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Spiffy Secures $9m Funding Led by Bull City Venture Partners

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Spiffy Secures $9m Funding Led by Bull City Venture Partners

On-demand car care company adding services, geographies, and channels

 

Get Spiffy, Inc. (Spiffy), an on-demand car care, technology, and services company, today announced the closing of a $9m fund raise led by Bull City Venture Partners.

The new capital infusion will enable Spiffy to broaden car care services, expand geographies, and develop additional channels.

All existing Spiffy investors, including IDEA Fund Partners, participated in the funding and new investors were added including strategic investor MANN+HUMMEL. Other investors included Visionary Private Equity Group, the North Carolina Venture Capital Multiplier Fund, Wolfpack Investor Network (WIN), and VentureSouth.

“Since our first investment, Spiffy has grown from three to five markets, added several new services like mobile oil change, and dramatically expanded their fleet business. With this financing, we are excited to continue to support Spiffy on their very impressive growth trajectory,” said Jason Caplain, general partner Bull City Venture Partners.

“Just as e-commerce changed the retail landscape, on-demand services are changing consumer expectations around every touchpoint in a service interaction. Investing in Spiffy gives us the opportunity to explore the fascinating intersection of our products and their on-demand services,” said Charles Vaillant, MANN+HUMMEL Chief Technology Officer.

“We continue to experience over 100% y/y growth and incredibly high customer satisfaction. We look forward to using the proceeds of this round to roll out more 5-star services, geographies, and channels,” said Spiffy CEO, Scot Wingo.

Dr. Ron Zamber, Chairman of Visionary Private Equity Group commented, “VPEG is excited to be an investor in Spiffy as they are capitalizing on their unique approach to market in a methodical and precise manner. Beyond the rapid rise in on-demand services, Spiffy via Spiffy Blue (a proprietary on-board diagnostics solution) is also well positioned to capitalize on the explosion in the IoT market which is predicted to generate $300 Billion annually by 2020 being led by manufacturing, transportation, and logistics.”

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China’s economy could grow 8-9% this year from low base in 2020 – central bank adviser

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China's economy could grow 8-9% this year from low base in 2020 - central bank adviser 1

BEIJING (Reuters) – China’s gross domestic product (GDP) could expand 8-9% in 2021 as it continues to rebound from the COVID-19 pandemic, Liu Shijin, a policy adviser to the People’s Bank of China, said on Friday.

This speed of recovery would not mean China has returned to a “high-growth” period, said Liu, as it would be from a low base in 2020, when China’s economy grew 2.3%.

Analysts from HSBC this week forecast that China would grow 8.5% this year, leading the global economic recovery from the pandemic.

If 2020 and 2021’s average GDP growth is around 5%, this would be a “not bad” outcome, said Liu, speaking at an online conference.

China is set to release a government work report on March 5 which typically includes a GDP growth target for the year.

Last year’s report did not include one due to uncertainties caused by the coronavirus. Reuters previously reported that 2021’s report will also not set a target.

(Reporting by Gabriel Crossley and Muyu Xu; Editing by Sam Holmes and Ana Nicolaci da Costa)

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Japan’s January factory output rises for first time in three months, retail sales drop

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Japan's January factory output rises for first time in three months, retail sales drop 2

By Daniel Leussink

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan’s industrial output rose for the first time in three months in January thanks to a pickup in global demand, in a welcome sign for an economy still looking to shake off the drag of the coronavirus pandemic.

But retail sales, a key gauge of consumer spending, posted their second straight month of declines in January as emergency measures taken in response to the pandemic hit consumption.

Official data released on Friday showed factory output advanced 4.2% in January, boosted by sharp rises in production of electronic parts and general-purpose machinery, as well as a smaller increase in car output.

“Manufacturers will continue to increase output over the near term as long as there won’t be any big shock,” said Taro Saito, executive research fellow at NLI Research Institute.

While economic growth will likely be negative in the first quarter, the strength in manufacturing would offset the negative impact of a state of emergency at home, which is mainly affecting the services sector, he said.

The rise in output, which followed a 1.0% fall the previous month, was largely in line with a 4.0% gain forecast in a Reuters poll of economists. Manufacturers surveyed by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) expect output to grow 2.1% in February, followed by a 6.1% decline in March.

The government kept its assessment of industrial production unchanged, saying it was picking up.

Factory output fell in November and December as a rebound in car production ended on sagging global demand, but since then strong demand for tech-making equipment and electronic goods has helped turn the tide.

Still, some analysts worry that Japan’s economic recovery will remain hobbled by weaker conditions at home and as lockdown measures taken around the world to contain the COVID-19 crisis, particularly in Europe, weigh.

The government also released data on Friday showing retail sales fell 2.4% in January compared with the same month a year earlier, in a sign households tightened their purse strings as the coronavirus staged a resurgence.

The fall, which was in line with a 2.6% drop seen by economists in a Reuters poll, was largely due to sharp contractions in general merchandise and fabrics apparel spending. It followed a 0.2% fall in December.

Compared to a month earlier, retail sales in January fell 0.5% on a seasonally adjusted basis for the third straight month of declines. But the pace of decline was slower than in the previous two months.

“We think consumer spending will only fall around 1% quarter-on-quarter this quarter,” said Tom Learmouth, Japan economist at Capital Economics.

“We expect it to rise fairly strongly over the coming quarters as the recovery resumes and is soon given a shot in the arm by vaccines,” he added.

(Reporting by Daniel Leussink; Editing by Sam Holmes and Richard Pullin)

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G20 to pledge support for robust post-COVID recovery, cash for IMF

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G20 to pledge support for robust post-COVID recovery, cash for IMF 3

By Andrea Shalal and Michael Nienaber

WASHINGTON/BERLIN (Reuters) – The world’s financial leaders are likely to pledge on Friday to support a robust global recovery and to boost the International Monetary Fund’s resources so it can help poorer countries fight off the effects of the global health crisis.

Finance ministers and central bank governors of the world’s top 20 economies, called the G20, will hold a video-conference on Friday and the global response to the unprecedented havoc wreaked by the coronavirus on the economy will top the agenda.

Hopes for constructive discussions at the meeting, chaired by Italy, are high among G20 countries because it is the first since Joe Biden, who vowed to rebuild cooperation in international bodies, become U.S. president.

“The ministers will talk about the need for fiscal policies for a swift and robust recovery, because they want to avoid the risk of too early a reduction in fiscal support,” one G20 official said.

The meeting comes as the United States is readying a $1.9 trillion fiscal stimulus and the European Union has jointly put together already more than 3 trillion euros to keep the economy going despite COVID-19 lockdowns.

But despite the large sums, problems with the global rollout of vaccines and the emergence of new variants of the coronavirus mean the future of the recovery remains uncertain.

While the IMF sees the U.S. economy returning to pre-crisis levels already at the end of this year, it may take Europe until the middle of 2022 to reach that point.

The recovery is fragile elsewhere too — factory activity in China grew at the slowest pace in five months in January, hit by a wave of domestic infections, and fourth quarter growth in Japan slowed from the third with new lockdowns clouding the outlook.

“The initially hoped-for V-shaped recovery is now increasingly looking rather more like a long U-shaped recovery. That is why the stabilization measures in almost all G20 states have to be maintained in order to continue supporting the economy,” a second G20 official said.

But while the richest economies can afford to stimulate an economic recovery by borrowing more on the market, poorer ones would benefit from being able to tap credit lines from the IMF — the global lender of last resort.

To give itself more firepower, the Fund proposed last year to increase its war chest by $500 billion in the IMF’s own currency called the Special Drawing Rights (SDR), but the idea was blocked by the then U.S. president, Donald Trump.

The change of administration in Washington on Jan. 20 also changed the prospects for more IMF resources and U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen backed the idea in a letter to the G20 on Thursday.

Civil society groups, religious leaders and some Democratic lawmakers in the U.S. Congress have called for a much larger allocation valued at $3 trillion, but sources familiar with the matter said they viewed such a large move as unlikely for now.

The G20 is also likely to agree to extend a suspension of debt servicing for poorest countries by another six months.

(Reporting by Andrea Shalal and David Lawder in Washington, Michael Nienaber in Berlin and Jan Strupczewski in Brussels; Writing by Jan Strupczewski; Editing by Daniel Wallis)

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