12 RETECH, CORPORATION (OTC:RETC)
The Retail World is Changing Fast – Well…Sort of Fast. Well….May It’s Changing, But in Different Ways Than We First Thought.
Back in the heyday of the early Internet boom, which was from approximately 1997 to 2005, there were many predictions that the Internet and e-commerce would kill off brick and mortar retail establishments. Many Wall Street and industry analysts, journalists and consultants, predicted sharp declines in retail sales in favor of consumers going online to purchase goods and services. For a while it seemed that retailers were going to go the way of the buggy whip, never to be heard from again.
But it didn’t happen… Today, consumers still love to shop at retail locations. Let’s look at the facts.
As outlined in Exhibit One, online sales are growing at a very robust rate. During the second quarter of 2017, e-commerce sales grew by just over 16% on a year-over-year basis. This rate trounces the growth rate of traditional brick and mortar retailers, which was up only 2.9% during the same period. While the e-commerce numbers are quite dramatic, the percentage growth rate tells only part of the story.
First of all, the growth rate of 2.9% for traditional retailing is relatively healthy considering U.S. GDP growth was only 1.4% for the same period of time. So, while many in the business and investment communities continue to talk about the decline of traditional retailing, it is in fact growing at twice the rate of GDP. Many American industries would welcome growth of nearly 3% per year.
Exhibit One – Online Sales Growing Fast! – But, Still Relatively Small
Secondly, the growth rate for e-commerce is off a much smaller base. So what appears to be a huge growth number in percentage terms, is a significantly less dramatic in actual dollar terms.
Additionally, as is also outlined in Exhibit One, e-commerce sales accounted for only 8.9% of total retail sales, meaning, of course, that more than 91% of retail purchases did not occur online. Considering the constant headlines about how e-commerce seems to be taking over the world, we believe that most Americans, and many investors, would be relatively surprised that e-commerce has penetrated the total retail marketplace by less than 10%.
In fact, most of all the predictions made during the early days of Internet have proven to be wrong – Online sales have not put the majority of retailers out of business. Many analysts, retail executives, and others who watch the retail market sector, point out that while online sales are still a relatively small portion of the overall, it is the trend that is particularly alarming. We also believe this is also open for debate.
As is outlined in Exhibit Two, the growth trend in e-commerce is strong and rather consistent, and the curve is not flattening out. During the first quarter of 2007, online was approximately 3.5% of the total and it has taken more than ten years to grow to what is now still less than 10% of the total. While we not argue that the growth rate has been insignificant, it has certainly been much slower than almost anyone had predicted.
We also believe this growth rate overstates the changes in the retail industry. Much of the e-commerce growth seen over the past ten years has occurred within a limited set of sub-markets. A significant portion of the actual growth has been in commodity types of products that are leaving stores like Target, Walgreens, Macy’s, Sears and now are appearing in the revenue columns of online retailers such as Amazon, Staples, and others. When the majority of these commodity products are removed from the equation, the growth in e-commerce is even far less dramatic.
Clearly, the brick and mortar retail industry is still quite robust and we are not the only ones holding this position. The opinion of many analysts and consultants has changed radically in just the past few years. For example, high-end consulting firm Bain & Company released a report during mid-2017 indicating its belief that by the year 2025, 75% of retail sales will still occur within stores.
Exhibit Two – E-Commerce versus Traditional Retail Growth
Source: U.S. Department of Commerce
Most Consumers Still Really
Like Brick and Mortar
Shopping – It’s Not Going Away
There is even more good news for traditional retailers. Even though online shopping has never been easier, consumers still value the in-store experience of reviewing and purchasing merchandise. The ability for consumers to see, touch, evaluate – and most importantly to purchase the product and leave the retail establishment with the product in hand – are parts of the retail experience consumers still highly value and, in our opinion, are not prepared to give up any time soon.
As is outlined in Exhibit Three, the biggest reason consumers still highly value the in-store retail experience is the ability to see, touch, feel and try out items before purchasing. This is followed closely by the ability to take items home immediately.
These are experiences that online shopping from the home or office cannot replicate.
Exhibit Three – Reasons for Choosing to Shop in Stores Versus Online
Source: Retail Dive
Even though we point out above that the traditional retail industry is likely in better shape than is portrayed by the media, there are certainly major issues for many brick and mortar operations, with many retailers clearly experiencing major financial issues. Many of these traditional brick and mortar players have sought to shore up failing businesses through the addition of e-commerce operations. A few of these troubled market participants have seen success, but for most, success has been difficult to achieve.
For example, retailers – Walmart, Sears, Walgreens, Home Depot, Target, Nike, and The Gap – have done an abysmal job in managing the balance between “bricks and clicks” with all but only one of these retailers having e-commerce revenues that are less than 10% of total sales. Many times, even if they get enough online traffic, the amount of money they make online does not offset what they are losing offline. But, even many of these retailers still have relatively healthy businesses and while many are closing stores in order to maintain profitability, there are few real concerns that most will not survive over the next few years – of course, there are exceptions.
The Internet and
E-Commerce Have Not
Killed the Bricks – But
the Threats are Building
While many of the early predictions for the demise of traditional retailing have proven to be overly alarmist, there are several signs that are beginning to really worry the retail industry. For example, while overall sales have not declined, foot traffic in many retail locations is trending downward at an accelerating rate. Many executives and analysts feel many traditional shopping venues are now near a tipping point that will begin to radically affect revenues.
A-class malls continue to thrive due to superior mixes of establishments. Venues with optimal mixes of retail, restaurant, and entertainment thrive in affluent communities. However, B and C-class malls continued to struggle to find customers as their anchor department stores such as Macy’s and Sears, and other major tenants, continue to close.
While the growing popularity of e-commerce certainly has contributed to the issues being experienced by the less successful retailers, there are many other contributing factors. Many large retailers failed to follow important consumer trends and have thus become irrelevant and when these anchor tenants begin to fail there is a cascade effect that affects the smaller retailers located in close proximity.
In many ways, we believe, those who have been predicting and following the less than developed movement from brick and mortar to e-commerce, have been chasing the wrong set of dynamics.
E-commerce, Internet technologies, social media and other Web 2.0 commerce tools are not set to replace brick and mortar retail, but instead will simply change the in-person retail experience very significantly.
With the advent of mobile technology things are now very different, further complicating the decisions that many retailers must make in order to remain relevant.
Retail – Millennials Driving Change
There are approximately ninety million Americans born between the years of 1980 through approximately 2000. Many refer to members of this group as Millennials. This group, which accounts for roughly 23% of all Americans and has a combined retail buying power of over $200 billion annually, also directly influences the purchasing of approximately $1 trillion of additional goods. Millennials comprise that single largest consumer group in U.S. history, even dwarfing the size of the post World War II baby boomer generation.
There are many attributes to Millennial’s that differ greatly from previous generations. These differences are having a profound effect on retailers and how a wide range of products and services are being marketed.
§ Technology – Millennial’s operate in “Always On” digital world. While baby boomers may “use” smart phones, Millennials “integrate” smart phones into their lives. Millennials are the first true digital American generation.
§ Social Media Connection – When Goldman Sachs asked Millennials, “After searching online for products or services, how do you communicate with others about the product or service” – 44% indicated they would send a text messages and 38% would post on social media about the search. Older generations send e-mail or use the phone – not the case with Millennials.
§ Less Disposal Income – Millennials have more debt and less disposable income compared to previous generations at comparable ages. As a result, Millennials want more information prior to making a purchase and do more comparison shopping. Millennials are VERY price sensitive, but they are also very will to spend when true value is found.
§ Brand Love – Millennials love brands that can offer true value and when they find these brands they are loyal customers. Getting to brand acceptance, however, comes only after careful analysis, comparison and information review, mainly via online sources and input from social media contacts.
§ Sharing of Success – Millennials want to share their success in purchases via social media and they want to do so without delay. This sharing provides strong influences for future purchases within their social circle.
The New Retail Space – Think
Like a Millennial
Many of the successful retail formulas in today’s marketplace have already begun to integrate the online and offline worlds. These innovations allow customers to review products or to gain information on the web or on apps as a prelude to shopping in the physical store. Others, Amazon and Wal-Mart, for example, now actively encourage customers to order online and pick up merchandise at the physical store location.
While these retailers have begun to change attitudes relative to online versus in-store, many who closely follow the retail industry still believe there is a significant way to go relative to these approaches. For example, many cutting edge retail consultants argue that retailers need to approach marketing in a manner that is more consistent with the thought process of the ever-important Millennial shopper. They argue Millennials don’t wake ups and think, “I will be online this morning and off-line later.” – their lives are much more of a merger of consistently being in a state of being both online and off-line at the same time. There is simply no longer a firm distinction.
One of the biggest trends we are seeing in retail marketing is the movement toward thinking like a Millennial. After all, Millennials don’t draw a firm distinction between online and offline, yet most retailers still have firm delineations. These antiquated delineations need to change.
We, along with many who follow the retail sector, believe we are on the dawn of the new retail era that will be anchored in a truly merged world between the physical and the online that will allow shoppers to truly integrate the two realms. Many are predicting that with the next five to ten years, the business models that are currently viewed as state-of-the-art – Amazon, for example – will look as outdated as does the old Sears & Roebuck catalog of the 20th century.
After all, is not Amazon really just an online catalog of products with a great delivery service!
The retailers of tomorrow will likely be much more than simple digital catalogs with delivery services, but instead will truly integrate the world’s of offline line and online to create unique customer experiences.
In essence – marketing like a Millennial.
Introducing 12 ReTech Corporation
12 ReTech Corporation, is a new entrant into the retail convergence marketplace. The Company’s common shares trade on the over-the-counter market under the symbol RETC. The Company is officially registered in Nevada, but also has operations in Hong Kong and Tokyo.
Management of the Company and those in the retail industry refer the Company as “12”.
Management’s stated goal is to lead the profitable convergence of retail and online commerce through technology. We believe this mission statement outlines almost perfectly what this Company is trying to achieve.
As we outlined above, retailers have begun to integrate the worlds of online and physical retail, but there is still considerable work to be done toward offering consumers a truly converged retail world. 12 is working toward providing such solutions to the retail industry.
12 is organized into two operating subsidiary divisions. 12 Technology Corporation, which manages the Company’s convergence platform and 12 Retail Corporation, which has the goal of launching at least two boutique stores showcasing the Company’s revolutionary retail technology, while at the same time helping innovative brands communicate messages to consumers.
While the Company is technology rich relative to retailing convergence solutions, the Company also seeks growth through mergers and acquisitions of both other technology companies and retailers. To this end, 12 has recently announced its plans to acquire Colorado Trading and Clothing Company, which does business as Active Fashion Group. This acquisition is covered later in the report.
The 12 Platform
As is shown in Exhibit Four, the Company’s product offering is a set of interactive technologies that will be licensed to retailers. 12 will customize and develop the applications based on the retailers’ needs, install the platforms within the retail establishments and help the retailer operate the platforms.
The Company refers to this platform as its Unifying Shopping Experience System, or USXS.
The platform, in many ways, can be characterized as an interactive shopping cart that combines normal e-commerce shopping cart functions with technologies that many consumers have already integrated into their daily lives – smart phones, web browsing, social media, use of apps, etc.
One of the major objectives of the USXS is to merger the in store experience with multi-media experiences. As we outline above, younger consumers and shoppers have already merged media, social media and online capabilities into their everyday lives and into their thought processes. The USXS approach to retail marketing simply capitalize is this integrated thought process in order to better present products and brands in a manner consistent with modern Millennial-oriented thinking and behaviors.
Exhibit Four – Unifying Shopping Experience System – USXS
Source: 12 ReTech, Corp.
By introducing this technology platform into retail establishments, retailers will be able to offer their customers a converged environment that capitalizes on the best aspects of both the brick and mortar and online retail worlds.
The Company makes use of three proprietary technologies, which are integrated with other technologies into a comprehensive immersive retail solution. While we are impressed by the merits of each of these individual technologies, we believe the integration that has been achieved is especially impressive.
The 12 Mirror
The Company’s 12 Mirror technology is the merger of regular retail mirror and a large touch screen computer monitor/screen. The 12 Mirror technology is able to recognize the particular type or brand of clothing the retail customer is trying on in a dressing room and can even take photos so that the consumer can engage in social media sharing in real time. A significant amount of customization can be integrated into this technology that can perform functions such as reserving fitting rooms, detection of various products, in addition to clothing, and even data collection that can then be conveyed to the owners of the retail establishments, product designers and/or product manufacturers.
While a graphic of 12 Mirror is provided as Exhibit Five, we would encourage the reader to visit the Company’s website to view the very high quality videos the Company has produced, which further demonstrate and explain this state of the art technology.
Exhibit Five – 12 Mirror – The Next Generation of Retail Mirror Technology
Source: 12 ReTech Corporation
The 12 Kiosk technology offered by 12 is an in-store digital screen application that allows customers of to browse for products and/or to gain information about the products that are available in the store or that can be ordered from the retailer. The platform allows the customer to place orders for later deliveries or to pay for items to be taken away from the store. This platform can also serve as an important data collection point for the retailer.
12 Mobile App
The Company’s mobile app is an important aspect to this technology platform that ties the other technologies together into a single interface for the entire platform. The application is available for both the I-Phone and Android platforms. After downloading the app, consumers are able to receive offers from the retailer in real time while at the retail establishment or outside of the location. This is a function that has long been discussed within the retail environment, but it has been difficult for retailers to implement.
The app can also be used to pay for products while in the store or to order and pay for products from outside of the store.
Exhibit Six – 12 Mobile App
Source: 12 ReTech, Corp.
There is also an important social media component to the 12 App. The app enables the shopper in real time to receive feedback from members of shopper’s social circle relative to the purchase decision. We believe this aspect of the buying process cannot be underestimated considering the extreme importance that Millennials place on social media.
Through the use of the app, retailers can turn the shopping experience into a truly social experience that can be shared with family and friends.
It’s all part of allowing Millennials to shop in a manner that is consistent with their thought processes.
Commerce ERP and POS
While much of the platform is oriented toward the consumer experience, the Company has integrated important features that help retailers manage their businesses.
An important aspect of the platform is application administration, which enables the retailer from any computerized platform, to manage the entire system. Through this administrative app, the retailer can send offers to potential customers who are in the database, send promotions to shoppers while in the retail location and to even provide a map to customers who are in the retail establishment to assist them in finding particular products or to find help in checking out.
The ERP and POS functions are likely not as glitzy as the customer facing features, but in order for these solutions to be widely implemented, the backend and management functions must be not only powerful, but also easy to use.
Interactive Displays and Video Shopping
The Company also makes available to retailers other applications that can be used on a standalone basis or integrated into an overall immersive experience. Interactive display technology provided by 12 enables retailers to offer large video screens that customers can utilize to interact directly with product and brands – simply touch the screen in order to gain more information or to purchase.
The Company’s technologies also allow for the integration of video shopping, which includes important pause and purchase features that allow the consumer to identify particular products within the video and purchase these directly from either an interactive display or from a smart phone, tablet or computer.
Exhibit Seven – Example of 12 ReTech’s Interactive Display Technology
Source: 12 ReTech, Corp.
E-Mail and Ringless Voice Mail
The platform also holds the potential to allow retailers to integrate technologies such as ringless voice mail and ordinary e-mail into the overall platform. The technology of ringless voice mail allows a marketer to leave a voicemail with the consumer without disturbing the consumer with an actual “ring” on his or her smart phone. Many marketers have considered this technology, but few have integrated this innovation into their marketing efforts. We are intrigued by the possibility of integrating ringless into the immersive 12 platform, especially considering the target millennial market is unaccustomed to receiving voicemails. For this reason, this offering could be a unique and high impact.
The 12 platform also allows retailers to send ordinary e-mails to customers and prospective customers. The platform offered by 12 also includes full integration capabilities into the retailer’s customer relationship management (CRM) database.
12 Ad Tech
While above we outlined the Company is divided into two main operating subsidiaries – 12 Technology Corporation and 12 Retail Corporation, a third area of interest for management is programmatic advertising, which is the use of software and computer applications to purchase and place digital advertising. In the past, the advertising purchase and placement function had been exclusively human controlled. Automation provides for the potential for far greater efficiencies.
While management has yet to provide details about its plans in this area, we believe it is a business opportunity that could be lucrative for the Company. The Company’s proprietary technologies can be utilized to provide this programmatic advertising function to users of the overall 12 platform or could operate independently. We suspect investors in 12 will be hearing more about this potential business opportunity in the future.
Active Fashion Acquisition – The management team of 12 ReTech Corporation has been very active since the Company was organized and it appears to be making significant progress toward achieving corporate goals.
Likely the most exciting achievement over the past year was the recent announcement that the Company plans to acquire Active Fashion Group, which could contribute at least $20 million in annual revenues to the Company. Active Fashion Group was founded in 1998 and concentrates on lifestyle apparel brands for both men and women. The main brands marketed by Active Fashion are Soybu, Colorado Clothing and the Tranquility Brand. Most of the sales have been through retailers and there is a strong emphasis on warehouse club stores. Considerable success has also been seen among national retail chains. The operation also has an extensive web presence, operating successful e-commerce sites at www.soybu.com, www.Coloradoclothing.com and www.activewearuseoutlet.com.
We believe this acquisition will afford 12 with a strong opportunity to penetrate several retailers for its integrated immersive technology retail platform. The Company indicates this acquisition could close as early as the end of 2017.
We also think this acquisition could add important credibility in the minds of investors. The Company currently a technology start-up with little revenues. Being able to book almost $20 million of revenue per year from Active Fashion will add a sense of additional value to the overall 12 ReTech story.
Part of the stated goal of management is to acquire both technology platforms and retail operations that can be integrated into the overall technology platform. We suspect the acquisition of Active Fashion Group will simply be the first of several other acquisitions that will be completed by this management team. The Company has created an entirely separate subsidiary in order to manage such acquisitions.
We believe acquisitions will be a major component of the 12 ReTech story moving forward.
Acquisition of 12 Japan Limited – In early August of 2017, the Company announced it had entered into a share exchange agreement to acquire 100% of the company developing and marketing the 12 ReTech technologies for the Japanese market. As a result, 12 Japan has become a wholly owned subsidiary.
We believe this acquisition could strengthen the Company’s position in penetrating the important high-end Japanese consumer market and will be an important addition to the already operational Hong Kong based subsidiary, which was integrated into the corporate portfolio during June of 2017.
The corporate parent paid five million shares of restricted stock and 500,000 shares of preferred stock in order to acquire the Japanese operation. The agreement also called for the cancellation of five million shares of common stock held by Company officers and the cancellation of 500,000 preferred shares, effectively making the acquisition neutral from a dilution standpoint to minority shareholders.
12 ReTech was originally formed in late 2014 as DEVAGO INC. During mid-2017, 12 ReTech and DEVAGO entered into an agreement to exchange shares, creating 12 ReTech in its current corporate form.
The trading symbol was then changed to RETC.
12 is fully reporting with the U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission, having most recently filed on July 11, 2017. Since that time, the Company has filed several other disclosures with the Exchange. Management has expressed a firm commitment to remain fully reporting and compliant with the SEC and we commend this decision. It is becoming increasingly difficult for small companies to meet the requirements that go along with being fully reporting, so we always think it is noteworthy when companies make the extra effort to remain compliant.
We certainly think that remaining fully reporting adds a significant level of credibility for investors.
As of the most recent filing, there were approximately 77 million common shares outstanding. As of August 11, 2017, the outstanding common shares totaled approximately 76 million. Of these shares, there are only approximately 18 million currently trading in the market (the “float”) with approximately 57 million common shares tied up outside of the float or in restricted share status. There are also five million outstanding preferred shares, most of which are owned by CEO, Angelo Ponzetta.
We think it is important to point out the low number of shares in the common float as we expect the 12 ReTech story to be particularly news driven as the Company moves its platform into the marketplace – low float stocks often have been moves on news – and this could be the case with RETC.
We view this low flow situation as a positive for risk-averse small-cap investors who are interested in potentially hyper-growth situations.
We also think it is also noteworthy there is no convertible debt listed on the Company’s balance sheet, with only a small amount of ordinary trade payables.
Exhibit Eight – 12 ReTech Capital Table as of August 11, 2017
Source: Securities & Exchange Commission Filings
In addition to running the corporate entity, the management team of 12 ReTech will need to spend considerable time evangelizing for this innovative immersive retail platform. The team members have considerable experience in the retail industry, but are also highly skilled relative to technology platforms.
Over the coming weeks and months we believe it is likely that this team will be significantly augmented with additional management team members, and possibly high profile board members
Founder and Chief Executive Officer
Source: 12 ReTech, Corp
Angelo was raised in Italy and educated in Switzerland. He has degrees in Engineering, Organizational Management and Business Administration.
Angelo has worked for approximately 10 years from 1982 to 1992 doing programming and development of processing systems at Kern AG, VonRoll AG and then in the IT department of Swiss Volksbank Ltd., a Swiss Bank. In 1992 he was offered an opportunity in Asia and moved to Japan to join Swiss Trading company UTC Japan, in the position of Executive Director to oversee the entire finance and marketing department of Fashion, Jewelry and Watches. In 1994 he was then promoted to President and Representative Director and managed the entire company including offices in Taiwan, Singapore and Hong Kong.
In 1999, Angelo was then asked by CARAN d’ACHE (Luxury Writing Instruments, Leather and Fine Art Material manufacturer based in Geneva), to build-up the brand in Japan. In 2001, his responsibilities were expanded to oversee the Asian Pacific Region as President.
In 2010 he partially moved to Hong Kong, living between the two cities Tokyo and Hong Kong. With his experience in the retail and distribution field, coupled with technology experience, he had a very clear idea in his mind to create a change in retail marketing. His idea became clear by 2011 where he created a plan and started intensively working on the idea till it became a truly explosive concept by 2012.
Angelo was actively involved in many business organizations including several Foreign Chambers of Commerce in Japan. He served on the EBC (European Business Council) Board of Governors, as well as the Board of the Japan Swiss Society and was for a full term of two years (2005/2006) the President of the Swiss Chamber of Commerce in Japan.
Chief Financial Officer
Source: 12 ReTech, Corp.
With a doctor degree in engineering and business administration, Daniele Monteverde brings to the company a long career in management and 30+ years of experience in Japan and international markets.
He has successfully managed and overseen a variety of projects for multinationals in the fields of visual arts, music, video games and advertising.
Mr. Monteverde’s resume includes the following: 2015-present • Founder & Vice President of 12 HOLDINGS, Inc. (HONG KONG) • Founder and Director of 12 JAPAN, Inc. Business Sector: IT, Mobile Applications, e-Commerce. 1987-present • Founder & President of Latina International Corporation, Inc. (TOKYO) Business Sector: Branding, Advertising. 1999-present • Founder & President of Arriba Entertainment, Inc. Business Sector: Music Production. 2005-present • President & CEO of Aquarium, Inc. Business Sector: Video production, video and TV-program editing, sound recording and mixing, video duplication, mobile content marketing and distribution. 2010-2011 • Founding partner & Vice-president of Alliance Global Partners, Inc. Business Sector: International network of independent companies active in the fields of advertising and communications. 2010-2012 • President & CEO of S International Architects, Inc. Concept development and architectural design of commercial, residential and special purpose buildings. Ph.D. in Engineering (Specialization in Business Administration) National University of Buenos Aires (U.N.B.A.) (February 1974).
Mr. Monteverde is one of the original founders of the company, along with Angelo Ponzetta. It was recently announced that Mr. Monteverde had also been appointed to the board of directors of 12 ReTech.
Mamoru Wakimoto – Marketing Manager
Mamoru has 8 years of consulting experience in the field of Information Technology systems. He graduated from Keio University, and is a certified consultant for SAP financial modules and SUN certified Java programmer. He also has a Licence in US CAP Certified Public Accounting.
He has worked as consultant at Accenture Japan for over 8 years with projects in Japan and China.
Shohei Murata – Technology Manager
Shohei has more than 8 years system design and programming experience. He has Bachelor Degree, in Applied Mathematics from the University of California. Shohei has worked and got his experience while working in various companies like Accenture Technology Japan, AP Outsourcing LTD, Japan, and in Itoya Japan.
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