Larry Householder, a Former Speaker, Is Expelled from the Ohio House

The 75-to-21 vote to expel Representative Larry Householder came nearly a year after he was charged in a wide-ranging conspiracy to bail out a foundering energy company.

#bribery-and-kickbacks, #householder-larry, #legislatures-and-parliaments, #lobbying-and-lobbyists, #money-laundering, #ohio, #politics-and-government, #racketeering-and-racketeers, #state-legislatures

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Welcome to Barn-Quilt Country

Take a road trip in the Midwest to see a homegrown art form that creatively combines aspects of Americana.

#agriculture-and-farming, #art, #barns, #bowling-green-ky, #iowa, #ohio, #quilts, #road-trips, #travel-and-vacations, #wisconsin

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Branch raises $50M to offer bundled auto & home insurance via an API

Branch Insurance, a startup offering bundled home and auto insurance, has raised $50 million in a Series B funding round led by Anthemis Group.

Acrew, Cherry Creek Holdings and existing backers Greycroft, HSCM Bermuda, American Family Ventures, SignalFire, SCOR P&C Ventures, Foundation Capital and Tower IV also participated in the round. With this latest financing, Columbus, Ohio-based Branch has raised $82.5 million in total funding since its 2017 inception.

With so many players in the insurtech space, it can get tough distinguishing the various offerings. Branch claims that it is unique in that it is able to provide customers with “an instant insurance offer” for bundled home and auto insurance “within seconds” using just a few pieces of information.

Co-founder and CEO Steve Lekas began his career at Allstate, where he went on to hold roles in underwriting, technology and product management. He then went on to build Esurance’s first online home insurance business.

But in the back of his mind, Lekas yearned to figure out a way to make insurance more accessible for more people. And so he teamed up with Joe Emison, and Branch was born.

“The industry is structurally flawed and it harms consumers. Complicated policies, rising costs and marketing warfare all contribute to a vicious cycle that results in overpriced insurance,” said Lekas. “We are a full-stack insurance company transforming the way people think about their home and car insurance.”

Branch, he claims, is the only insurance company that he is aware of that can bind insurance through an API, and the only one that can bundle auto and home insurance in a single transaction.

Another way Branch is unique, according to Lekas, is that it can be embedded into the buying experience. In other words, the company has partnered with companies such as Rocket Mortgage and ADT to integrate insurance at the point of sale in their products. For example, if a person is closing on a home, they have the option of purchasing Branch insurance at the same time.

Branch co-founder and CEO Steve Lekas. Photo: Robb McCormick Photography

“Every home or car policy starts with another transaction,” Lekas said. “Insurance is a product that exists only because of the other transaction. It’s never before been possible to embed in that primary purchase before.”

This distribution model means that Branch shells out less to acquire customers and thus, it claims, is able to offer premiums for a lower price than competitors.

“In just two clicks, a consumer can have home and car insurance or just home and we’ll cancel the old insurance on their closing date, and transmit all the data to their existing mortgage,” Lekas said.

Branch also offers its insurance direct-to-consumer and through agencies.

The company plans to use its new capital in part to accelerate its rollout across the U.S. so that it can sign more such partnerships where it can embed its offering. Currently, Branch has more than 30 partnerships of varying sizes, and is “adding more every week” as it launches in more states.

“It’s really hard to move quickly,” Lekas said. “The system is built to make you move slowly. Every state regulator has to approve individually and independently with their own rules.”

Lekas predicts Branch will be available in more than 80% of the U.S. before the year’s out.

Branch has seen increased momentum since its $24 million Series A in July 2020.

Specifically, the startup says it has achieved a 435% growth in its partner channel, 660% growth in active policies and a 734% increase in active premium less than one year after its last raise.

Anthemis Group Partner Ruth Foxe Blader notes that Branch marks her firm’s first investment from its new growth fund.

Blader says she has invested in insurance innovation over the past decade, and is particularly attracted to insurtech businesses that represent three things: significant technology and data science innovation; significant product innovation and significant cultural innovation.

“Branch easily ticks those boxes,” Blader told TechCrunch. “Branch’s products are both embedded and bundled, making them less expensive and more convenient to purchase, and less likely to leave customers with critical protection gaps.”

The startup, she added, effectively combines data science and technology to create “unique, automatic product bundles.”

With what it describes as a “built-for-savings” structure, Branch said it has created connected home discounts as well as programs that reward members for making referrals and practicing safe driving behaviors, for example.

Branch also has formed a nonprofit, SafetyNest, to help those who are un- or underinsured.

#allstate, #american-family-ventures, #anthemis-group, #auto-insurance, #branch, #car-insurance, #columbus, #finance, #foundation-capital, #funding, #fundings-exits, #insurance, #insurtech, #ohio, #ontology, #product-management, #recent-funding, #rocket-mortgage, #ruth-foxe-blader, #startup, #startups, #tc, #united-states, #venture-capital

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Spurred by Clarence Thomas, Ohio AG wants Google declared a public utility

A large Google logo seen on the outside of a Google office in Silicon Valley.

Enlarge / Googleplex office in Palo Alto, California in January 2018. (credit: Getty Images | Ingus Kruklitis)

The state of Ohio sued Google today in an unusual complaint that seeks a legal declaration that Google is a common carrier and public utility under Ohio law.

“Google uses its dominance of Internet search to steer Ohioans to Google’s own products—that’s discriminatory and anti-competitive,” Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost, a Republican, said when announcing the lawsuit. “When you own the railroad or the electric company or the cellphone tower, you have to treat everyone the same and give everybody access.”

The complaint was filed in the Common Pleas Court of Delaware County in Ohio. The lawsuit does not seek monetary damages but would impose certain nondiscrimination obligations on Google.

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#clarence-thomas, #google, #ohio, #policy

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A Veteran Tried to Credit Black Americans on Memorial Day. His Mic Got Muted.

Retired Army Lt. Col. Barnard Kemter was speaking at an American Legion service in Hudson, Ohio, on Monday when he was intentionally silenced.

#american-legion, #black-people, #civil-war-us-1861-65, #hudson-ohio, #kemter-barnard, #memorial-day, #ohio, #race-and-ethnicity, #slavery-historical

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High School Football Coaches Suspended After Teen Is Forced to Eat Pork, Lawyer Says

A 17-year-old in Canton, Ohio, was forced to eat a pepperoni pizza even though the coaches were aware he does not eat pork because he is a Hebrew Israelite, a lawyer for the boy’s family said. The Police Department is investigating.

#canton-ohio, #education-k-12, #football, #football-college, #interscholastic-athletics, #ohio

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Remembering Cheryl White, the First Black Female Jockey

Fifty years ago, Cheryl White became America’s first licensed Black female jockey when she was just 17 years old. So why doesn’t the world know her name?

#black-history-continued-2021, #black-people, #california, #content-type-personal-profile, #horse-racing, #jet-magazine, #jockey-club-the, #jockeys-guild, #jockeys-drivers-and-trainers, #ohio, #race-and-ethnicity

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Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? In Ohio, You Just Need Luck, and a Covid Vaccine.

With virus vaccinations on the decline nationally, states are offering big incentives, even $1 million prizes. Will it work?

#coronavirus-2019-ncov, #dewine-mike, #lotteries, #ohio, #scholarships-and-fellowships, #vaccination-and-immunization

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Ohio’s Vaccine Lottery Is Working, Writes Gov. Mike DeWine

Unconventional strategies to increase vaccinations are worth it. 

#coronavirus-2019-ncov, #dewine-mike, #lotteries, #motivation-and-incentive-programs, #ohio, #politics-and-government, #vaccination-and-immunization, #vax-a-million

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Several Are Killed in a Shooting Outside Columbus, Ohio

A television station reported that three bodies were found in an apartment in West Jefferson, and that additional bodies were found outside.

#columbus-ohio, #columbus-dispatch, #murders-attempted-murders-and-homicides, #ohio

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Ohio’s 53% vaccination surge tied to $1M lottery; NY and MD announce lotteries

Maryland Governor Larry Hogan stands next to a person dressed as a lottery ball during a press conference on May 20 announcing the state's VaxCash promotion.

Enlarge / Maryland Governor Larry Hogan stands next to a person dressed as a lottery ball during a press conference on May 20 announcing the state’s VaxCash promotion. (credit: Patrick Siebert)

The governors of New York and Maryland on Thursday each announced big cash lotteries to entice their residents to get vaccinated against COVID-19. The announcements came as westward-neighbor Ohio celebrated the success of its “Vax-a-Million” lottery campaign, which helped boost week-to-week vaccination numbers 53 percent.

The lotteries appear to be part of a growing trend of states and officials offering cash prizes or other incentives to combat slumping vaccination rates. The country’s seven-day average for daily vaccinations has dropped to around 1.8 million, down from a peak of nearly 3.4 million in mid-April.

In a White House COVID-19 press briefing Friday, Senior White House Advisor Andy Slavitt said that, based on the data the administration has seen, the lotteries “appear to be working.”

Read 10 remaining paragraphs | Comments

#covid-19, #incentives, #infectious-disease, #lottery, #maryland, #new-york, #ohio, #pandemic, #public-health, #science, #vaccination

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Ohio Lottery to Give 5 People $1 Million Each to Encourage Vaccination

To bolster slumping demand for the vaccine, the state will use federal coronavirus relief funds to pay for a weekly lottery beginning May 26.

#coronavirus-2019-ncov, #dewine-mike, #government-bonds, #ohio, #scholarships-and-fellowships, #vaccination-and-immunization

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Ma’Khia Bryant’s Journey Through Foster Care Ended With an Officer’s Bullet

The 16-year-old girl was fatally shot while threatening a young woman with a knife. She had spent two years shuttling among Ohio foster homes, hoping to return to her mother.

#child-custody-and-support, #children-and-childhood, #columbus-ohio, #foster-care, #george-floyd-protests-2020, #ohio, #police-brutality-misconduct-and-shootings

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Ohio G.O.P. Censure Representative Who Voted to Impeach Trump

They are also calling for Mr. Gonzalez to resign for being one of 10 Republican House members who voted to impeach Donald J. Trump after the Jan. 6 riot.

#gonzalez-anthony-2005, #house-of-representatives, #ohio, #politics-and-government, #republican-party, #storming-of-the-us-capitol-jan-2021, #trump-donald-j

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Ohio State Senator Is Caught Zooming and Driving

Andrew Brenner, a Republican, used a background to make it appear as if he were at home rather than behind the wheel of his car during a state meeting. The giveaway? His seatbelt.

#columbus-ohio, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #driver-distraction-and-fatigue, #internal-storyline-no, #ohio, #politics-and-government, #united-states-politics-and-government, #video-recordings-downloads-and-streaming

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‘A Horrendous Tragedy’: The Chaotic Moments Before a Police Shooting in Columbus

New video and 911 calls shed light on what led up to the fatal shooting of 16-year-old Ma’Khia Bryant, who the police said was wielding a knife before an officer fired the four shots that killed her.

#columbus-ohio, #murders-attempted-murders-and-homicides, #ohio, #police, #police-brutality-misconduct-and-shootings, #police-department-columbus-ohio

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Teenage Girl Fatally Shot by the Police in Columbus, Officials Say

The use of deadly force in Ohio happened just before the former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was convicted of murdering George Floyd.

#black-lives-matter-movement, #black-people, #chauvin-derek-1976, #columbus-ohio, #demonstrations-protests-and-riots, #floyd-george-d-2020, #george-floyd-protests-2020, #murders-attempted-murders-and-homicides, #ohio, #police, #police-brutality-misconduct-and-shootings

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Judy McGinn, Librarian With a Love for Home, Dies at 78

She was hyper-vigilant about keeping safe during the pandemic, but she caught Covid-19 after her first vaccine.

#coronavirus-2019-ncov, #deaths-obituaries, #libraries-and-librarians, #mcginn-judy-1942-2021, #ohio

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Book Review: ‘On the House,’ by John Boehner

“On the House” is an anecdote-rich memoir by the former speaker of the House that fails to give readers the whole picture.

#boehner-john-a, #books-and-literature, #gingrich-newt, #limbaugh-rush, #ohio, #on-the-house-a-washington-memoir-book, #republican-party, #tea-party-movement, #united-states-politics-and-government

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A Single Ohio Hospital Reveals All That’s Wrong With American Health Care

In Brian Alexander’s “The Hospital,” an intimate portrait of a small hospital in Bryan, Ohio.

#alexander-brian, #books-and-literature, #health-insurance-and-managed-care, #hospitals, #income-inequality, #ohio, #the-hospital-life-death-and-dollars-in-a-small-american-town-book

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Jack Hanna Has Dementia, His Family Says

The 74-year-old is believed to have developed Alzheimer’s disease and will retire from public life, his daughters said in a letter.

#animals, #columbus-zoo-and-aquarium, #conservation-of-resources, #content-type-personal-profile, #hanna-jack, #ohio, #television, #zoos

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Fed Up With Remote Learning, Governors Make a Push to Reopen Schools

A bipartisan group of governors decided to flex its muscle and get students back into classrooms, despite union resistance and bureaucratic hesitancy.

#baker-charles-d-jr, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #coronavirus-reopenings, #dewine-mike, #education-k-12, #governors-us, #inslee-jay, #massachusetts, #ohio, #teachers-and-school-employees, #washington-state

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Child Care in Crisis: Can Biden’s Plan Save It?

Child-care centers improvised during the pandemic, scrambling to stay open with razor-thin budgets and little government guidance. How long will the short-term solutions last?

#acca-child-development-center-annandale-va, #california, #child-care, #children-and-childhood, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #finances, #gender, #kinder-kare-michigan-child-care-centers-inc, #labor-and-jobs, #michigan, #ohana-family-child-care-vista-calif, #ohio, #rockport-early-childhood-center-rocky-river-ohio, #small-business, #united-states, #virginia, #women-and-girls

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Biden Administration Faces Legal Fight Over State Aid Restrictions on Tax Cuts

The litigation came amid growing pushback from Republican lawmakers and state officials to a provision in the relief package that the Treasury Department said was constitutional.

#american-rescue-plan-2021, #attorneys-general, #constitution-us, #federal-state-relations-us, #ohio, #republican-party, #states-us, #stimulus-economic, #suits-and-litigation-civil, #taxation, #treasury-department, #united-states-economy, #united-states-politics-and-government

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Ohio Medical Board Reopens 91 Sexual Assault Cases Involving Doctors

The review was prompted by an investigation into how Richard H. Strauss, a former team doctor at Ohio State who was implicated in at least 177 sex-abuse cases, had gone undetected for so long.

#colleges-and-universities, #dewine-mike, #doctors, #ohio, #ohio-state-university, #sex-crimes, #sexual-harassment, #strauss-richard-h-1938-2005, #tests-and-examinations

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Marcia Fudge, Biden’s Pick to Lead HUD, Is Confirmed by Senate

Ms. Fudge faces as tough a task as any cabinet secretary: rebuilding a neglected agency central to the fight against racial inequity and poverty.

#appointments-and-executive-changes, #biden-joseph-r-jr, #black-people, #fudge-marcia-l, #housing-and-urban-development-department, #ohio, #real-estate-and-housing-residential, #united-states-politics-and-government

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Police Investigating Whether Fraternity Hazing Led to Death of Bowling Green Student

A 20-year-old Ohio student died three days after attending a Pi Kappa Alpha event that was said to involve alcohol-fueled hazing.

#bowling-green-ohio, #bowling-green-state-university, #colleges-and-universities, #deaths-fatalities, #fraternities-and-sororities, #hazing, #ohio, #pi-kappa-alpha-fraternity, #toledo-ohio

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Democrats Want a Stronger Edge in the Senate. Ohio Could Be Crucial.

The retirement of a moderate Republican senator and conservative infighting have raised Democratic ambitions in the state, a longtime political bellwether that is increasingly tilting red.

#brown-sherrod, #democratic-party, #elections-senate, #ohio, #portman-rob, #presidential-election-of-2020, #republican-party, #ryan-timothy-j-1973, #united-states-politics-and-government, #whaley-nannette-l

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GM, LG Chem studying the feasibility of a second battery cell plant in the U.S.

General Motors is exploring building a second U.S. battery cell manufacturing plant with its joint-venture partner Seoul, South Korea-based LG Chem.

If the plant moves forward, it would be the latest in a series of investments aimed at building out the auto giant’s portfolio of electric vehicles. The company’s joint venture with LG, Ultium Cells LLC, is already at work constructing a $2.3 billion battery cell manufacturing facility in Lordstown, Ohio.

The companies hope to have a decision on the factory in the first half of 2021, GM spokesman Dan Flores told TechCrunch. He declined to specify possible locations for the site but Tennessee is high on the list, according to reporting from the Wall Street Journal.

GM has set ambitious targets for decarbonizing its operations and pledged steep investments to get there. Through 2025 alone the company said it would bring thirty EV models across its brands to the global market and spend $27 billion on electrification and automated technology—a 35% increase from 2020 spending. By the mid-2030s, GM said its fleet will be all-EV.

“Clearly, with our commitment to an all-electric future, we will need a lot of battery cells,” Flores said.

He declined to comment on the ongoing shortage of battery cells, which has affected EV manufacturers Tesla and Nikola. President Joe Biden issued an executive order at the end of February instructing federal agencies to identify risks in the supply chains for batteries, semiconductors, and other critical items, including where supply chains are dependent on “competitor nations.”

GM CEO Mary Barra said in a virtual investor presentation last week that the battery shortage is one reason the company is investing in its own battery cell manufacturing. She alluded to plans to grow the company’s battery cell manufacturing operations but did not go into specifics.

“There’s more coming than we’ve announced already,” she said.

#automotive, #ceo, #electric-mobility, #electric-vehicle, #electric-vehicles, #engines, #ev, #executive, #general-motors, #joe-biden, #lg, #lg-chem, #lithium-ion-batteries, #mary-barra, #mobility, #nikola, #ohio, #president, #semiconductors, #seoul, #south-korea, #supply-chains, #tc, #tennessee, #tesla, #the-wall-street-journal, #united-states

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Scenes From a Record-Setting Winter Storm

The coast-to-coast storm brought heavy snow and frigid temperatures as well as prompted rolling blackouts.

#dallas-tex, #mississippi, #ohio, #oklahoma, #photography, #power-failures-and-blackouts, #snow-and-snowstorms, #texas, #washington-state, #winter-season

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LA-based SoLo Funds raises $10 million to offer an alternative to predatory payday lenders

SoLo Funds wants to replace payday lenders with a community-based, market-driven model for individual lending and now has $10 million to expand its business in the U.S.

Payday lenders offer high interest, short-term loans to borrowers who are at their most vulnerable and the terms of their loans often trap borrowers in a cycle of debt from which there’s no escape.

Around 80% of Americans don’t have adequate savings to cover unforeseen expenses, and it’s that statistic that has made payday lending a lucrative business in the U.S.

Over the past decade websites like GoFundMe and others have cropped up to offer a space where people can donate money to individuals or causes that in some cases serve to supplement the incomes of people most in need. SoLo Funds operates as an alternative.

It’s a marketplace where borrowers can set the terms of their loan repayment and lenders can earn extra income while supporting folks who need the help.

The company is financing tens of thousands of loans per month, according to chief executive officer and co-founder, Travis Holoway and loan volumes are growing at about 40% monthly, he said.

While Holoway would not disclose the book value of the loans transacted on the platform, he did say that the company’s default and delinquency rates were lower than that of its competitors. “Our default rate is about three times better than the industry average — which is the payday lending industry that we’re looking to disrupt,” Holoway said.

The company also offers a sort of default insurance product that lenders can purchase to backstop any losses they experience, Holoway said. That service, rolled out in April of last year, helped account for some of the explosive 2,000% growth that the company saw over the course of 2020.

SoLo has seen the most activity in Texas, Illinois, California, and New York, states with large populations and cities with the highest cost of living.

“Our borrowers are school teachers… are social workers. When you live in those larger cities with higher costs of living they can’t afford the financial shocks that they could if they lived in Dayton, Ohio,” said Holoway.

While the company’s borrowers represent one cross section of America, the lenders tend to also not be hailing from the demographic that a casual observer might expect, Holoway said.

About half of loans on the platform are made by folks that Holoway called power lenders, while the rest are coming from less frequent users.

“A majority of [power lenders] are college educated and the majority of them tend to be white men. It’s individuals who you might not think are going to be power lenders… They may make $100,000 to $125,000 per year,” said Holoway. “They’re looking to diversify their capital and deploy it to make returns. And they’re able to help individuals out who otherwise would not be able to pay for groceries, paying rent or taking care of their transportation expenses.”

Given the company’s growth, it’s no wonder investors like ACME Capital, with support from Impact America Fund, Techstars, Endeavor Catalyst, CEAS Investments and more joined the new round. previous investors like West Ventures, Taavet Hinrikus of Transferwise, Jewel Burks Solomon of Google Startups, Zachary Bookman of OpenGov, Richelieu Dennis of Essence Ventures, and tech innovation accelerators also participated in financing the company.

“For too long, there have been limited options for individuals in need of immediate funds due to unforeseen circumstances, like a shift in hourly schedules, unplanned car troubles or other cases,” said SoLo, co-founder and CEO Travis Holoway. “SoLo was created to offer safe, affordable options for borrowers that need cash quickly, while also creating a marketplace for lenders to grow capital and help community members in need. We believe that at the end of the day, people are innately honest and tend towards generosity, and our platform’s growth is further proof that people want to do good in the world and make an impact.”

#america, #california, #credit, #economy, #finance, #google, #illinois, #impact-america-fund, #jewel-burks-solomon, #loans, #money, #new-york, #ohio, #richelieu-dennis, #solo, #taavet-hinrikus, #tc, #techstars, #texas, #united-states

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OptioLend launches new marketplace to become ‘the LendingTree of commercial real estate’

The commercial real estate industry is facing its share of challenges, considering the fact that so many people are working from home (and not in offices) and retail is riding a slippery slope as more people shop online.

But from downturns, opportunity emerges.

Enter OptioLend, a new startup that wants to help individual investors take advantage of opportunities in commercial real estate by connecting them with “the best possible” lenders. The Columbus, Ohio-based company launched its marketplace Tuesday after months of operating in private beta.

The new platform uses an AI-powered algorithm and a database of more than 9,500 capital sources to help prospective real estate borrowers in search of debt financing find lenders “with the best terms.” In other words, the company’s self-proclaimed mission is to become the “LendingTree for commercial real estate.” (For the unacquainted, Charlotte, North Carolina-based LendingTree is an online marketplace that provides consumers multiple offers from several lenders for things like mortgage, student and personal loans.)

In fact, Joel Lowery, a former LendingTree executive who built the back end of that company’s platform, helped build out the OptioLend portal serving in a technical advisor capacity along with former data scientists at IBM.

Once an investor applies for a loan, OptioLend identifies up to 20 lenders best suited for that application based on recent lending history and other criteria. Borrowers and brokers can negotiate and close deals from within the company’s platform via the mostly automated process, the company claims. But it’s also launching “with a concierge service of experienced capital advisors” to help guide users who need help during the loan procurement process.

To get off the ground, OptioLend last year raised about $1 million in seed funding led by the Schottenstein Family Office with participation from Loud Capital and MLG Ventures. For context, the Schottenstein family is one of the largest private real estate owners in the country.

CEO Richard Geisenfeld said there’s a plethora of lenders that can lend at that price point, whereas there is “a relatively small pool of capital sources” that focus on deals above $10 million.

“Capital markets are experiencing a 50% surge in refis and new loans as the markets start to rebound from COVID,” he said. “And as existing loans start coming due, we think we’re in a perfect timing to roll out. Properties are going to be repurposed, and are already starting to be.”

And while OptioLend can work with institutions and individual investors, it’s more focused on the latter.

Institutions have a lot of choices,” Geisenfeld said. “Individual investors do not.

Geisenfeld said he comes from a family of developers and himself has closed about $1.7 billion worth of transactions in 44 states as founder of Capital Commercial Partners. He’d been representing the Schottenstein family for nearly 20 years before the concept behind OptioLend emerged.

As an experiment prior to the formation of OptioLend, the family office had reached out to more than 50 lenders in an effort to finance the purchase of a small single tenant, triple net portfolio. They were surprised to discover that the interest rates varied as much as a full percentage point.

“Every time we did a deal with them, we’d hear anecdotally there were better [loan] rates out there and they agreed that we needed to create some kind of efficiency and automation,” Geisenfeld told TechCrunch. “So I went to one of my colleagues and asked ‘how do we change the paradigm from the traditional methodology?’ And that’s the problem we’re out to solve — by increasing an investor’s access to capital by 10 times in 10 minutes.”

The startup says it not only helps investors with new loan applications, but it can also help them refinance existing assets. Its sweet spot is on transactions in the middle market — in the $1 million to $10 million range.

OptioLend will work with commercial real estate and mortgage brokers alike either by allowing them to use the platform directly or to refer property owners to it. Their incentive for referrals is earning up to 50% of the original fees.

David Schottenstein, principal of Schottenstein Family Office, noted in a written statement that in today’s market, borrowers with limited access to capital sources sometimes sign onto loan terms with interest rates “as much as 100 basis points higher than they have to.” 

“OptioLend’s ability to get deals in front of multiple lenders quickly helps ensure that borrowers are getting the best terms possible,” he added.

#economy, #finance, #financial-technology, #lendingtree, #loans, #ohio, #online-lending, #online-marketplace, #optiolend, #real-estate, #schottenstein-family-office, #startups

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Anthony Sowell, Serial Killer Who Terrorized Cleveland, Dies at 61

Mr. Sowell, who was sentenced to death in 2011, murdered 11 women and hid the remains of his victims on his property.

#capital-punishment, #cleveland-ohio, #columbus-ohio, #murders-attempted-murders-and-homicides, #ohio, #serial-murders, #sex-crimes, #sowell-anthony

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Tim Ryan, a Top Democrat in Ohio, Is Said to Plan Senate Bid

Mr. Ryan, who mounted a long-shot campaign for president in 2019, plans to compete for the state’s open Senate seat. His campaign will test Democrats’ strength in a state tilting to the right.

#acton-amy, #brown-sherrod, #democratic-party, #elections-senate, #endorsements, #jordan-jim-1964, #ohio, #primaries-and-caucuses, #republican-party, #ryan-timothy-j-1973, #united-states-politics-and-government, #whaley-nannette-l

0

Three dimensional search engine Physna wants to be the Google of the physical world

In June of 1999, Sequoia Capital and Kleiner Perkins invested $25 million into an early stage company developing a new search engine called Google, paving the way for a revolution in how knowledge online was organized and shared.

Now, Sequoia Capital is placing another bet on a different kind of search engine, one for physical objects in three dimensions, just as the introduction of three dimensional sensing technologies on consumer phones are poised to create a revolution in spatial computing.

At least, that’s the bet that Sequoia Capital’s Shaun Maguire is making on the Cincinnati, Ohio-based startup Physna.

Maguire and Sequoia are leading a $20 million bet into the company alongside Drive Capital, the Columbus, Ohio-based venture firm founded by two former Sequoia partners, Mark Kvamme and Chris Olsen.

“There’s been this open problem in mathematics, which is how you do three dimensional search. How do you define a metric that gives you other similar three dimensional objects. This has a long history in mathematics,” Maguire said. “When I first met [Physna founder] Paul Powers, he had already come up with a wildly novel distance metric to compare different three dimensional objects. If you have one distance metric, you can find other objects that are a distance away. His thinking underlying that is so unbelievably creative. If I were to put it in the language of modern mathematics… it just involves a lot of really advanced ideas that actually also works.”

Powers’ idea — and Physna’s technology — was a long time coming.

A lawyer by training and an entrepreneur at heart, Powers came to the problem of three dimensional search through his old day job as an intellectual property lawyer.

Powers chose IP law because he thought it was the most interesting way to operate at the intersection of technology and law — and would provide good grounding for whatever company the serial entrepreneur would eventually launch next. While practicing, Powers hit upon a big problem, while some intellectual property theft around software and services was easy to catch, it was harder to identify when actual products or parts were being stolen as trade secrets. “We were always able to find 2D intellectual property theft,” Powers said, but catching IP theft in three dimensions was elusive.

From its launch in 2015 through 2019, Powers worked with co-founder and chief technology officer Glenn Warner Jr. on developing the product, which was initially intended to protect product designs from theft. Tragically just as the company was getting ready to unveil its transformation into the three dimensional search engine it had become, Warner died.

Powers soldiered on, rebuilding the company and its executive team with the help of Dennis DeMeyere, who joined the company in 2020 after a stint in Google’s office of the chief technology officer and technical director for Google Cloud.

“When I moved, I jumped on a plane with two checked bags and moved into a hotel, until I could rent a fully furnished home,” DeMeyere told Protocol last year.

Other heavy hitters were also drawn to the Cincinnati-based company thanks in no small part to Olsen and Kvamme’s Silicon Valley connections. They include Github’s chief technology officer, Jason Warner, who has a seat on the company’s board of directors alongside Drive Capital’s co-founder Kvamme, who serves as the chairman.

In Physna, Kvamme, Maguire, and Warner see a combination of Github and Google — especially after the launch last year of the company’s consumer facing site, Thangs.

That site allows users to search for three dimensional objects by a description or by uploading a model or image. As Mike Murphy at Protocol noted, it’s a bit like Thingiverse, Yeggi or other sites used by 3D-printing hobbyists. What the site can also do is show users the collaborative history of each model and the model’s component parts — if it involves different objects.

Hence the GitHub and Google combination. And users can set up profiles to store their own models or collaborate and comment on public models.

What caught Maguire’s eye about the company was the way users were gravitating to the free site. “There were tens of thousands of people using it every day,” he said. It’s a replica of the way many successful companies try a freemium or professional consumer hybrid approach to selling products. “They have a free version and people are using it all the time and loving it. That is a foundation that they can build from,” said Maguire.

And Maguire thinks that the spatial computing wave is coming sooner than anyone may realize. “The new iPhone has LIDAR on it… This is the first consumer device that comes shipped with a 3D scanner with LIDAR and I think three dimensional is about to explode.”

Eventually, Physna could be a technology hub where users can scan three dimensional objects into their phones and have a representational model for reproduction either as a virtual object or as something that can be converted into a file for 3D printing.

Right now, hundreds of businesses have approached the company with different requests for how to apply its technology, according to Powers.

One new feature will allow you to take a picture of something and not only show you what that is or where it goes. Even if that is into a part of the assembly. We shatter a vase and with the vase shards we can show you how the pieces fit back together,” Powers said.

Typical contracts for the company’s software range from $25,000 to $50,000 for enterprise customers, but the software that powers Physna’s product is more than just a single application, according to Powers.

“We’re not just a product. We’re a fundamental technology,” said Powers. “There is a gap between the physical and the digital.”

For Sequoia and Drive Capital, Physna’s software is the technology to bridge that gap.

 

#california, #chairman, #chief-technology-officer, #chris-olsen, #cincinnati, #co-founder, #columbus, #computing, #drive-capital, #entrepreneur, #executive, #github, #google, #google-cloud, #iphone, #kleiner-perkins, #lawyer, #mark-kvamme, #ohio, #printing, #search-engine, #sequoia, #sequoia-capital, #sequoia-partners, #serial-entrepreneur, #shaun-maguire, #tc

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How Nan Whaley, Dayton’s Mayor, Sees Ohio Politics and Portman’s Senate Seat

In an interview, Ms. Whaley, a Democrat, discusses what her party needs to do to start winning more statewide races in Ohio, including the 2022 races for Senate and governor that she is mulling.

#dayton-ohio, #elections-senate, #jordan-jim-1964, #ohio, #portman-rob, #whaley-nannette-l

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Portman to Retire in Ohio, Expanding 2022 Battle for Senate

The respected Republican legislator cited gridlock and partisanship in deciding to give up his seat. His exit underscores how far the party has strayed from its former identity.

#elections-senate, #jordan-jim-1964, #ohio, #portman-rob, #republican-party, #senate, #trump-donald-j, #united-states-politics-and-government

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Oath Keeper Suspects Charged With Conspiracy

While most arrests in the Capitol riot have been individuals, new charges accused three people tied to a right-wing militia of conspiring to commit violence.

#federal-bureau-of-investigation, #fringe-groups-and-movements, #oath-keepers, #ohio, #storming-of-the-us-capitol-jan-2021, #trump-donald-j, #united-states-politics-and-government, #virginia

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How Gerrymandering Will Protect Republicans Who Challenged the Election

Taking a position as inflammatory as refusing to certify a fair election would be riskier for G.O.P. lawmakers if they needed to appeal to an electorate beyond their next set of primary voters.

#biden-joseph-r-jr, #elections-house-of-representatives, #jordan-jim-1964, #ohio, #politics-and-government, #presidential-election-of-2020, #redistricting-and-reapportionment, #republican-party, #state-legislatures, #states-us, #trump-donald-j

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A Small-Town Official Was Ousted and Headed to Prison. Then He Vanished.

Bill Jones, the former supervisor of a New York town, ran off in 1997. Last month, he was arrested near a Walmart in Ohio.

#bill-jones, #bob-and-lucy, #fugitives, #new-york, #ohio

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As the Virus Spikes, Vaccine Distribution Is One More Hurdle for States

Mass vaccination would be a challenge under any circumstances. But doing it during an out-of-control pandemic is straining states, cities and health departments.

#centers-for-disease-control-and-prevention, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #coronavirus-aid-relief-and-economic-security-act-2020, #dewine-mike, #federal-state-relations-us, #garcetti-eric-m, #houston-tex, #los-angeles-calif, #nursing-homes, #ohio, #vaccination-and-immunization

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Conflicting Narratives Emerge in Ohio Shooting, Prompting Protests

Much about the shooting death of Casey Goodson Jr. by a sheriff’s deputy has been disputed — what led to it, why it happened and where exactly on his body Mr. Goodson was shot.

#black-lives-matter-movement, #black-people, #columbus-ohio, #demonstrations-protests-and-riots, #george-floyd-protests-2020, #ohio, #police-department-columbus-ohio, #united-states-marshals-service

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Ohio Man Is Shot Dead by a Deputy Searching for Someone Else

Casey Christopher Goodson Jr., 23, was fatally shot by a member of a fugitive task force on Friday as he was returning home with sandwiches, the authorities and lawyers for his family said.

#columbus-ohio, #goodson-casey-christopher, #murders-attempted-murders-and-homicides, #ohio, #police, #police-brutality-misconduct-and-shootings, #police-department-columbus-ohio

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AWS brings the Mac mini to its cloud

AWS today opened its re:Invent conference with a surprise announcement: the company is bringing the Mac mini to its cloud. These new EC2 Mac instances, as AWS calls them, are now available in preview. They won’t come cheap, though.

The target audience here — and the only one AWS is targeting for now — is developers who want cloud-based build and testing environments for their Mac and iOS apps. But it’s worth noting that with remote access, you get a fully-featured Mac mini in the cloud, and I’m sure developers will find all kinds of other use cases for this as well.

Given the recent launch of the M1 Mac minis, it’s worth pointing out that the hardware AWS is using — at least for the time being — are i7 machines with six physical and 12 logical cores and 32 GB of memory. Using the Mac’s built-in networking options, AWS connects them to its Nitro System for fast network and storage access. This means you’ll also be able to attach AWS block storage to these instances, for example.

Unsurprisingly, the AWS team is also working on bringing Apple’s new M1 Mac minis into its data centers. The current plan is to roll this out “early next year,” AWS tells me, and definitely within the first half of 2021. Both AWS and Apple believe that the need for Intel-powered machines won’t go away anytime soon, though, especially given that a lot of developers will want to continue to run their tests on Intel machines for the foreseeable future.

David Brown, AWS’s vice president of EC2, tells me that these are completely unmodified Mac minis. AWS only turned off Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. It helps, Brown said, that the minis fit nicely into a 1U rack.

“You can’t really stack them on shelves — you want to put them in some sort of service sled [and] it fits very well into a service sled and then our cards and all the various things we have to worry about, from an integration point of view, fit around it and just plug into the Mac mini through the ports that it provides,” Brown explained. He admitted that this was obviously a new challenge for AWS. The only way to offer this kind of service is to use Apple’s hardware, after all.

Image Credits: AWS

It’s also worth noting that AWS is not virtualizing the hardware. What you’re getting here is full access to your own device that you’re not sharing with anybody else. “We wanted to make sure that we support the Mac Mini that you would get if you went to the Apple store and you bought a Mac mini,” Brown said.

Unlike with other EC2 instances, whenever you spin up a new Mac instance, you have to pre-pay for the first 24 hours to get started. After those first 24 hours, prices are by the second, just like with any other instance type AWS offers today.

AWS will charge $1.083 per hour, billed by the second. That’s just under $26 to spin up a machine and run it for 24 hours. That’s quite a lot more than what some of the small Mac mini cloud providers are charging (we’re generally talking about $60 or less per month for their entry-level offerings and around two to three times as much for a comparable i7 machine with 32GB of RAM).

Image Credits: Ron Miller/TechCrunch

Until now, Mac mini hosting was a small niche in the hosting market, though it has its fair number of players, with the likes of MacStadium, MacinCloud, MacWeb and Mac Mini Vault vying for their share of the market.

With this new offering from AWS, they are now facing a formidable competitor, though they can still compete on price. AWS, however, argues that it can give developers access to all of the additional cloud services in its portfolio, which sets it apart from all of the smaller players.

“The speed that things happen at [other Mac mini cloud providers] and the granularity that you can use those services at is not as fine as you get with a large cloud provider like AWS,” Brown said. “So if you want to launch a machine, it takes a few days to provision and somebody puts a machine in a rack for you and gives you an IP address to get to it and you manage the OS. And normally, you’re paying for at least a month — or a longer period of time to get a discount. What we’ve done is you can literally launch these machines in minutes and have a working machine available to you. If you decide you want 100 of them, 500 of them, you just ask us for that and we’ll make them available. The other thing is the ecosystem. All those other 200-plus AWS services that you’re now able to utilize together with the Mac mini is the other big difference.”

Brown also stressed that Amazon makes it easy for developers to use different machine images, with the company currently offering images for macOS Mojave and Catalina, with Big Sure support coming “at some point in the future.” And developers can obviously create their own images with all of the software they need so they can reuse them whenever they spin up a new machine.

“Pretty much every one of our customers today has some need to support an Apple product and the Apple ecosystem, whether it’s iPhone, iPad or  Apple TV, whatever it might be. They’re looking for that bold use case,” Brown said. “And so the problem we’ve really been focused on solving is customers that say, ‘hey, I’ve moved all my server-side workloads to AWS, I’d love to be able to move some of these build workflows, because I still have some Mac minis in a data center or in my office that I have to maintain. I’d love that just to be on AWS.’ ”

AWS’s marquee launch customers for the new service are Intuit, Ring and mobile camera app FiLMiC.

“EC2 Mac instances, with their familiar EC2 interfaces and APIs, have enabled us to seamlessly migrate our existing iOS and macOS build-and-test pipelines to AWS, further improving developer productivity,” said Pratik Wadher, vice president of Product Development at Intuit. “We‘re experiencing up to 30% better performance over our data center infrastructure, thanks to elastic capacity expansion, and a high availability setup leveraging multiple zones. We’re now running around 80% of our production builds on EC2 Mac instances, and are excited to see what the future holds for AWS innovation in this space.”

The new Mac instances are now available in a number of AWS regions. These include US East (N. Virginia), US East (Ohio), US West (Oregon), Europe (Ireland) and Asia Pacific (Singapore), with other regions to follow soon.

#amazon-web-services, #apple, #apple-inc, #asia-pacific, #aws-reinvent, #bluetooth, #cloud, #cloud-infrastructure, #computing, #david-brown, #developer, #europe, #ipad, #iphone, #ireland, #mac-mini, #macintosh, #ohio, #oregon, #singapore, #steve-jobs, #tc, #web-hosting

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Why Are States Imposing Coronavirus Curfews?

State and city leaders are trying to slow the spread of the coronavirus without full lockdowns. But whether curfews will help remains unclear.

#bars-and-nightclubs, #colorado, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #coronavirus-risks-and-safety-concerns, #curfews, #massachusetts, #new-york-state, #ohio, #pueblo-colo, #restaurants, #shutdowns-institutional

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Second Epstein Investigation Begins at Victoria’s Secret, but What’s Changed?

An internal review started after Jeffrey Epstein’s ties to the company were revealed has not produced any public findings. Some employees question whether workplace issues have been properly addressed.

#appointments-and-executive-changes, #columbus-ohio, #davis-polkwardwell, #epstein-jeffrey-e-1953, #fashion-and-apparel, #l-brands-inc, #lingerie-and-underwear, #nash-sarah-e, #ohio, #victorias-secret, #wachtell-lipton-rosenkatz, #wexner-leslie-h

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A Podcast Answers a Fast-Food Question That Nobody Is Asking

Intentionally inane, “Whatever Happened to Pizza at McDonald’s?” satirizes the business of podcasting.

#advertising-and-marketing, #alaska, #bering-sea, #darnielle-john, #fast-food-industry, #indiegogo-com, #los-angeles-calif, #mcdonalds-corporation, #mountain-goats-music-group, #ohio, #pizza, #podcasts, #trump-donald-j

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Bloomberg Funds Last-Minute Advertising Blitz for Biden in Texas and Ohio

The billionaire former New York City mayor has concentrated largely on Florida in the general election. But his private polling found President Trump vulnerable in two of the country’s biggest red states.

#biden-joseph-r-jr, #bloomberg-michael-r, #democratic-party, #ohio, #political-advertising, #presidential-election-of-2020, #texas

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The Field: Why Suburban Women Changed Their Minds

In 2016, white women in the suburbs helped deliver President Trump the White House. Four years later, they could be the ones to take it away from him.

#ohio, #presidential-election-of-2020, #united-states-politics-and-government, #voting-and-voters, #women-and-girls

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New Spirits Rise in Old, Repurposed Churches

For years, attendance rates have dropped and congregations have closed nationwide. But many reused religious spaces are still sanctuaries.

#accidents-and-safety, #alexandria-va, #appalachian-region, #archives-and-records, #arkansas, #art, #audible-com, #bars-and-nightclubs, #bentonville-ark, #caesar-julius, #christian-science, #christians-and-christianity, #clapton-eric, #computers-and-the-internet, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #duke-university, #historic-buildings-and-sites, #internet-archive, #jesus-christ, #kahle-brewster, #louisiana, #methodist-church, #monae-janelle, #nelson-willie, #new-orleans-la, #newark-nj, #ohio, #quarantine-life-and-culture, #rensselaer-polytechnic-institute, #restaurants, #restoration-and-renovation, #roman-catholic-church, #san-francisco-calif, #stained-glass, #states-us, #troy-ny, #united-methodist-church, #wayback-machine, #west-virginia, #wines

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