From Months To Minutes

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Created in the UK, mnAI is the award-winning platform that holds billions of data points on millions of UK companies, which can be used by investors, advisors and corporates as information and insights to make faster decisions. In fact, mnAI’s ground-breaking platform has reduced a research process that usually takes months into only a matter of minutes. As the platform prepares to take off on an international scale, we dug a little deeper to find out more about the impacts of this revolutionary technology.

mnAI is a platform providing information, insight, research and due diligence on all unlisted companies in the UK for investors, advisors and corporates. Currently holding over 9 billion data points on more than 7 million+ UK companies, mnAI applies a wide variety of machine learning algorithms and filters to enable users to access targeted information far more rapidly than is currently possible. Often, this means completing what used to take months of work in only minutes.

Fundamentally, mnAI believes in a world where technology can be used to accelerate decision making. As such, Founders John Cushing and Andrew King began their enterprise with the mission to provide a single source of unified data that made deal origination, due diligence and customer search really easy. The result would be to dramatically reduce the time it takes investors, companies and individuals to identify and understand an industry or business, enabling faster, more productive decisions based on informed, real-time data. 

Therefore, they created the mnAI platform, a comprehensive, easy to use, efficient product at a competitive price point which is backed by a relentless focus on customer service. The solution uses thousands of web crawlers which scan the internet, capturing relevant company data such as financial, governance, social media, online reviews, websites and more. As a result, mnAI is able to add over 100million data points a week to their platform, which is organised into a comprehensible system by the platform’s Natural Language Processing and Machine Learning Algorithms. 

mnAI then combines and aggregates the data to create proprietary insights that clients can tailor to their individual needs, whether they be looking to form an overall picture on public and private companies, see the key financials of these companies to make predictions of future growth or acquire information of key professionals or investors within an organisation and their networks or much more besides. 

To truly understand the exhaustive nature of the mnAI data source, it is easiest to break it down into its raw numbers and statistics. With 9 billion data points, mnAI is the most comprehensive data source for UK company information and is always growing. The platform has amalgamated, digitalised and visualised 170.4 million governance records and autonomously tracks 37.1 million Directors, Shareholders, Officers and PSC profiles in real time, creating rich insight with mapped connections that couldn’t be replicated by human touch. mnAI is also able to identify seven million UK companies and 500,000 investee companies and create insights from this data within only five minutes.

From its inception, mnAI has been a design led company driven by its devotion to customers, which has been encapsulated in five simple but integral values: first, to keep it simple, to always be transparent and in return, listen carefully to clients and colleagues alike, to always do the right thing and finally, to make it personal. 

In this way, mnAI’s approach focuses on increasing the insights and efficiency of the clients by enhancing and supporting their operations while at the same time reducing costs. The beauty of mnAI’s simplicity as a single platform is that is can be used effectively by several departments, whether they be deal teams, sales, due diligence or compliance (especially on gender), across several industries. mnAI is designed for any company or person looking for potential investments, customers or company information and has as such curated a clientele that includes Private Equity and Venture Capital investors, Corporate Finance boutiques, Wealth Managers, Banks, Commercial Real Estate companies, Family offices and Professional and Financial Services. mnAI has also seen notable interest from business schools, some of which are considered the best in the USA.

With ambitions to begin scaling the platform on an international platform in the near future, mnAI is still faced with the substantial challenge of brand development and raising global awareness of what mnAI can do. The platform’s abilities that are accessible at a remarkably low price point are unmatched by any other organisation in the world, and as such, mnAI is working hard to communicate to prospective clients within their core industry verticals how they can help them to improve their working practices, reduce their costs and give them greater internal capacity. 

It is hard work operating in a growth stage company and requires a great deal of grit. However, arguably this makes every success that much sweeter and the mnAI team celebrate each one together. For the organisation, the people behind mnAI are what have seen the company grow from strength to strength, being instrumental in building the technology, the brand and the relationships with each mnAI client. 

As such, mnAI has been able to cultivate an environment that promotes personal and professional development, trusting in each one of the team members in tech, marketing and sales to do the right thing. For them, the platform they have created is not just a job, it is their passion which drives them to be the best and push the boundaries in knoweldge and innovation. Constantly on the look out for new ways to improve their technology, sell their product and better serve their clients, mnAI is staying true to the values which drive it as they look ahead to the future.

As a pure tech business, mnAI’s entire infrastructure is cloud based so, despite Covid-19 restrictions, the firm has been able to continue the development of its technology. Recently, this has included Insight, which enables customers to generate their own industry reports, and Gender Analysis, which allows mnAI’s entire dataset to be filtered by gender, which has helped make compliance with the Rose Review quick and easy.

As the firm nears the point of scaling the mnAI platform internationally, the team are preparing for their biggest but most exciting challenge yet. There is no doubt that we can continue to see many years of success from this revolutionary enterprise as they achieve their ambitions for global expansion.

Not Digitizing Your AP May Have Cost Your Business Thousands of Dollars in 2020

melio

You don’t need a finance professional to tell you that paying the bills means money coming out of your pocket, that’s just common sense. Still, many small and medium-sized business (SMB) owners fail to realize just how much more, on top of the amount due, they are spending on simply making these payments happen, especially if they do so manually, as Tofi Stoler of Melio (a US B2B bill payments company focused on SMBs) explains.

According to a 2018 study by accounting firm PayStream and consulting company Levvel, the average cost of processing a single invoice for novice businesses is $15. This means that if your business has, say, 20 bills to pay each month, just the cost of processing them adds up to $300 a month or $3,600 a year. Earlier data from enterprise information management company Iron Mountain indicates the cost of the non-digitized processing of a single paper invoice could even be as high as $25.

The good news is that much of these sums can be saved by making smart payment management decisions and switching to a digital accounts payable (AP) tool, like Melio.

Below are five ways in which not digitizing your business’ AP may have cost your business thousands of dollars in 2020.

 

Staff-hours

Processing payments manually can take an overwhelming amount of time for you and your staff. Consider, for example, the fact that each vendor typically has their own accepted payment method, which forces you to alternate between making transfers on your bank’s website, using a vendor’s dedicated platform or phoning in to pay via credit card, and manually writing and mailing out paper checks.

Keeping track of payments, each made on a different platform, for accounting and tax purposes, takes additional time and is also prone to error.

Iron Mountain estimated that the shift to digital AP solutions could boost labor productivity by up to 25%. Just imagine how you could better spend the money you save on salaries to develop your business or what your staff could otherwise accomplish in these salvaged hours.

With digital AP solutions, you save staff-hours by automating recurring payments, scheduling all your transactions to go out exactly when they need to, and eliminating human error.

Best of all, you can take care of all of your due bills in one session on a single platform, regardless of what payment or delivery methods you choose.

 

Penalties and late fees

Whether it’s in an effort to maximize cash flow or simply due to poor task management, or lack of time, many businesses tend to put payments off to the last minute. This poses the risk of payments arriving too late, resulting in penalties, additional fees, and, sometimes, irreparable damage to their relationship with vendors.

Using a digital AP tool, you can get a clear picture of all of your due bills and schedule them in one sitting to make sure they leave your account and arrive at your vendor’s hands at just the right time for both parties.

And, if you still need more float, some digital AP solutions, including Melio, allow you to pay with a credit card even if your vendor doesn’t accept cards. This way, you can defer payments until your next billing cycle, which can make a huge difference if, like many other business owners, you’re still waiting for a check that’s “in the mail.”

 

Security

There is no way around it, manual payment processing methods can be risky. Checks can get lost in the mail or stolen, and making credit card payments over the phone or on various websites could make you vulnerable to fraud and phishing attacks. 

Online AP tools are far safer and provide a clear record of when and how a payment was sent, as well as its current status. Additionally, these systems have layers of security protocols and encryptions and you always have someone to call in the unlikely scenario something goes wrong. 

 

Human error

To error is human, and when humans are manually processing bills and payments, it is also quite common. According to a 2010 survey by software company Sterling Commerce, each paper invoice error costs companies an average of $53.5 to rectify. This alone can easily amount to hundreds of dollars a year.

With digital AP solutions, you reduce the need to manually and repeatedly type or write addresses and account numbers, as the system automatically saves these. All of your transactions are well documented, and any errors are easier to spot and fix before the funds leave your account.

 

Physical goods

This may sound like small change, but the cost of the physical goods required for manual invoice processing adds up. Consider envelopes, stamps, ink cartridges, printing paper, file folders, file cabinets, and even the physical space they take up in terms of rent. With a digital AP service, you can significantly reduce these expenses.

To conclude, processing invoices manually costs more than most business owners realize, and digital AP tools can not only make your life easier, they can also save a hefty sum. So, don’t make the same mistake in 2021 and join SMBs across the country who are already managing their payments online the smart, secure, and cost-effective way. Start now with Melio. It’s simple, fast, and free.

 

For more information visit: www.meliopayments.com

Intelligent Investment

Algorithm Invest

Algorithm Invest is not trying to provide brokerage or financial services, nor is it a bank or financial institution of any sort. Instead, it is an IT company boasting sole ownership of the commercial rights of economist, computer scientist and engineer, Cristian Pauna’s mathematical algorithms, theServer and SuperCont, that are specifically designed for automated investment with high and proven returns. Using his ground-breaking algorithms, Algorithm Invest is able to provide software to individual or corporate investors looking to manage the capital in their own investment accounts. We dug a little deeper to find out more about this company which is transforming investment. 

Algorithm Invest is the producer and developer of automated capital software, theServer and SuperCont, business intelligence systems that are distributed as rentable software to other companies who can provide informatics services to final investors. Using advanced artificial intelligence procedures that have been built by Cristian Pauna, a celebrated engineer, economist, computer scientist and PHD candidate in Economy specialising in economical informatics, the software grows the capital in investors’ accounts.

With more than twenty years of sustained research activity, Pauna is not only the author of theServer artificial intelligence software system, but of several other original mathematical algorithms for capital investments too. Many of these have earned Pauna awards and accolades, such as The Low Risk Trading algorithm based on the price cyclicality function for capital markets, which won “Management and Marketing Award. Challenges for the Knowledge Society” at the 13th International Conference On Business Excellence organized by the Society for Business Excellence and Academy of Economic Studies in Bucharest, Romania. Alongside several award-winning papers, Pauna has also successfully introduced the notion of ‘limit conditions’ into the financial markets, a methodology designed to stay away from market risks and avoid trading in non-significant price movements.

Now, the Founder and Owner of Algorithm Invest, Pauna has built the company and all its divisions fairly, sharing profit equally and supporting all costs within the company itself. If an investor using Algorithm Invest software finds they have not recorded profit in their account, they will not be invoiced, as the sole purpose of the company is to help investors as they make profit. 

As the sole owner of the commercial rights to use Pauna’s mathematical algorithms, Algorithm Invest creates software that is the base of any informatics service distributed by companies to investors. After an investor opens a capital account with an independent and supervised brokerage company and deposits the working capital into his own account, theServer keeps the capital in the investors’ account at all time under the brokerage house management, but the investor has complete control of the money and capital exposure, which can be set between 20 and 50%, dependent on the capital amount.

Based on the data generated and stored by the brokerage company, the software will analyse the markets and generate IT signals that are then sent to the investor. The brokerage company will then transform these signals into actions if the investor accepts the recommendations of the IT software, which will then record and collect the profit in the investor’s account every day.

Any private or institutional investor can use the informatics service based on theServer and SuperCont software developed by Algorithm Invest. The minimal capital used by the system is 110k USD, Euro, or GBP plus the used risk. The capital exposure can be set by the investor at 10%, 20%, or 30% depending on his risk appetite and the profitability obtained in the last 36 months is at a minimum of 8% monthly in the investor’s account. The service cost is half of the realized profit, with no other fees, taxes, or charges. Indeed, Algorithm Invest’s faith in their systems has enabled them to invite anyone to test the service provided by their divisions for free. For those investors who are serious about looking for fair and modern investment opportunities, Algorithm Invest’s business club has been created for investors to establish partnerships with the company itself.

Being in complete control of their capital, investors can stop the service at any time through the online interface and all risk is managed by the investor through the SuperCont business intelligence system.

Investor control, however, is second only in importance to confidentiality and security for Algorithm Invest, assuring comfort for the investor during a multi-annual investment plan, whilst information security is guaranteed by the company’s specialised firewall. This security even applies to money that is being kept by an independent brokerage company as the confidentiality contracts that are provided by Algorithm Invest and all its divisions and representatives are designed to protect both the software and investors’ details. No matter how Algorithm Invest grows and develops, confidentiality will always be the priority.  

Through continuous improvement and development of algorithms, theServer has achieved outstanding performance in the last eleven years, producing continuous and repeatable profits in the accounts of investors. The software even withstood its hardest test in the form of the unprecedented market crash brought on by the outbreak of Covid-19. The company saw minimal profits of 5% during the crisis, yet none of Algorithm Invest’s investors lost any capital and some larger accounts even managed to maintain profitability, despite the sharp market decline. For Pauna, this has been his hardest test in the last twenty years and for him and his company to pull through so well is a testament to the excellence of his systems.

With the technical side of business successfully managed and developing, Pauna’s attention is now focused on building his marketing, sales and promotion departments. Thanks to his large team of certified experts in a diversity of fields from all sorts of cultures, backgrounds and age groups, Algorithm Invest is able to provide knowledgeable service to investors all over the world, whilst building the company itself to be of the highest possible standards.

As Algorithm Invest looks to further improve its service, Pauna and his team are looking to develop theServer automated capital investment software to increase profitability. Each day, new mining algorithms are added to the system so as to find more investment opportunities across seventeen international capital markets. Today, theServer is using over 2,000 data-mining algorithms to find market entries and another 454 data-mining algorithms to find optimal market exits. The whole system therefore currently makes 6.6 million instructions per second to complete the service. As Algorithm Invest continues to develop their offering to help investors grow their capital, there is no doubt we can continue to see these already remarkable figures continue to grow exponentially.

Delivering Simplicity, Visibility, Collaboration

NetAlly

CV’s Corporate Excellence programme was launched to recognise businesses across the world who are working to ‘better the future of business’. Working in communication technology – a vital aspect of business, especially this year – NetAlly has made a profound impression on the industry since its establishment in 2019. Named, rightfully so, as the ‘Best Portable Network Testing Solutions Provider’, we endeavoured to find out more about NetAlly through Dan Klimke, Director of Product Marketing.

NetAlly has curated a reputation based on ‘firsts’. Trendsetting from the outset, and pacemakers in its market, NetAlly has swiftly distinguished itself as a brand to trust in the area of communications network test equipment. Of course, this is made all the more impressive when you consider the sheer competitiveness of the greater technology landscape. Yet, all things considered, the company was in good hands from the start, almost destined to thrive and blossom into the business it is today.

In this year of all years, communication has been a crucial tool for continuation – continuation through what has been, by all regards, a year defined by disruption. NetAlly, alongside its contemporaries, have been vital guides for businesses in all industries who required an expert touch to ensure their IT networks remained future proof, their communications fit for purpose, and able to scale to demand.

In this, as Dan explains, NetAlly was only too eager to take on the role of a client ally, looking to best serve businesses in a sphere that can seem, too often, overwhelming. “Our guiding principles are simplicity, visibility and collaboration. In our customers’ world, they struggle to keep up with technology, and the ever-increasing complexity of their networks and how difficult it is to manage, optimize, and secure them. They are challenged from not having easy access to the data or evidence of how and why connectivity or performance problems are occurring. Also, nearly every organization struggles with how to manage and support remote sites, particularly in today’s environment, where travel may not be possible.”

 
 
 
 
“We see ourselves as “allies” to our customers – a trusted partner, friend, and supporter. They can depend on our products, and on us as their partner. As Allies, we do what we say, we get things done – quickly.
– Dan Klimke
Dan Klimke
Dan Klimke

Client centricity has acted as a key differentiator for NetAlly. Ultimately, the company promises to deliver a solution that is practical, suitable, easy to use, and tailored to the unique needs of network engineers and technicians. Dan refers to this as focusing on the “voice of the customer”: “We aim to understand their daily challenges and engineer our products in ways that make their daily work lives easier.”

Of course, that goal would be hard to achieve without a founding team of engineers, all with a mindset towards innovation and a passion for helping clients navigate an intimidating networking minefield. This team has a history of creating pacesetting products on the market, a reputation firmly solidified from the development of the world’s first handheld network analyser, the LANMeter® some twenty-five years ago. With this in mind, NetAlly’s quick success becomes self-explanatory, as Dan continues:

“With this history and experience, our current solutions have been designed to tackle the complexities of network testing. To provide instant visibility for efficient problem solving, which in turn, enables seamless collaboration between site personnel and remote experts. We aim to deliver solutions that network managers, engineers, technicians, or field service installers andsystem integrators can rely on to get their job done, fast.”

 

“Above all, we are passionate about our mission… “best-in-class” can sometimes be an over-used term, but we aim for that… we aim high in everything we do, to ensure that our products, service, expertise, and relationships with our partners, customers and co-workers are unsurpassed in the industry.”

 

It is important to frame NetAlly’s success and growth against the backdrop of the pandemic. Where many have struggled, NetAlly must have seemed like a well-timed blessing after its emergence into the arena in 2019. However, despite the brand’s youth, the team behind it are anything but novice – comprised of experts with decades of experience and with roots in the industry stretching back to the early nineties. Armed with this experience, combined with the agility and dynamism of a small business, has proven to be a potent one-two punch for NetAlly, spearheading its success – we’re certain – for years to come.

Wifinity: Making WiFi Great

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Proudly the number one Gigabit Internet Service Provider for a plethora of sectors, Wifinity has cornered the market in the notoriously competitive technology sphere. Partnering innovation with client-centricity secured the company’s success in the 2020 Corporate Excellence programme as the ‘Most Influential Leader in Wireless Technology’ in the UK. Following that win, we took a closer look at Wifinity and its many notable achievements.

It’s hard to overestimate Wifinity’ s success in its sphere of operation. As the undisputed number one UK provider for recreational WiFi, Wifinity has a unique position on the greater market, with the potential to only capitalise on its success in the years to come. Ultimately, one of the key areas in which Wifinity has driven its own success lies in a rather simple premise: it does one thing very, very well indeed. Perhaps more importantly, it often fulfils a need that other, larger internet providers struggle to – installing high speed WiFi in hard to reach and remote areas

“The best WiFi in the world is WiFi that enables your lifestyle and connects people and homes without you even knowing it’s there. Great WiFi means no buffering, no blackouts, no pixelated streaming.”

It’s hard to overestimate Wifinity’ s success in its sphere of operation. As the undisputed number one UK provider for recreational WiFi, Wifinity has a unique position on the greater market, with the potential to only capitalise on its success in the years to come. Ultimately, one of the key areas in which Wifinity has driven its own success lies in a rather simple premise: it does one thing very, very well indeed. Perhaps more importantly, it often fulfils a need that other, larger internet providers struggle to – installing high speed WiFi in hard to reach and remote areas.

Of course, it doesn’t stop there. Perhaps Wifinity’s most impressive offering is in ensuring super-fast services across all areas of a holiday park, ensuring a smooth and seamless service across high traffic areas such as the bar or communal spaces, as well as accommodation, whether that be lodges, caravans or mobile pitches. Today Wifinity’s service covers over 100,000 plots, reinforcing its position as the operator of the largest holiday park pay as you go network in the UK. But, Wifinity doesn’t just offer recreational WiFi, it also serves retail, residential and defence clients as well.

In many ways, Wifinity represents the very best of British business: finding an urgent need in the market and using the best tools possible to satiate it. Spearheaded by CEO Mark Parry, Wifinity has grown over the last seven years to become the best choice for holiday park owners who want the best high-speed internet service for their visitors.

“Since 2013, when we started to work in the holiday park space, it became apparent that the sector was an underserved market with poor technical solutions, where unreliable WiFi coverage was the norm. Wifinity has invested much of its R&D effort into delivering solutions that bring better, more resilient and faster connections to allow even HD streaming”.
Mark Parry, CEO

Acting as testament to this statement is the fact that many of Wifinity’s users experience faster internet speeds at a holiday park than they do at home. This is achieved, as Mark mentioned, through exceptional – and ongoing- research and development to guarantee that Wifinity remains at the head of a pack, and unchallenged when it comes to speed and coverage. It goes without saying that this is all the more impressive when considered in the greater context of the industry, wrapped as it is in a never-ending race for the next best thing. Wifinity are well placed to ensure they are the best thing to come in the recreational space for years to come.

“We have been aware for some time that we needed to provide a WiFi service in our parks, but the problem has been finding a supplier that could provide a system that delivers robust WiFi at least equal to, if not better than, the WiFi customers experience at home. Given the location and landscape of our parks that was a difficult call, but in Wifinity we have found just that and more.”
-Alan Castledine, Park Resorts’ Commercial Director

Understanding the Basics of Digital Product Development

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Whether tangible or intangible, all products are developed to provide value to both the creators and the users. The former typically generates revenue from the products while the latter uses it to solve specific problems.

Essentially, digital products are tools or services that users interact with through digital mediums, e.g., banking services delivered through banking apps. Unlike low-level cycles, most high-level workflows of developing digital products consist of the same elements. These elements are adjustable based on the complexity and requirements of a project. Here are some tenets of high-level product development cycles.

 

1. Ideation

Ideation is all about identifying a problem and developing a solution in the form of a digital product. Given that only 10% of ideas become successful digital products, you should use this phase to determine your idea’s prospects and avoid failure from the outset. This phase may include activities such as research and analysis, budgeting, value proposition, and strategy.

  • Research and Analysis
    This is among the most crucial stages for any product development cycle. It involves gathering and analyzing different data to understand the target audience, determine the competitors’ strengths and weaknesses, and evaluate product-market fit.

  • Budgeting
    This step involves defining the available financial resources and forecasting both short-term and long-term costs.

  • Value Proposition
    Value proposition identifies the benefits and drawbacks of your product from the end user’s perspective. This robust analytical approach helps check your digital product’s validity.

  • Strategy
    Among the greatest reasons why start-ups fail is because they base their strategies on inspiration. Winning strategies rest on product roadmaps with clear goals, value proposition, success metrics, implementation plans, and competitive analysis.

 

2. Design

After successful ideation, you can move on to designing and wireframing your product to visualize how it looks and feels.

  • Prototype
    Prototyping guides you on how to develop your digital product. Ideally, it should be your first attempt at introducing UX and UI visually. Although prototypes have basic designs and limited functionality, they are essential for convincing investors and getting critiques from early adopters.

  • Pilot Testing
    During pilot testing, your team gets to refine the product before alpha/beta deployment. Pilot testing provides an estimate of the product’s development from the end user’s perspective.

  • Alpha/Beta Release
    Alpha releases are the first working prototypes used for internal testing of design and functionality. Beta releases collect feedback on user experience and can be made available to the public.

 

3. Development

  • Agile Implementation
    Agile development accelerates the pace of product development and empowers teams to transform ideas into reality iteratively. This form of development favors an agile approach that facilitates product adjustment and evolution instead of waterfall projects.

    It also requires cross-functional teams to speed up processes and minimize handovers. For instance, an embedded software engineer will develop and optimize code for your target hardware platforms. In contrast, backend developers will develop the code your product needs to run on the cloud/server.

    As part of agile development, you will split your workflow into sprints, with functional software delivered after each sprint.

  • QA (Quality Assurance)
    QA involves performing testing activities to refine the quality of your digital product. Through testing activities, your team can identify and eliminate any bugs and defects.

 

4. Product Launch

Product launches are the culmination of the development process. Despite having already invested a lot of effort at this point, you may still encounter many more challenges. For starters, you will need a pre-launch strategy that may consist of teasers or landing pages, email marketing, social media campaigns, pre-release reviews, and miscellaneous promotion campaigns.

The actual market launch will not be simple as well. Your launch activities should revolve around appealing to the personas you identified in your market analysis.

 

5. Maintenance and Support

Despite being often overlooked, the post-launch maintenance and support phase of digital product development is crucial, particularly for product growth. It is the longest phase for successful digital products, with the potential to overshadow product creation and launch costs if left unchecked.

Do not limit your ideas to the build-and-launch phase. Instead, implement them post-launch to adapt your product to a dynamic environment and changing customer needs.

Tech Tools and Resources for Small Businesses During The Pandemic

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Business hasn’t been the same since the coronavirus pandemic started. First, there was the temporary closure of all non-essential companies to slow the spread. As a result, employers had to let go of some of their employees to remain afloat. Then, the skyrocketing unemployment rates caused consumers to slow down on their spending. Though restrictions have been lifted and businesses have been allowed to reopen, keeping employees and customers safe is an uphill battle. 

As the global health and economic crisis continues, businesses have had to make adjustments to accommodate everyone. While making operational changes in brick-and-mortar establishments have effectively reduced health risks, many entrepreneurs turned to tech tools like those listed below to adapt. 

 

Collaboration Tools

Remote teams have become the norm during the pandemic. It’s an effective way for businesses to comply with COVID-19 health and safety regulations and keep operations going despite budget cuts. With employees working from home, however, managing was another hurdle to jump. 

Fortunately, technological resources, like collaboration software, made things more manageable. The applications provided managers with a platform to delegate tasks and manage employee time, progress, and payroll. On the other hand, employees found it easier to organize assignments, collaborate on projects, and virtually communicate with team members. 

 

Video Conferencing Software

In-person meetings came to a screeching halt amid the pandemic. For industries that rely heavily on client interaction to provide quality service, this put a damper in their operations. Video conferencing software and other remote communication tools paved the way. Attorneys were able to hold remote depositions, doctors were able to schedule telemedicine appointments, and other industries could conduct virtual meetings without risking anyone’s health. 

 

Outsourcing

Though entrepreneurs decided to let go of employees to conserve money, the workloads became a problem for existing staff. As employees’ physical and emotional well-being is crucial to company success, executives opted for a more affordable solution known as outsourcing. By hiring an independent contractor or outside agency to complete specific tasks, businesses could boost productivity, improve employee morale, and enhance customer service. 

 

Project Management Software

Contractors and construction companies needed an efficient way to continue providing services to their commercial and residential customers. Their jobs often require in-person meetings to discuss everything from estimates, project ideas, budgets, and deadlines with clients. Managers also needed an efficient way to manage teams and productivity. Project management software possesses all these features making things safer and more manageable. 

 

eCommerce Platforms

When brick-and-mortar establishments had to close up shop, business owners turned to the internet to reach their customers. Designing eCommerce platforms gave customers 24/7 access to products and services from the comfort of their homes. It also enabled teams to remotely while saving a ton of money on overhead expenses. As eCommerce platforms became so successful, some companies decided to switch to exclusive online operations going forward. 

 

Delivery Services

While online shopping is a convenient way for consumers to access products and services they need, there’s just one disadvantage. Unfortunately, it takes a few days for the merchandise to arrive. That’s why many businesses turned to same-day delivery service providers to get consumers their items faster. From convenience stores to department stores, online shoppers now can shop, pay, and receive their purchases within 24 hours. Restaurants also tapped into same-day delivery companies so customers could get delicious meals despite not being able to dine in. 

The temporary closure of non-essential establishments, events, and activities, the unfortunate loss of valuable employees, and a decline in sales, left businesses large and small in a bind amid the global pandemic. While some companies were unable to survive, others turned to technological resources and tools like those discussed above to weather the storm. With modern technology adaption, industries have climbed out of the hole, reduced employee and customer risks, improved morale, boosted productivity, and increased sales despite current times. If your small business is currently struggling, consider investing in the above resources to increase your chances of success. 

Dynamic Leader Drives Forward DNA Excellence

dynamic dna

Back in 2018, Corporate Vision Magazine awarded the title of CEO of the Year to Austin O’Reilly, for his outstanding service to Dynamic DNA Laboratories. Now, almost two years on from winning that prestigious title, we return to Dynamic DNA Laboratories in order to examine the continued excellence of both Mr O’Reilly and his firm.

Dynamic DNA Laboratories is a state-of-the-art genetics-focused laboratory that specializes in advanced DNA testing for a range of different services. Everybody wants to understanding themselves better, and a keen understanding of your own personal DNA can ultimately lead to lifestyles that are both happier and healthier. Whether individuals are looking to take a more personalized approach to their own fitness regimen, or trace their family history through their own DNA samples, Dynamic DNA Laboratories is the perfect partner for such an endeavour. Since being founded in 2015 by CEO Austin O’Reilly, Dynamic DNA Laboratories has evolved to offer a major range of services including family and ancestry testing, proactive health panels, and personalized medicine reporting. Having access to the genetic building blocks of life can pave the way for so many things to be enhanced, and this firm is right at the forefront of developing that potential.

Austin O’Reilly is an experienced DNA scientist and entrepreneur, with a demonstrable history of success working within the biotechnology industry. Throughout his academic and work-based careers, Mr O’Reilly has built up a considerable repertoire of skills, including DNA testing and molecular-level techniques in clinical, health, and forensic applications. His academic career began in 2003, where Mr O’Reilly undertook a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology and Criminal Science at Texas Christian University. Having successfully graduated from the University in 2007, Mr O’Reilly went on to study further at the University of California, Riverside, where he completed a certification in Crime Scene Investigation. However, it wasn’t until 2008 where Mr O’Reilly’s proficiency in genetics and DNA really came to the fore.

Returning to Texas Christian University, Mr O’Reilly started his master’s degree in Molecular Biology with a focus and emphasis on the study of genetics. During this time, Mr O’Reilly was able to refine his already strong biomedical research and testing techniques before taking them into the world of biotechnology following his equally successful graduation in 2010. In September of the same year, Mr O’Reilly took a job at DNA Labs International, working as a Forensic DNA Analyst. In this role, he was able to process crime scene evidence in order to identify the presence of biological material for DNA analysis, as well as quantify, amplify, and sequence the DNA, write reports and generate statistics, as well as testify in state and federal courts as an expert witness.

After spending two years working as a Forensic DNA Analyst at DNA Labs International, Mr O’Reilly hen moved on to become a Research Scientist at the Centre for Biomedical and Life Sciences for just shy of two years once again. Drawing on every ounce of his considerable knowledge, Mr O’Reilly then founded Dynamic DNA Laboratories in January of 2015. Taking on the role of CEO and Scientist, Mr O’Reilly has since lead the firm in its mission to promote positive change in people’s lives through advanced and affordable genetic testing services. Since founding the company, every service and test has been underpinned by the strong belief that knowledge is power, and that by exploring a person’s genetic code, that person can live a healthier, happier, more educated, and more productive lifestyle.
Crucially, Mr O’Reilly also understands the fundamentals of leadership as well as the fundamentals of biomedical sciences. As part of his role
as CEO, Mr O’Reilly has surrounded himself with like-minded staff, some of whom have been working with DNA for more than thirty five years in research, testing, pathology, and crime laboratories, as well as having been published in multiple scientific journals.

Based in Springfield, Missouri, Dynamic DNA Laboratories has been built by Mr O’Reilly to become a clinical and direct-to-consumer genetic testing lab that specializes in molecular, cell, and microbiology testing and research services, as well as create high-definition microscopic artwork and one-of-a-kind DNA portraits. The facility itself is CAPaccredited and CLIA-certified, ensuring that it follows the latest regulations and meets the highest quality of testing standards. Unlike its competitors, Dynamic DNA Laboratories does not outsource its services, and instead guarantees high quality services, accurate test results, faster turnaround times, and the lowest prices by performing all of its genetic testing in-house. When it comes to handling DNA and personal data, nothing less than the highest standards of care, safety, and security will do, and that is exactly what Mr O’Reilly has sought to implement throughout the firm.

dynamic dna

Testing DNA and genetics can often be used for far more than is initially thought. Exploring every opportunity that it possibly can, Dynamic DNA Laboratories offers clients and consumers a wide range of DNA testing products in a bid to enhance many different areas of a person’s life. From improving nutrition, fitness, and skin health, to uncovering ancient family secrets and hidden family relationships, to gaining personalized medicinal reports and even discovering early signs of cancer and rare diseases, DNA is deeply personal and can be used for a myriad of purposes. As part of Mr O’Reilly’s outstanding vision for what his firm could one day become, Dynamic DNA Laboratories has also begun offering partnerships with full co-branding or white-labelling options with global distributors across more than thirty five countries. Partners can include nutritionists, trainers, gyms, spas, physicians, clinics, and other DNA companies.

Drawing on the wealth of knowledge of its CEO and extensively-trained staff, Dynamic DNA Laboratories offers three distinct categories of products primarily: Genetic Testing, Artwork, and Biomedical Research. The first, Genetic Testing, is perhaps most focused on the consumer themselves, and what DNA knowledge can do for them. Ancestry testing to discover a background or heritage, pharmacogenomics and personalized medicine reporting, fitness, nutrition, cancer and disease predisposition screenings, paternity and relationship testing, unknown sample identification, and so much more is available through genetic testing.

Biomedical research services and abilities include pharmaceutical testing, disease research, product testing, gene expression analysis, DNA sequencing, Electron Microscopy, Fluorescence Microscopy, and much more. Dynamic DNA Laboratories work with non-profits, companies, and individuals to develop experimental designs that accommodate their research needs. Mr O’Reilly also strives to always have the firm engaged in its own independent research, with the ultimate goal of advancing knowledge in the biomedical field and writing about its discoveries in scientific publications.

Finally, artwork may seem an unusual choice for a DNA company, but it is something deeply personal that Mr O’Reilly has made happen for so
many individual consumers and clients. Using ultra-modern research tools, the team at Dynamic DNA Laboratories create personalized DNA art portraits of an individual or family’s unique DNA profile. Using an electron microscope that is capable of imaging at up to 1,000,000x magnification, the firm can image anything at ultra-high magnification and ultra-high resolution. If there are empty walls in a home or place of work, Dynamic DNA Laboratories can custom design artwork that is tailored to specific tastes, business interests, or products.

Mr O’Reilly was awarded the title of CEO of the Year back in 2018, but his ongoing pursuit of perfection within the biomedical field and particularly that of DNA has seen the firm achieve even greater heights since then. Taking something so intimate and personal before transforming it into actionable knowledge or magnificent artwork is truly spectacular, and both Dynamic DNA Laboratories and Mr O’Reilly are fully deserving of every success now, and in the future.

Jobs in London Were Up 14% in June

london

Professional vacancies in the capital increased 14% month-on-month in June, indicating that London’s businesses are slowly starting to re-hire as lockdown measures continue to ease. That’s according to new research from the Association of Professional Staffing Companies (APSCo), the trade association for the recruitment sector.

The data, provided by business intelligence specialist Vacancysoft, also showed that by the end of June the number of professional vacancies being created per day was up 54% when compared to April. While this indicates a positive move for hiring as more companies re-open offices, the number of new jobs being added each day currently sits at just half the numbers that would normally be reported in London, suggesting there is still a long way to go before the capital recovers.

Amazon bolsters the capitals hiring

Looking at top hirers in London, Amazon continues to dominate recruitment, with almost three times more vacancies added by the firm throughout June than the second most active employer, Citigroup Inc. This is perhaps unsurprising given the demand for online shopping that has grown over the course of lockdown. GSK was also listed as one of the top ten firms recruiting, making the list for the first time in three years, as the firm continues to drive research for a Covid-19 vaccine.

Accountancy and HR professionals in demand

The data also showed a 28% increase in accountancy vacancies month-on-month between May and June, indicative of more companies streamlining costs and tapping into support funds as the pandemic continues to impact profits in the capital. HR vacancies in London also noted an uptick, increasing 12% month-on-month as more employers faced juggling a variety of employment contracts, with the furlough scheme extension seemingly leading to an uptick demand for Human Resources staff.

Ann Swain, CEO of APSCo comments:

“June signalled significant change for the capital’s businesses. With lockdown measures gradually being eased, it’s encouraging to see hiring creep up. We are, of course, still a long way off normality, but we’re certainly heading in the right direction, with online retailers bolstering the capital’s recruitment. We don’t expect to see hiring for companies like Amazon and GSK to decline for the foreseeable future, but as more organisations continue to open their doors again, we are predicting a continuation of this upward trend in recruitment.”

“With the furlough scheme extension being used by some while other businesses are seeing staff return to work both full and part-time, it’s perhaps unsurprising to note an uptick in demand for human resources professionals to manage the array of employment contracts the many businesses currently have in place. However, this increased need for accountancy professionals suggests that despite the efforts being made to get London back up and running again, financial aid remains a top concern for company owners.”

Leading The Global Wireless Power Revolution

spark connected

Founded in 2017, Spark Connected began with a vision to transform wireless power delivery and intelligent battery charging with innovative platforms, disruptive tech, and breakthrough products enabling an enhanced user experience for everyone. In the three short years since the company was born, it has gone on to achieve massive success with key global Tier 1 brands and was featured in Corporate Vision’s 2020 Corporate Excellent Awards. As we take a closer look at the firm, discover why it has been awarded the title of Most Innovative Wireless Power Technology Company – 2020.

Backed by more than two decades of combined domain expertise and the founders’ deep roots in technology, Spark Connected takes a great deal of pride in delivering advanced end-to-end wireless power system solutions that benefit a wide variety of applications and industries. Specializing in product development and engineering solutions, Spark Connected works with clients in markets as diverse and varied as industrial and Internet of Things, to automotive, medical, telecommunications, security, and consumer markets. The firm is made up of talented and passionate individuals spread across the R&D, systems, applications, marketing, engineering, and operations departments, all equally enthusiastic about developing best-in-class and industry-leading technology in the emerging market of wireless power.

Together with its proven strategic, ecosystem, and channel partners, Spark Connected helps integrate its innovative technology into everyday customer products as well as products in Automotive and Industrial markets. In doing so, the firm is continuing to drive the global transformation of how various industries can power the world wirelessly. The world has increasingly adopted wireless powering technology in various devices since 2017, and that trend shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon. In particular, the last eighteen months have seen phenomenal growth and innovation for Spark Connected, which can be attributed to several factors.

Firstly, the firm has been responsible for developing a scalable and unparalleled wireless power platform that is based on Spark Connected’s Pantheon™ Software. This works seamlessly with the firm’s patented system hardware designs, and the scalability allows Spark Connected to support a wide range of power levels that can address unique power delivery challenges in a variety of applications beyond just smartphones.

According to Ruwanga Dassanayake, Chief Operating Officer at Spark Connected, “Another aspect of what makes Spark Connected unique is our ability to deliver multiple types of wireless power technologies today, and still has a compelling roadmap that truly excites customers moving forwards. These solutions of the future are based on the firm’s broad patent portfolio, which continues to grow with every day. Furthermore, Spark Connected if a full member of the Wireless Power Consortium(the global wireless power standards body for Qi), and holds multiple co-chair positions in key task forces, helping innovate at the highest possible level and push the boundaries beyond charging smartphones. Lastly, Spark Connected has set an extremely high bar on the quality and level of support that is provided to customers so that they are able to focus their resources on what they do best. All of this truly sets Spark Connected apart from its competitors”.

When working with clients, Spark Connected follows a simple, yet effective, three-pronged approach. Each approach focuses on a different aspect of what the customer requires. For instance, the three approaches are engineered towards what problem is trying to be solved, whether or not the solution adds value to the customer in ways that existing market solutions cannot, and whether or not the solution is delivered in a cost-effective manner. Focusing on these three areas is key, and once they are validated, Spark Connected moves quickly with a singular focus on striving for flawless execution to meet delivery commitments.

Internally, the company culture of Spark Connected is much the same as its outward-focused mission. The company was formed on the tenets of rapid innovation and unparalleled customer support, and though the statement may seem trite, the true difference can be seen in how the employees view their job. The team is made up of people who treat a customer’s project as though it were their own. They see the importance of the role that Spark Connected plays in a customer’s success, and they see the part that they play in achieving that success. Staff have a sense of ownership that results in customer support that is far more valuable than the conventional arms-length relationship fostered by other competitors. Spark Connected has assembled a first-class team, with innovation in their DNA. Everyone is like-minded in the belief in the transformative nature of wireless power and its impact on how the connected world is powered.

Regardless of the current global circumstances with the COVID-19 pandemic, technology talent remains in high demand. Spark Connected is continuously looking to add innovative talent to its ranks as the company grows, specifically looking for individuals that have the unique combination of being innovative, passionate, keen to challenge the status quo, and the ability to think outside the box. Those staff must be on board with always thinking about how the future can be transformed further, even during difficult times. Scaling the business can sometimes be hard, but Spark Connected has grown tenfold in the last eighteen months.

Looking to the future, there is plenty of room for growth within the world of wireless technology. By 2023, more than one billion smartphones will have adopted the wireless charging technology that is already evident in various smartphone models. Along with this rapid growth in devices, comes an ecosystem rife with opportunity to support charging these devices through a ubiquitous wireless charging infrastructure in places such as hotels, apartment complexes, enterprise office spaces, public venues, and public transport.

In addition to the smartphone market, Spark Connected’s technology is uniquely positioned to support applications beyond smartphones, such as medical, high power industrial, and factory automation, lighting, IoT, security, and telecommunications infrastructure. Beyond the smartphone space is very much an emerging market at present, but one that Spark Connected is more excited than ever to be a part of. Untapped potential and opportunity await, with incredibly attractive annual growth rates in the next decade.

The future of wireless technology is incredibly exciting, and with Spark Connected at the forefront of the industry innovation, it is only set to become more integrated into society. As these innovations and developments keep coming, Spark Connected looks forward to spearheading and supporting the wireless power industry to become the next ubiquitous charging standard.

Should I Invest in Peer-to-Peer Lending?

Daniel Tannenbaum, Tudor Lodge Consultants
Expert Opinion Piece by Daniel Tannenbaum, Tudor Lodge Consultants

Peer-to-peer lending is a form of borrowing and investing that has grown in immense popularity in recent years, with an estimated transactional value of £6 billion per year in the UK.

P2P companies or platforms act as middlemen between borrowers looking for loans and individual investors looking to earn a healthy return.

Whilst sticking with your ISA can be a safe option, the interest rates of 1% to 2% per annum are not overly attractive – and this has given way to a more technology driven peer-to-peer industry where annual returns range from 3% to 15% per annum.

Similar to ISAs, you will maximise your returns by keeping your money locked in for as long as possible and avoid making any instant or early withdrawals.

What are your investing in?

With peer-to-peer lending, you are investing in a pool of other anonymous people who are looking for loans and who are applying online using the P2P platform provided.

The majority of peer-to-peer lenders offer unsecured loans of just a few hundred or thousand pounds (Zopa, Ratesetter, Fund Ourselves). Some providers extend their proposition to lending through business loans, against property assets, corporate debentures and personal guarantees.

Your potential return is based on your level of risk that you accept, with good credit or safer customers offering a lower return on investment. If you wish to maximise your return, you can opt for riskier borrowers who may have bad credit. The typical option is to diversify your investments, using the tools provided by the lender.

What are the advantages?

The main advantage of investing in peer-to-peer is that the potential returns are some of the highest around when it comes to investment products.

Market-leader Zopa offers rates of up to 6% per annum, significantly higher than your average ISA or bond – and other new lenders such as Fund Ourselves offer as much as 15% per annum.

As a borrower you can choose your level of risk, by potentially investing in people with bad credit to yield the highest returns.

The peer-to-peer lending industry is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and this ensures measures are in place to protect both investors and borrowers – meanwhile investing in something like cryptocurrency comes with no centralised banking system, regulation or any form of protection.


What are the risks?

Your investments through peer-to-peer are not covered by the financial services compensation scheme, meaning that you cannot recover any losses up to £85,000 immediately. There may be some compensation in place if bad advice has been given, but this may not be applicable to each provider.

There are chances that some of your loans are not fully repaid and you could earn less than expected. Certainly if you wish to take out your money early or make a withdrawal, this will lower your expected return.

However, the lender will typically have procedures in place to recover any potential losses, with customer service teams to chase bad debt and provision funds in place.Even in the event of the company going under or into administration, by law, they will take measures to reimburse investors. In the case of Lendy who ceased trading last year, they continue to follow up on any bad or outstanding debts from customers so they can continue to pay back any investors.

 

The Rise in Robo Advisory Services During Covid-19

The coronavirus and its associated pandemic have sent the whole world into a frenzy. It is affecting global economies, stock markets, small and large businesses, and the entire human race negatively. However, it is essential to note that during the pandemic, the robo-advisory industry has experienced a massive surge. While the coronavirus pandemic has closed down many borders, slowed down economies, and beaten down the global markets, it has allowed the robo-advisory industry to prove its worth among the tumultuous times.

The signups for robo-advisory services have surged like never before. The account numbers soared to an all-time high in the first quarter of 2020, with an average rise of 3.1% across all providers and platforms. Individually, Vanguard reported a 14% growth in assets and 35% surge in customer numbers while PensionBee also saw an increase of 14%. AJ Bell Youinvest and Hargreaves Lansdown were not far behind with growth in assets of 13% and 7.4%, respectively.

The reasons for the surge can be many; however, analysts speculate that the sudden rise can be due to the large number of millennials taking advantage of the buying opportunity in the bear market. Such investors have a longer time horizon and have a higher tolerance for economic damage. Amidst the crashing equity markets, the do-it-yourself investors are relying more on the advice of the automated robots than their shaken knowledge and experience.

Benefits of Robo Advisors During the Pandemic

The digital advice or robo-advisory platforms collect financial information from their clients online, analyse the data, offer advice, and invest automatically. They offer several advantages over the traditional modes of investment and advisory.

  • Unaffected by emotions: The most significant benefit of robo advisors is that they are unfazed by emotions. The decisions made by robo-advisory platforms are based on real-time statistics and not short-term occurrences, black swan events, or any biases. Furthermore, the digital advice platforms put together the portfolio of investors based on their investment horizon, risk tolerance, financial goals, and balance sheet. Thus, the impact of illogical behaviour, poor decision making, and spontaneous buy or sell decisions is eliminated, which is critical during the current times of uncertainty.
  • Invest in variable risk profiles and stable companies: Another benefit is that most of the robo-advisory platforms offer products catering to varying risk levels. The investments created in high, medium or low-risk products all depend on the risk appetite of the investors. Also, most of the digital advice platforms invest in blue-chip companies like Apple, GlaxoSmithKline, and HSBC, that are not heavily impacted by the current pandemic.
  • Long-term investment horizon: A noteworthy benefit of robo-advisory during the pandemic is its long-term horizon. Most of the investments made through the digital advisory platforms are for a long duration. It is important to consider that the pandemic has caused temporary downturns in the economy; however, the long-term horizon remains secured. The long-term investments made through robo-advisory platforms will again gain momentum after the pandemic is over. The unnerving news is that the Dow Jones dropped 6.7% in ten days during the pandemic, the S&P 500 lost 8.1%, crude oil hit the negative numbers for the first time in history, and the Nasdaq fell by 12.3%. However, the long-term view offers a ray of hope wherein the Dow Jones remains at a gain of 181% over the last ten years.
  • Re-evaluations: It is necessary to know that the evaluations done by the robo-advisory platforms are not permanent. The portfolios are reevaluated and rebalanced with the changing economic and market conditions. The effect of volatility on the investments is mitigated through tactical interventions by the digital portfolio managers who add the human touch to robo-advisory. Thus, robo-advisory is not completely devoid of a holistic approach and does not entirely depend on numbers.
  • Low Fees: The robo-advisory platforms are also beneficial during the pandemic because of their low-cost fees, usually from 0.25% per year, compared to the conventional stockbrokers and other alternatives. During the times of financial instability and uncertainty, investors prefer to pay low fees and require low opening balances.

According to reports, the robo-advisors with unique strategies, holdings, and asset allocations performed well during the first quarter of 2020. The traditional portfolios suffered a setback and reported negative returns in the same period. For instance, for March 2020, robo Titan Invest generated a positive return of 8.02%, while the S&P 500 was at a negative 13.79% for the same duration.

Thus, the robo-advisory portfolios with more high-quality corporate bonds and Treasury bonds performed better than those holding high-yield and emerging market bonds, and so did the portfolios with a neutral growth/value spectrum. During the pandemic, the robo-advisory portfolios hedged with a short position in the overall equity market performed better, besides the portfolios holding all individual equities that benefitted from tactical trades into the ETFs, shorting the S&P 500.

The portfolios that performed better than others also included socially responsible investing portfolios and the ones with a higher allocation to domestic equities by using total stock market ETFs that favour large-cap technology stocks and other high-flying stocks.

Research and reports show that despite the crashing markets, investors’ appetite remains high. The trading activity remains vigorous across the DIY investment platforms and robo-advisory platforms, and the numbers are expected to grow further into the second quarter of 2020. The robo-advisory industry will hit $1.4 trillion in assets under management in 2020, reporting a 47% gain year-over-year. Financial analysts expect the number to jump to $2.5 trillion by 2023.

The industry has historically gained during any financial crisis and should do the same during the current pandemic and economic crisis. In terms of the number of users, the robo-advisory industry has 70.5 million users, equivalent to the 3.1% gain in the first quarter of 2020, majorly owing to the pandemic. Analysts expect the number of users to grow to 123.5 million by 2022 and 147 million by 2023.The current coronavirus pandemic has demonstrated that the robo-advisory industry is also not immune to market volatility. However, the surge in signups, asset under management, and the number of customers indicate the industry will continue to evolve as the future belongs to digital. The market adversity has taught many robo-advisory platforms to learn from their mistakes and apply the lessons in their future. This will only lead to more balanced millennials and more mature and stable robo-advisory platforms in the future.