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Will This Be The Moment Of Reckoning On Race That Lasts?

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A statue of Confederate States President Jefferson Davis lies on the street after protesters pulled it down in Richmond, Va., on Wednesday. Parker Michels-Boyce/AFP via Getty Images hide caption

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Parker Michels-Boyce/AFP via Getty Images

A statue of Confederate States President Jefferson Davis lies on the street after protesters pulled it down in Richmond, Va., on Wednesday.

Parker Michels-Boyce/AFP via Getty Images

In 2020, things happen that never happened before. And right now they seem to be happening all at once.

Atop a global pandemic and resulting recession, June has given us another dimension of head-spinning events. Following two weeks of widespread street protests over the police killing of George Floyd, a change of attitude seems to have swept across the national culture like a sudden wind.

Long-controversial statues of Confederate Civil War heroes have been smashed, beheaded or pulled to the ground. Where they still stand, elected officials and courts are weighing their future anew. Where they are down, few would expect them to rise again. The spontaneous action of the unlawful may prove as lasting as the legal steps of officials.

Action as dramatic as sledgehammers on bronze was sure to dominate the story on TV. But perhaps more stunning was the prospective absence of another Southern icon. The Confederate battle flag known as the “Stars and Bars” has been banned from NASCAR races, where the banner has been so common as to be emblematic. The change was proposed years ago but rejected.

The head of the National Football League has reversed its stand on players kneeling during the National Anthem. And the Republican-run Senate Armed Services Committee blessed a process to rename major U.S. military facilities in Southern states that now honor Confederate generals from the Civil War. That idea had been promoted in The Atlantic by retired General David Petraeus, former commander of U.S. forces in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The long-running TV reality show called “COPS” was cancelled and the 1939 film Gone With the Wind was briefly shuttered on HBO Max before coming back battened with “historical context.” A long- running fan favorite (President Trump recently said he wished there were more movies like it) the Civil War epic romanticized prewar plantation life and post-war vigilantism in Georgia while demeaning African Americans in both eras.

Suddenly, we are having a new moment of reckoning about race. And like the pandemic with which it coincides, it has global implications. In many parts of the world, protesters have torn down symbols fraught with racial antipathy. As far away as New Zealand, protesters in Hamilton removed the statue of the British naval commander for whom the city was named (he died in the 1860s battling the tribal people of the island).

The pulling down of statues was common in Africa half a century ago as the European colonial powers decamped and left their monuments behind. More monumental fury burst forth with the fall of the Soviet Empire a generation later. Then there was that immense (if hollow) statue of Saddam Hussein that came down after the fall of Baghdad in 2003.

These were surely significant acts marking legitimate breakthroughs for these peoples. Does their sudden escalation in America mark a similar breakthrough?

“I think this country needs to have a reckoning,” says Mitch Landrieu, the former mayor of New Orleans who removed Confederate statues from his city’s parks years ago. “A collective reckoning that what we have done in the past is wrong, that what we did in the past had consequences and to make a commitment to change.”

We stand now at a moment of pause and amazement. So much has taken place in two weeks. What will the long-term effects be?

Many of the changes taking place, while notable and even newsworthy, can be said to be more symbolic than real. A renamed Fort Bragg will not raise wages for blacks in North Carolina or enhance their voting power. Renaming a boulevard for Martin Luther King Jr., or a park for Malcolm X, will not lessen the chances of police violence targeting the people who use that street or park.

That said, it is undeniable that names and flags are symbols that convey historical values. These symbols meant approval to people when they were created, and they convey much of that same meaning now.

Surely there are those who brandish the Confederate flag – whether at a stock car race or on a truck — for its air of outlaw cool. But what is signaled here to an African American is a more than a casual attachment to the Confederate cause — in the present as well as the past. People do not cling to the emblems of the past that represent things they abhor.

Statues and flags may not do physical harm to anyone or suppress anyone’s vote. But they meant something to the people who put them up, and they have meaning for people who see them today. They connote a social order, a cultural hierarchy, the holding of power. Ultimately, they signify white supremacy.

The racial and cultural history of our nation is maddeningly complex and contradictory. Gone With the Wind ironically produced the first Oscar for an African American (Hattie McDaniel, who played Mammy). It was a personal triumph and hailed as a breakthrough. But it did not break the cycle of type-casting that kept McDaniel a maid throughout her acting career. It did not change Hollywood or the expectation of audiences. It did not result in a proliferation of parts for people of color.

Momentous Supreme Court decisions and major pieces of legislation gave permanence to the civil rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s. Barack Obama was twice elected president. Yet the notion of a “post-racial society” remained a dream.

Just three years ago a furor followed the racially charged street fighting in Charlottesville, Va.. That ugly day, and the death of one counter-protester, began with a neo-Nazi march about preserving Confederate statues. Since then, many monuments have been removed – but others have been installed and seven states have passed laws to give them more protection.

Two years before Charlottesville our eyes were on Charleston, S.C., where a young white man killed nine people praying in the city’s historic Mother Emanuel Church. President Obama spoke and sang at the funeral. We all came to know the names Trayvon Martin, Tamir Rice, Walter Scott and so many others.

Those moments came, attention was paid. And then time moved on.

But that should not devalue this moment or what sets it apart. It may be the existence of the COVID-19 pandemic and its disparate health and economic effects on the races. It may be the cumulative effect of President Trump’s calling protesters “thugs” and backing virtually all actions by police.

This time the polls, such as the NPR/PBS/Marist Poll, showed big majorities of the country supporting the protesters over the police. What’s more, in a sudden gush of announcements, one organization after another that might have been expected to hunker down and ride out the storm have instead responded with gestures that widen our eyes.

They are only gestures, not changes in policy or action. But they are not without weight. They will alter important elements of our shared national life that have broad popular appeal. Sports are essential to life for millions of Americans. Movies and TV matter to our sense of ourselves. And monuments bespeak mindsets. When these elements of our life can change, more can change.

Source: https://www.npr.org/2020/06/13/876442698/will-this-be-the-moment-of-reckoning-on-race-that-lasts?utm_medium=RSS&utm_campaign=news

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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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