Who are the major Revenue-Based Investing VCs?

So you’re interested in raising capital from a Revenue-Based Finance VC.  Which VCs should you approach? 

A new wave of Revenue-Based Investors (“RBF” or “RBI”) are emerging.  This structure offers some of the benefits of traditional equity VC, without some of the negatives of equity VC.  I’ve been a traditional equity VC for close to a decade, and I’m now researching new business models in venture capital.  RBF normally requires founders to pay back their investors with a fixed percentage of revenue until they have finished providing the investor with a fixed return on capital, which they agree upon in advance.  For background, see Revenue-Based Finance: A new option for founders who care about control

I’m a partner of ClearCo, which will give you $10K to $10m within 24 hours.  I recommend you particularly consider ClearCo.

This essay is part of a series on alternative VC:
I: Revenue-Based Finance: a new option for founders who care about control
II: Who are the major Revenue-Based Finance VCs?
III: Why are Alternative VCs investing in so many women and underrepresented founders?
IV: Should your new VC fund use Revenue-Based Finance?
V: Should you raise venture capital from a traditional equity VC, Flexible VC, or a Revenue-Based Finance VC?
Revenue-Based Investing: State of the Industry 2020
VII: Flexible VC, a new model for early-stage capital-efficient growth companies

VIII: The Leading Flexible VCs, with structures between equity, debt, and Revenue-Based Finance

I’ve listed below all of the major RBF venture capitalists I’ve identified. In addition, I’ve noted a few multi-product lending firms, e.g., Kapitus and United Capital Source, which provide RBF as one of many structural options to companies seeking capital. Unusually for venture capital, two Canadian players in this space are public, Flow Capital and Timia Capital.

ClearCo (a Partner of mine) claims to be the world’s largest ecommerce investor and growth platform. They have funded over $2 billion into 5,500 businesses in 7 countries. You apply online, and can get $10,000 to $10 million to grow your business in 24 hours. You can also instantly top up with further capital, if helpful.

Adobe Capital “manages two impact funds in Mexico and invests across Latin America with special focus on Mexico, Colombia, Chile and Peru. It is focused on supporting the early growth of exceptional enterprises in key development sectors such as SMEs financing (financial inclusion), healthcare, education, alternative energy, affordable housing, sustainable consumption, among others. Through its two funds, Adobe Capital has invested in 12 companies in Mexico and Colombia with 3 exits to date and approximately 50% of its committed capital yet to be deployed.

Adobe Capital makes smart-money investments through revenue-based financing structures and/or other tailor-made instruments that benefit the interests of both investors and entrepreneurs seeking social and/or environmental as well as financial returns. “

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Alternative Capital. You qualify if you have $5k+ MRR. We have a special program if you are pre-seed and need product development. Since 2017 we’ve managed $3 million in revenue-based financing, which helps cash-strapped technology companies grow. In 2019 we partnered with several revenue-based lending providers, effectively creating a marketplace. “

Arctaris Impact Investors. “Arctaris is an Impact Investment fund manager providing capital to profitable, growth-oriented businesses in underserved regions throughout the United States, with emphasis on inner cities and targeted rural communities. Launched in 2009 and headquartered in Boston, Arctaris has partnered with state government agencies and the U.S. Treasury Department to form fund programs with primary emphasis on economic development and jobs creation. Arctaris frequently uses an innovative royalty-based loan structure, which is non-dilutive to shareholders, and with payments that hew to the company’s actual sales growth.”

Bigfoot Capital. According to Brian Parks, “Bigfoot provides RBI, term loans, and lines of credit to SaaS businesses with $500k+ ARR. Our wheelhouse is bootstrapped (or lightly capitalized) SMB SaaS. We make fast, data-driven credit decisions for these types of businesses and show Founders how the math/ROI works. We’re currently evaluating about 20 companies a month and issuing term sheets to 25% of them; those that fit our investment criteria. We’re also regularly following-on for existing portfolio companies.”

Investment Criteria:

  • B2B SaaS or tech-enabled services with proven, recurring contracts
  • ARR of $500K+
  • At least 12 months of customer history, generally 20+ enterprise customers or 200+ SMB customers
  • Rational burn profile, up to 50% of revenue at close, scaling down
  • Capital need of up to $1.5M over next 12 months


  • Non-dilutive, flexible credit offerings that fit SMB or enterprise SaaS
  • Facility sizes of 2-5x MRR 
  • Repaid 12-36 months with ability to prepay at reduced cost
  • For RBI, return caps of 1.2x-1.8x and cash share rates of 3-10%
  • Multiple draws available once history established
  • Ability to scale payments to provide initial cash flow relief
  • No board seats or personal guarantees
  • Success fee on M&A can be traded for lower payments

Corl.  “No need to wait 3-9 months for approval. Find out in 10 minutes. Corl  can fund up to 10x your monthly revenue to a maximum of $1,000,000. Payments are equal to 2-10% of your monthly revenue, and stop when the business buys out the contract at 1-2x the investment amount.”

“Investment amount of up to 10x monthly revenue, to a maximum of $1,000,000.  Payment is 2-10% of monthly revenue, until a Contract Buyout. The Contract Buyout Rate is 1-2x the Investment Amount, depending on the risk of the business. To be eligible, a business must have at least $10,000 in monthly revenue, at least 30% gross margins, and post-revenue for at least 6 months.”

According to Derek Manuge, Corl CEO, “Applications are approved significantly quicker than the industry average in as little as 24 hours. The majority of businesses that apply for funding with Corl are E-commerce, SaaS, and other digital businesses.”

Manuge continues, “Corl connects to a business’ bank accounts, accounting software, payment processors, and other digital services to collect 10,000+ historical data points that are analyzed in real-time. We collect more data on an individual business than, to our knowledge, any other RBI investor, through our application process, data partners, and various public sources online. We have reviewed the application process of other RBI lenders and have not found one that has more API connections that ours. We have developed a proprietary machine learning algorithm that assesses the risk and return profile of the business and determines whether to invest in the business. Funding decisions can take as little as 10 minutes depending on the amount of data provided by a business.”

In the past 12 months, 500+ companies have applied for funding with Corl. The following information is based on companies that have applied for funding with Corl:

The average most recent monthly revenue is $331,229
The average most recent annual revenue is $1,226,589
The average most recent annual profit is $237,479
The average gross profit margin is 55%
The average monthly operating expenses is $70,335
The average cash balance is $191,164

The purpose for funding is (in order of frequency) Sales, Marketing, Market Expansion, Product Development, and Hiring Employees.”

Decathlon Capital. According to John Borchers, Co-founder, Decathlon is the largest revenue-based financing investor in the US. His description: “We announced a new $500 million fund in Q1 of 2019, in our 10th year. Unlike many RBI investors, a full 50% of our investment activity is in non-tech businesses. Like other RBI firms, Decathlon does not require warrants, governance involvement, or the types of financial covenants that are often associated with other venture debt type solutions. Decathlon typically targets monthly payment percentages in the 1% to 4% range, with total targeted multiples of 1.5x to 3.0x.”

Empowerment Capital. “Empowerment Capital invests in companies that have at least $750,000 in annualized recurring revenue or, in special cases, in companies that are at an earlier stage but have some special attribute that mitigates risk. … We don’t want a board seat, we won’t ask for a personal guarantee, and we don’t impose a penalty if you pay us off early — the opposite is actually true, if you can pay us off sooner, you generally pay less. In a typical investment, Empowerment invests $250,000 to $1,000,000 and the company then pays a small fraction of revenue monthly (often around 3%) until Empowerment has received a specified amount, at which point the payments cease. If you have a slow month, you pay us less, and there is no maturity date by which you have to pay us back. We typically also ask for a small number of warrants.  Our partners have experience in many industries and we always seek to help our portfolio companies with introductions or other support if we can. We like companies that are on the brink of rapid growth and which are looking to delay their next equity round if possible, but also companies that are growing more modestly and may be invisible to venture capitalists as a result. If future revenue can be predicted with confidence because of long-term contracts, or network effects, or any other reason, we’ll work hard to find terms that work for everybody.”

Feenix Venture Partners:   Feenix Venture Partners has a unique investment model that couples investment capital with payment processing services. Each of Feenix’s portfolio companies receives an investment in debt or equity and utilizes a subsidiary of Feenix as its credit card payment processor (“Feenix Payment Systems”). The combination of investment capital and credit card processing (CCP) fees creates a “win-win” partnership for investors and portfolio companies. The credit card processing data provides the investor with real-time sales transparency and the CCP fee margin provides the investor high current income, with equity-like upside and significant recovery for downside protection. Additionally, portfolio companies are able to access competitive and often non-dilutive financing by monetizing an unavoidable expense that is being paid to its current processors, thus yielding a mutual benefit for both parties.

Feenix focuses on companies in the consumer space across a number of industry verticals including: multi-unit Food & Beverage operators, hospitality, managed workspace (office or food halls), location based entertainment venues, and various direct to consumer online companies. Their average check size is between $1-3 million, with multi-year term and competitive interest rates for debt. Additionally, Feenix typically needs fewer financial covenants and can provide quicker turnaround for due diligence with the benefit of transparency they receive by tracking credit card sales activity. 10% of Feenix’s portfolio companies have received VC equity prior to their financing.

Fledge.  “Fledge is a global network of conscious company accelerators and investment funds, helping entrepreneurs create impactful companies and co-ops at scale through intense, short programs filled with education, guidance, and a massive amount of mentorship.”  “We invest $15,000 (Peru), €15,000 (Europe), or $20,000 (U.S.) into each company we invite to participate, using revenue-based equity.”

Flexible Capital Fund.  “The Flexible Capital Fund, L3C (Flex Fund) provides creative financing in the form of near equity capital (subordinated debt and royalty financing) to Vermont’s growth-stage companies in sustainable agriculture and food systems, forest products, and clean technology sectors. As the only licensed lender in Vermont to provide royalty financing, the Flex Fund invests in Vermont companies that strengthen or fill a gap in their supply chain. The Flex Fund is a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) lender, which provides advisory and development resources to help portfolio companies grow.”

Flow Capital.  Alex Baluta, CEO of Flow Capital, says “We provide $500K – $4M in funding for capital-efficient, high-growth companies with an average initial investment size of $1M. With operations in Toronto and Southern California, our investments span a diverse array of tech-enabled industries across North America, and we are actively looking for more international investments after making our first UK investment this summer. Over the last 6 years, we have deployed over $80M across 45 companies and are looking to double that number within the next two years.  Our investment requirements: 

  • $1M+ in annual revenue or ARR
  • Close to or achieving positive cashflow
  • Capital-efficiency

Forward Partners, an early-stage venture fund and startup studio, now offers “Forward Advances,” a revenue-based finance solution for startups, focused on marketing spend.

Founders First Capital Partners: “Founders First Capital Partners, LLC is building a comprehensive ecosystem to empower underrepresented founders to become leading premium wage job creators within their communities. We provide revenue-based funding and business acceleration support to service-based small businesses located outside of major capital markets such as Silicon Valley and New York City.”

“We focus our support on businesses led by women, ethnic minorities, LGBTQ, and military veterans, especially teams and businesses located in low to moderate income areas. Our proprietary business accelerator programs, learning platform, and growth methodologies transition these underserved service-based businesses into companies with $5 million to $50 million in recurring revenue. They are tech-enabled companies that provide high-yield investments for fund limited partners (LPs) that perform like bonds but generate returns on par with equity investments. Founders First Capital Partners defines these high performing organizations as Zebra Companies.”

“Each year, Founders First Capital Partners works with hundreds of entrepreneurs. Three tracks of pre-funding accelerator programs determine the appropriate level of funding and advisory support needed for each founder to achieve their desired expansion: 1) Fastpath for larger companies with $2 million to $5 million in annual revenue, 2) Founders Growth Bootcamp program for companies with $250,000 to $2 million in annual revenue, and 3) Elevate My Business Challenge for companies with $50,000 to $250,000 in annual revenue.”

“Founders First Capital Partners (FFCP) runs a 5-step process:

  1. Attend the Appropriate Pre-Funding Accelerator Program. Programs are offered in both online, in-person, and hybrid format with cohorts of leadership teams for an average of 10 companies. Most programs culminate with a Pitch Day and Investor Networking Event where the companies present their newly defined and expanded growth playbook. 
  2. Apply for funding. After completion of the relevant pre-funding program, FFCP will review company funding applications and conduct due diligence.
  3. Get Funding. FFCP-approved companies receive revenue-based loans of up to $1 million to support the implementation of a customized 5-year growth playbook for their businesses.
  4. Growth support. FFCP uses its proprietary performance technology platform, structured growth program curriculum, and executive-level coaching operations to assist funded companies with the development, implementation, and iteration of their custom 5-year growth playbook.
  5. Graduate. Companies repay loans with growth revenue generated over a 5-year term, capped at 2x the amount financed. Companies gain predictable revenue streams with significant and measureable increases in revenue and profits to graduate to either traditional debt or equity sources of growth capital.”

According to Kim Folson, Co-Founder, “Founders First Capital Partner (F1stcp) has just secured a $100M credit facility commitment from a major institutional impact investor.  This positions F1stcp to be the largest revenue-based investor platform addressing the funding gap for service-based, small businesses led by underserved and underrepresented founders.” 

Greater Colorado Venture Fund. Companies must meet these criteria:

“Headquarters or significant operations located in Rural Colorado*

  • At least two full-time employees based out of Rural Colorado*
  • Committed to being located in Rural Colorado* for at least five years
  • Seeking first institutional investment or “growth” capital funding
  • Serving customers well-beyond the company’s locality, or is raising funds to scale to customers beyond the company’s locality

*For the purposes of soliciting investment from the Greater Colorado Venture Fund, Rural Colorado is defined as anywhere in Colorado outside of the Front Range urban corridor.”

GSD Capital.  “GSD Capital partners with early-stage SaaS founders to fund growth initiatives. We work with founding teams in the Mountain West  (Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming) who have demonstrated an ability to get sh*t done…. We empower founders with a 30-day fundraising process instead of multiple months running a gauntlet. “

“To best explain the process of RBF funding, let’s use an example. Pied Piper Inc needs funding to accelerate customer acquisition for its SaaS solution. GSD Capital loans $250,000 to Pied Piper taking no ownership or control of the business. The funding agreement outlines the details of how the loan will be repaid, and sets a “cap”, or a point at which the loan has been repaid. On a 3-year term, the cap amounts typically range from 0.4-0.6x the loan amount. Each month Pied Piper reviews its cash receipts and sends the agreed upon percentage to GSD. If the company experiences a rough patch, GSD shares in the downside. Monthly payments stop once the cap is reached and the loan is repaid. In a situation where Pied Piper’s revenue growth exceeds expectations, prepayment discounts are built into the structure, lowering the cost of capital.”

“Requirements for funding consideration:

  • Companies with a minimum of $50k in MRR
  • We can fund to to 4x MRR (Monthly Recurring Revenue)
  • Companies seeking funding of $200k to $1mm
  • Limited amount of existing debt and a clean cap table”

Kapitus. Offers RBI among many other options. “Because this [RBI] is not a loan, there is no APR or compounded interest associated with this product. Instead, borrowers agree to pay a fixed percentage in addition to the amount provided.”

Lighter Capital: “Since 2012, we’ve provided over $100 million in growth capital to over 250 companies.”  Revenue-based financing which “helps tech entrepreneurs get to the next level without giving up equity, board seats, or personal guarantees….At Lighter Capital, we don’t take equity or ask you to make personal guarantees. And we don’t take a seat on your board or make you write a big check if you’re having a down month.“

  • “Up to 1/3 of your annualized revenue run rate”
  • “Up to $3M in growth capital for your tech startup”
  • “Repaid over 3–5 years”
  • “You pay between 2–8% of monthly revenue”
  • “Repayment caps usually range from 1.35x to 2.0x”

Liquidity Capital. Ron Daniel, co-founder and CEO, said,Liquidity Capital provides tech companies growth with a unique, non-recourse, unsecured funding alternative, enabling them to double down on their growth and extend runway without giving up equity or collaterals. Our model is simple – we purchase a partial sum of a startup’s unsecured future revenues at a small discount, upfront. We can deploy capital within 14 days from applying for funding and our agreements are liens free and have no hidden fees or covenants, with a founder-friendly model.”

Liquidity typically funds companies that demonstrate over $8M in ARR and 30% year-over- year growth, with an average ticket size of $10M-$30M. Founded by serial entrepreneurs and with offices in New-York and Tel Aviv, Liquidity is part of  Meitav Dash, the leading Israeli institutional investment house with over $40B under management. Liquidity has already committed over $200M in growth capital in the past year, operating under the radar.“

Mainvest. Crowdfunding with a revenue-share note.

Novel Growth Partners: “We invest using Revenue-Based Investing (RBI), also known as Royalty-Based Investing….We provide up to $1 million in growth capital, and the company pays that capital back as a small percentage (between 4% and 8%) of its monthly revenue up to a predetermined return cap of 1.5-2.2x over up to 5 years. We can usually provide capital in an amount up to 30% of your ARR. Our approach allows us to invest without taking equity, without taking board seats, and without requiring personal guarantees. We also provide tailored, tactical sales and marketing assistance to help the companies in our portfolio accelerate their growth.”  Keith Harrington,  Co-Founder & Managing Director at Novel Growth Partners, observes that he sees two categories of RBI:

  • Variable repayment debt: money gets paid back month over month, e.g., Novel Growth Partners
  • Share buyback structure. Investors using this model typically can ask for a higher multiple because they wait longer for cash to be paid back. 

He said, “We chose the structure we did because we think it’s easier to understand, for both LPs and entrepreneurs.”  

Podfund, focused on podcast creators. “We agree to provide funding and services to you in exchange for a percentage of total gross revenue (including ads/sponsorship, listener support, and ancillary revenue such as touring, merchandise, or licensing) per quarter. PodREV terms are 7-15% of revenue for 3-5 years, depending on current traction, revenue, and projected growth. At any time you may also opt to pay down the revenue share obligation in full, as follows:

  • 1.5x the initial funding in year 1
  • 2x the initial funding in year 2
  • 3x the initial funding in year 3
  • 4x the initial funding in year 4″ 

RevTek Capital.  Specializing in SAAS tech companies.  You can borrow “Up to ⅓ of your company’s annualized revenue run rate, typically up to 40% of ARR.”  What you need to qualify: “Business: Predictable Recurring Revenue; Revenue: $50,000 per month; Gross margins: at least 50%; Profitability: not required.”

RevUp: “Companies receive $100K-250K in non-dilutive cash…[paid back in a] 36-month return period with revenue royalty ranging from 4-8%, no equity.”

Riverside Acceleration CapitalClosed Fund I for $50m in 2016. Fund II has raised over $100m as of mid-2019. 

Investment size: $1 – 5+ million, significant capacity for additional investment.
Return method: Small percentage of monthly revenue. Keeps capital lightweight and aligned to companies’ growth.
Capped return: 1.5 – 2x the investment amount. Company maximizes equity upside from growth.
Investment structure: 5-year horizon. Long-term nature maximizes flexibility of capital.”

Jim Toth writes, “One thing that makes us different is that we live inside of an $8Bn private equity firm. This means that we have a tremendous amount of resources that we can leverage for our companies, and our companies see us as being quite strategic. We also have the ability to continue investing behind our companies across all stages of growth.”

Round2 Capital. “Founded in 2017, Round2 Capital is Europe`s leading revenue-based finance provider… No board seats or personal guarantees are required. The fund focuses mainly on B2B SaaS in its target markets in German-speaking Europe and Scandinavia. We fund companies in their scale-up phase with ARRs between EUR 1m to 20m. Round2 is expanding rapidly and the portfolio consists as of April 2020 of 11 companies in five European countries with investment tickets between EUR 300k to 2m. The revenue shares are between 2-5% and the caps between 1.35x to 2.15x. Round2 is run by a senior team of experienced former executives and financing specialists. With the Round2 Lab (www.round2lab.com), a workshop series for companies in the scale-up phase, the Round2 platform offers also access to leading edge know how on how to tackle operative challenges of scaling up your business. “

Sage Growth Capital “makes revenue-based investments to companies in the United States and Canada with growing recurring revenue over $300,000 and stable gross margins above 40%.  We take no equity.  We make investments between $100,000 and $400,000 and can fund up to one-third of annual revenue.  We give a 90 day grace period before payments begin.”

ScaleWorks. “We developed Scaleworks venture finance loans to fill a need we saw for our own B2B SaaS companies. No personal guarantees, board seats, or equity sweeteners. No prepayment penalties. Monthly repayments as a percentage of revenue.”

Temperance Capital. “The Temperance group of companies is a Toronto based private investment firm that arranges and funds Preferred Royalty Capital Investments in small and medium sized businesses that have a proven history of sustainable cash flows and stable operations. Our investments loans include a royalty overlay that allows us to participate in the growth of the company while protecting our downside through a debt-based investment.”

TIMIA Capital.  According to Greg Smith, Chief Investment Officer, TIMIA Capital provides, growth financing to business-to-business Software-as-a-Service companies with $2-10 Million in annual recurring revenue (ARR).  Founded in 2015, TIMIA has provided over $40 million in investment facilities to over 22 companies to date. TIMIA’s portfolio companies avail of:

  • An upfront cash injection of 6-12 times current MRR
  • Facility size up of 24 times MRR
  • Loan repayment over 4-8 years, paying 1-4% of monthly revenue
  • Repayment caps of up to 2x depending on the underlying SaaS economics

TIMIA’s mantra is, “Build your SaaS with Customer Cash.  TIMIA encourages founders to be capital efficient, growing their business at a deliberate rate, fuelled by paying customers, and taking on growth capital only when necessary—and giving up equity when the time is right for the business.”

Uncapped. “Founded in 2019, Uncapped is Europe’s first revenue-based finance provider, which allows founders to raise growth capital without giving up control of their business. Uncapped provides business advances of between £10k and £1m with 0% interest and no hidden charges, allowing founders to access fair and flexible finance. It makes money by charging a low flat fee which is paid back from future sales revenue.”

United Capital Source provides a wide structure of loans, including but not limited to RBI.  The firm has provided more than $875 million in small business loans in its history, and is currently extending about $10m/month in RBI loans.  Jared Weitz, Founder & CEO, said, “[Our] typical RBF client is $120K-$20M in annual revenue, with 4-200 employees. We only look at financials for deals over a certain size.  

For smaller deals, we’ll look at bank statements and get a pretty good picture of revenues, expenses and cash flow. After all, since this is a revenue based business loan, we want to make sure revenues and cash flow are consistent enough for repayment without hurting the business’s daily operations.  When we do look at financials to approve those larger deals we are generally seeing a 5 to 30% EBITDA margin on these businesses.” United Capital Source was selected in the 2015 & 2017 Inc. 5000 Fastest Growing Companies List.  

VentureBox.  “After investing globally in 200+ growth equity and debt investments deals in the consumer ecosystem, we crafted a financing model to support expansion for young companies while generating sizable and steady returns for investors. As part of our value proposition to startups, we provide them with continuous financial advice and tech toolkit throughout the investment cycle.”

Versatile Venture Capital invests in early-stage companies which help investors succeed. For example, we’re past investors in alternative data, investment research, back-office tech, marketplaces for private companies, and salestech to help gather assets. We are an aggressive user of technology internally to manage the firm and make better investments.

We manage PEVCtech, a community for family offices, private equity funds, and VCs focused on using technology and analytics to make better investments in private companies. We share insights on technologies, data, and processes that generate alpha. We also manage Founders’ Next Move, an invite-only, no-cost community for founders researching their next move: launching a new companyangel investing/becoming a VCscouting for investments; buying a companyjoining boardsconsulting; participating in expert networks; serving as an interim executive; or just getting a job.

We have built out a suite of services to help our companies succeed, including an exclusive database tracking free accelerators, Fortune 500 freebies, free consultinggovernment support, the best startup advicediscounted services, and special free resources for student founders and impact startups.

Our team has a history of investing in diverse and underrepresented founders. We have the flexibility to invest using both traditional and alternative VC structures.

David Teten, Versatile’s founder, was previously a Partner with HOF Capital (now >$1.2b AUM) and ff Venture Capital (now >$289m AUM), two early-stage New York VC firms. He is also Founder of HBS Alumni Angels of NY, the largest angel group on the East Coast, and a serial fintech entrepreneur with two exits. He writes periodically at teten.com.

For further reading:

The Alt Finance Landscape

I posted this as a contributed article on Techcrunch.  Note that none of the lawyers quoted or I are rendering legal advice in this article, and you should not rely on our counsel herein for your own decisions.  I am not a lawyer. Thanks to the experts quoted for their thoughtful feedback. Thanks to Jonathan Birnbaum for help in researching this topic. 



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