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$185 BILLION RAISED ACROSS 12,500 TRANSACTIONS BEHIND GROWTH CAPITAL MARKETS’ 2018 BULL RUN, REVEALS HAMPLETON PARTNERS’ REPORT

Vlad Poptamas

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Hampleton Partners’ analysis of growth capital reveals that 2018 marked another record year for global venture capital financing, with a total disclosed value of $185 bn (€165 billion) raised across more than 12,500 transactions.

The international technology M&A and growth finance advisors reveal that total transaction volume grew five per cent per year from 2014 to 2018 across the globe, while total value raised grew by 13 per cent, suggesting that funding rounds are becoming larger.

The Asia-Pacific region registered the largest number of deals in 2018 at 6,676, followed by North America with 5,640 and Europe with 2,601.

Asia-Pacific also charted the highest growth in absolute value, propelled by the increasing prevalence of massive investment funds such as Softbank’s $100 billion Vision Fund and Tiger Global’s new $3.75 billion tech fund, both having contributed to some of the record 21 new Asian unicorns born in 2018.

Over a four-year period, Europe walked away with the highest relative growth, witnessing a 24% CAGR over three years, with the number of deals having doubled since 2016. The proliferation in Europe of early stage funding rounds and the higher value they generate are the result of favourable government programmes, thriving tech hubs from Stockholm to Berlin, and a highly active and maturing investor environment.

Supergiants and Unicorns

“Supergiant” funding rounds – venture capital rounds generating funds in excess of $100 million – are becoming commonplace. 2018 saw 515 supergiant rounds, more than 2017 and 2016 combined.  Although they accounted for only two per cent of all rounds worldwide, they secured a massive 56 per cent of the total $185bn value raised.

There was also an all-time high of 106 unicorn births during 2018, dwarfing the combined 2016 and 2017 total of 73.

Miro Parizek, founder and principal partner, Hampleton Partners, said:

“We’ve witnessed the highest level of venture capital investment on record, both in volume and value terms. This has included an unprecedented increase in the number of supergiant rounds and new unicorn births, in addition to growth in all median sizes of funding rounds. The total value of all unicorns has also inched above $1 trillion.

“This seemingly boomish growth is driven by the new wave of start-ups causing extreme disruption in traditional industries such as automotive, retail, security, and healthcare in addition to the larger start-ups continuing to fundraise from favorable private markets. While lights are bright green for the VC markets, this high growth in all metrics may also be a signal of overheating markets of increasingly cash-rich funds making increasingly risky investments.

Most active investors

Hampleton’s report identifies the most active investors in the EU and US. In the US, 500startups racked up 398 investments, followed by Y Combinator (374), Sequoia (305), Techstars (221), Plug and Play Ventures (188), Matrix (168) and Accel (163).

In Europe, Index Ventures tops the chart with 92 investments, followed by Partech (90) and High-Tech Gründerfonds (74), Kima Ventures (63), Balderton Capital (43), Octopus Investments (38) and EQT (38).

Largest transaction

The most valuable company on 2018’s unicorn list is Bytedance, a Chinese machine learning content platform. Bytedance was valued at $75bn in its October fundraise in a round led by Softbank and joined by KKR and General Atlantic.

Sector-focused funding

Fintech proved to be the most popular sector for investors, as consumer solutions aiming to revolutionise the banking and payments industry gained traction. Among the new unicorns born out of the rounds completed by Ant Financial or JD Finance in the second half of 2018 were N26, Plaid Technologies, Viva Republic and Monzo.

Autotech investment took second place with the highest number of VC investments in car-related businesses on record, totalling 355 vs. 325 in 2017, though total equity value raised was down to $13.5bn (€12bn) from a $25bn (€22bn) high in 2017, which was achieved after several mega-transactions by Softbank.

New autotech unicorn births included Aurora, Momenta, Xpeng and pony.ai.

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Business

How an SSL certificate is important for small business and Google ranking

Alex Marginean

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Image by Tumisu from Pixabay
Reading Time: 3 minutes

Security is essential for any online business that handles confidential information. But encrypting your website using an SSL certificate can benefit you in other ways. There is evidence to suggest that encrypting your site with SSL can also improve your Google rankings. It’s standard practice now, and it’s a good idea — for both security and marketing reasons.

 

  • The Value of SSL Certificates:

Without encryption, web traffic passes through the internet as clear text. That means that anyone who is nosy or wants to capture sensitive data can see everything you’re sending — passwords, financial data, secret messages. To counteract this problem, website developers now add encryption in the form of SSL certificates. Using a protocol called secure socket layer (SSL) — or the later protocol known as transport layer security (TLS) — SSL certificates act as digital signatures that create trust relationships on the internet.

An SSL certificate uses the critical public infrastructure (PKI) to encrypt traffic between a website user and the server. This is especially important for financial institutions or sites that handle login details or monetary transactions. SSL certificates turn HTTP sites into HTTPS, and address internet security in three ways:

  • Authentication
  • Data integrity
  • Encryption

So, it’s clear that securing your website with an SSL certificate is a wise choice. But what does that have to do with Google search rankings?

 

  • The Google Algorithm:

Every time you enter search criteria into Google and press enter, the company instantly runs a computing process using a mathematical formula called an algorithm. This is a set of rules that helps the computer make decisions. An algorithm can be simple or complex, with hundreds of variables or only one. It tells the machines what calculations to make based on the inputs given.

How does Google algorithm work? Well, we don’t know a complete about it. They keep it secret, like Col. Sanders’ chicken recipe, or the formula for Coca-Cola. We can only make educated guesses about how Google’s algorithm behaves in the search process. What we do know, perhaps by trial, error, or observation, is that websites with SSL certificates rank better than those without them.

 

  • Google Pushes SSL:

On August 6, 2014, Google announced that it was making HTTPS — websites with SSL certificates — a big priority. “Security is a top priority for Google,” they wrote. And Google made all their web pages HTTPS by default. “That means that people using Search, Gmail and Drive, for example, automatically have a secure connection to Google.” The new push involved encouraging all other websites to do the same.

They called it “HTTPS Everywhere”, and in a video, two Google employees explain their campaign. Google encouraged the use of 2048-bit key SSL certificates, and they guided all the steps required to implement SSL certificates. They also changed their algorithm in the past.

 

  • How Do Sites with SSL Certificates Rank? 

According to W3Techs, as this article is written, HTTPS is in use in 56% of all websites. That number is trending upwards as more web developers add SSL certificates to their sites. The effect of SSL certificates on search engine optimization (SEO) is made clear in a 2016 article on the subject by Backlinko. They analyzed one million Google search results, and here is what they found about the use of SSL certificates:

“Although not a super-strong correlation, we did find that HTTPS correlated with higher rankings on Google’s first page.”

Because Google is so secretive with their algorithm, Backlinko had to “reverse engineer” the search engine process to find out what worked best. Their findings match the consensus of experts across the web on the matter: Thus, the use of SSL certificates offers moderate improvement in Google search rankings.

 

  • Reputational Advantage

The positive effects of securing your site with SSL/TLS goes beyond the technical aspects of SEO. It also brings a reputational benefit. Many internet users will avoid websites without the padlock symbol, indicating a secure website:

To drive home their insistence on the use of SSL certificates, Google changed its search box so that unsecure sites are stated to the left of the URL:

Users of secure websites know that they can transact business without worrying about some man-in-the-middle attack. This has more to do with whether people will use your site or move to other sites.

 

Conclusion:

It is clear now that the website holder should buy an SSL certificate and install it on your website. All other things being equal, the presence of an SSL certificate generally becomes a kind of “tie-breaker” rather than a significant Google ranking factor. But the decision to go with an SSL certificate doesn’t rest on rankings alone. Security, reputation, different business validation processes and rankings all contribute to the benefits associated with secure websites. As cybersecurity becomes more prominent around the world, more website owners will see the value of SSL certificates, and will finally take the necessary steps to secure their sites.

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Business

Biggest Challenges for the Legal Sector 2020

Alex Marginean

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Image by jessica45 from Pixabay
Reading Time: 3 minutes

Every industry is experiencing some changes or the other and the law sector is no different. It is a matter of fact that although change is good, yet it brings in certain challenges as well. In order to stay abreast of the rapidly changing trends, the top law firms in India must be prepared for the upcoming big risks.

As we come to the verge of saying goodbye to the current year, it is time to predict the trends that can be anticipated in the law sector in the upcoming year. Having said that, let us check out some of the biggest challenges that the legal industry may face in 2020.

 

Gender Equality

In accordance with the Equality Act 2010, a law passed in the year 2017 required organizations with at least 250 workers to submit details about their potential gender pay gaps. As a result, law agencies have experienced hidden challenges concerning the unfair representation of women in higher positions. The strict legal regulation has made the organizations to fix the gap in the salary of male and female lawyers. This has, in turn, helped the deserving women to climb to higher ranks.

This trend is expected to continue in the year 2020 as well, with efforts being put to make the potential gender pay gap smaller between men and women in the legal sector.

 

Automation

Automation is gradually finding its way into every industry and this includes the legal sector as well. That being said, it would not be surprising to notice the flourish of something that is called legal tech.

Software has made a huge positive impact on the way things were traditionally conducted in law firms. It enhanced the document analysis procedure, streamlined contract production, and helped the consumers to access the offered services quickly and easily through chatbots.

Although legal tech still happens to be in its evolving stage, yet we can expect it to influence the legal business profoundly in the upcoming year.       

 

Voice Search Technology

Irrespective of the industry it is operating in, every firm requires online marketing to increase its business. That being said, this is applicable to the legal sector as well. According to the predictions, the online marketing trend is likely to experience a huge shift in the upcoming years with conversational language coming to use on business websites. This is due to the reason that major companies like Google are promoting voice search technology as a method of online marketing. As a result, the legal firms now require optimizing the services offered on their websites in terms of a layman and put efforts for matching voice search.

 

Cease of the 9 to 5 Work Routine

Some years back, almost everyone followed the typical 9 to 5 work pattern. However, modern workplaces are gradually becoming flexible and the law firms are no different. Many lawyers in India are becoming ‘platform lawyers’, which happens to be more of a self-employed practice that gives them the chance to choose their own working hours.

The increased flexibility has helped the lawyers, who want to operate a business side by side with their career. This working style also works better financially. As this is a remote role, this pattern helps the lawyers in saving a significant part of their bills.

This working style also allows the lawyers to decide when and where they want to work, with many of the professionals getting propelled towards the bigger payments. This acts as a rescue for those legal professionals who work for long hours, toil hard, and get profit to their respective organizations, but receive a little benefit for themselves.

 

Relationship Management and Lead Generation

Lawyers often fail to market successfully to the existing clients. Each law firm claims to have many clients and this is great. But the problem is they are not marketing to these clients. It’s high time that the law firms realize that loyalty is no more long-sighted and in order to retain their client base, they require marketing to them.

 

The Final Words 

The legal sector is continuously going through a lot of changes, with many new and improved practices being incorporated. The upcoming year will also experience the same trend. However, certain challenges are expected to enter into the bigger picture. The lawyers of the top law firms in India need to prepare themselves to accept the potential changes and deal with the challenges faced by law firms in 2020 confidently.

 

About the author: Amy Jones is an expert employment law advisor working at Ahlawat & Associates, a well-known legal firm in India. She is one of the top lawyers in India who loves to help people in all aspects of the practice area

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Business and Management

Latest Innovations to Transform Revenue Cycle Management (RCM) Landscape

Alex Marginean

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Source: Pexels.com
Reading Time: 5 minutes

Revenue cycle management, better known as RCM, is a business process that allows healthcare companies to be paid for providing services. For most healthcare service providers, RCM is available right from the process of pre-registering a patient all the way through the collection of final payment. Efficiency and time management play vital roles in RCM. A healthcare provider’s choice of electronic health record (EHR) can often be largely centered on how its RCM is deployed.

The implementation of RCM in a particular healthcare company is a lengthy process. The company has to submit all the documents of its patient to the in-house staff or RCM vendor, who will then code the charts according to the ICD-10 CM. Afterward, the claims are posted, submitted, and adjudicated by the payer. If a claim is rejected, steps are taken to resubmit and adjust it before the deadline of appeal. Then the patient cycle is initiated if there is a patient responsibility portion following adjudication. Nowadays, numerous RCM vendors are providing coding benchmarking, managed-care contracting, analytics, and coding education services to capture all the earned revenue for a practice. No matter the size of a hospital, health system, or practice, failure to prioritize and maintain revenue collection efforts and RCM can hinder growth, create an uncertain financial failure, and increase operational risk.

As per Fortune Business Insights the market is anticipated to reach USD 216,990.6 Million by 2026, exhibiting a CAGR of 12.4% in the forecast period. But, the RCM market was valued at USD 86,811.4 Million in 2018.

Why is Revenue Cycle Management a Complex Procedure?

The focus of several healthcare service providers is on offering top-notch care to their growing patient population. However, attention must also be paid to the financial solvency of the business to make sure that a hospital will be able to provide the same level of care in the upcoming years. Doctors and physicians are persistently faced with the challenge of providing cost-effective care to the patients while witnessing annual increase in administrative and care-delivery costs. Maintaining healthy accounts, preventing and reducing unpaid claims, reducing inefficient billing and coding processes, and enhancing point-of-service collections can severely impact profit margins.

The task of preventing unpaid claims to witness the greatest profit margins is strenuous, considering the nature of healthcare. The healthcare sector is complex as the price to offer services is shouldered by the organizations even before those services are paid either by the patient or the insurance companies. But the claims process is time-consuming. It can take months before a bill is paid in full. According to a survey, more than 95% of medical practice leaders reported inadequate billing processes. The majority of the leaders executed backup efforts to resolve the process by the end of the year. Besides, an inclination towards direct patient responsibility with high deductible health plans from commercial payer reimbursement supports the fact that healthcare service providers must closely examine their RCM and evaluate the methods to achieve multiple benefits.

Key Industry Developments

A rise in the adoption and usage of novel technologies have aided the prominent players in acquiring a lucrative revenue since the past few years. The utilization of RCM software solutions has supported several companies on a global scale. This article further provides insights into a few of the key developments that have recently occurred in the revenue cycle management industry.

Homecare Homebase Launches its New Revenue Cycle Management Service

Homecare Homebase, LLC, a developer of mobile software solutions for home health and hospice agencies, headquartered in Dallas, announced the launch of its new RCM service in June 2019. The latest RCM service is providing part of the organization’s HCHB services suite, a collection of technology-driven services that are designed to reduce the burden of time-consuming administrative operations. Moreover, it reduces in-house billing staff of the agencies by transferring the lion’s share of the collection tasks and administrative billing to a highly skilled team of billing experts.

Additionally, it offers more clarity into the often opaque RCM process for managing agencies through the use of the company’s dashboards and analytics. Homecare’s new service provides an extraordinary return on investment as several agencies are ready to leave money on the table. They are often not ready to spend the time required to resolve all the billing issues. The company’s extensive knowledge and expertise of billing will put it in a unique position.

Apprio, Inc. Unveils its New Commercial Health Unit Named ApprioHealth

In March 2019, Apprio, Inc., a provider of specialized technology solutions, based in Washington, D.C., unveiled its new, commercially focused business unit called ApprioHealth. The unit is aimed to fulfill the revenue cycle management requirements of health systems and hospitals. It will be led by Donny Zamora, who will be the division’s president. ApprioHealth will provide advanced technological solutions and services catered to the needs of the healthcare providers’ revenue cycle. The unit is a perfect blend of Apprio’s highly skilled revenue cycle management team and 20 years of technology experience. The main aim of the new division is to transform the way health systems and hospitals use technology to maximize revenue from existing payers as well as to register patients in the available coverage options.

Into the Future of Revenue Cycle Management Industry

With susceptible relationships enter new challenges that require attention. Payers have to prioritize individuals as buyers of healthcare coverage and healthcare due to the increasing exchanges in ways that they may not have focused as acutely in the past. The future of RCM is fully entangled with the idea of a more accountable customer. Payers are taking multiple actions to prevent and minimize financial glitches. The industry will exhibit a more consumer-centric approach. It would occur as patients are now responsible for a significant part of healthcare revenue due to a rise in the number of high-deductible health plans.

Accenture had surveyed approximately 2,000 consumers regarding medical bill payment. As per the survey, nearly 40% of the consumers mentioned that they would pay their medical bills in advance if they knew the cost beforehand. To increase the likelihood that patients will pay the bills and to guard their revenue streams, hospitals and healthcare companies are likely to maintain their consumer-friendly transparency in the future.

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About the author: Reeti Banerjee is currently working as a content writer in a prominent market research firm named Fortune Business Insights. She specializes in writing articles, press releases, blogs, and news reports. She believes in maintaining simplicity throughout her content to provide the clients with a seamless reading experience. Reeti Banerjee on Linkedin

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