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Shelter residents, corporate employees dine side by side at Meet Your Neighbors dinner

NEW YORK  The weather is getting colder, the holidays are here, and we’re all wrapped up trying to keep up with it all.

But in this season of giving, it can also be a time to recognize people around us, maybe even have dinner with a stranger.

CBS2’s Jessica Moore takes us to one dinner where those strangers come from places as different as corporate offices and homeless shelters.

The tables are set and a festive atmosphere awaits. Most attending are strangers, but here, coming together to “meet their neighbors.”

This “Meet Your Neighbors” dinner is the brainchild of Adina Lichtman.

When you bring people living in homes and people living in shelters to have dinner side-by-side … Both really come away feeling humbled and inspired,” she said.

Lichtman is the founder and CEO of Knock Knock Give a Sock, a charity that has collected and distributed more than 3 million pairs of socks to people experiencing homelessness and living in shelters.

“We engage corporate companies that collect socks in their offices to actually meet the recipients of those sock donations. Most of them don’t actually even know people who’ve experienced homelessness,” Lichtman said.

Lichtman sets the tables for about 30 shelter residents and 30 corporate employees to come together for dinner.

Jordan Gosin and Emma Sukenik brought their colleagues from Newmark Real Estate in for this one.

I expected to be uncomfortable. But it was like amazing, like one of those experiences where you’re … energized and excited,” Sukenik said.

“You got to come in open-minded, right? You got to come in and say, I’m going to just sit here and listen,” Gosin said.

Lichtman puts what she calls “ice breaker” questions at each place setting to get the conversations started, like, “What keeps you up at night?” and “What do you miss about being a kid?”

It is my very first and I’m having a wonderful time,” shelter resident Brenda Vaughn said.

Meeting these folks … helps you understand what it is that they’re going through. Oftentimes we hear about folks going through a really difficult time, but you never really get to interact with them,” said Nick Martinez, with the Graced Companies.

And most importantly, some lasting friendships have come from these events.

Former shelter resident Kenneth Roberson and Arielle Disick say they just clicked when they met several months ago. Disick recently visited Roberson’s brand new apartment, his first after several years in the shelter system.

He’s an amazing friend and he always calls to check in and see how I’m doing … I always end the call feeling so much better and lighter,” Disick said.

She’s all that and a bag of chips,” Roberson said. “To gain a friend meant the world to me, somebody that understands, you know, the journey.”

Lichtman has held about 75 of these dinners over the past five years that Knock Knock Give A Sock has been around, and true to her Knock Knock roots, she always gives out two pairs of socks to everyone attending — one to keep and one to give away.

For more information about Knock Knock Give a Sock

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A Bucketful of Economic Reports Highlight the First Week of December as Markets Remain on Edge

As 2022 enters its last month, the end of year state of America’s economy will come into clearer focus with a variety of game-changing reports on the nation’s gross domestic product, inflation, labor market and consumer confidence on tap this week.

First up on Tuesday will be the monthly home price index from S&P Corelogic Case-Shiller for September. Also on Tuesday, the Conference Board’s consumer index for November will be released. Although consumers have been reporting a gloomy mood, they have continued to spend. A record $9.12 billion was spent on Black Friday, according to Adobe Analytics, with Cyber Monday also offering a chance for more spending.

As Black Friday hit record spending online, we’re also seeing more prominent signs of a budget-conscious consumer this year,” said Vivek Pandya, lead analyst, Adobe Digital Insights. “Shoppers are embracing the Buy Now Pay Later payment method more this year to be able to buy desired gifts for family and friends.”

Wednesday will bring the first of several takes on the job market with the November monthly report from private payroll firm ADP. Last month, there were 239,000 new jobs created but analysts will be looking for a pullback as the economy slows. Then, later Wednesday, the Labor Department issues the job openings numbers for October. Last month saw a sharp drop in the number, but it was still nearly two jobs for every available worker.

In between, the Bureau of Economic Analysis has its second estimate of the gross domestic product for the third quarter. The advance estimate was 2.6%, and economists expect something close to that for this week’s update.

All will be factors for the Federal Reserve to consider ahead of its December 13-14 meeting. Fed Chairman Jerome Powell is scheduled to speak Wednesday afternoon at the Brookings Institution. As he speaks, the Fed will release its so-called beige book, a survey of the 12 regional banks that make up the Fed that measures how economies are doing around the country.

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Zylo Secures $31.5M Series C to Help Companies Reduce SaaS Costs and Operationalize Renewals

SaaS management leader accelerates growth and doubles new business during record-setting year; new investor Baird Capital leads round.

INDIANAPOLIS, Nov. 29, 2022 /PRNewswire/ – Zylo the enterprise leader in SaaS Management, today announced $31.5 million in Series C funding led by Baird Capital’s Venture Team. Organizations worldwide rely on Zylo to find, manage, and reduce SaaS application spend, sprawl, and risk – challenges brought to the forefront given the current economic climate.

The funding round also included Spring Lake Equity Partners and existing investors Bessemer Venture Partners, Menlo Ventures, and High Alpha, as well as strategic partner and investor Coupa Ventures.

“We’re proud to welcome Baird Capital’s Venture Team and Spring Lake Equity Partners as new investors who, along with our returning partners, recognize the potential Zylo has to cement our position as the SaaS Management category leader,” said Eric CEO and co-founder of Zylo. “This funding will allow us to accelerate product innovation and hiring, building on the success we’ve experienced this past year – a growth period that included doubling new business and setting records for demand and customer retention.”

On average, companies use more than 300 SaaS applications and overspend on licenses by 15% each year, according to Zuly Zylo eliminates unnecessary costs, helping companies receive a greater return on their software investment. The opportunity for savings is significant, given that the average SaaS spend reaches $65 million per year. CIOs and CFOs increasingly look to Zylo’s SaaS Management solutions to achieve visibility across their entire organizations’ SaaS commitments and stop SaaS sprawl.

“Investment in SaaS became even more critical in the past few years as companies sought to prioritize new tools and technology that helped keep their businesses running in the pandemic. However, this new environment contributed to accelerated SaaS spending and deployments that have lost efficiency and control, thus becoming its own challenge that is impacting companies globally,” said Benedict Rocchio, Partner at Baird Capital and new Zylo board member. “Baird Capital clearly recognizes the value that Zylo provides to their customers through SaaS management and believes it is of even increased importance in the current economic climate.”

In addition to investing further in product advancements, this funding will allow Zylo to continue to expand go-to-market and engineering teams in the Indianapolis area, along with hybrid hiring throughout the country.

“With more than 30 million SaaS licenses and $30 billion in spend data under management, Zylo is the clear category leader,” said Byron Deeter, partner at Bessemer Venture Partners. “The need for companies to manage the rapid rise of SaaS and cloud subscription costs is evident. Zylo is growing alongside the demand, and Bessemer is excited to continue to invest and partner to further support their growth.”

Zylo customer Coupa has experienced firsthand the value that Zylo can offer to companies managing hundreds of SaaS applications.

“With a global workforce and thousands of employees, SaaS management wasn’t just a ‘nice to have’ but a critical component of our continued growth,” said Eric Tan, CIO at Coupa. “Zylo gave us the transparency and visibility we were looking for to make strategic and business-aligned decisions.”

This funding announcement comes on the heels of a record-setting year. In addition to Zylo’s increases in demand, new business and customer retention, the company was named by G2 as a leader in two categories: SaaS Spend Management and SaaS Operations Management.
For more information about Zylo’s SaaS Management platform and cost optimization services, visit.

About Zylo
Zylo is the enterprise leader in SaaS Management. Companies such as Adobe, Atlassian, Coupa, Doordash, Intuit, Slack, Salesforce, and Yahoo leverage Zylo’s enterprise-proven technology and unparalleled SaaS Management expertise to control the rising costs and risks of SaaS while improving software adoption by employees and driving innovation.

With more than 30 million SaaS licenses and $30 billion in SaaS spend under management, Zylo is fueled by more data than any other provider. Only Zylo’s enterprise SaaS management platform delivers 100% visibility into your SaaS footprint to drive actionable insights and automated workflows. Alongside the platform, Zylo offers a suite of spend optimization services to drive greater cost savings while freeing up resources, implementing a proven best-in-class approach to manage SaaS negotiations from end to end.

Having raised more than $67.5M to date, Zylo is backed by leading SaaS investors, including Bessemer Venture Partners, Menlo Ventures, Baird Capital’s Venture Team, Spring Lake Equity Partners, High Alpha, GGV, Slack Fund, Salesforce Ventures, and Coupa Ventures. To learn.

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Playground xyz Partners with Publicis Groupe APAC to Enable Brands to Capitalise on the Power of Attention Signals

This project expands on an ongoing partnership that has seen Playground help Publicis Groupe APAC clients test attention-based solutions and build a clear understanding of the actual levels of consumer attention their digital display advertising receives.

A few cases have already been piloted in the region, with results indicating that attention is significant in delivering better results. In Australia, Publicis’ eCommerce retailer clients saw an increase in click-based conversions for attention-optimised line items, and a luxury automotive client in Singapore, whose objective was to drive landings to site for registration, had a +17% lift in performance when optimising delivery based on attention time.

Sapna Nemani, chief product & solution officer, APAC for Publicis Groupe said, “Brands have always been in the business of capturing and converting attention. Yet, as an industry, we have found it hard to quantify this, until now. The ability to measure attention meaningfully gives us an accurate perspective on effectiveness, and this is a game changer.”

Rob Hall, CEO of Playground xyz, commented on the transformative potential that attention holds for digital advertising: “We’re continuing to find that attention time is an incredibly reliable and effective predictor of brand outcomes. It’s capable of unearthing hugely beneficial insights that will undoubtedly help brands effectively formulate their strategies. Attention data is the missing ingredient in advertisers’ quests to secure maximum ROI and we’re incredibly excited to be helping Publicis’ clients realise its potential.”

The next stages of the partnership will look to test how Playground’s attention solutions can be  applied to other advertising approaches and channels, including contextual targeting and YouTube video ads.

Playground xyz’s Attention Intelligence Platform uses real eye-tracking data from an opt-in panel, fused with AI to deliver attention measurement and optimisation, and has won numerous industry awards for its innovative applications.

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