Connect with us

Politics

Advancing Diversity: How Bevy’s 40M Series C Funding Round Is Improving Its Workforce Representation

Published

on

Deanna Ritchie


Perhaps the best way to describe the year 2020 would be “trial by fire.” It seemed like all the forces of the universe were working together to push humanity to its knees. While most people will look back and remember the COVID-19 pandemic and how lockdowns affected lives permanently, let’s not be too quick to forget the other events that made 2020 historic.

In the United States, 2020 was a year of racial reckoning. Following Minneapolis resident George Floyd’s death at the hands of uniformed officers, millions of Americans banded together to incite change. Racial inequality has long been a problem in the U.S. and is one that keeps getting swept under the rug. Today, many companies are using their influence to make change happen for themselves, their customers, shareholders, and local communities.

Diversity in Tech

Of all the industries in the world, tech companies are growing the fastest. Because of the numerous opportunities in the field — from artificial intelligence and cybersecurity to online software and video game development — the need for workers in the tech space is always high. However, it’s also an extremely competitive field and has proven to be one of the least diverse industry sectors.

Two-thirds of the biggest tech companies in the U.S. have fewer than 5% Black employees. It doesn’t take a mathematician to realize those numbers are problematic. You’ll often hear the excuse that companies are simply hiring the best candidates available, regardless of race or gender. The fact is that thousands of workers of different ethnicities are not receiving the same opportunities to show their worth.

Bevy Funding Takes Charge

While many of the largest tech brands are lacking in the diversity department, others are taking matters into their own hands and leading the charge for inclusivity. Bevy is the perfect example of a company doing what it can to make a difference in tech diversity. The company’s platform powers enterprise-level events. It helps companies like Google, Facebook, Salesforce, and Twitch hold virtual and hybrid gatherings. Bevy recently announced a $40M series C funding round, valuing the company at $325M.

This round of funding was more than a notch in Bevy’s belt, as they continue a growing streak of business success. Rather, they saw this as an opportunity to make their company and the tech industry as a whole more inclusive. The syndicate involved in the funding includes over 25 prominent Black leaders.

“We believe the best tech companies of tomorrow will have equal and fair representation across all communities, but especially people of color,” says Bevy’s CEO and co-founder Derek Andersen. Twenty percent of the raised funds come from Black investors, who make up 70% of the group as a whole. Included in the group is Facebook board member Peggy Alford, diversity and inclusion trailblazer James Lowry, and former Beats by Dre CMO Omar Johnson. Bevy is proud to have the shared support of these and many other incredible Black business people.

Putting Money Where Their Mouth Is 

Bevy is opening its arms to many of the country’s most accomplished Black investors and is committed to increasing their employee diversity substantially. Their goal is to have Black employees represent 20% of all company employees by September of this year.

Bevy hopes to start a trend for other established tech companies to open up their doors to people of all ethnicities and backgrounds. “Unfortunately, there are not enough people of color who are really active participants in the free enterprise system,” states entrepreneur Lowry. “If black and brown people are not going to be a part of tech, we’re going to lose.”

In 2017, Bevy was launched by the co-founders of Startup Grind, a global community for aspiring entrepreneurs that now has chapters in over 125 countries and 500 cities. Bevy uses virtual conferencing as a way to help enterprise brands build communities. The $325M valuation is quadruple the company’s value of last year. With COVID-19 accelerating the need for virtual connectivity, Bevy’s services have been in high demand and continue to lead the way in community building among top-level companies.

Deanna Ritchie

Managing Editor at ReadWrite

Deanna is the Managing Editor at ReadWrite. Previously she worked as the Editor in Chief for Startup Grind and has over 20+ years of experience in content management and content development.

Politics

Fintech Kennek raises $12.5M seed round to digitize lending

Published

on

Google eyed for $2 billion Anthropic deal after major Amazon play


London-based fintech startup Kennek has raised $12.5 million in seed funding to expand its lending operating system.

According to an Oct. 10 tech.eu report, the round was led by HV Capital and included participation from Dutch Founders Fund, AlbionVC, FFVC, Plug & Play Ventures, and Syndicate One. Kennek offers software-as-a-service tools to help non-bank lenders streamline their operations using open banking, open finance, and payments.

The platform aims to automate time-consuming manual tasks and consolidate fragmented data to simplify lending. Xavier De Pauw, founder of Kennek said:

“Until kennek, lenders had to devote countless hours to menial operational tasks and deal with jumbled and hard-coded data – which makes every other part of lending a headache. As former lenders ourselves, we lived and breathed these frustrations, and built kennek to make them a thing of the past.”

The company said the latest funding round was oversubscribed and closed quickly despite the challenging fundraising environment. The new capital will be used to expand Kennek’s engineering team and strengthen its market position in the UK while exploring expansion into other European markets. Barbod Namini, Partner at lead investor HV Capital, commented on the investment:

“Kennek has developed an ambitious and genuinely unique proposition which we think can be the foundation of the entire alternative lending space. […] It is a complicated market and a solution that brings together all information and stakeholders onto a single platform is highly compelling for both lenders & the ecosystem as a whole.”

The fintech lending space has grown rapidly in recent years, but many lenders still rely on legacy systems and manual processes that limit efficiency and scalability. Kennek aims to leverage open banking and data integration to provide lenders with a more streamlined, automated lending experience.

The seed funding will allow the London-based startup to continue developing its platform and expanding its team to meet demand from non-bank lenders looking to digitize operations. Kennek’s focus on the UK and Europe also comes amid rising adoption of open banking and open finance in the regions.

Featured Image Credit: Photo from Kennek.io; Thank you!

Radek Zielinski

Radek Zielinski is an experienced technology and financial journalist with a passion for cybersecurity and futurology.

Continue Reading

Politics

Fortune 500’s race for generative AI breakthroughs

Published

on

Deanna Ritchie


As excitement around generative AI grows, Fortune 500 companies, including Goldman Sachs, are carefully examining the possible applications of this technology. A recent survey of U.S. executives indicated that 60% believe generative AI will substantially impact their businesses in the long term. However, they anticipate a one to two-year timeframe before implementing their initial solutions. This optimism stems from the potential of generative AI to revolutionize various aspects of businesses, from enhancing customer experiences to optimizing internal processes. In the short term, companies will likely focus on pilot projects and experimentation, gradually integrating generative AI into their operations as they witness its positive influence on efficiency and profitability.

Goldman Sachs’ Cautious Approach to Implementing Generative AI

In a recent interview, Goldman Sachs CIO Marco Argenti revealed that the firm has not yet implemented any generative AI use cases. Instead, the company focuses on experimentation and setting high standards before adopting the technology. Argenti recognized the desire for outcomes in areas like developer and operational efficiency but emphasized ensuring precision before putting experimental AI use cases into production.

According to Argenti, striking the right balance between driving innovation and maintaining accuracy is crucial for successfully integrating generative AI within the firm. Goldman Sachs intends to continue exploring this emerging technology’s potential benefits and applications while diligently assessing risks to ensure it meets the company’s stringent quality standards.

One possible application for Goldman Sachs is in software development, where the company has observed a 20-40% productivity increase during its trials. The goal is for 1,000 developers to utilize generative AI tools by year’s end. However, Argenti emphasized that a well-defined expectation of return on investment is necessary before fully integrating generative AI into production.

To achieve this, the company plans to implement a systematic and strategic approach to adopting generative AI, ensuring that it complements and enhances the skills of its developers. Additionally, Goldman Sachs intends to evaluate the long-term impact of generative AI on their software development processes and the overall quality of the applications being developed.

Goldman Sachs’ approach to AI implementation goes beyond merely executing models. The firm has created a platform encompassing technical, legal, and compliance assessments to filter out improper content and keep track of all interactions. This comprehensive system ensures seamless integration of artificial intelligence in operations while adhering to regulatory standards and maintaining client confidentiality. Moreover, the platform continuously improves and adapts its algorithms, allowing Goldman Sachs to stay at the forefront of technology and offer its clients the most efficient and secure services.

Featured Image Credit: Photo by Google DeepMind; Pexels; Thank you!

Deanna Ritchie

Managing Editor at ReadWrite

Deanna is the Managing Editor at ReadWrite. Previously she worked as the Editor in Chief for Startup Grind and has over 20+ years of experience in content management and content development.

Continue Reading

Politics

UK seizes web3 opportunity simplifying crypto regulations

Published

on

Deanna Ritchie


As Web3 companies increasingly consider leaving the United States due to regulatory ambiguity, the United Kingdom must simplify its cryptocurrency regulations to attract these businesses. The conservative think tank Policy Exchange recently released a report detailing ten suggestions for improving Web3 regulation in the country. Among the recommendations are reducing liability for token holders in decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs) and encouraging the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to adopt alternative Know Your Customer (KYC) methodologies, such as digital identities and blockchain analytics tools. These suggestions aim to position the UK as a hub for Web3 innovation and attract blockchain-based businesses looking for a more conducive regulatory environment.

Streamlining Cryptocurrency Regulations for Innovation

To make it easier for emerging Web3 companies to navigate existing legal frameworks and contribute to the UK’s digital economy growth, the government must streamline cryptocurrency regulations and adopt forward-looking approaches. By making the regulatory landscape clear and straightforward, the UK can create an environment that fosters innovation, growth, and competitiveness in the global fintech industry.

The Policy Exchange report also recommends not weakening self-hosted wallets or treating proof-of-stake (PoS) services as financial services. This approach aims to protect the fundamental principles of decentralization and user autonomy while strongly emphasizing security and regulatory compliance. By doing so, the UK can nurture an environment that encourages innovation and the continued growth of blockchain technology.

Despite recent strict measures by UK authorities, such as His Majesty’s Treasury and the FCA, toward the digital assets sector, the proposed changes in the Policy Exchange report strive to make the UK a more attractive location for Web3 enterprises. By adopting these suggestions, the UK can demonstrate its commitment to fostering innovation in the rapidly evolving blockchain and cryptocurrency industries while ensuring a robust and transparent regulatory environment.

The ongoing uncertainty surrounding cryptocurrency regulations in various countries has prompted Web3 companies to explore alternative jurisdictions with more precise legal frameworks. As the United States grapples with regulatory ambiguity, the United Kingdom can position itself as a hub for Web3 innovation by simplifying and streamlining its cryptocurrency regulations.

Featured Image Credit: Photo by Jonathan Borba; Pexels; Thank you!

Deanna Ritchie

Managing Editor at ReadWrite

Deanna is the Managing Editor at ReadWrite. Previously she worked as the Editor in Chief for Startup Grind and has over 20+ years of experience in content management and content development.

Continue Reading

Copyright © 2021 Seminole Press.