After two consecutive weeks of extraordinarily strong capital markets activity by the Canadian technology and clean tech sectors, this past week was very strong, with total public equity fundraising announcements of around $2.5 billion. That said, recent market volatility could temper upcoming near-term activity as investors digest recent new issues and grapple with increased market fluctuations. In the USA, we look forward to upcoming public market debuts by Coinbase, Robinhood, Roblox and Toast.

Canadian Technology Capital Markets & Company News

Shopify (SHOP-NYSE, SHOP-TSX) looking to raise US$1.55 billion in stock offering, expands partnership with TikTok.

Shopify is looking to raise more than US$1.55 billion through the sale of its stock, as it continues to increase its partnerships with social media companies. Shopify priced its offering Tuesday morning, with plans to sell 1,180,000 subordinate voting shares at $1,315 USD per share. The company expects the sale to pull in gross proceeds of US$1,551,700,000. Underwriters for this deal are Citigroup, Credit Suisse and Goldman Sachs & Co. This marks the third share offering Shopify has launched over the last nine months. With the proceeds from this latest sale, Shopify will have pulled in US$4.2 billion, plus US$920 million in convertible notes. On Tuesday, it was announced that Shopify is expanding the partnership it penned with TikTok last fall to Canada. In October, it was announced that Shopify and TikTok had signed a deal to make it easier for merchants in the United States to advertised and sell products on the video-sharing social media site. Now, the feature is available in Canada as well. A spokesperson for Shopify told BetaKit the deal has also been expanded to Europe and Asia-Pacific. http://bit.ly/3bGAAlY

theScore (SCR-TSX) announces pricing of upsized initial public offering in the United States.

The company announced the pricing of its previously-announced marketed public offering of the Company’s Class A Subordinate Voting Shares (“Class A Shares”) in the United States and Canada. The underwriters have agreed to purchase 6,000,000 Class A Shares from the Company, at a price of US$27 per share, for aggregate gross proceeds to the Company of US$162,000,000.  The size of the offering has been increased from the previously announced 5,000,000 Class A Shares. http://thesco.re/3r3t0In & http://bit.ly/2O5KyoA

Farmers Edge Inc. files final prospectus and announces pricing of initial public offering.

The company filed a final prospectus with the securities regulatory authorities in each of the provinces and territories of Canada and obtained a receipt therefor in respect of its initial public offering (the “Offering”) of common shares (“Common Shares”) of 7,353,000 Common Shares at a price of $17.00 per share (the “Offering Price”) for total gross proceeds of $125,001,000. http://bit.ly/3aVmDkM

mdf commerce (MDF-TSX) announces $80 million bought deal offering.

The company entered into an agreement with a syndicate of underwriters led by Stifel GMP (the “Lead Underwriter”, and together with the syndicate of underwriters, the “Underwriters”), pursuant to which the Underwriters have agreed to purchase on a bought deal basis 5,517,242 common shares of the Corporation (the “Common Shares”) at a price of $14.50 per Common Share (the “Offering Price”) for gross proceeds of approximately $80 million (the “Offering”). http://bit.ly/3dK9g92

Mogo (MOGO-TSX, MOGO-NASDAQ) announces closing of US$54 million registered direct offering priced at-the-market.

The company announced that it has closed its previously announced sale to certain institutional investors of an aggregate of 5,346,536 common shares at a purchase price of US$10.10 per common share in a registered direct offering (the “Offering”) priced at-the-market under the Nasdaq Capital Market (the “Nasdaq”) rules. The aggregate gross proceeds to the Company were approximately US$54 million, and after deducting the placement agent’s fees and the estimated expenses of the Offering, the net proceeds from the Offering will be approximately US$49.7 million. H.C. Wainwright & Co. acted as the exclusive placement agent for the Offering, and Raymond James and Eight Capital acted as financial advisors to Mogo in connection with the Offering. Additionally, Mogo completed the issuance to the investors of unregistered warrants to purchase up to an aggregate of 2,673,268 common shares (each, a “Warrant”) in a concurrent private placement. Each Warrant will entitle its holder to acquire one common share of the Company (each, a “Warrant Share”) at an exercise price of US$11.00 at any time prior to the date which is three and one half years following the date of issuance. http://bit.ly/3aZSQYk

Voxtur (VXTR-TSXV) announces non-brokered private placement of up to $35 million.

The Offering shall consist of up to 50,000,000 Common Shares at a price of $0.70 per Common Share. The Offering may close in one or more tranches, with the first tranche of subscriptions for approximately $25,000,000 expected to close in early March. http://bit.ly/3dZ4kNP

EMERGE Commerce Ltd. (ECOM-TSXV) announces upsizing of private placement offering of special warrants due to strong investor demand.

The company announced the increase of its previously announced private placement offering (the “Offering”) of special warrants of the Company (the “Special Warrants”). Pursuant to the Offering, the Company expects to issue Special Warrants at a price of $1.40 per Special Warrant for total gross proceeds of up to $13 million. Canaccord Genuity Corp. and Gravitas Securities Inc. are acting as co-bookrunners and co-lead agents for the Offering, together with Raymond James Ltd., as co-lead agent and Stifel Nicolaus Canada Inc. (together, the “Agents”). http://bit.ly/2MtwxAU

AIM5 (AIM5.P-TSXV) and CoinSmart announce CoinSmart’s brokered private placement of up to $10 million.

AIM5 Ventures Inc. AIM5 or the “Company” and Simply Digital Technologies Inc., dba CoinSmart (“CoinSmart”) are pleased to announce that further to their press release dated February 11, 2021, CoinSmart has entered into an agreement with Eight Capital pursuant to which Eight Capital and a syndicate of agents (collectively, the “Agents”) will undertake a brokered private placement of up to 10,000,000 subscription receipts of CoinSmart (each, a “Subscription Receipt”), on a best efforts basis, at a price of C$1.00 per Subscription Receipt for gross proceeds of up to C$10,000,000 (the “Offering”). CoinSmart has also agreed to grant the Agents an option (the “Agents’ Option”), which will allow the Agents to offer such number of additional Subscription Receipts as is equal to up to 15% of the Subscription Receipts issued under the Offering, having the same price and terms as the Subscription Receipts. http://yhoo.it/3r8uv88

Fortress Technologies Inc. (FORT-TSXV) announces $7.6 million bought-deal financing.

The company entered into an agreement with Canaccord Genuity Corp. acting as lead underwriter and sole bookrunner, which has agreed to purchase, on a bought deal private placement basis, 12,000,000 units of the Company (the “Units”) at a price of C$0.63 per Unit, for aggregate gross proceeds of C$7.6 million. http://bit.ly/2PgRBeY

Martello (MTLO-TSXV) announces $5 million bought deal public offering of units.

The company entered into an agreement with Paradigm Capital Inc. to act as sole bookrunner, on behalf of a syndicate of underwriters (collectively, the “Underwriters”), pursuant to which the Underwriters will purchase, on a bought deal basis, 26,316,000 units (the “Units”) at an offering price of $0.19 per Unit (the “Offering Price”) for gross proceeds of approximately $5 million (the “Offering”). http://bit.ly/3aWSeCW

Killi (MYID-TSXV) announces non-brokered private placement, effecting previously approved share consolidation and leadership updates.

The company intends to complete a non-brokered private placement of up to 23,076,923 units (each, a “Unit” and collectively, the “Units”) of the Company at a price of $0.13 per Unit for aggregate gross proceeds of up to $3,000,000 (the “Offering”). Each Unit will consist of one common share (each, a “Common Share” and collectively, the “Common Shares”) in the capital of the Company and one common share purchase warrant (each, a “Warrant” and collectively, the “Warrants”) of the Company. Each Warrant will entitle the holder thereof to acquire one Common Share at an exercise price of $0.21 per Common Share for a period of 24 months from the date of issuance thereof. If during the exercise period of the Warrants, the Common Shares trade at or above a volume-weighted average trading price of $0.30 per Common Share for 20 consecutive trading days, the Company may accelerate the expiry time of the Warrants to 30 days from the date on which the Company provides written notice to the holders of the Warrants. http://bit.ly/37PI8la

Borrowell raises $25 million to fund acquisition of Refresh Financial.

Borrowell has secured $25 million to support its recently closed acquisition of Refresh Financial and overall growth, as financial institutions return their focus to customer acquisition following the fallout of COVID-19. The all-equity financing included a number of new investors for Borrowell, such as Kensington Capital Partners, BDC Capital, iA Financial Group and Impact Engine, a Chicago-based social impact-focused investment fund. Existing investors Portag3 Ventures, White Star Capital, NAventures (the venture arm of National Bank of Canada) and Equitable Bank also participated with new funding. http://bit.ly/3ssx59q

HYAS looks to develop cybersecurity product with $20 million Series B round.

Victoria-based cybersecurity startup HYAS has raised a $20 million Series B round of funding as it looks to develop its cyber attack infrastructure identification and blocking technology. The round was led by Austin, Texas-based S3 Ventures, with participation from Uncorrelated Ventures, Tightline Holdings, Cyber Mentor Fund, and Dcode Capital. Previous investors M12, Startup Capital Ventures, and 205 Capital also participated. http://bit.ly/3srO1ge

ZenHub raises $5.9 million seed round to help automate tasks for developers.

ZenHub, a Vancouver-based provider of GitHub-embedded project management and collaboration software, has raised $5.9 million in its first institutional financing round. The seed round was co-led by BDC Capital and Ripple Ventures. Other participants include Inovia Capital, and a number of angel investors, including Adam Gross, former CEO of Heroku; Jiaona Zhang, VP of product at Webflow; and Oji Udezue, VP of product at Calendly. http://bit.ly/2NyM1UT

EMERGE Commerce (ECOM-TSXV) founder and CEO on the niche e-commerce growth opportunity.

Good profile of the company on Forbes. EMERGE acquires and operates D2C e-commerce businesses based in North America, leveraging the benefits of scale that are unavailable to any individual brand on its own. EMERGE prides itself on its founder-friendly approach, enabling entrepreneurs to race ahead with their ambitious vision, but receive the expertise necessary to elevate their business to the next level. “Our thesis is centered on acquiring already profitable e-commerce brands with loyal customer bases and partnering with founders long-term to continue delivering an exceptional customer experience. We believe our portfolio companies are well positioned to ride the phenomenal growth of the e-commerce sector at large,” Ghassan Halazon, founder and CEO of EMERGE said. “Every e-commerce business we acquire, or vertical we enter, we want to see that $100 million opportunity, which combined under one portfolio, we believe is a multi-billion-dollar opportunity,” Halazon said. http://bit.ly/3aWWdzh

Elevate and Moneris launch Canada’s first ecommerce accelerator.

Elevate and Moneris Solutions Corporation (‘Moneris’) announced that they will be launching Canada’s first ecommerce accelerator, eCommerce North. The digital-first program will offer a highly specialized, national offering that includes up to six months of sponsored programming, with the goal of helping 50 Canadian ecommerce startups scale over the next 3 years. http://bit.ly/3kwrpbJ

Stripe names ex-central banker Carney to board.

Stripe said it had named Mark Carney, the former head of both the Bank of England and the Bank of Canada, to its board of directors. The appointment comes as Stripe plots a further international expansion and gets closer to an expected public listing. “Regulated in multiple jurisdictions and partnering with several dozen financial institutions around the world, Stripe will benefit from Mark Carney’s extensive experience of global financial systems and governance,” the company said a blog post last Sunday. It also said Carney’s experience promoting efforts to slow climate change—he is a UN Special Envoy for Climate Action—would help Stripe with its own climate change goals. Carney joins a board that includes founders John Collison and Patrick Collison, former Google Cloud CEO Diane Greene, Aon plc CFO Christa Davies, Sequoia Capital partner Michael Moritz and former VMware CFO Jonathan Chadwick. It had been expected to add to the board before a public listing, The Information reported in October. Demand for Stripe’s software powering online purchases for companies such as Wayfair and Amazon has risen during the pandemic as more consumers shop online. The success has helped it line up private capital at increasingly high valuations. Stripe raised more than US$600 million in an April funding round that valued it at US$36 billion. Last week, Forbes reported secondary market investors had valued the company at US$115 billion and that it was in talks to raise another round of financing at a valuation of more than US$100 billion. http://bit.ly/3dSkYhL

This sleek spaceship render is a planned esports arena in Toronto.

If all goes according to plan, in a few years, Toronto’s esports teams will have a futuristic new home. Today, Overactive Media — the ownership group behind the Toronto Defiant of the Overwatch League and the Call of Duty League’s Toronto Ultra — announced plans for a new 7,000-seat venue in the city, which is designed to host both competitive gaming matches and other events like concerts. The venue is expected to cost around US$500 million to build and open in 2025. The new arena will be located at Exhibition Place in Toronto, which is also home to BMO Field, where soccer club Toronto FC plays. http://bit.ly/3uD2pnE

Global Markets: IPOs, Venture Capital, M&A

Cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase files to go public in a direct listing on Nasdaq.

Coinbase Global has filed to go public, seeking a direct listing on Nasdaq, according to paperwork filed with the US Securities and Exchange Commission on Thursday. According to the form S-1 filed with the regulator, revenue has more than doubled in the last year, highlighting the growing appetite for digital currencies. Coinbase said it has 43 million verified users and that 2.8 million conduct transactions monthly. With bitcoin and ethereum, the platform supports more than 90 crypto assets for trading and custody. “While we are still in the early stages of adoption, the market value of exchange-traded crypto assets was already approximately US$782 billion as of December 31, 2020,” Coinbase said in its filing. Revenue in 2020 was US$1.28 billion, a jump from US$553.7 million in 2019, according to a consolidated operations statement included in the filing. Meanwhile, there were an estimated 106 million crypto users worldwide in January, according to a report from exchange Crypto.com. http://bit.ly/2P9OTYw

Robinhood’s IPO filing could reportedly come as early as March.

Investment platform Robinhood is expected to file for an IPO as early as March, according to Bloomberg, citing sources close to the company. The outlet had reported in early February that Robinhood was planning for a traditional IPO around May. Since then, however, sources told Bloomberg the company has held talks with underwriters about possibly moving the filing up. No final decisions have been made, sources told the publication. The company had been eyeing an IPO as early as 2018 and initially targeted the year 2021. Last year, Robinhood was valued at nearly US$12 billion, and in December, Reuters reported the platform hired Goldman Sachs to lead an IPO that could value the fintech startup at more than US$20 billion. Bloomberg is now reporting the IPO could be valued at around US$30 billion due to its latest fundraise. http://bit.ly/3r0lVIE

Roblox videogame platform plans to go public via direct listing next month after twice delaying its IPO.

Roblox has finally set its eye on a date to go public: “on or about” March 10, according to a company filing submitted to the SEC on Monday. Roblox is an online platform that allows users to easily develop and play video games. The firm was founded in 2004 and was valued at US$29.5 billion last month after it raised US$520 million in a Series H round. A year ago, Roblox was valued at US$4 billion. Roblox said in the SEC filing that it plans to go public via a direct listing on the New York Stock Exchange and will issue 198.9 million shares. For 2020, Roblox recorded US$924 million in revenue, representing year-over-year growth of 82%. The platform averaged 32.6 million daily active users last year, representing annual growth of 85%. Roblox will trade under the symbol “RBLX” and Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, and Bank of America Securities will serve as financial advisors to the company amid the direct listing. http://bit.ly/37N2fjW

Restaurant-software provider Toast is preparing an IPO that could value it at around US$20 billion.

Toast Inc, a cloud-based restaurant-software provider, is planning an initial public offering that could value the firm at around US$20 billion, the Wall Street Journal reported. The 10-year-old company could examine other options such as a sale, or merger with a blank-check company, but there are no certainties, the WSJ said. Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan were approached to underwrite the firm’s possible listing later this year. Boston-based Toast supplies restaurants with payment management and a point-of-sale service built on the Android operating system. Its products also include payroll processing, e-mail marketing, and loans to customers via Toast Capital. https://bit.ly/37PIJ6t

Oatly, the vegan milk company backed by Oprah, confidentially files for IPO.

Oatly AB, the vegan milk company with backers including Oprah Winfrey and Jay-Z, has confidentially filed for an initial public offering with US regulators, according to a statement from the company on Tuesday. The planned listing will take place after a review process by the Securities and Exchange Commission. The filing offered no additional details. The vegan food and drink company, whose parent company is Malmo, Sweden-based Havre Global AB, has grown in popularity in recent years thanks to strong demand, particularly from millennial and Generation Z consumers. https://bit.ly/3pWPV71

Klarna may opt for direct listing as private funding looms.

Swedish payments firm Klarna may list on the stock market without raising money by selling new shares, its CEO told Reuters, as banking sources said the company was close to securing more private funding. The “buy now, pay later” firm completed a US$650 million funding round in September from a group of investors led by Silver Lake that valued it at US$11 billion. The banking sources, and another source familiar with the company, said it was finalising another private funding round to raise at least US$500 million that could be completed within days. Chief executive Sebastian Siemiatkowski declined to comment on that, but said a direct listing – where the company would not sell new shares and circumvent the costly marketing process of a traditional stock market listing – was a possibility. “I think it’s a very interesting concept. I know that Spotify did it successfully,” Siemiatkowski said, referring to the music streaming service. “I can see it’s a more modern way of making a company public … if you hear us having an interest in it that is true because we are interested in it.” http://reut.rs/2ZQcyzs

Robotics company Berkshire Grey to go public via SPAC.

If anything, COVID-19 has accelerated interest in automation, as companies look to safeguard themselves from the inevitable effects of future pandemics. Berkshire Gray announced its intention to become the latest tech company to go public by way of SPAC. The deal, which finds it merging with Revolution Acceleration Acquisition Corp., could value the company at up to US$2.7 billion. In a release tied to the news, BG cites a 5% current warehouse automation figure —  it certainly points to big potential for growth among retailers looking to streamline fulfillment, logistics and the like. http://tcrn.ch/3bHmCjS

Battery maker Enovix to go public, after US$1.1 billion merger deal with SPAC Rodgers Silicon Valley Acquisition.

California-based Enovix Corp., which makes 3D silicon lithium-ion batteries, is going public through a merger with special purpose acquisition company Rodgers Silicon Valley Acquisition Corp. , in a deal representing an estimated enterprise value of US$1.13 billion. Under terms of the deal, Enovix will receive about US$385 million in cash. Once the deal closes, which is expected to occur in the second quarter of 2021, the combined company will be named Enovix Corp. and the stock is expected to list on the Nasdaq under the ticker symbol “ENVX.” Rodgers Silicon’s stock, which went public on Jan. 4, 2021, soared 28.1% in premarket trading. http://on.mktw.net/3ux0eCc

SPAC Starboard Value Acquisition stock soars after US$3.4 billion merger deal to take Cyxtera public.

Shares of Starboard Value Acquisition Corp. soared 16.8% in premarket trading Monday, after the special purpose acquisition company announced a merger agreement that would take data center company Cyxtera Technologies Inc. public, which implies an enterprise value of US$3.4 billion. When the deal closes, which is expected to occur in mid-2021, the combined company will operate at Cyxtera, and the stock is expected to list on the Nasdaq under the ticker symbol “CYXT.” The company will receive US$654 million in proceeds. Starboard Value Acquisition went public in November 2020. The deal comes at a time of relatively strong investor demand for initial public offerings, was the Renaissance IPO ETF has run up 26.8% over the past three months through Friday, while the S&P 500 has gained 9.8%. http://on.mktw.net/37LPSEY

China trucking startup files confidentially for U.S. IPO.

China’s Uber-like startup Full Truck Alliance has confidentially filed for an initial public offering that could raise at least US$1 billion as soon as this year, according to people familiar with the matter. The startup backed by Tencent Holdings Ltd. handed in its IPO filing in the U.S. recently, the people said, requesting not to be named because the matter is private. Full Truck Alliance is working with Morgan Stanley and China International Capital Corp. on its American debut after eking out a slim 2020 profit thanks to a pandemic-era shipping surge, people familiar have said. The company, known as Manbang in Chinese, was aiming to raise US$1 billion to US$2 billion in the IPO, people familiar said in January. http://bloom.bg/3uDldDt

Palantir sinks 13% as filings show 3 top executives offloaded 2.7 million shares following lockup expiration.

Palantir stock sank as much as 13% on Tuesday after regulatory filings showed the company’s co-founder Stephen Cohen and two other top executives offloaded 2.7 million shares. SEC filings revealed (1) (2) (3) the trio took advantage of Palantir’s recent lockup expiration selling shares in the US$25-US$30 price range on February 18, 19, and 22. The sales by Cohen continue a trend at Palantir of insiders cashing out on the company’s historic run. Palantir’s stock rose over 300% from US$9.50 at the end of its first day of trading to over US$39 per share on Jan 27. Since then, the company has retraced some of those gains, though insiders are still cashing in. https://bit.ly/3qTO9Vs

Esports Entertainment Group soars 25% on GameStop speculation.

Shares of Esports Entertainment Group were soaring over 25% Thursday morning after Citron Research said video game retailer GameStop should buy the company. The mania surrounding GameStop stock was renewed after the retailer announced its CFO was resigning. Although it didn’t give a reason for the departure, it said there were no disagreements over the video game shop’s financials. Shares of GameStop more than doubled on the news yesterday and were up another 45% in morning trading today. Now with Citron calling for the retailer to buy Esports Entertainment, stock traders are rallying around its shares too. http://bit.ly/3r3sw50

The SEC suspends trading in 15 stocks because of suspicious activity and social-media chatter.

The US Securities and Exchange Commission on Friday suspended trading in 15 companies because of “questionable trading and social media activity” as part of the agency’s ongoing effort to prevent attempts to exploit investors, especially amid market volatility. “Today’s action follows the recent suspensions of the securities of numerous other issuers, many of which may also have been targets of apparent social media attempts to artificially inflate their stock price,” the official release said. According to the order, none of the companies has filed any information with the SEC or OTC Markets for over a year. http://bit.ly/3kvVpob

Emerging Technologies

You can now buy a 3D-printed home – here’s a look inside.

The homebuilding industry is on the edge of a revolution. At least that’s the way Kirk Andersen sees it. He just used 3D-printing technology to build a 900-square-foot model home on Long Island. He is about to build another one, too – the first 3D-printed home in the United States to be marketed to the public. https://cnb.cx/3bKbSBk

Sony is developing new VR system for PlayStation.

Sony says it is developing a new virtual reality product for its latest console, the PlayStation 5, a move likely intended to quash doubts about the game giant’s commitment to VR. Sony released its first PlayStation VR headset—which connects via cable to the company’s PlayStation 4 console—more than four years ago. While the product generated some interest, it was far from the runaway success that Sony’s consoles are. Until Tuesday, the company was mostly mum about whether it would update the product to take advantage of the new graphics power of the PlayStation 5, which came out in the fall. In a blog post short on details, Hideaki Nishino, Sony’s senior vice president for platform planning and management, said the new PlayStation 5 VR headset will offer “dramatic leaps in performance and interactivity.” He said the system will include improvements in screen resolution; field of view, the observable area inside a headset; and the controller, the handheld device used to navigate around inside VR environments. Nishino added that the product won’t launch this year. He said Sony was announcing its plans for the system early because developers have begun to work on software for the product. http://bit.ly/3ku5gLa

Samsung imagines how its first AR glasses might look in these leaked concept videos.

WalkingCat, a fairly reliable source of gadget leaks, has published two new concept videos that show off some of the fun things a pair of “Samsung Glasses Lite” could do, like projecting a giant virtual screen where you can play your games, letting you kick back in your private movie theater, give you a giant virtual computer monitor, fire up an auto-dimming “sunglasses mode,” or act as an instant first-person-view screen for your DJI drone, complete with telemetry. http://bit.ly/3b127zy

Huawei plans to make electric vehicles and the first could arrive this year, according to a report.

China’s Huawei plans to make electric vehicles under its own brand and could launch some models this year, four sources said, as the world’s largest telecommunications equipment maker, battered by US sanctions, explores a strategic shift. Huawei Technologies Co Ltd is in talks with state-owned Changan Automobile and other automakers to use their car plants to make its electric vehicles (EVs), according to two of the people familiar with the matter. Huawei is also in discussions with Beijing-backed BAIC Group’s BluePark New Energy Technology to manufacture its EVs, one of the two and a separate person with direct knowledge of the matter said. http://bit.ly/3dYybG9

Kia Apple Car rumor has now morphed into talk of an electric scooter.

Shares in Kia Corp rose as much as 8.1% on Friday after a South Korean online news site said there was still potential for the automaker to form a partnership with Apple Inc. Online site Chosun Biz said on Friday that Apple and Kia had signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) last year and had agreed to pursue cooperation in eight sectors, including electric vehicles. It said negotiations on electric vehicles had not been completely cancelled. Kia and Apple are also discussing cooperation in “last mile” mobility, or transport to complete a final short distance to a destination after using another means of transportation, Chosun said. http://bit.ly/3r3mq4J

iPhone maker Foxconn is developing an electric car with auto startup Fisker.

Electric-car maker Fisker said it will work with Apple supplier Foxconn to produce more than 250,000 vehicles a year beginning in late 2023, sending its shares up 18%. The deal, codenamed “Project PEAR” (Personal Electric Automotive Revolution), is looking at markets globally, including North America, Europe, China and India, Fisker said. Foxconn, Apple’s main iPhone maker, has ramped up its interest in electric vehicles over the past year or so, announcing deals with Chinese electric-car maker Byton and automakers Zhejiang Geely Holding Group and Stellantis NV’s Fiat Chrysler unit. Foxconn aims to provide components or services to 10% of the world’s EVs by 2025 to 2027, Chairman Liu Young-way said in October. http://bit.ly/3uLSD31

CNN exclusive: A solar panel in space is collecting energy that could one day be beamed to anywhere on Earth. Scientists working for the Pentagon have successfully tested a solar panel the size of a pizza box in space, designed as a prototype for a future system to send electricity from space back to any point on Earth. The latest experiments show that the 12×12-inch panel is capable of producing about 10 watts of energy for transmission, that’s about enough to power a tablet computer. But the project envisages an array of dozens of panels and, if scaled up, its success could revolutionize both how power is generated and distributed to remote corners of the globe. It could contribute to the Earth’s largest grid networks. http://cnn.it/2ZU79HF

Media, Streaming, Gaming & Sports Betting

Shopify goes all in on gaming, starts own esports organization.

Canadian multinational e-commerce company Shopify has started its own competitive esports organization calledShopify Rebellion. Shopify CEO Tobi Lutke announced on Twitter that the new organization would immediately jump into Starcraft 2 because “of course we do.” https://bit.ly/3aL6PBa

Texas sports betting bill introduced.

Texas State Representative Dan Huberty has introduced legislation to legalise and regulate sports betting. The proposal would allow in-person and online sports betting under the supervision of the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation, with interactive operator licenses available to US-based sports teams or their designees, Class 1 racetracks or Greyhound racetracks. Only one license would be available to each sports entity for the operation of a single sports betting brand. https://bit.ly/2NIJNSE

Adtech, Privacy & Regulatory

Biden administration drops insistence on ‘safe harbour’ for companies, opening door to agreement.

US Treasury secretary Janet Yellen has told G20 finance ministers that Washington will drop a contentious part of its proposal for reform of global digital taxation rules that had been the main stumbling block to an agreement. The move could unlock long-stalled multilateral negotiations at the OECD, which struggled to make progress after the Trump administration first insisted on the “safe harbour” measure in late 2019. The provision would have allowed technology companies to abide by any agreement on a voluntary basis and was strongly opposed by several European countries. Yellen’s announcement marks an early change in international economic policy by the Biden administration that could herald an improvement in transatlantic relations, after the past four years’ tensions with Donald Trump in the White House. http://bit.ly/3uF36x2

US DOJ investigating antitrust complaints regarding the ‘Sign in with Apple’ button.

Apple has been facing several accusations of anti-competitive practices in multiple countries as investigations into the company’s dominant position go on. Now the U.S. Department of Justice is looking into the fact that Apple forces developers to adopt the “Sign in with Apple” button if the app has other third-party login methods. As reported by The Information, investigators want to know if the “Sign in with Apple” button makes it harder for users to migrate to another platform, such as Android or Windows. While some members of Congress praise Apple for its privacy efforts, others believe that the company has been abusing its control over the software on its devices to harm its competitors. http://bit.ly/2NIWQ6z

The best law you’ve never heard of.

Americans should feel angry about companies harvesting every morsel of our data to sell us sneakers or rate our creditworthiness. But a data protection law that few of us know about should also give us hope. https://nyti.ms/3dGNwea

Clubhouse chats are breached, raising concerns over security. A week after popular audio chatroom app Clubhouse said it was taking steps to ensure user data couldn’t be stolen by malicious hackers or spies, at least one attacker has proven the platform’s live audio can be siphoned. https://bloom.bg/2ZKlIxa

Fintech, Blockchain & Cryptocurrency

Square CFO says 1 million users of its Cash App service bought bitcoin for the first time in January.

Square CFO Amrita Ahuja said one million users bought bitcoin for the first time last month through Cash App, its mobile payment service that allows users to invest in the cryptocurrency. “We had 3 million people transact in bitcoin through Cash App in 2020 and one million who were new to bitcoin in January,” Ahuja told CNBC on Wednesday. http://bit.ly/3kwhnqU

Square goes even bigger on bitcoin with a new US$170 million investment.

Square has just made another colossal investment in bitcoin, more than tripling its last investment in the cryptocurrency with a US$170 million purchase of tokens. The digital payments company, which is run by vocal bitcoin advocate and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, disclosed the investment in its quarterly earnings report on Tuesday. The company purchased about 3,318 bitcoins at an average price of US$51,236, which signals remarkable confidence in bitcoin as it reaches record heights and invites renewed skepticism about its stability. http://bit.ly/3uD5Qen

The operator of the world’s largest bitcoin mine is looking to raise half a billion via a US listing later this year, report says.

Frankfurt-based Northern Data AG, the operator of the world’s largest bitcoin mine, is planning a US listing that could raise as much as US$500 million, Bloomberg reported on Monday. The listing, which could expand the firm’s shareholder and client base, could take place later this year, Bloomberg said, citing sources. Northern Data has been trading on Germany’s over-the-counter market since 2015, where its value has risen 267% in the past 12 months. The company’s stock was last down 9%, at 114 euros (US$138) per share. Some shareholders include Cryptology Asset Group and entrepreneur Brendan Blumer’s Block.One. https://bit.ly/3dMD2tF

Janet Yellen says using bitcoin is an ‘extremely inefficient’ way to transact.

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen on Monday expressed doubts about the utility of bitcoin as payment method and warned investors of the risks involved in using the world’s most famous cryptocurrency. “I don’t think that bitcoin is widely used as a transaction mechanism,” Yellen told the DealBook DC Policy Project. “It’s an extremely inefficient way of conducting transactions and the amount of energy that’s consumed in processing those transactions is staggering.” Bitcoin mining has been known to consume high amounts of energy, with total worldwide electricity consumption higher than that of Argentina, the Netherlands, and the United Arab Emirates, and soon to eclipse Norway’s, according to the BBC Meanwhile, interest in bitcoin mining is on the rise as the asset rallies, and miners earned a combined US$1.1 billion in January, up 62% from December. Apart from energy concerns, critics have also long said bitcoin is primarily a tool to conduct illegal activities, such as money laundering or drug trafficking, a concern that Yellen echoed in her talk. http://bit.ly/3kyOavF

India’s central bank voices ‘major concerns’ about crypto.

The Reserve Bank of India is concerned that cryptocurrencies may impact financial stability in Asia’s third-largest economy, a view that could shape looming regulations on the asset that is breaking price-records around the world. https://bloom.bg/3qSYW22

The Fed is looking carefully at issuing a digital dollar, Chairman Jerome Powell tells Congress.

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell told Congress on Tuesday that the Fed is “looking carefully” at whether it should issue a digital US dollar. A digital currency developed by the fed is a “high priority project for us,” Powell told Congress, but he added that there are “significant technical and policy questions” related to a digital US dollar. “We are committed to solving the technology problems, and consulting very broadly with the public and very transparently with all interested constituencies as to whether we should do this,” Powell said. As the world’s reserve currency, Powell stressed that the US doesn’t have to be first in issuing a digital dollar, but it needs “to get it right.” “This is something we’re investing time and labor in, across the Federal Reserve system,” Powell said. http://bit.ly/37MEJ6v

Caribbean digital dollar makes history.

News that the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union has done its first digital dollar transaction shows that some dynamic moves are occurring amid the pandemic. Work on digital currencies grew apace as the whole world began to implement new transaction measures utilising technology and aiming to create a global financial infrastructure that is resilient to shocks. Another aim of the digital currency is to extend financial services to the unbanked, that pool of people who have never done any banking. https://bit.ly/3aSRNcP

ESG

Chinese £3,200 budget electric car takes on Tesla.

A budget electric vehicle (EV) selling in China for $4,500 (£3,200) is now outselling Tesla’s more upmarket cars. The compact car is proving a big hit for state-owned SAIC Motor, China’s top automaker. https://bbc.in/3ssWcJf

Ford CEO says US should boost battery production to avoid a future supply-chain crises.

Ford CEO Jim Farley called on the US government to bring battery production closer to home if it wants to avoid another shortage of critical auto parts. “We need to bring large-scale battery production to the US, and we’ll be talking to the government about that,” the Ford boss said during the Wolfe Research Auto Conference on Wednesday, per Bloomberg. “We can’t go through what we’re doing with chips right now in Taiwan. It’s just too important.” The comments came as a worldwide shortage of semiconductor chips has forced automakers around the globe to cut shifts and halt production at entire plants, slowing down the recovery of an industry that already faced limited production last year due to the pandemic. The chips are needed for a variety of critical vehicle systems, including infotainment screens and engine-control units. http://bit.ly/2O4QK0r

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