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Stacey Abrams’ push to be Joe Biden’s VP choice has raised her profile – but she is an underdog

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In this May 22, 2018 file photo Democratic candidate for Georgia Gov. Stacey Abrams waves in Atlanta.

John Bazemore | AP

In some ways, Stacey Abrams is an outlier among the names being floated as potential vice presidential running mates for presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden. 

For instance, she moonlights as a romance-suspense novelist. 

And when it comes to politics her experience level is limited compared to other potential picks. 

Abrams served in the Georgia House of Representatives, but has not led a state, like Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, or served in Congress, like Sen. Kamala Harris. Abrams tried to move up the political ladder in 2018 when she ran for governor of Georgia, but lost to then-Secretary of State Brian Kemp, a Republican, in a high-profile race that vaulted her into the national spotlight. 

For all the attention she has received, though, she remains a bit of a long shot to join Biden. On Wednesday’s “Late Show with Stephen Colbert,” Abrams said she had yet to hear from the Biden camp as potential running mates undergo vetting. Yet she has continued to make her case to join the ticket.

“I know that when I’m asked the questions ‘Are you qualified? Can you do this?’ that I’m not just answering for myself,” she said earlier this week. “I’m being asked this question because I don’t look like what people usually look like when they are considered for these jobs.”

In some ways, Abrams, 46, makes sense for the role, according to multiple experts who are closely watching the horse-race. The woman that Biden, 77, ends up choosing could impact voter enthusiasm among different groups in November. 

Getting out the vote 

One of Abrams’ selling points, according to Nadia Brown, associate professor of political science and African American Studies at Purdue University, is her record on voting rights, particularly her work to increase voter turnout among black people.

“Her appeal for black women and black voters is that she has done a tremendous amount of grassroots mobilization and has galvanized a crowd of supporters that would ordinarily sit outside of American politics,” Brown said. “So she shows that she can draw people into the process and hopefully expand the electorate in 2020.”

Abrams’ gubernatorial candidacy drew out record numbers of black, Latino and Asian voters, she said following her loss. Top tier celebrities like Oprah Winfrey and Will Ferrell supported her campaign.

“We tripled Latino turnout, we tripled Asian Pacific Islander turnout, we increased youth participation rates by 139%, we increased black turnout by 40%,” Abrams said in an interview with The Nation last year. “To put that in context: in 2014, a total of 1.1 million Democrats voted. In 2018, 1.2 million black people voted — for me.”

And yet, Abrams suffered a narrow loss to now-Gov. Kemp, who at the time was also the state official overseeing election rules. She blames the loss on his efforts to suppress black turnout.

On the campaign trail, Kemp repeatedly denied allegations of voter suppression. But the House Oversight and Reform Committee announced in March 2019 that it was investigating the claims.  

After his victory, Kemp suggested to news outlets that the investigation was a distraction. “They need to quit playing politics up there,” Kemp said at a news conference. Oversight Committee Chairwoman Rep. Carolyn Maloney released a memo in February confirming that “officials in multiple states,” including Georgia, “took steps to suppress the vote.”  The statement noted that the Senate has blocked efforts on legislation to combat the alleged abuses.

Just days after her loss, Abrams founded Fair Action Fight, an organization meant to address and eliminate voter suppression. 

During Georgia’s primary on Tuesday, voters in areas with a strong minority populations encountered multiple problems voting, including long lines, delayed start times at polling locations and technical issues with new voting machines, as activists again accused Republican state officials of trying to suppress the vote.  

“If anything, this moment speaks to why the Democrats need her on the presidential ticket,” said Niambi Carter, assistant professor of political science at Howard University. “Voter suppression is one reason why Democrats continue to lose elections and Abrams, with good reason, is one of the key figures in the fight for voting rights.”

Biden’s likelihood of winning Georgia would go up if he selects Abrams to be his running mate, said Charles Bullock, political science professor at the University of Georgia. Abrams, a native of Mississippi, could help Biden win what Bullock calls “the Southern path” of Georgia, North Carolina and Florida. 

President Donald Trump won all of those states in 2016, but some of them are in play this cycle. Trump and Biden are essentially tied in North Carolina, according to RealClearPolitics, while Biden leads in Florida by about 3 points. Data from Georgia has been scant, but Real Clear Politics polling averages have Trump up on Biden in the state. They also show, however, that the president’s approval rating in the state is underwater.

Abrams could also help Biden among white women who voted for Trump in 2016, Brown said.

“I think George Floyd’s murder on the viral video is likely going to push white women to say that there should be a black woman vice president even at the expense of someone like [Sen. Amy] Klobuchar,” Brown said. The Minnesota senator, who ran for president and is white, was reportedly under consideration to be Biden’s running mate. 

Read more: How Joe Biden’s leading VP contenders stack up in the wake of protests over George Floyd’s death

Floyd, an unarmed black man, was killed by law enforcement on Memorial Day in Minneapolis. Research shows that white women respond emotionally to “humanitarian causes” like the Black Lives Matter movement, Purdue’s Brown said, and are likelier to support a black woman candidate in this moment because of it. 

She’ll say yes

Other black women mentioned as candidates include Harris and Florida Rep. Val Demings. But Abrams stands out because “she doesn’t have to explain why she was never a prosecutor who arguably put away too many African Americans,” Bullock said. 

Abrams isn’t coy. She has been vocal about wanting the job, calling herself “an excellent running mate.”  

“The question I get is: Would I be willing to help? My answer is absolutely yes, and it’s going to be my commitment regardless of the decision of the Biden campaign that I’m going to do everything in my power to make certain he’s the next President of the United States,” Abrams said in an interview with Time last month

Former Georgia gubernatorial candidate and state Rep. Stacey Abrams speaks at Brown Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Church as Democratic presidential candidate, former Vice President Joe Biden, right, looks on, Sunday, March 1, 2020, in Selma, Ala.

Curtis Compton | Atlanta Journal-Constitution | AP

CNBC has reached out to Abrams’ voting rights group, Fair Fight Action, for comment but did not immediately hear back. 

Strong voting rights record aside, Abrams has minimal experience churning out wide-ranging economic and trade initiatives. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, also believed to be on the short list, has significant authority on these issues. 

But in a presidential election, voters have historically been driven to the polls by the candidate at the top of the ticket, not their running mate, according to William Hatcher, associate professor of political science at Augusta University. He added that most of the research was done before the Trump era, so it’s possible that the selection matters more now. 

Economic mobility plan

While running for governor, Abrams proposed an “economic mobility plan” for Georgia, which included an earned income tax credit, a family savings program, and a financial literacy development initiative, “an overall plan that might be attractive to Biden, who has a history of advocating economic reforms to help individuals move up the economic ladder,” Hatcher said. 

A plan like that might also boost progressive support around Biden, who’s received criticism from younger voters about his moderate economic stances, Carter said. “I’m unsure that Abrams’ plan will please them either, but it’s a place to begin.”

Biden’s campaign, which is expected to announce a running mate by early August, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Even without a core focus on economic issues and as unconventional a pick as she may seem, Abrams has proven that she is able to learn quickly, Bullock told CNBC.  She has also earned plaudits for her enthusiastic speeches on race and identity to captivated crowds. 

“She had a reputation when she was in the Georgia General Assembly. She was always a member of the minority party there, but her intellect was such that she was not only respected but Republican legislators would turn to her for explanations and guidance on what they should do,” Bullock said. “She’s nobody’s dummy. She would be very effective in the vice presidential debate or simply on the stump, representing Biden and the Democratic Party.”

Source: https://www.cnbc.com/2020/06/14/biden-running-mate-stacey-abrams-underdog-push-for-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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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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