This past week witnessed several high profile Canadian VC financing announcements, even as US VCs and Hedge Funds propelled first 9-month Canadian VC to new record $10.7 billion. In their quest to develop commercial fusion power, General Fusion just reached another milestone with what it is describing as an oversubscribed $166 million Series E funding round. This is the second Series E funding round that the company has announced. Klue scored a$79 million from Tiger Global, Salesforce Ventures (October). We introduced Sophic client Swarmio Media (SWRM-CSE); Swarmio not only provides edge computing solutions for gaming but also the means for telco operators to build something demanded by the Gen-Z gamer: community. US and globally listed tech companies had a tumultuous week, as Ride-hailing giant Grab slumped 23% in its Nasdaq trading debut after blockbuster SPAC deal. India’s ride-hailing app Ola plans IPO in first half of 2022. Chinese ride-hailing giant Didi Global said it would delist from the New York Stock Exchange and start preparing for a listing in Hong Kong. Cathie Wood’s ARK Invest snapped up nearly US$49 million worth of Twitter shares on Tuesday, taking advantage of a slide in the stock after CEO Jack Dorsey said he would step down as CEO. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella sold half of his stake in the company in a series of transactions last week, divesting about 840,000 shares for a total of more than US$285 million. Apple warned suppliers about diminishing iPhone 13 demand due to wait times during chip shortage.
Canadian Technology Capital Markets & Company News
Video platform Rumble to go public via US$2.1 billion SPAC deal.
Canadian video platform Rumble Inc said on Wednesday it would go public by merging with blank-check firm CF Acquisition Corp VI at an initial enterprise value of US$2.1 billion. The deal is expected to provide about US$400 million in proceeds to Rumble, the company said in a statement. Upon the deal’s closing, Rumble said founder and Chief Executive Officer Chris Pavlovski will retain voting control. The combined company will be called Rumble and is expected to list on the Nasdaq. https://reut.rs/3psqJqV
Galaxy Digital (GLXY-TSX) announces pricing of $500 million exchangeable senior notes offering.
The company has agreed to issue and sell $500 million aggregate principal amount of 3.00% Exchangeable Senior Notes due 2026 (the “Notes”) to certain purchasers, including affiliates of Arca, NZ Funds, Senator Investment Group and XN (the “Noteholders”), in a private placement under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended (the “Securities Act”). https://bit.ly/3rA5p5p
GameOn (GTE-CSE) secures up to US$6 million in strategic investment from India’s Brand Capital International.
The strategic investment arm of The Times Group, India’s largest media conglomerate and parent company of GameOn customer MX Player, will invest up to US$6 million to support the Company’s expansion into the Indian market. https://bit.ly/331cK3H
General Fusion powers up with $166 million round for its energy technology.
In their quest to develop commercial fusion power, General Fusion just reached another milestone with what it is describing as an oversubscribed $166 million Series E funding round. This is the second Series E funding round that the company has announced. In 2019, the company said it closed a $85 million Series E round. The company did not disclose whether the new investment of $166 million includes the $85 million from 2019. General Fusion management said the latest round of funding is the prelude to a large financing round being prepared for 2022. https://bit.ly/3lu7fRw
Klue scores $79 million from Tiger Global, Salesforce Ventures.
Vancouver-based software company Klue has secured $79.2 million in Series B financing to fuel the expansion of its competitor intelligence platform. The Startup’s all-equity Series B round closed in October and was led by Tiger Global with participation from Salesforce Ventures. Klue’s latest round brings the company’s total funding to date to approximately $103.5 million. Klue uses artificial intelligence to help product marketers collect, curate, and provide insights about competitors. The goal is to enable revenue teams to use these insights to own more business for their companies. https://bit.ly/31jB1RC
Life House closes $77 million round co-led by Inovia, Kayak to help hotels boost profitability.
After establishing itself as a full-service operator in the hotel space, Life House has secured $77 million (US$60 million) in Series C financing to start selling its software to independent hotels. Life House saw significant growth during the pandemic as hotel owners sought to control costs amid COVID-19 disruptions, and now plans to start selling its revenue management software to third-party hotel operators. The hotel software company’s round, which closed in November, consisted of about $64.2 million in equity and $12.8 million in debt, and was led by new investors Inovia Capital and travel search engine company Kayak with participation from Tiger Global, Derive Ventures, JLL, Trinity Ventures, Sound Ventures, and Cooley LLP. https://bit.ly/3EmaL7Q
Spare ready to roll with $18 million Series A funding for its on-demand transit software.
An oversubscribed $18 million Series A round is going to help Spare further build out its mobility software platform for public transit, ride sharing, and other shared transportation. The Vancouver software startup hopes its platform will encourage better cooperation between different transportation providers, increased access to cost-efficient shared rides, and will see more people opt for collective transportation. Inovia Capital led the funding round with participation from Kensington Capital, Link VC, Ramen VC, Ridge Ventures, TransLink Capital and Japan Airlines (as JAL Innovation Fund) and Nicola Wealth, among others. The round closed on November 3, and, with the current round, Spare has raised $25 million to date. Spare is also backed by the likes of the Mitsubishi Corporation. Simpson is joining Share’s board, something that Spare CEO Kristoffer Vik Hansen welcomes. Vik Hansen said Simpson brings a lot of experience in helping companies scale, something the start is definitely looking toward as its plans to grow from just over 50 people to double or triple that size by the end of 2022. https://bit.ly/3o5HIzJ
Maple VC locks down $16.5 million for its second seed-stage fund by waving the Canadian flag.
Maple VC, the young fund which launched in 2016 with US$1.2 million in capital commitments, just closed on US$16.5 million in capital commitments for a second fund that promises to almost exclusively back Canadian founders. It’s a marketing approach that manages to be both specific and broad, and it snagged the interest of an enviable group of investment firms among the new fund’s limited partners, including Tiger Global, Foundry Group, Recast Capital, Insight partners, and Plexo Capital. So far, Charoo has written 27 checks totalling US$12 million to companies across both funds, and that includes SPVs. https://tcrn.ch/3DjsXNT
Pow! Bam! Biff! Special effects studio Monsters Aliens Robots Zombies raises $6.5 million.
Monsters Aliens Robots Zombies might sound like your worst nightmare, but it’s actually the name of a technology and visual effects (VFX) startup that’s using artificial intelligence (AI) to help speed up and enhance production. Monsters Aliens Robots Zombies’ (MARZ) slightly eerie name hasn’t put off investors; the fast-growing startup just raised $6.5 million in Series A funding. Round13 Capital led with participation from Rhino Ventures and Harlo Equity Partners, and digital transformation company Torinit. John Cassaday, former founding president and CEO of Corus Entertainment, and Jake Cassaday, COO at Playmaker, came in as strategic angel investors. The round marks Rhino Ventures’ first in Toronto since it launched its latest fund and said that it would move beyond Western Canada for investments. MARZ completed 13 projects in its first year, 21 in its second year, and 54 in its third year for clients such as Marvel, HBO, Netflix, and Apple TV. MARZ anticipates this rapid growth to continue after being named a primary vendor on a slate of significant future projects to be released later this year and in 2022. https://bit.ly/31oJWBh
Montreal-based Cleantech startup Polystyvert receives $3.5 million in government funding.
On November 30, the Government of Canada announced that Montreal-based cleantech startup Polystyvert has received $3.5 million in funding through Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC). This announcement marks the second investment Polystyvert has received through the SDTC. Founded in 2011, Polystyvert is a cleantech company that uses patented dissolution technology to process polystyrene waste into high-quality recycled polystyrene. The company previously secured $3 million in June in a round that was supported by new investor BEWI Group, new undisclosed private investors, and existing investors Anges Quebec, CYcle Capital, and Quadriam. https://bit.ly/3lzEse9
Alida secures additional $3 million from BMO Capital to accelerate growth strategy.
Customer experience management company Alida secured an additional $3 million for its Series D round from BMO Capital, bringing the financing’s total to $23 million. Founded in Vancouver in 2000, Alida claims to have created “the world’s first combined CXM (customer experience management) and insights platform,” which allows users to purchase individual products designed to improve the customer experience. Initially launched as a market research firm named Vision Critical, Alida pivoted its services to focus on CXM software, customer insights, and facilitating “closed loop interactions.” Since the start of 2020, Alida has released 123 new product innovations and seven new Alida solutions. The startup serves companies in four sectors: financial services, healthcare, retail, and technology, with the majority of its business currently in tech. Alida’s clients range from Twitter, VMware, and Toyota to Canadian Tire and Home Hardware. https://bit.ly/3dj4TAe
Bidmii secure $1 million round led by Scott McGillivray to scale home renovation marketplace.
Toronto-based proptech startup Bidmii has raised $1 million in pre-seed funding. Canadian entrepreneur, investor, and HGTV host Scott McGillivray led the round. The financing also saw participation from Shopify’s vice president of engineering, Tom Newton, and owner at JL’s Home Hardware Building Centre Andre Belisle. Newton, along with Andrew McGillivray, president of the McGillivray Group, will join Bidmii’s advisory board. Launched in 2020, Bidmii offers an automated marketplace for homeowners where they can hire trusted contractors to complete their projects. Contractors can also connect with qualified homeowners through Bidmii’s platform. The company said it provides fair market pricing, payment security, and project control. Other members of the startup’s advisory board include ResQ CEO and co-founder Kuljeev Singh, CIBC World Markets managing director Mark Landry, Twitter head of CPG, retail and dining Karen Zuccala, Sleep Country Canada CFO Craig De Pratto, among others. https://bit.ly/3xV4EF6
Communitech exploring $200 million venture fund.
Longtime Kitchener-Waterloo tech champion Communitech is exploring new ways to support startups across the country by launching a $200 million venture fund, BetaKit has learned. The idea for the venture fund comes amid a year of transition for Communitech, which overhauled its strategy along with a leadership change, with C100 co-founder Chris Albinson taking over as CEO from Iain Klugman in May after the latter served for 17 years in the role. The fund would operate under the name True North Fund I, and is part of Communitech’s newly revealed True North Strategy, through which the hub is looking to help 14 founders reach $1 billion in annual revenue by 2030. Sources with knowledge of the particulars indicate the target fund total will be $200 million. The initial closing date for the fund is expected to be in January or February, with a planned final close in December 2022. When asked about the fund’s thesis, Communitech confirmed to BetaKit that True North would invest in 30 companies over 10 years, with initial cheque sizes between $1 million to $5 million. This would leave potential for follow-on investment up to $30 million. https://bit.ly/3DdpgJz
US VCs and Hedge Funds propel first 9-month Canadian VC to new record $10.7 billion.
Investors from US and 46 foreign countries/regions invested $7.96 billion or 74% of total disbursements. US investors alone invested 57%. US VCs and US Hedge Funds led all investor types with $2.91 billion (27%) and $1.07 billion (10%) respectively. Canadian VCs and Foreign Corporate VCs invested almost identical amount ($990 million vs $989 million) accounting for 9% each of the total disbursements. Top Provinces: Ontario ($4.66 billion), BC (43.23 billion), Quebec ($1.86 billion), Alberta ($0.42 billion). $500 million plus cities: Toronto ($3,708 million), Vancouver ($2,846 million), Montreal ($1,518 million), Kitchener, Ontario ($528 million). Early and late/growth stage financings dominated disbursements, securing $5.03 billion and $4.30 billion. Pre-seed/seed financings remain strong accounting for 24% of total number of financings, highest since 2017. ICT and Biotech companies raised $6.82 billion and $1.57 billion accounting for 64% and 15% of the total disbursements respectively. https://bit.ly/31yw5bv
Shopify has a ‘textbook pirate’ problem, publishers allege.
Five major publishers have sued Shopify over pirated learning materials like PDFs of ebooks and test materials, saying the e-commerce platform fails to remove listings and stores that violate the publishers’ trademarks and copyrights. The lawsuit, filed today in the US District Court for Eastern Virginia, claims statutory damages higher than US $500 million. The publishers — Pearson Education, Inc., Macmillan Learning, Cengage Learning, Inc., Elsevier Inc., and McGraw Hill — say in the lawsuit that Shopify “assists and profits from the online sale of infringing copies” of the textbooks and other products. The publishers also say that Shopify has received “detailed notices virtually every week for years” that identify listings selling pirated content and related store URLs but has failed to block sellers from using the platform. A Shopify representative said the company makes significant efforts to remove copyright violations. “We have multiple teams that handle potential Acceptable Use Policy violations, including copyright and trademark infringement, and we don’t hesitate to action stores when found in violation,” said Rebecca Feigelsohn. “To date in 2021, over 90% of copyright and trademark reports were reviewed within 1 business day.” https://bit.ly/3lw8Je0
Port of Vancouver faces 50-ship backlog, truckers plan strike.
Canada’s largest port has been struggling to process cargo in recent weeks. British Columbia has been ravaged by floods that have cut off the area from several major roads and railways. Some of the major transportation lines have reopened, while others are still recovering from landslides that have washed out entire transportation networks, according to The New York Times. Rail service for the port’s Vancouver-Kamloops line was briefly restored over the weekend, but has since shut down again due to continued torrential rain, according to a report from American Shipper. A spokesperson for the Canadian International Freight Forwards Association told the publication that it’s a “crisis situation” as companies rush to move goods out of Vancouver via planes and trucks. As of Sunday, 51 ships were waiting for space to open up at the port. The port is likely to face even more delays going forward. On Monday, drivers for Aheer Transportation and Prudential Transportation served the Port of Vancouver a 72-hour strike notice. The workers voted to strike the previous week, after the two companies rejected a new agreement. https://bit.ly/3GckpKE
Global Markets: IPOs, Venture Capital, M&A
Ride-hailing giant Grab slumps 23% in its Nasdaq trading debut after blockbuster SPAC deal.
Grab slumped in its first day of trading after a blockbuster US$40 billion blank check merger, making the ride-hailing giant the biggest Southeast Asian company to debut on Wall Street. After opening in the green, shares of Grab tumbled as low as 23% Thursday. The stock was trading 21.34% lower to $8.66 as of 2:30 p.m. ET. The Singapore-based firm is trading under the Nasdaq ticker GRAB. In April, Grab agreed to go public via a record-breaking merger with Altimeter Growth Corp, a blank check firm launched by Altimeter Capital Management.As part of the deal, Grab will receive $4.5 billion in cash, including $4 billion in private investment managed by Morgan Stanley, BlackRock, Singapore holding company Temasek, Fidelity, Altimeter, and T. Rowe Price. https://bit.ly/3xVcEWz
HashiCorp sets IPO terms, looks to raise up to US$1.1 billion.
HashiCorp Inc. has set terms for its initial public offering, in which the California-based cloud adoption software company is looking to raise up to US$1.10 billion. The company is offering 15.3 million Class A shares in the IPO, which is expected to price between US$68 and $72 a share. With a total of 178.896 million Class A and Class B shares expected to be outstanding after the IPO, the expected pricing could value the company at up to US$12.88 billion. The stock is expected to list on the Nasdaq under the ticker symbol “HCP.” Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs and J.P. Morgan are the lead underwriters. The company recorded a net loss of US$62.4 million on revenue of US$224.2 million during the nine-month period ended Oct. 31, after a loss of US$76.6 million on revenue of US$150.0 million in the same period a year ago. The company is looking to go public at a time that the Renaissance IPO ETF has slipped 2.6% over the past three months while the S&P 500 has gained 2.8%. https://on.mktw.net/3pdbAJQ
India’s ride-hailing app Ola plans IPO in first half of 2022.
The chief executive of Indian ride-hailing startup Ola said that the company plans to go public in the first half of next year, Reuters reported. Ola CEO Bhavish Aggarwal revealed the IPO plans Thursday at the Reuters Next conference. SoftBank-backed Ola, which competes with Uber in India, plans to raise up to $1 billion in the listing, Reuters said. Aggarwal also said at the conference that his company is preparing to start offering services other than ride-hailing, such as consumer finance and insurance, to build a “super app,” according to the report. Ola’s listing plans come after the disappointing IPO of another Indian internet giant Paytm, a digital payment and financial technology firm whose shares fell sharply in its market debut last month. Paytm’s stock is currently below its IPO price. https://bit.ly/3rRvmh5
Didi to delist from U.S. stock market, prepare for Hong Kong listing.
Chinese ride-hailing giant Didi Global said it would delist from the New York Stock Exchange and start preparing for a listing in Hong Kong. Didi, whose major shareholders include SoftBank and Uber, said that its American depositary shares currently held by its investors will be convertible into shares on “another internationally recognized stock exchange,” which likely will be Hong Kong. Didi said its board of directors has authorized the plans and it will hold a shareholders meeting to vote on the matter “at an appropriate time in the future.” Didi’s delisting comes after its share price has fallen more than 40% since its U.S. initial public offering in late June due to the Chinese government’s harsh regulatory crackdown on the company. In early July, China’s top internet regulator launched a cybersecurity investigation into Didi and ordered its app to be removed from Chinese app stores, saying it violated data security laws. https://bit.ly/2ZVPN0F
Cathie Wood’s ARK Invest loaded up on 1 million Twitter shares after Jack Dorsey stepped down as CEO.
Cathie Wood’s ARK Invest snapped up nearly US$49 million worth of Twitter shares on Tuesday, taking advantage of a slide in the stock after CEO Jack Dorsey said he would step down as CEO. The social media company’s stock fell 4% Tuesday to close at US$43.94, its lowest level in more than a year. The shares are up about 1.4% at US$44.56 in premarket trading Wednesday. The company had come under pressure from activist investor Elliot Management to oust Dorsey, who also served as CEO for digital payments provider Square. https://bit.ly/3G2VWra
Twitter soars 9% after report says CEO Jack Dorsey is expected to step down.
Twitter stock sharply jumped Monday following a CNBC report that Jack Dorsey is expected to step down from his role as CEO of the social media company. Before trading was halted for pending news, shares climbed 8.8% to US$51.20 as the regular session got underway in already heavy volume after CNBC’s report that cited unnamed sources. It’s unclear who would succeed Dorsey at the company he co-founded in 2006 and that made him a billionaire. Twitter stock suddenly jumped by 11% during premarket trade after the publication of CNBC’s report. The stock had lost 13% year to date through Friday’s session when it finished at its lowest price since mid-January. Dorsey also serves as CEO of Square, a payments technology and services company. Square shares pared gains Monday and were up 0.2%. https://bit.ly/3G12BSN
Satya Nadella sells half his Microsoft stock, weeks before state implements capital gains tax.
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella sold half of his stake in the company in a series of transactions last week, divesting about 840,000 shares for a total of more than US$285 million. Nadella stated that the sale was for ,” personal financial planning and diversification reasons.” The sale comes in advance of Washington State implementing a controversial new capital gains tax passed by lawmakers in April. The tax targets stock and business ownership sales with a 7% tax on long-term capital gains of more than $250,000. According to the SEC filing, Nadella sold his shares at average prices from US$334 to more than US$349. https://bit.ly/3pkahJ5
Legendary short-seller Jim Chanos reveals he is betting against DraftKings and DoorDash.
Legendary short seller Jim Chanos said in an interview that he is betting against DraftKings and DoorDash. Chanos, the founder of Kynikos Associates is well known for anticipating Enron’s collapse, which this week marks the 20th anniversary of. FOr DraftKings, Chanos said that the company has high marketing costs compared to its actual revenue. As for DoorDash, Chanos said that even though more people are ordering meals to be delivered, the company is still struggling to make a profit. DoorDash stock closed up 2.8% on THursday, and DraftKings edged up 0.2%. https://bit.ly/3GflQrE
Shares of Docusign fall over 40% after reporting slowed growth.
Shares of the electronic signature business Docusign plunged more than 40% after the San Francisco-based company signaled that customer demand for its products was slowing sharply from the pandemic highs it had enjoyed. The stock finished the day at US$135, down from a closing share price of US$234 yesterday. The sell-off came even as Docusign reported 42% growth in revenue in the third quarter. But the volume of Docusign’s business was lower than what the company had projected. And Docusign CEO Daniel Springer told analysts that demand had slowed during the quarter. “While we had expected an eventual step-down from the peak levels of growth achieved during the height of the pandemic, the environment shifted more quickly than we anticipated,” he said. Asana, another enterprise software firm, also reported earnings Thursday and saw its stock fall over 26%. Asana projected revenue growth would slow sharply in the fourth quarter. The drop in both companies’ share prices came amid a broader market sell-off, with the S&P 500 falling 0.8% while the tech-heavy Nasdaq dipping 1.9% following sustained fears about the Omicron variant and a U.S. jobs report that fell short of Wall Street’s expectations. https://bit.ly/3GdWfPT
WeWork to restate financials to reflect SPAC accounting issue.
WeWork said Wednesday it will restate its financial statements, reflecting an accounting issue concerning those filed by BowX Acquisition Corp., the special purpose acquisition company that merged with the coworking provider in October. The company stated in a regulatory filing that a portion of its shares sold in BowX’s IPO were classified as permanent equity when they should have been classified as temporary equity. The change is due to new SEC requirements, Bloomberg Tax reported. Other SPACs such as Simon Property Acquisition Corp. and FinTech Acquisition Corp. V, which is merging with Israeli online broker eToro, have also announced similar corrections to their financial statements in regulatory filings. WeWork began trading on the New York Stock Exchange in October after BowX completed its merger with the co-working provider. WeWork has so far struggled as a publicly traded company, with its share price of US$8.46 below the SPAC issue price of US$10 at the close of the market Wednesday. The stock fell 5% in after-hours trading. https://bit.ly/3ryqXiR
Apple warns suppliers about diminishing iPhone 13 demand due to wait times during chip shortage.
Apple is reportedly telling suppliers that it doesn’t expect iPhone 13 sales to pick up for the holidays and beyond, according to Bloomberg News. Apple is currently limited by how many iPhones can be assembled with available parts and not demand, but Bloomberg says Apple doesn’t expect customers experiencing long wait times to maintain interest when supply picks up. Bloomberg News previously reported that Apple cut its iPhone 13 production plans by 10 million units due to part constraints including the ongoing global chip shortage. Apple no longer discloses how many iPhone units it sells per quarter, but the constrained supply will surely affect revenue for the next few quarters at least. https://bit.ly/3diFtCM
iPhone market share Q4 2021 predicted to hit 23%, taking lead from Samsung.
Based on supply chain data of smartphone production levels, a market intelligence company is predicting iPhone market share for Q4 2021 will hit 23.1%. That would be up from 15.9% last quarter, and enough to convincingly take the No. 1 slot from Samsung. TrendForce says that both economic uncertainty and component shortages are continuing to constrain smartphone sales in general, despite some improvements. But the holiday quarter is where it expects Apple to shine. It says supply chain reports on production levels suggest that Samsung, Oppo, Xiaomi, and Vivo are all likely to see their market share fall, while Apple will see its share grow from 15.9% last quarter to 23.2% this one. That will be enough to overtake Samsung, to take the overall lead in the global smartphone market. https://bit.ly/31cRSpz
Apple still working on multi-device charger, a future where all devices ‘can charge each other’.
Despite its failed AirPower experiment a few years ago, Apple is reportedly still working on a multi-device charger for its products. According to a new report from Bloomberg, Apple is developing a multi-device charger, as well as short and long distance wireless charging technology for its idea of a future where all major devices “can charge each other.” Back in June, the publication reported that Apple was developing a multi-device inductive charging mat as sort-of a spiritual success to the failed AirPower experiment. So-called reverse wireless charging has been a rumored feature for the iPhone for several years, but ultimately has not come to fruition. In theory, this would allow people to place their AirPods or Apple Watch on the back of their iPhone to charge them on the go. https://bit.ly/3o7nxkT
Apple quietly filed 2 patents, and it may hint that the giant has a drone in the works.
A patent application published last month could suggest that Apple has a drone in development. The company had previously filed two other patent applications, indicating some effort had been taken to keep the project quiet. There are two ways a company can try and conceal patent applications. It can delay the date the patent application is made public, and it can be submitted in another country. It appears Apple did both. The first patent had to do with pairing drones and controllers, while the second related to tracking and controlling of drones. https://bit.ly/31ulGxv
The underwater ‘kites’ generating electricity as they move.
Known as “sea dragons” or “tidal kites”, they look like aircraft, but these are in fact high-tech tidal turbines, generating electricity from the power of the ocean. The two kites – with a five-metre (16ft) wingspan – move underwater in a figure-of-eight pattern, absorbing energy from the running tide. They are tethered to the fjord seabed by 40-metre metal cables. https://bbc.in/3D4gE8n
Media, Streaming, Gaming & Sports Betting
PlayStation plans new service to take on Xbox Game Pass.
Sony Group Corp.’s PlayStation division is planning a new subscription service to compete with rival Microsoft Corp.’s popular Xbox Game Pass, according to people familiar with Sony’s plans and documents reviewed by Bloomberg. The service, code-named Spartacus, will allow PlayStation owners to pay a monthly fee for access to a catalog of modern and classic games, said the people, who asked not to be identified because they weren’t authorized to speak to the press about the plans. The offering will likely be available on the smash hit PlayStation 4, which has sold more than 116 million units, and its elusive successor, the PlayStation 5, which launched more than a year ago but is still difficult to buy due to supply chain issues. https://bloom.bg/32OQrOr
Ludwig, the streamer who broke the all-time Twitch subs record this year, is moving to YouTube Gaming.
Ludwig Ahgren, a streamer perhaps best known for his month-long subathon that took place earlier this year, is moving from Twitch to stream exclusively on YouTube Gaming. Ahgren’s first stream on YouTube will take place tomorrow, November 30th. Ludwig leaves behind a significant presence on Twitch. He has 3.1 million followers, and TwitchTracker’s metrics indicate he has more than 27,000 subscribers as of this writing. And by the end of his subathon, he had broken the all-time Twitch subs record — TwitchTracker says he peaked at 283,066 subscribers. But he won’t be starting from nothing on YouTube, where he already has 2.08 million subscribers. https://bit.ly/3I7pMgc
Esports company 100 Thieves raises US$60 million series C funding round at US$460 million valuation.
Matt Hang, known as “Nadeshot” to his large esports following, has raised US$60 million for the branded apparel company 100 Thieves that he founded in 2017. In 2017, Cleveland Cavaliers owner led a US$10 million seed funding round for 100 Thieves. Today, just over four years later, 100 Thieves is announcing it has raised US$60 million in a Series C round that will value the company at US$460 million. This puts the company up US$160 million post-money valuation from two years ago after 100 Thieves raised US$35 million in a Series B round. https://bit.ly/3DmgXv9
Adtech, Privacy & Regulatory
Malware attack via millions of text messages spreads in Finland.
Finland is working to stop a flood of text messages of an unknown origin that are spreading malware. The messages with malicious links to malware called FluBot number in the millions, according to Aino-Maria Vayrynen, information security specialist at the National Cyber Security Centre. Telia Co AB, the country’s second-biggest telecommunications operator, has intercepted some hundreds of thousands of messages. https://bloom.bg/3xCNgom
Cyber Monday sales flat as smaller savings curb incentive to spend.
Shoppers spent US$7.1 billion online as of 9 p.m. eastern time in the U.S., according to transaction data compiled by the Adobe Digital Economy Index. Shoppers are expected to spend between US$10.4 billion and $11.1 billion on Cyber Monday, Adobe said. American consumers spent US$10.8 billion online last year. Overall, U.S. retail sales rose 14% during the Thanksgiving weekend compared with last year and 5.8% from 2019, according to data released by Mastercard SpendingPulse. Placer.ai, an analytics firm that uses mobile-device location data to measure foot traffic, said foot traffic at indoors malls rose 83.5% from 2020, although the surge of in-person shopping wasn’t enough to surpass pre-pandemic levels. Supply-chain disruptions have made it difficult for some retailers to keep their shelves stocked, spurring consumers to begin their holiday shopping early. Out-of-stock messages are up 169% through Sunday compared with pre-pandemic levels, Adobe said. Sixty-one percent of shoppers surveyed by the National Retail Federation, a trade group, said they had started their holiday shopping before Thanksgiving, up from 51% a decade ago. https://on.wsj.com/3p8P0lw
Fintech, Blockchain & Cryptocurrency
PayPal CEO says spending via its buy-now-pay-later service soared 400% on Black Friday, as inflation bites and shoppers feel the pinch.
PayPal saw the use of its buy-now-pay-later payment service soar on Black Friday. In an interview, PayPal CEO Dan Schulman said that the volume of sales on its Pay in 4 service jumped by 400% this Black Friday, compared with the previous year. According to Schulman, PayPal did 750,000 transactions alone on Black Friday. Pay in 4 was introduced in the US in 2020 and allows users to spread purchases across four payments interest-free. With inflation at 30-year highs, consumers may well be opting for BNPL options to spread the cost of pricier goods. https://bit.ly/3D9ZdmB
Reddit traders fume as Fidelity incorrectly lists millions of shares of GameStop available to short.
Reddit day traders were fuming after Fidelity incorrectly listed millions of GameStop shares available to short Tuesday. According to a post on Fidelity’s Reddit page, their trade ticket reflected an incorrect number of GME shares available to short. The issue was resolved by 12:10 p.m. ET on Tuesday. Fidelity did not immediately respond to Insider’s question regarding the number of shares in discrepancy, but one reddit post suggested that the company had mis-listed an additional 11 million shares. One Redditor said that it was a US$2.2 billion ‘whoopsie’. https://bit.ly/3ryqFIR
Facebook Messenger is testing a new ‘Split Payments’ feature in the US.
Facebook Messenger announced that it’s starting to test out a new “Split Payments” feature that introduces a way for users to share the cost of bills and expenses through the app. The company says the new feature is a “free and fast” way to handle finances through Messenger. The new feature is rolling out next week for U.S. users. The launch of Split Payments comes as Messenger added Venmo-like QR codes for person-to-person payments a few months ago. The codes launched in the U.S. and allow anyone to send or request money through Facebook Pay — even if they’re not Facebook friends. The feature can be accessed under the “Facebook Pay” section in Messenger’s settings. Facebook Pay first launched in November 2019, as a way to establish a payment system that extends across the company’s apps for not just person-to-person payments, but for other things like donations and e-commerce. https://tcrn.ch/300W6jC
Facebook retreats from crypto ad ban.
Facebook on Wednesday announced its decision to reverse long-standing policy that prevented most cryptocurrency companies from running ads on its services. The move comes after the company, which is now called Meta, tried and failed to launch a cryptocurrency that could be used to send money online to anyone in the world via Facebook products. The head of Facebook’s cryptocurrency efforts, David Marcus, announced on Tuesday that he will be leaving the company at the end of the year. Previously, the company said advertisers could submit an application and include information including any licenses they obtained, whether they were traded on a public stock exchange or other relevant public background on their business. Going forward, the company is expanding the number of regulatory licenses it accepts to 27 from 3. The company banned cryptocurrency ads in January 2018 but scaled back that ban slightly in May 2019. Facebook has scaled back its own ambitions in cryptocurrency significantly over the last year. After outlining plans for a currency and a digital wallet in 2019, Facebook faced stiff backlash from lawmakers and regulators worldwide. The company finally released its digital wallet product, Novi, in October. But the digital currency, which is now named Diem and is run by an independent association, remains unreleased to the public. https://cnb.cx/3EmPomW
Someone stole US$120 million in crypto by hacking a DeFi website.
On Wednesday night, someone drained funds from multiple cryptocurrency wallets connected to the decentralized finance platform BadgerDAO. According to the blockchain security and data analytics Peckshield, which is working with Badger to investigate the heist, the tokens stolen in the attack are worth about US$120 million. While the investigation is still ongoing, the Badger team has told users that they believe the issue came from someone inserting a malicious script in the UI of their website. For any users who interacted with the site when the script was active, it would intercept Web3 transactions and insert a request to transfer the victim’s tokens to the attacker’s chosen address. Decentralized finance (or DeFi) systems rely on blockchain technology to let crypto owners perform more typical finance operations like earning interest via lending. https://bit.ly/3Dix1hv
TSMC begins pilot production of 3nm chips, could be used in 2023 iPhones and Macs.
Apple’s chip manufacturing partner, TSMC, is expected to begin volume production of 3-nanometer chips during the fourth quarter of 2022. This could mean that we start seeing 3nm chips in Apple products as soon as 2023. Apple’s goal of using 3nm chips in the Mac, iPhone, and iPad was first detailed in a report last month. The changeover is expected to begin with the iPhone and Mac in 2023, despite some rumors that suggested the iPhone 14 in 2022 could feature a 3nm chip.For context, the A15, M1, M1 Pro, and M1 Max chips are all fabricated using a 5nm process – using a smaller fabrication process will allow Apple to make significant gains in both performance and efficiency. In fact, reports say that Apple’s roadmap suggests it will continue to “easily outperform Intel’s future processors for consumer PCs.” https://bit.ly/3Eml3ol
Nearly half of the Mustangs Ford sold in November were electric.
Last year, Ford launched their first modern electric car, the Mustang Mach-E. Since then, it has been a hit, matching sales of the iconic Mustang sports car – at least during some months. In November, nearly half the sales of the Mustang were the battery-powered variety. In total, the company shipped out 6797 Mustangs, of which 3088 were the Mach-E SUV. November was a strong month for the vehicle as sales rose more than 8% compared to October’s figures. Year-to date, the gas powered Mustangs are still beating out the Mach-E two-to-one. https://bit.ly/3ryhnfV
US to add 200 GW of renewable capacity by 2026, but IEA warns 30 GW offshore target ‘challenging.
The U.S. will be the third largest market for renewable energy — behind Europe and China — for the next five years, according to IEA, but there is growth occurring in all regions. Globally, 2021 will see record renewable electricity additions of 290 GW, which is “yet another sign that a new global energy economy is emerging,” IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol said in a statement. “The high commodity and energy prices we are seeing today pose new challenges for the renewable industry, but elevated fossil fuel prices also make renewables even more competitive.” https://bit.ly/3EmefXV
Sophic Capital Client Insights
Sophic Client Swarmio Media (SWRM-CSE) Helping telcos break into the game.
We introduce Sophic Capital client Swarmio Media (SWRM-CSE), a global gaming and esports technology and media company offering telecom companies a turn-key gaming platform to leverage their existing customers. Swarmio not only provides edge computing solutions for gaming but also the means for telco operators to build something demanded by the Gen-Z gamer: community. https://bit.ly/3oxD3qF
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