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Volansi raises $50 million for high-speed autonomous delivery drones

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Volansi raises $50 million for high-speed autonomous delivery drones

Volansi (formerly Volans-i), which provides vertical takeoff and landing drone delivery services for commercial and defense customers, today announced a $50 million round. The company plans to use the funds to accelerate its go-to-market efforts as it expands into new territories globally.

The coronavirus pandemic has led to shelter-in-place orders around the world, restricting restaurants and other businesses to delivery or pickup options. Drones and autonomous vehicles can limit unnecessary contact between workers, couriers, and customers, potentially reducing the spread of infection. Among recent examples, Zipline’s drones have flown COVID-19 tests from parts of Ghana to the nation’s capital. Alphabet’s Wing drone business continues to make commercial deliveries to customers. And DJI conducted outreach to homeless populations in Tulsa, Oklahoma and helped reinforce social distancing guidelines in Daytona Beach, Florida.

Volansi was founded in 2015 by ex-Tesla senior operations analyst Hannan Parvizian and former Lucid Motors engineer Wesley Zheng. After securing seed capital from Y Combinator, the San Francisco-based startup led a project that reportedly set a record for drone delivery, leveraging cell networks to help navigate a simulated 97-mile trip in 2017.

Volansi offers several unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), all of which tap open source and platform-agnostic control systems capable of “fully” autonomous flight. Thanks to redundant communication systems that kick in when GPS isn’t available, the UAVs can take off and land on moving platforms with minimal ground infrastructure.

The VOLY C10 (codenamed Gemini), which Volansi claims has completed operations in the U.S., Africa, and the Caribbean, can carry payloads of up to 10 pounds and fly for 60 minutes (about 50 miles) at 60 miles per hour. Meanwhile, the beefier VOLY C20 (codenamed Megamouth) can handle up to 20 pounds in addition to its 10-pound sensor payload and cruise at speeds exceeding 75 miles per hour for over eight hours.

The UAVs take one or two people 15 minutes to assemble, Volansi says, and were designed to fit into the bed of a truck. Customers can optionally have Volansi team members handle missions and deliveries, with packages priced for industries like construction, oil and gas, mining, and health care.

Volansi became involved in humanitarian relief after opening its production facility in Concord, California. The company worked with Merck and nonprofit organization Direct Relief to develop a drone-based medical supply system in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria. More recently, Volansi partnered with the North Carolina Department of Transportation and U.S. Federal Aviation Administration to perform tests and cargo delivery flights under the UAS Integration Pilot Program (IPP), with plans to ramp up operations in the future.

Reports show the commercial drone industry is continuing to grow quickly, albeit from a small base. A 2017 forecast from Gartner projected the number of commercial drones sold that year would exceed 174,000. And about $454 million was thrown at UAV startups in 2016 alone.

Volansi plans to eventually release new UAVs capable of longer-range flights. The company claims to have tested prototypes capable of traveling 500 miles, with top speeds exceeding 200 miles per hour.

Icon Ventures led the series B round in Volansi, with participation from Lightspeed Venture Partners and Y Combinator as well as new backers Harpoon Ventures and Merck Global Health Innovation Fund. It brings the company’s total raised to over $75 million.

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Christine founded Sports Grind Entertainment with an aim to bring relevant and unaltered Sports news to the general public with a specific view point for each story catered by the team. She is a proficient journalist who holds a reputable portfolio with proficiency in content analysis and research.

Christine founded Sports Grind Entertainment with an aim to bring relevant and unaltered Sports news to the general public with a specific view point for each story catered by the team. She is a proficient journalist who holds a reputable portfolio with proficiency in content analysis and research.

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Protesters threaten to ‘knock out’ diners in Florida amid unrest

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Protesters threaten to ‘knock out’ diners in Florida amid unrest

Peter Kirsanow, member of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, reacts on ‘Fox & Friends.’

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Christine founded Sports Grind Entertainment with an aim to bring relevant and unaltered Sports news to the general public with a specific view point for each story catered by the team. She is a proficient journalist who holds a reputable portfolio with proficiency in content analysis and research.

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Bayer resolves more Roundup cases, judge keeps pause on litigation

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3 ‘Strong Buy’ Stocks With Over 7% Dividend Yield

Markets are volatile, there can be no doubt. So far this month, the S&P 500 has fallen 9% from its peak. The tech-heavy NASDAQ, which had led the gainers all summer, is now leading the on the fall, having lost 11% since September 2. The three-week tumble has investors worried that we may be on the brink of another bear market.The headwinds are strong. The usual September swoon, the upcoming election, doubts about another round of economic stimulus – all are putting downward pressure on the stock markets.Which doesn’t mean that there are no opportunities. As the old saw goes, “Bulls and bears can both make money, while the pigs get slaughtered.” A falling market may worry investors, but a smart strategy can prevent the portfolio from losing too much long-term value while maintaining a steady income. Dividend stocks, which feed into the income stream, can be a key part of such a strategy.Using the data available in the TipRanks database, we’ve pulled up three stocks with high yields – from 7% to 11%, or up to 6 times the average dividend found on the S&P 500 index. Even better, these stocks are seen as Strong Buys by Wall Street’s analysts. Let’s find out why.Williams Companies (WMB)We start with Williams Companies, an Oklahoma-based energy company. Williams controls pipelines connecting Rocky Mountain natural gas fields with the Pacific Northwest region, and Appalachian and Texan fields with users in the Northeast and transport terminals on the Gulf Coast. The company’s primary operations are the processing and transport of natural gas, with additional ops in crude oil and energy generation. Williams handles nearly one-third of all US commercial and residential natural gas use.The essential nature of Williams’ business – really, modern society simply cannot get along without reliable energy sources – has insulated the company from some of the economic turndown in 1H20. Quarterly revenues slid from $2.1 billion at the end of last year to $1.9 billion in Q1 and $1.7 billion in Q2. EPS in the first half was 26 cents for Q1 and 25 cents for Q2 – but this was consistent with EPS results for the previous three quarters. The generally sound financial base supported the company’s reliable dividend. Williams has been raising that payment for the past four years, and even the corona crisis could not derail it. At 40 cents per common share, the dividend annualizes to $1.60 and yields an impressive 7.7%. The next payment is scheduled for September 28.Truist analyst Tristan Richardson sees Williams as one of the midstream sector’s best positioned companies.“We continue to look to WMB as a defensive component of midstream and favor its 2H prospects as broader midstream grasps at recovery… Beyond 2020 we see the value proposition as a stable footprint with free cash flow generation even in the current environment. We also see room for incremental leverage reduction throughout our forecast period on scaled back capital plans and even with the stable dividend. We look for modestly lower capex in 2021, however unlike more G&P oriented midstream firms, we see a project backlog in downstream that should support very modest growth,” Richardson noted.Accordingly, Richardson rates WMB shares as a Buy, and his $26 price target implies a 30% upside potential from current levels. (To watch Richardson’s track record, click here)Overall, the Strong Buy analyst consensus rating on WMB is based on 11 Buy reviews against just a single Hold. The stock’s current share price is $19.91 and the average price target is $24.58, making the one-year upside potential 23%. (See WMB stock analysis on TipRanks)Magellan Midstream (MMP)The second stock on our list is another midstream energy company, Magellan. This is another Oklahoma-based firm, with a network of assets across much of the US from the Rocky Mountains to the Mississippi Valley, and into the Southeast. Magellan’s network transports crude oil and refined products, and includes Gulf Coast export shipping terminals.Magellan’s total revenues rose sequentially to $782.8 in Q1, and EPS came in at $1.28, well above the forecast. These numbers turned down drastically in Q2, as revenue fell to $460.4 million and EPS collapsed to 65 cents. The outlook for Q3 predicts a modest recovery, with EPS forecast at 85 cents. The company strengthened its position in the second quarter with an issue of 10-year senior notes, totaling $500 million, at 3.25%. This reduced the company’s debt service payments, and shored up liquidity, making possible the maintenance of the dividend.The dividend was kept steady at $1.0275 per common share quarterly. Annualized, this comes to $4.11, a good absolute return, and gives a yield of 11.1%, giving MMP a far higher return than Treasury bonds or the average S&P-listed stock.Well Fargo analyst Praneeth Satish believes that MMP has strong prospects for recovery. “[We] view near-term weakness in refined products demand as temporary and recovering. In the interim, MMP remains well positioned given its strong balance sheet and liquidity position, and ratable cash flow stream…” Satish goes on to note that the dividend appears secure for the near-term: “The company plans to maintain the current quarterly distribution for the rest of the year.”In line with this generally upbeat outlook, Satish gives MMP an Overweight (i.e. Buy) rating, and a $54 price target that implies 57% growth in the coming year. (To watch Satish’s track record, click here)Net net, MMP shares have a unanimous Strong Buy analyst consensus rating, a show of confidence by Wall Street’s analyst corps. The stock is selling for $33.44, and the average price target of $51.13 implies 53% growth in the year ahead. (See MMP stock analysis on TipRanks)Ready Capital Corporation (RC)The second stock on our list is a real estate investment trust. No surprise finding one of these in a list of strong dividend payers – REITs have long been known for their high dividend payments. Ready Capital, which focuses on the commercial mortgage niche of the REIT sector, has a portfolio of loans in real estate securities and multi-family dwellings. RC has provided more than $3 billion in capital to its loan customers.In the first quarter of this year, when the coronavirus hit, the economy turned south, and business came to a standstill, Ready Capital took a heavy blow. Revenues fell by 58%, and Q1 EPS came in at just one penny. Things turned around in Q2, however, after the company took measures – including increasing liquidity, reducing liabilities, and increasing involvement in government-sponsored lending – to shore up business. Revenues rose to $87 million and EPS rebounded to 70 cents.In the wake of the strong Q2 results, RC also started restoring its dividend. In Q1 the company had slashed the payment from 40 cents to 25 cents; in the most recent declaration, for an October 30 payment, the new dividend is set at 30 cents per share. This annualizes to $1.20 and gives a strong yield of 9.9%.Crispin Love, writing from Piper Sandler, notes the company’s success in getting back on track.“Given low interest rates, Ready Capital had a record $1.2B in residential mortgage originations versus our $1.1B estimate. Gain on sale margins were also at record levels. We are calculating gain on sale margins of 3.7%, up from 2.4% in 1Q20,” Love wrote.In a separate note, written after the dividend declaration, Love added, “We believe that the Board’s actions show an increased confidence for the company to get back to its pre-pandemic $0.40 dividend. In recent earnings calls, management has commented that its goal is to get back to stabilized earnings above $0.40, which would support a dividend more in-line with pre-pandemic levels.”To this end, Love rates RC an Overweight (i.e. Buy) along with a $12 price target, suggesting an upside of 14%. (To watch Love’s track record, click here)All in all, Ready Capital has a unanimous Strong Buy analyst consensus rating, based on 4 recent positive reviews. The stock has an average price target of $11.50, which gives a 9% upside from the current share price of $10.51. (See RC stock analysis on TipRanks)To find good ideas for dividend stocks trading at attractive valuations, visit TipRanks’ Best Stocks to Buy, a newly launched tool that unites all of TipRanks’ equity insights.Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the featured analysts. The content is intended to be used for informational purposes only. It is very important to do your own analysis before making any investment.

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Christine founded Sports Grind Entertainment with an aim to bring relevant and unaltered Sports news to the general public with a specific view point for each story catered by the team. She is a proficient journalist who holds a reputable portfolio with proficiency in content analysis and research.

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Animal Crossing: New Horizons is getting Halloween fun and reprinted Amiibo cards

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Animal Crossing: New Horizons is getting Halloween fun and reprinted Amiibo cards

Nintendo announced today that Animal Crossing: New Horizons‘ Halloween event will start September 30 via a free update. It’ll also be reprinting more of those elusive Amiibo cards.

New Horizons has been Nintendo’s big hit of the year. Since releasing for Switch in March, the social simulator has sold over 22 million copies. Free updates and seasonal events like these give those players a reason to keep playing.

And the Amiibo cards will give them something to buy. Tapping these cards to your Switch can unlock game content. For New Horizons, that means inviting specific villagers to your island. The Animal Crossing Amiibo cards debuted in 2015 along with the 3DS game Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer, but they became a hot commodity for New Horizons fans looking for an easy way to get their favorite villagers to their towns.

Now they’ll be able to buy them new instead of turning to eBay.

 

The Halloween event will have players growing pumpkins, crafting spooky DIY costumes and furniture, and collecting candy. It’ll be the game’s biggest seasonal event since Bunny Day drowned us in egg back in April. With the pandemic still raging on, this may be the best way to have some traditional Halloween fun this year.

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Christine founded Sports Grind Entertainment with an aim to bring relevant and unaltered Sports news to the general public with a specific view point for each story catered by the team. She is a proficient journalist who holds a reputable portfolio with proficiency in content analysis and research.

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