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Venture Capital

Graphite makes strings of senior promotions, appointments to strengthen capital team

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UK mid-market buyout house Graphite Capital has promoted three senior partners, one partner and an investment manager an

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Source: https://www.altassets.net/available-to-all/graphite-makes-strings-of-senior-promotions-appointments-to-strengthen-capital-team.html

Aerospace

TrustPoint raises $2 million for GPS alternative

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SAN FRANCISCO – TrustPoint Inc., a startup developing a global navigation satellite system (GNSS), has raised $2 million in seed funding from venture capital firm DCVC.

With the funding announced Oct. 18, TrustPoint plans to expand its engineering team, continue developing core technologies, including satellite payload testing, and extend key partnerships.

Heavy global reliance on GPS, Europe’s Galileo, Russia’s Glonass and China’s Beidou for everything from communications and transaction timing to maritime and aircraft navigation is prompting companies and government agencies to look for backups and alternatives.

TrustPoint founders Patrick Shannon, a former Astro Digital vice president, and Chris DeMay, former Hawkeye 360 founder and chief technology officer, said GPS alternatives are necessary because the current system is inaccurate, slow, unencrypted, and susceptible to jamming and spoofing. What’s more, GNSS systems alone are not precise enough for many of the emerging commercial applications like drone delivery, self-driving cars, urban air transportation and augmented reality, Shannon and DeMay said.

TrustPoint’s GNSS alternative is intended to provide government and commercial customers with improved service, security and reliability. Promised improvements “include better accuracy, quicker time to first fix, and anti-spoof and anti-jam capabilities,” according to the news release.

“NewSpace startups have been successfully revolutionizing a host of space applications, like launch, earth observation and communications for the past decade,” Patrick Shannon, TrustPoint co-founder and CEO, said in a statement. “Our effort to develop a fully commercial GNSS service is the logical next step to this trend, a much-needed layer of security for today’s GPS users, and an enabler for nascent applications in the autonomous navigation sector.”

DCVC Partner Chris Boshuizen, who led the firm’s investment in TrustPoint, said in a statement, “It’s easy to imagine TrustPoint’s innovative and fast-evolving commercial service alongside government GNSS, or even as the primary solution.”

Boshuizen, the former Planet CTO and co-founder who was one of the passengers on the recent Blue Origin New Shepard flight, will join the board of directors for TrustPoint, a firm based in Silicon Valley and Northern Virginia.

DCVC also has invested in radar satellite operator Capella Space and launch vehicle provider Rocket Lab.


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Source: https://spacenews.com/trustpoint-seed-round/

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Aerospace

VC firm Embedded Ventures signs cooperative agreement with U.S. Space Force

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This is the Space Force’s first cooperative agreement with a venture capital firm

WASHINGTON — Embedded Ventures, a venture capital firm investing in space startups, has signed a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Space Force, the company announced Oct. 13.

Under the Cooperative Research and Development Agreement, or CRADA, Embedded Ventures will work with SpaceWERX, a new Space Force organization created to build ties with commercial industry and startups. The terms and the length of the agreement were not disclosed. 

“The parties will collaboratively investigate the potential benefits of leveraging VC investment practices to accelerate the pace of change and innovation,” the firm said in a news release. “They will also examine the U.S. Space Force and industry business relationships to define future methods for investment into the VC ecosystem.”

This is the Space Force’s first cooperative agreement with a VC firm. The CRADA “enables the two entities to collaborate on research and development opportunities promoting U.S. space industry growth to prepare for the future of an expanded space economy and for the defense of U.S. interests,” the company said.

Embedded Ventures, based in Los Angeles, was founded in November 2020 by tech entrepreneur Jenna Bryant and Jordan Noone, who was co-founder of Relativity Space. The firm has not announced what specific space ventures it is investing in, but said they are companies in the space infrastructure sector developing dual-use technologies for commercial and government use, including in-space communications and logistics, life extension vehicles and resource extraction.

“SpaceWERX is excited to formalize this agreement with Embedded Ventures, creating a highly collaborative and efficient workflow between our two groups, while keeping us all accountable,” said Lt. Col. Walter “Rock” McMillan, director of SpaceWERX.

Mandy Vaughn, former president of Virgin Orbit’s VOX Space, is an operating partner at Embedded Ventures and helped develop the agreement. “Space is inherently different in that it leverages commercial industry as an integral part of every space capability,” she said. Vaughn has argued for changes in the government procurement culture so it can take advantage of emerging technologies and services from the commercial space industry.


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Source: https://spacenews.com/vc-firm-embedded-ventures-signs-cooperative-agreement-with-u-s-space-force/

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Ecommerce

Platform partnership with Square further strengthens payments offering from Propell

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ASX-listed SME-focused fintech Propell has partnered with global omnichannel payments business Square to integrate its eCommerce payments into the Propell platform.

Propell has built a leading digital, cloud-based, platform offering tailored finance products to help small to medium businesses manage and optimise their cash flow, with products including business insights, payments and lending.

A key strategy for Propell is to provide insights and guidance as well as seamless access to finance products for its customers. This partnership gives businesses of all types and sizes access to one of Australia’s most used payments tools, Square. Propell will work closely with Square to provide eCommerce payments to businesses in industries, such as retail, food and beverage, hair and beauty, professional services, and home and repair.

The addition of Square on the Propell platform gives Propell customers greater flexibility in getting paid, improving both the user experience with their end customer as well as their cashflow.

“Square’s core principle is to help businesses of all types and sizes participate and thrive in the economy. Whether online, in person, or both, we make it simpler for businesses to take payments, access capital to support their growth or use tools to help run their business,” said Shawn Johnson, Head of Partnerships for Square in Australia. “Partnering with Propell enables businesses on the platform to have greater choice of how they get paid, but also gives them the ability to make the most of our powerful online payments capabilities.”

Propell is continuing to execute on a well-defined strategy to attract new customers and further enhance the Platform by adding additional proprietary and third-party products to drive growth in both overall revenues and revenue per customer.

Propell CEO, Michael Davidson said, “I am delighted to be announcing our platform partnership with Square, which we are confident will further improve the Propell platform and customer proposition, underpinning continued growth.

“A key focus at Propell is to help our customers to better understand and manage their finances and provide access to products and services to improve their cashflow. The partnership with Square will help enable these improvements.”

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Source: https://australianfintech.com.au/platform-partnership-with-square-further-strengthens-payments-offering-from-propell/

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Fintech

$1.1m upgrade to the Spenda system released to support continuing customer growth

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Following the commercial release of the Spenda Payment Suite in May 2021, this week Cirralto released a major upgrade to the Spenda system.

In addition to the increased functionality enabled, this upgrade delivered the necessary changes and assurance of our transaction scaling capabilities to support our growing customer numbers.

This software release involved the strategic investment of $1.1m to unlock multiple competitive advantages that the company believes will have a payback period within the current financial year and provide the foundation for accelerated domestic customer acquisition and international expansion.

Major enhancements in this release include;

○    Further enhancements to key competitive advantages in customer acquisition technologies, credit profile, deal underwriting and margin enrichment,

○    Inline integration of the Invigo B2B Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL) services,

○    T+1 automation of merchant funding for BPSP & BPA (Business Payment Solution Provider agreement) & BPA (Business Payment Aggregator agreement) payments,

○    Expanded capabilities for collaborative commerce and data sharing,

○    Scaling capability changes and assurance to support increased payment transaction volumes, and

○    API services to support expanding engagements with technology and marketplace partners.

The release builds on the significant competitive advantages Cirralto currently employs, which can be classified as follows:

Customer Acquisition 

–     Spenda’s integrated solution enables a viral customer acquisition strategy at little or no cost as customers can seamlessly invite their customers into the Spenda network with all parties obtaining a commercial benefit from the process. This is further enriched as customers become borrowers through our in-software lending triggers, resulting in an increase in the average revenue generated per user.

Credit Profile

–     Cirralto is providing convenience credit, or point-of-activity debt, which is aligned to standard trade discounting and as such borrowers are high quality and not in crisis. This coupled with short-cycle lending (less than 90 days) to an ever-broadening cross-section of verticals that uses the ledgers of the buyer and seller, mitigates lending risks and improves the balance of Cirrlato’s lending and payments portfolio.

Credit Underwriting

–     Ledger integration enables access to historical ‘real economy’ activity data in a usable format to make better credit decisions than traditional credit processes (e.g. point of sale data, inventory, purchase orders, buyer-supplier trading history and/or bank cash flows) don’t have access to in such a light-touch data gathering methodology. This information enables enhanced credit analysis, scorecard design/iteration and fraud prevention.

–     The use of our accounts payables and accounts receivables software for payments creates a behavioural history that enables credit decisions and progressive scientific extension of credit limits without “leap of faith” risk.

Margin 

–     Following the recent acquisition of Sydney-based fintech Invigo, the service enhancement enables better control of the ledger, reducing loss and bad debts, which in turn enables Cirralto to access a lower cost of funds from wholesale lenders, enabling the company to offer more competitive rates to its customers.

The release of these new Spenda upgrades are cornerstone functionalities enabling pay later services in B2B trade with enforceable payment agreements at the end of the loan period, benchmarked against standard business terms of trade like 30 days from invoices and 30 days from end of month (EOM).

​​The technology is unique among other B2B pay later services, whether traditional terms of trade or emerging platforms, due to the ability for seamless data transfer and integration between both parties.

The release of the pay later functionality within the Spenda suite enables the business to continue to pursue marketplaces, suppliers, manufacturers and franchise groups and offer risk-free trade for their business customers.

Commenting on the release, Adrian Floate, CEO of Cirralto and MD of Spenda, said, “The team has worked incredibly hard to get this release out on time. We have used this period to rationalise how we develop new products and our leadership has stood up through this period and thought outside the box to solve problems.

“These services are a ‘mark the day moment’ for the Company,  we took significant leaps forward with this release. It will enable us to handle more customers, more efficiently as we continue to move forwards with our growth plans.  Integrating Invigo’s products into the Spenda suite and supporting Pay Now, Pay Later as an on-demand service within the Spenda stack will enable customers to buy what they need, when they need it, with fewer capital constraints and allowing suppliers to get paid faster and convert accounts receivables to cash in near real-time.”

Commenting on the release, Olly Speed, CTO of Spenda, said, “The successful go-live of Spenda Payment Services V2 is a significant technology achievement by the Spenda team.

“These services have been built to automatically scale to support very high sustained and peak transaction loads, on the Microsoft Azure cloud infrastructure platform.

“In an ongoing collaboration between in-house and external Architects and Designers of Microsoft Infrastructure, Application and Security solutions, the team has built an exceptional set of highly-performance and secure cloud-native microservices using Azure serverless technology.

“This means our software processes can automatically scale out under high customer transaction load while doing so cost-effectively. This cost-effective Azure serverless technology is at the heart of our technology strategy to guarantee a commercially effective processing cost per transaction while supporting the significant customer growth in demand for our Pay Now and Pay Later products.

“The team is rightly very proud of this strategic delivery milestone, bringing to market these foundational and visionary B2B software payment services on the Spenda digital ecosystem.”

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Source: https://australianfintech.com.au/1-1m-upgrade-to-the-spenda-system-released-to-support-continuing-customer-growth/

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