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MINICABIT SIGNS NATIONAL PARTNERSHIP WITH UK SELF-STORAGE LEADERBIG YELLOW

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team up

Partnership follows recent deal with Heathrow and enables Big Yellow’s customers in more than 35 UK cities to shift their stuff by cab to their local storage centre using minicabit’s website and app

minicabit’s 650-strong national cab operator network now covers more cities than any of its peers

minicabit, the UK’s leading online mini-cab price comparison and booking service announced a national partnership with Big Yellow, the UK’s favourite self-storage company. Big Yellow’s customers can now instantly compare and book fixed minicab quotes to and from 84 nationwide storage units in over 35 UK cities, as well as benefit from exclusive discounts and promotional offers on minicabit’s website and app.

Big Yellow believe this service is ideal for customers taking its smaller spaces. The data from the three month trial shows that 15% of bookings were made within 1 hour and the majority on the same day, demonstrating the demand for a quick, easy way for customers to get their goods to their local store.

The price comparison and minicab booking service developed by minicabit has now been integrated into Big Yellow’s website, enabling customers to conveniently compare quotes and book services direct through minicabit’s online service. minicabit’s app has also been customised to indicate relevant tips, such as for transporting items by cab to a local Big Yellow site.

minicabit’s industry leading ‘luggage selector’ feature, which instantly calculates the most appropriate size of cab for customers to book, has also been upgraded to allow users to enter popular household items such as boxes, TVs and even mattresses, enhancing the capability and flexibility of the service.

Amer Hasan

Amer Hasan

The initial trial saw strong demand from customers booking mini-cab services to and from local Big Yellow self-storage units across the UK, from as far as London and Edinburgh. Big Yellow customers without access to private transport, such as UK and international students, are expected to be significant users of the service.

minicabit’s contract with Big Yellow Plc is the latest in a series of successful partnerships with major blue chip brands, including most recently those with Barclays Pingit and Heathrow, which integrated minicabit’s comparison and booking service into its own website, as well as partnerships with the O2 Academy, London City Airport and Blenheim Palace, the birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill.

In recent years, minicabit has enjoyed strong growth and success with revenues increasing eightfold year on year, bookings up by 150% in the past six months. Over the past three months the average fare generated for its cab operator partners has risen to around £40, close to double the average fare generated by some of its rivals, and this demonstrates minicabit’s ability to generate high-value work for the minicab trade.

minicabit already covers more cities than any other online minicab price comparison booking engine and the company is aiming to expand its network to include 1,000 cab firms over the next year. So far this year, some 250 minicab operators have already applied to join the platform, with 150 accepted after meeting the strict review criteria, highlighting how smart minicab firms are recognising the added value minicabit can bring and are coalescing around the platform.

With much of the attention of the online cab space focused on the Capital, minicabit is also targeting the regional markets with 60% of its network of cab operators already based outside the M25.

minicabit’s innovative technology is widely recognised and in its first year of operations the company’s app was consistently promoted by Apple in their App Store. minicabit’s app is also on Android phones and was recently shortlisted by leading marketing publication The Drum for its highly sought after User Experience/ Usability award.

The business was founded by Amer Hasan, ex-Global Head of Apps and Internet Partnerships at Vodafone. The company’s board benefits from Steven Norris, Former UK Transport Minister, as a Board Adviser and Paul Lawton, O2 UK General Manager of Small and Medium Businesses, as a Non-Executive Director.

Over the last five years, the company has attracted backing from global telecommunications company Telefonica O2’s Wayra Fund, leading crowdfunding platform Seedrs and high-net-worth investor syndicate Angels4Angels. Amer also recently appeared on successful BBC TV show ‘Dragons’ Den’ and received offers from three of the Dragons, the first mobile app to win offers on the show.

minicabit has set itself apart from the ultra-competitive ‘on-demand’ app sector that’s largely focused on short distances in the biggest cities. Instead, minicabit is leading the pre-booked cab sector and is also capitalising on the 30 million ‘out of town’ trips taken annually by cab across the UK, which account for a combined value of £1 billion. The online cab market offers tremendous growth potential and in the UK it has grown over the past five years to an estimated £9bn in 2015.

Tom Wilcockson, Head of New Business Development Big Yellow Self-Storage, commented:

“We work hard to ensure that storing at Big Yellow is easy. We already partner with removal and van hire companies so adding the option to book a cab to transport their items to their local Big Yellow store whilst on our website is compelling. Partnering with minicabit instantly gives us UK-wide reach across the minicab sector, and avoids the need for us to technically integrate with each minicab firm.”

Amer Hasan, CEO and founder of minicabit, commented:

“With our cab bookings having included requests to transport TVs and clothes bags for moving house, rather than just suitcases to an airport, minicabit is transforming what cabs are booked for online. So we’re delighted to partner with Big Yellow Plc, not only the largest player in the fast-growth UK self-storage market but the sector’s leading innovator too. This new collaboration makes shifting your stuff easy to do with just a few clicks on our website or a few taps on our app. Look out for more contracts with blue-chip companies later this year that enable the country’s cab firms to generate more business in this digital revolution.”

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Bitcoin, ether hit fresh highs

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Bitcoin, ether hit fresh highs 1

SINGAPORE (Reuters) – Bitcoin hit a fresh high in Asian trading on Saturday, extending a two-month rally that saw its market capitalisation cross $1 trillion a day earlier.

The world’s most popular cryptocurrency rose to an record $56,620, taking its weekly gain to 18%. It has surged more than 92% this year.

Bitcoin’s gains have been fuelled by evidence it is gaining acceptance among mainstream investors and companies, such as Tesla Inc, Mastercard Inc and BNY Mellon.

Ether, the second-largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization and daily volume, hit a record $2,040.62, for a weekly gain of about 12%.

Ether is the digital currency or token that facilitates transactions on the ethereum blockchain. In the crypto world, the terms ether and ethereum have become interchangeable.

Ether futures contracts launched on derivatives exchange CME earlier this month.

(Reporting by Vidya Ranganathan; Editing by William Mallard)

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World Bank pushing for standard vaccine contracts, more disclosure from makers

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World Bank pushing for standard vaccine contracts, more disclosure from makers 2

By Andrea Shalal

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The World Bank is working to standardize COVID-19 vaccine contracts that countries are signing with drug makers, and is pushing manufacturers to be more open about where doses are headed, as it races to get more vaccines to poor countries, the bank’s president said on Friday.

World Bank President David Malpass told Reuters he expected the bank’s board to have approved $1.6 billion in vaccine funding for 12 countries, including the Philippines, Bangladesh, Tunisia and Ethiopia, by the end of March, with 30 more to follow shortly thereafter.

The bank is working with local governments to identify and fill gaps in distribution capacity, after they purchase vaccines under a $12 billion World Bank program, and also to standardize the contracts they are signing with manufacturers, he said.

The bank’s International Finance Corp, its private financing arm, has $4 billion to invest in expanding existing production plants or building new ones, including in developed countries, but needs more data on where current production is headed, he said.

“We are eager to be investing in new capacity, but it’s hard to do because you don’t know how much of the existing capacity is already committed to the various off-takers,” Malpass said in an interview with Reuters. New or expanded plants could be used to produce other types of vaccinations in the future, he said.

The bank’s funds could be used to expand plants in advanced economies, if the production was earmarked for developing nations, he said.

Malpass welcomed Friday’s pledge by the Group of Seven rich countries to intensify cooperation on the pandemic, saying it could help jump-start deliveries of vaccines to poorer countries, which are lagging far behind rich countries in getting shots in arms.

Data compiled by Our World In Data, a scientific online publication, showed Israel was leading the world in COVID-19 vaccinations, with nearly 82 of 100 people vaccinated, while India and Bangladesh reported less than one person per 100, Many African countries have not started at all.

Malpass said he was heartened by news about new vaccines coming down the road, and about Pfizer Inc and BioNTech SE seeking permission to store their vaccine at higher temperatures, which would ease another obstacle to deliveries in lower-income countries.

(Reporting by Andrea Shalal; Editing by Heather Timmons and Leslie Adler)

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Google to evaluate executive performance on diversity, inclusion

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Google to evaluate executive performance on diversity, inclusion 3

By Paresh Dave

(Reuters) – Alphabet Inc’s Google will evaluate the performance of its vice presidents and above on team diversity and inclusion starting this year, the company said on Friday in one of several responses to concerns about its treatment of a Black scientist.

Timnit Gebru, co-leader of Google’s ethical artificial intelligence research team, said in December that Google abruptly fired her after she criticized its diversity efforts and threatened to resign.

Alphabet and Google Chief Executive Sundar Pichai ordered a review of the situation. While Google declined to share specific findings, the company announced on Friday it will engage human resources specialists during sensitive employee departures.

Pichai in June said that by 2025, Google aims to have 30% more of its leaders come from underrepresented groups, with a focus on Black, Latinx and Native American leaders in the United States and female technical leaders globally. About 96% of Google’s U.S. leaders at the time were white or Asian, and 73% globally were men.

As a result of the investigation, the company also expanded a commitment announced in June to devote more resources to retaining and promoting existing employees, including by expanding a team addressing disputes among workers and their managers.

The diversity component of executive performance reviews was not previously announced, and the company did not immediately share details about what would be measured and how pay would be affected.

Alphabet for years had rejected proposals from shareholders and employees to set diversity goals and tie executive pay to them.

Irene Knapp, a former Google employee who advocated for one such proposal at a 2018 shareholder meeting, said on Friday, “I am pleased that they met our demand from 2018, which was a bare minimum that should have been easy to do immediately.”

Evaluating managers on diversity goals is becoming more commonplace. McDonald’s Corp on Thursday tied executive bonuses to diversity.

(Reporting by Paresh Dave; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)

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