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Wine Lovers Embrace Breakthrough Loyalty Program’s Generous Reward Opportunities

Vlad Poptamas

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Wine enthusiasts are embracing the new Grand Reserve Rewards program from Vertical Finance, which launched just prior to Thanksgiving and continues to evolve in ways aimed at further delighting its members. The loyalty program is something of a love letter to the entire wine industry as it rewards wine lovers for their allegiance to the category of wine rather than to any one specific brand or merchant. This encourages users to experience a broader range of wineries, wine shops and wine clubs.

In the two months since the program’s inception:

The carefully curated Grand Reserve Rewards Catalog continues to grow. The expansive catalog features more than 200 wine-related offerings curated with the input of a select panel of celebrated wine industry experts who dished on their personal favorites, from wine openers to glasses and decanters. This high-quality selection also includes a distinctive selection of experiences to choose from, including wine classes, wine tastings, and tours. Exclusive sommelier-curated events are also set to launch later this year.

Grand Reserve members can now earn rewards points at more than 17,000 (and growing) identified merchants in the U.S., as well as around the world. Wine lovers earn Grand Reserve Rewards point with every dollar spent at all wineries, wine shops, and wine clubs, along with other wine-focused merchants.

Grand Reserve Rewards is working with a number of diverse wine industry organizations, relationships that promise to continue to enhance the program and present exciting new opportunities to members. These include Priority Wine Pass, which offers wine tasting deals in NapaSonomaOregonWashington, and other world-class wine regions; CellarTracker!, a cellar management tool with hundreds of thousands of collectors tracking more than 112 million bottles and featuring a database of 8.9 million community and professional tasting notes; Wine Berserkers, the world’s largest and most active online wine community best known for an epic wine sale dubbed “the Black Friday of Wine Commerce”; and the Wine Market Council, which provides forward-looking market research on U.S. wine consumer buying habits, attitudes, and trends.

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American Discovery Capital Announces Strategic Growth Investment in SmartBug Media®

Vlad Poptamas

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American Discovery Capital (ADC)—a private equity firm focused on investing in leading family-owned and middle market companies in high-growth sectors—today announced its strategic growth investment in and partnership with SmartBug Media®.  SmartBug® is the highest-rated HubSpot partner in the world and a leading Intelligent Inbound® marketing agency that assists businesses in generating leads, increasing awareness, and building brand loyalty through inbound marketing, digital strategy, design, marketing automation, and public relations. As part of its investment strategy, ADC will work closely with SmartBug to develop new growth channels and expand the company’s capabilities and team, while supporting its continued delivery of the highest levels of customer service and value.

ADC focuses on partnering with business owners and entrepreneurs who have built successful, established businesses with strong fundamentals that can benefit from ADC’s operational experience and capital to support future growth. Its partnership with SmartBug demonstrates ADC’s ability to identify unique investment opportunities and exemplifies its partnership approach with innovative owners and entrepreneurs.

“SmartBug demonstrates the quality and attractive attributes we look for in an investment,” said Mike Denbeau, partner at ADC. “Its unique business model—which includes strong and steady growth, recurring revenue and long-term customer relationships, a strong culture of innovation, and a unique ‘remote’ business model that provides access to a nationwide talent recruitment pool—has already proven very successful in the digital agency space and is one we look to build upon in partnership with the company’s highly talented management team.”

John Joliet, partner at ADC, added, “Over a decade ago, Ryan Malone anticipated the coming shift from traditional outbound marketing to data-driven, inbound marketing services for middle market growth companies, and he saw an opportunity to build a world-class professional team by employing an innovative ‘remote’ business model.  We believe this unique philosophy has paved the way for SmartBug to develop its strong reputation throughout the industry as a market leader and respected advisor, which has resulted in numerous awards and accolades over the past few years. ADC believes that SmartBug’s ability to ‘productize’ this value in a recurring, long-term relationship model using its proprietary recruitment, employee training, and customer delivery processes makes its future prospects even more compelling.”

SmartBug has a number of unique and impressive attributes that made it an attractive investment for ADC:

  • SmartBug is a leader in the high-growth inbound marketing sector, which is benefiting from a rapid shift of spend from traditional outbound marketing channels to data-driven, digital inbound marketing.
  • Unlike the traditional agency model, which has historically focused on project-based, short-term campaign work that can be high cost with unclear ROI implications for the client, SmartBug offers customers a compelling, data-driven retainer model. This model allows customers to outsource their digital marketing needs on a turnkey basis, driving long-term value for the client with a heavy emphasis on ROI.
  • The need for SmartBug’s services is especially mission-critical in the large middle market segment of the U.S. economy, where companies typically do not have in-house digital marketing capabilities and access to the level of marketing talent that larger firms possess, creating a large untapped opportunity for SmartBug.
  • As the highest-rated HubSpot Partner in the world and HubSpot’s Global Partner of the Year, SmartBug has won a number of prominent industry awards recognizing the quality of the company’s work product, team, and workplace culture, including winning more than 150 MarCom Awards in the past two years alone, making the Inc. 5000 list three years in a row, being named to the inaugural Adweek 100: Fastest Growing Agencies list, and earning a number of Comparably and Great Place to Work® awards.
  • SmartBug’s strong value proposition and unique retainer model have driven strong growth for the company and provide a reliable base of recurring revenue to re-invest in growing the company’s customer relationships and talent.

“We are very excited to partner with ADC, and we feel like their team and goals align fully with our values, our remote business model, where we believe the market is headed, and most importantly, our people,” said Ryan Malone, founder and CEO of SmartBug Media. “The ADC team is a uniquely talented and forward-looking group that understands and values the overarching purpose of our remote model: that you can win in business while retaining the flexibility to do the things that matter to you and your family. We believe there is a large, underserved opportunity to provide high quality digital marketing services to clients with the cost certainty and emphasis on ROI that clients highly value and our unique model affords, at scale—and we are excited to partner with ADC to address this compelling market need.”

 

SOURCE American Discovery Capital

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HiddenLevers to Present on Asset Manager Client Experience at 2020 IEN Model Portfolios Conference

Vlad Poptamas

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HiddenLevers, a premier technology provider in the wealth management space, today announced that the Company is invited to present on client experience tech at the 2nd annual IEN Model Portfolios Conference on Thursday, 20 February at the AMA Conference Center in Midtown Manhattan.

At approximately 2PM ET, Raj Udeshi, Founder, and Jeffrey Baker, a member of HiddenLevers Business Development team, will showcase HiddenLevers Asset Manager Platform in a session entitled How Asset Managers Are Using Tech to Differentiate Themselves in a Changing Environment.

Interest in HiddenLevers is growing rapidly as the industry moves toward consultative selling and the largest players engage in a fintech arms race. The HiddenLevers enterprise roster lists several Asset Manager customers interested in enhancing their client experience with Robo-Wholesaler™, including Axxcess Wealth Management, American Century, and Toronto-based AGF Management Limited. For more information on HiddenLevers technology offerings for Asset Managers and Turnkey Asset Management Platforms (TAMPs), please visit HiddenLevers website.

 

SOURCE HiddenLevers

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Prayaan Capital Raises Seed Funding From Accion Venture Lab to Support Digitization and Credit Access for India’s MSMEs

Vlad Poptamas

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Prayaan Capital Private Limited, a South India-based NBFC that lends to micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) in India, today announced the closure of a USD $1.2 million seed investment round led by Accion Venture Lab, Accion’s seed-stage inclusive fintech investment initiative.

While access to credit for entrepreneurs in India is beginning to improve, there is still an estimated MSME credit gap of $400 billion, according to the IFC. Prayaan Capital works to meet this need through an innovative business model that leverages Brick & Mortar branches and both back-end & customer-facing digital tools in order to help small businesses digitize their operations and gain access to credit.

“With credit needs that are too small for traditional financial institutions and too large for microfinance lenders, many of India’s entrepreneurs remain unable to access the credit they need to sustain and grow their businesses. Accion Venture Lab exists to help inclusive fintech startups like Prayaan Capital leverage technology to meet this need,” said Accion President and CEO Michael Schlein. “With its innovative approach and strong, experienced team, Prayaan Capital is a welcome addition to our portfolio. The company not only helps entrepreneurs gain access to credit, but also helps accelerate the digital transformation of their businesses, leading to greater efficiency and growth,” said Tahira Dosani, Managing Director of Accion Venture Lab.

Accion Venture Lab provides capital and extensive support to innovative fintech startups that improve the reach, quality, and affordability of financial services for the underserved and have the potential to scale. Backed by commercial and impact investors since the launch of its third-party fund in 2019, Venture Lab has invested in more than 40 early-stage startups that operate in 30 countries worldwide.

Founded by two seasoned bankers, Madhan Mohan and Akash Chelvam, Prayaan Capital has strategically positioned its base in South India, which has a plethora of small scale manufacturers and unorganized tier 3 & 4 traders, all of whom are potential consumers of their products. With six operational branches in Tamil Nadu, Prayaan has already disbursed INR80 million to a varied customer base of small-scale entrepreneurs. Prayaan will use this new influx of capital to invest in technology and expand their operations.

Speaking on this milestone Madhan Mohan, MD & CEO of Prayaan Capital Private Limited, said, “We have a vision to make a difference for India’s MSMEs by providing a holistic financial journey that addresses all of their business needs and brings them into the formal financial ecosystem. We are excited to collaborate with Accion Venture Lab, which brings insights from its work with fintechs working to reach the underserved across four continents. We take Venture Lab’s investment as a sign of their confidence in our potential for continued growth and impact. We always keep our focus aligned to our customers and join each one on their financial journeys. Our aspiration is to be a ‘neighborhood lender’ to which these small businesses go for credit and other financial products. This latest milestone is the tip of the iceberg, and we expect continued growth and impact thanks to our innovative technology platform and value-add services.”

 

SOURCE Prayaan Capital Private Limited

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