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from Crunchbase; alt protein/plant-based food startup R&D and investment increase

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“The Science Behind Alternative Proteins Has Startups, Investors Digging In“ quoting Amy Huang of the Good Food Institute, whose research conforms with our own on the explosive growth of this global alternative food sector, in our “Transitioning to Science-Based Investing“ (2020). We also draw attention to yet another largely overlooked group of nutritious foods, most overlooked: halophytes, e.g., salt-loving quinoa, Salicornia, salt-tolerant rice and many others, which still thrive in 22 countries without fertilizers or pesticides on unused, degraded scrublands and whose long roots sequester ambient CO2 more efficiently than forests, since they grow much faster.

Saltwater agriculture at scale,was invented by the late Dr. Carl Hodges, a systems-focused scientist, engineer, agronomist, inventor and tireless innovator, co-founder of the Seawater Foundation, with his partner, Elizabeth Hodges.  We are honored that Dr. Carl Hodges also served on our global Advisory Board.  Watch our TV  programs  “Investing in Seawater Agriculture: The Next Big Thing” with NASA Chief Scientist Bushnell and “Investing in Desert Greening“ with Dr. Carl Hodges, free on demand at www.ethicalmarkets.tv.  The reason that saltwater agriculture must now be scaled globally is to relieve the perilous dependence of our current food system on the planet’s 3% of dwindling freshwater, see my “EARTH: The Water Planet”.

~Dr. Hazel Henderson, Editor“

AGRICULTURE & FOODTECH

The Science Behind Alternative Proteins Has Startups, Investors Digging In

Christine Hall

April 27, 2021

“Alternative proteins, which include plant-based foods, used to attract only vegetarians and vegans. But as technology advances in the space, experts say there will be tasty options for everyone, even die-hard meat eaters, and that opens up a massive market for investment.

“The field is only seven to 10 years into its existence, but we have seen leaps and bounds of progress in the past few years,” said Amy Huang, university innovation manager at nonprofit think tank Good Food Institute, which supports the development of safe and sustainable alternative proteins.

“And, now it is targeted at the 97 percent of meat eaters,” she added. “As a result, there is ample room for additional innovation.”

Consumers concerned about current meat-producing processes, as well as the trend of eating healthier, are already asking for alternative proteins. This is despite a lingering negative perception of their taste and texture, experts say. The market for alternative meat, eggs, dairy and seafood products is predicted to reach at least $290 billion by 2035, according to research by Boston Consulting Group and Blue Horizon Corp.

While it may seem like alternative proteins are suddenly all the rage, Decker Walker, Boston Consulting Group’s head of agribusiness, isn’t ready to call it a bubble just yet.

“It is in some areas because some of the technology is decades away,” Walker said. “Investment-wise, it is also hard to say because it was a very sleepy industry up until five years ago. However, the trend is very clear that our future will have more alternative protein.”

Inside alternative proteins

Huang defines alternative proteins as direct replacements for meat, eggs and dairy that are derived in one of three ways: plant-based, cell-cultured or fermentation.

She predicts the future success of these proteins will depend on which of those methods becomes most viable. She expects that first it will be plant-based proteins that lead, and then those created by microbial fermentation — the newest platform. Third will be proteins created by cell culture, a more advanced technology, she said.

“There is also a ton of research whitespace,” she added. “If you look at the broad landscape, there are lots of foundational questions to still answer: What are the right raw materials? Soy, wheat and peas are dominant in plant proteins, but soy and wheat are byproducts and not optimized for human consumption. Can we diversify plant proteins to look beyond these three?”

Fermentation uses intact live microorganisms to process plant ingredients, while cultured meat grows from animal cells obtained from animals in a process that advocates say doesn’t hurt the animals. The cells are then warmed and given nutrients to grow muscle and fat.

The results of microbial fermentation are already seen in the form of Impossible Foods’ flagship burger, and products from rival Beyond Meat, as well as faux ground-meat products that are designed to closely mimic animal meat in terms of texture, smell and taste, Huang said. In addition, there is academic research and startups working on sophisticated cuts of meat and chicken alternatives, as well as fish substitutes.

For the sector to advance, some of the technology still has to be advanced, including in the manufacturing processes for texturizing and extruding proteins, but there are also other promising methods. Redefine Meat, for example, uses 3D printing technology, while Rival Foods is experimenting with shear-cell technology to generate whole cuts of meat from plant-based proteins, she added.

Despite growth in the competitive landscape for cultured meat and the food supply chain,  industrial-scale facilities and lower pricing for these technologies is likely still 10 to 15 years out, Huang said.

“Progress is being made, and there is early evidence that these are tractable areas,” she added.

Strong investment

Many investors are eager to grab a forkful of alternative protein startups. Since 2016, venture capitalists infused about $4.2 billion into 363 known global investments within this space, according to Crunchbase data.

In 2020, just under $2 billion was invested in global venture-backed startups in the space, dominated by Impossible Foods’ total raise of $700 million in Series F and Series G rounds last year. That was a 101 percent jump in funding from 2019 to 2020, according to the database.

This year is already quite active with $602 million in venture capital doled out in 39 transactions, which include separate $200 million rounds to LIVEKINDLY and Eat Just in March.

Although big players received large chunks of capital, Sean O’Sullivan, managing general partner at early-stage investment firm SOSV, said 2020 was a good year for companies raising funding in those nascent stages, including for startups that haven’t even hit the market with products yet. There are also a number of $100 million deals on tap for this year, he added.

Cellular meat is still in the “birthing stage,” he said, but other alternative protein options are already commercially viable.

“Plant-based is already here and in your refrigerator, as are foods created around a certain protein, such as dairy protein,” he said. “With cell-based meat products, Memphis Meats is going for the whole burger and would be selling in restaurants and stores, except for regulatory issues.”

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Source: https://www.ethicalmarkets.com/from-crunchbase-alt-protein-plant-based-food-startup-rd-and-investment-increase/

Business Insider

Tafi Announces New Campaign with VRChat Featuring Updating Nikei Avatar

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SALT LAKE CITY, May 18, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Tafi, the leading provider of 3D avatar solutions, announced it is teaming up with VRChat to enhance the customer experience by providing new avatar styles and improved access to Tafi’s content. As part of the collaboration, Tafi will release a new and updated Nikei character in VRChat, a callback to the original avatar in VRChat that was launched back in 2017. VRChat has grown to become the largest virtual reality social platform, accessible to users both with a VR headset and on the PC. VRChat and Tafi continue to build on a longstanding relationship, with Tafi having created some of the first VRChat avatars.

Tafi (PRNewsfoto/Tafi)

This new release will feature Tafi Avatar content on the home Avatar mirror, home posters, and a user contest on Twitter.

“Nikei is one of the most recognizable and loved avatars in the VRChat community. We’re excited to be working on this new project with Tafi,” said Graham Gaylor, CEO of VRChat. “VRChat is always looking for ways to enhance our customer experience and the Tafi Avatar App provides our users with an easy to use, fully customizable avatar solution, so they can express themselves as they would like.”

Tafi and VRChat have worked together on projects across the digital identity space for the virtual reality social platform, including the Tafi Avatar app for VRChat. Tafi Avatar’s massive 3D library of content ranges from everyday wear to themed costumes, futuristic and genre outfits, and everything you need to accessorize your VR persona, including earrings, makeup, rings, and tattoos — all meant to be mixed and matched with content broken down into individual pieces.

“We are excited to be working with Graham and the VRChat team to release our updated Nikei character, the original Tafi avatar in VRChat,” said James Thornton, CEO of Tafi. “Nikei has become a cult favorite with longtime VRChat users and we wanted to do something to celebrate our relationship both with VRChat and their community.”

The Tafi Avatar app is an avatar editor that lets users build, save, and export custom VR compatible avatars into VRChat, making it easier than ever for VRChat users to make custom avatars for their virtual reality experience. Tafi’s avatars automatically adapt between high end HMDs and Quests, giving the user the best VR experience possible.

Tafi has collaborated with VRChat so users can use exact HEX codes on their clothing, as users continue to attach colors to their visual identity within the VR platform. And with fully customizable color pickers on all content, users can fully express themselves with millions of color combinations.

About Tafi
Founded in 2019, Tafi’s mission is to make personalized avatars and branded digital content available to anyone and everyone who wants to level-up their digital personality. Tafi’s best-in-class avatar solutions are portable across platforms including mobile, gaming, XR, social media, messaging, and video communications. Tafi’s investors include Benchmark Capital, Columbia Capital, and Ponte Partners. Learn more at www.MakeTafi.com.

Contact
Kasey Thomas
tafi@nextpr.com

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SOURCE Tafi

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Google beefs up Workspace security with these new features

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Google is rolling out new advanced security defender features for Google Workspace to help admins combat cybersecurity threats. 

Google is tapping parent company Alphabet’s VirusTotal, a malware research website Google bought in 2012, for a new capability within Google Workspace’s Alert Center. 

Google I/O 2021

The Alert Center will now feature real-time alerts with insights about security events in the admin’s domain that are powered by VirusTotal. 

The goal is to help reduce the load on admins of security notification noise and provides a unified view of the most critical alerts, according to Google.  

VirusTotal in 2018 moved to Alphabet’s Chronicle enterprise cybersecurity division, which is now part of Google Cloud. Chronicle provides cloud-based security information and event management (SIEM) services not unlike Microsoft’s Sentinel SIEM

The VirusTotal integration helps admins dig deeper into security events and covers supported VirusTotal entities, such as a domain, file attachment hash, or IP address.   

This capability follows last week’s release by VirusTotal of VT Augment — a way for displaying VirusTotal in third-party security products such as CrowdStrike’s recent integration of its Falcon product with Google Cloud, including Chronicle, VirusTotal Enterprise and Google Cloud Security Command Center.    

Paid VirusTotal subscribers will get richer malware hunting reports, including indicators of compromise to see links between things in the VirusTotal dataset, a threat graph to visualize threat relationships, and crowdsourced reputation information. It also provides information about how malware spreads across geographies based on malware submissions to VirusTotal as well as quick search options.     

“No customer information is shared from Google to VirusTotal except when an admin clicks to retrieve a VirusTotal report for a specific entity,” Google says. 

“These enhancements are starting to roll out in the coming weeks for Google Workspace Business Plus, Enterprise Standard and Plus, and Education Standard and Plus licenses, and will help empower admins to take an in-depth look at threats and potential abuse to better protect their organizations.”

Google is also offering admins a way of locking down Google Drive accounts that are being misused by insiders.  

Admins will be able block another user from sharing any content with you in the future. This control could help when another user within a domain has spammed people or sent abusive content. 

Admins can also remove all existing files and folders shared by another user and remove another person’s access to a user’s content, even when information has previously between shared between them.

“User blocking will not only preserve Drive sharings’ helpfulness, but most importantly preserve the safety of Drive users. Drive user blocking controls are rolling out over the next few months,” Google says. 

Google is also rolling out more granular controls to help restrict access to Google Workspace resources, including blocking all OAuth 2.0 API access with app access control and new context-aware access for Google mobile and desktop apps. This is meant to address situations where scammers or attackers using apps to trick users into granting access to company data.  

App access control gives admins the controls to choose whether to trust, limit, or block access to Google Workspace data. 

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Source: https://www.zdnet.com/article/google-beefs-up-workspace-security-with-these-new-features/#ftag=RSSbaffb68

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Real Estate Economist Dr. Peter Linneman to Serve as Economic Advisor to Capital Square

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RICHMOND, Va., May 18, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Capital Square, a national investment sponsor specializing in tax-advantaged real estate offerings, announced today that it has appointed Peter Linneman, Ph.D., a leading real estate economist, as economic advisor to the firm.

(PRNewsfoto/Capital Square)

“Capital Square is pleased to announce that Dr. Peter Linneman, the nation’s preeminent real estate economist, has been engaged as an external economic advisor,” said Whitson Huffman, chief strategy and investment officer.  “Dr. Linneman literally wrote the book on real estate and we are pleased to have him as a resource as we shape our investment strategies.”

Dr. Linneman brings more than 40 years of experience to his role at Capital Square. Throughout his career, he has earned accolades from around the world, including Pension Real Estate Association’s prestigious James A. Graaskamp Award for Real Estate Research, Wharton’s Zell-Lurie Real Estate Center’s Lifetime Achievement Award, Realty Stock Magazine’s Special Achievement Award, one of the “25 Most Influential People in Real Estate” by Realtor Magazine and one of The New York Observer‘s “100 Most Powerful People in New York Real Estate.”

“Capital Square is a data-driven real estate firm, making investment decisions based on the data and proprietary research,” said Louis Rogers, founder and chief executive officer.  “For example, based on Dr. Linneman’s research before the COVID-19 pandemic, our firm concluded that investors would profit from owning multifamily assets in the Southeast and Texas. Since formation, Capital Square has emphasized the acquisition of apartment communities in the Southeast and Texas, and the results have been exceptional. For the past 14 months, Capital Square’s portfolio of nearly 8,000 apartment units not only retained, but increased, occupancy and enjoyed an exceptional 99% rent collection. With Dr. Linneman’s proprietary research and assistance, we will continue to generate exceptional risk-adjusted returns for over 3,000 investors nationwide and increase the firm’s competitive advantage.”

For 35 years, Dr. Linneman was a leading faculty member of the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, serving as the Albert Sussman Professor of Real Estate, Finance and Public Policy as well as the founding chairman of the real estate department and director of the prestigious Samuel Zell & Robert Lurie Real Estate Center. During this time, he was co-editor of The Wharton Real Estate Review. Additionally, he published over 100 scholarly articles, four editions of the acclaimed book Real Estate Finance and Investments: Risks and Opportunities, and the widely read Linneman Letter quarterly report.

He currently serves as the founding principal of Linneman Associates, a leading real estate advisory firm; and previously spent time as chief executive officer of American Land Fund and chief executive officer of KL Realty. For more than 35 years, he has advised leading corporations and served on over 20 public and private boards, including serving as chairman of Rockefeller Center Properties, where he led the successful restructuring and sale of Rockefeller Center in the mid-1990s.

Linneman earned a bachelor’s degree from Ashland College, a master’s degree in economics from University of Chicago and a Ph.D. in economics from University of Chicago.

About Capital Square
Capital Square is a national real estate firm specializing in tax-advantaged real estate investments, including Delaware statutory trusts for Section 1031 exchanges and qualified opportunity zone funds for tax deferral and exclusion. Since 2012, Capital Square has completed more than $3 billion in transaction volume. Capital Square’s executive team has decades of experience in real estate investments. Its founder, Louis Rogers, has structured hundreds of investment offerings totaling in excess of $5 billion. Capital Square’s related entities provide a range of services, including due diligence, acquisition, loan sourcing, property/asset management, and disposition, for a growing number of high net worth investors, private equity firms, family offices and institutional investors. Since 2017, Capital Square has been recognized by Inc. 5000 as one of the fastest growing companies in the nation for four consecutive years. In 2017, 2018 and 2020, the company was also ranked on Richmond BizSense’s list of fastest growing companies. Additionally, Capital Square was listed by Virginia Business on their “Best Places to Work in Virginia” report in 2019 and their “Fantastic 50” reports in 2019 and 2020. To learn more, visit www.CapitalSquare1031.com.

Contact:

Lauren Burgos

Spotlight Marketing Communications  

949.427.1399     

lauren@spotlightmarcom.com            

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SOURCE Capital Square

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Vise Raises $65 Million in Series C Round

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NEW YORK, May 18, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Vise, an AI-powered investment management platform built for advisors, today announced it has raised $65 million in Series C funding. The latest round was led by Ribbit Capital, with participation from existing investors including Sequoia Capital. The Series C round brings the total capital raised since Vise’s founding to over $125 million.

Since the Series B funding round in December 2020, Vise’s assets under management have more than quadrupled to over $250 million and client accounts have more than doubled. The company also completed the integration with major custodians and released several new product features for customers.

Vise has further bolstered its executive leadership with the appointment of Andrew Fong, former Vice President of Infrastructure Engineering at Dropbox, as Vise’s Chief Technology Officer; and Dave Twardowski, former Vice President at Avantis Investors and Dimensional Fund Advisors, as Vice President and Head of Investment Strategy.

The additional funding will accelerate Vise’s investments in its platform, the hiring of the best available talent and the rollout of new product features. A key focus area will be continuing to scale the engineering function led by CTO Fong.

“In 2020, we successfully focused on strengthening our foundation, and now in 2021 we are focused on scaling Vise to make it an even more valuable platform for advisors and their clients,” said Samir Vasavada, Co-Founder and CEO of Vise. “In the past year our assets under management have grown by more than 60x and we’ve seen incredibly strong demand from advisors. Put simply, this funding will allow us to make even bigger investments faster.”

“Vise’s rapid growth is a reflection of the progress the team has made over the past year in advancing its technology and building a truly world-class team,” said Shaun Maguire, Partner at Sequoia and Vise board member. “Since we first partnered with Vise at the seed, the company is in an even stronger position to benefit from powerful tailwinds in the industry. We couldn’t be more excited to be further deepening our partnership with Samir, Runik and team.”

“Vise has the opportunity and potential to shape the future of investment management,” said Micky Malka, Managing Partner at Ribbit Capital. “We’re excited to partner with Samir and Runik and the entire Vise team as they work to empower financial advisors with the technology and tools they need.”

About Vise
Vise is an AI-powered investment management platform built for advisors. Founded by Samir Vasavada and Runik Mehrotra in 2016, Vise gives financial advisors the tools and technology to grow their business and help clients achieve their goals. This includes creating highly personalized portfolios, fully automating the investment management process, and providing deep insights on each investment decision. By empowering advisors, Vise advances its mission of creating financial freedom for everyone. Vise is headquartered in New York. For more information, visit www.vise.com.

Media Contact:
Julian Crowley
jcrowley@vise.com 
(917) 993-1626

Cision View original content:https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/vise-raises-65-million-in-series-c-round-301294138.html

SOURCE Vise

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