Daily News Mug

August 1, 2014
by The Mug

TrustCo Bank: More than 110 Years of Financial Services

One of the most trusted commercial banks in the United States is TrustCo Bank. The company has been around for more than 110 years now. Carrying the slogan, “Your Hometown Bank” TrustCo Bank has 134 branches in the state of Florida, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York and in Vermont.

The company’s main office is located in Glenville, New York. The business provides banking services to the government, corporations, organizations and individual depositors. They have residential mortgage, home equity lines of credit, installment loans, commercial and construction loan services. TrustCo also operates more than 100 automated teller machines in New York alone. The company is listed as an Equal Housing Lender and is known as a portfolio lender, which basically means that it solely keeps ownership of any loans made.

TrustCo Bank is an insured member of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and was once ranked as the 4th best bank in the country by the U.S. Banker Magazine.

July 29, 2014
by The Mug

Trulia: Helping You Find Your Next Home

As technology evolved, so did businesses. In the industry of real estate, one of the well known sites to help buyers and property owners dispose and purchase their real estate is Trulia. It was in 2005 that the company launched its beta product and has now grown into a multi-million venture.

Based in San Francisco, California, the inception of the business sprouted from the frustration of its founders in looking for an apartment in the San Francisco Bay area. While scouting for a place, they realized three things: that the information they have to look for an apartment is insufficient or that it’s out of date or worse, both. Pete Flint and Sami Inkinen were the creators of the website who met at the Stanford Graduate School of Business and used the power of technology to simplify the process of finding a new place.

From a simple venture, the company now offers home buyers, real estate professionals, renters and sellers the tools needed to simply the process of acquiring a new home. Their website lists the properties that are on sale and are for rent in a specific area. They have also grown the company from a single location to a business with two other offices in New York City and in Denver, Colorado. Other than the property listing they provide, they also give renters and buyers the much needed price trend information. To further enhance the experience of looking for a new place, they have also partnered with sites like SpotCrime.com, EveryBlock.com and CrimeReports.com. With connections to these web sites, consumers are able to get an overview of the safety of their possible neighborhood.

Trulia is listed as part of the top websites frequently visited. In 2013, the company’s website was listed by Alexa Ranking on the 604th spot. They have reported that they have over 44 million unique visitors every month.

July 25, 2014
by The Mug

Sunesis Pharma: Battling the Big C

In the quest for a cure for cancer, several companies have launched their businesses with strong focus on the discovery, development and commercialization of products that would combat the big C. Sunesis Pharma is one of these companies.

As a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company, they specialize in small molecular therapeutics that are tapped for the unmet needs in medicine, especially in the field of oncology. It was in 1998 that the business started out with Jim Wells as its founder. Its leading product candidate is vosaroxin that intends to cure and improve the lives of those who are afflicted with the illness. This drug is specifically geared towards treatment of AML (Acute Myeloid Leukemia) and cervical cancer. Through their partnership with bigger research groups, they are able to expand their internal research and push the development of their product.

Sunesis made its debut on the NASDAQ as SNSS. It was in 2005 that it completed its initial public offering.

July 22, 2014
by The Mug

Supermicro: Manufacturer, Developer and Designer of Servers

The x89 architecture is a family of backward compatible instruction set architectures. Several servers were manufactured from this model and the products of Super Micro Computer, Inc. are designed, developed and manufactured around this architecture.

Also referred to as Supermicro, the company is based in San Jose, California and started its operations in 1993. The business is led by their CEO, Engineer Charles Liang, who also founded the business. Under the Server Building Block Solutions product line, the company offers chassis, server components, high-end workstations, blade server systems, tower, storage server systems, motherboards and rack mount. Their operations are located in Asia, Europe and the United States while their products are marketed in over 89 countries. They have over 1,470 employees and a total of 31 consultants.

In just 3 years from its inception, the company was able to expand its operations internationally. Its first expansion happened in 1996 in Taipei, Taiwan. It was also during that year that the company expanded its manufacturing facility in San Jose from 15,000 to 45,000 square feet. In less than 15 years, Supermicro was able to generate more than $2 billion in sales. The biggest chunk of their revenue came from their 2012 fiscal year, which amounted to $1.014 billion. Their products and services are marketed by original equipment manufacturers, system integrators, value-added resellers and direct sales force.

Amidst the competing companies in the computer hardware and computer peripherals industry, Supermicro was able to make a name through its double-sided  storage chassis. This product was the first in the world, was roughly the size of an ordinary desktop and was released in 2009. Among the key technologies the company has offered to the market is its key flagship barebones under the Server Building Block Solutions. Other offerings include Twin Family, Universal I/O, SuperBlade Solutions and GPU Supercomputing Servers.

July 18, 2014
by The Mug

South Jersey Industries: An Energy Holding Company

One of the publicly held energy services company in New Jersey is South Jersey Industries. Founded in 1910, the business is a holding company that operates several businesses that offer natural gas utility and other regulated services.

The company operates 6 businesses that are engaged in the energy sector. These businesses are the South Jersey Gas, South Jersey Energy Solutions, South Jersey Energy, Marina Energy, South Jersey Resources Group and South Jersey Energy Service Plus. The South Jersey Energy Solutions is the parent company of the business that covers all the non-regulated ventures of the conglomerate. It offers energy to both commercial and industrial customers. In total, the business has assets amounting to more than $2.076 billion and generates an annualized revenue of more than $925.067 million.

Headquartered in Folsom, New Jersey, the business is listed as part of the Russell 2000 Index and is a member of the KLD Global Climate 100 Index.

July 15, 2014
by The Mug

Stamps.com: Providing the Country Internet-based Mailing and Shipping Services

Trading publicly on the NASDAQ, Stamps.com is a provider of internet-based mailing and shipping services. The company has been around since 1998 and has its headquarters located in El Segundo, California.

Through their website Stamps.com, customers are able to purchase and print USPS-approved postage from the user’s computer. Users are able to purchase both domestic and international mail pieces which they can directly print on plain paper, shipping labels and on envelopes. PhotoStamps is also one of the features that Stamps.com offers. Through this feature, users are able to upload their own pictures or graphic material which they can use to create personalized stamps. The only restriction this feature has is the prohibition of using world leaders and any materials that are vintage in appearance.

The use of their website comes in three subscription packages: per month, term service plan and a prepaid plan. Users are able to login to the website with a 4-week-no-risk trial. Succeeding accesses are then billed on a non-usage subscription fee for usage of the software and the account. Stamps competes with Endicia Internet Postage and Pitney Bowes.

Just like any other businesses, the company also had its fair share of customer complaints. Although the company has a rating of A+ from the Better Business Bureau, they have received over 1,100 complaints about their subscription scheme. Some of these complaints were even lodged to as far back as 2006. Complaints include cancellation of subscription being done over the phone. They also allegedly billed customers without their knowledge until it will show up on their bills. The hold time that every customer has to endure were also deemed beyond reasonable.  Account cancellation is only completed over the phone with the help of their Phone Support team.

This internet postage and custom postage stamps business is manned by their 226 employees and headed by their Chairman and CEO, Ken McBride.

July 11, 2014
by The Mug

Leon Levine: The Man Behind Family Dollar

The Family Dollar chain of discount stores was founded by American businessman and philanthropist, Leon Levine. Born on June 8, 1937, Levine was born in Rockingham, North Carolina. His years of getting involved in business started when he was still 15.

Born to a local department store owner, Leon Levine took over the family business after his older brother got drafted into the Korean War in 1951. His father passed away in 1949 when he was still 13. While attending Wingate University, he was able to put up enough money to purchase a bedspread factory in Wingate, North Carolina. This was the start of his true venture. The concept behind the Family Dollar store came to him when he was visiting a store in Kentucky. It was there that he saw a shop that sells products that are no more than a dollar.

Together with his wife Sandra Poliakoff, they have taken part in various activities rolled out by charitable and philanthropic institutions. Today, the couple resides in Charlotte, North Carolina and has three grown children and 10 grandchildren.

July 8, 2014
by The Mug

Donald Fisher: A Jewish Entrepreneur and Philanthropist

Another entrepreneur that made a difference in the fashion industry is Donald Fisher. Together with his wife, Doris F. Fisher, they founded the well loved The Gap clothing stores. Not only is he known as one of the brightest American businessmen, he was also a well loved philanthropist.

Born in San Francisco, California in 1928, Donald was the son of Jewish businessman Sydney Fisher and cabinetmaker Aileen Emanuel. He spent his childhood days in the middle-class community of Sea Cliff in San Francisco. His interest back then revolved around business and the arts. During his university days, he was actively engaged in sports and was a member of the Swimming and Water Polo Teams at the University of California, Berkeley. An alumnus of the Delta Kappa Epsilon national fraternity, he earned his bachelors degree in 1951 from the School of Business Administration.

His marriage to Doris Feigenbaum gave them three sons who continued to run their businesses. Together with his wife, they founded The Gap in 1969. From a budding clothing retail venture, they were able to create an empire that now generates more than $16.148 billion in annualized revenue. Part of his philanthropic work is his support to organizations like the Teach For America, EdVoice and GreatSchools.net. He has been a major contributor to KIPP charter schools and sat as the chairman of the KIPP Foundation. He has also been an active supporter and sponsor to several charter schools and museums in San Francisco. In addition, he also contributed a lot to several Bay Area Jewish causes.

It was on September 27, 2009 that he passed away. His death was because of his cancer that took his last breath while he was at home. According to the report rolled out by Forbes Magazine, during his death, his estimated net worth as already at $3.3 billion.

July 4, 2014
by The Mug

Rudolph Technologies, Inc.: A Software and Process Characterization Provider

Since its inception in 1940, Rudolph Technologies, Inc. has competed in the arena of the semiconductor equipment and materials industry. The business is a provider of software and process characterization equipment. Its products include probe card test, analysis systems, automated macro effect inspection systems, and thin film metrology systems.

The business started out as O.C. Rudolph & Sons, Inc. and was formed by Otto Curt Rudolph. The business was initially formed to import scientific instruments, especially microscopes. It was in 1999 that the business adopted its current brand name. Through the products and services offered by Rudolph Technologies, companies are able to improve their processes, manufacturing costs and end products. Their offerings are used by data storage, light emitting diode (LED), flat panel display, photovoltaic manufacturing and semiconductor industries.

The company keeps their headquarters in Flanders, New Jersey and publicly trades on the New York Stock Exchange. Considered part of the Russell 2000 Index, Rudoplh Technologies generates more than $176.3 million in annual revenue.

July 1, 2014
by The Mug

RLI Corp: An Umbrella of Insurance Companies

There are currently four subsidiaries that are working for RLI, Corp. These companies include Mt. Hawley Insurance Company, Contractors Bonding and Insurance Company, RLI Indemnity Company and RLI Insurance Company. The business is listed as an American property and casualty insurance business.

Created in 1965, the business now has more than 50 branches across 50 states. Their main office is in Peoria, Illinois. The letter RLI stands for Replacement Lens, Inc. which was the name the company used when Gerald D. Stephens founded the business. RLI is considered as one of the earliest insurers of contact lenses and is known as the leading contact lens insurers in the country. With the success they got from their contact lens market, they have further ventured into providing insurance coverage to various niche markets. The excess, specialty admitted and surplus markets are their focus sectors and they offer specialty property and casualty insurance coverage to these businesses.

With the emergence of the disposable soft contact lenses, the venture that Stephens created started shrinking. Determined to make his company worked, he embraced the change in the market place and innovated his offerings to cater to the demands in the insurance industry. It was in 1994 that they finally retired their contact lens insurance products. All the businesses that the company owns are rated A+ (Superior) by A.M. Best Company, which makes them stand out in the marketplace. Less than 10 percent of the casualty and property insurance companies hold this rating.

As of, late RLI Corp offers about 40 types of insurance coverage that includes property, surety and casualty coverage. These coverages range from the individually underwritten coverages to those highly complex underwriting. These insurances include Commercial Surety, Oil and Gas Surety, Executive Products Liability, Marine, Crop Insurance, Commercial Property, Property Reinsurance, Professional Liability, Commercial Transportation and General Liability.