International fintech platform LemFi launches instant, Low-cost payment transfer services to India

LemFi launches India services from Canada and UK, and soon from the US, offering zero transaction fees forever and the best exchange rates

Philip Daniel, Head of Global Expansion and India, LemFi

LemFi, a leading fintech platform transforming financial services for immigrants, today announced that its international payment services are now available from Canada and the United Kingdom to India and will be available from the US to India later this year. LemFi offers instant international transfers at the best exchange rates with zero fees on transfers or account maintenance. LemFi is now the leading preferred international payment app for everyone. Send money to IndiaChinaPakistanNigeriaGhanaKenya and 16 other countries. Receive and manage your money without stress.

LemFi, a leading fintech platform transforming financial services for immigrants, today announced that its international payment services are now available from Canada and the United Kingdom to India and will be available from the US to India later this year. LemFi offers instant international transfers at the best exchange rates with zero fees on transfers or account maintenance.


Symitri closes $5 Million Series Seed to launch the world’s first integrated privacy firewall and real-time data cleanroom for the Open Web

Privacy-enhancing technology company Symitri has acquired the publisher supply side platform SSP TRUSTX from Digital Content Next and integrated with Akamai’s secure, high-speed network to balance the commercial needs of open-web advertisers and publishers with every individual’s fundamental right to privacy.

Discover more at Symitri.com, or follow Symitri on Twitter | LinkedIn

ALSO READDigital Content Next divests TRUSTX to Symitri - Digiday

On the heels of more than three years of research and development, Symitri, Inc., announced today the close of $5 million in new capital from institutional investors, KB Partners, AperiamVentures and Trajectory Ventures, along with a constellation of media industry luminaries including Jonah Goodhart, Will Luttrell and Ari Paparo. Designed to balance the economic viability of open-web programmatic advertising with the growing global demand for consumer privacy, Symitri has created a seamless approach to buyer-defined deterministic campaign targeting, measurement and attribution, without exposing any personal data pseudonymous or otherwise in the bidstream.

To accelerate market entry, Symitri has contracted with Akamai Technologies to leverage its secure, high-speed network, and has acquired TRUSTX, a cooperative programmatic marketplace launched in 2017 by Digital Content Next (“DCN”) and 30 premium content publishers. TRUSTX will operate as a wholly owned subsidiary of Symitri and will remain a purpose-driven public benefit corporation (B- Corp) devoted to sustaining the premium, ad-supported open web. Following an initial beta launch with TRUSTX, Symitri plans to expand its supply-chain partnerships and integrations with select identity and data technology providers. With these ecosystem allies, Symitri ’s goal is to establish a new foundation for privacy and data protection that fits easily into the thriving programmatic ecosystem.

The elimination of third-party identifiers is an existential threat to open-web publishers because of the added friction for brands seeking addressability and measurement at scale. This foundational disruption will drive advertisers to reallocate spend to data-rich walled gardens, thus creating a devastating effect on professional news, sports, lifestyle, and entertainment publishers who rely on audience-driven programmatic advertising to sustain their businesses.

“Publishers told us they were deeply concerned that next-generation shared identity solutions perpetuate many of the same data leakage and inventory commoditization challenges that cookies created, said David Kohl, Co-Founder and CEO of Symitri. “And while traditional cleanrooms do the job for some of our largest publishers and their top-tier brand-side clients, thousands of smaller publishers told us they have yet to find a viable, cost-effective option to make their audiences accessible to programmatic buyers without sharing identity data in the bidstream.

This acute need was the catalyst behind the creation of Symitri’s integrated privacy firewall and real-time data cleanroom for the open web. The platform employs a zero-trust, double-blind approach to security that enables media buyers and sellers to deterministically match audiences without exposing any personal data in the bidstream. Symitri is a customer of Akamai Technologies, whose infrastructure will enable the speed, scale and cost parameters required of the programmatic open web. Akamai is also a Symitri shareholder.

“The open web is increasingly regulated, and the rapid loss of third-party data puts all stakeholders at a disadvantage. Advertisers struggle to reach audiences, publishers are challenged to monetize inventory, and consumers risk losing the ad-supported content they depend on," said Bill Wheaton, Symitri Co-Founder and Chairman of the Board, and former Akamai Chief Strategy Officer and EVP of Media. "It doesn't have to be a zero-sum game. Consumers shouldn't have to choose between privacy and a free, ad-supported web. We've found a way to balance publishers' and advertisers' needs with individuals' rights to control their personal data. We’ve achieved this balance with Symitri.

“We’ve been experimenting with just about every next-generation identity and privacy protection technology on the market, said Paul Bannister, Chief Strategy Officer at Raptive, a strategic partner delivering revenue solutions for more than 5,000 small to midsized content creators. “Symitri has thoughtfully taken cues from the best of what’s working in deterministic identity, encryption, and cohorts, and put them together in a package that seamlessly integrates into the programmatic supply chain. From what we’ve seen, their approach i s effective and easy to integrate for open-web publishers and advertisers of all sizes.

Jason Kint, CEO of Digital Content Next, which launched TRUSTX in 2017, reinforced the imperative for a balance in commercial and consumer privacy requirements. “In the crowded market for data and identity solutions, David, Bill and their teams have taken a measured approach to privacy regulation, and a highly consultative R&D approach with our members, said Kint. “Everything we’ve seen from Symitri demonstrates their holistic commitment to protecting the interests of open web publishers, their advertiser clients and consumers alike. DCN is one of Symitri ’s largest shareholders.

Symitri enters the market during a time when advertisers and publishers know more about their customers than ever before. The personal data relationships these companies have earned with consumers who trust their brands is far too valuable to give away across the digital supply chain. Symitri’s mission, principles and technology are well-poised to protect these trusted consumer data relationships while balancing the commercial interests of the $600 billion ecosystem for digital marketing, media and advertising with every individual’s fundamental right to privacy.

ABOUT Symitri

Symitri is the world ’s first integrated privacy firewall and real -time data cleanroom for the open web. Designed to balance the economic viability of open-web programmatic advertising with the growing global demand for consumer privacy, Symitri is a seamless EZ-button for buyer-defined deterministic campaign targeting, measurement and attribution, without exposing any personal data pseudonymous or otherwise in the bidstream. Discover more at Symitri.com, or follow Symitri on LinkedIn .

ABOUT TRUSTX

TRUSTX is a premium private marketplace created by 30+ of the world’s top publishers to foster trust, transparency and a fair value exchange between programmatic buyers and sellers. Leading brands partner with TRUSTX for direct, zero-waste, cross- channel access to the highest quality open web inventory with guaranteed 100% viewability and without the risks associated with long-tail "made for advertising content. A certified public benefit corporation (B -Corp) and wholly owned subsidiary of Symitri, TRUSTX was previously owned by Digital Content Next (DCN), a non-profit trade association. Discover more at trustx.org, or follow TRUSTX on X, formerly known as Twitter, and LinkedIn.

Contact: Rachel Pasqua

Symitri CMO

rachel@symitri.com

+1 917 683 1688


Congratulations to our portfolio Co's Alphasense and Kapital on making the CNBC Disruptor 50

These are the 2024 CNBC Disruptor 50 companies: See the full list of startups riding the AI wave

It’s fair to say that AI is all over the 12th annual CNBC Disruptor 50 list.

Roughly two-thirds of the 50 companies making the Disruptor 50 list describe artificial intelligence as “critical” to their businesses. And it starts at the very top: for the first time ever, a company repeats as the list ’s No. 1: OpenAI.

AI’s remaking of the market extends much further. Thirteen of the 2024 Disruptors call themselves “generative AI companies,” including five of the top 10 on this year’s list, a group that in all raised at least $5.5 billion from investors in the past year.

Companies in industries ranging from cybersecurity to agriculture are also defining AI as mission critical. And in an important shift from the past Silicon Valley-led disruptive innovation era, the “better, faster, cheaper” mantra funded almost wholly by VCs is on the way out.

AI requires massive capital investment, inevitably leading to close partnership with the incumbent giants rather than just disruptive competition.

In all, the 2024 Disruptors have raised $70 billion at a total implied valuation of $436 billion.

CNBC DISRUPTOR 50

27. Kapital

Founders: Rene Saul (CEO), Fernando Sandoval, Eder Echeverria, Arjun Sethi
Launched: 2020
Headquarters: Mexico City, Mexico
Funding:
 $295 million
Valuation: N/A
Key technologies:
 Artificial intelligence, blockchain, deep neural networks/deep learning, generative AI, machine learning
Industry: 
Fintech
Previous appearances on Disruptor 50 List: 0

Small businesses dominate the global economy, and yet few banks focus on lending credit to this underserved demographic. According to the World Bank, small and medium-sized businesses make up 90% of global companies but only get 10.5% of total bank credit available. Even those that do get bank credit often don’t have the kind of robust business management platform that large enterprises have.

Kapital hones in on these two areas. It gives businesses access to capital through revolving credit lines and business credit cards, while its business management platform provides real-time visibility into operations, cash flows, management of loans, payroll, benefits and invoicing. 

“That’s what we’re fixing — we give them visibility of their finances,” Rene Saul, who co-founded Kapital with Fernando Sandoval in 2020, told TechCrunch.

Kapital uses artificial intelligence to serve this group of business customers. Its AI helps to underwrite loans. Its dashboard provides predictive analytics to help companies automate and streamline processes like paying suppliers, invoicing or collections. The platform works under a subscription model.

So far, the Mexico City-based fintech has more than 80,000 clients in Mexico, Colombia and Peru. It acquired Banco Autofin Mexico in September and opened its first physical bank branch in Bogota, Colombia, in 2023. More physical locations are planned.

The company raised $165 million in December through a $40 million equity financing round and $125 million in debt financing. Investors included Tribe Capital, Cervin Ventures and Tru Arrow. This was on top of $23 million in equity financing and $45 million in debt raised last May. The company intends to use the funds to research and develop new AI-driven products and enter new markets.

CNBC DISRUPTOR 50

40. AlphaSense

Founders: Jack Kokko (CEO), Raj Neervannan
Launched: 2011
Headquarters: New York City
Funding:
 $770 million
Valuation: $2.5 billion
Key technologies:
 Artificial intelligence, cloud computing, deep neural networks/deep learning, explainable AI, generative AI, machine learning
Industry: 
Enterprise technology
Previous appearances on Disruptor 50 List: 0

Recently backed by Alphabet’s CapitalG and Mary Meeker’s Bond, AI-powered search engine AlphaSense is carving out a niche for detailed, real-time financial information analysis for analysts, investment research, competitive intelligence and corporate strategy. This past year, it passed the $200 million mark in annualized revenue and added $250 million in venture finance in two separate rounds.

AlphaSense competes indirectly with Dow Jones-owned Factiva for news and industry trends, S&P-owned financial database and company analysis platform Capital IQ, and CB Insights for data-driven insights in emerging technologies, startups and venture capital. This first-time Disruptor 50 company has an edge over these closely aligned rivals in launching advanced AI tools for peering into wide-ranging industries and gleaning insights.

Last year, AlphaSense upped the ante by releasing its first generative AI toolset, Smart Summaries, which works to speed up the research process and gives users more insights from equity research, earnings calls and expert interviews. AlphaSense also debuted Assistant, a gen AI chat tool, and Enterprise Intelligence, which layers in AI search technology summaries onto customers’ proprietary internal research and premium external documents. These products extract insights from large language models developed by AlphaSense.

Strengthening protection of its intellectual property, the search platform was granted its 14th U.S. patent this past year. The new patent is for an innovation that alerts users to relevant financial news, results or data points at publication time.

Founded in 2011, the New York-based company is led by CEO and former Morgan Stanley financial analyst Jack Kokko, whose previous experience includes founding chair of doctor search engine BetterDoctor, acquired by Quest Analytics. Along with his co-founder, fellow Wharton MBA graduate Raj Neervannan, they have spent more than a decade building out the startup’s AI capabilities and data stockpile to optimize its language models and algorithms.

Despite the hype around AI, AlphaSense successfully pulled in a $100 million addition to its Series D financing last April at a valuation of $1.8 billion, and topped that off with $150 million led by Meeker valued at $2.5 billion. Notably, Goldman Sachs has been a leading investor since 2021, and began delivering the firm’s aftermarket research on the AlphaSense platform the next year.

In all, it tallies up more than 4,000 corporate customers including Petronas, HSBC and Samsung. Pricing is based on annual subscription rates of $10,000 to $20,000 for packages of external market perspectives to centralized, siloed research that adds internal research content. Users can search content in eight languages.

The AI financial research startup recently opened an Asia-Pacific hub in Singapore, and brought on board a chief marketing officer, Heather Zynczak, experienced in pre-IPO technology and high-growth companies.


Octane Lending releases power sports Dealer Portal 2.0

Octane®, the fintech revolutionizing the buying experience for major recreational purchases, unveiled Dealer Portal 2.0, a significantly upgraded version of its industry-leading dealer platform. Effective immediately, Octane's over 4,000 Powersports and Outdoor Power Equipment (OPE) dealer partners can deliver an even faster, easier financing experience for their customers using Dealer Portal 2.0. Innovative new features include the first-of-its-kind Leads Page, a reimagined Work-the-Deal page, and shorter, smarter credit applications through the company's in-house lender, Roadrunner Financial®, Inc.

"We deeply value our dealer partners and continually refine our platform to meet their needs," said Mike Dushane, Chief Product Officer at Octane. "By listening to dealers and building a product that directly addresses their feedback, Dealer Portal 2.0 debuts industry-first functionalities and delivers the best financing experience for customers."

The Leads Page simplifies closing a deal by helping dealers more easily search, monitor, and filter customer applications and better manage their workflow. For each lead, dealers can view vehicle and buyer information, convert leads into applications, and track an application's status. Dealers enrolled in SafeCheck™ can also access free, no impact credit reports directly from the page to better understand their customers' buying power. Furthermore, dealers can save time by optimizing prequalified buyers; the tool aggregates new, prequalified leads from Octane's digital channels—its soft-pull tools Octane Prequal™ and Prequal Flex™, its Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) partners, and its renowned Octane Media™ properties, which include Cycle World®UTV Driver®, and Motorcyclist—enabling dealers to personalize follow-up with customers.

In this release, Octane also reimagined its Work-the-Deal page to be more intuitive, dynamic, and efficient. After a customer's credit application is approved, dealers can filter available loan terms, APRs, and monthly payment options for their customers seamlessly while also taking advantage of enhanced reporting functionalities. These upgrades are also available for the company's Recreational Vehicle (RV) dealer partners.

"The updated Work-the-Deal experience has been great for both me and my customers," said Tammy Coleman, Finance Manager at All Out Cycles in Virginia. "It provides immediate feedback on payments, terms, and more, which removes the guesswork and saves me fifteen to twenty minutes per deal. The whole process is clean, nice, and easy to use."

At the same time, Octane introduced a shorter, simpler, and smarter loan application. Customers can apply for financing more quickly through its user-friendly navigation and dynamic logic that automatically hides unnecessary fields. Octane then helps customers and dealers save even more time by delivering the fastest financing decision in the industry.

Octane's current Powersports and OPE dealer partners can access Dealer Portal 2.0 now. Dealers in the United States who do not currently offer financing through Roadrunner Financial can benefit from Dealer Portal 2.0 by enrolling here.

About Octane:
Octane® is revolutionizing recreational purchases by delivering a seamless, end-to-end digital buying experience. We connect people with their passions by combining cutting-edge technology and innovative risk strategies to make lifestyle purchases–like powersports vehicles, RVs, and outdoor power equipment–fast, easy, and accessible.

Octane adds value throughout the customer journey: inspiring enthusiasts with the Octane Media™ editorial brands, including Cycle World® and UTV Driver®, instantly prequalifying consumers for financing online, routing customers to dealerships for an easy closing, and supporting customers throughout their loan with superior loan servicing.

Founded in 2014, we have more than 30 OEM and 4,000 dealer partners, and a team of over 500 in remote and hybrid roles. Visit www.octane.co.

Octane® and Roadrunner Financial® are registered service marks of Octane Lending, Inc.

Media Relations: Shannon O'Hara
VP of Communications & Brand at Octane
Press@octane.co

Investor Relations: Kartik Kothari
SVP of Corporate Development and Investor Relations at Octane
IR@octane.co


Goldman Sachs–backed AI research startup AlphaSense valued at $2.5B, gears up for and IPO as it crosses $200M in annual recurring revenue

AlphaSense is preparing to go public as they cross $200M in annual recurring revenue

Established in San Francisco by Jack Kokko and Raj Neervannan, AlphaSense boasts an enviable clientele. The majority of their 4,000+ corporate clients feature among the S&P 500 businesses, paying between $10,000 and $20,000 annually per seat for services such as competitive analysis and regulatory clearance monitoring.

Through adept use of AI and machine learning, AlphaSense manages to process and extract valuable data from vast amounts of public documents. For example, SEC filings, speeches, and research papers. This unique ability to turn complex legal and financial jargon into understandable insights caught the attention of high-profile figures like Cynthia Paul, a hedge fund manager.

Hedge fund manager Cynthia Paul started using the research platform AlphaSense more than 10 years ago while she was working at George Soros’s family office.

She had enlisted all the analysts on her team to track down a data point—and one of them came back so quickly, showing her an answer on his computer screen, that she almost didn’t believe him. The analyst had found the figure via AlphaSense’s AI-powered search engine, which uses machine learning to pull from a dataset of public documents and SEC filings, transcripts, and research.

“I was impressed enough to try the product myself,” says Paul, who would soon ask AlphaSense if Soros Fund Management could invest in the firm, and would later back the company again when she launched her own hedge fund. Research startup AlphaSense now boasts more than 4,000 corporate customers, including 80% of the S&P 100, who typically pay between $10,000 or $20,000 annually per seat to follow their competitors, track regulatory approvals, or research M&A targets.

With the help of developments in generative AI, AlphaSense CEO Jack Kokko says he is seeing heightened interest in the platform—both from its users, and its swath of investors, ranging from Goldman Sachs, CapitalG, and Viking Global. AlphaSense hit $200 million in annual recurring revenue at the end of last year—doubling its ARR from summer 2022—and Kokko is now thinking about how to double that figure, while setting his sights on the right time to take the company public. “We’re suddenly a lot closer to that,” Kokko tells Fortune in an interview.

AlphaSense has increased its headcount by 20% since January 2023 and opened an office in Singapore. This month, AlphaSense hired a new chief marketing officer, Heather Zynczak—who was part of the executive team that took software company Pluralsight public—as it tries to lay the groundwork for an IPO.

“There’s still a lot to do, of course, when you actually decide to go and file,” Kokko says.

‘The poster child’

Twenty-five years ago—during the roaring dotcom boom—Kokko was working as an investment banking analyst for Morgan Stanley. He remembers the feeling of being a young analyst and walking into a client boardroom, his mind running over what data point he might have missed in his research—what overlooked item might end up “messing up that billion-dollar deal,” he says.

“That’s what stuck with me,” Kokko says, and what would ultimately lead him and his Wharton School classmate, Raj Neervannan, to start working on a search engine that could marry the burgeoning technology of artificial intelligence with research about companies.

The key to the AlphaSense platform, which Kokko and Neervannan started building in 2011, would be its dataset. AlphaSense’s models pull from SEC filings, equity analyst research, industry journals, patent filings, earnings call transcripts, and other public documents and sources. Its two acquisitions over the years—financial analysis company Sentieo as well as expert interview transcription service Stream by Mosaic—have helped expand that dataset. Users can search for things like layoff events or patents, and AlphaSense’s AI models will spit out the relevant documents.

Kokko ascribes the recent growth at his company, in part, to generative AI. Over the past couple of years, AlphaSense has incorporated a variety of large language models, including Anthropic’s recently released Claude 3, into its own in-house AI systems, which it fine-tunes with open-source models like Llama 2 and Mistral, to power new features. Where previously AlphaSense would categorize information and surface data points, now AlphaSense can help users connect the dots—summarizing information, offering industrywide analysis on what companies are saying about things like price inflation, or suggesting specific companies or competitors in sectors a user is researching.

“We’re constantly pushing what we’re able to automate for users and make them more effective at their work, and generative AI has been one of those things that really enabled big leaps in that,” Kokko says. “That has created a lot of demand—extra demand, perhaps—and a lot of attention to the use cases that we serve.”

That, plus the company’s focus on expansion into new markets like Singapore, were major contributors to AlphaSense doubling its ARR and helped attract attention from new investors. Last calendar year, amid a drought in venture capital funding to startups in sectors outside of AI, AlphaSense raised approximately $250 million in equity funding over two separate funding rounds. One of those rounds was in September, when the company raised $150 million at a $2.5 billion valuation in a deal led by BOND Capital and joined by previous investors CapitalG (one of Alphabet’s independent investing arms) and Goldman Sachs.

Darren Cohen, the CIO of Goldman Sachs’ growth equity team, sees AlphaSense as the perfect fit for their broader investment thesis: combining the infrastructure layer of AI (large language models built by companies like OpenAI or Anthropic) with a rich dataset and a specific workflow. “AlphaSense is, by far, the poster child,” Cohen tells Fortune. “It’s one of the largest positions in our fund.”

But AlphaSense still has a bit of work to do before it goes public. For one: diversifying its leadership team. There is only one woman—its new CMO—across AlphaSense’s eight-person executive team and five-person board of directors.

AlphaSense says it is currently interviewing female board candidates, and Goldman’s Cohen told Fortune that diversifying both the leadership team and board is one “of many things” AlphaSense is focused on pre-IPO. “We actually are in conversations and showing them potential candidates, some of [whom] I work closely with, which would be amazing additions. Stay tuned,” Cohen said.

The company is also updating its financial systems to handle the precise reporting necessary in the public markets and to ensure that investors can adequately compare it to other public SaaS companies, Kokko says. He anticipates that CMO Zynczak’s experience on public and private boards, in particular, will be able to guide AlphaSense on what pre- and post-IPO investors look for.

Of course, it remains to be seen exactly when the IPO markets will be deemed “open” again. While a few notable startups like Instacart and Reddit have made their debuts in recent months, listings overall have been few and far between.

Kokko won’t share an exact timeline for AlphaSense’s public listing other than to say it will depend on when the IPO market appears truly open. And given that the company raised some $250 million in equity funding just last year, Kokko says he has the capital to wait: “We’re not in a rush.”

This story was originally featured on Fortune.com


Citi Ventures Backs Capstack, the first integrated Bank-to-Bank Loan Marketplace to mitigate asset concentration risk and increase profitability

Secures Strategic Investment, Forms Elite Advisory Board, and Welcomes Top Banking Executives in a Significant Market Move

CapStack, a startup formed by Pipe co-founder Michal Cieplinski, has raised $6 million toward its effort to build an integrated operating system for banks.

In simpler terms, Cieplinski described CapStack as the “first bank-to-bank marketplace,” giving the institutions the ability to share and have visibility into one another’s portfolios.

Capstack Technologies, the first bank-to-bank marketplace designed to mitigate asset risk, has secured a strategic investment from Citi Ventures, marking a significant milestone in its mission to revolutionize banking technology.

“As a member of the advisory board for Capstack Technologies, I am deeply impressed by the caliber of talent and expertise we have assembled to guide this groundbreaking technology”

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Amidst a challenging investment climate, this funding is a testament to Capstack Technologies’ innovation following their successful $6 million fundraising last summer. This investment coincides with establishing a high-profile advisory board and adding experienced executives from community and regional banks, propelling Capstack Technologies into a new era of growth and market leadership.

Capstack Technologies is leading the way with its "first bank-to-bank marketplace," promoting transparency, collaboration, and efficiency among small and medium-sized banks. This initiative aligns with the U.S. financial sector's imperative to reduce concentration risk, as highlighted by such risks in Silicon Valley Bank and other failed banks. Notably, the U.S. was home to 4,123 community and regional banks in 2023, comprising nearly 97% of all banks and collectively overseeing assets valued at $3.4 trillion.

“Citi Ventures is committed to investing in companies that have the potential to drive our industry forward,” said Jeff Flynn, Director, Citi Ventures. “Capstack Technologies’ innovative approach could fundamentally change the way smaller banks manage risk and grow their businesses, and ultimately could create opportunities for Citi to engage differently with this sizable segment of the financial services ecosystem.”

"Securing this strategic investment from Citi Ventures, forming a distinguished advisory board, and welcoming experienced executives from community and regional banks collectively mark a pivotal moment for Capstack Technologies," stated Michal Cieplinski, CEO of Capstack Technologies. "These milestones validate our vision and accelerate our mission to revolutionize banking technology for the community.”

Formation of the Advisory Board

Capstack Technologies has formed an advisory board comprising industry veterans Trey Maust, Chairman of Lewis & Clark Bancorp, Patrick Kennedy, Executive Chairman of TransPecos Banks and Dub Sutherland of Kennedy Sutherland LLP. These advisors bring a wealth of experience in banking, law, and financial technologies, guiding Capstack Technologies’ strategic direction in the banking sector.

"As a member of the advisory board for Capstack Technologies, I am deeply impressed by the caliber of talent and expertise we have assembled to guide this groundbreaking technology," expressed Kennedy. "Having the right people involved is crucial in steering such innovative solutions. The experiences and insights our team brings are essential in shaping a technology that has the potential to redefine the banking sector.”

New Executives

Capstack Technologies is also bolstering its leadership team with David McArdle as Head of Banking Relationships and Randy Riffle as Head of Customer & Platform Operations. McArdle, with his extensive experience in banking and fintech, will focus on streamlining processes for C-suite executives in community banks. With his extensive credit and lending background, Riffle will lead the charge in transforming operational efficiencies and focusing on positive customer experiences.

“To contribute to an organization at the forefront of such a transformative movement within the banking sector is inspiring,” said Riffle. “The advent of this technology epitomizes the requirement of all bank sizes to create efficiencies in the participation and whole loan marketplace model.”

"This moment is pivotal for Capstack Technologies, as we've successfully secured strategic funding from Citi Ventures, assembled a formidable advisory board, and significantly enhanced our leadership team," concludes Cieplinski. "These steps are a clear testament to our unwavering commitment to innovation and underscore our growing significance in the current investment climate. We are not just making strides but setting new standards in the banking technology sector."

About Capstack Technologies

Capstack Technologies is building the first integrated bank-to-bank loan marketplace, enabling cooperation across banks and financial services institutions to increase profitability and mitigate risk through asset diversification. Capstack Technologies is dedicated to building a sophisticated infrastructure to redefine banking operations, enhance risk management, and deliver cutting-edge solutions for small and medium-sized banks. Capstack Technologies is backed by world-class investors, including Citi Ventures, Fin Capital, Alloy Labs, Cambrian Ventures, Cowboy Ventures, Future Perfect Ventures, Gaingels, Selah Ventures, Uncorrelated Ventures and Valor Equity Partners.

Contacts

Media Contact:
Rachel Weikum, Actual Agency
rachel.weikum@actual.agency
(503) 970-4869


The next NVIDIA will be LightMatter's next generation photonics infrastructure for artificial intelligence

The next NVIDIA will be Lightmatter with the next generation photonics infrastructure for artificial intelligence. Moving us beyond Moore's Law.

Great insights in this interview with Jason Calcanis on how LightMatter is going to power the next generation of AI, and move global computing to the power of light. Exponentially increasing computational power while reducing energy consumption.

"Over the next few years, all of the GPUs in the world that are designed for AI training and inference or high-performance computing are going to be built on Lightmatter's Passage..... AI – what an ally for high-performance computing. People are just spending unlimited money. Blank checkbook, spend whatever you need to win the AI race, and that’s a great environment for a technology like photonics and Passage". - Nicholas Harris, CEO & Founder


Lynk Global and Slam Corp NASDAQ: SLAM announce definitive business combination agreement

Associated capital raise is expected to accelerate manufacturing and secure launches as well as support satellite design and operations

Lynk Global the world’s leading satellite-direct-to-standard-phone (“sat2phone”) telecoms provider, and Slam Corp. (NASDAQ: SLAM), a special purpose acquisition company (“Slam”), today announced that they have entered into a definitive business combination agreement (the “Business Combination Agreement”) under which Slam will combine with Lynk. Upon completion, the combined company will operate as Lynk Global Holdings, Inc. and its common stock is expected to be publicly listed on Nasdaq under the ticker symbol “LYNK”.

“Through our proposed business combination with Slam, we believe Lynk will be well-positioned to raise capital through several avenues. The capital we intend to raise will accelerate our growth as we execute our plan to launch many more ‘cell-towers-in-space’.”

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Charles Miller, CEO of Lynk, said, “With technology proven on all seven continents, and 36 full commercial contracts with partners that currently provide coverage to hundreds of millions of subscribers in approximately 50 countries, Lynk has the potential to provide continuous wireless connectivity to billions of people around the world, using the unmodified phones they use today.”

Alex Rodriguez, CEO of Slam, said, “Lynk seeks to connect the world by extending cell coverage everywhere. We are thrilled to announce this business combination agreement, which positions the combined company to capitalize on the massive, $1 trillion mobile wireless market as Lynk solves a core problem for the more than five billion cell phone users around the globe today. The combined company is set to deliver Lynk’s innovative, patented technology to areas that need it most and connect the more than two billion unconnected people worldwide.”

Lynk has engaged BTIG, LLC to raise additional capital ahead of the closing of the business combination with Slam. Proceeds from the anticipated financing will be used to produce more satellites, secure launches, and support satellite design and operations. This is expected to include the continued development, manufacturing and launch of a constellation of Low-Earth Orbit satellites. The constellation will complement the three commercially-licensed Lynk satellites that are currently in orbit and is intended to enable global communications using radiofrequency spectrum licensed to mobile network operators (“MNO”) without hardware or software modification to existing standard cellphone technologies.

Charles Miller added, “Through our proposed business combination with Slam, we believe Lynk will be well-positioned to raise capital through several avenues. The capital we intend to raise will accelerate our growth as we execute our plan to launch many more ‘cell-towers-in-space’.”

Investment Highlights:

Lynk’s patented and commercially-licensed sat2phone technology is compatible with any unmodified cellular device from 2G to 5G, and is positioned to be compatible with future generations of mobile devices. The company’s technology has been tested and proven in over 25 countries, on all seven continents, and Lynk has signed 36 full commercial contracts with partners to provide coverage in approximately 50 countries.

Transaction Overview:

Under the terms of the business combination agreement, the transaction values Lynk at a pre-money enterprise value of $800 million. Upon completion of the transactions contemplated by the Business Combination Agreement (the “Business Combination”), the expected proceeds will be used to secure launch timing and support satellite design, manufacturing and operations.

The boards of directors of Lynk and Slam have each approved the proposed Business Combination, the consummation of which is subject to various customary closing conditions, including the filing and effectiveness of a Registration Statement on Form S-4 (the “Registration Statement”) with the Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”), and the approval of the shareholders of Lynk and Slam. Completion of the proposed Business Combination is expected in the second half of 2024.

Additional information about the proposed Business Combination, including a copy of the Business Combination Agreement, will be provided in a Current Report on Form 8-K to be filed by Slam with the SEC on February 5, 2024 (the “Current Report”). Additional information about the proposed Business Combination will be described in the Registration Statement relating to the proposed Business Combination, which Slam and Lynk Global Holdings, Inc. (“Topco”), a holding company formed to complete the Business Combination, will file with the SEC.

Advisors

BTIG, LLC is serving as capital markets advisor and JonesTrading Institutional Services LLC is serving as financial advisor to Lynk Global, Inc. Goodwin Procter LLP is serving as legal counsel to Lynk Global, Inc. Kirkland & Ellis LLP is serving as legal counsel to Slam Corp. DLA Piper LLP (US) is serving as legal counsel to BTIG, LLC.

About Lynk

Lynk is a patented, proven, and commercially-licensed satellite-direct-to-standard-mobile-phone system. Today, Lynk allows commercial subscribers to send and receive text messages to and from space, via standard unmodified mobile devices. Lynk’s service has been tested and proven in over 25 countries and is currently being deployed commercially, based on 36 MNO commercial service contracts covering approximately 50 countries. Lynk is currently providing cell broadcast (emergency) alerts, and two-way SMS messaging, and intends to launch voice and mobile broadband services in the future. By partnering with Lynk via a simple roaming agreement, a mobile network operator opens the door to new revenue in untapped markets, gives subscribers peace of mind with ubiquitous connectivity, and provides a potential pathway to economic prosperity for billions. For more information, visit www.lynk.world.

About Slam Corp.

Slam Corp. (Nasdaq: SLAM) is a special purpose acquisition company established by baseball legend, investor and Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of A-Rod Corp., Alex Rodriguez, and Founder, Managing Partner and Chief Investment Officer of Antara Capital LP, Himanshu Gulati. Slam intends to pursue investment opportunities with companies that have large and growing addressable markets, significant revenue growth, defensible business models and superior market share.


Leading Satellite-to-Phone Company Lynk Global signs letter of intent to merge with Slam Corp. Nasdaq: SLAM

Connecting everyone, everywhere

The world’s only patented, proven & commercially licensed satellite-direct-to-standard-phone system

Lynk has proven two-way sat2phone connectivity on all seven continents, including SMS, emergency
alerts, voice calls, and data, and is scaling to provide coverage everywhere on Earth at broadband
speeds

Combined company expected to list on Nasdaq under the ticker symbol “LYNK” in the second half of 2024

Lynk Global, the world’s leading satellite-direct-to-standard-phone (“sat2phone”) telecoms provider, and Slam Corp. (NASDAQ: SLAM), a special purpose acquisition company (“Slam”), today announced that they have signed a non-binding letter of intent (“LOI”)
for a potential business combination. Under the terms of the LOI, the combined company (the "Combined
Company") would operate as Lynk Global, Inc. and its common stock and warrants are expected to be
listed on Nasdaq under the ticker symbol “LYNK” and “LYNKW,” respectively.

Lynk was founded in 2017 by Charles Miller, President and CEO; Margo Deckard, COO; and Tyghe
Speidel, CTO. Lynk’s proprietary technology created the sat2phone category, which encompasses
products and services that leverage mobile phones. It designs, builds, and operates proprietary “cell
tower-in-space” satellites that provide direct-to-standard-phone connectivity and global coverage. Lynk
believes it is the world’s only patented, proven, and commercially licensed sat2phone system. Lynk has
proven two-way sat2phone connectivity on all seven continents, including SMS, emergency alerts, voice
calls, and data and is scaling to provide ubiquitous service at broadband speeds. Lynk partners with
wireless providers and mobile network operators (“MNOs”) to deliver connectivity to their customers
through their existing mobile devices.

"Lynk was created with the mission to connect everyone, everywhere by providing affordable connectivity
to billions globally using the phones already in their pockets," stated Lynk CEO, Charles Miller. "In effect,
we’ve created a new category, and our operational technology requires no change to consumers’ phones
while delivering services with immense lifesaving implications. As a public company, we will have access
to greater capital to take advantage of the satellite-direct-to-device opportunity, bringing these services to
even more people and truly ending the era of the disconnected."

Alex Rodriguez, Chief Executive Officer of Slam, said "Lynk has built a truly global platform that is set to
revolutionize the satellite-direct-to-phone sector. Since Slam's listing, we have sought to partner with a
company beyond providing capital, through operational support, commercial network expansion, and
brand amplification. Lynk is a perfect fit for our investment criteria. We are impressed by its innovative
technology and proven ability to scale. The Combined Company is positioned to make a tremendous
global impact, potentially providing broadband access to billions of people currently underserved by a
lack of mobile connectivity."

Lynk and Slam intend to finalize their definitive business combination agreement (the “Business
Combination”) in the coming weeks and will announce additional details at that time. Based on the LOI,
the Combined Company is expected to be valued at no less than $800 million upon listing, subject to
current market conditions. There can be no assurance that a definitive agreement will be entered into or
that the proposed transaction will be consummated on the terms or timeframe currently contemplated, or
at all.

Lynk Investment Highlights
Patented and Proven Technology

• Lynk believes it is the world's only patented, proven, and commercially licensed satellite-direct-to
standard-phone system.
• Lynk technology is compatible with any unmodified cellular device from 2G to 5G, and is positioned for
compatibility with future generations of devices.
• Successfully launched three commercial satellite cell towers in space and has begun operations in four
countries.
• Lynk’s technology has been tested and proven in over 25 countries and on all seven continents.
• Lynk has signed 35 commercial contracts to provide coverage in approximately 50 countries.
Attractive Satellite Communications Market Opportunity
• Satellite communications represent approximately $14 billion of the broader global connectivity market
valued at more than $1 trillion annually, growing at a 12% CAGR through 2030 to approximately $35
valued
• Satellite-direct-to-device is a new category within satellite communications that analysts estimate could
Satellitedirecttodevice is a new category within satellite com
• Approximately 750 million of the 5.4 billion existing mobile phone users are not connected on average at
any point in time due to being in "coverage black spots."
• Traditional mobile cell coverage is limited by the economics of building and operating traditional ground
based cell towers, making it cost-prohibitive to expand mobile cell coverage into remote areas lacking
coverage.
• Satellite cell towers are approximately four orders of magnitude lower in operating expense per square
mile than traditional ground-based cell towers. This allows satellite cell towers to affordably fill in black
spots and lower the pricing of ground-based cell towers.
Clear Growth Trajectory with MNOs
• Lynk partners with MNOs around the world to offer 100% geographic coverage in their territory by
integrating seamlessly with their existing network.
• Lynk believes sat2phone services could drive 40% top-line growth in the mobile wireless market from
today’s $1 trillion per year to $1.4 trillion annually.
• These estimates represent $150 billion annually from “everywhere connectivity” for the 5.4 billion existing
mobile customers, and approximately $250 billion annually from new customers who buy their first mobile
device once guaranteed coverage is in place.

Experienced and Proven Management
• Lynk leadership represents the best of the space, telecoms, and satellite industries.
• Average of 32 years of experience in the space and telecoms industries, in both the public and private
sectors.
• Three Lynk co-founders lead the c-suite.
• Proprietary network of advisors with deep expertise and experience across satellite, telecoms, and
technology industries.

Advisors
Jones Trading is serving as financial advisor and BTIG, LLC is serving as capital markets advisor to Lynk
Global, Inc. Goodwin Procter LLP is serving as legal counsel to Lynk Global, Inc. Kirkland & Ellis LLP is
serving as legal counsel to Slam Corp.

About Lynk
Lynk believes it is the world’s only patented, proven, and commercially-licensed satellite-direct-to
standard-mobile-phone system. Today, Lynk allows commercial subscribers to send and receive text
messages to and from space, via standard unmodified mobile devices. Lynk’s service has been
demonstrated in over 25 countries and is currently being deployed commercially, based on 35 MNO
commercial service contracts covering approximately 50 countries. Lynk is currently providing cell
broadcast (emergency) alerts, and two-way SMS messaging, and intends to launch voice and mobile
broadband services in the future. By partnering with Lynk via a simple roaming agreement, a mobile
network operator opens the door to new revenue in untapped markets, gives subscribers peace of mind
with ubiquitous connectivity, and may possibly provide a pathway to economic prosperity for billions. For
more information, visit www.lynk.world or follow @lynktheworld.

About Slam Corp.
Slam Corp. (Nasdaq: SLAM) is a special purpose acquisition company established by baseball legend,
investor and Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of A-Rod Corp., Alex Rodriguez, and Founder,
Managing Partner and Chief Investment Officer of Antara Capital LP, Himanshu Gulati. Slam Corp. intends
to pursue investment opportunities with companies that have large and growing addressable markets,
significant revenue growth, defensible business models and superior market share.


Photonics startup Neurophos Raises $7.2 Million to build super-fast, energy efficient Metamaterial-based optical AI chips for data centers

The Neurophos Advantage = Ai compute at the speed of light

Neurophos' mission is to deliver AI computation solutions that are not just faster, but denser and more efficient. Our unique approach combines the best of optical metasurfaces and silicon photonics, offering an AI inference acceleration solution that is poised to reshape the AI landscape. 

Neurophos has raised a $7.2M USD seed round to productize a breakthrough in metamaterials and optical AI inference chips. Neurophos has joined the Silicon Catalyst incubator program to accelerate product development.

Neurophos, a spinout from Duke University and Metacept Inc., has raised a $7.2M USD seed round to productize a breakthrough in both metamaterials and optical AI inference chips.

The company has been funded in a round led by Gates Frontier and supported by MetaVC, Mana Ventures, Gaingels, Trajectory Ventures and others. The seed funding will enable the production of a proprietary metasurface that serves as a tensor core processor enabled by its advanced optical properties. The company will also hire a team of engineers in Austin, Texas, a major silicon engineering hub.

Says David Smith, Duke University: "Neurophos' metamaterial is a ground-up breakthrough enabling an extraordinarily dense computing chip for next-generation AI applications."

While GPUs have had massive success in accelerating AI workloads, digital approaches are typically limited by power consumption. On the other hand, proponents of optical computing techniques claim that photonics can vastly reduce power consumption and therefore accelerate compute speeds far beyond the bounds of what is possible with modern GPUs.

Unfortunately, despite vast amounts of capital having recently been invested in optical compute for AI, the success of the field has been limited, largely because existing optical devices are too large and bulky to scale. However, metamaterials enable new paradigms for controlling the flow of light. The discovery of metamaterials has unleashed an enormous burst of creativity, leading to demonstrations of invisibility cloaks, negative refractive index materials, and many other exotic products.

Neurophos' optical metasurfaces are designed for use in data centers and their approach is already shattering world records in computational energy efficiency. Neurophos plans to use high-speed silicon photonics to drive a metasurface in-memory processor capable of fast, efficient, AI compute.

The estimated global data center electricity consumption in 2022 was 240-340 TWh(1), or around 1-1.3% of global electricity demand, and the exponential growth of AI inference workloads is threatening to push this demand to unsustainable levels. Neurophos' technology will provide way more compute per dollar spent on CAPEX and OPEX, at the same energy consumption, and reduce the total cost of ownership of AI accelerator chips and data centers.

Says Patrick Bowen, Neurophos CEO: "The most important factor in optical processors is scaling. Optical processors become both exponentially faster and more energy efficient on a per-operation basis as you make them larger. This means that in a finite chip area, the most important factor is how small you can build the optical devices that compose your processor. By leveraging metamaterials in a standard CMOS process, we have figured out how to shrink an optical processor by 8000X, which will give us orders of magnitude improvement over GPUs today."

Alexander Hayes, co-founder Metacept Inc., says: "Leaving the speed and energy use bottlenecks behind by deviating far from the Von Neumann architecture represents one of the most exciting and potentially important metamaterial and photonic applications we've ever considered."

MetaVC Partners provided Neurophos' initial funding and an exclusive license to the fund's metamaterials IP portfolio for optical computing. Neurophos was spun out of Metacept, an incubator led by David R. Smith, James B. Duke Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, focused on creating metamaterials-based companies and collaborating with Professor Smith's research group at Duke University. Neurophos CTO Tom Driscoll previously founded metamaterials-based radar company Echodyne.

Says David Smith, Duke University: "The Neurophos team has realized that the really fundamental problems of analog inference processing require a breakthrough at the level of the fundamental physics of the optical modulators. Their metamaterial is a ground-up breakthrough enabling an extraordinarily dense computing chip for next-generation AI applications."

Neurophos AI chips can be fabricated using standard CMOS processes. This gives easy access to volume manufacturing.

The company is also joining Silicon Catalyst, the world's only incubator + accelerator focused on semiconductor solutions, (including Photonics, MEMS, sensors, IP, materials & Life Sciences) to accelerate startups from idea through prototype, and onto a path to volume production. Silicon Catalyst has developed an unparalleled support ecosystem for its semiconductor start-ups, providing a strong network of financiers, business advisors, and industry professionals who help companies to launch and scale in the market. In addition, the incubator provides privileged access to services, expertise, and intellectual property that can empower their companies' technological innovation.

Paul Pickering, Managing Partner, Silicon Catalyst says: "Neurophos represents much-needed progress in analog optical computing, bringing the performance of silicon photonics to the existing manufacturing infrastructure of CMOS foundries. We are confident that they will be one of the leaders of the next generation of AI hardware. This is how you get to tomorrow quickly and without wasted capital. We are thrilled to have them in the program."

Neurophos Breakthroughs In Depth

Neurophos' advancements will decrease the size and energy needs of silicon photonic optical chips, making them more suitable for running artificial intelligence platforms such as LLM (Large Language Models).

Neurophos' metamaterial-based optical modulators are more than 1000 times smaller than those from a standard foundry PDK (Process Design Kit). This enables a technology roadmap to deliver over 1 million TOPS (Trillions of Operations Per Second) of performance. For comparison, an Nvidia H100 SMX5 today delivers at most 4000 TOPS of DNN (Deep Neural Network) performance.

Optical chips have the potential to increase processor speed while reducing power massively. Neurophos will enable this technology to be used in AI data centers. That market, which is dominated by Intel and Nvidia, currently uses traditional silicon semiconductors that create enormous amounts of heat and are struggling to scale to the performance demands of LLM for AI.

Neurophos combines two breakthroughs. The first is an optical metasurface that enables silicon photonic computing capable of ultra-fast AI inference that outstrips the density and performance of both traditional silicon computing and silicon photonics.

The second is a Compute-In-Memory (CIM) processor architecture which is fed by high-speed silicon photonics to deliver fast, efficient matrix-matrix multiplication, which make up the overwhelming majority of all operations when running, for instance, a neural net.

The metasurface-enabled optical CIM elements are thousands of times smaller than traditional silicon photonics modulators, enabling the processing of vastly larger matrices on-chip. This results in an unprecedented increase in the computational density. In optical computing, energy efficiency is proportional to array size, so Neurophos' processor is hundreds of times more energy efficient than alternatives.

Editors Notes

(1): Source, IEA analysis based on Masanet et al. (2020), Malmodin (2020), Hintemann & Hinterholzer (2022), and reported energy use data from large data center operators.

About Neurophos

Neurophos' mission is to deliver AI computation solutions that are not just faster, but more efficient and denser. Its unique approach combines the best of optical metasurfaces and silicon photonics, offering an AI inference acceleration solution that is poised to reshape the AI landscape. Neurophos will light the way to the future of AI. See: www.neurophos.com

Contact:

David Harold
press@neurophos.com
+44(0)7889658527