Spring Labs, the company developing the Spring Protocol — a blockchain-based platform designed to transform how information and data are shared globally — today announced that the company has raised $23 million in Series A funding. The round was led by GreatPoint Ventures with significant participation from existing investors, including August Capital, as well as General Motors Ventures, the corporate venture capital arm of General Motors, RRE Ventures, Galaxy Digital, Multicoin Capital, The Pritzker Group, and CardWorks.
“We’re pleased to announce our Series A with strong participation from existing and new strategic investors, enabling us to accelerate the development of new products as well as the Spring Protocol itself,” said Adam Jiwan, CEO and Co-Founder of Spring Labs. “Additionally, we’re excited to expand our relationship with GM Financial, which has demonstrated its commitment to innovation and collaboration over the past year, playing an active role in the evaluation of products and use cases on the Spring Protocol.”
Via the GM Ventures investment, GM Financial joins more than 20 other leading financial services institutions in co-developing the first applications to be built on the Spring Protocol – all part of the company’s continued effort to better serve and protect customers and dealers.
As other forms of credit mature and evolve, such as the adoption of chip-enabled credit cards, auto financing fraud has become a path of less resistance, having increased by a rate of nearly 5x from 2011 to 2018. Fraud-related losses in auto-lending cost the industry between four and six billion dollars per year, with a large portion of that fraud resulting from the abundance of synthetic identities, a form of fraud wherein identity thieves establish credit accounts using a mix of genuine and fake customer information, such as a real customer’s name, but a fake address.
As a result, the first products being built on the blockchain-based Spring Protocol are Spring Verify for enhanced identity verification, Spring Defense for fraud monitoring and mitigation, and Spring Protect for loan stacking prevention. These products are designed to improve customer on-boarding processes by reducing costs while improving data availability, security and granularity. The products will deliver valuable anonymous data to lenders in a variety of verticals, including unsecured consumer lending, small business lending, credit card issuance, secured auto lending, and more.
“GM financial is excited to deepen its relationship with Spring Labs, and we look forward to the launch of the Spring products as we believe they have the potential to better protect our customers from fraudulent activity,” said Mike Kanarios, Chief Strategy Officer at GM Financial.
In addition to significant product, technology, and partnership traction, Spring Labs has continued to grow its team including two notable recent additions. Joel Eckhause, former CRO and COO of Renew Financial has been appointed as the company’s first Chief Operating Officer. In addition, David Kravitz, a former long-time cybersecurity advisor with the NSA, has joined the company as Director of Research.
Following its investment, GreatPoint Ventures Founder and Managing Partner Andrew Perlman will join the company’s Board of Directors.
“Spring Labs has assembled a world class team and developed highly innovative technology that has the potential to transform how information is shared not only within financial services but also in a host of other industries,” said Perlman. “We have observed the company’s development since inception and are thrilled to lead this investment round.”
SOURCE Spring Labs
Volvo Group Capital Markets Day – “Perform and Transform”
At the Capital Markets Day today, Martin Lundstedt, Volvo Group President and CEO, and Jensen Huang, NVIDIA founder and CEO, presented a partnership to jointly develop the decision-making system of autonomous commercial vehicles and machines. The Capital Markets Day focused on the Group’s strategy and improved financial performance on the theme “Perform and Transform”.
Utilizing NVIDIA’s end-to-end artificial intelligence platform for training, simulation and in-vehicle computing, the resulting system is designed to safely handle fully autonomous driving on public roads and highways.
The Volvo Group has improved its financial performance in recent years. Martin Lundstedt pointed to a stronger service business as one contributor to the improvement. Driving the development of services is a key area for the Volvo Group, since it strengthens the relationship with customers and helps build a company that is more resilient to changes in market demand. Another cornerstone of the improvement is the well-invested industrial backbone with increased operational efficiency and flexibility.
Jan Ytterberg, Volvo Group CFO, covered the importance of securing the financial performance to be able to provide good returns for shareholders as well as invest in the transformative technologies shaping the future of transport. The commercial vehicle industry is in transition in a time with growing transport needs and increasing infrastructure investments. This provides great opportunities for the Volvo Group in developing more sustainable transport solutions.
Lars Stenqvist, Volvo Group Chief Technology Officer, laid out the Group’s innovation road map within areas such as electrification, automation and connected solutions using a modular concept based on the Groups’ CAST system (Common Architecture and Shared Technologies).
Melker Jernberg, President of Volvo Construction Equipment, gave an update on Volvo CE’s strategy and the potential to grow further in the excavator market and within services.
Furthermore, Martin Lundstedt outlined how the Volvo Group is building new businesses through the new technologies exemplified by Volvo Buses’ ElectriCity with Keolis, Volvo Trucks’ automated solution for Brönnöy Kalk, the Vera autonomous transport system’s first assignment with DFDS and Volvo Construction Equipment’s Electric Site concept with Skanska.
SOURCE AB Volvo
RBC and Microsoft Launch New Program to Accelerate the Digital Transformation of Canadian Businesses
To help Canadian businesses unlock greater business value and capitalize on advancements in smart technologies and cloud solutions, RBC and Microsoft today announced the launch of RBC’s Go Digital program. The program is designed to remove key barriers which businesses have cited as preventing or delaying their digital transformation. Go Digital offers a suite of turnkey technology solutions leveraging the power and security of the Microsoft cloud and skilled Partner Network, as well as innovation financing and tailored advice from RBC to help businesses embark on their digital transformation journey with greater ease and confidence. The program is currently available to Canadian food manufacturers and will continue to expand to other industries over time.
A recent IDC report found that while Canadian executives acknowledge the importance of embracing new technologies to digitally transform their business, the majority have yet to take action. A similar report found that 29 per cent of Canadian organizations are lagging in digital transformation and have not yet started their digital modernization. The most common barriers identified by Canadian companies include the challenge of finding the right solution, sourcing the right provider and securing capital.
“Technology is disrupting customer expectations and traditional business models everywhere, and businesses need to adapt to these historic changes to differentiate and lead in the market,” said Greg Grice, Executive Vice-President, Business Financial Services, RBC. “RBC is committed to creating more value for clients and helping them along this journey. That’s why we’re coming together with industry-leading partners like Microsoft to deliver tailored solutions that will help accelerate and simplify their digital transformation.”
RBC & Microsoft design tailored solutions to fuel business growth
The manufacturing sector in Canada accounts for approximately $174bn in GDP, more than 10% of the total GDP of the entire country.1 The adoption of advanced smart factory technologies can help fuel the next wave of business growth by way of significant cost savings, increased productivity and enhanced quality which ultimately results in delivering greater value to customers and employees.
Despite these benefits, mid-market Canadian manufacturing firms are falling behind when it comes to the digital transformation of their business, making Canada one of the worst performers in the Organization for Economic Co-Operation & Development (OECD)2. Fifty-five per cent of manufacturers do not use advanced technologies and one-fifth have no plans to invest in them in the next three years, naming cost and uncertainty as deterrents for digital transformation3.
1 https://canadianvisa.org/life-in-canada/key-industries/manufacturing, Canadian Visa Org, 2019
2 Industrie 2030: Accelerating Adoption of Advanced Manufacturing Technologies, Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters, 2017
3 2018 Management Issues Survey, Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters, 2018
Given this significant opportunity, RBC’s Go Digital program is now available to Canadian food manufacturers as part of its initial launch with plans to extend the program’s reach to additional industries.
“This strategic partnership with RBC demonstrates our strong commitment to helping companies across Canada have greater access to digital technologies,” said Kevin Peesker, President of Microsoft Canada. “By leveraging the breadth of Microsoft’s trusted cloud platform, tapping into the skilled expertise of our Partner Network and maximizing RBC’s sector-specific business and financial expertise, we believe this program will give organizations in Canada the confidence to truly embrace the next wave of computing, and expand that reach to more businesses across North America in the longer term.”
Optimizing food manufacturing operations powered by Microsoft
RBC and Microsoft co-designed a curated suite of technology and innovation financing solutions tailored to food manufacturers. Leveraging a group of industry-leading partners from Microsoft’s Partner Network, RBC’s Go Digitalprogram offers access to digital solutions that are powered by artificial intelligence, cloud business applications, data analytics, blockchain and the Internet of Things (IoT). These solutions include, but are not limited to:
- Environmental monitoring (i.e. temperature, humidity, air quality) leveraging the scale and intelligence of Microsoft’s Azure Internet of Things (IoT)-enabled sensor technology to reduce waste, drive efficiency and realize cost savings;
- Food transparency and traceability leveraging blockchain technology to meet regulatory requirements and standards, from farm to table;
- Production variability monitoring using Microsoft’s Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Azure IoT capabilities to reduce equipment downtime, increase output forecasting accuracy and improve quality control; and
- Cloud-Based Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) leveraging Dynamics 365 to address food safety and compliance, quality and production, recipe development and management, and food recall traceability.
SOURCE Royal Bank of Canada
Resulticks Welcomes Sophie Pibouin as Executive VP of Sales of the Americas
Real-time omnichannel marketing solutions provider Resulticks has announced the expansion of the company’s leadership team with the hire of Sophie Pibouin as Head of Sales, U.S. Resulticks’ AI-powered platform provides users with segmented data and consumer behavior analytics, allowing marketers to create highly targeted and individualized campaigns across telecom, healthcare, banking, hospitality and other diverse industries.
Sophie Pibouin brings a global perspective, deep understanding of the market and unparallel expertise in propelling business growth. With two decades of executive experience including roles at IBM, SDL, Chronicle Solutions and CA Inc., she has led the strategic evolution and exceptional expansion of Fortune 500 and VC-backed high-tech companies, achieving record increases in sales and uplifts in competitiveness.
“The addition of Sophie to our executive team comes as we see strong opportunities across the region, which will play a significant role in Resulticks’ forward growth strategy,” said CEO and co-founder Redickaa Subrammanian. “Bringing deep marketing and global technology experience that complements our existing capabilities, she is well-positioned to be an integral asset to our U.S.-based clientele.”
In her new role, Sophie will lead efforts to expand Resulticks’ U.S. footprint and identify new opportunities for accelerated growth.
“I am delighted to be joining a rapidly growing organization that is delivering a holistic solution to its users,” said Sophie Pibouin, Resulticks Executive VP of Sales of the Americas. “Resulticks’ all-in-one cloud-based platform helps marketers understand and reach their audiences in a truly integrated way, and I am eager to bring that value to even more U.S.-based brands.”
Prior to joining Resulticks, Sophie was the Worldwide Sales Leader at IBM Watson. A graduate of the University of Flaubert in France, she is based in New York City.
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