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New York flattened the curve. Now its comeback begins

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A woman walks in Times Square in late March, when the streets were largely empty.

There’s still a long way to go, but New York City is taking the first steps in returning to normalcy.

After 78 days of stay-at-home orders — the longest coronavirus lockdown in the country — New York launched Phase One of its reopening plan on Monday, June 8.

That means hundreds of thousands of people can get back to work, including nonessential workers in construction and manufacturing. Retail stores can now set up curbside or in-store pickups.

It’s just a start — the rest of the state is already on Phase Two — but for a city that has been hit hard by Covid-19, it’s an important milestone.

“This is a triumphant moment for New Yorkers who fought back against the disease,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said.

Staff members of Lenox Hill Hospital react as members of the community cheer for them in May.

Taxi ridership has plummeted in New York City during the pandemic. Entire fleets have been idle.

A woman walks along the empty Coney Island beach in Brooklyn, New York, in April.

The coronavirus has ravaged New York City for months, killing more than 20,000 people and overwhelming hospitals and funeral homes.

At the city’s peak in April, more than 500 people died daily.

But the numbers have dropped dramatically in recent weeks. On Wednesday, 36 people died from Covid-19 across the entire state.

“Look at what we did. Flatten the curve? Forget flatten the curve. … We bent the curve,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo said.

Bodies are prepared at the Gerald Neufeld Funeral Home in Queens so that they can be transported for cremation in April.

A National Guardsman walks past refrigerated trailers in April that were being used as an outdoor morgue in the Bellevue Hospital parking lot.

Bodies are packed into the back of a truck in April.

Photographer Timothy Fadek has been documenting New York City since the lockdown started.

He remembers how eerie it was to see his bustling city transformed into a ghost town.

“All you heard were ambulance sirens constantly, especially at the peak, and that was in the midst of a desolate street landscape where there were no cars. There were no people,” Fadek said. “It looked like and it felt like the evening of a heavy snowstorm, when the snow’s falling and everyone’s home after dinner. … But it was permanent, and during the day — not just at night.”

Over the past few weeks, as coronavirus cases have dropped, Fadek has noticed a change in the city.

He’s hearing fewer ambulance sirens and seeing more people on the streets. Subway ridership is increasing. Parks are filling up.

Bars and nightclubs were ordered to close in March, and restaurants were limited to takeout during the shutdown.

Customers stand outside the White Horse Tavern on Monday.

Since May 6, New York’s subways have been closing from 1 a.m. to 5 a.m. to give workers time to thoroughly disinfect trains, stations and equipment.

People ride the subway on Monday, the first day of the city’s Phase One reopening.

“New York is beginning to look like it used to be, certainly from the outside,” Fadek said. “You have people going about their business, but they’re just wearing masks.”

He said most New Yorkers he’s encountered have been taking the threat seriously.

“Everyone is wearing their masks, and the social distancing is also being observed, especially in supermarkets and waiting outside to pick up online orders in front of retail stores,” he said.

There have been some exceptions lately, though.

Shoppers line up to enter a Costco supermarket in March.

People in their vehicles watch “The Greatest Showman,” which was screened in May at the drive-in movie theater behind the Bel Aire Diner in Queens.

A protester carries an American flag upside down during a march in Brooklyn in late May.

He’s noticed some younger people are choosing to not wear masks. And during the recent protests following George Floyd’s death, Fadek saw masks, but social distancing was nonexistent.

“During the eight or 10 days or so of the protest, there was a ‘Pandemic? What pandemic?’ kind of feeling,” Fadek said. “But now that the protests have ebbed, everyone’s thinking about coronavirus once again.”

The bottom line is that New Yorkers, like most Americans, are eager to get on with their normal lives.

“People are tired of being home. They’re tired of being in lockdown,” Fadek said. “And now that summer is here, they want to go out and see their friends and enjoy the nice weather.”

Samaritan’s Purse set up a 68-bed field hospital in Central Park to handle an overflow of coronavirus patients in March.

Amanda and Gus traveled from Staten Island to have a picnic in Central Park on Monday. The area behind this fence is where the field hospital used to be located.

Pell Street in Chinatown was mostly empty in May. City officials and some Chinese business owners said many people feared visiting Chinatown because the coronavirus started in China.

Stephanie Cole and Ken Finn share a plate of noodles outside the Nom Wah Tea Parlor in Chinatown on Monday. They walked over the Williamsburg Bridge to support businesses they frequented before the pandemic.

Many people also need to go back to work, and they are faced with a difficult decision about when to do that.

“To quote or to paraphrase one woman I talked to, you’re damned if you do and you’re damned if you don’t,” Fadek said. “You either stay home and don’t go to work and then you don’t have any money, or you go out and you risk getting sick. There’s no good answer.”

Fadek had no assignments during the city’s lockdown phase, but he went out and shot photos anyway.

Michael Papoutsakis, owner of Pavlos Shoe Repair in Manhattan, works on a pair of shoes. “We opened in 1973, but with the virus and the shutdown, now it’s like starting a new business. We’re starting from zero,” he said. “We don’t know if it’s going to work or not.”

A man walks past a closed shoe store in Rockefeller Center in March.

Social-distancing labels have been placed on subway platforms around New York.

Fadek always wears a mask when he goes out, and he carries a small bottle of hand sanitizer with him. At the peak of the virus, he would strip off his clothes and put them into a plastic bag when he got home.

As a journalist, he considered it his duty to get outside and show what was happening.

“It’s the first draft of history, something as major as this tragic world event, and I can cover it from my little corner of the world from New York City,” he said. “That’s my role, and I felt compelled to do it despite the dangers.”

A coronavirus test is administered in April at a drive-thru testing site in Queens.

People walk through Grand Central Terminal in March, near the start of the lockdown.

A visitor looks at the skyline from the 100th-floor observation deck of Hudson Yards in March. Days later, the deck would close to visitors.

Phase Two of New York’s reopening plan would allow even more businesses to reopen, and the city would see in-store shopping, outdoor dining, and limited service at barbershops and hair salons.

The earliest that could happen is June 22, but officials are being cautious and will keep a close eye on the statistics before taking the next step.

“I still believe the best estimate is the beginning of July,” Mayor De Blasio told radio station 1010 WINS on Thursday. “But look, if the health care situation continues to prove positive, obviously I want to go as soon as we can go safely.”

Timothy Fadek is a photographer based in New York. Follow him on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Photo editor: Brett Roegiers

Source: http://rss.cnn.com/~r/rss/cnn_topstories/~3/YyRlwW-rcEw/index.html

Crunchbase

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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