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Sen. Tim Scott rejects key criminal justice proposals by Democrats, setting up Capitol Hill showdown on police conduct

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WASHINGTON – Sen. Tim Scott, who is leading GOP efforts in Congress on criminal justice legislation following nationwide protests over George Floyd’s death last month, is rejecting a Democratic proposal to end certain legal protections that make it hard for citizens to sue police officers for using excessive force.

In an interview with Fox News Saturday, the South Carolina Republican – and lone black GOP member in the Senate – said he won’t support an end to “qualified immunity,” a key demand from liberal activists which has become part of the sweeping Justice in Policing Act of 2020 Democrats unveiled Monday.

“That’s a non-starter from my perspective,” Scott said.

That follows earlier statements from Scott opposing provisions in the Democrats’ bill that would bar state and local law enforcement agencies from using certain police tactics such as chokeholds on suspects or “no-knock” warrants in drug cases.

Led by California Rep. Karen Bass who chairs the Black Congressional Caucus, Democrats are pushing for historic changes in how police officers are trained, equipped and disciplined following a string of brutal incidents involving unarmed black victims at the hands of law enforcement.

Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., speaks to reporters as he arrives at the U.S. Capitol, Jan. 31, 2020, in Washington.

“If the Justice in Policing Act had been the law of the land several years ago, Eric Garner and George Floyd would be alive because the bill bans chokeholds,” Bass said during the weekly Democratic address that aired on radio stations nationwide Saturday. “If the bill had been law last year, Breonna Taylor would not have been shot to death in her sleep because no-knock warrants for drug offenses would have been illegal.”

More:Democrats unveil sweeping police reform bill, honor George Floyd with 8 minutes, 46 seconds of silence

More:‘The major stumbling block’: Powerful police unions stand in the way of structural reform, experts say

Scott’s thumbs down on some of the Democrats’ top legislative proposals sets up a potential showdown on Capitol Hill next week when Republicans are expected to present their criminal justice bill at around the same time Democrats are set to pass their measure out of committee.

Aside from ending chokeholds, no-knock warrants and qualified immunity, the Democrats’ 134-page Justice in Policing Act would require dashboard and body cameras, increase police training to minimize racial profiling, create a national registry to track abusive cops, limit law enforcement agencies’ access to military equipment, and ban lynching.

A protester is hit with a baton by a police officer on May 29, 2020, in San Jose, California, during protests over the death of George Floyd.

After listening to protesters’ fervent calls for systemic change in the nation’s police forces, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi did not sound like she was willing to compromise on many aspects of the legislation.

“We will not rest until the changes are made,” she told reporters Thursday. “The rest of the country is ahead of us. In cities and states and towns, people are acting upon some of these provisions already.  So, it is our responsibility now to make sure that it does become the law.”

Dismantling:What does ‘defund the police’ mean and why some say ‘reform’ is not enough

Attorney General William Barr said the Trump administration would oppose weakening the immunity standard.

“I don’t think you need to reduce immunity to go after the bad cops, because that would result certainly in police pulling back,” he told CBS’ Face the Nation earlier this month.

Despite the partisan split over how drastic those changes should be, areas of agreement already seem to be emerging.

Scott told reporters on Capitol Tuesday he supports some elements in the House bill, including the federal lynching ban, increased requirements for body cameras on officers, more anti-bias training, and greater federal oversight of local police departments. He said Saturday he also wants to beef up discipline for misconduct.

Fayetteville, North Carolina police officers kneel with protesters.

Complicating compromise are left-wing calls to de-fund police departments following the death of Floyd, an unarmed black man who died after a white Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes as he gasped for survival.

The Minneapolis City Council voted to dismantle its police force, while the mayor of Seattle has allowed a group of peaceful protesters to cordon off several city blocks into an autonomous zone that’s essentially free of police.

Police-free zone:CHAZ, a ‘no Cop Co-op’: Here’s what Seattle’s Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone looks like

The Democrats’ bill does not include any language to abolish law enforcement agencies or budgets. But President Donald Trump and many congressional Republicans have seized on that message to paint Democrats’ efforts as misguided and dangerous while they defend the vast majority of officers as upstanding and decent.

“They’re the officers who protect the Capitol, protect us every single day, they’re the officers who rushed into the (World Trade Center) twin towers on 9/11,” Rep. Jim Jordan said Wednesday during a Judiciary Committee hearing on policing that featured Floyd’s brother Philonise Floyd. “They’re the officers in every one of our neighborhoods in every one of our communities. Every day, every night, every shift, they work to put their lives on the line to keep our community safe.”

More:‘Make it stop’: George Floyd’s brother Philonise urges Congress to ‘do the right thing’

After speaking with key Democrats and the White House, Scott told Fox News Saturday he expects to reach a bipartisan compromise on criminal justice reform.

“Everyone seems to have a sincere desire to get to an outcome that speaks to the American people about our willingness to listen and then respond,” he said. “We are trying to eliminate a binary choice between law enforcement and communities of color. We can actually service both so we can make sure that we have character-driven officers in every single precinct in this country.”

Source: http://rssfeeds.usatoday.com/~/627336218/0/usatoday-newstopstories~Sen-Tim-Scott-rejects-key-criminal-justice-proposals-by-Democrats-setting-up-Capitol-Hill-showdown-on-police-conduct/

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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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