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The COVID-19 pandemic saw many companies soar to greatness as they met society’s suddenly changing needs. And while some have managed to sustain this success, many have begun the descent back down to normality.

Companies that are feeling the post-pandemic burn include videoconferencing software Zoom, home fitness company Peloton, DIY marketplace Etsy, vaccine maker Moderna and software company DocuSign.

All of these companies have come down by at least 70 percent from their peak pandemic evaluations, meaning any investors who bought shares at their peak and are still holding onto them are probably feeling this descent just as harshly.

The table below shows the value of US$1,000 invested on 11 March 2020 – the day the WHO officially declared the COVID-19 outbreak as a pandemic – as compared to recent values, according to Statista.

Sharing the Wealth

Traditionally, raising funds has been something reserved for only the big institutional players and high-net-worth individuals – but the team at Sharesies is on a mission to change this.

Sharesies, an online investing platform, is creating new opportunities for ASX and NZX-listed companies of all sizes to raise funds, which in turn creates opportunities for retail investors to access these capital raises, rights offers and book builds.

“Our mission is to create financial empowerment for everyone and give someone with [US]$5 and someone with [US]$5 million the same investment opportunities,” Susannah Batley, General Manager of Company Partnerships, tells The CEO Magazine.

“ASX and NZX issuers have tended to focus their investor relations efforts on their institutional investors rather than retail. From our conversations with those in the boardroom, we discovered that this was more due to a lack of products and services to engage retail, rather than a lack of desire.”

And Sharesies is well on the way to making its vision a reality. “In the last year, we have worked with listed companies like Air New Zealand, ANZ Bank and Ryman Healthcare to grant retail investors the access to tap into all parts of the capital raise process – including rights offers and shortfall bookbuilds.”

Ramping up Savings

Joining the search engine chatbot bandwagon, corporate credit card and expense management startup Ramp is utilizing OpenAI’s GPT-4 technology to dive deeper into customer savings.

Launched in May, Ramp Intelligence offers a range of AI tools to help businesses save, including the ability to analyze software prices, scan email receipts, audit expense reports and respond to customer queries.

The fintech also announced a slew of entrepreneurs who have joined as investors and advisors. These include big names such as Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, Quora CEO Adam D’Angelo (above), Instacart CEO Fidji Simo and Stanford AI Lab professor Chris Ré – but Ramp wouldn’t disclose the size of their investments.

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