Community Brands Supports Florida Technology and Innovation at Synapse Summit

Combining emerging technologies with various science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) approaches, some of the most promising …

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla., Jan. 21, 2019 /PRNewswire/ — Community Brands, the leading provider of cloud-based software for associations, nonprofits, schools and faith-based organizations, will highlight its economic development and community involvement initiatives by participating in this week’s Synapse Summit. Organized by Synapse Florida, a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization founded to accelerate innovation in the state of Florida, the event showcases entrepreneurship and innovation happening throughout the region.

This year’s Synapse Summit brings together software and research companies, startups, investors, government employees and members of the business community to explore how technology and innovation create new opportunities. The event prominently features several new applications of technologies like artificial intelligence, virtual reality, machine learning, Internet of Things (IoT), blockchain, and robotics. Roughly 5,000 attendees will explore how they can address industry-specific problems and enhance urban experiences using these technologies.

During the conference, Community Brands President and CEO Jean-Paul (JP) Guilbault will serve as a judge in the all-new Synapse Innovation Pitch Madness contest. Combining emerging technologies with various science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) approaches, some of the most promising entrepreneurs in Florida will share new business ideas and compete for awareness and funding of their plans. Of nearly 100 companies who applied to participate in the tournament, eight were selected. A globally recognized leader, philanthropist, and tech visionary, Guilbault joins other leaders who will assess each pitch in front of a live audience.

“Throughout the next decade, technology will improve the lives of individuals and change the way society thinks about being productive or even being human,” shared Guilbault. “As entrepreneurs, technologists and leaders, we at Community Brands are focused on how technology can shape experiences and drive social good in our communities. We are thrilled to participate in this year’s program.”

Entrepreneurship is core to Community Brands. Formed in 2017 through a series of portfolio acquisitions, the company enjoys a history of being both young and well-established. Guilbault has led the organization through a period of transformative growth that has produced a rapid expansion of new products, customers, and employees. A leader in business management, customer engagement, and commerce and payment solutions, Community Brands now has more than 100,000 clients being served in nearly 40 countries by 2,400 employees. The company’s entrepreneurial leadership is fueling continuous innovation and growth across the enterprise.

Synapse Summit takes place January 23-24, 2019 in Tampa, Fla., a geographic area that has seen a significant increase in technology-driven entrepreneurship in recent years – and that also serves as the Community Brands headquarters. The event organizers are utilizing Expo Logic by Community Brands, a solution for event registration, onsite badging with face recognition, attendee tracking, and lead retrieval. Representatives from the company will be speaking about the company’s technology and community involvement in booth #158.

Learn more about Community Brands and its Association Solutions, Nonprofit Solutions, K-12 Solutions, and Faith-based Solutions.

About Community Brands

Community Brands is the leading provider of cloud-based software to associations, nonprofits, K-12 schools and faith-based groups. Through innovation and technology, the company empowers more than 100,000 clients and partners to succeed faster, grow stronger and achieve social good. Organizations adopt Community Brands software to manage memberships, career centers, learning, accounting, mobile giving, peer-to-peer fundraising, donations, admissions, enrollments and events. Using these engagement platforms, customers of all sizes create meaningful and lasting experiences for their members, donors, volunteers and families. Headquartered in St. Petersburg, Florida, USA, Community Brands serves the social good community in nearly 40 countries. To learn more, visit communitybrands.com or follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Media Contacts

Community Brands

Brad Bennett

Media Contact

press@communitybrands.com

+1 817.517.9965

SOURCE Community Brands

Related Links

https://www.communitybrands.com

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ScaleFactor raises $30M Series B

Rathmann said Bessemer Venture Partners, which led Thursday’s round, approached him about the prospect of investing in the company. Returning …
scalefactor team photo
Image via scalefactor.

ScaleFactor, an Austin tech company best known for its automated finance and accounting software for small businesses, announced on Thursday that it has raised a $30 million Series B.

The company will use the funding to grow its team and expand its offerings to cover other back-office tasks, like onboarding employees, acquiring insurance and borrowing money.

“People don’t start companies to worry about bookkeeping, compliance, taxes, or all these other things that go into running a company,” said founder and CEO Kurt Rathmann. “Maybe you love cupcakes and you make the best cupcakes around. If we can give you more time to do that, we know you’ll be more successful and able to be more creative along the way, which will ultimately lead to better business outcomes.”

The funding comes only six months after the company’s previous funding round — a $10 million Series B. And the company has been plenty busy since then.

People don’t start companies to worry about bookkeeping.”

Starting 2018 with about 30 employees, ScaleFactor now has 120, Rathmann said. In the upcoming year, he expects to hire an additional 150 — primarily in Austin.

“If you look at different parts of the business, they’re all growing, from engineering to product, sales, marketing, support and our executive team,” he said.

Those new hires include Spiceworks co-founder Francis Sullivan, who is joining ScaleFactor as CTO, and Senior VP of Marketing Robert Gilbreath, who joins the company by way of Shipstation.

Rathmann said Bessemer Venture Partners, which led Thursday’s round, approached him about the prospect of investing in the company. Returning investors include Canaan, Broadhaven Ventures and Firebrand Ventures, as well as several angel investors.

According to Rathmann, Bessemer was impressed with the company’s growth trajectory — ScaleFactor saw its customer base grow by 700 percent in 2018. To him, that growth signals how underserved small businesses have been in the world of financial software.

“Our mission is to help create more successful small businesses in the United States, and curb the current failure rate,” he said. “We love small businesses, and we’re fully focused on them.”

In venturing into new areas like insurance and lending, ScaleFactor can provide its users with insights derived from their financial information. For instance, if a business owner enters a car purchase into ScaleFactor’s accounting platform, ScaleFactor can ask the user if the car is insured. If not, ScaleFactor can help the user find the right insurance for that car.

Those insights can also be used to ensure that the customer carries appropriate business insurance for its industry and size.

A University of Texas alum, Rathmann said ScaleFactor’s Austin headquarters has been a significant contributor to his company’s success.

“We move fast, like a Bay Area company, but being here in Austin makes it more fun, and is a big draw for us in attracting talent looking for a place to put down roots,” he said. “People here love what they do, and they love coming to work every day. So we’re just going to keep doing that.”

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ScaleFactor fetches $30 mln Series B

Bessemer Venture Partners led the round with participation from other investors that included Canaan, Broadhaven Ventures and Firebrand Ventures.

Austin and Denver-based ScaleFactor, an intelligent finance and automated accounting platform, has raised $30 million in Series B funding. Bessemer Venture Partners led the round with participation from other investors that included Canaan, Broadhaven Ventures and Firebrand Ventures.

PRESS RELEASE

AUSTIN, Texas —

January 17, 2019—ScaleFactor, an intelligent finance and automated accounting platform, today announced a $30 million Series B round of funding led by Bessemer Venture Partners, one of the most successful cloud venture capital firms in the industry. Fresh off the heels of their Series A in July 2018, ScaleFactor has raised $40 million in less than six months. Returning investors in the round include Canaan, Broadhaven Ventures, Firebrand Ventures and multiple prominent angel investors.

ScaleFactor empowers small business owners by consolidating and automating complex back-office operations into one platform to create an intuitive “business OS.” The new capital will fuel additional features and headcount in the company’s Austin headquarters and enable them to expand nationwide.

“Businesses get overwhelmed by administrative work jumping from siloed solution to siloed solution and should be able to focus on what makes them successful,” said Kurt Rathmann, CEO and Founder of ScaleFactor. “Our vision of a comprehensive business operating system, built with their needs in mind, allows our customers to be proactive with their business, operate in control and drive success.”

The Race to Intelligent Finance

There are 19 million companies in the U.S. with under 100 employees, all of which need to keep track of finances. Unfortunately, most of them are currently forced to handle these tasks manually, a painful and time-consuming process. They’re stuck between an Excel spreadsheet and software that can cost over $100,000. ScaleFactor is on a mission to help small businesses scale faster. By automating complex accounting tasks and translating financial information into usable business insights, ScaleFactor is enabling business owners, managers and entrepreneurs to be proactive and focus on what they love — running and growing their business.

“The market for how companies manage their financial operations has evolved quickly,” said Byron Deeter, Partner, Bessemer Venture Partners. “With Kurt’s roots as a CPA, he identified this problem early and guided ScaleFactor to be the leader in intelligent finance. We are excited to support their mission and growth.”

ScaleFactor realized over 700% annual customer growth in 2018. At a time when small and midmarket companies are often overlooked, ScaleFactor’s momentum is built off of a unique understanding of their needs. Since launch, the company has used these insights to build the “business operating system (OS)” for small and midmarket businesses.

It’s a solution to the piecemeal approach companies currently use to solve the various accounting and back-office choirs. Current offerings include

Automated Bookkeeping,

Bill Pay and Invoicing,

Cash Vision and Business Insights.

“ScaleFactor has assembled an optimal combination of technology and team,” said Anna Khan, VP, Bessemer Venture Partners. “ScaleFactor has grown at hyper-speed since its inception, and we are firm believers that AI-based accounting and (a streamlined) back office is the path forward for the majority of small businesses.”

New Key Executive Hires

ScaleFactor welcomes Francis Sullivan as its new CTO. Sullivan brings over 30 years of industry experience to this new position. Sullivan is a co-founder of Austin-based Spiceworks and spent the last 13 years there redefining the SMB IT industry. At ScaleFactor, Sullivan will build out its robust software platform with enhanced features to empower SMBs to tackle complex back-office operations.

Robert Gilbreath joins as Senior VP of Marketing, bringing a depth of marketing and partnership knowledge. Robert was previously CMO and VP of Partnerships at Austin-based Shipstation. Robert’s marketing knowledge, entrepreneurial spirit, and prior startup experience will be instrumental as ScaleFactor continues to build out business OS.

Eric Steinhoff brings an impressive wealth of knowledge surrounding lending that will amplify ScaleFactor’s ability to connect small businesses to the best source of capital when they need it. Eric started his career at Capital One and was most recently Chief Compliance Officer at Apple Pie Capital.

Additional Thoughts From Existing Investors

“The prospect of a clean, singular interface for businesses to manage the back office is now a reality with ScaleFactor,” said Michael Gilroy, Partner, Canaan. “Kurt has positioned ScaleFactor to win with small and mid-sized businesses as they further develop their platform and positively impact the success rate of small businesses in the U.S. and beyond. We are excited to be a strategic partner for the long run.”

“Technology is fundamentally changing the accounting realm,” said Michael Sidgmore, Partner, Broadhaven Ventures. “ScaleFactor brings automation to back-office tasks which gives business the ability to execute in real-time with access to instant information. Our team has witnessed the

pace of ScaleFactor’s growth and we are eager to support them in the next phases of their journey to serve businesses.”

About Bessemer Venture Partners

Bessemer Venture Partners is the world’s most experienced early-stage venture capital firm. With a portfolio of more than 200 companies, Bessemer helps visionary entrepreneurs lay strong foundations to create companies that matter, and supports them through every stage of their growth. The firm has backed more than 120 IPOs, including Shopify, Yelp, LinkedIn, Skype, LifeLock, Twilio, SendGrid, DocuSign, Wix, and MindBody. Bessemer’s 14 partners operate from offices in Silicon Valley, San Francisco, New York City, Boston, Israel, and India.

About ScaleFactor

ScaleFactor is on a mission to help small businesses scale faster.

By automating complex accounting tasks and translating financial information into usable business insights, ScaleFactor is enabling business owners, managers, and entrepreneurs to focus on what they love running and growing their business. Find out more about how ScaleFactor is solving the problems that businesses face every day at scalefactor.com.

10 French startups to look out for in 2019

Founded in 2016 and backed by Index Ventures, Alan is the first independent health insurance company to be licensed in France in 30 years, and has …

The French tech scene is flourishing and a growing amount of evidence confirm the French passion for innovation, creativity and entrepreneurship, with Station F’s opening in Paris, La French Tech’s support, and success stories like BlaBlaCar. In the words of the leading French businessman Xavier Niel: “The word entrepreneur is French, it’s in our DNA”. So we decided to take a look into some of the most promising startups in France in the upcoming year.

Margo – Launched in 2017, Margo Bank is a fintech startup that has set out to create the next-generation commercial bank for European SMBs. Its aimed at providing small and medium businesses with more than €1 million in revenue with deposit, payment and credit services, tailored to their business. Additional features include personalised attention and close follow-up with bankers, rich digital services, and availability on multiple platforms.

Alan – Alan is a health insurance startup offering complimentary insurance for medical expenses, targeted towards both companies and individuals, who can sign up and be approved for health insurance coverage in less than five minutes online. Additional features include a simplified process, zero paper, and online subscription. Founded in 2016 and backed by Index Ventures, Alan is the first independent health insurance company to be licensed in France in 30 years, and has raised €36 million to date.

Lancey-logoLancey – Founded in 2016 by Raphaël Meyer, Gilles Moreau and Hervé Ory, Lancey is another cleantech startup that offers a plug & play electric radiator with a built-in battery, able to store electricity during off-peak hours and restore it during peak consumption. Equipped with sensors and a cloud-based energy management system, Lancey is a “smart radiator” able to learn from user behaviour and adjust heating settings accordingly.

Everoad – Founded in 2016, this so-called ‘Uber’ of European trucking is revolutionizing the road freight industry by utilizing technology and digitalization to connect shippers with carriers, eliminating the intermediaries and facilitating the booking process. With €17.5 million in funding, Everoad is well positioned to become the one-stop shop for all road freight needs and build the future of logistics.

IPaidThat – Known as an automated accounting document aggregator and a business expense manager, IPaidThat simplifies and automates the accounting of startups and SMEs. Founded in 2017 and based in Paris, its software automatically searches for invoices in mailboxes and links them to banking operations in real time through machine learning, Blockchain, and artificial intelligence.

Qonto – With the aim of making business banking cheaper, faster and more efficient, Qonto offers modern banking solution tailored for small businesses and entrepreneurs. Founded in 2016 and based in Paris, the startup already employs over 100 people, and has been named as one of the ‘Global Fintech 50 Emerging Stars’ by KPMG & H2 Ventures. Qonto’s features include an international bank account number, physical and virtual cards, synchronised transactions with different accounting software solutions, and more.

Spendesk – In order to simplify the process of how companies manage their employee expenses, Spendesk has developed a service that combines prepaid cards with an expense report solution. Spendesk generates corporate payment cards for employee use and enables managers to oversee and control team spending. Based in Paris and backed by Index Ventures, the startup has raised €10.5 million since it was founded in 2016.

PerfectStay – Created by four tourism experts, PerfectStay is a tour operator which allows major brands to offer their customers exclusive and quality travel at attractive prices, while generating up to 20 times more sales than with a traditional model. Its clients include Air France, Vente Privée and Easy Voyages, Emirates, Corseair, Holiday Pirates and more. Founded in 2016, PerfectStay raised a €15 million Series A funding round in June 2018.

Mooncard – Founded in 2016 in Paris and supported by Bpifrance, Mooncard is a fintech developing a new generation of payment cards for businesses. Their solution manages corporate expenses and expense claims through a simple Mastercard personal payment card that automates the entire expense management process.

MainBot – MainBot specialises in the design and manufacture of robots for children. Their flagship product is Winky, a modular robot that serves as an intelligent and educational companion as it teaches the principles and thinking patterns behind coding and robotics to children from 5 to 11 years old. Founded in 2017, MainBot has raised €140k to date and its product is to be launched soon.

By the way: If you’re a corporate or investor looking for exciting startups in a specific market for a potential investment or acquisition, check out our Startup Sourcing Service!

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Significance of AI to Businesses in Today’s Economy

Jean-Francois Gagné, CEO at the AI-based software company Element AI, told Via News that in what AI is concerned, “the job displacement topic is a …

Emerging technology is a word very much thrown around these days. It is especially as most of the business sector look to not only cut their expenditure but also to improve the quality of their offering. Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a leading emerging technology whose significance is growing by the day. A lot of companies are evaluating ways of leveraging the technology if not just thinking about it.

Integrating algorithms into the business model

Interestingly, there is nowhere AI seems crucial as in the entrepreneurial sector. Unlike established businesses, small businesses, which entrepreneurs run, lack stable economies of scale. It is to say that businesses are not established to deal with certain shocks, especially from the external environment. Further, they do not have the financial muscle to sufficiently deal with certain aspects of business like hiring the best talent available.

In this light, it is imperative that the entrepreneurs learn to improvise and also to make technology work for them. AI is doing just that! A lot of entrepreneurs are trying to figure out ways of integrating algorithms into their business model. Notably, this not only helps the small business maintain a lean staff but also to maximize output.

AI, alongside other emerging technological concepts like Machine Learning and Deep Learning, is defining most of the world’s business environment. However, it is clear that the new concepts are still a little bit technical for business owners who would like a go at it. In spite of that, there is an evident thirst for know-how and how to make the technology work for businesses.

“Entrepreneurs should have clear priorities and a clear framework on how the technology will be helpful.”

Vinita Bansal, social entrepreneur at Speaker City,

Clarity of purpose will unlock the true potential of AI

Vinita Bansal is a social entrepreneur who runs Speaker City, a Public Speaking startup in India. Bansal is among the new age entrepreneurs that are transforming the business environment, not just in India but globally. She finds it a blessing that AI came up at a time when she could make it work for her. Nonetheless, Bansal cautions that AI is beneficial if it aligns with your business model.

Regarding entrepreneurs who would like to integrate the new technology into their businesses, Bansal says, “Entrepreneurs should have clear priorities and a clear framework on how the technology will be helpful.” In this sense, business owners must be clear about the outcomes they desire from their business as a result of integrating AI.

“AI has great potential in terms of increasing the productivity of businesses, especially in the entrepreneurial sense,” she says. “However, knowing how best to deploy the technology will determine if it delivers the potential optimally. Basically, entrepreneurs should first figure out how the technology will grasp the concepts they want to implement.”

Mitigating job displacement

Interestingly, the intrigue does not end there. Evaluating the potential of the emerging technology points us in a direction that is coming up as a vital basis for debate. It is apparent that AI boosts efficiency, productivity and hence, it helps businesses substantially cut operational costs. However, it is also true that AI takes up more and more jobs that would otherwise keep the world’s workforce employed.

The manufacturing industry is at the center of this debate, given the number of people that depend on the jobs for livelihood. Tripti Gupta owns AADYA Fashions, a fashion house that sources materials and manufactures clothes in a variety of designs. Gupta unequivocally says that AI will revolutionize the labor market. For manufacturers like herself, it will be untenable to settle for human plant operators that are expensive to maintain and are prone to errors. Instead, she is more likely to go for intelligent machines that can accomplish her objectives fast, cheaply and with perfection.

“The business sector should begin looking for ways to mitigate job displacement as a result of the adoption of AI before it becomes a menace and disrupts the business environment,” Gupta concludes.

Jean-Francois Gagné, CEO at the AI-based software company Element AI, told Via News that in what AI is concerned, “the job displacement topic is a fair one.” In a five to ten-year time span, we can expect “AI taking on more the responsibility on regular mundane tasks and even some cognitive tasks,” Gagné concludes.

Jean-Francois Gagné, CEO at Element AI, an artificial intelligence software company. Photo by: Via News.
Jean-Francois Gagné, CEO at Element AI, an artificial intelligence software company. Photo by: Via News.

As for businesses wanting to implement AI capabilities, Jean-Francois Gagné, explains that “the first thing to do is have a clear idea of the objective. The second step is understanding how to get an AI system to learn about the context and the signal leading to the desired outcome.”

Via News TV

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