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Velocity Global Announces New Financial Metrics; Crosses $200M ARR

Velocity Global

Velocity Global, the leading provider of global talent solutions, today announced new financial metrics and corporate momentum to include: Crossed the $200M ARR threshold. More than 40% organic growth YoY. Profitable YTD in 2023, as it has been seven of the last nine years. Nearly 1,500 customers, including Databricks, Penguin Random House, Linksys, International Justice Mission, Crunchbase, Dragonfly, and Schwans International. Enhancements to the employee and employer experience through partnerships with companies like Upflex and strategic integrations with leading HR technologies like BambooHR, Greenhouse, HiBob, and Namely. Platform updates including automated quoting and faster, self-service employment contract creation, which is already helping early customers experience 50% faster onboarding times as well as a forthcoming simplified UI to improve the customer experience. The increase in demand for technology platforms that make it possible to compliantly hire and pay talent around the world has provided significant tailwinds for Velocity Global. That demand has been accelerated by economic uncertainty and other macroeconomic issues that make remote work, global expansion, and access to talent mission critical. Earlier this month, nearly 20% of Velocity Global’s client base was directly affected by Silicon Valley Bank, accounting for hundreds of millions of dollars in payroll. The good news: redundancies built directly into the Global Work Platform - alongside a strong balance sheet and ample liquidity - allowed us to ensure our clients' payroll would not be disrupted. “Velocity Global’s growth is a testament to our team’s commitment in building a solution that is defining the future of work, while navigating the complexities of compensating employees across the world in a compliant way,” said Ben Wright, CEO and co-founder. “In our industry, being right is just as important as being fast, and that’s reinforced by 70% of our customers who cite compliance measures as to why they chose our platform. The fact is that recent developments in the financial sector reminded us that building redundancies around payroll and compliance are non-negotiable. We are building a platform that isn’t just reactionary to the industry, but pioneering its future.” Other Notable Milestones & Company Updates: Key Technology & Product Hires: Across design, engineering and technology including Winnie Wong, Vice President of Design, Kumar Ramanathan, Vice President of Engineering & Chief Architect, and Chuck Kim, Vice President of Cloud and Corporate Infrastructure. Global Expansion: Offering support in more than 185 countries with more than 7,500 supported employees across more than 60 entities around the world. This includes recent additions like Ghana, Egypt, Uruguay, Ukraine, and Argentina, with several more planned for Q2. Customers: Velocity Global continues to expand its enterprise clientele with more than a dozen major universities, 50+ global retail brands, dozens of nonprofits including three NGO’s, and thousands of other large companies in every major industry spanning rocket builders to amusement parks to publishers to technology companies to cutting-edge investment firms. New Partnerships: With Upflex, whose platform gives people access to 10,000 locations from more than 1,250 providers - including Wework, Industrious, and The Office Group, Velocity Global now has the capabilities to offer non-traditional benefits options for clients and supported employees. Industry Analyst Recognition: Velocity Global was named as a leader in NelsonHall’s Vendor Evaluation & Assessment Tool (NEAT) for global employer of record (EoR) services as well as Everest Group’s PEAK Matrix® Assessment 2022 for employer of record (EoR) solutions. Integrations: New integrations with Bamboo HR, Greenhouse, HiBob, and Namely to source talent, onboard, and manage the workforce, remove the friction of dealing with multiple systems and data transfers. Most companies already use Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) and HR Information Systems (HRIS), so by integrating these into Velocity Global’s EoR solution, Global Work Platform, expanding and maintaining a global workforce becomes as easy as a click away. “We’ve seen double-digit growth in the EoR market over the last few years and expect this growth to continue as the model addresses a very real need for companies to attract and retain top talent anywhere in the world,” said Jeanine Crane-Thompson, Principal HR Analyst at NelsonHall. “As an early player in the industry, Velocity Global stands out with its deep in-country expertise and continued technology innovation providing its customers with peace of mind and speed as it comes to employing talent across the globe.” For more information, visit www.velocityglobal.com. About Velocity Global Velocity Global helps you compliantly hire, pay, and manage anyone, anywhere. We simplify the employer and talent experience—combining cloud-based technology and unmatched human support in 185+ countries. Start hiring across borders at VelocityGlobal.com. Contact Details Media Contact press@velocityglobal.com Company Website https://velocityglobal.com/

March 22, 2023 07:01 AM Mountain Daylight Time

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NuggMD Launches Its Leading Marijuana Telemedicine Service in Louisiana

NuggMD

NuggMD, the nation's leading medical marijuana telemedicine platform, today announced it has launched its service in Louisiana. For $179, Louisiana residents can now use NuggMD’s platform to speak with a medical professional and access cannabis to treat qualifying medical conditions. As in some other states, medical cannabis is legal in Louisiana, but the implementation of the law has been slow, which has created uncertainty and inconsistencies for both businesses and consumers. Louisiana legislators passed H.B.697 last summer, which allows physicians to recommend cannabis via telemedicine for both follow-up and initial evaluations. However, the state’s medical board refused to change regulations to fully enact the new legislation, citing sections of existing law that it claimed conflicted with the legislative intent of the Act. Legislators spent months in tense debate with the medical board, attempting to convince it to allow physicians to use telemedicine for cannabis recommendations, as the law stipulates. Upon reaching an impasse, State Rep. Joseph Marino (I) sent a request to Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry objecting to the board's stance and requesting an opinion. Landry's response was that the law is clear and that a physician may see a patient via telemedicine if they deem it medically appropriate and follow all other guidance. In his opinion, Landry responded by pointing out that: The distinction between a recommendation and a prescription is valid and was affirmed by case law. Therefore, the prohibition against prescribing certain controlled substances via telemedicine does not apply to the recommendation of marijuana. The legislature clearly intended to make this distinction when it changed the state's medical marijuana laws to remove the references to "prescribing" cannabis and replace them with "recommending" cannabis. "Stated succinctly," he wrote, "neither Louisiana's statutory law nor the regulations promulgated by LSBME currently require physicians to conduct an in-person visit prior to recommending therapeutic marijuana to a patient through telemedicine." Alex Milligan, co-founder and CMO of NuggMD, commented, "Attorney General Landry's clarification is commendable because it finally allows physicians to deliver care to patients in a safe way that eliminates risk from unnecessary exposure to illness and difficult travel." “It's not uncommon to see regulators push back on bold new legislation, especially in an area as contentious as cannabis. When a regulatory environment is constantly in flux, businesses have to make difficult decisions about how and where to operate in light of these constantly changing directives. This holds true for most any industry, not just cannabis," said Milligan. NuggMD co-founder and CEO Kim Babazade added, "We chose to wait to offer our platform to physicians in Louisiana until we had complete clarity on this issue. Our physicians and patients are the most important consideration for us, so we strongly focus on compliance for everyone's protection." NuggMD's platform is available from 8 am until 10 pm local time, seven days a week. No appointment is needed, and patients who are deemed not to qualify for Louisiana’s medical cannabis program won't be charged for their evaluation. Since its founding in 2015, NuggMD has helped more than 1,000,000 patients access medical marijuana in nearly half of the nation's states. About NuggMD NuggMD is the nation's leading medical marijuana technology platform, serving patients in California, Connecticut, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, and West Virginia. They've connected over 1,000,000 patients face-to-face with their new medical marijuana doctors via their state-of-the-art telemedicine platform. They believe every human being has the right to explore the benefits of medical cannabis and are fully committed to helping each patient explore every option in their journey to wellness. For further information, visit NuggMD.com. Contact Details Andrew Graham andrew.g@getnugg.com Company Website http://www.nuggmd.com

March 20, 2023 12:09 PM Eastern Daylight Time

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Angie Avers Shares Why She Left Corporate World to Buy & Grow Minuteman Press Franchise in Phoenix, AZ

Minuteman Press International Inc

Angie Avers has owned her Minuteman Press franchise in Phoenix, Arizona since July of 2021. In this interview, Angie shares how she no longer felt valued as an employee working for others, why she felt comfortable taking the leap into business ownership with Minuteman Press, and how she has successfully grown her business. Angie’s Minuteman Press center is located at 2432 W. Peoria Ave., Suite 1023, Phoenix, AZ 85029. What does it mean to you to be a business owner? Why did you choose Minuteman Press? Angie Avers: “I left the corporate environment after nearly 30 years because I was tired of working for someone else and not feeling valued as an employee. I also struggled with finding a new job for over 2 years as well. One day on LinkedIn, the Minuteman Press opportunity presented itself and I inquired about it. I thought to myself, I have nothing to lose at this point so why not? I was later contacted by Brady Rockwell from the Minuteman Press Int’l team and it all started to become real. I started to panic and almost walked away from this opportunity, but after looking at what Minuteman Press International has accomplished and what they were about, I was sold! I knew they wouldn’t judge me for my age or my background and the key part of it all was ‘we’ll train you.’ My background is in marketing and communications, and why wouldn’t I want to help other business owners build their business with print and promotional products? I thought “this is a no brainer!” What has the support from Minuteman Press International been like for you? Angie Avers: “Minuteman support has been great. Whenever I have a problem with FLEX the team always helps me and if I have other issues, I’m always directed to the correct person. There is so much information in FLEX that I still would like to learn even more. Jack Panzer, my local RVP in Arizona, and Sky Hittle, our Field Rep, are always there to help and be there for when I need help or they direct me to where I need to be.” What do you think sets you apart from the competition? Angie Avers: “I describe my business as a ‘full-service print and marketing design company exclusively ran by women.’ We have a plethora of resources at our fingertips and if we can’t do it in-house, we always have resources to help. I believe what sets us apart is our strong work ethic, our honesty with our customers, and our customer service.” What are your high-demand products and key growth areas? Angie Avers: “It’s really hard to say what our high-demand products are. Our core is still paper products, but we are growing other areas. One area we have grown substantially is our design services. New business owners come into our shop all the time. We discuss what their initial needs are and we start with their logo and colors. From there, we build upon what their other needs are and help them brand other products they may need for their business. One customer comes to mind, where we started from scratch with their logo, then brochures and flyers, labels, and now trade show equipment and promotional products. It’s been super fun helping them build their brand and grow their business.” What are some of the key ways you’ve grown your business? Angie Avers: “One of the biggest ways I grew my business was through an acquisition and it doubled my business last year. I also network with BNI and other organizations when I have a chance. I have started doing more email marketing now that my learning curve has minimized some. Our foot traffic into the shop has also grown. When I took over the business, we put up all new window graphics and added two 14-ft. flags in front of the shop which is located on a main road. We have customers tell us all the time they saw our flags outside.” Why do you think printing remains so vital to businesses today? Angie Avers: “Print is vital because without it, everything would just be shapes and images. A world cannot go without print. We wouldn’t even know how to read if we didn’t have print. So, it is vital for sure.” What are the biggest personal and professional rewards of owning your business? Angie Avers: “Personally, I like answering to myself and making myself accountable for what is happening in my business. I thrive on giving my all to our customers and having a team that gets the job done without me chasing after them all the time. My goal is to be a million-dollar shop before I retire and professionally speaking, I just love helping businesses in my community come alive and building those relationships to sell other products.” What advice would you give to other business owners right now? Angie Avers: “Do your research, put together your pros and cons on being a business owner, and while it’s scary to take the plunge, you’ll never know unless you try. Change is hard for a lot of people, but you don’t grow staying in the same place where you are unhappy. Challenge yourself to be the best you. I did and it was the best decision I ever made. I love what I’m doing, and I wouldn’t change it for anything.” Angie Avers’ Minuteman Press franchise is located at 2432 W. Peoria Ave., Suite 1023, Phoenix, AZ 85029. For more information, call or visit their website: https://minuteman.com/us/locations/az/phoenix20/ Learn more about #1 rated Minuteman Press franchise opportunities and read Minuteman Press franchise reviews at https://minutemanpressfranchise.com Contact Details Minuteman Press International Chris Biscuiti +1 631-249-1370 cbiscuiti@mpihq.com Company Website https://minutemanpressfranchise.com

March 20, 2023 10:00 AM Eastern Daylight Time

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Shareholder Activist: Entire Disney Board Presided Over Last Year’s Disaster and Does Not Deserve Re-election

National Legal & Policy Center

National Legal and Policy Center, a shareholder in The Walt Disney Company, is calling upon investors in the company to take the extreme step of voting to oppose the entire slate of nominees for the board of directors, all of whom are carryovers that presided over the entertainment giant’s worst year since the 1970s. That’s right – after Disney emerged from a disastrous 2022 that saw extremists take control of their programming, the degradation of its valuable intellectual and creative properties, and the worst performance of its stock price since 1974, all the existing directors (minus one) have decided that each of them deserves to return to their company oversight roles. The Disney annual meeting is on April 3. NLPC is sponsoring Proposal No. 5, which asks the board to produce a report that identifies and itemizes the company’s risks from its extensive business ties to China. NLPC also issued an extensive memorandum for shareholders, filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on Wednesday, that outlines why the directors – including CEO Robert Iger – don’t deserve another term after Disney’s dysfunctional 2022, in which they extended the contract of former CEO Bob Chapek mid-year, only to terminate him within five months. The report also highlights several concerns pertaining to the company’s exposure in communist China. Following are excerpts from the memorandum to shareholders that was filed at the SEC on Wednesday: Disney – with its wealth of creative intellectual properties, automatic revenue generators at theme parks all over the planet, and nearly recession-proof entertainment- and media-delivery mechanisms – has seen an inexplicable decline in shareholder returns compared to the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index. As of January 10, 2023, the Company’s share price fell short against the Wall Street measuring stick over one year (by 24 percent), three years (by 60 percent), five years (by 66 percent), and ten years (by 116 percent). By March 15, 2023 – the date of the filing of this report with the SEC – the share price had descended even lower. Only two years ago Disney stock traded at its eight-year peak – $197.16 – and over the course of 2022, its value dropped by 44 percent. It was the worst year for the Company’s stock since 1974… The Company has squandered, wasted, devalued and ruined much of its content and beloved brands with the pursuit of a far-left political agenda – known in current-day parlance as “wokeness.” For that and because of those poor business decisions, we call for an overhaul of the current board, and also seek support for our own proposal (“Report on Operations Related to China”)…. Disney’s executive suite and its Board have allowed its signature brands and its once-beloved properties to become infected with divisive political agendas…. This is untenable for a Company that built its reputation on family-friendly programming and offerings, if it hopes to continue to attract a broad swath of viewers and customers…. While Disney was more than willing to go to battle (with Mr. Iger’s blessing) against Florida over the parental rights bill that opponents falsely nicknamed the “Don’t Say Gay” bill, the Company proactively waved the surrender flag in order to access TV audiences in the Muslim world….The Company only cares to “fight” for LGBTQ+ rights where they are free to do so. Otherwise, Disney is perfectly happy to bend its “principles” at the behest of dictators and oppressors in pursuit of revenues…. Mr. Iger has come under criticism for his succession planning…. Shareholder Abigail Disney (whose politics largely align with Mr. Iger’s), granddaughter of Company co-founder Roy O. Disney and grandniece of Walt, told Time in November, “The bottom line is that this was very poor succession planning and the onus of that has to land squarely on Bob Iger’s shoulders as well as the shoulders of the board of directors.” She also said, “I hope it triggers some reflection at the board level because ultimately, this is the board’s job, to hire and fire CEOs. I hope to see something better happening next time around. I hope Bob [Iger] has one foot out the door. The brand is taking a terrible beating right now for a lot of reasons….” “Disney shareholders may think we’re crazy for asking that they oppose the entire board’s re-election, but all the vote means is that it is a statement of no-confidence,” said Paul Chesser, director of NLPC’s Corporate Integrity Project. “After the company’s catastrophic 2022 and the persistent mundane performance of its share price, the current directors have failed miserably. A signal from shareholders would force them to revisit their board makeup and tell them to refresh their ranks.” You can read NLPC’s shareholder proposal on China risks at its website, and the full memorandum to Disney shareholders at the SEC website. Founded in 1991, NLPC promotes ethics in public life and government accountability through research, investigation, education, and legal action. ### For more information or to schedule an interview with Paul Chesser, contact Dan Rene at 202-329-8357 or drene@nlpc.org. Please visit http://www.nlpc.org. Founded in 1991, NLPC promotes ethics in public life and government accountability through research, investigation, education, and legal action. Contact Details National Legal and Policy Center Dan Rene +1 202-329-8357 drene@nlpc.org Company Website http://www.nlpc.org

March 16, 2023 10:00 AM Eastern Daylight Time

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NuggMD Launches Leading Marijuana Telemedicine Service in Georgia

NuggMD

NuggMD, the nation's leading medical marijuana telemedicine platform, has launched its service in Georgia. For $139, Georgians can now use NuggMD’s platform to connect with a medical professional who can recommend cannabis for treatment of the state’s qualifying conditions. The launch comes amid a tense political, legal, and regulatory climate in Georgia for cannabis businesses and consumers. In 2019, Gov. Brian Kemp (R) signed into law HB 324, which legalized low-THC medical cannabis oil in the state. However, that law has yet to be successfully implemented, with only two production facilities having been awarded licenses in the subsequent four years. While newly proposed legislation, HB 196, seeks to allow more cannabis licenses, its political fate is uncertain. Additionally, Georgia remains one of the dwindling states that still impose jail time for simple possession of unlicensed cannabis. Despite lacking a single legal cannabis dispensary and the fact that no provision in Georgia law suggests how a patient might lawfully obtain cannabis, an estimated 25,000 medical cannabis patients currently reside in Georgia, and the overall demand for legal cannabis is far greater. Alex Milligan, co-founder and CMO of NuggMD, said, "Georgia still has unfair criminal statutes for the simple possession of cannabis, which runs counter to the 2019 law that legalized some forms of the substance. As one of the only services Georgians can rely on to lawfully access cannabis, the irony of this contradiction is not lost on us. One way or another—and in accordance with state law—the availability of legal cannabis will soon be a reality in Georgia. We’ve expanded our operations there so that Georgians can prepare for this eventuality by receiving cannabis recommendations from credible, licensed medical professionals.” NuggMD's platform is available from 8 am until 10 pm local time, seven days a week. No appointment is needed, and patients who are deemed not to qualify for Georgia's medical cannabis program won't be charged for their evaluation. Since its founding in 2015, NuggMD has helped more than 1,000,000 patients access medical marijuana in nearly half of the nation's states. About NuggMD NuggMD is the nation's leading medical marijuana technology platform, serving patients in California, Connecticut, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, and West Virginia. They've connected over 1,000,000 patients face-to-face with their new medical marijuana doctors via their state-of-the-art telemedicine platform. They believe every human being has the right to explore the benefits of medical cannabis and are fully committed to helping each patient explore every option in their journey to wellness. For further information, visit NuggMD.com. Contact Details Andrew Graham andrew.g@getnugg.com Company Website http://www.nuggmd.com

March 15, 2023 02:30 PM Eastern Daylight Time

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Screencastify, a leader in $2B video creation space, positioned to thrive in 2023 with new Leadership team and CEO

Screencastify

Screencastify, the leading end-to-end video creation platform, today announced major milestones and company momentum as it continues to deliver the simplest screen capture and video editing capabilities to users around the globe. Boasting significant leadership changes, including newly appointed CEO Vishal Shah, Screencastify has established itself as a front-runner for creators’ video needs. Screencastify, an original video creation tool via internet browser, has become an end-to-end platform that makes recording, editing, sharing, assessing, and viewing video simple and accessible, so anyone can become a more effective communicator. More than 12.4 million users worldwide have used Screencastify to make nearly 450 million videos since 2016. New CEO Vishal Shah has been closely involved with Screencastify since its early days when LearnCore, the sales enablement start up he co-founded as CEO in 2010, was seeking to expand its video creation capability. As part of that collaboration Shah took a board seat with Screencastify. After exiting LearnCore, he took on the position of interim President at Screencastify before being appointed CEO today. Joining the CEO, Screencastify is also announcing the appointment of veteran Paul Ray as CTO while Alex Stepien is promoted from CRO to President & CRO. Ray has almost two decades software development experience with senior roles at Chicago Booth, former CTO at LearnCore and until recently a leader at Amazon. Stepien has led revenue operations and held senior leadership roles including as the former CEO at Cappex. He joined Screencastify in 2021 as CRO. Together the team is positioned to innovate and grow in this booming market. “In March 2020, the demand for online video communication creation went through the roof,” said Vishal Shah, CEO of Screencastify. “The sudden switch to remote learning saw educators — particularly in K-12 schools and higher education — turn to Screencastify’s accessible, intuitive, and low-cost video creation solution to enhance synchronous learning as well as deliver asynchronous — self-paced — learning options. Screencastify is only scratching the surface on how we can help the people who are educating the world now and in the future.” The company met the demand spurred by the pandemic, growing the number of videos made daily by 500%, increasing daily usage by 340% and elevating the number of videos created each month from 2 million before March of 2020 to 20 million videos created monthly less than two months later. Today, Screencastify is being used by educators in more than 70% of U.S. school districts. This is just the tip of the iceberg. Shah notes “The acceptance and widespread adoption of hybrid learning as well as the growing usage of video in the classroom and for a variety of training and instructional uses in the workplace means the future is very exciting for Screencastify, which gave the world its first easy-to-use browser-based screen capture and video creation tool, and I’m delighted the business has asked me to continue the momentum.” According to HubSpot, online video communication adoption has increased 96% over the past three years, with educators, their students, mid-size businesses employees, and individual influencers and creators being the primary drivers of the trend. Screencastify stepped up as the leader in on-demand video creation by building the simplest and most intuitive end-to-end video creation platform for any user. As workplaces embrace hybrid and remote environments, the need for asynchronous video continues to grow. Screencastify has proven it can meet the high demand for a simple, on-demand video platform and will continue to embrace the challenge of meeting the needs for any school or workplace. “We have an opportunity to make video communication simpler and improve human-to-human interaction in a new era of remote working and living — but also one where video plays a greater part in communication at school, at work, and in the social lives of young people especially,” added Vishal Shah. Screencastify has been laser-focused on improving the customer experience with capabilities such as Submit that engages students and allows them to securely create screen and webcam recordings without the extension. The video is then automatically sent to the teacher. Shah notes that, “It's by far the easiest way for students to record and submit videos, as we see teachers encourage students to create more videos.” He adds that Screencastify has, “An exciting lineup of product enhancements and features in 2023 and 2024. One of our big priorities is to keep things simple while building out our capabilities. Screencastify has an enormous base of content creators and we will continue to make life easier for them. Corporate educators are also a key focus for us, with the increasing adoption of digital learning tools and video being accepted as a compelling tool in marketing and sales collateral.” K-12 and post-secondary school has been a key market for Screencastify, but other industries, businesses, and social content creators are also using the tool to create on-demand videos for purposes as diverse as onboarding, engaging customers, board presentations, or simply sharing messages and information between friends and online communities. “The edtech market will only grow,” Vishal Shah says, noting projections from GlobalData show compound annual growth rate (CAGR) growth of 16% between 2021 and 2026, and crossing $400 billion in 2026. “We believe we have a special product and I look forward to continuing to pioneer video services for our customers and grow our customer base. We are ambitious for the future.” About Screencastify Established in 2016, Screencastify is the leading end-to-end video creation platform that makes recording, editing, sharing, assessing, and viewing video more simple for everyone. Tens of millions of people in more than 190 countries use Screencastify to record and edit on-demand video. Used in education, business, and for personal creation, Screencastify provides an accessible way for anyone to create video that saves time, expands their reach, and brings a new level of clarity to their communication. For more information please visit https://www.screencastify.com/ Contact Details Screencastify Bilal Mahmood +44 7714 007257 b.mahmood@stockwoodstrategy.com Company Website https://www.screencastify.com/

March 14, 2023 10:00 AM Central Daylight Time

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Pepper Content boosts content marketing community with Pepper AI

Pepper Content

Ahead of the release of its much awaited Content Marketing Platform, Pepper Content, is all set to launch its AI-powered chatbot modeled on ChatGPT, but specifically for content marketers. Pepper AI is designed like an assisted chat-like interface but its capabilities go far beyond that of ChatGPT. While the latter solves wide ranging problems and is known for its generic advice on matters, Pepper AI is powered by data that is specific to the content marketing niche, making it a subject matter expert, available at the tap of a few buttons for content marketers familiar with the field. The final objective is to offer curated solutions to content marketers and assist them in day-to-day tasks. Pepper is a content company at its heart and understands the marketing world inside-out. Its deep focus on technology has allowed the pivot into the fast-trending generative AI space, making its latest product the one to watch in the content marketing space. “We believe that our expertise in content and technology that enables marketers and our large network of global content talent has set us up to be frontrunners in this race to revolutionize content marketing” says Rishabh Shekhar, Co-Founder and COO, Pepper Content. The sweet spot between AI, content and human expertise Pepper AI is set at the intersection of AI and human creativity, playing to each others strengths. It leverages AI’s speed and ability to learn and combines it with human creativity and excellence through a global talent platform, so as to bring out the best of both worlds. A Personalized Chatbot for Content Marketers Features and the Pepper AI advantage Pepper AI is essentially a chatbot modeled along the pain points of content marketers. The interactive AI-assisted chat experience leads you down a tree-based categorization system with meaningful workflows. The overall idea is to not just provide information and insights, but to make them actionable and fit them intuitively into your content marketing workflow. Key features include Personalized inputs that understand you and your business:Unlike generic statements, our AI-assisted chatbot takes into account data from external sources like your company website to provide a highly contextual output that is tailored to your business needs, saving you the time and effort to set context every time. A feature we believe will be immensely useful for enterprise and growing SMBs. Workflow-first approach: Instead of working in siloes where a tool simply assists in AI writing or one aspect of the content marketing process, Pepper AI is built into a content marketing workflow, a platform that manages the entire content marketing process. Content marketing templates curated by in-house experts: Key pain points have been identified and presented as single-click templates to help content marketers act fast in addition to templatizing useful prompts to help avoid the blank page blues. “We launched Peppertype.ai two years ago - an AI content writing platform that has grown to over 450,000+ users. This was way before generative AI and ChatGPT were the talk of the town. I believe this early adopter advantage has given us deep insights into the possibilities of AI when it comes to content marketing. Pepper AI is just another step in that direction.” says Anirudh Singla, Co-founder and CEO, Pepper Content ChatGPT vs Pepper AI: What gives Pepper AI the edge? ChatGPT is a powerful technology that has opened up a world of possibilities in the generative AI space in the past few months. However, its limitations like its inability to provide highly personalized responses and the onus it puts on the user to derive maximum value from the tool, leaves marketers wanting more. This is where Pepper AI can fill in the gaps - it utilizes multiple data sources and APIs of tools like Google Analytics and SEMrush to name a few, to produce an output that is personalized to your business and its needs. ChatGPT is a great starting point but can only take your content creation efforts 30% of the way. Pepper AI on the other hand, with its workflow-first experience enables marketers throughout the process, with content creation being a very small part of the larger content marketing puzzle. About Pepper Content Pepper Content is a content marketing stack that combines a powerful Content Marketing Platform with an expert-led, global talent marketplace. It enables enterprises and SMBs to streamline their content marketing efforts with the help of state-of-the-art AI-powered tools that supercharge every aspect of the content marketing workflow, from content creation to operations and analytics. AI + Human creativity Pepper makes content marketing easy through its unique approach to the entire content marketing process. It leverages technology and talent to create high-quality content at scale with the objective of helping businesses scale organic growth and prove content marketing ROI, in a hassle-free manner. Global expert talent With a network of over 150,000+ content creators Pepper caters to 2500+ global brands like Amazon, Adobe, Google, to name a few. Contact Details Pepper Content Bilal Mahmood +44 7714 007257 b.mahmood@stockwoodstrategy.com Company Website https://www.peppercontent.io/

March 14, 2023 07:00 AM Pacific Daylight Time

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Starbucks Shareholder Seeks Removal of Howard Schultz as Director; Urges Company to Be Transparent About China Risks

National Legal & Policy Center

Ahead of Starbucks Corporation ’s annual meeting on March 23, National Legal and Policy Center is calling upon its fellow shareholders to support its proposal to provide greater transparency about the company’s risks of doing business in China, and to join NLPC in opposition to the reelection of outgoing CEO Howard Schultz to the board of directors. NLPC is sponsoring an “Annual Report on Company Operations in China” resolution at the meeting, which seeks transparency for shareholders that addresses “the nature and extent to which corporate operations depend on, and are vulnerable to, communist China….” The item is Proposal No. 7, found on page 79 of Starbucks’s proxy statement. NLPC’s response to the Starbucks board’s opposition to its proposal was filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission last week. NLPC also is asking shareholders, in a memo filed with the SEC, to oppose the reelection of longtime (and soon former) CEO Howard Schultz to the company’s board of directors. An excerpt from NLPC’s filing on Schultz says: We believe that Mr. Schultz being removed from all leadership and advisory roles within the company would be the most effective transition. Additionally, given Mr. Schultz’s insistence on exponential growth in risk-laden communist China; his dubious and likely illegal anti-union tactics; and his harmful politicization of the Company, we believe that his complete removal would be beneficial for the development of Mr. Narasimhan and growth of Starbucks. “In the past – even when Howard Schultz had no formal title with Starbucks – he always lurked in the shadows, and seemed to intervene when he saw problems that he arrogantly believed only he could solve,” said Paul Chesser, director of NLPC’s Corporate Integrity Project. “Disney had a similar situation last year with Bob Iger, who just couldn’t let the company go and undermined his successor before he returned, which led to the company’s worst year financially and image-wise in decades. Now Schultz may be doing the same with his aggressive union-busting efforts, which a federal judge has ruled are illegal.” On NLPC’s China proposal, Chesser said, “Mr. Schultz has built Starbucks’s presence in the communist nation beyond 6,000 stores, and has plans for thousands more, at a time of increasing geopolitical risk with U.S.-China relations approaching a critical point in hostilities. Shareholders must be thoroughly informed about the unique risks to the company that China’s aggression presents.” Finally, NLPC has also asked, in a memo filed with the SEC, for fellow Starbucks shareholders to support Proposal No. 9 on the proxy statement, which is sponsored by the Free Enterprise Project. The proposal asks the Company to create a special board committee to review the impacts of policies like its “Third Place Policy,” which opened its stores to anyone for the use of its restrooms and seating areas, regardless of whether they purchased anything. The practice has led to increased crime and unsafe environments around some stores, causing the closure of many of them. Founded in 1991, NLPC promotes ethics in public life and government accountability through research, investigation, education, and legal action. ### For more information or to schedule an interview with Paul Chesser, contact Dan Rene at 202-329-8357 or drene@nlpc.org. Please visit http://www.nlpc.org. Contact Details National Legal and Policy Center Dan Rene +1 202-329-8357 drene@nlpc.org Company Website http://www.nlpc.org

March 14, 2023 09:30 AM Eastern Daylight Time

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EY Report: Surety Bonding Provides Strong Economic Value and Strengthens Performance for Public and Private Construction Projects

SFAA

A comprehensive study, The Economic Value of Surety Bonds, finds public and private construction projects protected by surety have lower rates of contractor default, lower cost of completion in the case of default, and are finished faster than non-bonded projects. For a bonded portfolio of construction projects, the overall value of surety bonds more than covers their cost. The study, by Ernst & Young’s (EY) Quantitative Economics and Statistics Group (QUEST), was recently conducted in collaboration with the Surety & Fidelity Association of America (SFAA) and is the first to fully assess the economic value surety bonding delivers. EY’s analysis quantified the benefits surety bonding generates throughout the lifecycle of a portfolio of public and private construction projects – including benefits extending beyond the financial protection surety companies provide when contractors default. As a result, EY’s research found that bonded project portfolios modeled perform better than unbonded portfolios, even when considering conservative default rates. “The report exposes the risks of unbonded construction projects, including project delays and higher costs, especially in the case of default, and shows that state and federal laws requiring surety bonds are sound. It’s just good public policy,” said SFAA president and CEO Lee Covington. “EY is a trusted, data-driven firm, and their analysis makes clear surety bonds deliver exceptional economic value for vital American infrastructure projects. EY’s report highlights the economic value and protections surety bonds deliver for both public and private construction projects,” continued Covington. Based on a survey of public and private developers, interviews with experts on construction project defaults, and an assessment of project portfolios, the analysis identified three areas where surety bonds have a significant impact on public and private construction projects. Lower cost of completion upon default and necessary completion expertise – Unbonded construction projects on which the contractor defaults were found to have a cost of completion 85% higher than projects protected by surety bonds. Experts on construction project defaults also unanimously indicated the surety is generally more able to provide the expertise and resources needed to promote a successful transition or re-procurement process than an owner. Over 90% of these experts reported public and private owners/developers generally do not have the expertise and resources to complete the project. Lower rate or likelihood of default – Unbonded projects are more likely to default than bonded projects, perhaps by as much as ten times. This analysis assessed portfolio performance using a default rate of 2.5 times, 5 times, and 10 times a bonded portfolio’s default rate, and generally found unbonded projects are more likely to default than bonded projects. This is in large part because unbonded projects lack the various types of support bonding provides to projects (e.g., prequalification of a contractor’s expertise and financial strength, greater project oversight). Improved or lower contractor pricing – 75% of owners/developers surveyed reported that surety bonding reduces contractor pricing. Respondents cited increased confidence in the general contractor to complete the project and pay subcontractors and payment protections for subcontractors as some of the factors that impact contractor pricing. The analysis demonstrates that any level of improved contractor pricing will only increase the cost benefits of a portfolio of bonded projects. “This report represents the industry’s most comprehensive examination of the economic benefits and protections of surety,” said Principal & Co-leader, Ernst & Young (EY) Quantitative Economic and Statistics (QUEST) Group, Robert Carroll. “Based on our analysis, the multiple benefits surety delivers help manage risk and provide strong economic and performance value to construction projects,” continued Carroll. The EY report found additional benefits surety bonds bring to both public and private construction projects, including: More appropriate prequalification and review – Prior to construction, prequalification was more likely to occur for bonded projects (96% of respondents reported that pre-qualification was performed for bonded projects as compared to 61% for non-bonded), and during construction, contractors provided more information for bonded projects – general contractors were nearly twice as likely to share more than one financial update for bonded projects as for non-bonded projects. Higher priority placed on bonded projects and greater project oversight – Respondents reported that contractors prioritize bonded projects when experiencing financial challenges. Nearly 5 times as many respondents indicated that contractors place a higher priority on bonded projects as compared to unbonded projects when facing financial difficulty. Greater project oversight with more involvement by construction managers is likely to help prevent losses. Greater timeliness of completion – 5 times as many public and private owners reported, bonded projects are more likely to be completed on time or ahead of schedule than non-bonded projects. And when a project does default, an unbonded project will take nearly 2 times longer to complete than a bonded project. Necessary experience and resources when defaults occur – 100% of construction default experts surveyed/interviewed for this analysis said sureties have the expertise, tools and resources necessary to complete a project in the most cost and time-effective manner as compared to an owner who does not have the same expertise and experience as a surety. To read the EY report and get additional information visit www.surety.org/suretyprotects. The Surety & Fidelity Association of America (SFAA) is a nonprofit, nonpartisan trade association representing all segments of the surety and fidelity industry. Based in Washington, D.C., SFAA works to promote the value of surety and fidelity bonding by proactively advocating on behalf of its members and stakeholders. The association’s more than 425 member companies write 98 percent of surety and fidelity bonds in the U.S. For more information visit www.surety.org. EY exists to build a better working world, helping to create long-term value for clients, people and society and build trust in the capital markets. Enabled by data and technology, diverse EY teams in over 150 countries provide trust through assurance and help clients grow, transform and operate. Working across assurance, consulting, law, strategy, tax and transactions, EY teams ask better questions to find new answers for the complex issues facing our world today. EY refers to the global organization, and may refer to one or more, of the member firms of Ernst & Young Global Limited, each of which is a separate legal entity. Ernst & Young Global Limited, a UK company limited by guarantee, does not provide services to clients. Information about how EY collects and uses personal data and a description of the rights individuals have under data protection legislation are available via ey.com/privacy. EY member firms do not practice law where prohibited by local laws. For more information about our organization, please visit ey.com. Contact Details Peter Roth +1 703-401-0676 proth@surety.org Company Website https://surety.org/

March 13, 2023 01:00 PM Eastern Daylight Time

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