Trump’s Killing Spree Continues

Arizona follows a model that lets the government ignore questions of cruelty.

#arizona, #barr-william-p, #brnovich-mark, #capital-punishment, #constitution-us, #criminal-justice, #food-and-drug-administration, #poisoning-and-poisons, #trump-donald-j


Arizona lawmaker: Big Tech “hired almost every lobbyist” to kill app store bill

Arizona lawmaker: Big Tech “hired almost every lobbyist” to kill app store bill

Enlarge (credit: Siriporn Kaenseeya / EyeEm / Getty)

An Arizona bill to expand payment options in Apple’s and Google’s app stores has failed in the state Senate, the law’s sponsor has told the Verge. The legislation narrowly passed the Arizona House last month.

Rep. Regina Cobb, a Republican, told the Verge that she thought she had the votes to pass the legislation in the Senate. But then, according to Cobb, Apple and Google “hired almost every lobbyist in town” to kill the legislation.

“We thought we had the votes before we went to the committee,” Cobb told the Verge. “And then we heard that the votes weren’t there and they weren’t going to take the time to put it up.”

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#app-store, #apple, #arizona, #epic-games, #google, #policy, #spotify


Atlanta’s early stage investment renaissance continues with Overline’s $27 million fund close

Michael Cohn became a celebrity in the Atlanta startup ecosystem when the company he co-founded was sold to Accenture in a deal valued somewhere between $350 million and $400 million nearly six years ago.

That same year, Sean O’Brien also made waves in the community when he helped shepherd the sale of the  collaboration software vendor, PGi, to a private equity firm for $1.5 billion.

The two men are now looking to become fixtures in the city’s burgeoning new tech community with the close of their seed-stage venture capital firm’s first fund, a $27.4 million investment vehicle.

Overline’s first fund has already made commitments to companies that are expanding the parameters of what’s investible in the Southeast broadly and Atlanta’s startup scene locally.

These are companies like Grubbly Farms, which sells insect-based chicken feed for backyard farmers, or Kayhan Space, which is aiming to be the air traffic control service for the space industry. Others, like Padsplit, an Atlanta-based flexible housing marketplace, are tackling America’s low income housing crisis. 

“Our business model is very different from that of a traditional software startup, and the Overline team’s unique strengths and operator mindset have been invaluable in helping us grow the company,” said Sean Warner, CEO and co-founder of Grubbly Farms. 

That’s on top of investments into companies building on Atlanta’s natural strengths as a financial services, payments and business software powerhouse.

For all of the activity in Atlanta these days, the city and the broader southeastern region is still massively underfunded, according to O’brien and Cohn. The region only received less than 10 percent of all the institutional venture investments that were committed in 2020. Indeed, only seven percent of Atlanta founders raise money locally when they’re first starting out, an Overline survey suggested.

“The data reflects what we have seen throughout our careers building, growing, and investing in startups. There is no shortage of phenomenal founders and businesses coming out of Atlanta and the Southeast, but they often struggle to find institutional capital at their earliest stages,” said O’Brien, in a statement. “Overline will lead as the first institutional check for these companies and be a true partner to the Founders throughout their lifecycle—supporting them on the strategic and operational business initiatives and decisions that are critical to a company’s success.” 

The limited partners in Overline’s first fund also reflects the firm’s emphasis on regional roots. The privately held email marketing behemoth Mailchimp anchored the fund, which also included partners like Cox Enterprises, Social Leverage,

Overline is supported by a bench of impressive partners that reflects the firm’s roots in the Southeast. Anchored by marketing platform, Mailchimp, additional partners include Cox Enterprises, Scottsdale, Ariz.-based Social Leverage, Wilmington, Del.-based Hallett Capital, and Atlanta Tech Village founder David Cummings, along with Techstars co-founder David Cohen. 

“At Mailchimp, we love our hometown of Atlanta, and are proud of the robust startup ecosystem that’s growing in our city. The Overline founding team’s vision of deploying smart, local capital into startups in Atlanta and the Southeast aligns with our goals of promoting and advancing local innovation,” said Rick Lynch, CFO, Mailchimp, in a statement.

The firm expects to make investments of between $250,000 to $1.5 million into seed stage companies and has already backed 11 companies including, Relay Payments, a logistics fintech company that has raised over $40 million from top-tier investors. 

“When we set out to build Atlanta Tech Village almost a decade ago, one of our primary goals was to help Atlanta develop into a top 10 startup city, where all entrepreneurs would thrive. We’re making tremendous strides as a community, as evidenced by the number of newly minted unicorns,” said serial entrepreneur and Atlanta Tech Village founder David Cummings. “I believe in Overline’s thesis that value-add institutional early-stage capital is critical to the ecosystem’s continued development. Since the early days, Michael and Sean have been an active presence in our community in a way that goes far beyond being a source of capital—as mentors, advisors, and champions of Atlanta founders. I am proud to be one of their first investors.”

#accenture, #advisors, #america, #arizona, #atlanta, #cfo, #co-founder, #collaboration-software, #corporate-finance, #cox-enterprises, #david-cohen, #delaware, #economy, #entrepreneurship, #finance, #financial-services, #mailchimp, #money, #private-equity, #serial-entrepreneur, #social-leverage, #startup-company, #tc, #techstars, #venture-capital


How Arizona Won the Cannabis Legalization Race

Four states voted to legalize recreational cannabis in November. Only one is selling it so far.

#arizona, #curaleaf-inc, #marijuana


Real estate tech startup Offerpad to go public via SPAC merger in $3B deal

Offerpad is the latest proptech company to go public via a SPAC merger.

The Phoenix, Ariz.-based company announced Thursday its plans to go public by merging with Supernova Partners Acquisition Company in a deal valued at $3 billion.

The transaction is expected to close in the second, or early third, quarter of 2021. The combined company will be named Offerpad Solutions and trade on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker “OPAD.”

Founded in 2015, Offerpad started out as primarily an iBuyer (meaning it bought homes from sellers who signed up online) and has since evolved its platform in an effort to be a one-stop shop for people looking to buy or sell a home. For example, it now also offers home improvement advances, as well as title and mortgage services. The company has raised $155 million in equity funding from investors such as LL Funds, in addition to hundreds of millions more in debt over the years.

Since its inception, Offerpad says it has completed 30,000 transactions and achieved nearly $7 billion in gross transaction volume. The company projects it will generate revenue of $1.4 billion this year, up from an estimated $1.1 billion in 2020. That compares to revenue of  $100 million in 2016. Offerpad also says it has had “positive per-home contribution margins” since 2016. 

The company has ambitious goals, projecting revenue of $2.4 billion in 2022 and $3.9 billion in 2023.

Supernova Partners, which spun up the SPAC for this deal, is led by Spencer Rascoff — a serial entrepreneur with plenty of prop tech experience who co-founded Hotwire, Zillow, dot.LA and Pacaso, and who led Zillow as CEO for nearly a decade.

PIPE investors include funds and accounts managed by BlackRock and Zimmer Partners, as well as national homebuilder Taylor Morrison Home Corp.

Offerpad says that by partnering with Supernova to become a public company, it expects it will be able “to accelerate its growth to capture more” of the market. The company currently operates in over 900 cities and towns across the country and plans to expand nationwide. 

Rascoff believes Offerpad “is incredibly well-positioned to grab a huge piece” of the online real estate market.

“iBuying has barely scratched the surface of real estate, one of the biggest addressable markets in the world,” he said in a written statement. “In general, real estate continues to be mostly analog, in contrast to other industries like grocery, autos and pharmaceuticals, but consumers demand online solutions. As they bring more transactions online, we believe online real estate as a whole is poised to grow rapidly in the coming years.”

Offerpad competes with companies such as Opendoor, Redfin and Zillow, among others.

As part of the transaction, existing Offerpad shareholders will roll 100% of their equity into the combined company and are expected to own approximately 75% of the combined entity at closing. Offerpad’s founder and CEO Brian Bair will receive high-vote stock that is expected to represent approximately 35% of the voting power of the combined company.

Earlier this month, real estate tech startup Doma, formerly known as States Title, announced it would go public through a merger with SPAC Capitol Investment Corp. V in a deal valued at $3 billion, including debt.

#arizona, #blackrock, #exit, #fundings-exits, #online-real-estate, #phoenix, #real-estate, #redfin, #spencer-rascoff, #startups, #tc


Surge in Migrants Defies Easy or Quick Solutions for Biden

The administration expects more apprehensions at the border this year than at any point in the past two decades. Enacting policy to deal with the problems faces deep-rooted political and logistical challenges.

#arizona, #asylum-right-of, #biden-joseph-r-jr, #border-patrol-us, #california, #children-and-childhood, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #customs-and-border-protection-us, #el-salvador, #guatemala, #health-and-human-services-department, #homeland-security-department, #illegal-immigration, #immigration-and-emigration, #mayorkas-alejandro, #mexico, #texas, #trump-donald-j, #united-states-economy, #united-states-politics-and-government


Trump’s Incomplete Border Wall Is in Pieces That Could Linger for Decades

A last-minute rush to build lasted through Donald J. Trump’s last day in office. The effort left odd, partially completed sections of a barrier whose fate President Biden must now determine.

#arizona, #border-barriers, #customs-and-border-protection-us, #illegal-immigration, #immigration-and-emigration


For Voting Rights Advocates, a ‘Once in a Generation Moment’ Looms

Opposition to restrictive Republican voting laws — and support for a sweeping Democratic bill — fuels a movement like none in decades. But can it succeed?

#arizona, #biden-joseph-r-jr, #democratic-party, #georgia, #manchin-joe-iii, #redistricting-and-reapportionment, #united-states-politics-and-government, #voter-fraud-election-fraud, #voter-registration-and-requirements


Your Daylight Saving Time Questions Answered

A group of U.S. senators has joined the ranks of those who want to abolish daylight saving time, which has roots in cost-cutting strategies of the late 19th century.

#arizona, #daylight-saving-time, #electric-light-and-power, #florida, #hawaii, #railroads, #states-us, #united-states-chamber-of-commerce


Why Big Tech is facing regulatory threats from Australia to Arizona

Why Big Tech is facing regulatory threats from Australia to Arizona

Enlarge (credit: Jackie Niam | Getty Images)

Last week, Arizona’s House of Representatives approved legislation to prohibit platform owners like Apple and Google from locking app makers into their own payment systems. The bill passed only narrowly, and it must be approved by the Arizona Senate and Gov. Doug Ducey before it can become law. But regardless of the bill’s ultimate fate, the vote is the latest sign of a dramatic shift in public attitudes toward Silicon Valley’s most powerful companies.

For the first two decades of the Internet era, there was a broad consensus that politicians shouldn’t tie Silicon Valley companies down with burdensome rules and regulations. Companies like Apple, Amazon, Google, and Uber were widely admired. In 2007, presidential candidates from both parties made pilgrimages to associate themselves with Google. In 2015, Jeb Bush, Ted Cruz, and other Republican hopefuls tripped over each other to position themselves as the most Uber-friendly candidate.

Tech companies’ prestige bolstered their political power. Those who proposed regulations to rein in tech companies—or in some cases just wanted to subject them to the same rules as other companies—were often dismissed as out-of-touch reactionaries and enemies of progress.

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#antitrust, #arizona, #australia, #big-tech, #policy, #uncategorized


Kyrsten Sinema and the Thumbs-Down That Enraged the Left

The Arizona Democrat, one of a handful of moderate senators who hold heavy sway over President Biden’s agenda, has come under mounting pressure for her opposition to liberal priorities.

#american-rescue-plan-2021, #arizona, #content-type-personal-profile, #democratic-party, #filibusters-and-debate-curbs, #law-and-legislation, #minimum-wage, #senate, #sinema-kyrsten, #stimulus-economic, #united-states-politics-and-government


A Vexing Question for Democrats: What Drives Latino Men to Republicans?

Several voters said values like individual responsibility and providing for one’s family, and a desire for lower taxes and financial stability, led them to reject a party embraced by their parents.

#arizona, #democratic-party, #florida, #hispanic-americans, #race-and-ethnicity, #texas, #trump-donald-j, #voting-and-voters


Arizona House advances bill targeting Apple, Google mobile app stores

The Arizona State Capitol museum, flanked by the House of Representatives building (R) and a cactus (L).

Enlarge / The Arizona State Capitol museum, flanked by the House of Representatives building (R) and a cactus (L). (credit: mixmotive | Getty Images)

The Arizona state House of Representatives this week passed a landmark bill that would, if adopted, require Google and Apple to allow Arizona-based app developers to choose their own alternate payment systems.

The House voted 31-29 in favor of the bill (PDF), which does not directly mention either major mobile platform but nonetheless squarely targets both, as the text specifically applies to any “digital application distribution platform” that has more than 1 million cumulative downloads in a calendar year from Arizona users.

The text prohibits those platforms from locking either Arizona-based developers or Arizona-based users into using proprietary first-party in-app payment systems. It also prohibits platforms from retaliating against Arizona consumers or developers for opting into using a payment system “that is not owned by, operated by or affiliated with the provider.”

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#apple, #arizona, #coalition-for-app-fairness, #epic, #epic-games, #google, #laws, #policy, #state-laws, #states


Supreme Court Seems Ready to Sustain Arizona Voting Limits

The case was the court’s first on the key remaining provision of the Voting Rights Act in the context of voting restrictions.

#arizona, #barrett-amy-coney, #biden-joseph-r-jr, #brnovich-mark, #carvin-michael-a, #democratic-party, #kagan-elena, #minorities, #oscannlain-diarmuid-fionntain, #republican-party, #supreme-court-us, #united-states-politics-and-government, #voter-fraud-election-fraud, #voter-registration-and-requirements, #voting-rights-act-1965


Will the Supreme Court Gut the Voting Rights Act?

The court is being asked how hard it should be for states to pass what might be voter-suppression laws.

#arizona, #georgia, #republican-party, #roberts-john-g-jr, #supreme-court-us, #united-states, #voter-registration-and-requirements, #voting-and-voters, #voting-rights-act-1965


Can’t Get a Covid Vaccine? In This County, Everybody is Eligible.

The rural area outside Phoenix is one of the first places in the U.S. to open vaccinations up to the general public. This is what success looks like.

#arizona, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #gila-county-ariz, #hospitals, #rural-areas, #vaccination-and-immunization


A Supreme Court Test for What’s Left of the Voting Rights Act

While state legislatures consider new voting restrictions to address claims of election fraud, the justices will hear arguments on what kind of legal scrutiny such laws should face.

#arizona, #brnovich-mark, #civil-rights-and-liberties, #discrimination, #minorities, #race-and-ethnicity, #states-us, #suits-and-litigation-civil, #supreme-court-us, #united-states-politics-and-government, #voter-fraud-election-fraud, #voting-and-voters, #voting-rights-act-1965


In Statehouses, Stolen-Election Myth Fuels a G.O.P. Drive to Rewrite Rules

Republican legislators want big changes to the laws for elections and other aspects of governance. A fight over the ground rules for voting may follow.

#arizona, #georgia, #iowa, #presidential-election-of-2020, #republican-party, #state-legislatures, #trump-donald-j, #voter-fraud-election-fraud, #voter-registration-and-requirements


Claudette White, Innovative Tribal Judge, Dies at 49

Judge White was an advocate for her people, the Quechan of Southern California. She had been calling out injustice since the third grade. She died of Covid-19.

#arizona, #california, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #courts-and-the-judiciary, #deaths-obituaries, #native-americans, #quechan-tribe, #white-claudette-1971-2021


Software bugs reportedly keep Arizona inmates jailed past release dates

Very few people want to spend a single second longer than they have to in a place like this.

Enlarge / Very few people want to spend a single second longer than they have to in a place like this. (credit: txking | Getty Images)

A failure to update critical prison management software has kept hundreds of incarcerated people in Arizona behind bars longer than they should be, according to a whistleblower report.

Employees for the Arizona Department of Corrections have known about the bug since 2019, Phoenix-based NPR affiliate KJZZ reported. The flaw follows a change to state law that the software simply cannot handle and has not been updated to deal with.

Arizona has one of the highest imprisonment rates in the country, with drug possession convictions being one of the highest drivers behind the numbers. An amendment (PDF) to Arizona state law in June, 2019 created a mechanism through which inmates convicted of certain nonviolent drug offenses can earn credits toward early release. Eligible inmates who complete a program such as a GED equivalent or substance abuse treatment while imprisoned can earn 3 days credit for every 7 days served and shorten the length of time they spend behind bars to 70 percent of their assigned sentence.

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#arizona, #department-of-corrections, #jail-management, #policy, #prison, #prison-management, #software-bugs


Frank Shankwitz, a Founder of Make-a-Wish, Is Dead at 77

A state highway patrolman in Arizona, he helped a terminally ill boy become a motorcycle cop and then came up with a plan to help more children realize their dreams.

#arizona, #children-and-childhood, #death-and-dying, #deaths-obituaries, #make-a-wish-foundation, #motorcycles-motor-bikes-and-motorscooters, #shankwitz-frank-1943-2021


Why Arizona’s Senators May Collide With Democrats Who Elected Them

Senators Kyrsten Sinema and Mark Kelly ran on bipartisan approaches to governing, but some Democrats in Arizona view their openness to Senate Republicans with skepticism.

#arizona, #biden-joseph-r-jr, #democratic-party, #elections-senate, #filibusters-and-debate-curbs, #illegal-immigration, #immigration-and-emigration, #kelly-mark-e-1964, #sinema-kyrsten, #united-states-politics-and-government, #voting-and-voters


Arizona Leaders Ask for Spring Training Delay

With just three weeks before pitchers and catcher report, a letter asked M.L.B. to delay spring training until the Covid-19 situation improved.

#arizona, #baseball, #cactus-league, #major-league-baseball-players-assn, #major-league-baseball


Arizona G.O.P. Set to Censure Doug Ducey, Cindy McCain and Jeff Flake

The three Republicans face a rebuke from their own party for refusing either to support former President Trump or his effort to overturn the election results in Arizona, which President Biden won.

#arizona, #ducey-doug-1964, #flake-jeffrey-l, #mccain-cindy, #republican-party, #trump-donald-j, #united-states-politics-and-government, #ward-kelli-1969


How Doug Ducey, Arizona’s Republican Governor, Views His Party After Trump

Mr. Ducey, who is facing censure by his state party on Saturday, says the divisions within the Republican Party are nothing new.

#arizona, #ducey-doug-1964, #flake-jeffrey-l, #mccain-cindy, #republican-party


America’s Salad Bowl Becomes Fertile Ground for Covid-19

Arizona’s Yuma County, at the juncture of Mexico and California, has the most cases per capita of any metro area over the course of the pandemic.

#agriculture-and-farming, #arizona, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #disease-rates, #retirement-communities-and-assisted-living, #yuma-ariz


The Arizona G.O.P. Is Sticking With Trumpism, Whether Arizona Republicans Like It or Not

Despite losing a Senate seat and seeing Joe Biden win the state, state party leaders in the land of Barry Goldwater and John McCain aren’t switching gears. They’re doubling down.

#arizona, #ducey-doug-1964, #politics-and-government, #presidential-election-of-2020, #storming-of-the-us-capitol-jan-2021, #trump-donald-j, #ward-kelli-1969


National Guard Provides Covid Vaccine Help in Overwhelmed States

At least 16 states and territories are using the National Guard to give shots, drawing on doctors, nurses, medics and other troops who are skilled in administering injections.

#arizona, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #defense-department, #hogan-lawrence-j, #maryland, #national-guard, #public-private-sector-cooperation, #reserves-military, #states-us, #trump-donald-j, #united-states-politics-and-government, #vaccination-and-immunization


Home services platform Porch acquires four companies

Only a few weeks after its SPAC IPO, Porch today announced that it has made four acquisitions, worth a total of $122 million. The most important here is probably the acquisition of Homeowners of America for $100 million, which gets Porch deeper into the home insurance space. In addition, Porch is also acquiring mover marketing and data platform V12 for $22 million, as well as home inspection service Palm-Tech and iRoofing, a SaaS application for roofing contractors. Porch did not disclose the acquisition prices for the latter two companies.

You may still think of Porch as a marketplace for home improvement and repair services — and that’s what it started out as when it launched about seven years ago. Yet while it still offers those services, a couple of years after its 2013 launch, the company pivoted to building what it now calls a “vertical software platform for the home.” Through a number of acquisitions, the Porch Group now includes, as well as services like HireAHelper, Inspection Support Network for home inspectors, Kandela for providing services around moving and an insurance broker in the form of the Elite Insurance Group. In some form or another, Porch’s tools are now used — either directly or indirectly — by two-thirds of U.S. homebuyers every month.

Porch founder and CEO Matt Ehrlichman. Image Credits: Porch

As Porch founder and CEO Matt Ehrlichman told me, he had originally planned to take his company public through a traditional IPO. He noted that going the increasingly popular SPAC route, though, allowed him to push his timeline up by a year, which in turn now enables the company to make the acquisitions it announced today.

“In total, we had a $323 million fundraise that allows us now to not only be a public company with public currency, but to be very well capitalized. And picking up that year allows us to be able to go and pursue acquisitions that we think make really good fits for Porch,” Ehrlichman told me. While Porch’s guidance for its 2021 revenue was previously $120 million, it’s now updating that guidance to $170 million based on these acquisitions. That would mean Porch would grow its revenue by about 134% year-over-year between 2020 and 2021.

As the company had previously laid out in its public documents, the plan for 2021 was always to get deeper into insurance. Indeed, as Ehrlichman noted, Porch these days tends to think of itself as a vertical software company that layers insurtech on top of its services in order to be able to create a recurring revenue stream. And because Porch offers such a wide range of services already, its customer acquisition costs are essentially zero for these services.

Image Credits: Homeowners of America

Porch was already a licensed insurance brokerage. With Homeowners of America, it is acquiring a company that is both an insurance carrier as well as a managing general agent..

“We’re able to capture all of the economic value from the consumer as we help them get insurance set up with their new home and we can really control that experience to delight them. As we wrap all the technology we’ve invested in around that experience we can make it super simple and instant to be able to get the right insurance at the right price for your new home. And because we have all of this data about the home that nobody else has — from the inspection we know if the roof is old, we know if the hot water system is gonna break soon and all the appliances — we know all of this data and so it just gives us a really big advantage in insurance.”

Data, indeed, is what a lot of these acquisitions are about. Because Porch knows so much about so many customers, it is able to provide the companies it acquires with access to relevant data, which in turn helps them offer additional services and make smarter decisions.

Homeowners of America is currently operating in six states (Texas, Arizona, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia and Georgia) and licensed in 31. It has a network of more than 800 agencies so far and Porch expects to expand the company’s network and geographic reach in the coming months. “Because we have [customer acquisition cost]-free demand all across the country, one of the opportunities for us is simply just to expand that across the nation,” Ehrlichman explained.

As for V12, Porch’s focus is on that company’s mover marketing and data platform. The acquisition should help it reach its medium-term goal of building a $200 million revenue stream in this area. V12 offers services across multiple verticals, though, including in the automotive space, and will continue to do so. The platform’s overall focus is to help brands identify the right time to reach out to a given consumer — maybe before they decide to buy a new car or move. With Porch’s existing data layered on top of V12’s existing capabilities, the company expects that it will be able to expand these features and it will also allow Porch to not offer mover marketing but what Ehrlichman called “pro-mover” services, as well.

“V12 anchors what we call our marketing software division. A key focus of that is mover marketing. That’s where it’s going to have, long term, tremendous differentiation. But there are a number of other things that they’re working on that are going to have really nice growth vectors, and they’ll continue to push those,” said Ehrlichman.

As for the two smaller acquisitions of iRoofing and Palm-Tech, these are more akin to some of the previous acquisitions the company made in the contractor and inspection verticals. Like with those previous acquisitions, the plan is to help them grow faster, in part through integrating them into the overall Porch group’s family of products.

“Our business is and continues to be highly recurring or reoccurring in nature,” said Porch CFO Marty Heimbigner. “Nearly all of our revenues, including that of these new acquisitions, is consistent and predictable. This repeat revenue is also high margin with less than 20% cost of revenue and is expected to grow more than 30% per year on our platform. So, we believe these deals are highly accretive for our shareholders.”

#arizona, #contractor, #exit, #finance, #financial-services, #georgia, #ing-group, #insurance, #insurance-broker, #ma, #mergers-and-acquisitions, #north-carolina, #porch, #real-estate, #software, #software-platform, #south-carolina, #tc, #texas, #united-states, #virginia


Arizona, Roiled by Covid in Summer, Faces Even Worse Outbreak Now

The state has the highest rate of new virus cases in the U.S. amid a grim winter surge that has sent hospitalizations and deaths soaring nationally.

#arizona, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #disease-rates, #emergency-medical-treatment, #hospitals, #politics-and-government, #shutdowns-institutional


Trump’s Fraud Claims Died in Court, But the Myth of Stolen Elections Lives On

For years, Republicans have used the specter of cheating as a reason to impose barriers to ballot access. A definitive debunking of claims of wrongdoing in 2020 has not changed that message.

#arizona, #detroit-mich, #dominion-voting-systems-corp, #georgia, #michigan, #presidential-election-of-2020, #republican-party, #trump-donald-j, #voter-registration-and-requirements, #voting-machines


Scenes From a Pandemic Holiday Road Trip

Scenes from a holiday season that shone bright in dark times.

#arizona, #asheville-nc, #christmas, #hanukkah, #holidays-and-special-occasions, #maryland, #memphis-tenn, #nashville-tenn, #new-mexico, #pennsylvania, #quarantine-life-and-culture, #road-trips, #texas, #united-states, #utah


Nikola’s stock crashes after announcing cancelation of contract with Republic Services for 2,500 garbage trucks

The undoing of Nikola continues. Today, the company announced the termination of its contract with Republic Services for 2,500 garbage trucks. Announced back in August, the deal had Nikola building garbage trucks in 2023 with on-road testing scheduled for 2024. This is the latest deal to unravel for Nikola as it tries to patch up following devastating reports.

According to Nikola, the separation of the two companies was mutual though it’s hard to picture Nikola’s SEC troubles didn’t weigh heavily upon Republic Services.

“This was the right decision for both companies given the resources and investments required,” said Nikola CEO Mark Russell said in a released statement. “We support and respect Republic Services’ commitment to achieving environmentally responsible, sustainable solutions for their customers. Nikola remains laser-focused on delivering on our battery-electric and fuel-cell electric commercial truck programs, and the energy infrastructure to support them.”

News of this deal is sending Nikola’s stock down 10% in pre-market trading. If this level holds upon the stock market’s open, Nikola will be trading at its lowest levels following it’s monumental rise over the summer months.

The deal with Republic Services was originally a victory banner for the once-high flying electric vehicle startup. Signaled as mainstream acceptance of the company, Republic Services’ contract came before a mega $2 billion investment from General Motors. That deal is also cancelled following several key revelations about the company that lead to an SEC investigation and the company’s chairman stepping down.

In a statement, Nikola says deliveries will begin of Nikola Tre battery-electric semi-trucks in the US in 2021 and the company expects to break ground on its first commercial hydrogen station in 2021, too. And then in 2023, the company expects to produce its fuel-cell-electric semi-trucks at Nikola’s Coolidge, Arizona facility.

#arizona, #ceo, #chairman, #companies, #electric-vehicle, #electric-vehicles, #general-motors, #laser, #nikola, #nikola-motors, #tc, #u-s-securities-and-exchange-commission, #united-states


Will Trump Force Principled Conservatives to Start Their Own Party? I Hope So

American politics will be shaped by the influence of the monarch of Mar-a-Lago.

#arizona, #biden-joseph-r-jr, #conservatism-us-politics, #constitution-us, #democratic-party, #ducey-doug-1964, #presidential-election-of-2020, #republican-party, #trump-donald-j, #united-states-politics-and-government


Snoop Dogg’s Casa Verde Capital closes on $100 million as the cannabis industry bounces back

Casa Verde Capital, the investment fund co-founded by cannabis connoisseur Snoop Dogg (also known as Calvin Broadus), has closed on $100 million for its second investment fund, according to documents filed with the SEC.

The fund, whose managing director, Karan Wadhera declined to comment for this article, has managed to raise more cash just as the market for cannabis-related products seems poised for another period of expansion.

“What happened to the public perception of the cannabis industry is not too dissimilar to the dotcom bubble of the late ’90s, where there was a lot of hype — a lot of it driven by public companies — and a lot of speculative trading and valuations that weren’t really founded in reality. [We’re talking about] projections multiple years out into the future, and then crazy revenue multiples on top of that,” Wadhera said of the last bust when he spoke to TechCrunch in July. “Things just got really frothy, and that eventually burst, and last April or May was sort of the apex of that moment. It’s when things started to trade off. And it’s been those names, the public names in particular, that have been hit particularly hard.”

Since then, the industry has come roaring back.

“Sitting here today, four-plus months into COVID, cannabis has really proved itself to be a non-cyclical industry. Cannabis has been deemed an essential business everywhere across the U.S. We had record sales in March, April and May, and the trend has continued,” Wadhera said in July. “And now that we are getting into an environment where governments are going to be looking for additional sources of tax revenue, the potential urgency around cannabis legalization is going to be there, which is going to be massively positive for the industry.”

There’s no indication of the target for the new venture capital fund, but with the new fundraising, Casa Verde more than doubles the size of its initial investment vehicle.

Since Broadus, Wadhera and a third partner and the founder of Cashmere Agency and Stampede Management Ted Chung launched their debut fund in 2018, weed businesses have endured a roller-coaster business cycle of boom and bust.

In spite of those market vagaries, Casa Verde has managed to build a portfolio that is now worth at least $200 million, according to people with knowledge of the firm. That money has come through several special purpose vehicles and other fundraising mechanisms raised alongside the flagship fund.

The overall market for cannabis and cannabinoid derivatives is expected to hit $34 billion by 2025 according to an analyst report seen by TechCrunch from the investment bank Cowen.

With Arizona, Montana, New Jersey, and South Dakota all passing adult-use cannabis legalization measures in their states, the investment bank predicted roughly 30 percent growth to their total addressable market estimates.

For its part, Casa Verde has always taken a broad view on the potential addressable market that cannabis and its chemical compounds could capture.

Nowhere is that more on view than in the firm’s latest investment in the sleep company, Proper.


“[Cannabis] is an input as well and its use case will go beyond how people think of cannabis stigmatically,” Wadhera said. “At its core, [Proper] is a company that’s helping us target this sleep epidemic. We think CBD and cannabis at large can play a big role in addressing that in a way that traditional products haven’t been able to.”

And what’s true for sleep is true for a number of other different applications as well, Wadhera has said in the past.

Casa Verde has already invested heavily across the pure-play opportunities in cannabis, with investments spanning delivery, supply chain logistics, brands, and retail.

But the health benefits that cannabinoids could have for all kinds of ailments open up a much larger market — as do the broad consumer opportunities should Congress accede to the wishes of more than 60 percent of the American electorate and legalize recreational cannabis use nationally.

And, as Wadhera told us in July, a Biden administration presents a potentially much more positive regulatory environment for the industry than the previous Trump administration did.

“I think Biden will be very helpful. He has laid out many of the things that he wants, and [while] he isn’t taking it as far as full-scale legalization, he’s certainly in favor of full-scale decriminalization, [meaning] letting states have full authority over what happens with their businesses, and also the rescheduling of cannabis down from the current Schedule 1 level,” Wadhera had said. “So all of that will be incredibly helpful and will bring a lot more players who will feel comfortable investing in the space and, potentially, acquiring some of these businesses, too.”


#analyst, #arizona, #biden, #biden-administration, #calvin, #casa-verde-capital, #congress, #cowen, #karan-wadhera, #montana, #musicians, #new-jersey, #proper, #retail, #securities-and-exchange-commission, #snoop-dogg, #tc, #ted-chung, #trump-administration, #united-states, #venture-capital


The Marathon Project: Sara Hall and Martin Hehir Win

Coaches and agents were desperate to help their athletes compete in a year void of competition. So they created a marathon themselves, and watched the list of the fastest American marathons times get rewritten.

#arizona, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #hall-sara, #marathon-running, #running


Escape From the City: 9 Winter Outings That Fight Cabin Fever

Snow biking near Seattle, winter bird-watching near New York and seven other cold-weather activities near large U.S. cities.

#arizona, #boston-mass, #chesapeake-bay, #chicago-ill, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #cross-country-skiing, #hikes-and-hiking, #los-angeles-calif, #north-carolina, #parks-and-other-recreation-areas, #seattle-wash, #sedona-ariz, #skiing, #snowshoes, #tampa-fla, #travel-and-vacations, #winter-season


Foresight raises $15M for its construction workers compensation platform

When an accident on a building site resulted in the death of their friend, the founders of Safesight were inspired to launch the platform to digitize safety programs for construction. The data from that gave birth to a new InsurTech startup this year, Foresight, which covers workers’ compensation. The startup has now released, for the first time, news that it raised a $15 million funding round back in May this year, with participation from Blackhorn Ventures and Transverse Insurance Group. To date, it has raised $20.5 million from industrial technology venture capital firms, led by Brick and Mortar Ventures and Builders VC.

Foresight launched in August of this year but has already covered $30M in risks. The company says it is now on pace to reach $50M in underwritten premium in 2021. By leveraging the data from sister company Safesite, the platform says it has been able to reduce workers comp incidents by up to 57% in a study conducted by actuarial consulting firm Perr & Knight.

Foresight’s algorithm leverages Safesight data to predict incidents, highlight risks, and informs underwriting. By wrapping Safesite risk management technology and services into every policy, Foresight provides a path to lower incident rates and lower premiums for customers.

Of the $57Bn national workers compensation market, Foresight focuses on policies ranging from $150K to $1M+ in annual premiums. The company says this segment has been largely overlooked by well-funded InsurTech startups such as Next Insurance and Pie, which provide small business policies under $50K in annual premiums.

Foresight and Safesite were developed by longtime friends and co-founders David Fontain, Peter Grant, and Leigh Appel.

Fontain said: “Foresight strengthens the correlation between safety and savings while providing the fast and easy user experience InsurTechs are known for. We leverage purpose-built technology to drive behavioral shifts and provide an irresistible alternative to traditional workers compensation coverage.”

Darren Bechtel, the founder and managing director at Brick & Mortar Ventures commented: “We first invested in 2016 and have known the founders since 2015 when it was just the two of them, squatting at a couple of empty desks inside another portfolio company’s office. Their initial vision was both elegant and powerful, and the demonstrated impact of their solution on safety performance, even in early interactions with the product, was impossible to ignore.”

Foresight now covers Nevada, Oklahoma, Arizona, Arkansas, Louisiana, and New Mexico. The company expects to launch workers compensation in the eastern US and a general liability line in early 2021.

#arizona, #arkansas, #articles, #blackhorn-ventures, #brick, #brick-mortar-ventures, #builders-vc, #darren-bechtel, #future, #insurance, #louisiana, #nevada, #new-mexico, #oklahoma, #tc, #time, #united-states


Falling Behind on Weekly Rent and Afraid of Being Evicted

Residents of weekly rentals worry they will be kicked out if they can’t pay the rent. It’s unclear if the federal moratorium on evictions applies to them.

#arizona, #atlanta-legal-aid-society-inc, #centers-for-disease-control-and-prevention, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #evictions, #homeless-persons, #hotels-and-travel-lodgings, #las-vegas-nev, #legal-aid-for-the-poor-civil, #private-equity, #real-estate-and-housing-residential, #renting-and-leasing-real-estate, #suits-and-litigation-civil, #texas


As Biden Prepares to Take Office, a New Rush at the Border

The president-elect has promised a more humane border policy. But devastated economies and natural disasters in Latin America have fueled a spike in migration that could make pledges hard to keep.

#arizona, #asylum-right-of, #biden-joseph-r-jr, #border-patrol-us, #deportation, #illegal-immigration, #immigration-and-emigration


At the U.S. Women’s Open, a Love Story

They met playing against each other in rec league hockey. Now Alena Sharp and her caddie, Sarah Bowman, are honeymooning on the golf course.

#arizona, #barrett-amy-coney, #bowman-sarah-caddy, #content-type-personal-profile, #golf, #ladies-professional-golf-assn, #same-sex-marriage-civil-unions-and-domestic-partnerships, #sharp-alena-1981, #united-states-womens-open-golf


After Trump’s Loss in Arizona, State Republicans Hurl Insults at One Another

A top Republican told the governor to “shut the hell up.” Another official described a lawmaker as a resident of “Crazytown.” All this in a state where the party recently reigned supreme.

#arizona, #bowers-rusty, #ducey-doug-1964, #giuliani-rudolph-w, #presidential-election-of-2020, #republican-party, #trump-donald-j, #ward-kelli-1969


PrimaHealth Credit offers a buy-now, pay-later lending service for elective procedures

The Newport Beach, Calif.-based healthcare lending service PrimaHealth Credit  is now pitching point-of-sale lending services for elective medical procedures.

Taking the kinds of financial lending services that have been popularized by companies like Klarna and Affirm, PrimaHealth Credit is bringing them into elective surgical space for things like cataract surgery, orthodontic work, dental care, or LASIK.

“For many dental, orthodontics, LASIK, and cataract surgery patients, our BNPL product is a ‘last resort’ – the difference between getting the treatment they need, or not,” said Brendon Kensel, founder and CEO of PrimaHealth Credit, in a statement.

The company expects that patients will pay somewhere between 25% and 50% of the cost of their treatment up front with repayment durations for the loans ranging between two and four months.

Rates for the loans will range from 19.99% to 24.99% APR with average loan sizes coming in at around $1,800 across dental, orthodontics, and LASIK, according to the company.

“Until now, when providers couldn’t approve patients for an existing payment plan, they’d either forego providing them care or take them on anyway, exposing themselves to significant liability as they struggle with adequately assessing creditworthiness and properly servicing and collecting loans,” Kensel said.

The program not only handles loan origination for healthcare practices, but handles the back-office tasks for payment and servicing.

“Our goal as a company is to remove barriers to patient acceptance and help people who have the means but not necessarily the credit score to get the quality care that everyone deserves,” Kensel said.

Using the PrimaHealth Credit mobile app, patients can receive instant credit decisions and choose the payment plan that works best for them. The company said the service is currently available in Arizona, California, Florida, Oklahoma, and Texas and will be expanded to all 50 states by 2021.


#affirm, #arizona, #california, #ceo, #credit-score, #florida, #klarna, #lasik, #oklahoma, #orthodontics, #personal-finance, #tc, #texas


Native Americans Helped Flip Arizona. Can They Mobilize in Georgia?

Very few of Georgia’s more than 100,000 voting-age Native Americans cast ballots in November. Even a small increase could make a difference in the Senate runoffs.

#arizona, #elections-senate, #georgia, #native-americans, #voting-and-voters


The MAGA Revolution Devours Its Own

Republicans encouraged Trumpist havoc. Now it’s coming for them.

#arizona, #caputo-michael-r, #conservatism-us-politics, #digenova-joseph-e, #georgia, #perlstein-rick, #presidential-election-of-2020, #raffensperger-brad, #republican-party, #sterling-gabriel-1970, #trump-donald-j


Mark Kelly Is Sworn In, Narrowing G.O.P.’s Senate Majority

The induction of Mr. Kelly, a former astronaut who won a special election last month, marks the first time in decades that two Democrats have represented Arizona in the Senate.

#arizona, #elections-senate, #giffords-gabrielle, #kelly-mark-e-1964, #mccain-john, #tucson-shooting-2011, #united-states-politics-and-government


Ex-Arizona Official Gets More Than 6 Years in Prison in Adoption Fraud Scheme

Paul D. Petersen, who served as Maricopa County’s assessor, arranged for women from the Marshall Islands to fly to the United States to give birth, prosecutors said.

#arizona, #arkansas, #fayetteville-ark, #fines-penalties, #frauds-and-swindling, #health-insurance-and-managed-care, #human-trafficking, #maricopa-county-ariz, #marshall-islands, #mesa-ariz, #parenting, #petersen-paul-d, #phoenix-ariz, #pregnancy-and-childbirth, #utah, #women-and-girls


Arizona and Wisconsin Certify Biden’s Wins: ‘The System Is Strong’

President Trump’s push to reverse the election results in key swing states fell short again as two states carried narrowly by Joe Biden formally signed off on their results.

#accreditation, #arizona, #biden-joseph-r-jr, #presidential-election-of-2020, #trump-donald-j, #united-states-politics-and-government, #voting-and-voters, #wisconsin


A Rush to Expand the Border Wall That Many Fear Is Here to Stay

Despite the president-elect’s vow to halt the project, the Trump administration is expanding the wall at a breakneck pace.

#arizona, #biden-joseph-r-jr, #border-barriers, #border-patrol-us, #customs-and-border-protection-us, #illegal-immigration, #immigration-and-emigration, #trump-donald-j


Arizona Settles In to Life as a ‘Magenta’ State

Democrats made historic inroads. But it’s a deeply divided place, and some say a “blood bath” is on the horizon in 2022.

#arizona, #biden-joseph-r-jr, #elections-senate, #kelly-mark-e-1964, #presidential-election-of-2020, #voting-and-voters