Elliott presses SoftBank to identify $10 billion of investments it holds: sources

Elliott Management Corp is pressing SoftBank Group Corp (9434.T) for details of nearly-$10 billion of investment securities on its balance sheet, as part of its campaign to improve the value of the Japanese conglomerate in which it holds a stake, sources said. The $40 billion hedge fund, one of the most powerful activist investors, has a $3 billion stake in the company and is trying to push for changes after SoftBank’s bet on start-ups such as space-sharing firm WeWork soured. SoftBank’s stock trades at a deep discount to the value of its holdings, and analysts say there is a lack of clarity on its internal valuation calculations for private holdings in its flagship Vision Fund. Elliott has asked for improved disclosure on the valuation of assets in the fund, the sources said.

Spotlight

As digital transformation strategies take hold and organizations embrace a philosophy of data-driven decision-making, many functions that have traditionally communicated little with each other are coming together around a shared need for current and relevant information. In this environment, IT and tax departments have a signifi

Spotlight

As digital transformation strategies take hold and organizations embrace a philosophy of data-driven decision-making, many functions that have traditionally communicated little with each other are coming together around a shared need for current and relevant information. In this environment, IT and tax departments have a signifi

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Payments

Plooto Launches Enhanced All-In-One Payment Automation Solution for Scaling Businesses

Plooto | January 16, 2024

Plooto, a leading payment automation solution for small-to-midsized businesses (SMBs), has launched a payment orchestration offering that is custom-designed to support the complex workflows and security requirements of rapidly scaling businesses. As the size and operational complexity of businesses increase, the risk of fraud and human error grows. This leads businesses to implement more rigorous security and control policies to keep the management of cash flow secure and reliable, placing additional burdens on finance teams including time, effort, and resources spent upgrading or building in-house solutions. Similar challenges extend to accounting and bookkeeping firms, as their robust compliance processes and corresponding reputation are critical drivers of growth. Firms' ability to retain and expand client accounts hinges not only on strong relationships but also on their adherence to rigorous compliance standards, especially when it comes to financial data protection. With this launch, Plooto brings to market the first solution in Canada to address these unique cash management challenges faced by midsize enterprises. This offering is priced at a competitive rate as organizations often cite cost as a barrier to adoption of cash management solutions. As volume and complexity of operations increase, businesses can trust Plooto to scale their needs seamlessly without straining their resources. Coupling end-to-end payment automation with stringent security controls and seamless connection to enterprise resource planning (ERP) solutions, Plooto is now capable of helping even more businesses scale efficiently within their ecosystem. Building upon Plooto’s core offering of simplified, all-in-one payables and receivables automation, new capabilities include Dual Controls: Limits human error and protects against fraud through comprehensive approvals on changes to sensitive financial information Single Sign-On: Enterprise-level safeguards that enable security personnel to manage both user access to sensitive data and removal from a centralized hub as teams scale Integration with Oracle Netsuite: Seamless two-way sync automates reconciliation protecting against costly human error, reducing billable hours, and helping finance teams save time "Our new offering enables finance teams to easily scale their workflows and gain the visibility they crucially need into their cash flow,” says Hamed Abbasi, Co-Founder and CEO of Plooto. “I’m thrilled that Plooto is expanding how we support growing SMBs, and that we are the first company to fill this critical gap for Canadian businesses.” Having recently been awarded with Deloitte’s Technology Fast 500™ and Technology Fast 50™ designations for a staggering 3-year 433% growth rate, Plooto continues to provide industry-leading support for SMBs with a platform that enhances cash management through its all-in-one payment automation. Plooto has also recently expanded its leadership team, bringing extensive experience from major financial services companies such as Varo Bank, Xero, and PayPal. About Plooto Plooto partners with growing small-to-midsize businesses to give them complete control over their cash management. The all-in-one payment automation platform securely automates all payable and receivable workflows, offers extensive payment capabilities, and seamless integration with accounting software to automatically reconcile invoices. Founded in 2015 and headquartered in Toronto, Plooto serves over 10,000 North American businesses, and integrates with top accounting software platforms Quickbooks, Xero, and NetSuite. Simplifying complex processes at scale, Plooto is the financial engine businesses rely on to achieve their growth potential.

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Investment Management

AffiniPay Launches AffiniPay IQ, Generative AI for Legal Tech Industry

AffiniPay | January 24, 2024

AffiniPay, the leader in online payments and software solutions for professionals, announced the launch of generative AI embedded in its leading legal technology products, MyCase, CASEpeer, LawPay, and Docketwise. “At AffiniPay, we believe generative AI can drive the type of efficiencies and insights that will result in better outcomes for our customers and their clients,” said Dru Armstrong, Chief Executive Officer of AffiniPay, parent company of MyCase, CASEpeer, LawPay, and Docketwise. “As a trusted technology partner, we have big plans to empower our customers with AI, and are excited to announce the launch of AffiniPay IQ.” According to the newly released 2024 LawPay and MyCase Legal Industry Report, productivity is a key driver for generative AI investment, with 75% of law firms citing it as the top reason for their interest in AI. To meet this demand, AffiniPay is investing in generative AI and plans to roll out new solutions in a phased manner across the legal product suite. Starting with a MyCase beta, AffiniPay plans to extend various AI solutions to CASEpeer, LawPay, and Docketwise in the coming months. The company’s vision is that customers will be able to utilize AI-powered conversational interface that will enable users to access their data and generate insights using natural language, directly within the interface. These future features will include Case and firm search: Attorneys and staff can quickly get answers to their questions around a specific case or client, saving time in their day Intelligent insights: Law firms can receive customized recommendations to optimize intake, productivity, cash flow, and more Automation: Firms can create workflows, send payments, and open files - all by interacting with the platforms in a conversational way, just like they would with a trusted assistant The first beta release of AffiniPay IQ features include document summarization and text editing, both of which will be woven seamlessly into the suite of AffiniPay’s legal products. Starting with MyCase and CASEpeer, the following AI features will be built into daily workflows Document summarization: Empowers law firms to review case documents quickly using AI-generated summaries of their contents Text editing: AI-powered text editing embedded into the product to allow style updating, tone changes, and summarization “We are committed to our responsible approach to innovation, and are excited to launch generative AI functionality into our software that serves our customers and their needs, and no one else,” said Bryan Thompson, Chief Technology Officer of AffiniPay. “This is the first of many thoughtful generative AI features that our team will be weaving into our product suite over the coming months.” The second release of AffiniPay IQ features will include Communication drafts: Attorneys and staff can quickly generate first drafts of client communications or invoice reminders Translations: Users can translate text into different languages instantly Task & event generation: Law firms can select and analyze text in notes, documents, or emails, and receive suggestions for tasks or events, saving time at every step Data population: Docketwise-specific AI feature that instantly extracts key information from copies of passports, drivers’ licenses, and birth certificates, to automatically populate immigration SmartForms AffiniPay invites legal professionals to experience AffiniPay IQ from Jan. 29 - Feb. 2, during Legalweek in New York, where both LawPay and MyCase are sponsors. About AffiniPay AffiniPay is a market leader in practice management software and online payments for professionals serving legal, accounting, architectural, engineering, and construction firms. AffiniPay has been recognized as one of Inc. 5000’s fastest-growing companies for 12 years in a row. Each of its brands leads the market it serves with solutions purpose-built by industry including LawPay, MyCase, CASEpeer, Docketwise, CPACharge, and AffiniPay for Associations. AffiniPay’s solutions are trusted by more than 245,000 legal & accounting professionals with more than 150 strategic partnerships and endorsements, including the American Bar Association and the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants.

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Financial Management

Synechron Launches 'Synechron Nexus' AI Solutions Suite in Fulfilling the Promise of AI With Ready-to-use Solutions

Synechron | February 02, 2024

Synechron, Inc., a leading global digital transformation consulting firm focused on financial services and technology organizations, announces the launch of its Synechron Nexus suite of nine Artificial Intelligence (AI) solutions that are ready to be deployed within weeks. This array of generative AI-led solutions was designed to span the nexus between human expertise and AI, while enabling users to automate manually intensive tasks, increase project speed, drive operational efficiencies, and reduce costs across various key business tasks. Each solution, divided among three value streams, allows Synechron clients to improve their operations, reduce friction in their processes and boost productivity. Business Growth: Practical, innovative applications that enhance business capabilities Synechron Amplifai is a GenAI-powered market research solution. Its automated research capability saves significant time in a wide range of use-cases, reducing the tedium of gathering, analyzing and reporting market news, trends and strategies. Synechron Clarifai is a tool for summarizing and analyzing call-center transcripts. Conversations are flagged for non-compliance and further human review/actions. Synechron Simplifai centralizes project portfolio data and metrics for streamlined executive decision-making, informing effortless, data-backed decisions for executive and steering committee groups. Operational Efficiency: Advanced solutions to streamline processes and elevate internal operations Synechron Nexus Chat is built on a conversational AI model, understands and engages in a comprehensive range of scenarios and supports plug-ins for real-time data and integration, while delivering human-like conversational responses and text, safely and securely. Synechron Replai is an AI-driven, RFP and proposals tool, streamlining proposal creation with high-quality, insightful responses, with the ability to search the internal knowledge repository for fast access and content re-use. Synechron Unifai is an AI-driven HR solution, designed to simplify interactions between company HR functions and employees, such as policy information and employee-specific payroll details. Synechron Identifai collects comprehensive online market intelligence and provides an in-depth understanding of business, emerging technology trends, or any research topic. Developer Productivity: Toolkit to optimize timelines, minimize costs, and automate practices across the Software Development Lifecycle (SDLC) Synechron Codifai is an SDLC productivity improvement tool, using automation in code generation, unit test case generation, legacy code migration, code optimizations, and automatic code documentation. It works closely with Synechron Verifai which addresses software testing aspects. Synechron Verifai is a GenAI tool for SDLC productivity, using automation in code generation with a focus on QA test case generation, automated test script generation, synthetic test data generation, and bug detection and bug fixing. It works closely with Synechron Codifai which addresses software development efficiency. This new Synechron Nexus AI suite of real-world, practical business solutions, combined with the five formalized RiskTech.AI Accelerators (launched in October 2023), leverages Synechron's AI Practice expertise globally. The creation of AI-led business solutions has been a passion of Synechron's for over a decade, and the firm's commitment to innovative excellence has won the firm eight prestigious AI industry awards to date. Faisal Husain, Synechron's Co-founder and CEO, said of the launch of the Synechron Nexus AI Suite of solutions, "We are proud to be releasing this extensive array of AI-enhanced solutions that go beyond the hype, and provide significant, tangible benefits to business operations. AI and GenAI-rich tools are not just ideas we offer to our clients, but key process accelerators that we ourselves at Synechron are deploying across our company, as we offer ways to integrate the benefits of this technology with human expertise." Ryan Cox, Co-head of Synechron's AI Practice in the UK, added, "Our team has developed, tested, and successfully integrated these advanced AI solutions. Our approach is to strategically guide our clients to integrate AI effectively within their business processes. We identify the key areas where AI can bring the most impact, aligning our solutions to their unique business needs. This targeted approach ensures significant value creation with maximum benefit." Prabhakar Srinivasan, Co-head of Synechron's AI Practice in Bangalore, India, commented, "Artificial Intelligence has proven to be a wonderful force for driving business enhancements by quickly synthesizing extraordinarily large data sets. The Large Language Models used learn over short span of time on how to optimize each firm's proprietary information, thereby boosting productivity and allowing businesses to realize time and cost savings as they optimize tasks." About Synechron At Synechron, we believe in the power of digital to transform businesses for the better. Our global consulting firm combines creativity and innovative technology to deliver industry-leading digital solutions. Synechron's progressive technologies and optimization strategies span end-to-end Artificial Intelligence, Consulting, Digital, Cloud & DevOps, Data, and Software Engineering, servicing an array of noteworthy financial services and technology firms. Through research and development initiatives in our FinLabs we develop solutions for modernization, from Artificial Intelligence and Blockchain to Data Science models, Digital Underwriting, mobile-first applications and more. Over the last 20+ years, our company has been honored with multiple employer awards, recognizing our commitment to our talented teams. With top clients to boast about, Synechron has a global workforce of 15,000+, and has 48 offices in 19 countries within key global markets.

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