Last week saw a major financing by Lightspeed (LSPD-NYSE, LSPD-TSX), raising almost a billion dollars in equity. In addition, in Canada, Freshbooks attained unicorn status. In the USA, car sharing platform Turo has filed confidentially for an IPO. Neobank Chime raised US$750 million at a US$25 billion valuation, the company was valued at US$14.5 billion last fall. Brazilian digital bank Nubank, which has a multimillion-dollar investment from legendary investor Warren Buffett’s company, is planning an initial public offering of more than US$2 billion in the US stock market, according to a Bloomberg report. The regulatory overhang on China tech investments continues, with SoftBank Group CEO Masayoshi Son saying his company will take a wait-and-see approach with new investments in China. CATL, the Chinese lithium battery giant that counts Tesla and other electric vehicle makers as its customers, plans to raise as much as US$9 billion in a private share placement to expand its battery production. In the gaming space, Entain will acquire esports platform Unikrn for £50 million, which we believe could represent a lower valuation from the company’s private valuation. While Golden Nugget spiked 55% after DraftKings agrees to buy it for US$1.56 billion.
Canadian Technology Capital Markets & Company News
Lightspeed (LSPD-NYSE, LSPD-TSX) raises US$107.4 million from share sale over allotment.
Lightspeed Commerce Inc. says it has raised an additional US$107.4 million in its share offering after the underwriters exercised their over-allotment option in full. The e-commerce company says the increase means it raised a total of US$823.5 million before underwriting commission and offering costs. The size of the share offering was initially set at seven million subordinate voting shares, but was later increased to 7.7 million shares at a price of US$93 per share. https://bit.ly/3AJ6zgg
Baylin (BYL-TSX) provides further details regarding $10 million private placement.
Baylin provides further details regarding its previously announced proposed best efforts private placement financing (the “Offering”) of 11,112,000 common shares of the Company (the “Common Shares”) at a price of $0.90 per Common Share (the “Issue Price”) for total proceeds of approximately $10 million. In connection with the Offering, the Company has entered into an engagement letter with Paradigm Capital Inc., as lead agent, on behalf of a syndicate of agents (collectively, the “Agents”). The Company has granted the Agents an option to sell up to an additional 15% of the number of Common Shares offered pursuant to the base Offering for over-allotment purposes at the Issue Price, exercisable, in whole or in part, at any time until 48 hours prior to the closing of the Offering. https://bit.ly/3sgCqBH
FreshBooks secures $163 million and unicorn valuation to increase global reach.
Accounting software leader FreshBooks has become the latest Canadian tech company to surpass a $1 billion valuation following a recent $163 million round. The financing consists of a $101 million inside round led by long-time FreshBooks investor Accomplice, with participation from J.P. Morgan, Gaingels, BMO, and Manulife. FreshBooks platform partner Barclays was the sole new investor in the round, while BMO provided $62 million in debt financing. The round brings FreshBooks’ total funding to date to more than $250 million. https://bit.ly/2VDBYSx
XpertSea secures $25 million to expand sustainable aquaculture solution to new markets.
Québec City-based startup XpertSea has raised a $25 million Series B round to support the growth of its seafood tech, which helps shrimp farmers farm and trade fish more efficiently. United States-based firm QED Investors and São Paulo’s Atlantico led the round with Investissement Québec. Previous XpertSea investors Real Ventures, Obvious Ventures, Dutch sustainable aquaculture fund Aqua-Spark, Tony Fadell’s Future Shape, and edō Capital also participated in the round. https://bit.ly/37CIICv
Smile CDR raises $20 million to expand FHIR-driven data liberation platform for interoperability.
Smile CDR Inc. (Smile CDR), a Toronto-based health data storage and integration company, announced it has raised $20 million in Series A funding led by 30 North Group, a Seattle-based family office, and UPMC Enterprises. Founded in 2016, Smile CDR offers a suite of services that allow health systems, payers and hospitals to meet U.S. health information interoperability standards rapidly and securely. https://bit.ly/3AzVFta
Fluid Biotech secures $5.6 million to accelerate development of innovative brain aneurysm stent.
Calgary-based medical device startup Fluid Biotech has raised $5.6 million to help it accelerate the development of its innovative stent for brain aneurysms. The stent was created by neurosurgeons and University of Calgary professors Dr. John Wong and Dr. Alim Mitha. The pair came up with the idea for a hybrid polymer-metal flow-diverting brain stent a number of years ago and launched Fluid Biotech in 2014 to develop and commercialize the device. The seed financing brings the startup’s total funding to date to around $10 million and will help Fluid Biotech further develop the delivery system for its stent and to get the device into pre-clinical and human trials. https://bit.ly/3AMAVyz
Branch Energy closes $5.6 million seed round to solve a Texas-sized carbon problem.
Toronto-based Branch Energy has closed fresh funding to bring green energy and smarter energy use to deregulated markets across North America. The all-equity, $5.6 million seed round was led by Comcast Ventures, with participation from Global Founders Capital, Inovia Capital, and Assaf Wand, CEO and co-founder of recently IPO’d insurtech company Hippo. Branch’s total funding to date sits at US$5.5 million, accounting for a US$1 million pre-seed founder round which helped the company get approved as an energy provider in the US state of Texas, where the company hopes to launch this fall. https://bit.ly/3ApN7F8
Medimap raises $3.5 million to bring walk-in clinic wait time tech to more medical practices.
Vancouver-based startup Medimap has secured $3.5 million in seed financing to support the expansion of its medical clinic-focused software into new healthcare verticals. The all-equity seed round was supported entirely by previous investors. Tiny Capital led, while Tiny Capital’s Andrew Wilkinson, Victoria-based angel investors Rasool Rayani, David Arnsdorf, and Rajiv Khaneja, and Shane Parrish, chairman and CEO of Ottawa-based holding company Syrus Partners, also participated. The fresh capital brings Medimap’s total funding to date to $4.5 million. https://bit.ly/3jNzZ5U
Mero Technologies sweeps up $3.1 million for its cleaning sensors.
Mero Technologies is hoping to clean up – literally. The Toronto-based technology firm closed a $3.1 million seed round in July that it will use in its mission to improve the cleanliness of commercial buildings. Mero uses Internet of Things (loT) sensors to monitor hygiene products, such as toilet paper, and to gauge pedestrian traffic in large buildings, in order to ensure they are efficiently cleaned. “This investment is especially timely as we all place a renewed focus on workplace health and hygiene as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.” The seed round, led by Fresco Capital and IX Labs, will go toward building what the firm is calling the Mero Marketplace. The company previously raised $880,792 in a pre-seed round of funding. https://bit.ly/3Awx0Wi
Investors back ORO Health’s telemedicine vision with $3 million seed round.
Backed by the success of its virtual dermatology company, a Montreal startup is expanding its telemedicine offerings. ORO Health announced a round of seed financing worth $3 million. The funds will go toward helping ORO accelerate the development of its telemedicine platform, and aid in its commercialization and licencing. “Our solution is something that is going to help with the access of care that everybody faces,” said Dr. Émilie Bourgeault, a dermatologist, and one of ORO’s three founders, along with her two partners, Dr. Marc-André Doré, a dermatologist, and Jean-Philippe Doré, a business analyst. https://bit.ly/2Xaim8G
RainStick raises $1 million to commercialize water conservation tech.
Kelowna-based cleantech startup RainStick Shower has secured over $1 million in seed financing to support the launch of its water-saving smart shower system. RainStick’s round was supported by Vancouver-based VC firm Red Thread Ventures and a group of impact angel investors aligned with the water and renewables space. This group includes John Rose, who previously served as CEO and president of electric floor heating company NuHeat Floors, which was acquired by Pentair in 2015. Rose has joined RainStick’s board as part of the round. https://bit.ly/3CK4UbU
Portage Ventures secures additional US$210 million for third FinTech fund.
Power Corp has revealed that Power-backed Portage Ventures has secured more capital to execute its proven FinTech investment strategy. Portage Ventures III, Portage Ventures’ third FinTech-focused fund, raised an additional close in the second quarter and a subsequent US$145 million commitment in July, bringing its total to US$358 million. Power Corp disclosed the news in its Q2 2021 earnings report, released August 9. The new capital more than doubles the size of Portage III. Portage, the FinTech-focused venture investment arm of Sagard Holdings, is one of Canada’s most active and successful FinTech investors. Portage’s third fund represents part of a multi-pronged approach by Sagard and its ownership group, Power Corp, to invest in promising FinTech companies. https://bit.ly/3CGgoNR
Government of Canada announces $1.44 billion investment in Telesat supporting the future of connectivity for rural and remote communities.
As Canada prepares to emerge from the pandemic, the Government of Canada is making the investments required for a robust economic recovery. Strategic investments in connectivity not only act as a catalyst for job creation and economic growth but also facilitate the government’s commitment to providing all Canadians with access to high-speed Internet. Today, the Honourable Chrystia Freeland, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, together with the Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, announced that the Government of Canada has entered into an agreement-in-principle with Telesat to invest $1.44 billion into Telesat’s advanced low Earth orbit (LEO) satellite constellation, Telesat Lightspeed. https://bit.ly/2VRYkj8
Canadian firm developing immersive virtual reality camera systems for space exploration.
Immersive virtual reality (VR) technology has transformed the entertainment industry and now has the potential to become a game-changer on how we experience space exploration. Today, the Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, announced that Montreal’s Felix & Paul Studios is receiving a contribution worth US$482,607 from the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) to further develop VR camera technology that could capture and transmit high-quality footage from future international missions to the Moon and other deep-space destinations. https://bit.ly/3xNSFYe
Global Markets: IPOs, Venture Capital, M&A
Corporations want a piece of the startup bonanza.
With everything going up and to the right, it’s only fitting that corporate venture capital investments did too during the past quarter. What’s happening: Global CVC-backed funding reached US$79 billion across 2,099 deals in the first half of 2021 — more than the US$74 billion invested in all of 2020, according to new CB Insights data. https://bit.ly/3jEhT6o
Reddit says it’s raising US$410 million in funding at a US$10 billion valuation.
Reddit on Thursday said it was raising $410 million as part of a funding round that will value it at more than US$10 billion. The social site’s valuation was US$6 billion in February, when it raised US$250 million. The new funding, from Fidelity Investments, is part of a funding round that Reddit said was likely to reach as much as US$700 million. “I can confirm a US$410 million investment has been raised to date, but will expect more investments,” a Reddit spokesperson told Insider. The new funding will go towards video and audio features, as well as making it easier for new users to get to grips with the site, Steve Huffman, Reddit’s co-founder and CEO, said in an interview with The New York Times. https://bit.ly/3fWPM11
Lightning eMotors jumps 89% after entering a US$850 million EV partnership with Berkshire Hathaway’s Forest River.
Shares of Lightning eMotors rose as much as 89% on Tuesday, hitting their highest level since going public via SPAC, after entering a US$850 million partnership deal with a Berkshire Hathaway-backed bus maker. Lightning eMotors and will work with Forest River, the largest shuttle-bus maker in North America, to deliver up to 7,500 zero-emission shuttle buses in the US and Canada starting this year to 2025. The EV maker will build fully electric powertrains at its Loveland, Colorado, facility, and provide charging products and services to Forest River. The powertrain systems will then be shipped to Forest River’s factory in Goshen, Indiana, where final assembly will take place for Class 4 and 5 electric passenger buses. https://bit.ly/3sgaZZ2
Cannabis giant Leafly is going public through a SPAC merger.
Leafly is turning to a SPAC with Merida Merger Corp. I to go public. The deal, valued at about US$532 million and expected to generate proceeds of up to US$161.5 million, includes Leafly’s recent capital raise of US$31.5 million from investors, including Merida Capital Holdings. The company is expected to list on Nasdaq under the ticker symbol of LFLY as Merida will adopt the Leafly name. Existing Leafly shareholders will own about 72% of the merged company. The deal is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2021. https://tcrn.ch/2VO1XWI
Car-sharing startup Turo has filed confidentially for an IPO.
Turo, the peer-to-peer car-sharing startup, has initiated the confidential process of filing for an initial public offering with the U.S. Securities Exchange Commission. The number of shares to be offered in the IPO and the price range have not yet been determined, the company said in a statement. Turo declined to provide additional information to TechCrunch. The eleven-year-old Turo’s marketplace is analogous to Airbnb, letting car owners post an ad to rent out their vehicle on its app and website. Cars are available to rent in more than 5,500 cities across three countries. Turo was in Germany after taking over Daimler AG’s car-sharing subsidiary Croove alongside an investment deal. The company is no longer in Germany. https://tcrn.ch/2VOdANm
A Buffett-backed Brazilian fintech firm is reportedly planning a US$2 billion US IPO.
Brazilian digital bank Nubank, which has a multimillion-dollar investment from legendary investor Warren Buffett’s company, is planning an initial public offering of more than US$2 billion in the US stock market, according to a Bloomberg report. The fintech, legally named Nu Pagamentos SA, is aiming to launch its IPO on Nasdaq by the end of 2021 and it may seek a valuation of more than US$40 billion, sources told Bloomberg in a report published Thursday. The Sao Paulo-based company’s valuation ballooned to US$30 billion after Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway bought a US$500 million stake in the company in June, adding to the conglomerate’s investments in private technology companies. Nubank runs digital payment accounts for more than 40 million clients and has a Mastercard-branded credit card. https://bit.ly/2VMyltw
Neobank Chime raises US$750 million at US$25 billion valuation.
Chime, which provides fee-free debit cards for consumers, has raised US$750 million in new funding at a US$25 billion valuation, the company announced on Friday. Chime was valued at US$14.5 billion last fall. The new round, which was first reported by The Wall Street Journal, was led by Sequoia Capital Global Equities with participation from SoftBank’s Vision Fund, General Atlantic, Tiger Global Management and Dragoneer Investment Group. The company expects to go public in the early part of next year, according to the WSJ’s report. San Francisco-based Chime on Friday also announced three new additions to its board of directors, including Dallas Mavericks CEO Cynthia Marshall, Piper Sandler senior managing principal Jimmy Dunne and Berkshire Hathaway director Susan Decker. https://bit.ly/3AFQYxL
SoftBank CEO: taking wait-and-see approach with new China deals.
SoftBank Group CEO Masayoshi Son said his company will take a wait-and-see approach with new investments in China, until there is more clarity on the scope and impact of Beijing’s regulatory crackdown. His comments come after the crackdown triggered a global selloff of shares in Chinese tech companies, including those backed by SoftBank. “I want to take a cautious stance” toward making new investments in Chinese companies, Son said at a news conference Tuesday. “What kinds of regulations will be implemented, how widely and deeply? What areas are relatively less risky for investments? After we have more clarity on those questions, we can resume our investments,” he said. SoftBank owns 20.2% of Chinese ride-hailing giant Didi Global and 20.3% of Chinese logistics firm Full Truck Alliance. Both Didi and Full Truck went public in New York in June, but their share prices have plunged over the past month as China’s government launched cybersecurity probes into the companies. The current share prices of Didi and Full Truck are both more than 30% lower than their IPO prices. On Tuesday, SoftBank also said its net profit for the quarter through June declined 39% from the same period a year earlier when its profit was boosted by one-time gains related to its sales of U.S. telecom firm Sprint. Still, a major concern for SoftBank now is China’s crackdown and its impact on the investment firm’s portfolio in the coming quarters. https://bit.ly/3AHbsGt
Tencent-backed videogame developer tumbles in IPO debut.
Shares in South Korea’s Krafton, the company behind the hit videogame PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, fell as much as 20% on the first day of trading, valuing the company at around US$19 billion. The decline comes as China renews a crackdown on videogaming, with state media accusing the industry of harming China’s youth. Krafton is partly backed by Tencent, which holds a roughly 15% stake in the company. Krafton’s flagship game, PUBG, competes with Fortnite in the gaming genre known as Battle Royale. Tencent has the rights to operate mobile versions of the game. Krafton is the latest high profile Tencent investment to experience growing pains after Chinese regulators targeted the education tech sector, last month hurting the value of companies like Yuanfudao, which Tencent holds a nearly 21% stake in. https://bit.ly/3xMI7II
TikTok owner ByteDance denies report of IPO plan.
TikTok owner ByteDance denied a Financial Times report that said the Chinese company is aiming for a Hong Kong initial public offering by early next year. The FT reported that ByteDance, the world’s most highly valued venture-backed startup whose valuation in the most recent funding round in December was US$180 billion, is planning to list in the fourth quarter of this year or early next year. But a ByteDance spokesperson said that the report is “untrue” and the company has no such IPO plans. A ByteDance investor who spoke to The Information said that the company is unlikely to rush into an IPO in the current environment where ByteDance and other Chinese internet giants are still figuring out how to comply with Beijing’s new data security requirements. Concerns about China’s regulatory crackdown also has caused the share prices of publicly listed Chinese tech companies in New York and Hong Kong to plunge in the past month. Last month, China’s internet regulator issued draft new rules proposing mandatory cybersecurity reviews for Chinese tech companies that pursue IPOs abroad, causing many Chinese startups to suspend their U.S. IPO plans for the time being. https://bit.ly/3CKv3HH
Chinese battery giant CATL to raise US$9 billion to boost capacity.
CATL, the Chinese lithium battery giant that counts Tesla and other electric vehicle makers as its customers, plans to raise as much as US$9 billion in a private share placement to expand its battery production, it said in a statement. The company said it would be used to build new capacity and for research and development. CATL is one of the world’s largest makers of electric vehicle batteries and recently unveiled a battery made of sodium-ion rather than lithium, cobalt or nickel that it hopes will be more efficient. It recently extended an agreement with Tesla to provide batteries for its China-made cars through 2025. https://bit.ly/3yQn4Xd
WarnerMedia in talks to sell TMZ to Fox.
AT&T’s WarnerMedia is in talks to sell its TMZ tabloid entertainment company to Fox, according to people familiar with the situation. The talks are the latest move by WarnerMedia to slim down its collection of businesses. On Monday, for example, Sony completed its acquisition of WarnerMedia’s Crunchyroll animation business. And of course AT&T is in the process of selling WarnerMedia itself to Discovery. TMZ, which operates a web site and a TV show that airs on Fox’s broadcast TV stations, is part of Warner’s Warner Bros studio. The tabloid entertainment news site is often the first to report breaking news, including the untimely death of NBA star Kobe Bryant. However, some have noted that TMZ’s reporting on Hollywood talent has occasionally been a thorn in Warner Bros’ side. Fox, which doesn’t own an entertainment studio, shouldn’t have such issues. https://bit.ly/3fZaQE7
Mailchimp is exploring a sale at US$10 billion-plus valuation.
Email marketing startup Mailchimp is exploring a sale that could value the company at more than US$10 billion, according to people with knowledge of the matter. Atlanta-based Mailchimp is considering options that could also include the sale of a minority stake, said the people, who asked not to be identified because they weren’t authorized to speak publicly. Mailchimp is attracting interest from private equity firms and large technology firms, the people said. The company had about US$300 million in earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization in 2020, one of the people said. https://bloom.bg/3sefvqJ
Norton and Avast are merging into an US$8 billion antivirus empire.
NortonLifeLock and Avast are merging in a deal worth more than US$8 billion. The deal will see NortonLifelock acquire all of Avast’s shares, and create a much larger cyber security firm. “With this combination, we can strengthen our cyber safety platform and make it available to more than 500 million users,” says Vincent Pilette, NortonLifeLock CEO. “We will also have the ability to further accelerate innovation to transform cyber safety.” The combination should lead to antivirus products that include the benefits of Avast’s focus on privacy and NortonLifeLock’s experience in identity, all at a time when cyber security is critical for both consumers and businesses. https://bit.ly/37zxKxs
Moody’s to buy RMS for US$2 billion in bid to boost climate risk business.
Moody’s Corp. , best known for rating corporate and government debt, is diving into disaster and climate-change risk modeling. The ratings company on Thursday said it had agreed to acquire RMS, a catastrophe risk-management and modeling firm, from its U.K. parent Daily Mail and General Trust for about US$2 billion. The deal is a sign of the big money to be made from selling data that analyzes changing climate patterns caused by global warming. RMS sells data and analytics to the property and casualty insurance and reinsurance sectors. It has grown rapidly alongside the increased frequency of natural disasters that are changing the way insurers price coverage. https://on.wsj.com/3AzUs4U
Tilman Fertitta-backed Golden Nugget spikes 55% after DraftKings agrees to buy it for US$1.56 billion.
Shares of Golden Nugget Online Gaming spiked on Monday after the online casino specialist announced it will be acquired by DraftKings in an all-stock transaction worth approximately US$1.56 billion. Golden Nugget jumped as much as 55%, while DraftKings rose 2%. The merging of two gaming giants further expands the realms of online casinos and iGaming, which Golden Nugget is known for, as well as fantasy sports betting, where DraftKing is a lead player. “Together, we can offer value to our combined customer base that is unparalleled,” Tilman Fertitta, chair and CEO of Golden Nugget, said in a statement. “We believe that DraftKings is one of the leading players in this burgeoning space.” https://bit.ly/3lUXH34
Entain to acquire Unikrn for £50 million, names Head of Esports.
Global sports-betting, gaming and interactive entertainment group Entain has agreed to purchase esports betting company Unikrn for a reported £50 million. Entain plans to acquire Unikrn’s technology platform, products and team, citing a lack of existing scale among skill-based wagering platforms. The purchase price was originally reported by The Times in London. Jette Nygaard-Andersen, Entain’s CEO, commented: “Entain has built a powerful platform combining our industry-leading technology, people and capabilities that is driving significant growth in our existing markets, including the U.S., but also enables us to grow into new and emerging markets and opportunities related to our core areas of expertise. https://bit.ly/3CIZbDp
GoDaddy stock bounces after announcing US$250 million accelerated stock buyback program.
Shares of GoDaddy Inc. bounced 1.6% in premarket trading Thursday, after the web hosting and domain-name registration company announced a US$250 million accelerated stock repurchase (ASR) agreement with Goldman Sachs. The program represents about 2.1% of GoDaddy’s market capitalization of US$11.95 billion at Wednesday’s close. The company said its share repurchase program will have about US$750 million remaining after the ASR is completed, representing about 6.3% of the GoDaddy’s market cap. The company said following completion of the ASR, it will have repurchased more than 9% of its shares outstanding since January 2020. https://on.mktw.net/3jW58Ex
Uber, Lyft prices at records even as drivers return.
Drivers are returning to Uber and Lyft after the companies spent big on incentives to address a pandemic-driven labor shortage. That shift isn’t bringing down fares from record highs, new data show. The average Uber and Lyft fare in the U.S. rose month-to-month from February through July, touching new highs every time, according to data from Rakuten Intelligence, a market-research firm that based its analysis on e-receipts from more than one million consumers. While the average fare in July edged up slightly from June, it meant consumers paid over 50% more for a ride last month compared with January 2020, before the pandemic. That’s the most Americans have paid for Uber and Lyft rides in at least three years, according to Rakuten. https://on.wsj.com/3yFNnPV
Facebook delays return to offices until 2022 for U.S. employees.
Facebook Inc. is delaying its return to office plans due to a resurgence in Covid-19 cases, telling U.S. employees Thursday that they don’t need to return to work in person until January 2022. “Given the recent health data showing rising Covid cases based on the delta variant, our teams in the US will not be required to go back to the office until January 2022,” Tracy Clayton, a Facebook spokesperson, in a statement. “We expect this to be the case for some countries outside of the U.S., as well. We continue to monitor the situation and work with experts to ensure our return to office plans prioritize everyone’s safety.” https://bloom.bg/3AzMx7I
iPhone 13 purchase planned by 44% of US iPhone owners.
If you’re planning on an iPhone 13 purchase this year, you’re in good company, according to a new survey. It revealed that some 44% of current iPhone owners in the US plan to buy one of this year’s models. When it came to specific models, the standard iPhone 13 was the most popular choice, followed by the iPhone 13 Pro Max. The survey also identified which of the rumored new features was the greatest purchase motivator. https://bit.ly/3CC1V5j
Apple reportedly in talks to develop Apple Car with Korean partners.
Rumors about the Apple Car have slowed down over recent weeks, except for the company expanding its California self-driving test fleet. Now, according to the Korea Times, Apple is seeing developments in its car talks with Korean partners. As told by industry sources, Korea Times reports that Apple has made contact with multiple Korean EV component manufacturers. https://bit.ly/2Xeg3S5
Foxconn to build EV plants in US to offset slowing smartphone industry.
Foxconn, a major assembler of the iPhone, announced plans to build EV manufacturing plants in the US and Thailand next year, with mass production scheduled for 2023. With this move, Foxconn looks to leap from the slowing wave of smartphone manufacturing to the tidal surge of EV demand. Foxconn is a worldwide leader in electronics manufacturing with nearly 50 years of experience. It’s known for household name electronics like the iPhone, iPad, and Nintendo Switch. https://bit.ly/3iGPoWd
Media, Streaming, Gaming & Sports Betting
Most popular social app in 2020 was TikTok, overtaking Facebook.
TikTok became the most popular social app in the world in 2020, overtaking Facebook and WhatsApp, shows an App Annie analysis. This backs a separate Sensor Tower study that last month stated that TikTok was the first non-Facebook-owned app to exceed 3 billion downloads. https://bit.ly/3xxYkS8
Disney+ hits 116 million subscribers as company reports strong Q3 earnings.
Disney on Thursday announced earnings results for its fiscal 2021 third quarter with numbers that beat Wall Street expectations. With revenue of US$17.02 billion, the company revealed the astonishing number of 116 million subscribers to Disney+ alone. As reported by CNBC, analysts expected the company to have about 114 million Disney+ subscribers in the last quarter. The streaming platform had already recorded 103.6 million users in Q2 2021. The company has a goal of reaching at least 230 million Disney+ subscribers by 2024. https://bit.ly/3yJoZg5
Adtech, Privacy & Regulatory
Beijing prosecutors initiate lawsuit against Tencent over WeChat’s ‘youth mode’.
Beijing prosecutors initiated a civil public-interest lawsuit against a Tencent subsidiary on Friday, saying the “youth mode” on the company’s popular social messaging app WeChat does not comply with laws protecting minors. The lawsuit was initiated by Beijing’s Haidian District People’s Procuratorate against Shenzhen Tencent Computer Systems Co Ltd, according to a filing posted on JCRB.com, a website run by China’s top prosecutor. The filing did not say how WeChat’s “youth mode” broke Chinese law. Tencent did not immediately respond to a request for comment. https://reut.rs/3iD5m3H
China signals its regulatory crackdown will go on for years.
China released a five-year blueprint calling for greater regulation of vast parts of the economy, providing a sweeping framework for the broader crackdown on key industries that has left investors reeling. The document, jointly issued late Wednesday by the State Council and the Communist Party’s Central Committee, said authorities would “actively” work on legislation in areas including national security, technology and monopolies. Law enforcement will be strengthened in sectors ranging from food and drugs to big data and artificial intelligence, the document said. https://bloom.bg/3lXX9cr
Congress challenges Apple and Google app stores policies with bill.
A bipartisan group of U.S. senators announced a new bill that would force Apple and Google to let developers opt out of their app store payment systems. The Open App Markets Act—which was proposed by Democrats Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut and Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota and Republican Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee—is aimed at several app store policies that have been criticized by companies like Epic Games and Spotify for stifling competition. According to CNBC, the Google and Apple app stores would no longer be allowed to require app developers to use their payment systems in exchange for distribution in their app stores. But the bill may have some loopholes. CNBC reports that app stores might not be in violation if Apple, Google and proprietors of other platforms can argue that app developers have to obey their rules for privacy, security, fraud prevention and other reasons. https://bit.ly/3AJajOC
UK regulator opposes Facebook’s acquisition of Giphy.
You might not remember, but Facebook announced in early 2020 that it was acquiring the popular GIF platform “Giphy” for about US$400 million. However, the acquisition may face some resistance in the UK, as a local regulatory agency believes it can potentially hurt the competition. According to the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (via The Verge), Giphy has a strong role on the internet and social media platforms. A Facebook acquisition could affect the entire digital market, as no one knows exactly what the company’s plans are for the popular GIF platform. https://bit.ly/3ABNXPd
Google expands Kroger grocery pickup footprint.
As Google tries to expand its reach in e-commerce, it is dabbling in curbside pickups. Google and Kroger this week expanded an initial pilot in which shoppers who order groceries for pickup through the retailer’s app can add the order to Google Maps and receive a notification when it’s ready. The pandemic-spurred shift to e-commerce forced grocery stores and other retailers to accelerate work on curbside pickups and many are still working out the kinks. They are still sorting out how to prioritize fulfillment, keep perishable goods cold and avoid making customers wait. Kroger said the partnership helps minimize wait times and improve store workflows. The new Google service allows customers to let Kroger know when they’re likely to arrive at the store. There isn’t currently a revenue share aspect for Google in the Kroger deal, the Google spokesperson said. Still, the partnership could open the door to a potential opportunity for Google to be paid in the future, particularly if it shows that the feature can offer partner retailers an edge over competitors or bring in new customers. It also gives Google a view of where its users are spending grocery or other shopping budgets, one step better than simply knowing where they traveled. The service is available in 225 Kroger brand stores nationally (about 8% of the company’s total stores), including new locations in Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana. Google is in discussions with other retailers to expand the service beyond grocery stores to other shopping sectores, the spokesperson said. https://bit.ly/37WJR89
Amazon will pay up to US$1,000 to people injured by faulty products from third-party sellers.
Amazon will soon start paying compensation to US customers who are injured, or have their property damaged, by items sold by third-party sellers, it said Tuesday. The new policy starts September 1, and payments are capped at $1,000, it said in a blog post. Amazon will pay customers directly, it said. Sellers remain liable, but Amazon won’t expect sellers to pay it back if they had valid insurance, it said. Amazon also announced that from September 1 it will play a bigger role in mediating damage claims between customers and third-party sellers. “Customers can contact Amazon Customer Service, and we will notify the seller and help them address the claim,” it said in the blog post. “If a seller does not respond to a claim, Amazon will step in to directly address the immediate customer concern, bear the cost ourselves, and separately pursue the seller.” https://bit.ly/3xF5NyX
Fintech, Blockchain & Cryptocurrency
These are the 8 stocks that give investors exposure to bitcoin, according to Fundstrat.
Without an approved bitcoin ETF, it can be difficult for some investors to gain exposure to the cryptocurrency. One way to gain exposure to bitcoin is to invest in companies that either own bitcoin directly or have exposure to the space. The tickers are SI-NYSE, MOGO-TSX, COIN-NASDAQ, VYGR-CSE, RIOT-NASDAQ, MSTR-NASDAQ, PYPL-NASDAQ, SQ-NYSE. https://bit.ly/3xEuj2U
Goldman Sachs-backed crypto payments group Circle aims to become a full-reserve national digital bank.
Digital payments company Circle plans to become a full-reserve national commercial bank, according to an announcement by CEO Jeremy Allaire on Monday. Allaire said that since its inception, the aim of Circle was to eventually build a global digital currency bank, regulated in the same way as traditional commercial banks and held to the same standards, but with free and “frictionless” transaction and payment mechanisms. “We believe that full-reserve banking, built on digital currency technology, can lead to not just a radically more efficient, but also a safer, more resilient financial system,” Allaire said in a blog post. https://bit.ly/2VPKT33
Ether trading volumes surpass bitcoin on Coinbase for the first time as DeFi and staking hype grows.
Ether was the most-traded cryptocurrency on Coinbase in the second quarter of the year, jumping ahead of bitcoin as excitement grew around decentralized finance and staking – two use cases that have drawn investors to the world’s second-biggest cryptocurrency. Trading in ether made up 26% of total volumes in the second quarter, up from 21% in the previous three months, Coinbase’s second-quarter earnings showed on Tuesday. https://bit.ly/3xxNlYU
Hackers steal US$600 million in likely largest DeFi crypto theft.
Tens of thousands of people are affected by the hack, PolyNetwork said in a letter posted on Twitter. About US$33 million of the stablecoin Tether that was a part of the theft has been frozen by Tether’s issuer, making it unavailable to the attacker. https://bloom.bg/3yRr9KZ
Chip delivery time surpasses 20 weeks in no sign shortage easing.
The amount of time it’s taking for chip-starved companies to get orders filled has stretched to more than 20 weeks, indicating the shortages that have held back automakers and computer manufacturers are getting worse. Chip lead times, the gap between ordering a semiconductor and taking delivery, increased by more than eight days to 20.2 weeks in July from the previous month, according to research by Susquehanna Financial Group. That gap was already the longest wait time since the firm began tracking the data in 2017. https://bloom.bg/2VSONs3
Sophic Capital Client Insights
HIRE Technologies Inc. (Sophic Client, HIRE-TSXV) is focused on modernizing and digitizing human resources solutions. This sector has been undergoing rapid evolution and growth accelerated by the COVID pandemic. Sophic Capital is hosting a HIRE Technologies corporate update with CEO Simon Dealy on Tuesday, August 17 at 12pm ET / 9am PT. Click HERE to register for the webinar.
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