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Metaverse UGC platform BUD raises $36.8M Series B

BUD

BUD, a metaverse user-generated platform, announces its $36.8M Series B round led by Sequoia Capital India with participation from ClearVue Partners, NetEase and Northern Light Venture Capital. Existing investors GGV Capital, Qiming Venture Partners and Source Code Capital also participated in the round. Founded in 2019 by former Snap engineers, Risa Feng and Shawn Lin, Singapore-headquartered BUD is a leading global metaverse UGC platform encouraging users to create and share 3D interactive experiences with its easy-to-use creation tools. To date, over 15 million 3D experiences and assets have been created on the platform and user-generated 3D assets have been traded more than 150 million times. Since its global launch in November 2021, BUD skyrocketed to the list of top 10 social apps in more than 38 countries around the world including North America, Southeast Asia and South America. With the right mix of technology and art, BUD greatly fulfills Gen Z's desire for entertainment, creation and sharing. It is becoming a preferred platform for Gen-Z and Gen-Alpha to socialize in 3D immersive worlds. In addition to customizing unique avatars, users can also create and explore millions of experiences ranging from hangout places to battle royale games. The mobile-native creation tools require no prior coding knowledge. Without providing any preset 3D templates, BUD allows creators to build 3D experiences from scratch by using geometric modules and interactive props. Apart from adding texts, pictures, music and videos to enrich experiences, lighting and sky-box can be adjusted as well to create an immersive environment. Many aesthetic scenes and interactive experiences in BUD can look like they are created using professional PC software by professionals but they are actually all created by users on their mobile devices.. BUD’s users are young and digital natives, most of whom are teenage girls who likely do not have any coding experience but are creative and love self-expression. BUD is a virtual platform for them to showcase this creativity and get to know others with similar interests. The company intends to use the fresh funding to further develop its creation tools, grow its global user base and roll out web3 products for its metaverse ecosystem. The company has revealed clear plans to launch its own NFT marketplace. "The media of the next era will not be limited to familiar forms like text, pictures or videos, but will turn to more immersive and interactive formats. BUD is such a user-generated platform for the 3D world where everyone, not just hard-core gamers or professionals, has the chance to create and share whatever they want," shared Risa, CEO and co-founder at BUD. Graduated from Cornell with a degree in Computer Science, Risa joined Snapchat’s AR Division in 2017 and worked on frontier Lens experiences prior to founding BUD. "While BUD makes 3D content creation possible for mainstream gen-z consumers, we will continue to bring blockchain to mainstream consumers and allow our creators to truly own and monetize their creations," said Shawn, co-founder at BUD. Prior to founding BUD, Shawn spent three years at Snap, working on its performance optimization, developer framework and user growth. “BUD is establishing itself as a social destination for GenZ while uniquely enabling ownership of content in the metaverse. Millions of users are creating content on BUD and sharing their creations on social media, aiding the inherent virality of the BUD platform. We are impressed by the passion with which the founders have built BUD, and are excited about their future plans for localisation and growth.” Aakash Kapoor, VP, Sequoia India. “The immersive and interactive experience created by BUD users brings happiness to GenZ around the world. We’re excited for the progress BUD has made and look forward to the launch of its new web3 products.” said Jenny Lee, managing partner at GGV Capital. “With the immersive 3D experience of the product and explosive growth among GenZ users around the world, BUD is rapidly growing as a leading UGC platform in the emerging metaverse,” said William Chen, Founding Managing Partner of ClearVue Partners. "We are excited to work with this innovative team and to bring together our resources and experience in the global consumer, media, and entertainment industries.” About BUD BUD is a leading global metaverse UGC platform encouraging users to create and share 3D interactive experiences with its easy-to-use creation tools. Former Snap engineers Risa Feng and Shawn Lin founded BUD in 2019, and have grown the firm into a team of more than 100 people strong. It is expected to reach 200 employees by the end of this year. Headquartered in Singapore, BUD will have localization teams across the world. To date, over 15 million 3D experiences and assets have been created on the platform and user-generated 3D assets have been traded more than 150 million times. Since its global launch in November 2021, BUD skyrocketed to the list of top 10 social apps in more than 38 countries around the world including North America, Southeast Asia and South America. BUD has become a digital social hub where millions of people come to create, play and hangout. Contact Details BUD Bilal Mahmood +44 7714 007257 b.mahmoood@stockwoodstrategy.com Company Website https://www.joinbudapp.com/

May 23, 2022 02:09 PM Pacific Daylight Time

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Second-Generation Minuteman Press Franchisees in Cupey and San Juan, Puerto Rico Continue Family Legacies for 27 Years and Counting

Minuteman Press International Inc

For Frances Torruellas and Tere Quiñones, owning a business runs in the family. Frances is the co-owner of her Minuteman Press franchise in Cupey, working alongside her father Juan A. Torruellas. Tere is the owner of Minuteman Press located in Hato Rey, San Juan. Both family-run franchises opened in 1995, and both Frances and Tere are proud to carry on their family legacies for 27 years and counting. Father & Daughter Team Juan Arturo & Frances Torruellas Make a Dynamic Team for Minuteman Press in Cupey Minuteman Press in Cupey, Puerto Rico, first opened in July of 1995. Juan A. Torruellas originally began looking to own a business in 1994, and he found the right fit with Minuteman Press. Juan reflects, “I was very determined to have my own business but had not defined what it would be. The year 1994 was the beginning of my journey seeking what type of business I would like to operate; I was sure that it would not be a food business but I did want a service-based business. For the past twenty years prior, I held managerial positions in finance and administration which helped me in that process. I was convinced after my participation in a franchise show in Miami, Florida, that my business would be Minuteman Press.” After several meetings with Minuteman Press representatives in Puerto Rico, Juan officially signed his agreement and entered training. Juan says, “On July 1, 1995, our presses started running. Like all beginnings, we went out day by day to present our innovative services in the printing business. By following the training and advice from Minuteman Press, we raised a bank of loyal customers, many of whom continue with us after 27 years.” In order to sustain their success and longevity, Juan talks about the need to adapt. He says, “We have recognized the need to evolve according to the needs of our customers, which is why in recent years the ‘printing on demand’ concept has been a priority in our operation, as well as offering a range of promotional products that meet the market needs.” He proudly adds, “Over the years, we have been recognized by Minuteman Press International for reaching monthly sales volumes of $250,000, as well as receiving their Customer Service Award, Top Quality Award and Top Appearance Award.” “Our philosophy has always been to treat the client honestly, to offer guidance on the best alternatives in terms of cost without affecting the quality of the product, and to have integrated services available to improve the image of each client.” -Juan A. Torruellas, owner, Minuteman Press, Cupey, Puerto Rico Second Generation in Sight Frances Torruellas first joined the team of Minuteman Press in Cupey in 2005, worked her way up from customer service to manager, and then became owner in 2018. Juan shares, “My daughter Frances Ivette joined the Minuteman Press team in the customer service area in the year 2005, a year after she attended the training in Farmingdale, where she was able to gain a broader perspective about our business. In a short time, Frances dominated the operation and became our manager. As her interest for the business kept growing, she became owner in 2018.” He adds, “I am so proud of the job she has done, and this truly is a family business.” When asked for his final reflections on operating his business, Juan says, “We must give an important and warm mention to now-retired RVP Jeff Robey, who supported us for many years. Jeff is truly special and was instrumental to our growth.” Juan concludes, “We are proud to represent a franchise in Minuteman Press International that has maintained its relevance and prestigious name throughout all of our years in this exciting and ever-changing industry.” Tere Quiñones Shares Insights on Running the Family Business and Carrying On Her Father’s Legacy as Owner of Minuteman Press in Hato Rey, San Juan Minuteman Press in Hato Rey, San Juan, Puerto Rico first opened in April of 1995. At that time, Tere Quiñones was in college and her father ran the family business. Tere says, “After I graduated from college and began to work on my Master’s degree, I helped my father out at the shop. Little by little, I learned every aspect of the business and fell in love with it. Never did I think that I would continue his legacy, and in some ways, I believe that Minuteman Press chose me.” As Tere reflects on her family’s 27 years in business, she shares the following three keys to the success and longevity of Minuteman Press in San Juan: “ 1. It’s very important to maintain an excellent group of employees, where we all feel like family. A comfortable working environment is important. If there is a good and happy staff, the daily workload feels easier. 2. Honesty. Always be honest to clients about the job request, whether it’s possible or not to meet their deadlines. That way they will always know that what you are telling them about any specifics of the job will be the truth. 3. Quality. Maintain the same printing quality, go that extra mile and make sure that even with changes in technology/machinery the quality remains the same. If there is a slight change in the quality, always contact the client beforehand let them know. Avoid surprises to your clients.” When asked about the various ways Minuteman Press in San Juan has grown, Tere shares, “Three ways we have grown over the years are by adding promotional products, doing email marketing campaigns targeting specific industries, and direct referrals from happy clients.” She continues, “Our key growth areas right now are wide format printing, hotel collaterals, and parking signage for companies. We also do a lot of Every Door Direct Mail as well as printing for schools. There is always going to be a need for printing; you just have to find what your customers are looking for.” “Our community is mixed between small businesses, schools, and seniors. We have a potpourri of walk-ins that makes every day different. Our clients have different needs and degrees of knowledge. Being able to assist them all and provide products and solutions is very satisfying.” - Tere Quiñones, Minuteman Press, San Juan, Puerto Rico Speaking of community, Minuteman Press in San Juan also stands out by making their center a place of learning. Tere says, “We have a copy center that is open to teachers and students, with special prices and offerings. It’s a nice resource for them and a great way to educate them about what we do.” Tere also appreciates the support she has received over the years. She says, “Minuteman Press International has always been present in assisting in all situations. Having a group of people that are always willing to advise us and help is definitely an advantage.” As she reflects further on the rewards of owning a business, Tere says, “The biggest reward of owning a business is having the ability to do something that you love. I also appreciate the flexibility because it’s much easier to be there for family activities and events than if you were working for someone else.” She concludes, “If you love what you do and work hard, the rest just seems to fall into place.” Minuteman Press in Cupey is located at Winston Churchill Avenue #138, Crown Hill, Cupey, PR 00926. For more information, visit their website: https://minuteman.com/us/locations/pr/cupey/ Minuteman Press in San Juan is located at Ave. Americo Miranda #1503, San Juan, PR 00921. For more information, visit their website: https://minuteman.com/us/locations/pr/san-juan20/ Learn more about #1 rated Minuteman Press franchise opportunities at https://minutemanpressfranchise.com Contact Details Minuteman Press International Chris Biscuiti +1 631-249-1370 cbiscuiti@mpihq.com Company Website https://minutemanpressfranchise.com

May 23, 2022 10:00 AM Eastern Daylight Time

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Schools Procure Maple Hotspots to Bridge the Homework Gap

Maple

Maple, a provider of reliable, remote online access for students, announced its fully portable and pocket-sized Internet connectivity solutions, powered by StratusX, are being deployed to thousands of students to narrow the Homework Gap in the United States. Many school systems continue to work with Maple to procure CIPA compliant mobile internet hotspots using funding from the Federal Communications Commission’s Emergency Connectivity Fund (ECF). Maple leaders are encouraging schools to utilize an extension of the ECF application process (with a waiver request) to secure the funding necessary to provide students with the safe and reliable online access they need. Leading education organizations continue to work collaboratively with the public sector and private enterprise to solve these [connectivity] issues and get technology into the hands of students. The National School Boards Association has prioritized promoting digital equity and closing the Homework Gap. One of the organization’s core policy objectives is “…eliminating broadband infrastructure gaps and investing in students and families without adequate high-speed broadband and/or Internet devices...” “Without equal access to education and online resources, students in underserved, minority, lower-income, and rural communities are adversely affected,” stated Michael Kadisha, Chief Executive of Maple. “Teachers assign homework requiring access to the Internet, and students need it to learn. This is a necessity, not a luxury. It is a profound issue of fundamental fairness facing our society today and determines access to opportunities down the road.” “Access to a good education is one of the most important issues of our time, and the most pressing within it is closing the Homework Gap,” Kadisha continued. “While we are encouraged by the thousands of students, educators, families, and communities that will benefit from our technology, there is still much to do. We are looking to partner with more schools to utilize the ECF program to request 100% funding for student connectivity needs.” Maple leaders are currently working with schools that missed the May 13 deadline to utilize the Emergency Connectivity Fund extension. Waivers are available, but schools must act quickly. There is a 30-day window remaining to submit funding applications. “Working together, we will eliminate inequities and close the Homework Gap as we reliably connect students and educators from anywhere,” Kadisha continued. Many schools have already worked with Maple to procure hotspots for thousands of students utilizing the ECF application process. Education leaders chose to work with Maple based on superior technology and the company’s commitment to bridging solutions for education. Maple and its leadership have a proven history of philanthropy, advocating for education, and serving students. Maple’s parent company developed Treedom, a leading service-based scholarship platform. Through these initiatives, Maple recognized that while students wanted to access their educational resources, they had no or poor connectivity at home. “The stories of entire families relying on one caregiver’s cell phone or public WiFi to complete assignments is troubling. While the loss of learning and economic opportunity is measurable, the inequity for students who only want a fair shot to learn is not. We remain committed to addressing this injustice,” Kadisha said. Maple hotspots eliminate the frustration associated with slow or ‘spotty’ service. Students in areas that struggle with broadband access, when utilizing Maple technology, can reliably access the Internet securely whenever and wherever they want. Devices switch between mobile carrier networks to provide the best possible signal. This benefit prevents disruptions that may arise with any carrier resulting from weather or technical issues. With Maple connections, the Internet is always available for students. About Maple Maple provides trusted technology solutions for schools, libraries, students, and educators that close the digital divide by delivering high-quality internet access and valuable educational experiences to students. Please visit https://www.mapleconnect.co/. ### For more information or to schedule an interview with a Maple spokesperson, contact Dan Rene of kglobal at daniel.rene@kglobal.com or 202-329-8357. Contact Details Dan Rene +1 202-329-8357 daniel.rene@kglobal.com Company Website https://www.mapleconnect.co/

May 20, 2022 10:30 AM Eastern Daylight Time

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Retention Cloud Leader CleverTap Acquires Leanplum

CleverTap

CleverTap, the world’s No.1 retention cloud, today announced it has signed definitive agreements to fully acquire San Francisco based Leanplum, a leading multi-channel customer engagement platform, for an undisclosed amount. This acquisition will make CleverTap a truly global company with development centers and customer-facing and success teams across North America, Europe, Latin America, India, South East Asia and the Middle East. Combining the product stack of the two organizations, this acquisition will enhance CleverTap’s capabilities and take its total customer base to over 1200 customers in more than 100 countries around the world. The deal is expected to close in Q2 of 2022. Together CleverTap and Leanplum will work with digital brands to help increase their users’ engagement, retention and lifetime value by making every user experience hyper-personalized, relevant and contextual at scale in real time. As more businesses become digital-first, brands need to serve their users with delightful moments where they are, when they want and on their preferred channel. CleverTap and Leanplum will now bring real-time hyper-personalization, A/B testing and increased scalability to its omnichannel engagement, analytics and segmentation product lines. As a result, growth and marketing teams globally will now be able to utilize the only end-to-end user engagement and retention cloud platform, enabling them to break down user communication silos and increase the overall lifetime value of each user. “We are seeing a seismic shift in the marketing technology landscape,” says Sunil Thomas, CleverTap Co-founder and Executive Chairman. “Users today demand to be treated as individuals, and this has forced brands to change how they engage with them. CleverTap and Leanplum have both purposely built for a mobile-centric omnichannel world.” The acquisition, he says, combines platforms and teams to deliver the best behavior analytics, segmentation, and engagement tools that will enable digital brands to build valuable, long-term relationships with their users. “Our combined strength will be a game-changing force for user engagement, retention and monetization, creating tremendous value for our customers. I am very excited to welcome Leanplum to the CleverTap family.” “When we started Leanplum, our vision was to meet customers' real-time needs at the cutting edge of technology,” says Momchil Kyurkchiev, Co-founder and Chief Product Officer, Leanplum. “We have succeeded in that, but as the market has matured, to fully meet the increasing demands put on brands today, we needed to bring in the best analytics, segmentation, and engagement tools, to help our customers build valuable, long-term relationships with their customers. This is why joining forces with CleverTap makes the most sense, and I am excited about the combined capabilities we will now bring to Leanplum customers worldwide.” “I am looking forward to the journey with Leanplum. This coming together with Leanplum marks a monumental moment across the marketing technology landscape,” says Sidharth Malik, CleverTap Chief Executive Officer. “This bridges the gap created by multiple martech tools and customer data platforms and will meet the growing needs of user-obsessed digital brands in a much more efficient way. Our ‘better together’ vision is about integrating our cumulative strengths around people, process and technology to cement our position as the global leader in the user engagement and retention space. Joining forces allows us to bring advanced product and technology capabilities as brands strive to do live segmentation, anticipate user intentions and actions, automate and deploy real-time campaigns for the highest possible conversions, all from one single dashboard.” About CleverTap CleverTap is the modern, integrated retention cloud that empowers digital consumer brands to increase customer retention and lifetime value. For brands that understand and value user retention, CleverTap drives context and individualization with the help of a unified and deep data layer, AI/ML powered insights and automation. Customers around the world representing over 10,000 apps, including Vodafone Idea, SonyLIV, Daimler, Gojek, Carousell, and Premier League, trust CleverTap to achieve their retention and engagement goals, growing their long term revenue. Backed by leading venture capital firms including Sequoia India, Tiger Global Management, and Accel, the company is headquartered in Mountain View, California, with offices in Mumbai, Singapore, and Dubai. For more information, visit clevertap.com or follow on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. Forward-Looking Statements Some of the statements in this press release may represent CleverTap’s belief in connection with future events and may be forward-looking statements, or statements of future expectations based on currently available information. CleverTap cautions that such statements are naturally subject to risks and uncertainties that could amount in the actual result being absolutely different from the results anticipated by the statements mentioned in the press release. Factors such as the development of general economic conditions affecting our business, future market conditions, our ability to maintain cost advantages, uncertainty with respect to earnings, corporate actions, client concentration, reduced demand, liability or damages in our service contracts, unusual catastrophic loss events, war, political instability, changes in government policies or laws, legal restrictions impacting our business, impact of pandemic, epidemic, any natural calamity and other factors that are naturally beyond our control, changes in the capital markets and other circumstances may cause the actual events or results to be materially different, from those anticipated by such statements. CleverTap does not make any representation or warranty, express or implied, as to the accuracy, completeness or updated or revised status of such statements. Therefore, in no case whatsoever will CleverTap and its affiliate companies be liable to anyone for any decision made or action taken in conjunction with the information and/or statements in this press release or any related damages. Contact Details Sony Shetty sony@clevertap.com Company Website https://clevertap.com/

May 19, 2022 08:17 AM Eastern Daylight Time

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GLOBAL LICENSING RIGHTS TO HISTORIC ITALIAN AMERICAN NEWSPAPER AMERICA OGGI PURCHASED BY NORTH SIXTH GROUP; TO LAUNCH AMERICA DOMANI

North Sixth Group

North Sixth Group announced today it has purchased the exclusive global licensing rights to the leading Italian American newspaper America Oggi and invested in the revival of the historic Il Progresso Italo Americano (“Il Progresso”). Both will be integrated into a newly created digital community launching this summer called America Domani (“Tomorrow”). America Domani will be launched in summer 2022 as the leading digital media community for the 17 million Americans of Italian heritage and millions more who have a love and affinity for Italian culture. Staying true to the “Domani” name, which means “Tomorrow” in Italian, America Domani will showcase an array of engaging content from top Italian American influencers and personalities, including news, food and wine, culture, travel, comedy, language, sports and entertainment, and more. Both America Oggi and Il Progresso will be integrated into America Domani as special sections. America Oggi will be published as a daily news and current events section with the latest updates from Italy. The Il Progresso section will feature historical content, vintage footage, interviews and interactive media chronicling the Italian American journey over the past centuries. America Oggi was founded in 1988 and has grown to become the most popular daily Italian language newspaper in the world outside of Italy. Il Progresso was founded in 1880 and for generations of Italian Americans, served as the most trusted and highly circulated daily newspaper, engaging millions of readers and leading advertisers from across the world. “Beginning in the 19 th century, Il Progresso and America Oggi became indelible parts of the Italian American experience,” said Massimo Basile, renowned journalist for La Repubblica and other leading Italian publications. “North Sixth Group’s vision for America Domani will pave the way for current and future generations and the restoration of these historical titles within the community will be a critical link to the heritage of brands that are as synonymous with the Italian American experience as any others in the world.” Media industry veteran Al DiGuido has been appointed CEO & Publisher of America Domani. DiGuido’s career is highlighted by serving as Publisher of Ziff Davis’ Computer Shopper, which was the world’s largest PC magazine. He then founded Bigfoot Interactive, subsequently becoming CEO of Epsilon Interactive following its acquisition of Bigfoot for $120 million. “As a proud Italian American, it is an honor to bring together Americans of all backgrounds who share a passion and love for Italy,” said Al DiGuido, CEO & Publisher of America Domani. “The history of Italy and the stories of the millions of Italians who have sacrificed to achieve the American Dream have been told through the pages of America Oggi and Il Progresso. We will carry this legacy forward proudly as we marry them with America Domani to create the leading digital platform for future generations.” “Regardless of blood lines, every American is proudly Italian in some way. Despite the mass influence and affinity for Italian culture, there is a longstanding void in serving this community through digital content,” said Matt Rizzetta, Chairman of North Sixth Group. “Our investment in America Domani is one of the most significant in the history of Italian American media as it will bring to life the beauty, authenticity and richness of Italian culture through two of the most historic brands that have been cherished by generations of Italians living abroad.” To sign-up for notifications ahead of America Domani’s launch this summer, visit www.americadomani.com. For advertising inquiries, visit www.americadomani.com/advertise. # # # ABOUT AMERICA DOMANI: America Domani is the leading digital media community for the 17 million Americans of Italian heritage and millions more who have a love and affinity for Italian culture. Staying true to the “Domani” name, which means “Tomorrow” in Italian, America Domani showcases a wide array of engaging content from top Italian American journalists, influencers and personalities, including news, food and wine, culture, travel, comedy, success stories, entertainment and more. America Domani was created through purchasing the licensing rights to the historic America Oggi newspaper and the revival of Il Progresso Italo-Americano. Both titles live proudly on the America Domani platform as dedicated sections for current events and historical content chronicling the Italian American journey over the past centuries. ABOUT AMERICA OGGI: America Oggi is the leading daily newspaper serving the Italian community abroad. America Oggi was founded in 1988 and has become the most trusted daily newspaper for Italians living abroad who want to stay connected to Italian news and culture. ABOUT IL PROGRESSO: Founded in 1880, Il Progresso Italo Americano (“Il Progresso”) was the leading daily newspaper for Italian Americans in the 19 th and 20 th centuries. Il Progresso chronicled the Italian American journey and played an important role in the households of millions of Italians living abroad. ABOUT NORTH SIXTH GROUP: North Sixth Group is a family office operating company with wholly owned and minority interests in a variety of investments across media, marketing, technology and sports and entertainment. Additionally, North Sixth Group dedicates financial and human capital resources to community-based initiatives geared toward Passion, Purpose and Progress. Contact Details N6A (For North Sixth Group) +1 212-334-9753 NSG@n6a.com Company Website https://northsixthgroup.com/

May 19, 2022 08:00 AM Eastern Daylight Time

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Velocity Global raises $400M in Series B growth round

Velocity Global

Eldridge and Norwest Venture Partners lead funding round Achieves multi-billion dollar valuation, a 7x increase in one year Investment boosts the company’s Global Work Platform™ that enables businesses and talent to work with anyone, anywhere, anyhow Velocity Global, the leading provider of global talent solutions, announced today that it raised $400 million in its Series B funding round, increasing the company’s valuation seven-fold since the same time last year. This second round of funding is led by Eldridge and Norwest Venture Partners which join Series A investor FFL Partners on Velocity Global’s board to lend their deep expertise in the areas of technology, future of work and global scale. The company retains majority ownership and founder Ben Wright continues as CEO and chair of the board of directors. “This is a pivotal moment for our company in the midst of a paradigm shift for employers and talent,” said Wright. “Access to work is no longer limited by borders or the star you are born under as the adoption of global talent accelerates. In March, we tripled the number of new supported talent on our platform compared to the same time last year, and the momentum continues to build. Eldridge and Norwest Venture Partners join FFL Partners to invest in people’s lives and the future of business. Massive kudos to our team for this achievement on our way to even greater heights.” Profitable since its founding in 2014, Velocity Global more than doubled its client roster over the past year, tripled the number of new supported talent on its platform, and will reach an annual net revenue run rate of $200 million by midyear as it continues to scale rapidly. “Velocity Global’s proven technology platform is positioned to transform the future of work, offering businesses a frictionless solution for building and expanding their teams,” said Todd Boehly, co-founder and CEO of Eldridge. “We are proud to partner with Ben and his team as demand continues to grow for best-in-class workforce solutions that support organizations looking to scale across the globe.” Parker Barrile, partner at Norwest Venture Partners, joins the Velocity Global board as a director. Barrile is the former vice president of product at LinkedIn who oversaw 20-fold growth as the company went public. “Velocity Global has a rare mix of scale, growth, and profitability that attracted us to be part of the next phase,” said Barrile. “The company is led by a strong leadership team with an ambitious roadmap, and we look forward to partnering with them as they accelerate the future of work.” The company’s Global Work Platform™ seamlessly connects employers and talent worldwide through proprietary cloud-based talent management technology, personalized expertise, and unmatched global scale. The platform offers a full suite of talent solutions, including global Employer of Record (EoR) and Contractor Management, to help thousands of companies compliantly onboard, manage, and pay full-time and part-time talent, contractors, and freelancers in more than 185 countries and all 50 United States. Velocity Global serves more than 1,200 clients and over 7,000 supported employees worldwide. The Velocity Global team is more than 700 employees strong in 47 countries across six continents with plans to more than double the number of employees by the end of the year. In 2021, the company successfully completed acquisitions of iWorkGlobal and Shield GEO that added capabilities to its Global Work Platform. Velocity Global will use the funds to continue enhancing the customer experience for both businesses and talent. The company will make further strategic investments in technology, sales and marketing, as well as potential future acquisitions to execute on its vision to provide a frictionless solution for businesses and talent to work with anyone, anywhere, anyhow. FT Partners served as exclusive strategic and financial advisor to Velocity Global on this transaction. About Velocity Global Velocity Global accelerates the future of work for anyone, anywhere, anyhow. Its Global Work Platform™ simplifies the employer and talent experience through its proprietary cloud-based talent management technology, backed by personalized expertise and unmatched global scale. The platform offers a full suite of talent solutions, including global Employer of Record and Contractor Management, to help companies onboard, manage, and pay talent in more than 185 countries and all 50 United States. Thousands of brands rely on Velocity Global to build international teams without the cost or complexity of setting up foreign legal entities or state registrations. Velocity Global was named a "Leader" in Global Employer of Record Services by prominent analyst firm NelsonHall. Founded in 2014, the company has hundreds of employees across six continents. For more information, visit velocityglobal.com. About Eldridge Eldridge invests in businesses across the Insurance, Asset Management, Technology, Mobility, Sports & Gaming, Media & Music, Real Estate, and Consumer landscapes. The firm seeks to build and grow businesses led by proven management teams that have demonstrated leadership and experience to scale an enterprise. Eldridge is headquartered in Greenwich, Connecticut, with additional offices in Beverly Hills, New York, and London. To learn more about Eldridge, please visit www.eldridge.com. About Norwest Venture Partners Norwest is a leading venture and growth equity investment firm managing more than $12.5 billion in capital. Since its inception, Norwest has invested in more than 650 companies and currently partners with more than 200 companies in its venture and growth equity portfolio. The firm invests in early- to late-stage businesses across a wide range of sectors with a focus on consumer, enterprise and healthcare. The Norwest team offers a deep network of connections, operating experience, and a wide range of impactful services to help CEOs and founders scale their businesses. Norwest has offices in Palo Alto and San Francisco, with subsidiaries in India and Israel. For more information, please visit www.nvp.com. Follow Norwest on Twitter @NorwestVP. Contact Details Corporate Communications Anja Koltes +1 720-650-4348 news@velocityglobal.com Eldridge Nadia Damouni +1 212-518-8012 ndamouni@prosek.com Norwest Venture Partners Kate Dishaw +1 650-321-8000 kdishaw@nvp.com Company Website https://velocityglobal.com/

May 18, 2022 07:01 AM Mountain Daylight Time

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Pencil partners with BigCommerce & Meta to bring AI-generated ads to ecommerce merchants

Pencil

Creative AI company Pencil has partnered with new-era ecommerce platform BigCommerce to provide their merchants with the latest innovation in online advertising for ecommerce, AI-generated ads. Rather than spending hours in video editing software or engaging expensive professional agencies, BigCommerce merchants can now generate original video ads to pitch their businesses in just a few clicks. Furthermore, AI-generated ads trained using data from advertisers’ Meta ad accounts via the Meta Marketing API have been shown to consistently double return on ad spend for brands and halve customer acquisition costs. BigCommerce merchants using Pencil’s AI-generated ads will be able to discover new audiences on Meta’s platforms and grow their businesses faster. Matt Dornfeld, Director of Business Development at BigCommerce commented: “As part of our mission to help merchants sell more at every stage of growth, we are delighted to welcome Pencil into our partner ecosystem. We’ve seen that ecommerce marketers across the board know that great advertising creative is an important lever to growing their businesses. We’ve also seen that they consistently find it challenging to execute at scale. We are therefore excited to see Pencil offer BigCommerce merchants powerful AI tools to generate ad creative, thus unblocking a key driver of sales growth.” Pencil’s AI-generated ads work because they prioritize both creativity and data. When a merchant connects their BigCommerce store, Pencil analyzes their brand and product information and generates a wide variety of ad ideas to pitch their products. When a merchant then connects their Meta advertising data, Pencil compares the newly generated ideas to what’s worked well in the past. Those ideas similar to past winners are highlighted to the merchant. In this way Pencil helps merchants learn what works while continuously exploring fresh new creative ideas that might resonate with audiences. Pencil analyzed over 100 ecommerce campaigns that used AI-generated ads and found the best ads delivered an average return on ad spend (ROAS) 2x that of other ads the brands were running. One brand’s AI-generated ad campaign delivered 7x higher ROAS. Will Hanschell, CEO and co-founder of Pencil commented: “BigCommerce is an incredibly innovative ecommerce platform used by major midmarket and enterprise brands around the world. This direct integration removes one of the biggest frictions they experience - turning the product images and videos in their stores into ads that deliver sales. We are very excited to partner with BigCommerce to further enable brands to build their businesses online.” This partnership announcement comes hot on the heels of Pencil joining Meta’s Business Partners, a program that connects businesses to an ecosystem of advertising specialists. More than 200 million businesses worldwide use Meta’s apps to connect with customers and grow, and over 10 million of them run advertising campaigns each month. Pencil leverages proprietary technology to generate video, derive insights and make predictions, as well as integrating the OpenAI API to generate ad copy. The OpenAI API provides access to GPT-3, one of the world’s most powerful language models. Its use requires strict criteria in AI safety and ethics. About Pencil Pencil is a Creative AI company on a mission to generate unexpected ideas that get results. Pencil generates ads that learn to perform, delivering the return on ad spend that helps brands scale their businesses. Pencil’s AI-generated ads are a new way of making ads that algorithmically optimise for creative novelty, brand relevance and return on advertising spend. It always starts from a human brief and it always involves total human editorial control. Pencil’s Creative AI platform generates ads in minutes and has been shown to double returns for brands. Pencil was founded in 2018 with a team from Google, Meta and Uber and is backed by Sequoia Capital India’s Surge, Wavemaker Partners, Singapore Innovate and Entrepreneur First. For further information visit: https://www.trypencil.com About BigCommerce BigCommerce (Nasdaq: BIGC) is a leading open software-as-a-service (SaaS) ecommerce platform that empowers merchants of all sizes to build, innovate and grow their businesses online. BigCommerce provides merchants sophisticated enterprise-grade functionality, customization and performance with simplicity and ease-of-use. Tens of thousands of B2C and B2B companies across 150 countries and numerous industries use BigCommerce to create beautiful, engaging online stores, including Ben & Jerry’s, Molton Brown, S.C. Johnson, Skullcandy, SoloStove, Ted Baker and Vodafone. Headquartered in Austin, BigCommerce has offices in London, Kyiv, San Francisco, and Sydney. For more information, please visit https://www.bigcommerce.com or follow us on Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and Facebook. About Meta Business Partners Meta Business Partners are companies Meta has vetted for their expertise. They have the experience to help grow advertisers’ business – from running ads, to selling products, to engaging with customers. For more information visit: https://www.facebook.com/business/marketing-partners Contact Details Pencil Bilal Mahmood +44 7714 007257 b.mahmood@stockwoodstrategy.com Company Website https://www.trypencil.com/

May 17, 2022 09:00 AM Pacific Daylight Time

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Verità Announces Acquisition of Nomad Tower Services LLC and $6 Million Investment in New Facility

Verità Telecommunications Corporation

Verità Telecommunications has acquired Nomad Tower Services LLC in Romulus, Michigan. Nomad executes a full range of microwave and cellular network deployment services in Michigan and the Midwest states. Moving forward, Nomad Tower Services, LLC. will operate as a division of Verità. Along with the purchase of Nomad, Verità is moving ahead with a $6 million dollar investment in a new facility in Wayne County. The move directly aligns with Verità’s mission to support the growing needs of the Great Lakes and Midwest States that will ultimately bridge the digital divide. Verità has planned a $6-million investment at a 10-acre site that will include a 40,000 -60,000 sq. ft. facility to support the company’s continued growth and advancement. The acquisition of Nomad Tower Services LLC. extends Verità’s offerings by adding turnkey tower services and an additional 10 crews to keep Verità on-track for building the infrastructure for reliable internet access throughout the Great Lake states and Midwestern states. With the addition of Nomad Tower Services LLC., Verità is now a full spectrum telecom company, providing customers with a full suite of services from design to final tower implementation. “The next 2 years we are growing our crews from 6 to 16 for this initiative, upgrading existing towers, 5G network and building new towers. A growing work force includes 10 additional teams, that equate to 50 new employees, working to a common goal of bridging the digital divide.” added Verità President, Michael Falsetti. “Verità will provide a single-source solution and differentiating advantage to our clients, carriers; AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile and Dish, getting them into the market ahead of the competition and ultimately a part of the solution for the digital divide”, says President, Michael Falsetti. Verità is projecting an increase of revenue from $10 million to $25 million in this division with a forecast of $100 million for next year. The expansion advances the opportunity for economic growth in Wayne County, as well as Verità’s service offerings. The integration of services and talent fuel the vision for this major initiative with various carriers to build out their sites with 5G, including the rural areas throughout the decade to provide meaningful internet connectivity. The larger team and turnkey addition of services provides flexibility that supports growth and development creating job diversity, employee advancement and career opportunities. “We take pride in providing a culture that supports relationships and becoming a part of Verità as a family-oriented business. We put relationships first and value personal relationships with our team and customers. We are excited to be a part of Verità’s extended family” said Kylar Damon, Nomad Tower President. The Verità Way will chart a course for our clients and employee advancement and success. “Together we will build meaningful connectivity through access to reliable internet while supporting job growth in the Great Lakes States with a career that can advance with Technology.” About Verità Telecommunications Corporation Plymouth, Michigan-based Verità Corporation is a turnkey telecommunications contractor offering a one-stop-shop for design and construction of telecommunications networks. Verità provides tomorrow’s communications infrastructure today. Learn more about The Verità Way™ in thought, action, and operation at veritacorp.com. Contact Details Douglas Marketing Group Kay Douglas +1 248-940-8004 kdouglas@experiencedmg.com Amanda Iera +1 313-571-1858 aiera@experiencedmg.com Company Website https://veritacorp.com/

May 17, 2022 11:56 AM Eastern Daylight Time

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Telos Offers Fast-Tracked Grants To Support Terra Developers

Telos Foundation

The Telos community offers its sympathy and full support to Terra developers for the hardships endured during this tumultuous period. In light of this, Telos welcomes all Terra dApps to join the 12 million TLOS Ignite grant and ventures program. The team will fast-track applications from Terra dApps seeking refuge with investments, marketing support, and technical assistance. Terra developers are encouraged to communicate with Telos' team via Discord, Telegram, or apply for a grant directly through the following link: https://ignite.telos.net “We feel for the talented teams and projects that have fallen victim to the collapse of Terra. We know many of you are long-term builders of the Web 3 future, and for those that are looking for a blockchain that shares your long-term vision, you will find an amazing home at Telos.” AJ Dinger, Telos Head of Business Development If the abundance of congested, pausing, and, more recently, failing blockchain networks has taught us anything, it's that dApp developers must choose wisely when finding a home to deploy their dApps. The Telos Mainnet has been live with zero downtime since 2018, can finalize a billion transactions per day with zero carbon footprint, and is home to the world's most robust EVM. We look forward to working with LUNA developers to help foster uncharted growth with the support of our team and a purely grassroots community. About Telos Live since 2018, Telos Blockchain (ticker: TLOS) is a third-generation smart contract platform that offers compatibility with Solidity, Vyper, and Native C++ smart contracts. Telos provides full EVM/Solidity support with fixed low-cost gas fees and no front running and, more uniquely, offers a path to fee-less transactions via its robust native C++ smart contract support. Even while operating as a Net Zero Blockchain, Telos still sustainably supports hundreds of millions of transactions per day, produces blocks in 0.5 second intervals (on a first-in-first-out basis, eliminating front running on the network), and securely validates transactions via a credibly neutral and globally decentralized block producer network. As a result, the Telos blockchain has the throughput needed to facilitate and scale the thriving Metaverse / Web 3.0 landscape better than any other blockchain in existence. Its performance is unrivaled in the industry and was purpose-built to offer speed, scalability, cost-effectiveness, credible decentralization, and end-user fairness. Telos harnesses its power by utilizing tight C++ on the frontend and a custom WASM runtime environment on the backend. About The Foundation The Telos Foundation is a Decentralized Autonomous Organization established as a promotional and funding body to advance the Telos Blockchain Network and provide support to network applications. Contact Details The Team hello@telosfoundation.io Company Website https://www.telos.net/

May 17, 2022 10:06 AM Eastern Daylight Time

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