(Reuters) – Citigroup Inc C.N Chief Financial Officer Mark Mason said on Monday the bank was accelerating investments in its risk and control functions following a high-profile $900 million operational error.
The bank has planned $1 billion in incremental investments this year to shore up the bank’s infrastructure and improve risk management and compliance, Mason said at an investor conference.
For the third quarter, the bank expects to continue adding to its reserves for loan losses in light of a weaker economic outlook due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
However, the build is likely to be significantly lower than in the first half of the year when the bank set aside over $7 billion a quarter for potential losses.
Overall, the bank forecasts quarterly revenue to decline in the high single digits compared to last year due to lower interest rates and a slowdown in investment banking and consumer activity.
Trading continued to be a bright spot, showing low double-digit growth for the quarter, Mason said.
Reporting by Imani Moise; Editing by Bernadette Baum
Insurtech investment keeps up, but not all will survive the pandemic – Insurance Business CA
However, it’s also important to note that although this data points to the sector staying on track to raise potentially the second-highest amount of money in any given year, it was the top 10 insurtechs who have walked away with the majority of the capital spoils, leaving the rest of the community to fight over the leftover one-third of total funds invested.
Meanwhile, another key trend to highlight is that while there are some insurtechs that are making headway by writing coverage and directly competing with traditional insurers, legacy insurance companies are still dominating the playing field, says one expert.
“I don’t see a behemoth insurtech out there that’s going to essentially end the insurance business as we know it, and take over massive amounts of market share,” said Sam Friedman (pictured), insurance research leader at the Deloitte Centre for Financial Services. “Where insurtech is having a huge impact is in helping insurers become better at what they do.”
Insurtechs have helped insurers to become more digital, improve the customer experience, access new sources of alternative data, and get better at advanced analytics and predictive modelling to help with policy administration and claims handling. This in turn has helped with fraud management and augmenting underwriting so that underwriters can focus on more cognitive work, including portfolio management, and working with brokers and clients to set terms and coverage, explained Friedman. Rather than serving as direct competition, the insurtech-insurer relationship has become a much more symbiotic one, he added.
Nonetheless, there has been a ripple-effect from the pandemic on this relationship, in that “it’s forced insurers to prioritize who they’re going after now and who they need to work with, which is anybody that can help them accelerate digitization,” said Friedman. “There may be some areas where they’re going to decide, ‘I’m not going to work on that this year, or maybe for another 18 months. I [instead] need help to get my claims adjusters virtual so that they can look at a damaged property, whether it’s through a drone or the policyholder’s camera phone.’”
As a result, there’s more emphasis being placed on insurtechs that are ready to go to market, and have products that have been proven and can be scaled, in order to help insurers get through the transition prompted by COVID-19.
Moreover, according to the Deloitte expert, “You could see more merger and acquisition activity in insurtech, both among insurtechs, because what you’re seeing is there’s a lot of duplication of solutions out there that may have to be consolidated, and also, because insurance companies are now looking for holistic solutions, rather than point solutions,” said Friedman.
While the market for insurtech investment is dynamic right now, there are some insurtechs that may get left on the sidelines because either they’re not far enough along to be of immediate value to the industry, they duplicate what too many of their peers are doing, or their products are not exactly what the industry needs during the pandemic.
“You’re going to have to wait and see, do they have enough money to sustain them for 12 to 18 months when they are not necessarily going to do a lot of business – that’s going to be the interesting thing to watch,” said Friedman.
TechSee Closes $30M Series C Investment Round to Accelerate Growth – Canada NewsWire
NEW YORK and TEL AVIV, Israel, Oct. 26, 2020 /CNW/ — TechSee, the category leader in Intelligent Visual Assistance, today announced it has raised $30 million in a Series C equity investment round. The round was co-led by OurCrowd, Salesforce Ventures, and TELUS Ventures with participation from Scale Venture Partners and Planven Entrepreneur Ventures.
Founded in 2015, the Tel Aviv-based company has grown rapidly by reducing customer friction points for enterprises. Its Visual Assistance technology bridges the visual gap in customer service, allowing customers and technicians to receive real-time AR guidance on their smartphone or tablet screens in assisted service or self-service mode. The company is also innovating in the field of Computer Vision AI with technology that can provide visual guidance to users installing, operating, or troubleshooting networking devices, smart home products, home appliances, and more. TechSee’s AI platform can automatically identify components, ports, cables, LED indicators, and more to detect issues and suggest resolutions for consumers, contact center agents, and field technicians.
“There has been a significant increase in demand for contactless customer service technologies propelled by COVID-19 social distancing requirements and the acceleration of digital transformation projects,” said Eitan Cohen, CEO of TechSee. “Our Visual Automation technology is at the heart of it, and now that momentum is growing exponentially as businesses seek to reduce costs and optimize customer experience strategies in the current environment. Our vision is to get rid of the user manual and replace it with dynamic AR assistants.”
TechSee’s solutions have become critical during the COVID-19 pandemic as enterprises seek ways to resolve customers’ issues without jeopardizing health and safety; dispatching field service technicians or allowing them to enter people’s homes is, in many cases, no longer viable. Even when in-person visits are feasible, businesses are actively seeking ways to reduce truck rolls in favor of remote resolutions that are more cost effective and efficient. TechSee recently announced a commercial partnership with Verizon to address this issue by bringing visual assistance to customers.
Additional commercial partnerships include Vodafone, Orange, Liberty Global, Accenture, Hitachi, and Lavazza, among others.
“Remote Visual Assistance is becoming an imperative technology for any customer-centric enterprise operating at scale,” said Alex Kayyal, Partner & Head of International, Salesforce Ventures. “The potential upside for the business and the customer is difficult to ignore. This industry has fundamentally shifted, and we’re excited by the innovation TechSee is bringing to the market in the area of customer assistance.”
TechSee addresses many of the issues that have historically plagued contact centers and field service operations. Its technology reduces customer effort, cuts costly truck rolls and product returns, improves the productivity and efficiency of support agents and technicians, and decreases call volume by enhancing self-service, in some cases saving companies hundreds of thousands of dollars per month while improving customer satisfaction and employee engagement.
“We couldn’t be more delighted with the progress TechSee has made since OurCrowd initially provided seed funding in 2017,” said OurCrowd CEO, Jon Medved. “While this company has already come a long way, we know the best is yet to come.”
The capital injection will be used to enter new markets and verticals while expanding TechSee’s product offerings and capabilities.
“Innovators like TechSee are revolutionizing the customer journey to deliver real value and meaningful improvement through digital transformation,” said Rich Osborn, managing partner, TELUS Ventures. “Our investments in market-leaders like TechSee aim to support the development of secure, innovative technologies to improve the customer experience which perfectly aligns with our corporate philosophy to put Customers First. We look forward to helping enable these future innovations.”
TechSee’s technology was recently recognized in the Gartner Cool Vendor for CRM Customer Service and Support 2020 report. The company, which has raised $54 million in funding to date, was also named to Fast Company‘s list of most innovative companies of 2020, and took home TMC’s 21st Anniversary CRM Excellence Award.
For more information, visit techsee.me.
TechSee revolutionizes the customer experience domain with the ﬁrst visual engagement solution powered by Computer Vision AI and Augmented Reality. It enables enterprises around the world to deliver better customer assistance, enhance service quality and reduce costs. TechSee is led by industry veterans with years of experience in mobile technologies, artiﬁcial intelligence and big data. The company is headquartered in Tel Aviv with oﬃces in New York, London, and Madrid. For more information, visit www.techsee.me.
About Salesforce Ventures
Salesforce is the global leader in Customer Relationship Management (CRM), bringing companies closer to their customers in the digital age. Salesforce Ventures, the global investment arm of Salesforce, invests in the next generation of enterprise technology that extends the power of the Salesforce Platform. Salesforce Ventures is building the world’s largest ecosystem of enterprise cloud companies and extending that technology to customers. Portfolio companies receive funding, strategic advisory and operating support, and can easily join Pledge 1% to make giving back part of their business model. Salesforce Ventures has invested in more than 375 companies, including DocuSign, GoCardless, Guild Education, nCino, Snowflake, Twilio, Zoom and others across 22 countries since 2009. For more information, please visit www.salesforce.com/ventures.
OurCrowd is a global venture investment platform that empowers institutions and individuals to invest and engage in emerging companies. The most active venture investor in Israel, OurCrowd vets and selects companies, invests its capital, and provides its global network with unparalleled access to co-invest and contribute connections, talent and deal flow. OurCrowd builds value for its portfolio companies throughout their lifecycles, providing mentorship, recruiting industry advisors, navigating follow-on rounds and creating growth opportunities through its network of multinational partnerships. With $1.5 billion of committed funding, and investments in 220 portfolio companies and 22 venture funds, OurCrowd offers access to its membership of 55,000 individual accredited and institutional investors, family offices, and venture capital partners from over 183 countries to invest alongside, at the same terms. OurCrowd’s portfolio is diversified across sectors and stages, ranging from seed and series A through late stage and pre-IPO firms. Since its founding in 2013, OurCrowd portfolio companies have been acquired by some of the most prestigious brands in the world, including Microsoft, Uber, Canon, Oracle, Nike, and Intel. To register and get involved, visit www.ourcrowd.com.
About TELUS Ventures
As the strategic investment arm of TELUS Corporation (TSX: T, NYSE: TU), TELUS Ventures was founded in 2001 and is one of Canada’s most active corporate venture capital funds. TELUS Ventures has invested in over 70 companies since inception with a focus on innovative technologies such as Health Tech, IoT, AI and Security. TELUS Ventures is an active investment partner and supports its portfolio companies through mentoring; exposure to TELUS’ extensive network of business and co-investment partners; access to TELUS’ technologies and broadband networks; and by actively driving new solutions across the TELUS ecosystem. For more information please visit: ventures.TELUS.com.
About Scale Venture Partners
Scale is a Silicon Valley-based venture capital investment firm with $1.3B under management. We were early investors in SaaS pioneers like Bill.com, Box, DocuSign, HubSpot, JFrog, and RingCentral. Today we’re investing in the next generation of great enterprise software companies like WalkMe, CircleCI, KeepTruckin, BigID, and Lever. Learn more at www.scalevp.com.
About Planven Entrepreneur Ventures
Planven Entrepreneur Ventures (“PEV”) is a venture capital fund that invests globally in advanced technology solutions for fast growing B2B markets leveraging on a unique corporate network in Europe and a strong presence in Israel. PEV invests in series A (late), B and C in revenue generating companies. Target sectors are artificial intelligence, big data, cybersecurity and health tech. PEV supports the company in the expansion phase in Europe and in the US. For more information, visit www.planvenev.com.
For further information: Contact for media only: Liad Churchill , +972547782536
Organigram going all in on synthetic cannabinoid investment – Stockhouse
OGI made an initial $5 million investment in Hyasynth in September 2018 and the Friday announcement represents the second of three tranches the cannabis producer has the right to make.
As part of the deal, Organigram has the right to purchase potentially all of Hyasynth’s cannabinoid production at a 10% discount to the wholesale market price for a 10-year period.
Several cannabis producers including Organigram, along with Toronto-based Cronos Group (TSX.CRON), have significantly invested in synthetic cannabinoid research as a way to help drive down the cost of chemical compounds contained within the cannabis plant…down to pennies per gram.
For more of the latest info on Cannabis, check out the Cannabis Trending News hub on Stockhouse.
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