This company just sponsored an amazing treat for its 2000 employees – a cruise to Genoa!


To celebrate its 15th anniversary and to highlight the sterling work its staff has performed in this time, Alter Domus, a fully integrated Fund and Corporate Services provider, invited its entire staff of close to 2,000 people to a three-day conference of festivities, teambuilding and fun over the weekend of the 21st – 23rd September 2018. The exact location was kept a closely guarded secret, and the full details were only revealed once the entire team arrived on Friday at their starting point of… Genoa, Italy!

The event, which is one of a kind in this services sector, epitomises the brand’s signature message of acting as one, strong team. Alter Domus’s integrative approach to corporate growth is a distinctive characteristic of the group, and sends a clear signal both to its staff and to the market that people are at the forefront of the group’s strategy. A tripling of the Group’s staffing numbers in just five years speaks volumes to the manner in which Alter Domus fosters and promotes its employees, and how it is committed to creating a working atmosphere where all employees feel empowered and integrated into the company philosophy. The event was also the first opportunity for many to meet their global colleagues, in particular their new teammates from Cortland Capital Markets.

The weekend was a fun-packed three days of fashion, music and team-building, with more than 1,300 staff members congregating in Genoa on Friday before embarking on the cruise ship bound for Marseille. The secrecy surrounding the event and the unique opportunity for many to travel to Europe created an atmosphere of anticipation and enjoyment which no-one at Alter Domus will ever forget.

Event Facts:

More than 1,300 attendees
Event preparations began in May 2016
65 nationalities
24 departure airports
Participants from as far afield as Shanghai, Singapore, Sydney and Los Angeles
Global team has tripled in size since 2013
Alter Domus CEO Laurent Vanderweyen took the opportunity to address his global team prior to the fashion show in Marseille. Alluding to the team’s sea voyage, he said: “A smooth sea has never made a skilled sailor. It is thanks to hard work, commitment and agility that we have been able to pursue this prolific journey. This success story is down to the team’s key energy. This event reflects our strong corporate values, our collaborative spirit and the thorough global integration that characterises our company and gives us a unique position in our industry. Today more than ever, our 39 offices across 19 countries are One Team.” Dominique Robyns, Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Directors and one of the founders of Alter Domus, also voiced his admiration for the achievements the company has made over the past fifteen years, and believes the staff are the ingredients the company needs to shape a prosperous future and help make Alter Domus into the number one in its industry.

Hundreds of Millions of Dollars at Stake as .COM Price Freeze Set to Expire

Business, Telecom & Internet

Verisign, the company granted exclusive rights to issue .com domains, is expected to request a price increase for .com domains when its current ‘price cap’ agreement with the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) expires on November 30, 2018.  Will NTIA impose a price increase on millions of Internet users to further enrich Verisign, “The Most Profitable Company You’ve Never Heard Of”, which is already enjoying huge windfall profits?

.Com domain names are issued exclusively by Verisign on a “wholesale basis” and sold by domain name registrars directly to the public. Domains ending in the .com extension are, by a wide margin, the most popular.  A price increase would affect millions of individuals and small-businesses throughout the United States and around the globe.

All of the approximately 134 million .com domain names are administered exclusively by Verisign, a public company with a market capitalization of over $19 billion.  Although the cost of running the .com registry may be as low as $3 per domain, Verisign charges $7.85 to their customers.  Due to the dominance of .com, Verisign has no real competitive pressure on their pricing. Before the U.S. government stepped in to cap Verisign’s prices in 2012, Verisign’s previous contract permitted it to raise prices 7% annually in most years.

Thanks to Verisign’s exclusive contract to operate the .com registry, granted without a competitive bidding process, Verisign earned $457 million last year, and enjoys inflated operating margins of over 60%.  Its windfall profits powered a tripling of its stock price over the past five years – despite the freeze imposed on .com prices.  Verisign places fourth behind only Apple, Facebook, and Alphabet (Google’s parent company) in terms of revenue per employee. Verisign uses its excess cash to reward its top four executives with nearly $18 million in compensation in 2017 – equivalent to 7% of Verisign’s operating expenses (excluding cost of revenue).  In comparison, the compensation of Oracle’s and Adobe’s top four executives is about 1% of operating expenses.

Not content with their current windfall profits, Verisign will likely seek an unjustified price increase that would over time effectively constitute a billion-dollar “tax” on Internet users.

For further information on how Verisign profits from .com domains, visit StopthePriceIncreaseof.Com.  A petition has been launched to raise public awareness of this issue at

Google Launches Grow With Google Initiative in Canada


Grow with Google provides small business owners and job seekers with access to free digital training, workshops and events


Today, Google launched Grow with Google, a new initiative aimed at helping Canadians access the best of Google’s training and tools to grow their skills, careers, and businesses. As part of this new initiative, Google announced $2 million in grants from Google.Org to bring digital skills training to individuals across the country. The grant will be used to bring two of Google’s leading digital skills training programs to Canada: Applied Digital Skills and the Professional IT Support Certificate.

Google is partnering with Canada Learning Code to provide Canadians with access to the Applied Digital Skills Program, a blended online and in-person curriculum that teaches digital skills through practical problem solving so learners can be competitive in an evolving job market. To make sure those lessons are available to all Canadians, the entire Digital Skills Training Program is offered in both French and English.

The Professional IT Support Certification Program takes beginner learners to job readiness in eight months with no experience required. Developed by Google and hosted on Coursera, the program has over 64 hours of video lessons, hands-on labs and interactive assessments for adults looking to reskill and start a new career in technology. Google has partnered with leading Canadian companies like RBC and Walmart Canada, and of course Google Canada to get graduates information into the hands of HR departments following course completion.

Google is also bringing workshops, in-person training, and one-on-one sessions to communities across Canada, in partnership with local community groups, businesses and leaders. Grow with Google events will cover topics suited to small business owners and entrepreneurs looking to scale their business and individuals interested in  growing their skills.

“Technology is the key to opportunity, which is why we are launching Grow with Google in Canada,” said Sabrina Geremia, Country Director, Google Canada. “By making our resources available to everyone online, by bringing hands-on training into communities across the country, and by partnering with organizations like Canada Learning Code who are devoted to expanding access to digital tools and training, we can help Canadians grow their skills, their opportunities, and their futures.”

“Digital skills are tools of empowerment,” says Melissa Sariffodeen, Chief Executive Officer at Canada Learning Code. “Our vision is a Canada in which all people have the knowledge and confidence to harness the power of technology to achieve economic and personal fulfillment. Our partnership with Grow with Google puts us one step closer to achieving that vision by allowing us to offer new content and scale our existing coding and digital literacy curriculum to more Canadians.”

Benson Hill Biosystems Raises $60 Million to Improve Food and Ingredients

Business, Food

Benson Hill Biosystems, a crop improvement company unlocking the natural genetic diversity of plants, today announced the first close of its $60 million Series C financing. The round is led by GV, with participation from new investors Activant Capital and Tao Capital Partners. Existing investors Alexandria Venture Investments, Fall Line Capital, iSelect Fund, Lewis & Clark Ventures, Mercury Fund, Prelude Ventures, and S2G Ventures also participated.

“With its data-driven approach to crop improvement, Benson Hill has significant potential to impact the next wave of productivity gains across food and agriculture,” said Andy Wheeler, General Partner at GV. “The broad applicability of Benson Hill’s technology platform — combined with the executive team’s expertise in photosynthesis and genomic selection — creates new opportunities for farmers and the food production industry at-large.”

Benson Hill empowers organizations of any size across the agri-food value chain to benefit from the most advanced tools in seed innovation. Benson Hill’s CropOS™ computational platform and suite of breeding and genome editing tools leverage the natural genetic diversity of plants to improve the sustainability, nutrition and flavor profiles of crops with greater speed and precision than previously possible, dramatically reducing the costs and timelines to develop new products.

“Developing foods that are nourishing to our bodies, responsible to our planet and that taste great is not a trade-off, it’s an opportunity,” said Matthew Crisp, CEO and co-founder of Benson Hill Biosystems. “By combining biology with machine intelligence, our platform provides a novel approach to crop improvement. With this round, we have expanded our base of investors who recognize the power of plants and innovation to benefit both farmers and consumers.”

The funding will be used to further advance CropOS™ and expand product development capacity to deliver a portfolio of improved crops with and for companies across the food and agriculture value chain.

“Consumer demand for healthier and more sustainable food choices creates opportunity across many crops and ingredients, and plant genomics is a proven lever that has been severely underutilized in most crops,” said Sanjeev Krishnan, Managing Director at S2G Ventures. “Benson Hill delivers the full suite of solutions a company needs to create differentiated products and capture this growing market, whether they are a seed company, food manufacturer or food retailer.”

Infosys and Temasek Announce Joint Venture in Singapore


Infosys (NYSE: INFY), a global leader in consulting, technology and next-generation services, today announced the formation of a joint venture with Temasek, the global investment company headquartered in Singapore. The joint venture will integrate teams from Infosys and the operations of Temasek’s wholly owned subsidiary in Singapore, Trusted Source Pte Ltd (“Trusted Source” or the “joint venture”), which currently delivers IT services to Temasek and a number of other clients.

As part of the transaction, Infosys will acquire a 60% stake in the joint venture and Temasek will hold 40%. The agreement was signed by the parties last night and is effective immediately.

Infosys and Temasek see important synergy and strategic alignment in the joint venture. Infosys gains significant capacity in terms of workforce as it focuses on strengthening its footprint in Southeast Asia, while Temasek will see a rapid enhancement of its IT services through the augmented capabilities of the joint venture entity. Trusted Source will provide Temasek and its other clients in the region solutions and technologies across Cloud, Data & Analytics, Cybersecurity, Digital Experiences and AI & automation, and more.

The joint venture will support Temasek’s digital transformation journey, managing a complex Cloud migration program that will enable Temasek to host its applications on a cloud platform.

Infosys and Temasek have named Shveta Arora, Vice President at Infosys, as Chief Executive Officer. The joint venture will be headquartered in Singapore, and more than 200 employees and contractors from Trusted Source will be part of it on establishment, in addition to Infosys staff who will join over time.

In line with Infosys’ commitment to invest in advanced technologies and skills for its workforce, employees of the joint venture will have access to the company’s world class education and training capabilities that will enable them to provide excellent professional services and have rewarding career paths.

Mohit Joshi, President, Infosys, said, “Infosys will leverage its digital skills, learning capabilities and transformation experience to help enhance operations across Temasek’s global business. Our joint venture with Temasek will accelerate our efforts in the region, enhancing our existing presence, as we help clients navigate the next journey in their business transformation. This development is a key element of our continued efforts to invest and have a presence in the regions in which we operate.”

Jon Allaway, Chief Technology Officer, Temasek, said “We warmly welcome the opportunity to build this joint venture with Infosys, and provide those who support our business, at Trusted Source, the ability to further develop their careers with one of the world’s leading technology service providers. The partnership will also help unlock new capabilities and technology platforms that help Temasek as the organization continues our growth as a Singapore-headquartered investor, with a global presence.”

Ultra Toys and Gifts Pvt. Ltd participates in “Kids India 2018”

Ultra Toys and Gifts Pvt. Ltd participates in “Kids India 2018” with exclusive and elegant range of “Smiley” plush products from 4thto 6th September at Bombay Convention & Exhibition Centre (BCEC), Goregoan
  • Ultra will be presenting an elite and distinctive collection of Smiley products with 25 different Smiley expressions, Cushions, Backpacks, Sling Bags, Push Balls etc at stall no. D-25.
  • ‘Glee The Bear’ a tailor made charming and an alluring teddy bear beautifully decorated  with birthday cake and candles will also be one of the major attraction.
September 2018, Mumbai: Ultra has entered into an exclusive licensing & manufacturing arrangement with “Smiley World”: The creators & copyright license owners of “The original Smiley brand”, UK for the Indian market.  Ultra has acquired an exclusive license of 3000 varieties of various smiley emoticons from them for India. ‘Glee The Bear’ would also be the special attraction at the expo. This packaged Teddy Bear designed with birthday cake and candles is a perfect gift for someone special on their birthday. Nothing can be more endearing and lovable than this cuddling companion as a birthday gift. In this packaged collection, we have designed Finger Puppets, Hand Puppets and Smiley World products too.
They will be showcasing numerous articulately designed soft toys representing various animals like Teddy Bear, Elephant, Penguin, Kangaroo, doggies, tortoise and many more. An array of attractive “Stationery items” will also be available. It consists of pen stands & customized pouches with cute faces of Bunny, Duck, Dog, etc creatively designed on it, which is easy to carry and use. There is also a wide range of colorful and attractive school bags for kids, which are soft to touch and have faces of various animals & birds on it, inducing children to have a jovial mood.
Madhu Kishore, Business Head, Ultra Toys and Gifts Pvt says, “Kids India exhibition provides the best platform to showcase our brands to the target audiences. Product Innovations and new fashion trends are key drivers in this industry. It also gives us a sound knowledge on the latest industry trends and creates lot of interest.”

Sodexo Canada achieves Women in Governance Parity Certification

Awards, Business, Society

A  focus on gender balanced teams for operational excellence earns Sodexo recognition as a Parity Certified employer


Sodexo Canada’s commitment to supporting a gender balanced workplace has earned recognition by Women in Governance with 2018 Parity Certification.

Sodexo will join 30 other Parity Certified organizations to be honoured at the annual Women in Governance Gala on September 11th at the Palais des Congrès in Montreal.

The Women in Governance Parity Certification helps Canadian organizations increase the representation of women, especially in decision-making and senior management positions. This innovative standard not only assesses parity at the decision-making level but also assesses an organization’s commitment to implementing mechanisms that enable women at all levels to achieve career advancement and create a pipeline of female talent.

The Parity Certification Committee thoroughly researched trends across sectors and formulated a questionnaire with the support of McKinsey & Company and the Quebec Order of Certified Human Resources Professionals (CRHA).

Sodexo in Canada
Sodexo has been delivering On-Site Services in Canada for over 40 years. Recognized as a strategic partner, Sodexo Canada is dedicated to providing Quality of Life Services for clients, their employees and visitors in the corporate, education, healthcare and energy and resources segments. These Quality of Life Services create healthy, safe, and efficient environments allowing individuals and organizations to grow and succeed. Delivering food and facilities management services for over 175 clients, Sodexo is a market leader in Canada in terms of revenue and consumers served, and has been recognized as a top employer for the past six consecutive years. Sodexo Canada is proud to have created the Sodexo Stop Hunger Foundation, an independent charitable organization that has donated more than 1 million meals to at risk youth in Canada since it was founded in 2000.

TiE Mumbai Assists Startups to Explore and Expand into New Geographies: Belgium and Bahrain


Over the years, TiE Mumbai had played a significant role in promoting, mentoring, helping and funding startups in the Greater Mumbai Region. TiE Mumbai represents over 2500 startups in this region. It has successfully connected and mentored over 2000 entrepreneurs and startups over the last few years and over 1000 startups have been successfully connected to investors.

As a part of its ongoing endeavor to assist startups with new opportunities and help foray into different geographies, TiE Mumbai has partnered with Flanders, Belgium and Bahrain and organized separate knowledge sessions to facilitate interested startups in making an informed decision to expand into Europe and Middle East.

“As a part of our global connect program, TiE Mumbai has partnered with Flanders Investment and Trade, Mumbai office – the official agency of the Government of Flanders, Belgium and Bahrain Economic Development Board to create an access to knowledge, markets, funds and talent in those regions. These partnerships present excellent growth opportunities for Mumbai Startups,” said Atul Nishar, President, TiE Mumbai.

Flanders, Belgium

Flanders, Belgium is the Hotlink to Europe, home to NATO, the EU headquarters and other major public and private international decision-making centers. Delegates from Fiscal Department for Foreign Investments, Marc De MIL – International Tax Expert, Federal Public Service Finance – BelgiumRalph MOREAU – Science & Technology Officer, Flanders Investment & Trade. Embassy of BelgiumSingapore and Jurgen MAERSCHAND, Trade & Investment Commissioner, Flanders Investment & Trade, Mumbai interacted with startups to give them a better understanding of Flanders, Belgium’s innovative and knowledge-driven economy that presents attractive prospects for Indian startups to set up their business there. They also discussed how Belgium hosts a robust ecosystem supporting startups not only with the Incubators, Accelerators, Research Centers, and Technology Clusters, but also gives organization access to markets, funds, and talent.

“Flanders is a pole of attraction for foreign companies: thanks to its central location in Europe, our strongly developed infrastructure, our innovative clusters and numerous other strengths. We adopt a tailored approach towards potential investors and inform them of the opportunities for their company in Flanders. Innovative clusters are of key importance to Flanders as a knowledge region. We help these clusters in their internationalization process and try to attract foreign investors capable of strengthening the cluster to grow into a major international player,” said Jurgen Maerschand, Trade & Investment Commissioner – Flanders Investment & Trade, Mumbai.


Bahrain is a fast-growing hub and test-bed market for India startups looking to leverage the Kingdom’s pro-business environment and access to opportunities across the GCC. It was recently mentioned in Startup Genome’s 2018 Report as high potential ecosystem for fintech, cloud computing and gaming innovation. Delegates from the Economic Development Board of Bahrain (EDB), Dr. Simon Galpin – Managing Director and Dharmi Magdani – Country Director India  shared insights on the opportunities for Indian technology startups in Bahrain, particularly fintech startups, leveraging Bahrain’s status as regional financial centre with a world-class ITC infrastructure. Bahrain’s startup ecosystem benefits from a pro-business regulatory environment, low tax and operating costs, and a central, connected location with ease of access to India, the GCC and Europe.

Simon Galpin, Managing Director, Economic Development Board of Bahrain(EDB), commented, “We are pleased to collaborate with TiE once again on an engaging and informative event that will help bring the startup ecosystems in India and Bahrain even closer together. Bahrain and India have deeply embedded commercial, trade and cultural ties, which date back centuries, and today this relationship goes from strength to strength. At EDB, we work with many Indian-founded startups who are successfully testing and scaling up from their bases in Bahrain and we look forward to seeing even more collaboration between startups in India and Bahrain in the future.”

Godrej Process Equipment Acquires Yuba and Ecolaire Brands From SPX Heat Transfer, USA


Godrej Process Equipment, a business unit of Godrej & Boyce Mfg. Co. Ltd., has acquired the Yuba and Ecolaire brands and design technologies from SPX Heat Transfer, a subsidiary of SPX Corporation, USA, a global supplier of highly engineered products and technologies. With this strategic acquisition, Godrej has the capability to provide end-to-end solutions in the Heat Exchanger Auxiliaries space in the Power Sector.

In the past, Godrej had a license to manufacture Yuba design Feedwater Heaters. Feedwater Heaters manufactured by Godrej have been supplied to NPCIL, Tata Power, GSECL, NTPC, Toshiba, among others. With this acquisition, Godrej now owns the brands and the technology and will be manufacturing in India.

This acquisition positions Godrej Process Equipment as a significant player in the Power sector; an independent, global player providing critical equipment to thermal, geothermal, solar and nuclear power plants. Addition of key people from the SPX Heat Transfer design team will also significantly enhance Godrej’s design capabilities in this space.

Emphasizing on the importance of this acquisition, Mr. Jamshyd Godrej, Chairman and Managing Director, Godrej & Boyce stated, “The acquisition of well-known brands and technology from SPX Corporation for our Process Equipment business showcases our commitment to deepen the products that we offer to the power generation sector. We are constantly developing and rationalizing strategic partnerships across our businesses. Through this acquisition, we plan to establish Godrej & Boyce as a prominent player providing top-notch services and cutting-edge technological products in the power generation sector.”

Adding to this, Mr. Allen Antao, Executive Vice President and Business Head, Godrej Process Equipment said, “Godrej’s strong thrust on manufacturing excellence when coupled with the strength of the brands, will enable us to offer our customers, products of significantly enhanced value while at the same time maintain a distinct competitive edge. We have the opportunity to exploit this new potential to expand our presence globally in the Power Sector. We are a leading global supplier of Pressure Vessels for the Oil & Gas Sector and the addition of the Yuba and Ecolaire brands will also cement this position in the Power Sector worldwide.”

UK Export Strategy Ignores Brexit “Hot Potato”, According to E-commerce Authority


According to the Secretary of State for International Trade, Liam Fox, who released the UK’s export strategy yesterday, exports in goods and services rose by 4.4% last year, and the value of exports has doubled since 1997.

Deborah Collier, digital business expert, and President at global e-commerce authority – The Certificate in Online Business, had described Brexit and the UK EU Trade Agreement as a “Hot Potato”. She adds “The UK Export Strategy has made no mention or provision for Brexit, except to focus on selling to countries outside the EU.”

Citing credible E-Commerce industry statistics – 62.7% of UK E-Commerce exports are sold to the EU – the largest economy in the world, she adds “If we leave the EU without an agreement, the products and services we sell will be liable for import tariffs. Even if UK businesses cover those costs through price reduction, which is highly unrealistic, EU Customers will still have the inconvenience of having to pay import costs on delivery. This inconvenience alone is enough to deter buyers. The UK cannot afford to lose this volume of trade.”

Collier explains “One of the key benefits of e-commerce is access to new markets globally.  Barriers to trade are customs, taxation, shipping and distribution costs, as well as legal regulations.” There are heightened costs and competitive challenges when trading internationally. Desirable and competitively priced products and services are paramount. “Uniqueness will be one area the UK needs to focus on, to stay ahead of other international competition”, adds Collier

International shipping costs and the ability for entrepreneurs and small businesses to implement a strategy to alleviate the additional costs of distribution to non-EU countries, is a major challenge. “I am particularly concerned about the livelihoods of small businesses and individual online traders”, says Collier, who is a champion for entrepreneurship. Deborah Collier urges the UK government to address the EU trade issue “head-on”, and to consider the realities and challenges of internal trade to businesses of all sizes, with countries outside the European Union.