The sideways chop in the markets continued last week, Dow Jones lost 0.2%, S&P 500 fell 0.1%, Nasdaq composite was down 0.4%. Market breadth remains poor, and most investors we speak with remain on the sidelines as they expect that in the near term, either breadth will increase, or indexes will pull back and remain range bound. Event ticketing company SeatGeek filed confidentially to go public. Silver Lake will acquire Germany’s Software AG for €30 a share (50% premium to Friday’s close). Lululemon is exploring a sale of Mirror fitness unit it bought in 2020. Meta begins its next round of layoffs. Lyft is planning a round of layoffs. AI is coming soon to Google Search with ‘Magi’ as Samsung considers making Bing the default search engine on its devices. Google’s big AI push will combine Brain and DeepMind into one team. Elon Musk is planning an artificial intelligence start-up to rival OpenAI. SpaceX’s 400-foot Starship rocket exploded during its inaugural launch. Apple launches high-interest savings accounts with Goldman. Kroger is now rolling out Apple Pay support to stores across the United States. TSMC seeks up to US$15 billion from U.S. for chip plants but objects to conditions. The US Energy department commits US$3 billion to expand rooftop solar access. Under the deal, Sunnova will devote a portion of the lending to homeowners with below-average credit scores and to Puerto Rico. In Canada, last week saw some interesting VC funding announcements. Miovision purchased fellow traffic management company Global Traffic Technologies (GTT) in a deal valued at US$107 million. The acquisition is backed by a recent $260 million investment from various investors. Sophic Client Kraken Robotics, announced orders totaling $7 million. Sixteen projects under Canada’s Ocean Supercluster (OSC) will see $52 million in funding flow towards them, including Kraken Robotics. Sophic Client Legend Power’s next generation SmartGATE more than doubled the product’s previous generation’s financial benefit across initial 30 installations.
Canadian Technology Capital Markets & Company News
Sophic Client Kraken Robotics (PNG-TSXV, KRKNF-OTC) receives $4 million order from NATO Navy.
Kraken Robotics announces a $4 million follow on order from a NATO Navy customer for KATFISH™ spares. Delivery is expected to occur during the next 12 months. https://bit.ly/3H0Blqw
Sophic Client Kraken Robotics (PNG-TSXV, KRKNF-OTC) receives $3 million order for SeaPower subsea power systems.
Kraken Robotics Inc. announces that it has received a $3 million purchase order for its SeaPower® subsea batteries. Deliveries will occur in 2023. Kraken’s SeaPower 6000-meter rated pressure tolerant batteries are based on Kraken’s unique pressure tolerant gel encapsulation technology for lithium polymer batteries. https://bit.ly/41lNxtW
Sophic Client Legend Power Systems Inc. (LPS-TSXV, LPSIF-OTC) next generation SmartGATE more than doubles previous generation financial benefit across initial 30 installations.
Legend Power® Systems, announces that the latest generation of SmartGATE is exceeding expectations for reliability and lifetime increases for core building systems such as elevators, HVAC, lighting, and more. The focus of the next generation SmartGATE platform was to significantly reduce maintenance and repair costs while improving the reliability and lifetime of major building systems. Considering both energy savings and lower maintenance and repair costs, initial results indicate that the next generation platform provides more than double the financial benefit versus the previous generation. Customers are Seeing Significant Benefits from Improved Power Quality. The next generation platform is also outperforming on energy savings by more than 20%, averaging close to 5% energy savings with some buildings approaching 6%. The cumulative results from the first 30 installations in both Canada and the United States demonstrate the expected savings, reductions, and protection are quantifiable. https://bit.ly/41q3eQW
Sophic Client Renoworks Software Inc. (RW-TSXV, ROWKF-OTC) announces fourth quarter and fiscal year 2022 financial results and provides outlook.
Annual revenues of $5,941,830 , up 7% over the prior year’s $5,553,379. “In 2022 we invested in the areas of our business that we feel will drive future growth for Renoworks, while also significantly improving our customer’s outcomes,” said Doug Vickerson , CEO of Renoworks. Mr. Vickerson added, “Renoworks saw growth in Design Services and enterprise sales, which grew by 11% and 13%, respectively. Furthermore, the Company’s Renoworks Pro solution is re-establishing itself as a much-needed tool for contractors and remodelers and has evolved to meet the needs of its customers and the market. Initial results and feedback for Renoworks Pro and its new features has been strong.” https://bit.ly/3KXzDqO
Nanalysis Scientific Corp. (NSCI-TSXV) announces $3.5 million private placement.
The Company intends to complete a non-brokered private placement (the “Offering”) of up to 5,833,333 units of the Company (the “Units”) at a price of $0.60 per Unit for aggregate gross proceeds of up to $3,500,000. Each Unit will consist of one common share in the capital of the Company (a “Common Share”) and one Common Share purchase warrant (a “Warrant”). Each Warrant will entitle the holder thereof to purchase one Common Share at a price of $0.80 per Common Share (the “Warrant Exercise Price”) at any time up to 4:00 p.m. (Calgary time) on or before the date that is one year following the closing date of the Offering. The completion of the Offering will be subject to acceptance of the Offering by the TSX Venture Exchange. The Offering may be closed in one or more tranches, it is anticipated that an initial closing of the Offering to occur on or about April 25, 2023, subject to satisfaction of all closing conditions. https://bit.ly/3AlLWZe
Miovision acquires Global Traffic Technologies, raises $260 million from Telus, Maverix, EDC.
Miovision has purchased fellow traffic management company Global Traffic Technologies (GTT) in a deal valued at US$107 million. The acquisition is backed by a recent $260 million investment from Telus Ventures, Maverix Private Equity, and Export Development Canada (EDC). The recent funding was co-led by Telus, Maverix, and EDC. Telus and EDC are return investors in Miovision. EDC co-led a $15 million round in late 2022, and Telus led a $120 million round two years prior. The recent funding round is a mix of financing to back the acquisition of GTT, as well as secondary and growth capital. Of the $260 million, just US$125 million is going directly to Miovision, according to the Globe. The remainder is buying out early investors. Telus, Maverix, and EDC each provided US$50 million to Miovision. Of that, US$25 million is going to early investors. Additionally, Telus is buying out early Miovision investor MacKinnon, Bennett & Co. for $52 million. https://bit.ly/40oBxqo
Certn targets global expansion of background check tech with US$30 million Series B extension from EDC.
Victoria-based background check technology firm Certn has closed a US$30 million Series B extension to fuel its international growth. Certn sees room to grow in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, as well as Asia-Pacific markets, and plans to invest this capital in doing just that with the help of Export Development Canada (EDC), which led the extension round. This round comes less than a year after Certn secured US$50 million in initial Series B financing to scale its tech beyond Canada. The additional equity capital brings the total size of Certn’s Series B round to $80 million. EDC provided more than US$29.5 million of that $30 million total, with the small remainder consisting of pro-rata from some undisclosed existing Certn investors. Certn’s Series B extension gives the startup a post-money valuation of around $450 million—which McLeod claimed is slightly higher than its valuation following its initial Series B round. It brings Certn’s cumulative venture funding to more than $114 million. https://bit.ly/3mUI7XX
Medfar secures $30 million, looks to acquire more electronic medical record software providers.
Montréal-based healthtech company Medfar, which provides software solutions for clinicians, has closed a $30 million investment round to acquire more electronic medical record (EMR) software providers. Investissement Québec was the sole investor of the equity financing, which Medfar classifies as a Series C minority investment. The round closed in December. According to Medfar, the funding will be used to support the company in its mergers and acquisitions initiatives. The $30 million is “purely for acquiring more EMR companies that allow us to gain market share” as Medfar plans to expand in Canada and the United States, a spokesperson for Medfar told BetaKit. Medfar has raised around $56 million in total funding, which includes a $25 million financing round in 2021. Its backers include Walter Capital Partners, CIBC Innovation Banking, and BDC Capital, among others. https://bit.ly/3UZ2WOz
Optable raises $26 million to help companies improve advertising campaigns.
Montréal-based Optable has raised $26 million (US$20 million) to expand the reach of its data platform designed to protect user data while making advertising campaigns easier to manage. Optable was founded by a trio that sold their last venture, AdGear, to Samsung Ads. The Series A round came from Brightspark Ventures and a group of corporate venture groups: Desjardins Capital, Deloitte Ventures, Hearst Ventures, and AsterX, the corporate venture arm of Quebecor. Optable noted other investors also took part but did not disclose who. The startup also did not disclose the lead investor for the round. This latest funding round brings Optable total funding to date to around $30 million after the startup first raised a $4.3 million seed round in 2021. Brightspark is a return investor for this Series A round having led the seed financing. https://bit.ly/3N4qIGN
Ocean Supercluster tops up 16 projects with $23 million to drive commercialization.
Sixteen projects under Canada’s Ocean Supercluster (OSC) will see $52 million in funding flow towards them. The OSC is providing $23 million, while the remaining funding will come from the project teams. Sophic Client, Kraken Robotics, CoLab Software Management, and Kognitiv Spark, are among the startups receiving funding. The new funding will help the projects scale up and expand, and are part of the OSC’s Capacity and Supply Chain Expansion (CASCE) Program, which launched in 2021 under the cluster’s first round of funding.The CASCE Program aims to strengthen and grow supply chains and enable Canadian ocean-focused companies to accelerate commercialization. The OSC is the federally-backed, industry-led innovation cluster focused on tackling ocean-sector challenges. It has approved 86 projects with a total value of $400 million. Those projects are set to deliver more than 130 new made-in-Canada ocean products, processes and services to sell globally. The funding will be shared among 16 projects, all of them previously announced and underway with the innovation cluster. There will be $1.4 million for the creation of a service hub called Tech Companion, which centralizes data for use in ocean industries. Also included is $3.3 million to scale up and produce a portable technology that collects and analyzes acoustic data on autonomous underwater vehicles. https://bit.ly/40xArZw
Flash Forest raises $11.4 million to support reforestation using drones and AI.
Toronto-based Flash Forest, which uses drones to automate reforestation after wildfires, has completed an $11.4 million Series A funding round. The investment was co-led by the Telus Pollinator Fund for Good, and OurCrowd, an online global venture investing platform. Flash Forest said the capital will support the expansion of its post-wildfire reforestation solution across North America to fight climate change. Flash Forest claims it can produce 200,000 seed pods per day, omitting the energy-intensive nursery phase in tree planting. Climate change has accelerated the frequency and worsened the severity of wildfires. This damage to forests in turn worsens the climate crisis further, because trees act as a carbon sink. Between 2001 and 2021, fires were responsible for about a third of tree cover loss globally, representing 119 million hectares of trees. Using drones, AI, geographic information systems (GIS), and plant science, Flash Forest automates the manual processes involved in reforestation to help fight the impacts of climate change. Founded by Bryce Jones (CEO), Angelique Ahlström (CSO), and Cameron Jones (COO) in 2019, Flash Forest’s mission is to plant one billion trees by 2028. https://bit.ly/40xiBG7
AI beauty lab Omy raises $11 million to expand personalized skin care product line in North America.
Montréal-based artificial intelligence (AI) beauty lab Omy has raised $11 million to expand its personalized skin care products across North America. Crédit Mutuel Equity led the Series A round, which closed in December 2022, with participation from Fondaction, BDC Capital’s Thrive Venture Fund, and Accelia Capital. https://bit.ly/3Amv98C
Tab Commerce closes US$1 million to help restaurants manage expenses.
The round, which closed a few weeks ago comes from United States-based Matchstick Ventures, was raised via a simple agreement for future equity (SAFE). It brings Tab Commerce’s total funding to US$1.25 million, including $250,000 from Mucker Capital and undisclosed angel investors from early 2022. https://bit.ly/3N225dQ
BDC launches $150 million Sustainability fund in revamp of industrial, clean and energy technology venture fund.
BDC Capital has launched a new, $150 million venture fund focused on helping Canada meet its sustainability and climate targets. The Sustainability Venture Fund comes in addition to, and has a different thesis than, the $400 million that BDC committed to its second Climate Tech Fund last year. This is also the Crown corporation rebranding and re-investing in its Industrial, Clean and Energy Technology (ICE) Venture Fund. As managing partner Joseph Regan told BetaKit in an interview, the Sustainability Venture Fund is a “slightly refined” strategy from ICE that is focused on cleantech. https://bit.ly/40tiqLF
Global Markets: IPOs, Venture Capital, M&A
SeatGeek files confidentially to go public.
Event ticketing company SeatGeek filed confidentially with regulators this month for an initial public offering, The Information exclusively reported. The New York-based company is hatching listing plans as a post-pandemic boom in live events helps bolster its business, which people use to buy and sell sports and concert tickets. The company expects to pull in more than US$500 million in revenue this year. The filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission doesn’t guarantee that the company will go public this year. Steep interest rate hikes and the impacts of the Silicon Valley Bank collapse have cooled most tech firms’ appetites to go public this year. https://bit.ly/3N5utf7
Italy’s Lottomatica seeks up to US$3 billion valuation in IPO.
Italy’s largest gambling group Lottomatica is seeking a valuation of up to 2.67 billion euros (US$2.93 billion) as it prepares to list its shares in Milan, riding a market rebound after recent turmoil. Lottomatica, one of the few European companies pressing on with listing plans after a crisis of confidence in the banking system rocked global markets, on Thursday said it would sell shares priced at between 9 and 11 euros each. The group owned by U.S. fund Apollo Global Management said it would use part of the proceeds of up to 600 million euros from its initial public offering (IPO) to repay a 250 million euro loan from its owner. A successful float could help pave the way for a much-awaited recovery in IPO activity, which all but ground to a halt last year amid soaring interest rates and economic uncertainty. Lottomatica generated revenue of 1.4 billion euros in 2022, with 22.8 billion of bets placed by more than 1 million online customers and through a franchising network of 18,000 outlets. https://reut.rs/3N1TeZF
Silver Lake to acquire Germany’s Software AG for €30 a share.
Private equity firm Silver Lake Management has agreed to acquire Germany’s Software AG for €30 a share in cash, valuing the company at about €2.2 billion (US$2.4 billion). Software AG’s supervisory and management boards are supportive of the offer, the company said in a statement. It represents a 50% premium to Friday’s closing share price. https://bloom.bg/3LlCcV5
Lululemon is exploring a sale of Mirror fitness unit it bought in 2020.
Lululemon Athletica Inc. is exploring a sale of Mirror, the fitness-equipment maker it acquired for US$500 million in 2020, according to pepole with knowledge of the matter. Lululemon is working with an adviser to solicit interest in Mirror, said the people, who asked to not be identified discussing confidential information. Lululemon’s shares were down 0.1% to US$368.07 at 12:49 p.m. in New York on Monday, giving the company a market value of about US$47 billion. Mirror’s hardware sales have missed Lululemon’s projections and the Vancouver-based company took US$443 million in impairment charges on the business in the fourth quarter. https://bloom.bg/3oE0tx2
Meta expanded shareholder engagement as stock tanked.
Meta Platforms “significantly expanded” its shareholder engagement efforts in the past year, the Facebook owner said in a securities filing late last Friday, as the company’s stock price dropped sharply amid stalled growth. The company’s 2023 proxy statement, prepared for its upcoming annual shareholder meeting, said the main issues discussed with investors as part of that engagement were company strategy, corporate governance, executive pay and social matters such as data privacy. The filing also revealed that Meta had increased the base compensation of its senior leaders, although because of the drop in value of Meta’s stock last year, some senior executives made less overall than they did in 2021. Meta’s chief product officer, Chris Cox, earned total compensation of US$22.6 million in 2022, compared with US$29 million in 2021, while chief technology officer, Andrew Bosworth, earned US$20.2 million. Susan Li, who was named chief financial officer in 2022 earned US$15.2 million. The security allowance for Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg, meanwhile, was increased from US$10 million to US$14 million in February of this year. Meta’s stock price fell 64% last year, a far bigger decline than the Nasdaq, as Meta suffered its first-ever drop in revenue thanks to a weak ad market. At the same time, the company’s metaverse strategy—a multibillion dollar bet on building augmented and virtual reality bets—also drew criticism from some investors, as the company was forced to reckon with a pattern of over-hiring during the pandemic. Meta has since announced two rounds of mass layoffs, helping its stock recover somewhat. https://bit.ly/3V0E4Ws
Meta begins next round of layoffs.
Meta has begun notifying employees working in technical roles that they have lost their jobs—part of a staggered plan to lay off a total of 10,000 employees in the second round of cuts since November. Affected employees were contacted by email Wednesday morning. This round of cuts will reportedly affect about 4,000 people working in technical roles across Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp and Reality Labs, the department responsible for building augmented and virtual reality products. https://bit.ly/3mU88Xg
Lyft planning new round of layoffs.
Lyft is planning a layoff that could include 30% or more of its workforce, The Wall Street Journal reported on Friday. The cut would be one of the first major moves from the ride-hailing firm’s new CEO, David Risher, who replaced co-founder Logan Green in the role this month. The upcoming layoffs would follow an earlier round last year, which affected 13% of Lyft’s employees. The company had 4,419 employees at the end of 2022. Green and John Zimmer, Lyft’s other co-founder, had reportedly faced criticism from employees in recent months as the company lost market share and watched its stock price fall faster than Uber’s. As of Friday morning, Lyft shares had tumbled 73% over the past year, while Uber shares had declined by 8% during the same period. https://bit.ly/3H5TZgO
Software firms across U.S. facing massive tax bills that threaten tech startup world survival.
The root of the issue is the inability of lawmakers to extend a key tax provision that had bipartisan support at the end of last year that allows for full expensing of research and development costs under Section 174 of the tax code. That did not come out of nowhere, and was a big disappointment to major corporations that had lobbied for the measure. But for many small business owners who often wear multiple hats, don’t have lobbying arms or relationships with big four CPA firms, the change to require R&D amortization over a period of five years first became known this spring when accountants showed them the massive tax bills they owed the government. As word has spread throughout the software community, some owners remain too afraid to look at the full tax cost as they file for tax extensions and accountants revise their returns. The pain is being felt from the smallest software developers of a dozen or less employees to large venture-backed companies sitting on pre-2022 frothy valuations, with tax bills rising to a level where cash flow is being drained, forcing painful financial decisions. Startups need to take out loans or extend lines of credit at a time of tighter bank lending and higher rates, ask VCs for more money during the worst fundraising environment in over a decade, freeze hiring and contemplate layoffs — if they have not started making them already within a sector leading the economy in job losses and running at a rate higher than the worst layoffs of the dotcom bubble. Many software firms will make it through this year, but if R&D full expensing treatment is not brought back, they say survival will become an issue. https://cnb.cx/3H5tiIQ
Tesla’s margins fall amid price drops.
Tesla’s margins fell in the first quarter, reflecting on-going price cuts from the electric vehicle maker. In an earnings report Wednesday, Tesla reported gross margins of 19.3% for the quarter, down sharply from 29.1% the year before. Total revenue grew 24% to US$23.3 billion from the same period a year earlier, and total automotive revenue rose 18% to US$19.96 billion. But Tesla’s gross profit fell 18% and free cash flow dropped 80% to US$441 million, its lowest point since the first quarter of 2021. The stock fell 6% in after-hours trading following the earnings announcement. Even after the drop, its shares are still up at least 55% this year, giving the company a market capitalization of more than US$550 billion. Tesla cut prices across its vehicles multiple times throughout the quarter, including on Tuesday when it dropped the U.S. price of its Model Y by US$3,000 and its Model 3 by US$2,000. In its release Wednesday, Tesla said it expected its pricing “will continue to evolve, upwards or downwards, depending on a number of factors.” More than 85% of Tesla’s revenue comes from automobiles, but the company also sells residential and industrial grade battery storage as well as solar products. https://bit.ly/3N26Ynp
Netflix reports weak revenue and subscriber growth in Q1.
Netflix reported anemic revenue growth and subscriber additions in the first quarter, even as free cash flow jumped, a sign that lower spending on programming is boosting the streaming giant’s profits. Netflix stock fell 8.5% in after-hours trading. Revenue rose 3.7% to US$8.1 billion in the quarter, a higher rate of growth than the fourth quarter but well down on the nearly 10% growth Netflix reported a year ago. Global subscriber numbers rose by 1.75 million to 232.5 million, a slowing in subscriber growth after a pickup over the last two quarters which had followed the drop in the first half of last year. The company forecast that the second quarter would show a similar rate of subscriber growth, affected by a crackdown on account-sharing. The results suggest that Netflix’s introduction of a cheaper ad-supported tier is not having a big effect on revenue yet, although it has reduced the average revenue per membership slightly in North America. Yet Netflix’s subscriber numbers in North America were essentially flat. https://bit.ly/3HtmV2v
Samsung weighs replacing Google as default search engine.
Samsung is considering replacing Google with Microsoft’s Bing as the default search engine on its devices, according to The New York Times, underscoring how rapidly the latest wave of advances in artificial intelligence is transforming Google’s search business. Microsoft has invested heavily in improving Bing using AI technology from a multibillion-dollar deal with OpenAI. That might now be enough to threaten Google’s deal with Samsung, which accounts for an estimated US$3 billion in annual revenue for the search giant. A similar US$20 billion deal that Google has with Apple is up for renewal this year. Meanwhile, Google is working on drastic changes to its search engine to stay ahead of the competition, with ambitions to make it more personalized and conversational. Google is planning to release more features as it works toward an overhaul of its search engine that could include showing users lists of preselected items to buy or topics to research. Under the project name Magi, it is now developing features that would allow people to learn languages by conversing with a chatbot or ask questions while navigating web pages on Google Chrome. https://bit.ly/3H5w14Z
AI is coming soon to Google Search with ‘Magi’ as Samsung considers Bing default.
Generative AI coming to Google Search is a given at this point, and a new report today details that it’s happening in two stages, with project “Magi” arriving imminently. According to the New York Times, Google is “upgrading the existing [search engine] with A.I. features” as part of project Magi, which is a sorcerer and vaguely inline with Bard naming-wise. It’s said to offer a “far more personalized experience than the company’s current service.” Magi would allow Search “answer questions about software coding and write code based on a user’s request,” which Google has the technology for with PaLM. Users will have the ability to ask follow-up questions, while it would feature ads under generated results. Google currently has 160 designers, engineers, and executives working full-time and quickly iterating on Magi. As of last week, employees have been invited to test and query Magi, with a public launch coming in May, which sounds like I/O 2023, and more features coming this fall. The initial launch will be significantly gated to the United States, and limited to a maximum of 1 million users before increasing to 30 million by year’s end. https://bit.ly/3mZH60L
Google’s big AI push will combine Brain and DeepMind into one team.
DeepMind, the artificial intelligence company acquired by Alphabet in 2014, is merging with Google’s Brain team to form Google DeepMind. In a post shared by Alphabet and Google CEO Sundar Pichai, he says the combined groups will “significantly accelerate our progress in AI.” DeepMind and Google have butted heads in the past. In 2021, DeepMind reportedly lost its yearslong bid to gain more independence from Google as the tech giant began pushing DeepMind toward commercializing its work. However, as Google dives further into the AI industry, it likely wants to combine its research teams to bolster its efforts. In March, Google opened early access to its ChatGPT and Bing Chat rival, Bard. It’s pretty weird and often didn’t fare as well as its competitors in tests we ran shortly after it launched. Although Pichai has promised that upgrades are on the way, Google employees reportedly criticized the product ahead of launch and urged leadership not to release it. https://bit.ly/3LoP9xH
Elon Musk plans artificial intelligence start-up to rival OpenAI.
Elon Musk is developing plans to launch a new artificial intelligence start-up to compete with ChatGPT-maker OpenAI, as the billionaire seeks to join Silicon Valley’s race to build generative AI systems. The Tesla and Twitter chief is assembling a team of artificial intelligence researchers and engineers, said people familiar with the tech entrepreneur’s plans. Musk is also in discussions with a number of investors in SpaceX and Tesla about putting money into his new venture, said a person with direct knowledge of the talks. “A bunch of people are investing in it . . . it’s real and they are excited about it,” the person said. For the new project, Musk has secured thousands of high-powered GPU processors from Nvidia, said people with knowledge of the move. GPUs are the high-end chips required for his aim to build a large language model — AI systems capable of ingesting enormous amounts of content and producing humanlike writing or realistic imagery, similar to the technology that powers ChatGPT. The speed with which Musk is moving will raise eyebrows in some corners of the AI community after he led a letter, cosigned by thousands of other tech figures, calling for a pause on development of GPT-style models over safety concerns. https://on.ft.com/43X9DEI
SpaceX’s 400-foot Starship rocket exploded during its inaugural launch.
Elon Musk’s SpaceX launched its Starship and Super Heavy booster rocket for the first time Thursday, sending the 400-foot-tall structure into the air before it exploded around the 4-minute mark. While the explosion was unplanned, SpaceX considers the launch a success, and a sign of progress for the program that could one day transport humans to the moon and Mars. The launch, which was part of on-going testing, will aid SpaceX in fine tuning the design for Starship, which SpaceX plans to use to launch larger second generation Starlink satellites as part of its global internet service, and transport NASA astronauts to the moon. Starship is designed to be a fully-reusable rocket that can carry larger and heavier loads than the workhorse Falcon rockets which currently make up the entirety of SpaceX’s satellite launch and human space flight business. The rocket’s Super Heavy booster and Starship were designed to separate in air, with the booster landing in the Gulf of Mexico shortly after, and the Starship landing in the water near Hawaii after circling most of the way around the globe. The structures failed to separate as planned, leading to the in-air destruction, or what is known at SpaceX as a “Rapid Unscheduled Disassembly.” https://bit.ly/3AqqySw
Fintech, Blockchain & Cryptocurrency
Apple launches high-interest savings accounts with Goldman.
Apple launched a high-interest savings account Monday where Apple Card users can hold their cash-back rewards and deposit additional funds, the latest move to expand its card business with Goldman Sachs. Apple Card users now have the option to use a savings account at Goldman that offers an annual percentage yield of 4.15%. If they set one up, the card’s “Daily Cash” rewards will automatically slip into that account. Goldman and Apple forged their card partnership in 2019 as part of the bank’s push into consumer finance and the tech giant’s way into banking. When Goldman decided to scrap most of its consumer ambitions last year, some questioned the bank’s commitment to the partnership, even though it wasn’t part of what Goldman was downsizing. https://bit.ly/3H6zXml
Kroger now rolling out Apple Pay support to stores across the United States.
Kroger, the largest supermarket chain in the United States, has been a longtime Apple Pay holdout. According to several 9to5Mac tipsters, as well as other reports on social media, it looks like Kroger is finally changing its tune and beginning to roll out Apple Pay. Kroger, along with Walmart, has been one of the largest retailers to resist adding support for Apple Pay. Instead, the company has tried to push its own “Kroger Pay” platform as an Apple Pay alternative. Kroger Pay, which is based on QR codes, has failed to gain widespread adoption among shoppers. https://bit.ly/3AoOO7y
TSMC seeks up to US$15 billion from U.S. for chip plants but objects to conditions.
The world’s biggest contract chip maker is pushing back on some of the conditions Washington has attached to chip-factory subsidies as it looks for up to US$15 billion in government money. Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. , which plans to invest US$40 billion in two chip factories in Arizona, is concerned about rules that could require it to share profits from the factories and provide detailed information about operations, said people familiar with the situation. TSMC Chairman Mark Liu has said the U.S. terms could dissuade chip makers from working with Washington to build American chip-manufacturing capacity. South Korean chip makers have also raised objections. “Some of the conditions are unacceptable and we aim to mitigate any negative impact from these and will continue discussions with the U.S. government,” Mr. Liu told attendees at an industry meeting March 30 in Taiwan. TSMC expects to get tax credits of some US$7 billion to US$8 billion under provisions of the Chips Act, according to people familiar with the company’s plans. In addition, it is looking to receive grants, an area where the Commerce Department has wide discretion to judge who is deserving and under what terms. The people said TSMC was thinking of asking for some US$6 billion to US$7 billion in grants for the two Arizona plants, bringing total U.S. government support as high as US$15 billion. https://on.wsj.com/3KTwjgy
Energy department commits US$3 billion to expand rooftop solar access.
The Energy Department will guarantee up to $3 billion in debt securities issued to fund rooftop solar installations, hoping to expand access to renewable energy by making the deal a no-lose proposition for many investors. The backstop is part of the Biden administration’s green financing effort, which includes hundreds of billions of dollars in tax credits and loans for clean energy, climate tech startups and other green businesses. Under the deal, Sunnova Energy International Inc., a major renewable provider, will devote a portion of the lending to homeowners with below-average credit scores and to Puerto Rico, where a rickety electric grid has boosted demand for solar. The money is coming from the Energy Department’s Loan Programs Office, which funds critical infrastructure projects. The money will guarantee payments on US$3 billion of a US$3.3 billion financing package that Sunnova would sell to investors. https://bit.ly/41K1t0
The information and recommendations made available through our emails, newsletters, website and press releases (collectively referred to as the “Material”) by Sophic Capital Inc. (“Sophic” or “Company”) is for informational purposes only and shall not be used or construed as an offer to sell or be used as a solicitation of an offer to buy any services or securities. In accessing or consuming the Materials, you hereby acknowledge that any reliance upon any Materials shall be at your sole risk. In particular, none of the information provided in our monthly newsletter and emails or any other Material should be viewed as an invite, and/or induce or encourage any person to make any kind of investment decision. The recommendations and information provided in our Material are not tailored to the needs of particular persons and may not be appropriate for you depending on your financial position or investment goals or needs. You should apply your own judgment in making any use of the information provided in the Company’s Material, especially as the basis for any investment decisions. Securities or other investments referred to in the Materials may not be suitable for you and you should not make any kind of investment decision in relation to them without first obtaining independent investment advice from a qualified and registered investment advisor. You further agree that neither Sophic, its, directors, officers, shareholders, employees, affiliates consultants, and/or clients will be liable for any losses or liabilities that may be occasioned as a result of the information provided in any of the Material. By accessing Sophic’s website and signing up to receive the Company’s monthly newsletter or any other Material, you accept and agree to be bound by and comply with the terms and conditions set out herein. If you do not accept and agree to the terms, you should not use the Company’s website or accept the terms and conditions associated to the newsletter signup. Sophic is not registered as an adviser or dealer under the securities legislation of any jurisdiction of Canada or elsewhere and provides Material on behalf of its clients pursuant to an exemption from the registration requirements that is available in respect of generic advice. In no event will Sophic be responsible or liable to you or any other party for any damages of any kind arising out of or relating to the use of, misuse of and/or inability to use the Company’s website or Material. The information is directed only at persons resident in Canada. The Company’s Material or the information provided in the Material shall not in any form constitute as an offer or solicitation to anyone in the United States of America or any jurisdiction where such offer or solicitation is not authorized or to any person to whom it is unlawful to make such a solicitation. If you choose to access Sophic’s website and/or have signed up to receive the Company’s monthly newsletter or any other Material, you acknowledge that the information in the Material is intended for use by persons resident in Canada only. Sophic is not an investment advisor nor does it maintain any registrations as such, and Material provided by Sophic shall not be used to make investment decisions. Information provided in the Company’s Material is often opinionated and should be considered for information purposes only. No stock exchange or securities regulatory authority anywhere has approved or disapproved of the information contained herein. There is no express or implied solicitation to buy or sell securities. Sophic and/or its principals and employees may have positions in the stocks mentioned in the Company’s Material and may trade in the stocks mentioned in the Material. Do not consider buying or selling any stock without conducting your own due diligence and/or without obtaining independent investment advice from a qualified and registered investment advisor. The Company has not independently verified any of the data from third party sources referred to in the Material, including information provided by Sophic clients that are the subject of the report, or ascertained the underlying assumptions relied upon by such sources. The Company does not assume any responsibility for the accuracy or completeness of this information or for any failure by any such other persons to disclose events which may have occurred or may affect the significance or accuracy of any such information. The Material may contain forward looking information. Forward-looking statements are frequently, but not always, identified by words such as “expects,” “anticipates,” “believes,” “intends,” “estimates,” “potential,” “possible,” “projects,” “plans,” and similar expressions, or statements that events, conditions or results “will,” “may,” “could,” or “should” occur or be achieved or their negatives or other comparable words and include, without limitation, statements regarding, projected revenue, income or earnings or other results of operations, strategy, plans, objectives, goals and targets, plans to increase market share or with respect to anticipated performance compared to competitors, product development and adoption by potential customers. These statements relate to future events and future performance. Forward-looking statements are based on opinions and assumptions as of the date made, and are subject to a variety of risks and other factors that could cause actual events/results to differ materially from these forward looking statements. There can be no assurance that such expectations will prove to be correct; these statements are no guarantee of future performance and involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors. Sophic provides no assurance as to future results, performance, or achievements and no representations are made that actual results achieved will be as indicated in the forward looking information. Nothing herein can be assumed or predicted, and you are strongly encouraged to learn more and seek independent advice before relying on any information presented.