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Private equity firm boosts Tin Drum Asiacafe's growth

Private equity firm boosts Tin Drum Asiacafe's growth

Atlanta-based private equity firm BIP Opportunities Fund has announced that it will take a minority interest in Tin Drum Asiacafe, a fast-casual, Pan-Asian restaurant concept.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

“Of course, it’s about growth,” said Steven Chan, chief executive officer for the Atlanta-based concept, noting that Tin Drum will speed up growth during the first quarter of next year as a result of BIP's investment.

As of publication, Tin Drum has nine locations in Georgia and one in Alabama, with an eleventh location opening in Atlanta on Sept. 9. Chan said by the end of 2014, he hopes to open 30 more Tin Drum locations throughout the Southeast. North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida and Alabama are some of the company’s target growth markets, he said.

“It’s very important because there are many projects we’re working on,” he said of BIP’s investment. “It’s going to improve the infrastructure and provide support for the company.” He added that BIP’s interest will provide institutional knowledge that will help grow the Tin Drum brand.

Chan founded Tin Drum Asiacafe in 2003 at the Georgia Institute of Technology and began franchising it in 2011. The chain’s menu is composed of more than 35 items that draw influence from Thai, Japanese, Chinese, Indian and Vietnamese cuisines.

“Our line is the streets of Asia in a bowl. It’s inspired by all kinds of cuisine that you’d see on the streets of Asia,” said Chan, adding that the concept also uses kiosks to allow patrons to customize their meals by dietary restrictions and health needs.

As of now, BIP is the only investment firm that has taken a minority interest in Tin Drum, Chan said.

“I think fast-casual Asian is absolutely ripe for growth opportunities,” said BIP Managing Partner Scott Pressly. “I think Steven has grown the concept with the consumer in mind, but more importantly, he built it for scale.”

In August, BIP purchased a controlling interest in Atlanta-based Tropical Smoothie Café.

Contact Erin Dostal at [email protected]
Follow her on Twitter: @erindostal


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What is open banking?

Founded in 2012, Tink operates in the so-called “open banking” space, which aims to develop innovative financial services by connecting to data from large established banks.

Proponents of open banking technology say it brings more transparency and competition to the industry, as well as a better banking experience for consumers.

Tink’s open banking platform aggregates data from thousands of banks, allowing developers to build apps that show users their checking accounts and make payments from different providers, among other things.

“Despite the difficulties this year, it’s been a year with fantastic progress with Tink and, I think, fantastic progress on open banking in general,” Tink’s co-founder and CEO Daniel Kjellén told CNBC in an interview.

“We continued to grow heavily organically, but also for the first time we’ve been doing M&A across Europe to complement our platform.”

Tink agreed to acquire three companies earlier this year — Sweden’s Instantor, Spain’s Eurobits and the U.K.’s OpenWrks — in a bid to expand further into new European territories and bolster its platform.

Tink, like others in the space, seeks to take advantage of new tech-friendly banking rules in the U.K. and the European Union that require banks to open up their account information and allow regulated third-party firms to make bank transfers on their behalf, if they’ve consent from customers.

The company’s direct competitors include American firm Plaid — whose deal to be acquired by Visa is in jeopardy due to a U.S. antitrust lawsuit and British rivals TrueLayer, Yapily and Bud.

Kjellén said the company would use the fresh cash to invest more into the payments side of its business.

“The area where we probably see the strongest growth right now is in payments,” he said, adding the firm now processes 1 million transactions every month.

Tink now generates annual recurring revenue of 30 million euros, Kjellén told CNBC, a key metric for investors to evaluate the growth of the business. As usage of it platform rises, the company makes more money from its partners.

Tink will also use cash raised from the deal to boost hiring. The company now has 365 employees, up from 150 last year.


Dallas tech unicorn o9 Solutions reports explosive growth last year as it plots 2021 global expansion

12:49 PM on Jan 13, 2021 CST

Dallas-based o9 Solutions is boasting that it has more than doubled annual recurring revenue and nearly doubled its workforce in 2020 — a year that saw the company join the ranks of North Texas’ unicorn startups.

Six years after launching its first cloud-native software, o9 Solutions is now valued at more than $1 billion and growing at a rapid clip. At the end of April 2020, the company announced a $100 million investment from private equity firm KKR that elevated the startup to unicorn status.

o9 said it increased its workforce 83% last year, bringing its employment to 830. The software startup has also maintained a “robust” cash position, it said.

It did not disclose its 2020 revenue. However, the company reported $55 million in 2019 revenue in the Dallas Business Journal’s Middle Market 50 ranking.

This year, the company is planning to invest in global growth in China, Latin America and Southeast Asia.

“Our continued growth is a true testament to market opportunity. Business leaders are realizing the tremendous value creation potential of using o9′s platform as the ‘digital brain’ of their enterprise,” o9 CEO Chakri Gottemukkala said in a statement.

Like other companies seeing explosive growth during 2020, o9 attributes the rise in part to the pandemic. COVID-19 underscored the need for real-time, integrated planning, Gottemukkala said.

o9 Solutions’ cloud-based software uses artificial intelligence for business and operational planning. It helps clients forecast demand for products by analyzing data from external sources, such as customer demographics and weather, and applies that to supply chain operations. It also lets executives make changes to cost structures based on changes in demand, according to the company.

Its customers include Google, Walmart, Nike and Starbucks, and its founders tout that the software provides “hundreds of millions” in value to companies annually.

The backing from KKR in early 2020 was put to use bolstering the firm’s global expansion. In September, o9 announced a formal partnership with Deloitte that will include the startup’s services in its work with clients across the world.


Top 6 Certifications for MBA Finance Graduates

MBA Finance is a popular course among students with an inclination towards finance. The reason behind it is – an MBA finance program opens to some of the most lucrative career opportunities in finance. For instance, investment banking and private equity jobs, which pay outstanding salaries requires MBA finance as a pre-requisite.

Given the competition in the financial market these degrees aren’t enough. Certification courses can amplify your skills and finance aptitude to standout from your peers and move you closer to career goals. What’s more, employers too value globally –recognized finance certifications and place them high while hiring for finance roles.

Here are a few prominent certification courses that you can take after MBA Finance.

Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA)

CFA is perhaps the most valuable credential that a fresh MBA finance graduate can attain. Getting this credential will put you up for investment banking roles, private equity jobs, wealth management, equity research, and portfolio management. CFA is a three-level certification and is recognized globally. You can take the first level certification as a graduate and the remaining after at least four years of work experience.

Chartered Private Equity Professional (CPEP)

This certification is offered by the United States Private Equity Council of America. For the top private equity and venture capital firms, MBA finance graduates from premiere institutions are the preferred choice. The curriculum of the certification is such that taking CPEP TM places you in the same job market as the graduates from premiere institutions. The certification is equally valuable for people already working in private equity and graduating students. It accelerates the career growth of former and improves knowledge of the graduating students to the level that top private equity firms and venture capital firms expect.

Chartered Investment Banking Professional (CIBP)

This certification is offered by the Investment Council of America (IBCA), a pioneering institution in the field of investment banking certification. CIBP TM is a globally –recognized high –value credential in the field of investment banking equipping you with technical skills and knowledge it prepares you for the best –in-class investment banking roles at top investment banks. If you’re aiming to become an investment banker, taking CIBP TM would accelerate your entry into a bank as well improve career growth of investment banking professionals. CIBP TM –certified professionals are also preferred choices among the best private equity firms and investment banks.

Certified public Accountant Certification (CPAC)

Accounting is one of the major areas where finance graduates move. If you too want to enter accounting after graduation. CPA would be the perfect certification take. Taking CPA equips you with the comprehensive knowledge of auditing and attestation, business environment, financial accounting, reporting, and regulation.

Certified Financial Planner (CFP)

CFP is geared towards MBA finance graduates who want to make a career in wealth management. CFP is a globally –recognized valuable credential that proves your competency in managing investments and wealth of the high-net worth individuals. This certification is best anyone who is looking to make a career in investment and wealth management.

Financial Risk Manager (FRM)

This certification is meant for finance professionals working as risk analyst, risk officers, and other positions in the risk management area. The certification is offered by GARP (Global Association of Risk Professionals). This certification demonstrates that you possess the knowledge and skills up to the latest standards. FRM is also one of the most niche and targeted certifications for finance professionals. The certification is equally valuable for investment banking and private equity jobs.

In brief, finance certifications will expand your knowledge and skills, creating a differentiated role. Take one or more of these certifications, if you’re looking for a rewarding career in finance.


Private equity firm boosts Tin Drum Asiacafe's growth - Recipes

Cinven, which is now taking stock before it makes its next move for Sanne, could decide to raise its offer from the 830p per share price it initially suggested – or walk away altogether.

But Nicholas Hyett, an equity analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, said Cinven's approach for Sanne was a sign that the UK could turn into a feeding frenzy of private equity deals.

He added: 'There have been rumblings that the UK could be on the brink of a deal-making wave for a while, with uncertainty around Brexit lifting and valuations still depressed compared to American peers.

'The offer from Cinven represents a healthy 38 per cent premium to the closing price on Thursday night, and might usually have been seen as pretty tempting. However, the shares were trading at that price on the market four years ago and the board clearly thinks the business is worth more.'

But investors were less sure – shares were trading below the offer price yesterday, at 731p, meaning some are still worried that Cinven might walk away.

Private equity firms specialise in buying businesses and selling them on after five to 10 years for a profit.

The latest offers follow a surge of activity during the pandemic. TDR Capital and I Squared Capital won enough shareholder support to go ahead with their £2.3billion takeover of temporary power generator firm Aggreko.

And Allied Universal, the North American security business backed by private equity firm Warburg Pincus, clinched the £3.8billion takeover of G4S.


Private equity firm boosts Tin Drum Asiacafe's growth - Recipes

Published: 21:51 BST, 9 April 2021 | Updated: 08:59 BST, 10 April 2021

Superyacht painting and repairs firm GYG could fall into private equity hands after it received a £43million takeover offer.

London-based Harwood Capital said it was considering a 92.5p per share bid for the Spanish-based firm.

The move was announced just minutes after markets closed, but came as GYG's shares rose 4.2 per cent, or 3.5p, to 87p.

GYG provides painting and maintenance services for superyachts in the Mediteranean, Northern Europe and the US.

In demand: GYG provides painting and maintenance services for superyachts in the Mediterranean, Northern Europe and the US

Harwood is already its second-biggest shareholder with 20.5 per cent of shares, after it took out a position last month.

It said that Lombard Odier, the leading investor with 26.2 per cent of shares, had signalled its support for the deal in a letter of intent.

That means investors controlling 47 per cent of GYG are behind the deal. Harwood has until 5pm on May 7 to make a firm bid under City 'put up or shut up' takeover rules.


A Dallas unicorn? $100 million investment boosts startup o9 Solutions into rarified world

6:45 PM on Apr 28, 2020 CDT

Dallas-based o9 Solutions is the region’s newest unicorn with a $100 million investment from private equity giant KKR that values the software company at more than $1 billion.

KKR described its investment as a minority stake in the fast-growing company, though it wouldn’t provide additional details. It disclosed the investment Tuesday.

o9 Solutions’ cloud-based software uses artificial intelligence for business and operational planning. It helps clients forecast demand for products by analyzing data from external sources, such as customer demographics and weather, and applies that to supply chain operations. It also lets executives make changes to cost structures based on changes in demand, according to the company.

Its customers include Google, Walmart, Nike and Starbucks, and its founders tout that the software provides “hundreds of millions" in value to companies annually.

With KKR’s backing, o9 plans to use the money to expand its client base globally as the coronavirus pandemic has only created more demand for what its software does.

“The importance of supply chain and forecasting demand … has never been higher than at this time,” said CEO Chakri Gottemukkala, who cofounded the company with Sanjiv Sidhu. “We’re very appreciative of the partnership with KKR, I think is a great validation of the technology and the market opportunity that’s in front of us.”

The software-as-a-service company grew rapidly in 2019, hiring hundreds of employees at seven offices around the world. o9′s revenue growth earned it a spot in Inc.'s 5000 fastest growing companies ranking in 2018 and 2019.

Its annual recurring revenue has grown by more than 100% in the last year alone, according to the company. Inc. listed its revenue at $31.5 million at the end of 2018.

KKR’s investment in o9 comes mainly from a $2.2 billion fund that it closed in mid-January. The fund’s mission is to invest $50 million or more in technology-focused growth companies.

It’s o9′s first external funding since its founding in 2009, Gottemukkala said. The company has been self-funded even as it launched its software platform in 2014.

Co-founder Sidhu earlier started and sold i2 Technologies, a supply chain software company, for $604 million.

KKR thinks o9 can “redefine” the global supply chain and integrated business planning market, said co-head of KKR’s technology growth team Jake Heller.

“We’ve looked carefully at supply chain space over several years now, and it was in that work that we started to identify o9 fairly early on as a differentiated and emerging platform," he said. "We’ve started to see them really achieve tremendous growth and pull together a list of extraordinarily blue chip enterprise clients across every major vertical.”

o9′s $1 billion-plus valuation puts it in the same league as startup darlings like Warby Parker, Glossier and Away. There are about 400 startups worldwide to reach the vaunted billion-dollar mark, according to CBInsights. Unicorns collectively account for more than $1.3 trillion in capital, said startup tracking firm Pitchbook.

Last week, Dallas-based startup Bestow disclosed a $50 million investment in its digital life insurance platform. Valar Ventures, a venture capital firm backed by Peter Thiel, led the February funding round.

Bestow, co-founded by Melbourne O’Banion and Jonathan Abelmann, earlier raised $17.5 million for their platform that lets consumers apply online for term life insurance.


Stock indexes hit new record highs, lifted by job growth

A broad-based push higher for stocks sent indexes to new highs Thursday after yet more signs that the job market continues to improve.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 index pierced the 2,420-point level for the first time during the morning and kept going. It ended at 2,430.06, up 18.26 points, or 0.8%. The Dow Jones industrial average climbed 135.53, or 0.6%, to 21,144.18, and the Nasdaq composite jumped 48.31, or 0.8%, to 6,246.83. All three indexes set record highs.

Smaller stocks had even bigger gains, and the small-cap Russell 200 index leaped 25.85, or 1.9%, to 1,396.06, though it remains shy of its record.

Driving stocks higher was a report indicating that employers picked up their hiring last month. Payroll processor ADP said private businesses added 253,000 jobs in May, more than economists expected. It’s a reassurance, particularly when growth of the overall economy has remained frustratingly tepid.

The U.S. government’s more comprehensive report on jobs will arrive Friday. It will include hiring by all non-farm employers, and economists expect it to show growth of 176,000 jobs in May.

The payroll report gave more encouragement to investors, many of whom were already looking to buy.

“The market’s ahead of itself, but I’m not surprised that the market is ahead of itself,” said Linda Duessel, senior equity strategist at Federated Investors.

Duessel talks often around the country with financial advisors managing money for clients, and many tell her they see any pullback in stock prices as a quick opportunity to buy rather than as a source of concern. That hunger to buy means the S&P 500 has gained within just months what Duessel thought may take a year or so to achieve, given continued economic growth and few signs of a looming recession.

“What you have, it would appear, is an acceleration in earnings with a low inflationary environment, which is Goldilocks,” Duessel said.

President Trump’s announcement late in the trading day that the U.S. would withdraw from the worldwide agreement on climate change had little effect on markets.

Other reports on the U.S. economy were mixed Thursday. Manufacturing growth picked up last month and was stronger than economists were expecting, but construction spending unexpectedly weakened in April. A separate report showed that the number of workers filing for unemployment claims rose last week, which could be an indication that layoffs are on the rise. The number remains low by historical standards.

The stock market’s gains were widespread, and all 11 sectors that make up the S&P 500 rose. Healthcare and financial stocks led the way. Producers of raw materials and companies that sell non-essentials to consumers were also particularly strong.

Discount retailer Dollar General jumped 6.5% to $78.19, one of the biggest gains in the S&P 500, after it reported stronger earnings for the latest quarter than analysts expected.

Deere rose 1.8% to $124.70 after it agreed to buy Wirtgen Group, a German maker of road-construction equipment, for about $5.2 billion, including debt.

Box climbed 9.5% to after the online storage provider posted quarterly results that impressed investors.

Palo Alto Networks jumped 17.2% to $138.99 after the security software company posted quarterly results that beat expectations.

PPG Industries rose 2.6% to $109.16 after the chemicals company abandoned efforts to buy Dutch rival AkzoNobel, which has rejected its takeover approaches three times.

On the other end was Hewlett Packard Enterprise, which slid 6.9%, to $17.52, the largest loss in the S&P 500, after it reported disappointing quarterly results.

Express dived 19.2% to $6.27 after the clothing retailer said discounts cut into its first-quarter profit margins and it lowered its annual outlook.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury note held steady at 2.21%. A stronger job market gives the Federal Reserve more leeway to raise interest rates, and its next meeting on rate policy is in two weeks. The central bank has been gradually pulling rates off their record low following the Great Recession, and it has raised them twice since December.

The dollar rose to 111.33 yen from 110.57 yen. The euro fell to $1.1214 from $1.1246, and the British pound slipped to $1.2876 from $1.2892.

Benchmark U.S. crude oil rose 4 cents to $48.36 a barrel. Brent crude, used to price international oils, fell 13 cents to $50.63 a barrel. Natural gas fell 6 cents to $3.01 per 1,000 cubic feet, heating oil fell 2 cents to $1.50 a gallon, and wholesale gasoline stayed at $1.60 a gallon.

Gold fell $5.30 to $1,270.10 an ounce, silver fell 13 cents to $17.28 an ounce, and copper rose a penny to $2.59 a pound.

In overseas markets, France’s CAC-40 gained 0.7%, Germany’s DAX advanced 0.4% and London’s FTSE 100 added 0.3%. Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 jumped 1.1%, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng rose 0.6%, and South Korea’s Kospi shed 0.1%.


Tuesday, September 25, 2018

How to make Art for Card Games

In case you are interested how game companies design their cards and include the art, here is an overview from Stonemeier Games:

Games like Shards of Infinity and Ascension are deck-building games which means they have lots of cards and therefore require lots of art. This art is all original, and only a few characters/monsters make it from one game to the next - you spend a lot of time makin' stuff up.

When you’re developing art for a card game you have about 50+ pieces of art that need to be made, several artists to manage, and deadlines.

At Stone Blade, the process looks like this: Once we have the big picture mechanics and story locked down, it's time to start working on character briefs.

Character Briefs are little blurbs that artists use to create their art.

Once you have a bunch of these briefs written up, they're sent off to the artists. Generally, we look at the briefs and pick the artist who we believe will execute the piece best.

In other words, maybe you have one artist who is great at creating monsters, and another who's awesome at designing heroes in action, you'd send the monster to the monster person and the action to the action person. Sometimes we switch it up for fun because throwing a wrench into your process every once in a while can drum up new ideas, but most of the time this is how we do things.

And then you get the sketches back--

What you imagined when you wrote the brief and the art you get back doesn't always match up and that's part of the fun. If you get too attached to what your perspective of a piece of art should look like, you're going to be in for a lot of disappointment, because it's a sad reminder that you are not telepathic.

If you want to get a taste for what the brief to sketch process feels like, try this quick experiment:

Read the character brief below and imagine what this character looks like, then scroll down to check out the sketches at the end of the newsletter. How much alike or different the character is that the one you imagined?

Once we have the sketches there are several rounds of notes and tweaks that bring the card to their finished form. Adaptability is key here: Can you see the potential in any piece of art you get back? What changes to the sketches would get you to that goal?

Even if the piece isn't exactly what you envisioned, its best to work with the artist to tweak the design if possible rather than starting over. This is done by talking to the artists and being strategic with your edits. It's wild to see how the change of a color or the slight adjustment of an arm can affect an image.

Then the card is done, but your work is not over. The next part of the process is looking at the card and saying: If I had to go through the art process for this card again, how would I have done it differently?