|To: Glenn Petersen who wrote (4052)||4/1/2010 8:35:19 PM|
|Toura, Emerging Leader in Multi-Media Tour Applications, Closes $1.5 Million Seed Round:|
The Art Institute of Chicago to Launch a Mobile Application with Toura Later this Spring
NEW YORK, March 31, 2010 – Toura, a pioneer in multi-media mobile tour applications and creator of the Mobile App Producer, announced today that it has secured $1.5 million in seed funding from a group of angel investors. Toura will use the proceeds to continue advancing its technology platform and to fuel business development, operations and marketing efforts in the United States, Europe, Asia and the Middle East.
Introduced in 2009, the Toura Mobile App Producer is a Web-based mobile content management system that allows travel and cultural attractions such as museums, galleries, zoos, parks and historic sites to easily create interactive, multimedia “tours” that consumers will be able to download to their smartphones through the various app stores such as iTunes, Android, BlackBerry and Nokia. Toura’s rich user experience makes this multimedia tour the first of its kind and the company is continuing to partner with the world’s most renowned museums and attractions to expand the platform.
“We founded Toura to help people experience art and culture in a whole new way that is more interactive and personal,” said Toura co-founder and CEO, Aaron Radin. “Smartphones and social technologies have enormous potential to enrich our lives. We have developed the most cost-effective and efficient way for museums and tourist attractions to leverage these new technologies to connect and engage with audiences around the world.”
Toura lets museums and attractions bring their experiences to a much broader audience by making them accessible from anywhere. By either using their own or a rented smartphone, users can download partner-branded “tours” and get access to multi-media content, more information and connect with others to share their experiences using social applications like Facebook and Twitter. To see an example of how a Toura mobile tour works, click here.
Toura’s business, which requires no upfront fees, encourages its partners to broadly distribute their content to mobile devices. Museums and tourist attractions create an app once, and then publish it across the most popular mobile app stores. With the flexibility of real-time publishing, Toura’s customers can easily develop and adapt their tours with the most up-to-date content. Museums and tourist attractions no longer need to rely on costly software development cycles every time they want to create and update mobile applications.
Toura’s technology is already being embraced by leading institutions, including the Art Institute of Chicago, the second largest art museum in the United States. “The Art Institute of Chicago is always looking for innovative ways to inspire and educate the public about our collection and exhibitions,” said James Cuno, the museum’s President and Director. “Toura’s attractive package of technology and services makes it easy for us to bring the museum’s collection to life through a series of applications on smartphones, with the first coming later this spring.”
The Toura Mobile App Producer is currently being used by a growing number of leading museums in the United States and Europe and Toura expects its first series of “tour” applications to launch shortly. For more information, please visit toura.com, or follow us on Twitter @touramobile.
Toura is creating the leading technology platform for the efficient and cost-effective creation and launch of smartphone-based mobile guides for the travel and tourism industry and its customers around the world. Toura mobile guides entertain and educate onsite and offsite “visitors” to a broad range of travel and tour attractions, including museums, galleries, zoos, parks, historic sites, trails, stadiums, universities, and others. Toura is headquartered in New York and has operations across the U.S. and Europe.
Toura is led by two media industry veterans, CEO and co-founder, Aaron Radin and Chief Marketing Officer and co-founder, Sayoko Knight Teitelbaum. Aaron and Sayoko both held leadership roles at the CBS Television Stations Digital Media Group, where they helped grow revenues tenfold during their tenure. Aaron has a proven track record in digital content, having held various roles at the Walt Disney Company, Goldpocket Interactive, Showtime and the National Basketball Association. Prior to CBS, Sayoko was responsible for partner marketing development at Travelport’s consumer travel websites, including Orbitz.com, Cheap Tickets and the Away Network.
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|To: Glenn Petersen who wrote (4052)||4/2/2010 3:30:40 AM|
|Ground Truth Attracts Media Measurement and Technology Luminaries to Advisory Board|
Mobile measurement firm taps decades of expertise from Hitwise, comScore, Donovan Data Systems, Razorfish, Audience Science, IRI, Jupiter and Yahoo!
SEATTLE — April 1, 2010 — Ground Truth™, the mobile measurement firm that delivers precise, timely and actionable mobile intelligence, today announced that it has assembled the foremost thought leaders in new media measurement and interactive media technology to serve on its advisory board.
Ground Truth’s advisors: Peter Daboll, Usama Fayyad, Clark Kokich, Henry Lawson and Chris Maher, are the executives who have built some of the world’s most innovative and successful interactive media and measurement businesses, such as Hitwise, Razorfish, comScore and Donovan Data Systems.
“The fact that some of the most brilliant and successful executives in the interactive media and measurement industries have aligned themselves with Ground Truth is a tremendous show of confidence for both the opportunity we have identified and the business we are building,” said Sterling Wilson, president and CEO, Ground Truth. “I couldn’t be more pleased to have the collected wisdom and experience of these outstanding executives as we fulfill our charter to make Ground Truth the standard in mobile media measurement.”
Advisory board member Peter Daboll has spent the past 25 years in executive roles at respected measurement firms and Web companies. He is the former chief of insights at Yahoo!, president and CEO of comScore Media Metrix, president at MarketTools, COO for MediaPlan and executive vice president at Informational Resources, Inc. (IRI). He is currently CEO of Bunchball, a marketing technology company that leverages rich consumer insights and game mechanics.
“Understanding how consumers use mobile devices to consume, communicate and create digital media is the future of marketing,” said Daboll. “I believe Ground Truth has an innovative and game-changing technology to measure large numbers of consumers to understand nuances of behavior and response.”
Usama Fayyad is a serial entrepreneur and renowned pioneering scientist in data mining and predictive analytics. He was chief data officer and executive vice president at Yahoo! after his company (DMX Group) was acquired by Yahoo! in 2004. He was CEO of digiMine, Inc (Audience Science Inc.), the behavioral targeting company he co-founded in 2000. In addition to his work leading the development of the data mining and exploration group at Microsoft, Fayyad was the recipient of several prestigious research awards while working at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Today, he’s CEO of Open Insights, the market leading data strategy and technology firm.
“The Ground Truth team is seeking nothing short of shedding light on and understanding the new world of the Mobile Internet and device/app usage in an area that remains poorly understood—despite the fact that it is touching almost every human on the planet,” Fayyad observed. “These insights will unlock vast and novel opportunities in the richly interactive mobile arena of the future.”
For the past decade, Clark Kokich’s name has been synonymous with interactive marketing. In 1999—when the Internet was beginning its rise to becoming a mass medium—Kokich was appointed president of Avenue A. Under his leadership, Avenue A became one of the largest interactive marketing agencies in the world, acquiring Razorfish in 2004, selling to Microsoft in 2007 and last year becoming part of the Publicis network. Today, Kokich is leading international expansion and strategic investments as chairman of Razorfish.
“I joined the Ground Truth advisory board because the company is solving one of the fundamental problems of the mobile advertising industry,” Kokich commented. “There’s tremendous potential in mobile, but it won’t be realized without access to standardized and reliable audience data.”
Henry Lawson is recognized in the media industry as a leader of Donovan Data Systems, a provider of IT systems and services for the marketing communications industry. In his role as president and European CEO, Lawson was responsible for running the company’s European operations and building its global business.
During Lawson’s 14-year tenure, he led the transformation of Donovan Data Systems’ U.S. business and led the team that conceived BrandOcean, its flagship product, used widely by agencies today. He is currently executive in residence at Warburg Pincus, London, chairman of Cogniti and member of the advisory boards for Covario and Zumobi.
“The personal power of mobile together with its ability to accompany consumers right into the retail environment is unique,” said Lawson. “With accountability becoming mandatory in media today, real measurement is needed. As soon as I saw Ground Truth’s vision for building universal, accurate measures from census-based industry data I knew it was the best solution. I am proud to be associated with the team who has achieved so much and has a bright future ahead. Agencies are going to pour over the analyses Ground Truth makes possible and this will be the catalyst for an explosion in mobile media in its many forms.”
Chris Maher brings a wealth of knowledge and experience from the measurement and data intelligence industries to Ground Truth. Before assuming his current role as CEO, eBureau, a predictive analytics company, Maher was president of Hitwise, where he oversaw the company’s global operations and financial performance, culminating in the company’s $250M sale to Experian. He joined Hitwise from Jupiter Media Metrix, where he was vice president, sales.
“The growth of the mobile medium is dependent on solid metrics, which have long been lacking in this market,” said Maher. “Ground Truth solves a critical problem at a critical time, so there is tremendous value in this company on multiple levels. In addition, management has put together an outstanding team, each of whom is renowned in their field. I’m honored to be affiliated with this dynamic company.”
About Ground Truth: Ground Truth is a mobile measurement firm that delivers the precise, timely and actionable mobile intelligence required for operators, advertisers and publishers to measure, optimize and grow their businesses. As the sole provider of actual usage data aggregated from millions of subscribers using True View™, a patent-pending census-based methodology, Ground Truth sets the benchmark for Mobile Internet measurement. Ground Truth is headquartered in Seattle, Washington, and is venture-backed by Steamboat Ventures and Voyager Capital. For more information about the company, please visit groundtruth.com.
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|To: stockman_scott who wrote (4115)||4/4/2010 10:45:17 AM|
|From: Glenn Petersen|
|Hordes of Honkers Out To Raise Hell|
April 4, 2010: Many nations are taking advantage of the Internet to encourage, or even organize, patriotic Internet users to obtain hacking skills. This enables the government to use (often informally) these thousands of hackers to attack enemies (foreign or domestic.) These organizations arrange training and mentoring to improve the skills of group members. Turkey has over 44,000 of these hackers, Saudi Arabia has over 100,000, Iraq has over 40,000, Russia over 100,000 and China, over 400,000. While many of these Cyber Warriors are rank amateurs, even the least skilled can be given simple tasks. And out of their ranks will emerge more skilled hackers, who can do some real damage.
It was China that really pioneered this activity. It all began in the late 1990s, when the Chinese Defense Ministry established the "NET Force." This was initially a research organization, which was to measure China's vulnerability to attacks via the Internet. Soon this led to examining the vulnerability of other countries, especially the United States, Japan and South Korea (all nations that were heavy Internet users). NET Force has continued to grow ever since.
NET Force was soon joined by an irregular civilian militia; the "Red Hackers Union" (RHU). These are nearly half a million patriotic Chinese programmers, Internet engineers and users who wished to assist the motherland, and put the hurt, via the Internet, on those who threaten or insult China. The RHU began spontaneously in 1999 (after the U.S. accidentally bombed the Chinese embassy in Serbia), but the government has assumed some control, without turning the voluntary organization into another bureaucracy. The literal name of the group is "Red Honkers Union," with Honker meaning "guest" in Chinese. But these were all Internet nerds out to avenge insults to the motherland.
Various ministries have liaison officers who basically keep in touch with what the RHU is up to (mostly the usual geek chatter), and intervene only to "suggest" that certain key RHU members back off from certain subjects or activities. Such "suggestions" carry great weight in China, where people who misbehave on the web are very publicly prosecuted and sent to jail. For those RHU opinion-leaders and ace hackers that cooperate, there are all manner of benefits for their careers, not to mention some leniency if they get into some trouble with the authorities. Many government officials fear the RHU, believing that it could easily turn into a "counter-revolutionary force." So far, the Defense Ministry and NET Force officials have assured the senior politicians that they have the RHU under control.
All nations with a large Internet user population have these informal groups, but not all nations have government guidance, and encouragement to make attacks. When there is international tensions between nations with large number of Internet users, it almost always results in the "hacker militias" of both nations going after each others.
The U.S. has one of the largest such informal militias, but there has been little government involvement. That is changing. The U.S. Department of Defense, increasingly under hacker attack, is now organizing to fight back, sort of. Taking a page from the corporate playbook, the Pentagon is sending off many of its programmers and Internet engineers to take classes in how to hack into the Pentagon. Not just the Pentagon, but any corporate, or private, network. It's long been common for Internet security personnel to test their defenses by attacking them. Some "white hat hackers" (as opposed to the evil "black hat hackers") made a very good living selling their attack skills, to reveal flaws, or confirm defenses. Seven years ago, this was standardized with the establishment of the EC (E Commerce Consultants) Council, which certified who were known and qualified white hat hackers. This made it easier for white hats to get work, and for companies to find qualified, and trustworthy, hackers to help with network security. Now the Department of Defense is paying to get members of its Internet security staff certified as white hats, or at least trained to be able to do what the black hats do, or recognize it. While many in the Department of Defense have been calling for a more attack-minded posture, when it comes to those who are constantly attacking Pentagon networks, the best that can be done right now is to train more insiders to think, and operate, like outsiders.
The U.S. Department of Defense is the largest user of computers, and networks, in the world. This includes 11 million Internet users, over six million PCs and over 15,000 networks. This has always attracted a lot of hacker attention. For over a decade, all the services have been scrambling to get their Cyber War defenses strengthened. But so many networks and PCs make an attractive target, and provide many potential weak areas that can be penetrated. The Department of Defense systems suffer thousands of serious attacks a day.
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|To: Glenn Petersen who wrote (4116)||4/4/2010 7:36:08 PM|
|Oracle’s Ellison Highest-Paid CEO as Paychecks Shrink, NYT Says |
By Dan Hart
April 4 (Bloomberg) -- Larry Ellison, chief executive officer of Oracle Corp., was the highest-paid U.S. CEO last year as compensation fell for the second straight year amid the recession, the New York Times reported.
Ellison received $84.5 million, all but $6.1 million of it in stock options, the newspaper said, citing a study by Equilar.
The median total compensation for U.S. executives declined 13 percent to $7.7 million, while average total pay fell 15 percent to $9.5 million for chief executives at their companies at least two years, the newspaper said, citing the survey by executive compensation tracker Equilar.
The median compensation for executives of companies receiving funds from the U.S. government’s Troubled Asset Relief Program, or TARP, was $6 million, down 34 percent from a year earlier. The median cash payout for the group rose 20 percent, while the stock and options component fell 94 percent and 92 percent, respectively, the newspaper said.
Equilar’s study for the Times covered 199 public companies with 2009 revenue of at least $5.78 billion that filed annual proxy statements by March 26, the newspaper said.
Boston Scientific Corp.’s Raymond Elliott was second in the ranking with $33.4 million, including a bonus of $2.1 million, the newspaper said. Ray Irani, chief executive of Occidental Petroleum Corp., was third with $31.4 million, up 39 percent from a year earlier, the newspaper said.
Hewlett-Packard Co.’s Mark Hurd saw his compensation decline 29 percent to $24.2 million, which included a $15.8 million bonus, in placing fourth in the survey, the newspaper said. James Hackett, chief executive of Anadarko Petroleum Corp., was fifth with $23.5 million, most of that in restricted stock and stock options, the newspaper said.
Rounding out the top 10 in sixth through 10th place, respectively, were: Alan Lafley, Procter & Gamble Co., $23.5 million; William Weldon, Johnson & Johnson, $22.8 million; Miles White, Abbott Laboratories, $21.9 million; Robert Iger, Walt Disney Co., $21.6 million; and Sam Palmisano, International Business Machines Corp., $21.2 million, the Times said.
To contact the reporter on this story: Dan Hart in Washington at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Last Updated: April 4, 2010 10:37 EDT
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|To: Glenn Petersen who wrote (4116)||4/4/2010 7:37:34 PM|
|Silicon Valley Gears Up for Acquisitions as Economy Improves |
By Ryan Flinn, Serena Saitto and Tim Mullaney
April 4 (Bloomberg) -- Silicon Valley companies looking to put their cash to work may drive a wave of mergers this year, bankers and venture capitalists say.
Companies are eager to make acquisitions because many of them have cut research budgets, says Robert Ackerman, founder and managing director of Allegis Capital in Palo Alto, California. That means they’re not as able to fall back on their own ingenuity to fuel growth. More businesses are relying on acquisitions to find their next new product or service, he says.
“The product cabinet is bare, but the market continues to move forward,” Ackerman said. “Wherever you see innovation sprint ahead, companies will have a product deficit, and will look to fill it.”
Google Inc., based in Mountain View, is currently one of California’s most acquisitive companies, buying at least five businesses in 2010. It agreed to buy Picnik Inc. last month, acquiring online photo-editing tools. Its purchase of DocVerse provided it with software that lets people share documents over the Internet. The value of the deals wasn’t disclosed.
The state’s largest single deal this year was Shiseido Co.’s purchase of San Francisco-based Bare Escentuals Inc. for about $1.7 billion.
California deal-making plummeted after 2007, when more than 2,670 transactions totaled almost $254 billion. So far this year, there have been about 530, worth $16.7 billion. That’s a higher number than in the first three months of 2009, although the value was greater in that year-ago period, at about $30 billion.
Local acquisition targets include Santa Clara’s McAfee Inc., Tibco Software Inc. in Palo Alto and Cupertino-based ArcSight Inc., according to Brent Thill, an analyst at UBS AG in San Francisco. McAfee and ArcSight both make programs that protect data, which could be more valuable as cyber threats mount. Tibco’s software helps programs of all kinds share information.
Goldman Sachs Group Inc. also cited San Francisco’s Salesforce.com Inc. and Palo Alto-based VMware Inc. as possibilities -- though those companies aren’t the most likely targets, the firm says. Salesforce.com makes online customer- relationship software, while VMware sells so-called virtualization programs, which help computers run more than one operating system. Representatives from all the targets declined to comment or didn’t respond to messages.
In Northern California, there were 45 deals involving venture-backed startups during the first three months of 2010, according to the National Venture Capital Association. That was the highest number in any quarter in at least five years.
More than 50 companies in California have at least $1 billion in cash and equivalents, which they could use for acquisitions. They’re led by a Bay area trio: San Francisco’s Wells Fargo & Co., with $68 billion; Cisco Systems Inc. in San Jose, with $39.6 billion; and Cupertino-based Apple Inc., with $24.8 billion, according to Bloomberg data.
“There’s a lot of cash on people’s balance sheets, so I think it’s a great time for startups,” said Kate Mitchell, managing director at Scale Venture Partners in Foster City, California. “They see that the faster, better, cheaper venture- backed companies are still growing, and they’re not spending on R&D, so they can be accretive.”
The value of deals in California topped out at $378.1 billion in 2000 during the Internet bubble, when there were more than 2,200 transactions. It took five years for the number of deals to surpass that earlier peak, and the dollar amount has never come close to recapturing the dot-com era’s glory.
While the latest recession was the worst economic slump since the Great Depression, it actually wasn’t as devastating to California deal-making as the dot-com collapse. After having easy access to venture money and initial public offerings in the late-1990s and 2000, money dried up. The M&A industry hit bottom in 2002, when just 1,505 transactions accounted for $95.3 billion.
The deals crept back up over the next four years, peaking again in 2006 and early 2007. There were 665 in the first quarter of 2007, valued at $59.8 billion. That’s more than three times the number reported last quarter.
Tor Braham, head of technology mergers and acquisitions for Deutsche Bank AG in San Francisco, says mergers are ready to surge again for two reasons.
“Private-equity funds have raised a lot of money before the financial crisis and there’s pressure on them to spend it before those commitments expire,” he said. Also: “Sellers want to get their deals done this year, before the expected increase in capital gains tax rate.”
Private-equity firms raised $538 billion in 2006 and $587 billion in 2007, just before the recession, according to the Private Equity Council in Washington. Capital-gains taxes, meanwhile, could rise above 20 percent for people earning more than $250,000 under budget proposals before Congress.
In the first quarter, Deutsche Bank advised Techwell Inc. in its $370 million takeover by Intersil Corp. The bank also worked with Nimsoft Inc. in its $350 million acquisition by CA Inc., and Francisco Partners on its sale of Numonyx BV to Micron Technology Inc. for about $1.3 billion.
Even as mergers pick up, it may take until next year to get back to 2007 levels, Braham says. “Mergers-and-acquisition activity in the technology industry was very quiet in the first quarter,” he said.
Matt Murphy, a partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers in Menlo Park, is more bullish.
The number of acquisitions this year will be close to the 2007 level, he says. “It feels like there is pent-up demand.”
Mobile technology is one area where the big companies want to bulk up, leading to more acquisitions, Murphy says.
“M&A is definitely picking up,” he said. “This is going to be a big year.”
To contact the reporters on this story: Ryan Flinn in San Francisco at email@example.com; Serena Saitto in New York at firstname.lastname@example.org; Tim Mullaney in New York at email@example.com
Last Updated: April 4, 2010 00:01 EDT
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|To: Glenn Petersen who wrote (4116)||4/5/2010 7:51:10 AM|
|Sakti3 Raises $7 Million|
April 4th, 2010 -- Sakti3, Inc., an Ann Arbor-based developer of next-generation lithium-ion batteries, announces the completion of its $7 million Series B round of financing. The capital, from new investor Beringea and previous investor Khosla Ventures, will fund the company’s expansion of its Michigan-based research, development and manufacturing capabilities.
Sakti3 will release separate announcements related to its technology, expansion plans, and other partners in the coming months.
“These funds will enable us to continue to develop our technology and manufacturing capabilities,” said Dr. Ann Marie Sastry, CEO of Sakti3. “We are scaling and continuing to build our team from our base in Michigan.”
The investment from Beringea was made through the InvestMichigan! Growth Capital fund, a $175 million economic growth initiative that provides expansion-stage capital to promising emerging businesses in Michigan.
“Sakti3 presents a fantastic Michigan story: some of the most innovative technology and talent from the University of Michigan is successfully building a business to speed electrification of vehicles, helping position Michigan to lead the next phase of growth in the automotive market – an industry still critical to Michigan’s future,” said Jeff Bocan, managing director at Beringea.
"We're pleased to see Sakti3's progress and growth," says Vinod Khosla, founder and principal at Khosla Ventures. "It's the kind of play we like - one that uses advanced computational science and manufacturing to produce a potentially disruptive technology. We strongly believe that the solution to clean energy is technical innovation, which is why we supported Sakti3."
Sakti3 was awarded a $3 million grant from The Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) in 2009 and has been designated as a State of Michigan Center of Energy Excellence (CoEE) in partnership with the University of Michigan.
“We aggressively worked to keep Sakti3 here because this high-tech innovator is a key player in Michigan’s growing advanced battery industry,” said Governor Jennifer M. Granholm. “As a Michigan Center of Energy Excellence partnered with the University of Michigan, Sakti3 clearly demonstrates the great value that comes when private business, universities and government work together.”
About Sakti3: Sakti3 is commercializing high performance solid state batteries that are produced using a novel manufacturing process that has been developed by the company. Sakti3 was founded in 2007 as a spin-out of the University of Michigan and has been supported to date by Khosla Ventures and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation. For more information on Sakti3, please contact Trakia Bennett at firstname.lastname@example.org.
About Beringea: Beringea is the largest venture capital firm in Michigan, with $400 million under management and more than 60 portfolio companies in the U.S. and UK. Headquartered in Farmington Hills, Mich., the firm has additional offices in London and Shanghai. Beringea has more than 20 years of investing experience in a range of sectors, including health care, clean technology, advanced manufacturing, media, Internet technologies and specialized consumer products. Among its many initiatives, Beringea is co-manager of the $175 million InvestMichigan! Growth Capital Fund, which provides venture and expansion-stage capital to emerging businesses headquartered or with substantial operations in the state of Michigan. For more information, visit beringea.com or investmichiganfund.com.
About Khosla Ventures: Khosla Ventures offers venture assistance, strategic advice and capital to entrepreneurs. The firm helps entrepreneurs extend the potential of their ideas in breakthrough scientific work in clean technology areas such as solar, battery, high efficiency engines, lighting, greener materials like cement, glass and bio-refineries for energy and bioplastics, and other environmentally friendly technologies as well as traditional venture areas like the Internet, computing, mobile and silicon technology arenas. Vinod Khosla founded the firm in 2004 and was formerly a General Partner at Kleiner Perkins and founder of Sun Microsystems. Khosla Ventures is based in Menlo Park, California. For more information visit khoslaventures.com.
About The Michigan Economic Development Corporation: The Michigan Economic Development Corporation, a partnership between the state and local communities, promotes smart economic growth by developing strategies and providing services to create and retain good jobs and a high quality of life. For more information on the MEDC’s initiatives and programs, visit the Web site at themedc.org.
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