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SHIFT TECHNOLOGY ANNOUNCES $28 MILLION SERIES B FROM ACCEL AND GENERAL CATALYST

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SHIFT TECHNOLOGY ANNOUNCES $28 MILLION SERIES B FROM ACCEL AND GENERAL CATALYST

In the Past Year, Revenue Has Grown by Over 800% and More Than 100M Claims Have Been Processed To-Date 

Shift Technology, a software-as-a-service platform that uses the latest advances in artificial intelligence (AI) to help insurers detect fraud, today announced a $28 million Series B investment co-led by Accel and General Catalyst, with participation from previous investors Elaia Partners and Iris Capital.

Globally, fraud amounts for the estimated loss of several hundred billion dollars per year across Health and Property & Casualty (P&C) insurance, which experiences the highest volume of fraud in the industry. However, only about 15% of fraudulent claims are detected today due to manual processes and an endless volume of claims.

To tackle the issue, Shift Technology has developed Force™, a cost-effective decision support platform that has helped insurers across the globe to automate fraud detection processes and lower costs per claim. Since it was founded in 2014, Shift Technology has won 45 clients globally, including some of Europe’s top insurers. In just two years, it has also processed more than 100 million claims to-date for Property & Casualty (P&C) insurers across Europe, Asia and the Americas, saving its clients millions of dollars monthly.

Over the past year, Shift Technology has more than doubled in headcount and has grown its revenue base by over 800%. It also successfully launched its Healthcare solution, which has already treated 300M health claims in France with providers including AG2R La Mondiale.

Shift Technology will use the funds to open offices in two key strategic markets, New York and Tokyo, in Q1 2018, where it already has seen strong demand. The US market opportunity is vast – in 2015, total direct written premiums for the Life & Health and P&C sectors combined were $1.27 trillion, or approximately seven percent of the U.S. Gross Domestic Product (GDP)[1].

Shift Technology will also use the funds to bolster the team and build out the product. It will scale new fraud detection products for Life Insurance and Workers’ Compensation, which have already seen strong success among early adopters, and fund a research program that will transform the claims space.

Shift Technology co-founder and CEO Jeremy Jawish said, “We’ve seen strong demand globally since our launch, and we’re excited to be able to expand our offering further internationally. The U.S. and Japan are two of the biggest insurance markets in the world, and there is a huge opportunity to help their insurers detect fraud as effectively as possible.”

Accel Partner Brian O’Malley said, “Cloud software has reached a point of maturity where it is solving industry specific needs, helping legacy players like insurance carriers innovate as quickly as the best Silicon Valley startups. Instead of trying to replace today’s leaders, software companies like Shift help incumbents leverage their decades of domain knowledge with the latest advancements in Artificial Intelligence and machine learning—making them more nimble and efficient. We’re excited to once again partner with Jeremy and the broader Shift team and support them on their journey into the U.S. and beyond.”

Adam Valkin, Manager Director at General Catalyst, said, “Shift’s AI-driven fraud detection solution has quickly delivered impressive results for some of Europe’s leading insurers. We believe the company is positioned to have a significant impact on the insurance industry as it expands internationally and widens the scope of its offering.”

Shift Technology is pioneering the use of AI and SaaS within insurance. While other fraud analytics offer rudimentary claims scoring based on probability, Shift Technology uses Machine Learning and Graph Theory to deliver clear, actionable insights that combine to identify suspicious claims, increasing the rates at which fraud is caught. As a result, Shift Technology is able to identify 75% of suspicious claims versus the industry average of 30-35%.

Shift Technology is headquartered in Paris with offices in Singapore, Hong Kong, Madrid, London, and Zurich. Today’s funding follows Shift Technology’s Series A of $10 million, led by Accel in May 2016.

[1]https://www.treasury.gov/initiatives/fio/reports-and-notices/Documents/2016_Annual_Report.pdf

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Aston Martin says back on the road to profitability after 2020 loss

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Aston Martin says back on the road to profitability after 2020 loss 1

By Costas Pitas

LONDON (Reuters) – Aston Martin expects to almost double sales and move back towards profitability this year after sinking deeper into the red in 2020, when the luxury carmaker was hit by the pandemic, changed its boss and was forced to raise cash.

The British company’s shares jumped 9% in early Thursday trading after it kept a forecast for around 6,000 sales to dealers this year as new management turns around its performance.

The carmaker of choice for fictional secret agent James Bond has had a tough time since floating in 2018, as it failed to meet expectations and burnt through cash, prompting it to seek fresh investment from billionaire Executive Chairman Lawrence Stroll.

The firm made a 466-million pound ($660 million) loss last year, compared with a 120 million pound loss in 2019, as sales to dealers fell by 42% to 3,394 vehicles, hit by the closure of showrooms and factories due to COVID-19.

For 2021, it expects “to see the first steps towards improved profitability” but is still likely to post a pre-tax loss, the carmaker said.

“I am extremely pleased with the progress to date despite operating in these most challenging of times,” Stroll said.

Aston said demand for its first sport utility vehicle, the DBX, which rolled off the production line at its Welsh plant in 2020, was strong in a lucrative segment of the market it entered to widen its appeal.

The model accounted for 1,516 of deliveries to dealers last year and the company expects further growth in its first full-year of sales, including in the key market of China, where rivals such as Bentley are also seeing high demand.

“We had not even a half-year DBX production in wholesome so probably we are going to see over-proportional growth in China,” Chief Executive Tobias Moers, who took over in August, told Reuters.

($1 = 0.7065 pounds)

(Reporting by Costas Pitas. Editing by Estelle Shirbon and Mark Potter)

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Oil prices hit 11-month highs on tighter supplies, Fed assurance on low rates

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Oil prices hit 11-month highs on tighter supplies, Fed assurance on low rates 2

By Florence Tan

SINGAPORE (Reuters) – Oil prices rose for a fourth straight session on Thursday to the highest levels in more than 11 months, underpinned by monetary easing policies and lower crude production in the United States.

Brent crude futures for April gained 19 cents, 0.3%, to $67.23 a barrel by 0400 GMT, while U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude for April was at $63.30 a barrel, up 8 cents, 0.1%.

Both contracts touched their highest since January earlier in the session with Brent at $67.44 and WTI at $63.67.

An assurance from the U.S. Federal Reserve that interest rates would stay low for a while boosted investors’ risk appetite and global financial markets.

“Comments from Fed Chairman, Jerome Powell, earlier in the week relating to the need for monetary policy to remain accommodative have probably helped, but sentiment in the oil market has also become more bullish, with expectations for a tightening oil balance,” ING analysts said in a note.

A rare winter storm in Texas has caused U.S. crude production to drop by more than 10%, or 1 million barrels per day (bpd) last week, the Energy Information Administration said. [EIA/S]

Fuel supplies in the world’s largest oil consumer could also tighten as its refinery crude inputs had dropped to the lowest since September 2008.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and their allies including Russia, a group known as OPEC+, is due to meet on March 4.

The group will discuss a modest easing of oil supply curbs from April given a recovery in prices, OPEC+ sources said, although some suggest holding steady for now given the risk of new setbacks in the battle against the pandemic.

Extra voluntary cuts by Saudi Arabia in February and March have tightened global supplies and supported prices.

(Reporting by Florence Tan)

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Australian media reforms pass parliament after last-ditch changes

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Australian media reforms pass parliament after last-ditch changes 3

By Colin Packham and Swati Pandey

CANBERRA (Reuters) – The Australian parliament on Thursday passed a new law designed to force Alphabet Inc’s Google and Facebook Inc to pay media companies for content used on their platforms in reforms that could be replicated in other countries.

Australia will be the first country where a government arbitrator will decide the price to be paid by the tech giants if commercial negotiations with local news outlets fail.

The legislation was watered down, however, at the last minute after a standoff between the government and Facebook culminated in the social media company blocking all news for Australian users.

Subsequent amendments to the bill included giving the government the discretion to release Facebook or Google from the arbitration process if they prove they have made a “significant contribution” to the Australian news industry.

Some lawmakers and publishers have warned that could unfairly leave smaller media companies out in the cold, but both the government and Facebook have claimed the revised legislation as a win.

“The code will ensure that news media businesses are fairly remunerated for the content they generate, helping to sustain public-interest journalism in Australia,” Treasurer Josh Frydenberg and Communications Minister Paul Fletcher said in a joint statement on Thursday.

The progress of the legislation has been closely watched around the world as countries including Canada and Britain consider similar steps to rein in the dominant tech platforms.

The revised code, which also includes a longer period for the tech companies to strike deals with media companies before the state intervenes, will be reviewed within one year of its commencement, the statement said. It did not provide a start date.

The legislation does not specifically name Facebook or Google. Frydenberg said earlier this week he will wait for the tech giants to strike commercial deals with media companies before deciding whether to compel both to do so under the new law.

Google has struck a series of deals with publishers, including a global content arrangement with News Corp, after earlier threatening to withdraw its search engine from Australia over the laws.

Several media companies, including Seven West Media, Nine Entertainment and the Australian Broadcasting Corp have said they are in talks with Facebook.

Representatives for both Google and Facebook did not immediately respond to requests from Reuters for comment on Thursday.

(Reporting by Colin Packham in Canberra and Swati Pandey in Sydney; Writing by Jonathan Barrett; Editing by Leslie Adler, Stephen Coates and Jane Wardell)

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