While the Tik-Tok drama continues to unfold, high profile companies including SpaceX, Robinhood, Airbnb, Ant Financial, Palantir move ahead to either raise capital or go public. Palantir also plans to move its headquarters from the Bay Area to Denver, which could aid the trend of tech companies being more widely located, which we believe is a tailwind for the Canadian tech ecosystem. For example, Odyssey Interactive’s founders previously worked in the United States but opted to establish the company in Canada, because of the strong startup ecosystem in Canada.

Canadian Technology Capital Markets & Company News

Engine Media (GAME-TSXV) announces up to US$20 million Convertible Debenture facility and first tranche closing of US$5.7 million and investment in One Up Group. https://bit.ly/3g9AAen

Attabotics raises $66 million Series C round. Attabotics, a Calgary-based startup that has created a robotic warehousing and fulfillment system, has raised $65.9 million in a Series C round of funding. The round was led by Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan Board, through its Teachers’ Innovation Platform, and existing investor Honeywell. The Series C comes just over a year since Attabotics announced its Series B round, which brought in $25 million. With its Series C, the startup claims total funding to date of US$82.7 million. Founded in 2015, Attabotics is a 3D robotic supply chain company that looks to bring scale and efficiency to its customers’ supply chains. The Calgary startup sells, designs, manufactures, and implements 3D robotic supply chain systems, which incorporate high-density automated storage and retrieval systems with goods-to-person order fulfillment solutions. https://bit.ly/318NftF

Gaming startup Odyssey Interactive launches with $7.9 million. Video game startup Odyssey Interactive has officially launched in Kitchener-Waterloo and announced $7.9 million in seed financing. The seed round closed in April and consisted entirely of equity. Investors included Andreessen Horowitz, Golden Ventures, A16z Cultural Leadership Fund, as well as angel investors, including Eros Resmini of Discord, Kevin Lin of Twitch, Steve Chen of YouTube, and Paul Della Bitta of Blizzard. The financing will be used to build Odyssey Interactive’s studio and hire developers in the Kitchener-Waterloo region. Odyssey Interactive’s goal is to develop mobile games that create a sense of community and purpose for players within the 13 to 18 age demographic. The startup is hoping to rival major video game companies like Activision Blizzard, Supercell, and Y8 Games. The founding team consists of CEO Richard Henkel, president Dax Andrus, chief compliance officer David Capurro, and chief technology officer Eric Lawless, each of whom has led development teams at companies including Netflix, League of Legends creator Riot Games, and Teamfight Tactics. Odyssey Interactive’s founders previously worked in the United States but opted to establish the company in Canada, Henkel told BetaKit, because of the strong startup ecosystem in Canada. https://bit.ly/3hgWnCi

EdTech startup Showbie raises $5 million Series A. Edmonton-based EdTech startup Showbie, which offers a classroom workflow platform, has raised a $5 million Series A round, bringing the startup’s total funding to date to $9 million. Global EdTech venture funding reached $4.1 billion between January and July. The round was led by Vancouver-based Rhino Ventures, with participation from Point Nine Capital, Azure Capital, and several other Canadian and international investors, which Showbie declined to disclose at the investors’ request. https://bit.ly/3j7vvW2

Remote training startup Synapse raises $2.6 million to grow new sales stream. Amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the world has seen an increased demand for remote work tools. Synapse has felt the results of that first hand, with the Toronto startup projecting a year-over-year revenue increase of 100 percent. “We were experimenting with some partnerships, which just really accelerated during all of COVID.” https://bit.ly/34hQEZe

In bid to attract big banks to crypto, Ottawa startup calls for federal government to set digital asset custody rules. In a submission this month to the House of Commons finance committee’s pre-budget consultations, Brane called for the federal government to “implement financial supervision regulations around digital asset custody,” and give the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions oversight of such services. It pointed to a July statement from the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) letting banks know they can hold cryptocurrency—typically in the form of the private keys that allow coins to be transferred—for customers. Germany’s financial regulator began licensing digital asset custody providers in January. https://bit.ly/2CVeaQC

Tulip acquires Boston’s Blueday to expand its retail management software offerings. Toronto-based retail startup Tulip, a mobile store performance software provider, has acquired US retail SaaS company Blueday. The financial terms of the acquisition were not disclosed. Blueday’s software system provides retailers with data-driven tools to improve the performance of store management teams and increase sales productivity. Blueday’s clients include retail chains, apparel brands, and auto parts dealers. The startup most recently raised a $50 million Series B in 2017. https://bit.ly/3j4VFIW

Global Markets: IPOs, Venture Capital, M&A

SpaceX raises US$1.9 billion in largest funding round to date. SpaceX has raised US$1.9 billion in new funding, per a filing with the SEC from Tuesday which was first spotted by Reuters. The company had been reported by Bloomberg to be in the funding process earlier, which pegged the post-money valuation of SpaceX at US$46 billion following this raise. The new funding for the still-private SpaceX hardly comes as a surprise; the Elon Musk -led private launch company has been seeking funding since earlier this year, but Bloomberg reported last week that it increased the size of investment it was seeking owing to strong demand from the investment community. The round was reportedly oversubscribed, though there isn’t yet much information available about who participated in the round (Bloomberg’s report said Fidelity Investments was among the largest in, but they did not confirm). SpaceX might be better positioned than ever to seek significant resources from investors, given the string of high-profile successes it has recorded recently. https://tcrn.ch/317eogK

Robinhood now valued at US$11.2 billion with new fund backing. Robinhood Financial raised new funding at a valuation of about US$11.2 billion, as Dan Sundheim’s D1 Capital Partners poured US$200 million into the online trading company. The seven-year-old firm was most recently valued at US$8.6 billion during its July funding round, before it posted record trading figures for June. It revealed daily average revenue trades of 4.31 million for the month, greater than any of its publicly traded rivals. The latest investment and valuation were announced by Robinhood in a blog post on its website. https://bloom.bg/316IO2E

Airbnb files to go public. Airbnb made its most significant step toward a public offering Wednesday, filing a confidential draft of its investment prospectus with the Securities and Exchange Commission, the company said in a statement. The filing sets Airbnb, founded 12 years ago, on a path to go public later this year. The prospectus—and its nitty-gritty financial details—won’t become public until the SEC reviews it. The review process could take a couple months, which suggests Airbnb may not go public until the end of November. A public offering would cap a chaotic year for Airbnb, in which its business was slammed by the coronavirus, prompting the company to cut a quarter of its staff, raise debt and lower its valuation. Airbnb has tried to send more optimistic signals lately. More people are booking Airbnb homes in nearby destinations and for 30-plus days as they shelter in place outside cities. The moment will test CEO Brian Chesky’s ability to tell a convincing story for investors about the future of Airbnb. In interviews, Chesky has tried to distance the company from the travel and real estate industries, saying the company is more about human connection and hosting. Will investors take to that message? It might depend on the numbers. https://bit.ly/32bEbDT

Jack Ma’s Ant said to target US$225 billion valuation in IPO. The share sales could raise about US$30 billion in total if markets are favorable, said one of the people, requesting not to be named because the matter is private. The Hangzhou-based firm seeks to float its shares simultaneously on the Hong Kong stock exchange and the tech-focused Star board in Shanghai as soon as October, the people said. Ant, which made about US$1.3 billion in profit in the March quarter, is Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. founder Ma’s prized asset. It’s morphed from a fintech platform to an online mall for everything from loans and travel services to food delivery, in a bid to win back shoppers lost to Tencent Holdings Ltd. With data from almost a billion users of its Alipay app at its back, Ant is pushing broadly into financial services, delivering technology such as robo investing and lending platforms as well as building out its advisory business. A US$30 billion dual listing could mark the biggest debut globally, topping Saudi Aramco’s record US$29.4 billion haul, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. At a valuation of US$225 billion, Ant’s valuation would be bigger than Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Morgan Stanley combined. https://bloom.bg/2QdUA53

Palantir reports losses, adds lockup period ahead of listing. As Palantir Technologies Inc. gets closer to the public markets, more details about its direct listing are beginning to take shape. Shareholders will be subject to a lockup period with its direct listing, according to people familiar with the matter. This modification would make it more like a traditional initial public offering. According to people with knowledge of Palantir’s confidentially filed IPO documents, the company lost US$579 million on revenue of US$742 million in 2019. Palantir reported US$488 million in revenue during the first six months of 2020, an amount expected to be higher in the second half of the year because the company has historically booked roughly 60% of revenue during the fourth quarter when government contracts are finalized, said one of the people, who asked not to be identified discussing private information. https://bloom.bg/2EtMAKp

Electric vehicle startup Canoo to go public via SPAC. Canoo, the Los Angeles-based electric vehicle startup, has struck a deal to merge with special-purpose acquisition company Hennessy Capital Acquisition Corp., with a market valuation of US$2.4 billion. The announcement Tuesday marks the fourth time this summer that an electric vehicle company has skipped the traditional IPO path and instead taken the company public through a merger agreement with a SPAC, also known as blank check companies. Nikola Corp., Fisker Inc. and Lordstown Motors have also gone public — or announced the agreement to — via a SPAC. Canoo said it was able to raise US$300 million in private investment in public equity, or PIPE, including investments from funds and accounts managed by BlackRock. Through the transaction, Canoo said it will have about US$600 million that will go towards the production and launch of electric vehicles built off of its underlying skateboard technology. https://tcrn.ch/318yvet

Online thrift shop ThredUp plans IPO early next year. ThredUp Inc., an online marketplace for second hand clothing, is gearing up to go public, according to people with knowledge of the matter. The San Francisco-based company has invited investment banks to pitch for a role in its initial public offering, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the information is private. The IPO, targeted for early next year, could raise US$200 million to US$300 million, one of the people said. The company’s plans, including the timing, could still change, the people said. Goldman Sachs Group Inc., which is a backer of ThredUp, is advising it on its listing plans, one of the people said. Other banks could join the process later. ThredUp raised US$175 million last year from new and existing investors including Park West Asset Management and Irving Investors. ThredUp was valued in that round at US$670 million, according to PitchBook. ThredUp’s higher-end rival, Poshmark Inc., delayed its listing to focus on boosting sales and improving its execution, Bloomberg News has reported. Shares of luxury reseller The RealReal Inc., which went public a year ago, are down 5.9% this year. https://bloom.bg/3291qhP

Amex acquires SoftBank-backed Kabbage after tough 2020 for the SMB lender. The financial terms of the deal are not being disclosed, but reports earlier this month put the value of the acquisition at up to US$850 million. For some context, Kabbage had raised nearly US$990 billion in debt and equity (and at least US$3.5 billion in securitizations), and was valued at over US$1.2 billion in its last equity round of US$250 million, in 2017, led by SoftBank. The acquisition comes at a tricky time not just for SMBs but also the fintech companies that serve them, and specifically for Kabbage itself, with all of them weathering the storms of COVID-19. Amex’s acquisition, tellingly, will include employees, technology and financial data, but “Kabbage’s pre-existing loan portfolio is not included in the purchase agreement,” Amex noted in its press release. https://tcrn.ch/3h2Qjx7

Amazon in talks to invest in cloud services company Rackspace, say sources. Amazon.com Inc is in preliminary talks to invest in U.S. cloud services provider Rackspace Technology Inc, people familiar with the discussion said on Monday. The deal would involve Amazon acquiring a minority stake in Rackspace, the sources said. Rackspace helps companies migrate their data to Amazon Web Services, and the investment would strengthen the ties between the two companies. Rackspace also migrates companies to Alphabet Inc’s Google Cloud, Microsoft Corp’s Azure and VMware Inc. Rackspace shares soared as much as 17% on the news.  Rackspace leases server space and helps corporations store and access data in the cloud. It was acquired by Apollo in a US$4.3 billion leveraged buyout in 2016, and was listed in the stock market earlier this month. The San Antonio, Texas-based company has market capitalization of more than US$3 billion, almost as much as its debt pile. https://reut.rs/2DVxuOh

TikTok will challenge Trump order banning U.S. transactions, company confirms. TikTok plans to sue the Trump administration as early as next week over the president’s executive order banning U.S. transactions with the popular video-sharing app and its Chinese parent ByteDance, the company confirmed. Under the president’s executive order issued Aug. 6, any transactions with ByteDance subject to U.S. jurisdiction will face prohibition in 45 days. The full extent of the ban is unclear, as it gives the Secretary of Commerce the power to identify those transactions subject to Trump’s order. A separate order issued on Aug. 14 gave ByteDance 90 days to divest the U.S. operations of TikTok. ByteDance is in talks with potential acquirers like Microsoft and Oracle. The challenge to the Aug. 6 executive order doesn’t affect the sale discussions with Microsoft and Oracle. “Even though we strongly disagree with the Administration’s concerns, for nearly a year we have sought to engage in good faith to provide a constructive solution,” a TikTok spokesperson told CNBC Saturday. “What we encountered instead was a lack of due process as the Administration paid no attention to facts and tried to insert itself into negotiations between private businesses.” https://cnb.cx/32kFmRd

Alphabet weighed buying small TikTok stake as part of group bid. Google parent Alphabet Inc. considered participating in a group bid for TikTok, but the effort fizzled in recent days, according to people familiar with the matter. Several firms discussed forming a consortium to invest in the popular video-sharing app, with Alphabet weighing a minority, non-voting stake through one of its investment arms, said one of the people. Alphabet didn’t lead the initiative. It isn’t clear which U.S. company did, or why the effort ended. Alphabet has not ruled out participating in future bids, said the person, who asked not to be identified discussing a private matter. https://bloom.bg/32ffZjS

Microsoft has new competition for TikTok, from Oracle. Oracle’s bid for the short-form video company is said to be a serious one, and the company may have two advantages over its rival when it comes to pulling off an acquisition. One Oracle advantage is that its partners already hold a stake in the Chinese company. Mr Ellison, one of the world’s richest people, is one of the few people in Silicon Valley who has openly supported Mr Trump. It is unclear whether the White House is more supportive of Oracle’s approach than that of Microsoft. https://bit.ly/3h918hg

Emerging Technologies

Panasonic’s new home cubicle is a disheartening glimpse at our work-from-home future. The modern office cubicle is almost synonymous with the drudgery of a soul-crushing office job. But if for some reason you’ve found yourself missing the not-quite-solid not-quite-walls of your regular office, Panasonic is working to bring the magic of cubicles to your work-from-home life with its new 88,000 yen (around $835) Komoru home cubicle. https://bit.ly/31WVGaE

Restaurants and diners embrace the once-scorned QR code as they accept the new no-touch reality. The codes trace their history back to the ’90s, though acceptance has waxed and waned over the years. During a global pandemic amid fears of shared surfaces and prolonged face-to-face interaction, it’s become a way for guests to access menus, place an order, and pay their bill. Tech companies are rethinking the QR code in our no-touch reality. Thanx, a company that provides digital ordering and helps businesses manage customer relationships, just added new technology that connects all the dots: menus, ordering, and payment. Guests scan a code at their table, read the menu, order, and pay directly from their phones. Servers deliver food from the kitchen, reducing most of the touchpoints we need to avoid right now. No face-to-face ordering, no credit card-taking, no check signing. https://bit.ly/3hhzheG

Lucid Motors boasts it will have ‘the fastest charging electric vehicle ever offered’. Lucid Motors announced that its forthcoming all-electric sedan, the Lucid Air, will be the “fastest charging electric vehicle ever offered.” The company claims the Air will have the capability to charge at rates of up to 20 miles per minute — which translates to 300 miles in about 20 minutes. This charging time is possible by using a 900-volt charger with a peak charging rate of over 300 kW. By comparison, Tesla’s V3 Supercharger can pump out 250 kW, which comes out to around 15 miles per minute of charge. https://bit.ly/3aJYcVU

Fewer China-built Teslas registered as competition builds. The registered number of Teslas built in China in July fell 24% from June to 11,456, still outpacing most domestic rivals. The figure gives some indication of the health of Tesla’s business in China, which has been key to driving the soaring stock market value of the upstart electric vehicle maker. Tesla does not release monthly sales figures for China. https://bloom.bg/3kSqC4D

Why did the A-level algorithm say no? Accusations of unfairness over this year’s A-level results in England have focused on an “algorithm” for deciding results of exams cancelled by the pandemic. This makes it sound Machiavellian and complicated, when perhaps its problems are really being too simplistic. There have been two key pieces of information used to produce estimated grades: how students have been ranked in ability and how well their school or college has performed in exams in recent years. https://bbc.in/2DSjPrf 

Juniper Networks founder touts next-generation data center technology. Pradeep Sindhu, Juniper Networks’ co-founder and former CEO, spent the past five years working on an idea that he only hinted about during that time as he raised over $300 million and built a 220-person company. On Tuesday, he finally unveiled at a virtual event called Hot Chips the technology behind a new digital processing unit (DPU) that he thinks will power next-generation data centers. https://bit.ly/2E7GeAO

iPhone 12 5G components will cost Apple around US$75-125 per unit. In the latest TF Securities report from Ming-Chi Kuo, the Apple analyst estimates the cost of adding 5G to this year’s iPhone. Kuo believes it will cost Apple about US$75 per unit for sub-6GHz 5G support, and up to US$125 for millimeter wave 5G. Kuo does not expect Apple to pass on all of the cost increases to the consumer sale price of the iPhone 12. That means Apple is looking to offset 5G component costs by looking for cost savings elsewhere in the phone. Kuo names the battery printed circuit board as one area where Apple is downgrading its specifications. Kuo says that the cost cuts on internal parts will have almost no noticeable effect on user experience. Apple is also aggressively applying price pressure on its suppliers to source the best deals for components. One area where Apple appears to be saving money is with the bundled accessories. The iPhone 12 lineup is not expected to include headphones or a power brick in the box. https://bit.ly/2QjATso

Media, Streaming, Gaming & Sports Betting

“Historic” laptop demand leads to shortages ahead of remote school. American students are facing a shortage of laptops, particularly low-cost Chromebooks popular in K-8 schools, at the same time that many districts are choosing full-remote or hybrid reopening models. Why it matters: No device = no education. https://bit.ly/2Q3f7sT

eBay scalpers selling iPhones with Fortnite installed for up to US$18K. https://bit.ly/32aGkPZ

Microsoft 365 apps to end Internet Explorer support next year. Internet Explorer’s days have been numbered since Microsoft launched its Edge browser five years ago. Microsoft appears to be another step toward closer to retiring the web browser with the announcement its Microsoft 365 apps suite will end support for Internet Explorer 11 on Aug. 17, 2021, the company said Monday. https://cnet.co/323z9sP

Adtech, Privacy & Regulatory

App Annie: Mobile advertising is a must during the pandemic. It’s no surprise that consumers spent 1.6 trillion hours on their mobile devices in the first half of 2020, up considerably from the same period a year earlier, according to a report from mobile data and analytics provider App Annie. But one of the report’s findings struck me as both intriguing and counterintuitive. Mobile advertising spending has become a must for companies and brands during the pandemic, App Annie market insights director Amir Ghodrati said in an interview with GamesBeat. From gaming to shopping, payments, and video conferencing, mobile has become a central fixture in consumers’ lives — ingraining new app habits and permanently shifting the consumer landscape to a mobile-first world, according to App Annie. Advertising on mobile devices is more important than ever because so many users are forming new habits, making this the optimal time to deliver a new ad or brand message, Ghodrati said. Many companies slashed advertising budgets with the onset of the pandemic because having tens of millions of people out of work in the U.S. alone was expected to lead to a huge dip in consumer spending. But App Annie urges advertisers to rethink that strategy. Psychologists have found it takes an average of 66 days to form a habit, App Annie said. As the pandemic stretches into the third quarter of 2020, app habits are solidifying and mobile is becoming even more deeply rooted in routines.Consumer spending on mobile hit US$50 billion in the first half of 2020, making it the best first half yet for Apple’s App Store and Google Play. (That was up 10% from the second half of 2019). Downloads of mobile apps and games topped 64 billion in the first half of 2020 across Apple’s App Store and Google Play worldwide. The average user spent 27% of daily waking hours, or 4.3 hours, on their mobile device in April 2020 — up 20% from 2019. https://bit.ly/3ayRq5c

Epic building team of App Store antagonists in monopoly case against Apple after Fortnite protest. The last few days were quite intense for Apple and Epic Games after the popular game Fortnite was removed from the App Store for bypassing Apple’s In-App-Purchases system. While Epic Games is now suing Apple, a new report from The Information reveals that the gaming company is trying to team up with other companies against Apple and App Store policies. The report heard from sources that Epic Games reached out to executives from other tech companies that disagree with the strict rules of Apple’s App Store, such as the 30% commission taken from each sale. One of these companies is Spotify, which has been criticizing Apple’s business regarding the App Store. https://bit.ly/3gbty8S

US Secret Service bought location data harvested from popular apps. In March, tech publication Protocol reported that multiple government agencies signed millions of dollars worth of deals with [data broker] Babel Street after the company launched its Locate X product. Multiple sources told the site that Locate X tracks the location of devices anonymously, using data harvested by popular apps installed on peoples’ phones. Protocol found public records showed that U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) purchased Locate X. One former Babel Street employee told the publication that the Secret Service used the technology. Now, the document obtained by Motherboard corroborates that finding. Many apps collect location data, though iOS privacy requirements mean they have to seek user permission, and iPhone owners have the option of denying, allowing once, allowing only when the app is running or allowing always. However, apps often fail to properly disclose all the ways in which they use the data, especially when selling it to data brokers who then resell it to other companies or government agencies. https://bit.ly/3258wUy

Database breach exposes profile data for 235 million TikTok, Instagram, and YouTube accounts. A database breach has exposed profile data for nearly 235 million users of TikTok, Instagram, and YouTube. The data appears to have been collected by a practice known as web-scraping, where a company accesses the web interface of a service and then collates data automatically. This is different from a hack, as that involves breaking into a system in order to access data that is not supposed to be publicly accessible. Web-scraping accesses only public data. https://bit.ly/2Yg5QSQ

Amazon faces new antitrust probe in Germany. Germany’s antitrust regulator is looking into Amazon’s pricing of third-party sellers’ products, especially during the coronavirus pandemic, German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung reported. Authorities launched the probe in response to several complaints, said Andreas Mundt, the head of the country’s competition office. “We are currently investigating whether and how Amazon influences how traders set prices on the marketplace,” he said. “Amazon must not be a price controller.” The way Amazon treats its third-party seller network continues to attract scrutiny from lawmakers and regulators in some of the company’s most important regions. Germany is Amazon’s second-largest market after the U.S. Last year, the company changed some policies governing the third-party sellers, leading German regulators to drop a previous investigation. Last week, Canada’s antitrust office opened a similar antitrust probe. Authorities in the U.S. and Europe also are conducting major investigations into Amazon’s practices and how they influence the online retail market. https://bit.ly/3iPiVdC

Google warns users in Australia free services are at risk if it’s forced to share ad revenue with “big media”. Google has fired a lobbying pot-shot at a looming change to the law in Australia that will force it to share ad revenue with local media businesses whose content its platforms monetize — seeking to mobilize its users against “big media”. Last month Australia’s Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) published a draft of a mandatory code that seeks to address what it described as “acute bargaining power imbalances” between local news media and tech giants, Facebook and Google, by engaging in good faith negotiations and via a binding “final offer” arbitration process. Back in April the country’s government announced it would adopt a mandatory code requiring the two tech giants to share ad revenue with media business after an attempt to negotiate a voluntary arrangement with the companies failed to make progress. In an open letter addressing users in Australia, which is attributed to Mel Silva, MD for Google Australia, the tech giant warns that their experience of its products will suffer and their data could be at risk as a consequence of the regulation. It also suggests it may no longer be able to offer free services in the country. https://tcrn.ch/3g2a1YE

Oculus will require people to log in through Facebook before they can use its VR devices, company says. Facebook-owned Oculus said it will soon require users to sign in with a Facebook account before they can use the company’s VR devices. Starting in October, first-time users won’t be able to use an Oculus headset unless they log in through Facebook. Existing users with Oculus accounts will have the option to merge them with their Facebook profiles or use their Oculus account until early 2023, at which point support will end. The move comes as lawmakers continue to probe Facebook over antitrust concerns and over whether or not the social media giant has benefited from monopolistic business practices. https://bit.ly/2E7FnzV

The Ad platform: The trouble with real-time bidding and personal data protection. When internet users open most websites or apps, a bid request broadcasts information about potential ad impressions far and wide. Johnny Ryan, senior fellow at both the Irish Council for Civil Liberties and the Open Markets Institute, joins eMarketer principal analyst at Insider Intelligence Nicole Perrin to discuss why real-time bidding as it’s currently executed has personal data protection problems. https://bit.ly/3gdHtvf


DoorDash signs grocery store deals to expand grocery delivery. DoorDash has signed deals with grocery stores to offer on-demand delivery of groceries in less than an hour, the company announced, entering a crowded space dominated by Instacart and Walmart that has grown in popularity because of the pandemic. DoorDash already offers a service that quietly powers last-mile delivery for grocery chains including Walmart, but these new partnerships will list grocery stores directly on the DoorDash marketplace, where they will be eligible for free delivery for members. “It will be a truly on-demand offering, so no scheduled deliveries, no waiting,” said Fuad Hannon, head of new verticals at DoorDash, who said in an interview that the effort was accelerated because of the pandemic. “Grocery is our next big bet.” For grocery orders placed through DoorDash, workers hired by temporary staffing firm The Adecco Group will pack orders in-store, and DoorDash drivers will handle pick-up and delivery, Hannon said. The service will first be available in some California cities where consumers can order from Smart & Final, and in Chicago, Cincinnati, Milwaukee, Detroit and Indianapolis where consumers choose from Meijer and Fresh Thyme. Supermarket chains including Iowa-based Hy-Vee and New York-based Gristedes are up next, the company said. https://bit.ly/2FPjUwt

Fintech, Blockchain & Cryptocurrency

One million South Koreans now have Blockchain drivers licenses. The program was only launched in May but already one million South Koreans have opted for a blockchain based license. One million South Koreans have foregone their physical drivers license in favour of a blockchain-powered digital alternative used in conjunction with the PASS smartphone app. https://bit.ly/3iNyUsO

Crypto assets of US$50 billion moved from China in the past year. About US$50 billion in cryptocurrency assets have left China in the past year, a possible indication that investors are dodging rules that limit how much capital they’re allowed to transfer from the nation, according to new research by blockchain forensics firm Chainalysis. The controversial cryptocurrency Tether accounted for more than US$18 billion of the outflows from East Asia in the period, the firm said Thursday in a report. Tether, a so-called stablecoin because its value is pegged to the U.S. dollar, accounts for 93% of stablecoin use in the region. Crypto flow out of Asia is driven by factors other than capital flight. The region is dominant in Bitcoin mining, the use of computers to discover and acquire new blocks of coins. Miners often quickly sell the coins, helping to drive crypto out of the region and into Western Europe and North America, Chainalysis said. https://bloom.bg/2CThcVw

How hackers bled 118 Bitcoins out of Covid researchers in U.S. The negotiator entered the chatroom four days after the attack. Hackers had locked down several servers used by the epidemiology and biostatistics department at the University of California at San Francisco, and wanted a US$3 million ransom to give them the keys. On Friday, June 5, at 6:50 p.m., they directed a UCSF negotiator to a webpage on the dark web—meaning beyond the realm of Google—that listed a dozen or so sets of apparent victims and demands. The whole thing looked oddly like a customer service portal. Just below the university’s entry was a flashing red timer counting down to a payment deadline. It read: 2 days, 23 hours, 0 minutes. If the counter reached zero, the ransom message said, the price would double. https://bloom.bg/3g8l7Lz

Vitalik Buterin: Ethereum 2.0 presents a ‘much harder’ challenge than we thought. Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin said he would “freely admit” that Ethereum 2.0 is “much harder” to implement from a technical perspective than he had expected. Buterin made his remarks during a debate with Bitcoin (BTC) maximalist Samson Mow on Peter McCormack’s podcast on Aug. 16. During the debate, the trio discussed the reasons for the “open warfare” between the Bitcoin and Ethereum networks and whether the latter will be able to deliver on its many promises. https://bit.ly/2EmJw2E


Solar, Wind, and Batteries are all grown up. The first way the collective rise of clean energy technologies has changed us? Money. Their success frees up significant early-stage capital to support new companies, unlocks orders of magnitude more long-term cash for financing assets, and has been a major factor in the re-emergence of cleantech (or climate tech, depending on your vintage) investing. Another way these technologies have changed us is time: now that solar, wind, and batteries are officially low-risk, we can include them in our vision of the future. There’s a nice example of this shift in risk perception in a recent story by the Texas Observer on the state’s booming solar business. A rancher whose land has been in the family since the 19th century recently leased a plot to a solar developer who wants to install 709,000 panels on the property. The rancher’s logic? With oil leasing looking increasingly risky and likely to be a depleting source of revenue over time, solar is the long-term option. “I want to be able to hand the land down to the next generation,” he told the paper. “If I can make enough on 1,300 acres to pay the taxes on 10,000 acres, it’s worth it.” In 2001, the world installed 290 megawatts of solar generating capacity. The solar project on the Texas rancher’s land alone will generate 200 megawatts of solar power. This year, the world will probably install more than 100 gigawatts of solar, about 350 times more than it did 19 years ago. Something impossible two decades ago, and still fairly remarkable a decade ago, is now commonplace, which makes a person wonder: what’s next? https://bloom.bg/3hpZacn

Brookfied => Doubling down for a renewable future. We  have  been  building  our  renewable  power business  for  the  past  25 years,  but the technological  and  manufacturing advances in the solar industry over the past five years may make the next 25 years even more exciting  than  the  past25. For  context,  we own approximately  $10  billion  worth of  shares  of  our  renewable  partnership, in addition to the fee income that results from our managing renewables investment funds on behalf of our clients. As a result, this is a very meaningful part of our business, and we expect it to become much larger. https://bit.ly/322acxR

Green-Energy shares rise along with Joe Biden’s polling. Investors betting that Joe Biden will win the presidential election are buying up clean-energy stocks, sending the share prices of some companies to all-time highs. The WilderHill Clean Energy Index, a compilation of green-power companies listed on U.S. exchanges, surged to an over nine-year high Wednesday. It has climbed 33% since the beginning of July. Its biggest companies include First Solar Inc. and Tesla Inc. “A Biden victory would add huge impetus to the transition” to a lower-carbon economy, said Simon Webber, a Schroders portfolio manager for global equities. “The growth outlook for electric vehicles, renewables, hydrogen power, battery storage and many more industries would be turbocharged.The iShares Global Clean Energy ETF, which tracks S&P Global’s index of clean energy companies around the world, has risen by nearly 30% in the same time frame. The fund’s assets under management swelled to US$1.2 billion from US$431 million at the start of the year. Its largest holdings include SolarEdge Technologies Inc., Sunrun Inc. and Plug Power Inc. https://on.wsj.com/3l87IXQ

Would US solar tariffs disappear under a Biden administration? Don’t count on it. Trade wars have become a defining characteristic of the Trump administration. Since taking office, President Trump — a self-proclaimed “tariff man” — has thrown trade duties at billions of dollars in goods, including wine, tulip bulbs, aluminum and steel, uncooked pasta, and, yes, solar cells and modules. But if Biden and his newly picked running mate Kamala Harris are to take over the White House in 2021, tariffs on solar may well stick around. https://bit.ly/3aBJLTW

Propelling the transition: The battle for control of virtual power plants is just beginning. The largest power plants in the the U.S. — massive feats of engineering like the over 5,000 foot-long, 6,800-MW capacity Grand Coulee Dam — are proving to be no match in scale to the combined power of the rooftops and basements of homes and businesses across the country. Distributed energy, including rooftop solar, on-site batteries to store electricity and more, are on track to grow to nearly 400 GW in the U.S. by 2025, according to projections from Wood Mackenzie, significantly greater than the amount of coal or nuclear power capacity in the U.S. today. https://bit.ly/3ha4W1C

Sophic Capital Client Insights

Kontrol Energy (KNR-CSE) CEO Paul Ghezzi answers questions about Kontrol BioCloud®, an airborne COVID-19 detector. We thought it would be a good idea to catch up with Paul Ghezzi, CEO of Kontrol Energy (CSE:KNR; OTC:KNRLF) and the recent BioCloud technology announcements. https://bit.ly/3hgCSKc 


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