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The Media Will Spark Mass Violence in November…or Maybe Not

I’m very concerned about the risk of civil strife in November. I suggest the most important lever to promote a smooth transfer of power is for the major media companies (especially Fox) and major social media companies to plan their moves carefully. I have some friends who are executives at influential media companies. I shared […]

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The post The Media Will Spark Mass Violence in November…or Maybe Not appeared first on David Teten.

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I’m very concerned about the risk of civil strife in November. I suggest the most important lever to promote a smooth transfer of power is for the major media companies (especially Fox) and major social media companies to plan their moves carefully.

I have some friends who are executives at influential media companies. I shared the template memo/talking points below with them. I thought others may find this useful.

RE: Election Week coverage/Promoting smooth transition of power

Dear colleague,

We have a unique position and could be highly impactful in the 2020 election. Without exaggeration, I think we have a chance to shape history and save lives.  

Whatever the election results are, there is a risk of civil strife. We know for a fact that Trump will dispute them; he won in 2016 and disputed those results. The president has refused to commit (clip) to a ‘peaceful transfer of power’. Many thoughtful observers are extremely concerned about the possibility of violent civil conflict. Howard Kurtz wrote on Fox, “When you combine that with his warnings about massive mail-ballot fraud, you see a leader determined to cast doubt on the legitimacy of an election that polls show him losing.” Quoting the Atlantic, The Election That Could Break America: “Let us not hedge about one thing. Donald Trump may win or lose, but he will never concede…Not during the Interregnum and not afterward. If compelled in the end to vacate his office, Trump will insist from exile, as long as he draws breath, that the contest was rigged.”

(The Biden-Harris campaign have made it clear that they will honor the election results .. just as Al Gore and Hillary Clinton both conceded their election results, despite numerous irregularities and grounds to complain.)

If America descends into violence, that’s bad for the country, and also inevitably going to have a negative impact on our physical plant, the overall economy, not to mention the lives and homes of our staff. Civil strife is bad for business, except for weapons manufacturers, I guess.

We as a media company have significant influence over the country. I wanted to request we first review four thoughtful recommendations:

  • The National Task Force on Election Crises issued an open letter to the National Election Pool, FoxNews, and AP calling on them to share key elements of their election modeling and decision desk policies to bring transparency to the reporting of election results. 
  • The Election Coverage and Democracy Network released their Recommendations for Media Covering the 2020 U.S. Presidential Election.
  • The Washington Post has already committed they will not make predictions about the election outcome.  
  • Frank Luntz, prominent Republican consultant, posted this infographic which I think is a great summary of how to think about Election Week: 

In addition, I have 2 specific suggestions for our public-facing team:

1) Draw comparisons to past elections, to remind listeners of the norms of US elections.

2) If Trump loses, ask all on-air personnel to message something like: Trump lost unequivocally, and that’s the end of it. This is not fake news. We’re asking Trump to acknowledge this defeat, for his own self-interest, for three reasons:

  • Protecting Trump properties. On January 20, 2021, Trump is going to go back to full -time leading the Trump Organization. The only way he’ll have all of his hotels and other properties in good order is if he arranges a smooth transfer of power. If Trump calls this election result fake news or calls for violent resistance, this will certainly provoke much more substantive violence than the BLM protests, and the #1 target will be Trump properties. Visualize: bombing Trump hotels, riots at Trump resorts, etc.  (Show visuals of this.)
  • Jail.  If Trump does anything that looks like a call to violence, he’s going to open himself up to hugely expensive legal problems which will send him straight to jail. There aren’t many restrictions on freedom of speech, but we hope that President Trump is well aware that one of the classic restrictions is that you’re not allowed to yell “Fire!” in a crowded theatre. America now is a crowded theater.
  • Losing Twitter and Facebook access. If Trump calls for violence, he will immediately lose his Twitter and Facebook access. Twitter and Facebook will feel much more comfortable blocking Trump than they have in the past, as they prepare for the inevitable Biden ascendance to power. 

If you’d like to read some more analysis on how the media is handling the unique Trump phenomenon, see the Columbia Journalism Review: Yes, we’re doing it all over again .

Source: https://teten.com/blog/2020/10/16/the-media-will-spark-mass-violence-in-november-or-maybe-not/

Private Equity

Alternative Investments: Accelerate’s Alt ETFs Now On RBC Dominion Securities A+ Platform

Accelerate Financial Technologies Inc announced this week that its alternative ETFs have been added to the RBC Dominion Securities A+ platform. RBC Dominion Securities describes the A+ as the next level of wealth management.

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Alternative Investments: Accelerate’s Alt ETFs Now On RBC Dominion Securities A+ Platform

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The A+ is for you if “you require serious investment management for your serious money.”

Accelerate Financial Technologies Inc announced this week that its alternative ETFs have been added to the RBC Dominion Securities A+ platform.

RBC Dominion Securities describes the A+ as the next level of wealth management.

For select clients with serious money, the platform provides greater convenience, customization, RBC’s Unified Managed Account technology, access to elite money managers worldwide, and tax efficiency.

Accelerate’s Alt ETFs on RBC A+

The range of alternative ETFs from Accelerate allows investors to diversify beyond stocks and bonds by including alternative asset classes in their portfolios.

The firm is known as a pioneer in institutional caliber alternative ETFs including hedge fund and private equity ETFs. It claims it is “disrupting the asset management industry by offering performance-oriented alternative investment strategies previously reserved for wealthy investors at a fee significantly lower than competitors.”

“We are pleased to be chosen by RBC Dominion Securities, a global leader in wealth management, as one of the select group of high-quality investment managers on the exclusive A+ platform for RBC Dominion Securities advisors and their clients,” said Accelerate CEO Julian Klymochko. “In an era of rock-bottom interest rates and record-high stock market volatility, we are pleased to provide investors with diversification, alternative yield, and alpha generation solutions through alternative investment strategies including absolute return, arbitrage, enhanced equity, and private equity replication.”

Selected ETFs

The alternative ETFs on the RBC Dominion Securities A+ platform include:

  • Accelerate Absolute Return Hedge Fund (TSX: HDGE) – a diversified, liquid, and performance-oriented long-short equity hedge fund
  • Accelerate Arbitrage Fund (TSX: ARB) – provides exposure to SPAC arbitrage and merger arbitrage investment strategies
  • Accelerate Enhanced Canadian Benchmark Alternative Fund (TSX: ATSX) – combines exposure to the S&P/TSX 60 plus a long-short Canadian equity overlay
  • Accelerate Private Equity Alpha Fund (TSX: ALFA) – designed to provide investors with private equity-like investment returns

Related Story:  Liquid Alt ETF Provider Accelerate Offers Ready-Made Alternative Investment Strategy                                                

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Source: https://dailyalts.com/accelerates-alt-etfs-now-on-rbc-dominion-securities-a-platform/

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Private Equity

Venture Capital: AgTech Startup Benson Hill Lands $150M

Benson Hill, an agtech startup based in St. Louis, announced Thursday its close of a $150 million Series D round led by Wheatsheaf and GV (formerly Google Ventures). It uses biotechnology and data science to enhance the nutritional qualities and sustainability of crops.

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Venture Capital: AgTech Startup Benson Hill Lands $150M

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Benson Hill uses biotechnology and data science to enhance the nutritional qualities and sustainability of crops.

Benson Hill, an agtech startup based in St. Louis, announced Thursday its close of a $150 million Series D round led by Wheatsheaf and GV (formerly Google Ventures).

The company said other strategic and ESG focused investors also participated. These included Argonautic Ventures, Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (CDPQ), Emart, GS Group, Louis Dreyfus Company, iSelect Fund, Fall Line Capital, Mercury Fund, Prelude Ventures, Prolog Ventures, S2G Ventures, and additional strategic and family office investors.  (FOOD navigator-USA.com)

Benson Hill technology

Benson Hill uses biotechnology, data science, and AI to enhance the nutritional qualities, flavor, and sustainability of crops and vegetables.

The firm’s “Cloud Biology” is the fusion of data, machine learning, and AI techniques with biology. Its “CropOS” is a proprietary platform that facilitates the accessibility and actionability of Cloud Biology.

The CropOs platform uses plant phenotyping, predictive breeding, and environmental modeling algorithms to better control the plant breeding process and realize these advantages:

  • Produces plants that are highly productive, highly nutritious, and better tasting
  • Better texture
  • Reduce the number of processing steps
  • Reduce the need for additives
  • Grow plants that “do more with less,” thus boosting sustainability

The company’s work so far has been concentrated around soybeans.

Its new, ultra-high-protein (UHP) soy products spiked the interest of investors. They come from a highly productive non-GMO soybean that is rich in oleic oil content.

Use of funds

Benson Hill plans the commercial launch of the first Ultra-High Protein soybean varieties in 2021, among other product launches.

It also plans to expand its team by adding top talent and continue the development of Cloud Biology and CropOS.

“As a society, we’re at a crossroads made more evident as the pandemic has revealed strengths and vulnerabilities in our food system,” said Matt Crisp, Benson Hill CEO. “Food choices that create enjoyment, make us stronger, and help preserve our environment need to be accessible to everyone, and the power of plant diversity and technology innovation can help fuel that evolution.

Related Story:   Smart Farm Technology To Take The Drudge Out of Plant Breeding

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Source: https://dailyalts.com/agtech-startup-benson-hill-lands-150m/

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Private Equity

FinTech: Alliance Data Buys BNPL Fintech Bread For $450M

Alliance Data Systems (NYSE: ADS) said Thursday that it will acquire Bread and its digital platform for $450 million of which $100 will be paid through Alliance stock. The transaction would expand Alliance Data’s own digital offerings by including buy-now-pay-later (BNPL) products.

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FinTech: Alliance Data Buys BNPL Fintech Bread For $450M

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Alliance Data will pay in cash and stock for the acquisition.

Alliance Data Systems (NYSE: ADS) said Thursday that it will acquire Bread and its digital buy-now-pay-later (BNPL) platform for $450 million of which $100 will be paid through Alliance stock.

The transaction would expand Alliance Data’s own digital offerings by including BNPL products. BNPL is a major trend now that consumers have embraced the interest-free, zero-fee facility to pay in installments. Alliance is a provider of data-driven marketing, loyalty, and payment solutions. (Alliance)

Digital BNPL is particularly popular with millennials and the younger set. They prefer not to run up credit card debt and like the speed and convenience. The technology and products acquired from Bread will address this segment of the population.

Bread already has tie-ups with merchants such as online jewelry seller Noémie, the luxury watch seller Hublot and Newton Baby, the crib mattress provider.

BNPL customer experience

“Bread’s flexible, easily-integrated payment solutions, coupled with Alliance Data’s Enhanced Digital Suite, will improve the digital customer experience and support increased acquisition and checkout rates, offering the best payment product to the right consumer at pivotal moments in the customer’s online shopping journey,” Alliance said in a statement.

Alliance intends to leverage Bread’s solutions along with its own existing private label, general-purpose and commercial products.

COVID-19

Its brand partners will therefore get another advantage in the eCommerce channel, with online businesses already getting a boost from COVID-19.

“With the timing of the holiday season upon us, the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the adoption of digital technologies, and perhaps nowhere as significantly as in financial services and payments,” said Val Greer, chief commercial officer, Alliance Data.

BNPL is now crowded with cash-rich players

Payments giant PayPal (NASDAQ: PYPL) announced in August that it would begin offering BNPL services, recognizing that COVID-19 had triggered a dramatic increase in their popularity.

Other players in the BNPL field include Klarna, Affirm, Afterpay, and Quadpay.

In a recent study, Tech Crunch found that PayPal had the highest retailer coverage with a presence of 65% retailers. Afterpay was a distant second at 10%, then Affirm 6%, Klarna 5%, and QuadPay 2%.

The study concluded that PayPal was primed to dominate the BNPL wars.

Related Story:   PayPal Challenges Klarna In U.K. BNPL Tussle                                                

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Source: https://dailyalts.com/alliance-data-buys-bnpl-fintech-bread-for-450m/

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