Zero Gravity Corporation, which provides reduced gravity aircraft flights for tourists and researchers, plans to expand its services outside the United States in the next year. Matt Gohd, chief executive of the company, said global interest in the company’s flights prompted him to examine the possibility of doing flights in other countries. “One thing that stuck out for me was the amount of people from all over the world who would fly into the various places where a plane would go up for either passenger flights or research experiments,” he said, with customers coming to the U.S. from as far away as the Middle East and New Zealand, often just for the
experience. To tap into that demand, he said Zero-G is planning to conduct flights outside in other countries. Options for flights outside the United States like those run by Zero-G are limited. The company currently operates one Boeing 727 aircraft certified by the Federal Aviation Administration to perform parabolic flights. Expansion will likely require the company to acquire additional aircraft. Gohd said the company looked at a wide range of options but decided the best choice would be to buy at least one additional Boeing 727. While Zero-G is best known for flying tourists, it also supports reduced gravity research, including through NASA’s Flight Opportunities program. The company is looking to expand those services, said Michelle Peters, director of research and education at Zero-G, with two agreements recently signed to allow NASA civil servants and payloads on future Zero-G aircraft flights.
US-based Deacom, Inc. the developer of a comprehensive Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solution, has recently announced the opening of its first international office located in Frankfurt, Germany. This is the first phase of Deacom’s internationalization strategy and includes the establishment of Deacom Europe GmbH. Deacom Europe will initially be focused on sales and service to European manufacturers along with North American companies whose subsidiaries are located throughout the region. Deacom takes an untraditional approach to enterprise software development by writing all software functionality in-house and keeping it within the core
system. Tailored specifically to global manufacturing and distribution companies, DEACOM ERP enables customers to eliminate customizations and bolt-ons from their ERP environments. This unique business strategy will differentiate Deacom within Europe’s competitive ERP marketplace. Joerg Wirthmann has been hired to lead Deacom’s sales efforts in Europe. Wirthmann brings more than 20 years of software sales experience and expansive knowledge in leading international expansion projects. “As we move into our 25th anniversary, we are excited to embrace the new opportunities and customers that our European headquarters will bring,” stated Jay Deakins, President and CEO of Deacom, Inc. “These global initiatives will continue to highlight new ways to evolve our business, software, and the careers of our team members. We are excited to see the impact that our employees will make as we embrace new software development, regulation, IT, marketing, and hiring challenges on a global level. Additionally, we have selected two members from our US team to move to Germany and help with this expansion.”
The Independent has announced a 9 per cent jump in annual turnover and the third consecutive year of profits since its switch to become a fully digital publisher. Advertising revenues grew by 10 per cent, lifting turnover to £27m, with profits of £2.3m. The results come as The Independent boosted spending on its editorial team by 12 per cent in its 2018-19 financial year. It now has more than 100 journalists in cities around the world, including significant investment in growing its US operation. Revenue has almost doubled since The Independent closed its print operation four years ago to go digital-only. Globally, the title now has an audience of 95 million
unique browsers, up 22 per cent year on year, and has enjoyed a full quarter as the UK’s largest quality digital news brand. The results show that The Independent is now more profitable than the Telegraph Media Group, which made a pre-tax profit of £900,000 in 2018. The Guardian reported last year that it had returned to profitability after a period of losses, making an operating profit of £800,000. Growth in the US has been particularly strong with monthly unique visitors surpassing high-profile digital pure plays such as Vice and Vox. The Independent has 30 million monthly unique visitors in the US, its largest market, with January figures showing 18 per cent growth year on year. Further international expansion this year is being led by Mr Paton alongside chief executive Zach Leonard and editor Christian Broughton, with a new US editor, Katie Davies, and Washington DC bureau chief, John T Bennett, joining the team. “Two keys to our success are a relentless focus on investing in growth areas, and support of a diverse range of revenue streams across advertising, licensing and syndication, and readers,” said Mr Leonard.
Fulton-based Enveil is making international expansion moves after closing on a $10 million Series A. With this new funding, CEO Ellison Anne Williams said global expansion would be among the company’s priorities. The data security company is opening a new office in London, which will be led by Oliver White, who is head of sales for Europe, Middle East and Africa within the company. Enveil previously worked on global issues at an event run by the Financial Conduct Authority called the Global Anti-Money Laundering TechSprint in London last year, where it was named among the winners. VP of Sales Craig Trautman called the new office “an important first
step toward expanding our footprint in the regions most directly affected by evolving global regulatory standards.” Showing a path for those who worked on cybersecurity challenges in the intelligence community to entrepreneurship, Williams founded the three-and-a-half-year-old company after a career at Maryland-based institutions such as the National Security Agency and Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Lab. The company has since gained backing from brands such as Mastercard, Capital One Ventures, Bloomberg Beta and Thomson Reuters. This is the latest example of a Maryland cybersecurity venture gaining a foothold with the U.K. The state has a trade office in London with a focus on linking up more cybersecurity business.
Consumer spending on LEGO products grew by 5.6% while revenue jumped 6% in a year in which global toy sales dropped 3%. In the company’s annual report, the LEGO Group says that operating and net profit increased by 1% and 3%, respectively, as the family-owned Danish brickmaker increased its investment in e-commerce, physical retail, and international expansion, particularly in China. The company reports single-digit sales gross in the Americas and Western Europe, with sales in China growing in the “strong double-digits.” “Our industry, like many others, is being redrawn by digitalization and global socio-economic shifts,” says Niels B. Christiansen,
LEGO Group’s CEO. “We’re leveraging our strong financial foundation to invest in initiatives that will allow us to keep ahead of these trends and enable growth in the long term. This includes innovating play, innovating our retail ecosystem, and investing in new market entries so that we are well-positioned to inspire young builders for generations to come.” The company, which now operates 570 LEGO Stores globally, added 150 stores last year and intends to open approximately 150 more this year (mostly in China). LEGO continues to grow in China with plans to open 80 new stores in roughly 20 new cities. By the end of last year, the company operated 140 stores in 35 cities, including its flagship locations in Beijing and Shanghai. Mirroring the 27% growth of its LEGO.com e-commerce site, the company grew digital sales in the Chinese market by forging partnerships in the territory. Later this year, the company plans to increase its investment in sustainability and will open an office in another growing market, India.
Montreal-based point-of-sale and e-commerce company Lightspeed has appointed Marty Reaume as its first chief people officer (CPO). Reaume previously served as CPO for several technology companies including Twilio, Fitbit, and Netsuite. With over 15 years of experience growing teams, Lightspeed said Reaume will contribute to the company as it looks to grow its end-to-end platform for small and medium-sized businesses. As CPO, Reaume will be responsible for leading Lightspeed’s talent development and building on the company’s hiring practices. Specifically, she will spearhead global programs to develop talent to further Lightspeed’s goal of
empowering independent businesses. The company currently operates in more than 100 countries and employs 900 people. Reaume is joining Lightspeed as it continues its expansion across Canada and internationally. Lightspeed recently opened an office in Toronto, which houses an operations team that is helping with the expansion of Lightspeed Payments in North America. Last month, Lightspeed partnered with the global payment platform Stripe as part of the launch of its payment product. The company has also acquired several international companies in the past year including German POS systems developer Gastrofix; Switzerland-based POS solutions provider iKentoo; and Australian-based Kounta Holdings.
FirstLight® Home Care, an award-winning provider of non-medical home care, has announced it is expanding its caregiving services to Canada. Sam Riad, CEO of Comfort of Senior Living, has signed on as a master franchise and will operate as FirstLight Home Care of Canada. Riad currently operates 10 Comfort of Senior Living retirement communities across the Province of Ontario. The master franchise agreement will allow Riad to introduce the FirstLight Home Care brand and deliver the company's non-medical home care services to a brand-new market. "We are thrilled to bring our FirstLight brand to Canada," said Jeff Bevis, CEO and
Co-Founder of FirstLight Home Care. "International expansion has always been part of our strategy, and we believe we have found a solid master franchise partner in Sam Riad. He has extensive experience and a deep understanding of the industry, established relationships in the market and the infrastructure for rapid growth. And we share a similar mission, culture and calling to care for aging seniors and other adults in need of extra support." Canadian CEO Brad Rye will lead the implementation of FirstLight Home Care into Canada. Rye has owned and operated various Homes for Special Care for the past 30 years. He is co-founder and former president of the Ontario Homes for Special Needs Association (OHSNA), representing 500 homes and 5,000 residents across Ontario. Recently working with the Ontario government, Rye assisted in the development and implementation of a resident-focused model of housing and services. FirstLight Home Care of Canada has plans to open six locations immediately across Ontario, with an aggressive vision to establish 150 more locations through expansion and franchise opportunities across Canada. Since opening its first franchise location in 2010, FirstLight Home Care has experienced steady growth and is now serving clients in 220+ locations in more than 30 states throughout the U.S. This is the company's first international expansion to Canada.
Zoom Video Communications, Inc. recently announced general availability of its Zoom Phone cloud phone service in 11 additional countries, bringing its total availability to 17 countries and 1 territory, and Beta Service in 25 new countries. Zoom Phone now supports local phone numbers and PSTN access with new Metered and Unlimited Calling Plans in Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland. This expanded geographic coverage allows Zoom customers all over the world to migrate away from their in-country legacy phone systems to consolidate business communications
into Zoom’s all-in-one, video-first unified communications platform. Additionally, Zoom Phone Beta Service is now available to existing qualified Zoom customers upon request. The 25 countries to be included are: Argentina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Czech Republic, Ecuador, Estonia, Finland, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Mexico, Norway, Panama, Peru, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, and Turkey. Zoom Phone launched in the United States and Canada in January 2019, and the Zoom company quickly expanded service to Australia, United Kingdom, Ireland, New Zealand, and Puerto Rico. Zoom customers will now also have access to multilingual prompts in German, Danish, Japanese, Korean, Russian, Chinese Mandarin (simplified) and Chinese Mandarin (traditional) in addition to existing support for American English, British English, Canadian, French, and Spanish. “We received great feedback from Zoom Phone customers in all eleven countries that recently completed beta programs and we’re thrilled to be able to offer general availability for the service throughout those countries,” said Graeme Geddes, Head of Zoom Phone. “Today’s announcements signal our continued commitment to ensuring our customers are happy and to making Zoom Phone more widely available, accessible and easy to use.”
Atlanta-based fitness brand Workout Anytime is going global. The company has signed a deal with Honduras-based organization Lady Lee Corporation. Lady Lee Corporation will sell, open and manage Workout Anytime gyms in Belize, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Nicaragua and Panama and act as the Master Franchisee for each country. Lady Lee Corporation develops multi-purpose shopping centers that combine food establishments, office spaces and more. The company also owns and operates Wendy's franchises in Honduras and Venture X franchises throughout Central America. "Workout Anytime is a
well-structured franchise, with well-defined procedures and a highly aggressive pricing and service strategy that does not yet exist in the Central American region," Lady Lee Corporation Director of Marketing and Advertising Félix Rivera said. "Our partnership will enable people from different social backgrounds to improve their lifestyle through a highly modern and well-equipped gym concept at a low price." Lady Lee Corporation has three openings planned for 2020 in Honduras and is scouting real estate for more locations in that country, as well as throughout Central America and in the Dominican Republic. "Workout Anytime has always had ambitious expansion plans, predicated on finding the right partner, which is why we're so excited about associating with Lady Lee Corporation," Workout Anytime COO Mark de Gorter said. "The Lady Lee Corporation has extensive experience bringing a variety of leading brands to Central America and the Dominican Republic. Their strong presence in retail franchising, as well as real estate development, provides the perfect partnership to launch our international expansion into that region." Founded in 1999, Workout Anytime has since grown to more than 160 clubs nationwide, all of which are locally owned and operated. This new partnership marks a major turning point for the brand in its mission to surpass the 200-unit mark and capture a global audience.
Points International Ltd., the global leader in powering loyalty commerce, witnessed an increase in financial results for the full year of 2019, a year in which international expansion was a key driver for success. The company’s total revenue increased 7% to $401.2 million compared to $376.2 million. Gross profit increased 21% to an annual record $65.5 million compared to $53.9 million. Net income increased 53% to $11.9 million or $0.86 per diluted share, compared to $7.8 million or $0.54 per diluted share. Adjusted EBITDA increased 15% to an annual record $21.5 million compared to $18.6 million. “2019 was a record year for Points, highlighted by an
exceptional fourth quarter where we generated more than 40% growth in adjusted EBITDA to $7.2 million, our highest quarterly mark in company history,” said Points CEO Rob MacLean. “In addition to delivering on our growth expectations in 2019, we executed on our plans for international expansion, industry diversification, and corporate development. In 2019, we opened new offices in Singapore and Dubai, and generated gross profit growth in Europe, the Middle East, and the Asia Pacific, as these regions continue to become a larger portion of our overall economics for the third year in a row. In addition, we launched programs in newer verticals with companies like Lyft and HSBC/Airmiles Middle East, Home Chef, and made progress in growing our strategic partnership with Amadeus.”