, Starship Technologies and the Government of Estonia’s e-Residency program. Walmart is one of the first customers Pactum is able to disclose.
The system adds value and saves time for both the Pactum client and their negotiation partner by aligning their values to determine win-win agreements via an easy-to-use chat interface that implements best-practice negotiation strategies. The web-based tool’s applications range from supplier negotiations for online marketplaces to enterprise and retail procurement negotiations. Pactum is based in Mountain View with engineering and operations in Estonia. The startup is backed by founders of Skype and TransferWise along with DocuSign and Project A.
“We’re happy to announce this round of funding which will bring our technology to more enterprises that need it,” said Martin Rand, Pactum CEO. “Project A is at the forefront of the most innovative breakthroughs in tech and AI and DocuSign is an iconic brand in the world of agreements, so we feel they provide the perfect balance for us.”
“We are convinced that AI-based systems will shape the future of commercial negotiations. Pactum is well on its way to play an essential role in this future. Therefore we are happy to support this great company,” said Uwe Horstmann, General Partner of Project A.
Pactum is working on negotiations in a variety of industries and a majority of its clients are Fortune 500 companies. On average, 74% to 82% of companies interacting with Pactum’s AI prefer it over a conversation with a human. For recent customers, Pactum increased the value of long tail deals by 11% to 27%.
Pactum’s team of analysts begins each project by mapping what they call the “value function” in a given set of negotiations. This is combined by Pactum’s negotiation chatbot which is capable of autonomously conducting best practice negotiations prepared by Pactum’s negotiation scientists. Once a negotiation is complete, all information is updated automatically in relevant systems such as ERP and CRM.
Dr. Fauci in March: ‘There’s no reason to be walking around with a mask.’ So, what changed? (video)
In recent weeks, there’s a nationwide campaign in the United States for everyone to wear masks or face coverings in public places. Even though there’s no conclusive scientific evidence that masks or face coverings provide perfect protection against coronavirus, there are many reports of mask bullying in grocery stores across the country.
During a 60 Minutes interview back in March, Dr. Anthony said, “There’s no reason to be walking around with a mask.” The nation’s top infectious-disease expert added that mask “is not providing the perfect protection that people think it is.”
In an interview with “60 Minutes” on March 8, Anthony Fauci said:
“The masks are important for someone who’s infected to prevent them from infecting someone else. Now, when you see people and look at the films in China, South Korea or whatever everybody is wearing a mask. Right now in the United States, people should not be walking around with masks. There’s no reason to be walking around with a mask. When you’re in the middle of an outbreak, wearing a mask might make people ‘feel a little better’ and it might even block a droplet but it’s not providing the perfect protection the people think that it is. And often, there are unintended consequences. People keep fiddling with the mask and they keep touching their face.”
Dr. Fauci continued:
“When you think masks you should think of health care providers needing them, and people who are ill. I’m not against it, if you want to do it. It can lead to a shortage for people who really need it.”
That all changed on April 13 after the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommended that, wearing masks or face coverings in public is actually good to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus. CDC added that wearing masks also allows you to go out without anxiety of anyone coming within six feet of you. As we all know, one of the jobs of our public health officials is to advise and guide the nation on public health issues like coronvirus.
CDC said the following:
“CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies), especially in areas of significant community-based transmission,” the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published. “The cloth face coverings recommended are not surgical masks or N-95 respirators. Those are critical supplies that must continue to be reserved for healthcare workers and other medical first responders, as recommended by current CDC guidance.”
So, why did they mislead us? Last month, Dr. Anthony Fauci admitted for the first time that “public health officials misled the public about the effectiveness of masks” to ensure the availability of masks for healthcare workers. Dr. Fauci said the people in health community were concerned and worried about mask shortages for health professionals.
You can watch the video of his interview below.
20 million Americans have had coronavirus, new estimate from CDC studies of blood samples collected nationwide shows
As many as 20 million Americans have contracted the coronavirus, according to new estimate based on CDC studies of blood samples collected nationwide. If true, this further revelation shows that the reaction to this pandemic was exaggerated from the beginning. Considering that that only about one third of the supposed 120,000 deaths from deadly coronavirus, it is possible that the country has developed herd immunity, which occurs when a high percentage of the population is immune to a disease either through prior infection or vaccination.
The studies also show that the number of people infected is 10 times as many infections as the 2.3 million confirmed cases. It also shows that millions of Americans are asymptomatic and never knew it. The number could also mean that about 6% of the country’s 331 million people have been infected, leaving a majority of the population still susceptible to the virus.
Some of the blood samples were collected by the CDC and others from blood donations and other sources. According to CDC, many infections were not caught in early testing due to limited availability of personal protective equipment (PPE), which at the time, were limited and federal officials prioritized testing for those with symptoms.
Last month, officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the nation’s top infectious-disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, have said that as many as 25% of infected people might not have symptoms.
“It’s clear that many individuals in this nation are still susceptible,” Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said on a call with reporters Thursday. “Our best estimate right now is that for every case that was reported, there actually are 10 more infections.”
The U.S. is now recording 40,000 new cases per day, surpassing previous records set in April when New York was the epicenter of the outbreak. However, Dr. Fauci warned members of Congress that the United State could reach 100,000 new COVID-19 cases per day if the country does not get a handle on the pandemic.
Dr. Thomas Tsai, a Harvard University health policy researcher, said 20 million seems reasonable, but “most of these estimates exist in a range” and it’s important to know how wide that is, according to a report from AP News.
“It’s hard to interpret this just from a single number and without the context for it,” such as what locations were sampled and whether it was truly a random slice of a population or areas of low or high prevalence, which can skew the results.
Tesla passes Toyota to become the world’s most valuable automaker; market cap hits $206 billion
Last month, we wrote about Tesla’s after the electric car company’s stock eclipsed $1,000 per share valuing the company at $188 billion as of market close today. Today, Tesla officially became the world’s most valuable automaker by market cap, after the electric vehicle company’s market value surpassed Toyota’s for the first time.
Tesla is now worth more than GM, Ford, Ferrari, BMW, Nissan, Mazda, Aston Martin, and Fiat Chrysler, which have combined worth of $206 billion. Tesla to hit a new all-time high of $1,135, giving the electric company a valuation of roughly $206.5 billion, compared with Toyota’s valuation of about $202 billion.
However, while Tesla may have surpassed Toyota on market value, it still lags the Japanese automaker by a wide margin on actual car production. For the period ended March 31, Tesla said it produced about 103,000 vehicles — 15,390 Model S and X and 87,282 Model 3 and Model Y vehicles. During the same period, Toyota produced 2.4 million vehicles.
In addition, when looking at each company’s balance sheet, which includes debt, Toyota’s $290 billion value exceeds Tesla’s $252 billion, according to FactSet data through March. However, Tesla’s new market value underscores investor enthusiasm in the electric care company to revolutionize an industry that’s relied on internal combustion engines for more than 130 years.
In January, Tesla beat Wall Street expectations after crushing the fourth quarter Q4 2019 results with $7.38 billion in revenue. Tesla noted that 2019 was a huge turning point for the company. Thanks in part to consistent, strong demand for the Model 3, Tesla returned to GAAP profitability in the second half of the year, generating $1.1 billion of free cash flow for the year. The company also credits cost control across the board for its strong cash generation.
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