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Fighter with a ‘fresh face’: What Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer could bring as Biden’s VP pick

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Gretchen Whitmer, governor of Michigan, speaks during a campaign event with former Vice President Joe Biden, 2020 Democratic presidential candidate, not pictured, in Detroit, Michigan, U.S., on Monday, March 9, 2020.

Erin Kirkland | Bloomberg | Getty images

Joe Biden is seeking a woman to be his 2020 running mate, and Michigan’s Gretchen Whitmer is on the shortlist.  

The first-term governor is a rising star in the Democratic Party whose convincing 2018 congressional victories brought the rust-belt swing state back into the blue column for the first time in eight years.

Democrats believe Michigan is a must win for presumptive nominee Biden and having Whitmer on the ticket could deliver the state.

Beyond delivering Michigan, Whitmer, a 48-year-old mother of two, would add youth to the 77-year old former vice president’s campaign.

“She’s a fresh face,” said Doug Sosnik, a Democratic strategist and former senior advisor to President Bill Clinton. He added that her status as a Washington outsider, unlike Biden’s, is a selling point. “What the country is looking for solution wise is not in Washington,” he said.

The U.S. is currently going through remarkable upheaval. It is struggling to recover from a triple threat of the deadly coronavirus pandemic, a crushing economic downturn brought on by efforts to slow the spread of the disease and civil unrest over the death of an unarmed black man, George Floyd, at the hands of Minneapolis police.

The nation is even more polarized than it was in 2016, when Donald Trump, a political novice and ultimate Washington outsider, was elected in a surprising electoral college victory over his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton – the only female presidential nominee in U.S. history.

Michigan played a pivotal role in the president’s win.

Just doing her job

Whitmer, who declined to comment for this story, confirmed to other outlets that she has had conversations about joining the Biden ticket, but said she is not lobbying for the job.

“I just know that, you know, you don’t run for that. That is a selection of the top of the ticket, and everyone else should be just busy doing their jobs,” she told POLITICO Playbook in late April as the coronavirus pandemic hit its peak in her state.

Whitmer has been a popular figure in Michigan for years. She climbed the political ladder, serving in the state’s House of Representatives from 2001 to 2006 and in the Michigan Senate from 2006 to 2015. In 2013, she leaped into the national spotlight during a debate on abortion in which she revealed that she had been sexually assaulted.

She ran for governor in 2018 as a pragmatic candidate promising to “fix the damn roads.” She won her race against state Attorney General Bill Schuette by a margin of nearly 10 points and winning every county in the state.

Michigan’s economy took a turn for the worse in 2019 as it faced headwinds from Trump’s trade war, the auto worker strikes against General Motors and job cuts at other car manufacturers, according to the University of Michigan.
The state was on track for a turnaround in 2020, Michigan News reported, until the coronavirus changed everything.

In February, she was selected to give the Democratic response to Trump’s 2020 State of the Union address, an honor generally reserved for the party’s ascendant members.

Whitmer again grabbed the nation’s attention in April when she called out the Trump administration for failing to provide adequate protective gear, equipment and testing to battle the virus.

Trump punched back with negative tweets. Soon, protesters, egged on by the president, showed up at the state capitol brandishing weapons and demanding an end to strict stay-at-home measures enacted by the governor as Covid-19 cases in Detroit and other areas multiplied.

The controversy, while raising her profile, could actually hurt her chances of making Biden’s final cut.

“The impact of the pandemic on Michigan and the protests in general does make it more likely that Biden will look elsewhere for a running mate,” said Joshua Spivak, senior fellow at the Hugh L. Carey Institute for Government Reform at Wagner College.

“Any reelection race is effectively a referendum on the incumbent. Choosing Whitmer may draw attention away from some of the more unpopular decisions that Trump has made,” he said.

Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-SC) speaks at democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden’s primary night event at the University of South Carolina on February 29, 2020 in Columbia, South Carolina.

Scott Olson | Getty Images

Shifting political winds

What’s more, in recent weeks the political winds have shifted, casting even more doubt on her potential to become Biden’s No.2.

Floyd’s death from asphyxiation while in police custody set off what has become weeks of protests in cities across the nation and the world as demonstrators black and white demand racial justice and police reform.

That could push Biden, who has opened a substantial lead over Trump according to several national polls, to choose a black running mate. African-Americans were instrumental in his victory in a crowded primary field.

Biden’s campaign declined to comment for this story. But South Carolina’s powerful Rep. James Clyburn, who endorsed Biden ahead of the state’s pivotal primary, told Axios he would advise the former vice president: “We need to have a woman on the ticket, and I prefer an African American woman.”

California Sen. Kamala Harris is the top choice on many lips in Washington. But there are other women of color who are reportedly under consideration, including former Orlando police chief and Rep. Val Demings, President Barack Obama’s former national security advisor Susan Rice, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms and Stacey Abrams, who narrowly lost her bid for governor of Georgia in 2018.

Some progressives are pushing for Elizabeth Warren, who is on the verge of turning 71 as the party is looking to groom its next generation of leaders. She and Biden have also had some clear policy differences.

Whitmer like Biden is a moderate, but that means that she won’t help bring progressives to the table. She’s also less experienced than some others in the running. Biden recently told CBS News he wants a No.2  “who is ready to be president on day one.”

“I’m not sure anyone is ever ready to be president, but she has less experience on paper than some other people do,” Sosnik said of Whitmer.

Another hurdle 

There’s another hurdle for Whitmer.

Democrats shy away from choosing governors as running mates, said Spivak, noting the last time a sitting governor was selected by a Democratic nominee was Nebraska’s Charles Bryan in 1924. This is partly because of the many executive decisions they must make that can come back to haunt them during a campaign.

Spivak notes that Biden in 2020 has a long list of qualified female candidates he can tap instead.

The last time a Democrat chose a female running mate was when Walter Mondale tapped Rep. Geraldine Ferrarro in 1984, when Spivak says, there were no female Democratic senators or governors to chose from.

Whitmer seems prepared to be passed over. As she told Politico in April, “I think that there are some phenomenal women leaders across the country, and I will be the most enthusiastic supporter of [a] Biden-whomever ticket.”

Source: https://www.cnbc.com/2020/06/13/biden-running-mate-what-gretchen-whitmer-could-bring-as-vp.html

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The Briefing: RVShare raises over $100M, Google disputes charges, and more

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Here’s what you need to know today in startup and venture news, updated by the Crunchbase News staff throughout the day to keep you in the know.

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RVShare raises over $100M for RV rentals

RVShare, an online marketplace for RV rentals, reportedly raised over $100 million in a financing led by private equity firms KKR and Tritium Partners.

Akron, Ohio-based RVShare has seen sharp growth in demand amid the pandemic, as more would-be travelers seek socially distanced options for hitting the road. Founded in 2013, the company matches RV owners with prospective renters, filtering by location, price and vehicle types.

Previously, RVShare had raised $50 million in known funding, per Crunchbase data, from Tritium Partners. The company is one of several players in the RV rental space, and competes alongside Outdoorsy, a peer-to-peer RV marketplace that has raised $75 million in venture funding.

Funding news

  • BrightFarms closes on $100M: Indoor farming company BrightFarms said it secured more than $100 million in debt and new equity capital to support expansion plans. The Series E round of funding was led by Cox Enterprises, which now owns a majority stake in the company, and includes a follow-on investment from growth equity firm Catalyst Investors.
  • Anyscale inks $40MAnyscale, the Berkeley-based company behind the Ray open source project for building applications, announced $40 million in an oversubscribed Series B funding round. Existing investor NEA led the round and was joined by Andreessen Horowitz, Intel Capital and Foundation Capital. The new funding brings Anyscale’s total funding to more than $60 million.
  • Klar deposits $15M: Mexican fintech Klar closed on $15 million in Series A funding, led by Prosus Ventures, with participation from new investor International Finance Corporation and existing investors Quona Capital, Mouro Capital and Acrew. The round brings total funding raised to approximately $72 million since the company was founded in 2019. The funds are intended to grow Klar’s engineering capabilities in both its Berlin and Mexico hubs.
  • O(1) Labs rakes in $10.9M: O(1) Labs, the team behind the cryptocurrency Mina, announced $10.9 million in a strategic investment round. Co-leading the round are Bixin Ventures and Three Arrows Capital with participation from SNZ, HashKey Capital, Signum Capital, NGC Ventures, Fenbushi Capital and IOSG Ventures.
  • Blustream bags $3M: After-sale customer engagement company Blustream said it raised $3 million in seed funding for product usage data and digital transformation efforts for physical goods companies via the Blustream Product Experience Platform. York IE led the round of funding for the Worcester, Massachusetts-based company with additional support from existing investors.Pillar secures another $1.5M: Pillar, a startup that helps families protect and care for their loved ones, raised $1.5 million in a seed extension to close at $7 million, The round was led by Kleiner Perkins.

Other news

  • Google rejects DOJ antitrust arguments: In the wake of a widely anticipated U.S. Justice Department antitrust suit against Google, the search giant disputed the charges in a statement, maintaining that: “People use Google because they choose to, not because they’re forced to, or because they can’t find alternatives.”
  • Facebook said to test Nextdoor rival: Facebook is reportedly testing a service similar to popular neighborhood-focused social Nextdoor. Called Neighborhoods, the feature reportedly suggests local neighborhood groups to join on Facebook.

Illustration: Dom Guzman

Venture investors and leaders in the fintech space can visualize a future where such startups will move toward again rebundling services.

Root Inc., the parent company of Root Insurance, launched its initial public offering and is looking at a valuation of as much as $6.34 billion.

Clover Health posted rising revenues and a narrower loss in its most recent financial results, published in advance of a planned public market debut.

Crunchbase News’ top picks of the news to stay current in the VC and startup world.

Source: https://news.crunchbase.com/news/briefing-10-21-20/

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Crunchbase

Syte Sees $30M Series C For Product Discovery

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Online shopping has become the norm for most people in 2020, even coaxing traditional retail brands to up their presence to stay competitive. However, now that shoppers can’t see and touch products like they used to, e-commerce discovery has become a crucial element for customer acquisition and retention.

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Enter Syte, an Israel-based company that touts creating the world’s first product discovery platform that utilizes the senses, such as visual, text and voice, and then leverages visual artificial intelligence and next-generation personalization to create individualized and memorable customer experiences, Syte co-founder and CEO Ofer Fryman told Crunchbase News.

To execute on this, the company raised $30 million in Series C funding and an additional $10 million in debt. Viola Ventures led the round and was joined by LG Technology Ventures, La Maison, MizMaa Ventures and Kreos Capital, as well as existing investors Magma, Naver Corporation, Commerce Ventures, Storm Ventures, Axess Ventures, Remagine Media Ventures and KDS Media Fund.

This brings the company’s total fundraising to $71 million since its inception in 2015. That includes a $21.5 million Series B, also led by Viola, in 2019, according to Crunchbase data.

Fryman intends for the new funding to be put to work on product enhancements and geographic expansion. Syte already has an established customer base in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, and will now focus expansion in the U.S. and Asia-Pacific.

Meanwhile, Syte has grown 22 percent quarter over quarter, as well as experienced a 38 percent expansion of its customer base since the beginning of 2020.

“Since we crossed $1 million annual recurring revenue, we have been tripling revenue while also becoming more efficient,” Fryman said. “We can accelerate growth as well as build an amazing technology and solution for a business that needs it right now. We plan to grow further, and even though our SaaS metrics are excellent right now, our goal is to improve them.”

Anshul Agarwal, managing director at LG Technology Ventures, said Syte was an attractive investment due in part to its unique technology.

“They have a deep-learning system and have created a new category, product discovery that will enable online shopping in a way we never had the ability to do before,” Agarwal said. “The product market fit was also unique. We believe in the strong execution by the team and the rapid growth in SaaS. We looked at many different companies, and the SaaS metrics that Syte showed are the strongest we’ve seen in a while.”

Illustration: Li-Anne Dias

Venture investors and leaders in the fintech space can visualize a future where such startups will move toward again rebundling services.

Root Inc., the parent company of Root Insurance, launched its initial public offering and is looking at a valuation of as much as $6.34 billion.

Clover Health posted rising revenues and a narrower loss in its most recent financial results, published in advance of a planned public market debut.

Crunchbase News’ top picks of the news to stay current in the VC and startup world.

Source: https://news.crunchbase.com/news/syte-sees-30m-series-c-for-product-discovery/

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Coinpedia

GenTech Proudly Secures Deal with TruLife Distribution to Drive Growth in SINFIT Digital Sales

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Denver, CO, October 21, 2020 – OTC PR WIRE – GenTech Holdings, Inc. (OTC PINK: GTEH) (“GenTech” or the “Company”), an emerging leader in the high-end Premium Coffee (www.secretjavas.com), Hemp Wellness (www.hakunasupply.com) and Functional Foods (www.SINFITnutrition.com) marketplaces, along with its SINFIT Nutrition brand (“SINFIT”), is excited to announce that the Company has signed a new marketing, sales, and distribution agreement (the “Agreement”) with TruLife Distribution (“TruLife”) (TruLifeDist.com), a leader in marketing, distribution, compliance, e-commerce, and advisory services in the Functional Foods marketplace. The main focus of the new Agreement will be to accelerate the growth of e-commerce sales of SINFIT products, particularly over the Amazon.com platform.

TruLife provides direct access to sales on Amazon, Walmart, Rakuten, Wish, TopHatter, and other top e-commerce platforms, allowing clients to instantly list, ship, and sell products through any major platform, with an experienced team of experts and a proven track record of success in brand placement and digital sales strategies.

“We have already demonstrated a significant & expansive growth curve since taking control of the SINFIT brand in June,” commented Harold Vaca, VP Domestic Sales of SINFIT. “But the vast majority of that growth has been driven by large purchase orders from major distribution partners, both domestic and international. We are also committed to aggressively pursuing end-market consumer direct purchases through our e-commerce footprint, which will provide additional growth and diversify our cash flow ecosystem, making our overall strategy less dependent upon any one source of demand, while driving further growth in total sales.”

Management notes that e-commerce sales represent a sizeable portion of overall retail sales growth worldwide, with more than $3.5 trillion in online sales accounting for over 14% of total pre-pandemic global retail sales. Since the onset of the global health crisis, that ratio has shifted decisively further in favor of e-commerce sales, which is not likely to entirely revert back upon the advent of a viable and widely accessible vaccine.

Vaca added, “We have seen an epic process of market penetration for e-commerce platforms this year as major online retailers have begun to reach a much wider base of consumers – people who haven’t ever shopped much online, but have been forced to during recent months out of personal health concerns. Many of them will almost certainly continue to make use of e-commerce now that they have tried it out, at least to some extent, making e-commerce an essential sales channel for SINFIT products. TruLife has the network, team, experience, and resources to dramatically augment our e-commerce performance.”

SINFIT branded products registered over $2.2 million in global sales in 2019, and are now approved for sale and available for purchase on the Walmart.com and Amazon.com e-commerce platforms as well as in over 2,500 GNC locations in North America and over 10,000 global physical and e-commerce stores across more than 10 countries around the world.

SINFIT products as well-positioned relative to peers and to the long-term macro tailwind defining the functional foods market, which saw sales top $267 billion in February of this year on a global basis, with sales in the US reaching $63 billion, according to Euromonitor 2020. This trend is part of a larger supportive momentum in the general category, with global sales of organic food and drink topping $105 billion in 2018 (Ecovia 2019). U.S. organic food sales also reached $47.9 billion, up 5.9% in 2018 (OTA 2019). In 2019, 77% of U.S. adults used dietary supplements, an all-time high (CRN 2019). U.S. supplement sales are estimated to have reached $49.3 billion in 2019, up 6.2% (NBJ 2019).

About GenTech Holdings, Inc.:

GenTech Holdings, Inc. is a publicly traded company under the symbol GTEH. The Company launched a high-end Coffee Subscription service in early 2020 called Secret Javas, owns a Functional Food company, SINFIT Nutrition and recently closed its acquisition on Products-Groups’ “Hakuna Supply”.

Forward-Looking Statements
This press release may contain forward-looking statements, including information about management’s view of GenTech, Inc.’s future expectations, plans and prospects. In particular, when used in the preceding discussion, the words “believes,” “expects,” “intends,” “plans,” “anticipates,” or “may,” and similar conditional expressions are intended to identify forward-looking statements. Any statements made in this news release other than those of historical fact, about an action, event or development, are forward-looking statements. These statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors, which may cause the results of GenTech, its subsidiaries and concepts to be materially different than those expressed or implied in such statements. Unknown or unpredictable factors also could have material adverse effects on GenTech’s future results. The forward-looking statements included in this press release are made only as of the date hereof. GenTech cannot guarantee future results, levels of activity, performance or achievements. Accordingly, you should not place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements. Finally, GenTech undertakes no obligation to update these statements after the date of this release, except as required by law, and also takes no obligation to update or correct information prepared by third parties that are not paid for by GenTech.

Corporate Contact:
invest@gentech.group

www.gentechholdings.com

Source: https://otcprwire.com/gentech-proudly-secures-deal-with-trulife-distribution-to-drive-growth-in-sinfit-digital-sales/

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