After a big tech earnings week, with Apple and Amazon to report in the coming week: Nasdaq was up 2%, S&P 500 climbed 1%, and Dow Jones snapped a 13-day win streak on Thursday, but still managed to close the week up 0.7%. Alphabet added US$111 billion in market value after showing progress on AI in Q2 earnings. Volkswagen plans to invest US$700 million in Xpeng and jointly develop electric vehicles in China. Facebook has more than 3 billion monthly active users, and Threads could be Meta’s next social network with 1 billion users. Elizabeth Warren and Lindsey Graham want to create a new regulatory agency that will oversee tech companies on a broad range of issues. Walmart launched a new travel benefit for members of its Walmart+ subscription as it continues to add features in a bid to compete with Amazon’s Prime membership and convert wealthier shoppers to frequent Walmart customers. Apple card notched roughly 10 million users earlier this year. EU passed a law to blanket highways with fast EV chargers by end of 2025. Seven of the largest automakers announced a joint venture to create a sprawling vehicle recharging network across North America, even as Reuters reported Tesla formed a team last year to thwart driving range complaints. In Canada, Dialogue will be acquired by Sun Life at a 43% premium. CGI will invest $1 billion to expand its AI capabilities. Shopify announced it will expand into credit cards. EMERGE announced it will sell WagJag for $1 million (acquired for $500K), and continue to prioritize strengthening its balance sheet and unlocking savings.

Canadian Technology Capital Markets & Company News

Dialogue (CARE-TSX) to be acquired by Sun Life (SLF-TSX, SLF-NYSE).

Dialogue shareholders to receive $5.15 per share in all-cash transaction. Purchase price represents a premium of 43.1% to Dialogue’s closing share price on July 25, 2023, and a premium of approximately 59.4% to the 20-day volume-weighted average trading price of the Common Shares and is also above the 52-week high as of the same date. https://bit.ly/4570GbZ

DeFi company Wellfield (WFLD-TSXV) inks deal to acquire crypto custodian Brane Trust.

Toronto’s Wellfield Technologies, operator of the cryptocurrency exchange Coinmama, has reached a definitive agreement to buy Ottawa-based digital-asset custodian Brane Trust. The acquisition, which values Brane at nearly $10 million, includes cash, convertible debentures, and the assumption of Brane’s outstanding liabilities. The deal is set to add crypto custody to Wellfield’s portfolio of decentralized finance (DeFi) solutions, which includes consumer-focused Coinmama, and institution-focused digital-asset platform Wellfield Capital. The deal is set to add crypto custody to Wellfield’s portfolio of DeFI solutions. The deal also marks the latest step towards consolidation in Canada’s crypto sector, following the recent three-way merger of WonderFi, Coinsquare, and CoinSmart – a deal that saw shares in Brane competitor and fellow Canadian crypto custodian Tetra Trust swap hands. As the crypto sector has struggled and venture capital funding has dried up, merger and acquisition activity in the space reportedly reached an all-time high in Q1 2023, before plummeting during the second quarter. https://bit.ly/3OyAaTn

EMERGE (ECOM-TSXV) announces signing of definitive agreement to sell WagJag for $1 million, Continues to prioritize strengthening balance sheet and unlocking savings.

EMERGE has entered into a definitive agreement to sell WagJag for $1M in cash. EMERGE originally acquired WagJag for $500K in November 2017 from Torstar Corp. EMERGE anticipates the sale of WagJag to accelerate further HQ cost savings in relation to servicing the WagJag business. Following the Transaction, EMERGE will retain 5 brands across 3 verticals (Pets, Grocery, Golf). The Company continues to explore additional strategic opportunities to strengthen the balance sheet, reduce debt, and improve the company’s overall cash flow. https://tinyurl.com/55zexxj9

CGI (GIB’A-TSX, GIB-NYSE) to invest $1 billion on expansion of AI capabilities to help clients design and deliver responsible, ROI-led strategies.

CGI’s investment plans will include expansion of the company’s AI-related consulting services, responsible and ethical-use delivery platforms and accelerators, intellectual property AI-enablement, global employee hiring and training, and operational excellence efficiencies. https://tinyurl.com/mtbpj5pd

Shopify (SHOP-NYSE, SHOP-TSX) expands into credit cards as it pushes further into the fintech space.

Shopify has entered the credit card game. The commerce giant announced today that it is offering Shopify Credit, a business credit card designed exclusively for its merchants. The new product marks Shopify’s first pay-in-full business credit card, said Shopify President Harley Finkelstein. It is powered by Stripe and it is issued by Celtic bank, “and accepted everywhere Visa is,” he added. “We designed Credit with the reality of an entrepreneur in mind. We recognized that having smooth cash flow is important for business owners, and as a business matures, entrepreneurs may find themselves looking for a credit line to maximize their working capital for expected (and unexpected) expenses,” Finkelstein told TechCrunch via email. https://bit.ly/3KiefgI

Solink secures US$60 million Series C and backing from Goldman Sachs to become cloud video surveillance leader.

Ottawa-based Solink has closed US$60 million in Series C funding to scale its video surveillance software globally. Solink’s all-equity Series C round was led by a new investor – Goldman Sachs Asset Management’s Growth Equity business – with follow-on participation from existing Solink backers OMERS Ventures and BDC Capital’s Information Technology Venture Fund. The financing, which closed earlier this month, brings Solink’s total funding to US$90 million. Goldman’s investment comes through its recently launched US$5.2 billion growth equity fund, which buys minority stakes in high-growth businesses with strong market positioning globally through average investments of US$50 million. https://bit.ly/3KjwWk1

MindBridge closes US$60 million from US growth equity firm, appoints interim CEO.

Ottawa-based artificial intelligence (AI) company MindBridge has raised US$60 million from Boston growth-stage investment firm PSG Equity to fuel its global growth plans. The startup sells software that helps auditors spot fraud and accounting anomalies using AI. This round, which has not yet been publicly announced by MindBridge, comes just over four years after MindBridge secured $29.6 million in combined federal and venture capital funding. That amount included a $15.1 million Series B round from PeakSpan Capital, Real Ventures, National Bank, The Group Ventures, and Reciprocal Ventures, and a $14.5 million investment from the Government of Canada’s Strategic Innovation Fund. Per The Globe, US$15 million of this US$60 million PSG Equity will go to MindBridge and the remainder will buy shares from undisclosed existing investors. According to The Globe, the deal values MindBridge at $200 million, twice its valuation after its Series B round. https://bit.ly/43MTvnY

Ontario organizations secure nearly $20 million in federal funds to drive entrepreneurship, job creation.

Ottawa-based Solace, which provides management solutions for event-driven data architectures, secured an up to $10-million investment from the National Research Council of Canada Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC IRAP) to expand its PubSub+ event streaming platform. Meanwhile, the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario) announced a cumulative investment of $6.2 million into five Toronto tech companies to support their separate projects and create over 70 jobs. Here are the recipients and their respective portions of the $6.2 million; Aux Mode – $1.19 million; Creyos Health (formerly Cambridge Brain Sciences) – $1.5 million; Manifest Climate – $1 million; Semantic Health – $500,000 and; ThinkData Works – $2 million. https://bit.ly/47asYns

Waterloo Region deal volume has been tanking steadily since 2019.

Could undisclosed deals be partly to blame? Venture deal volume in the Waterloo Region reached a three-year low in the second quarter of 2023, but unreported deals could be shaping an unfair perception of the local tech sector. According to a new report from briefed.in, startups in the Waterloo Region raised $262.2 million in the second quarter of 2023. This represents a 698 percent increase from the first quarter of this year, and represents a three-quarter high for investment. However, investment declined by 53 percent compared to the second quarter of 2022. While the Waterloo Region’s venture funding results might appear strong relative to its small size, briefed.in tracked only two deals in the second quarter, which represents a 50 percent decline both quarter-over-quarter and year-over-year. Q2 2023 represented the Waterloo Region’s slowest quarter for deal volume since at least Q1 2019, when briefed.in began tracking local investment. Dwindling deal volume has been an ongoing narrative for the Waterloo Region in recent years. While investment has ebbed and flowed on a yearly basis, deal volume has trended downwards every year since 2019. The drop has been gradual, starting at a high of 57 deals tracked in 2019, to 44 deals in 2020, 31 in 2021, and 24 in 2022. As of the end of Q2 2023, briefed.in has tracked just six deals in the region this year, only 25 percent as many deals as were closed in 2022. https://bit.ly/3Qhukqv

Global Markets: IPOs, Venture Capital, M&A

Alphabet adds US$111 billion in market value after showing progress on AI front in 2nd-quarter earnings.

Alphabet stock surged as much as 7% on Wednesday, adding US$111 billion to its market valuation, after the search giant reported second-quarter earnings that beat analyst estimates. The company saw its revenue grow 7% to US$74.6 billion, while its operating income jumped 12% to US$21.8 billion. Operating income in Alphabet’s Google Cloud division turned positive, an important milestone for the company. Alphabet’s Cloud business has been a distant third place to Amazon’s AWS and Microsoft’s Azure. The search giant reported second-quarter earnings that beat analyst estimates and talked up its AI developments. “This is our seventh year as an AI-first company, and we intuitively know how to incorporate AI into our products,” CEO Sundar Pichai said on the earnings call. Alphabet is now worth US$1.67 trillion, making it the third largest company in the US, behind Microsoft and Apple. https://bit.ly/43JxsPi

Sequoia Capital reduces size of existing crypto and ‘ecosystem’ funds.

Sequoia Capital has cut the size of its cryptocurrency fund to US$200 million from US$585 million and cut its “ecosystem” fund, which backs other venture funds, to US$450 million from US$900 million, according to the Wall Street Journal. The firm first announced the funds in February 2022. The move is a sign of how venture capital firms are changing their strategy, including returning some money they raised from investors, in a time of slower dealmaking and depressed valuations for most startups. Sequoia in particular has been making a lot of changes lately, after earlier raising numerous big funds during the go-go days of the pandemic. Last week, The Information reported that five Sequoia Capital partners had left or were leaving the firm. The firm also laid off seven employees from its talent team, which helps startups with recruiting efforts, according to a Forbes report. And last month, Sequoia Capital announced that it would split with its Chinese and India affiliates. https://tinyurl.com/4jzpb2m4

Volkswagen takes US$700 million Xpeng stake for EV pact to win back China.

Volkswagen AG plans to invest US$700 million in Xpeng Inc. and jointly develop electric vehicles in China as the German automaker fights to halt a sales slide in its most important market. VW will eventually hold a 4.99% stake in the Chinese company via a capital increase and is getting an observer board seat, it said Wednesday. Its Audi premium brand will deepen ties with VW’s long-term partner SAIC Motor Corp Ltd. to also bolster its EV lineup. VW is trying to turn the tide in China, where Tesla Inc. and local champion BYD Co. have raced ahead because they’re better at churning out EVs with technology and software geared to local tastes. The company’s EV sales in China dipped in the first half in a market that grew 20%. https://archive.li/qK1jA

Lyft looks for buyers, investors in bikes division.

Lyft is trying to offload or find a new investor for its bike rental division, which includes New York City’s popular Citibike fleet, the Wall Street Journal reported. The bikes business likely won’t fetch nearly the US$400 million that Lyft has invested in it, including its US$250 million purchase of Motivate in 2018 and its US$163 million purchase of a global bikeshare operation last year. Other so-called “micromobility” players like scooter rental firm Bird have floundered in recent years. One logical buyer would be privately held scooter rental firm Lime. But Lime counts Uber as a prominent investor, which could make that pairing awkward. Electric bike rentals are a tough business, with high operational and capital expenses tied to their maintenance and charging. Uber also divested its bike rental business in 2020. Lyft’s bike rental fleet also operates in major cities like San Francisco and Washington, D.C. https://tinyurl.com/mrx6nf5m

US iPhone market share jumps to 55% as Android shipments fall.

Counterpoint Research says that the second quarter of the year was a tough one for the US smartphone market as a whole. Smartphone shipments declined by 24% year-on-year, with major Android brands taking the biggest hit. Commenting on the decline in smartphone shipments, Research Analyst Matthew Orf said, “Consumer demand for smartphones was tepid in Q2 2023, with the summer slump in sales coming early. Despite inflation numbers falling through the quarter and ongoing strength in the job market, consumers hesitated to upgrade their devices amid market uncertainty.” Alcatel suffered the worst decline, with a year-on-year fall of 69%. Samsung’s shipments fell 37%, and Motorola was down 17%. Google was the only winner, thanks to the launch of the Pixel Fold. Apple wasn’t immune to market stagnation, seeing iPhone shipments fall 6% year-on-year. Given that this was a much smaller fall than that experienced by most Android brands, however, that meant Apple was able to increase its US market share by a full ten points, from 45% in Q2 last year to 55% in the same quarter this year. Apple also saw a more modest increase in market share on a quarterly basis, up from 52% in Q1. https://tinyurl.com/24j4as7f

Emerging Technologies

Computer chip with built-in human brain tissue gets military funding.

Last year, Monash University scientists created the “DishBrain” – a semi-biological computer chip with some 800,000 human and mouse brain cells lab-grown into its electrodes. Demonstrating something like sentience, it learned to play Pong within five minutes. The micro-electrode array at the heart of the DishBrain was capable both of reading activity in the brain cells, and stimulating them with electrical signals, so the research team set up a version of Pong where the brain cells were fed a moving electrical stimulus to represent which side of the “screen” the ball was on, and how far away from the paddle it was. They allowed the brain cells to act on the paddle, moving it left and right. Then they set up a very basic-reward system, using the fact that small clusters of brain cells tend to try to minimize unpredictability in their environment. So if the paddle hit the ball, the cells would receive a nice, predictable stimulus. But if it missed, the cells would get four seconds of totally unpredictable stimulation. It was the first time lab-grown brain cells had been used this way, being given not only a way to sense the world, but to act on it, and the results were impressive. Impressive enough that the research – undertaken in partnership with Melbourne startup Cortical Labs – has now attracted a US$407,000 grant from Australia’s National Intelligence and Security Discovery Research Grants program. These programmable chips, fusing biological computing with artificial intelligence, “in future may eventually surpass the performance of existing, purely silicon-based hardware,” says project lead, Associate Professor Adeel Razi. The DishBrain’s advanced learning capabilities, in other words, could underpin a new generation of machine learning, particularly when embodied in autonomous vehicles, drones, and robots. It could give them, says Razi, “a new type of machine intelligence that is able to learn throughout its lifetime.” The technology promises machines that can continue to learn new abilities without compromising old ones, that can adapt well to change, and that can map old knowledge onto new situations – while continually self-optimizing their use of computing power, memory and energy. https://tinyurl.com/2p97yyef

Superconductor breakthrough could represent ‘biggest physics discovery of a lifetime’ – but scientists urge caution.

In recent days, many commentators have become excited by two papers that claim to document the production of a new superconductor that works at room temperature and ambient pressure. Scientists in Korea said they had synthesised a new material called LK-99 that would represent one of the biggest physics breakthroughs of recent decades. Superconductors are a special kind of material where electrical resistance vanishes, and which throw out magnetic fields. They are widely useful, including in the production of powerful magnets and in reducing the amount of energy lost as it moves through circuits. https://tinyurl.com/3rmpnhk3

Media, Streaming, Gaming & Sports Betting

Google says 2 billion logged in monthly users are watching YouTube Shorts.

Google said today that more than 2 billion logged-in monthly users are watching YouTube Shorts, giving it an edge over competitors like TikTok and Instagram Reels. This number is up from 1.5 billion monthly logged-in users for YouTube Shorts announced last year. During its Q2 2023 results, Google also said that YouTube brought in US$7.67 billion through ads, beating analyst estimates and registering a growth of 4% year-on-year. The company is also bringing 30-second unskippable ads to its premium ad offering YouTube Select. The company is focusing on multiple offerings through YouTube apart from ads. In April, it started offering pre-sales of the NFL Sunday Ticket subscription, which will stream in the Fall. YouTube has also reached an agreement with Warner Bros. Discovery to offer a Max-NFL Sunday TIcket bundle on YouTube TV. Google said that it is reaching 150 million people on Connected TV screens in the U.S. with signs of global growth. Last year, the company announced it had 80 million paid users across YouTube Premium and Music, but didn’t provide an update on the number during the Q2 2023 earnings call. https://bit.ly/3rT6QxN

Facebook surpasses 3 billion monthly active users.

Facebook has more than 3 billion monthly active users, according to Meta’s latest quarterly report. That’s quite the staggering number. Even though Facebook has declined in popularity among younger people, the platform is far from dead. Across Meta’s entire family of apps — which includes WhatsApp, Instagram, Messenger and now Threads — there were 3.88 billion monthly active users. That’s almost half of the world population. Milestones are fun, but perhaps more importantly for Meta and its investors, daily active users have continued to grow too. Facebook has 2.064 billion daily active users, up from 2.037 billion last quarter. That growth is pivotal, because in the final quarter of 2021, Facebook reported its first-ever quarterly decline in daily active users. This growth could be driven in part by Reels, the TikTok copycat feature that Meta has been pushing heavily across Instagram and Facebook. According to Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Reels get 200 billion plays per day across the family of apps. https://tinyurl.com/2r8hm7a3

Mark Zuckerberg thinks Threads could be Meta’s next social network with 1 billion users.

Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg has high hopes for Threads, his competitor to the company formerly known as Twitter. During Meta’s second quarter earnings call with investors on Wednesday, Zuckerberg was asked multiple times about Threads and his expectations for its long-term success. He said it’s a “weird anomaly in the tech industry that there hasn’t been an app like this for text-based convos that has reached 1 billion people,” echoing previous comments he has made both on Threads itself and during a recent interview with the podcaster Lex Fridman. Threads reached 100 million signups faster than any consumer software product in history, but it’s nowhere near reaching the 1-billion-user club yet. Its engagement is also estimated to have slowed significantly since that initial rush of signups, though Zuckerberg said last week that “tens of millions” of people were still using the app daily. https://bit.ly/3DwxP59

Adtech, Privacy & Regulatory

Apple hit with French complaint over use of advertising data.

Apple Inc. was hit with a complaint from the French antitrust watchdog over allegations it has imposed unfair conditions for the use of user data in advertising through its app store. The statement of objection targets Apple’s practices in the sector of app distribution, the regulator said Tuesday. Apple is “accused of abusing its dominant position by implementing discriminatory, non-objective and non-transparent conditions for the use of user data for advertising purposes.” Apple is facing a slew of probes from national antitrust investigations as regulators grapple with how to rein in Big Tech’s dominance. EU antitrust officials are looking into whether the firm has restricted access to its payments chip. They are also engaged in a long-running probe into how Apple may have hampered music streaming companies like Spotify from telling users about deals outside of the app store on rival platforms. https://archive.li/h96ky

Europe opens formal Antitrust probe into Microsoft’s bundling of Teams.

The European Commission is investigating whether Microsoft violated antitrust laws by bundling its Teams collaboration application with its Office software suite. The formal probe by the commission stems from a complaint that Slack, which competes with Teams, filed with the European antitrust enforcer more than three years ago. Slack was subsequently acquired by Salesforce. The commission said it is investigating whether Microsoft has illegally bundled Teams with Office, which is also known as Microsoft 365. “In particular, the Commission is concerned that Microsoft may grant Teams a distribution advantage by not giving customers the choice on whether or not to include access to that product when they subscribe to their productivity suites and may have limited the interoperability between its productivity suites and competing offerings,” the commission said in a statement. For the past two decades, since it resolved longrunning antitrust cases with regulators in the U.S. and Europe, Microsoft has mostly avoided serious clashes with competition authorities. https://tinyurl.com/bddadjvb

Warren and Graham propose new big tech regulator.

Elizabeth Warren and Lindsey Graham want to create a new regulatory agency that will oversee tech companies on a broad range of issues, from cyberbullying to privacy to antitrust. In an op-ed in The New York Times, Senators Warren, a Democrat, and Graham, a Republican, said the new agency will be a centerpiece of a new bipartisan bill they plan to introduce, the Digital Consumer Protection Commission Act. They compared the proposed new agency to other government entities that the U.S. created to regulate industries while allowing innovation to continue, including the Interstate Commerce Commission, Federal Communications Commission and Nuclear Regulatory Commission. “The new watchdog would focus on the unique threats posed by tech giants while strengthening the tools available to the federal agencies and state attorneys general who have authority to regulate Big Tech,” Sens. Warren and Graham wrote. https://tinyurl.com/wucj9wry


TikTok will launch its own e-commerce business.

Soon you will be able to buy products directly from TikTok. The social media company reportedly plans to launch an e-commerce business selling made-in-China products to its US consumers. The name of the central marketplace on the platform has quite the ring to it: the “TikTok Shop Shopping Center,” and apparently that’s not a typo. According to the Wall Street Journal, the e-commerce business will expand its existing TikTok Shop program where consumers can shop directly from Lives, videos, and creator or brand profiles. But now TikTok will be the retailer of products doing everything from purchasing the products from suppliers to marketing, storing and distributing the items, rather than just being a marketplace for other retailers to sell merchandise. The Wall Street Journal reports TikTok’s e-commerce business could launch as soon as August. TikTok’s deepening foray into the e-commerce world appears to be an effort to compete with Chinese companies Shein and Temu, which have found great success in the US. E-commerce also diversifies TikTok’s revenue stream away from just advertising. https://tinyurl.com/2p8my8wr

Walmart+ launches travel perks in battle with Amazon.

Walmart launched a new travel benefit for members of its Walmart+ subscription as it continues to add features in a bid to compete with Amazon’s Prime membership and convert wealthier shoppers to frequent Walmart customers. Walmart+ members, who pay US$98 for an annual membership, will be able to book flights, hotels and car rentals through a new travel site Walmart is launching through a partnership with travel site Expedia. The site will also offer cash-back rewards on purchases made through the portal, which shoppers will be able to use on future Walmart purchases or cash out at Walmart stores. The launch of the travel portal brings Walmart’s competition with Amazon to a new frontier. Amazon doesn’t currently offer Prime subscribers, who pay US$139 for an annual membership, any travel-related benefits. It also pushes on the turf of credit card providers like American Express, which currently offers free Walmart+ memberships to users of its Platinum Card, as well as other travel-centric perks. The travel perks could be a way to expand Walmart+’s appeal to higher-income shoppers, who Walmart executives have said they hope to convert to more frequent customers amid rising inflation. https://tinyurl.com/mts7sjmz

Fintech, Blockchain & Cryptocurrency

Apple card notched roughly 10 million users earlier this year.

The Apple Card, a joint venture between Apple and Goldman Sachs, had about 10 million users as of earlier this year, according to a person familiar with the matter. An in-depth article from The Information also revealed the main reason Goldman is trying to exit its partnership with Apple: It isn’t a profitable enough endeavor for the Wall Street bank to want to keep it. The bank is suffering from a lack of fees on the card, and it also doesn’t doesn’t get a cut of the interchange fee that merchants pay to accept the Apple Card, a detail of the pact that hasn’t been previously reported. Still, it will be tough for Goldman to exit the partnership, which was extended just last year through the end of the decade. For one, it can’t do so without Apple’s approval. That puts it in a tough spot because few, if any, other partners would agree to Apple’s terms, people familiar with the deal said. American Express, which has been involved in talks with Goldman about potentially taking on the partnership, has its own card network, whereas the Apple Card has a deal in place to run on the Mastercard network until at least 2026, people familiar with that deal said. Ultimately, Apple could even wind up partnering with a less visible bank and handling the bulk of the work itself. https://tinyurl.com/4adknf5z

Sam Altman’s Worldcoin cryptocurrency soars in launch.

Worldcoin, the eye-scanning blockchain project co-founded by OpenAI CEO Sam Altman, launched its cryptocurrency on Monday. As of midday, the tokens jumped 30% to US$2.20 and had amassed a market cap of roughly US$230 million. The company also said it would make 1,500 of its eye-scanning orbs available in 35 cities. The project has raised significant privacy concerns. Worldcoin uses its orbs to scan the iris of people’s eyeballs and then gives them a blockchain-based credential they are meant to use to prove their identity. The credential is also meant to help separate between online content that is generated by humans and content that is generated by artificial intelligence. Only people who participated in Worldcoin’s beta credentialing program are receiving Worldcoin tokens in the initial mint, though the token is not available to people in the U.S. The team behind Worldcoin last raised US$115 million in May in a funding round led by Blockchain Capital. The group has raised $505 million in total and also counts Andreessen Horowitz, Bain Capital, and Khosla Ventures among its backers, according to PitchBook. https://tinyurl.com/bd8bez4n


European Union’s parliament approves €43 billion Chips Act.

The European Union has approved a €43 billion (US$47.5 billion) plan to develop more fabs and increase semiconductor production in the region. The move will aim to double the EU’s global market share from 10 percent to “at least” 20 percent by 2030, according to a European Council press release. The news comes more than a year after the EU outlined ambitious plans to become a leader in developing and fabricating semiconductor chips. Companies like Intel are already building new manufacturing facilities in the continent. https://bit.ly/3Y7QVYJ

Intel, Ericsson to work together on custom 5G chip.

Intel on Tuesday said that it will work with Swedish telecommunications gear maker Ericsson to make a custom chip for Ericsson’s 5G networking gear, using the most advanced manufacturing technology Intel has disclosed. Intel has lost its lead in manufacturing the smallest and most power-efficient semiconductors to rivals such as Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. A key piece of Intel Chief Executive Pat Gelsinger’s plan announced in 2021 to regain that lead and turn the company around has been to pack five generations of chip manufacturing advances into four years. Intel said that the new Ericsson chip will use Intel’s “18A” manufacturing technology and is among the first chips from outside customers that Intel has will use the technology. Intel and Ericsson did not provide details on when the chip will hit the market, but Intel has previously said that its 18A manufacturing technology will be ready by 2025. https://tinyurl.com/49hjxzhf


EU passes law to blanket highways with fast EV chargers by end of 2025.

The Council of the EU has adopted new rules intended to make it much easier for EV owners to travel across Europe, while simultaneously helping to reduce the output of harmful greenhouse gases. The new regulation is set to benefit owners of electric cars and vans in three ways: It reduces range anxiety by expanding the EV charging infrastructure along Europe’s main highways, it makes payments “at the pump” easier without requiring an app or subscription, and ensures pricing and availability is clearly communicated to avoid surprises. From 2025 onward, the new regulation requires fast charging stations offering at least 150kW of power to be installed every 60km (37mi) along the EU’s Trans-European Transport Network, or (TEN-T) system of highways, the bloc’s main transport corridor. The regulation mandates that charging stations along the TEN-T “core” road network – the most important roads linking major cities and nodes – should be capable of at least 400kW of total output by December 31st, 2025. This includes having at least one charging point capable of an individual output of at least 150kW. By December 31st, 2027 the regulation requires at least 600kW of total output and the same individual charging point requirement of at least 150kW. https://bit.ly/3YiMSsz

Leading automakers partner to create massive EV charging network.

Seven of the largest automakers announced a joint venture to create a sprawling vehicle recharging network across North America. The goal is to install at least 30,000 charge points in urban and highway locations accessible to nearly any EV by offering Combined Charging System (CCS) and North American Charging Standard (NACS) connectors. The group includes BMW Group, General Motors, Honda, Hyundai, Kia, Mercedes-Benz Group and Stellantis NV. In short, these automakers want their own Tesla Supercharger network. current state of EV charging is poor, and this venture sounds like a good step toward the electric future. The planned charging locations sound like modern gas stations. Universal compatibility is the goal. With both CCS and NACS chargers, nearly any EV can recharge at these stations. The first U.S. stations are scheduled to be open in the summer of 2024, with stations in Canada added later. Stations will first hit metropolitan areas and major highways, followed by popular travel corridors and vacation routes. https://bit.ly/3OdlaJh

GM announces a new Chevy Bolt EV based on its Ultium battery tech.

General Motors announced that it’s developing a next-generation Chevrolet Bolt based on the automaker’s Ultium battery and drive technology to deliver “great affordability, range and technology.” The missing launch date is another reminder of ongoing supply issues that are reportedly slowing down GM’s production of Ultium batteries. According to a report published by The New York Times on Tuesday, most of the 50,000 EVs produced by GM in the first half of this year still use older third-party batteries, and GM has sold fewer than 2,800 vehicles in the US that utilize its new Ultium battery packs. GM has spent a lot of money on its EV development. The company announced plans to invest tens of billions of dollars to develop its Ultium batteries when it first unveiled its modular EV platform back in 2020. Some of that cash has been sunk into building Ultium battery cell plants in the US – the batteries are being produced at a US$2.3 billion joint production facility in Ohio that GM established with LG Energy, with two additional facilities under construction in Tennessee and Michigan. The delays in rolling out the new battery tech don’t seem to be having a significant impact on GM’s cash intake. https://bit.ly/44Httnr

Tesla formed team to thwart driving range complaints.

Last summer, Tesla created a special team to deter its customers from bringing their vehicles in for service appointments related to disappointed driving range. Tesla formed the “diversion team” in Las Vegas after the electric vehicle maker was flooded with service inquiries from customers, who said they experienced driving ranges that fell short of Tesla’s promises and estimates displayed by their vehicles’ battery meters, Reuters reported. In some cases, the team unilaterally canceled the service appointments of those customers. Reuters said that part of the problem stemmed from the fact that years ago Tesla, at the direction of Elon Musk, had modified the range-estimating software in its vehicles to exaggerate the distance they could travel when their battery levels were full. The software would provide more accurate range estimates when battery levels fell below 50% to avoid stranding drivers, Reuters reported. https://tinyurl.com/5896jzv3


The information and recommendations made available through our emails, newsletters, website and press releases (collectively referred to as the “Material”) by Sophic Capital Inc. (“Sophic” or “Company”) is for informational purposes only and shall not be used or construed as an offer to sell or be used as a solicitation of an offer to buy any services or securities. In accessing or consuming the Materials, you hereby acknowledge that any reliance upon any Materials shall be at your sole risk. In particular, none of the information provided in our monthly newsletter and emails or any other Material should be viewed as an invite, and/or induce or encourage any person to make any kind of investment decision. The recommendations and information provided in our Material are not tailored to the needs of particular persons and may not be appropriate for you depending on your financial position or investment goals or needs. You should apply your own judgment in making any use of the information provided in the Company’s Material, especially as the basis for any investment decisions. Securities or other investments referred to in the Materials may not be suitable for you and you should not make any kind of investment decision in relation to them without first obtaining independent investment advice from a qualified and registered investment advisor. You further agree that neither Sophic, its, directors, officers, shareholders, employees, affiliates consultants, and/or clients will be liable for any losses or liabilities that may be occasioned as a result of the information provided in any of the Material. By accessing Sophic’s website and signing up to receive the Company’s monthly newsletter or any other Material, you accept and agree to be bound by and comply with the terms and conditions set out herein. If you do not accept and agree to the terms, you should not use the Company’s website or accept the terms and conditions associated to the newsletter signup. Sophic is not registered as an adviser or dealer under the securities legislation of any jurisdiction of Canada or elsewhere and provides Material on behalf of its clients pursuant to an exemption from the registration requirements that is available in respect of generic advice. In no event will Sophic be responsible or liable to you or any other party for any damages of any kind arising out of or relating to the use of, misuse of and/or inability to use the Company’s website or Material. The information is directed only at persons resident in Canada. The Company’s Material or the information provided in the Material shall not in any form constitute as an offer or solicitation to anyone in the United States of America or any jurisdiction where such offer or solicitation is not authorized or to any person to whom it is unlawful to make such a solicitation. If you choose to access Sophic’s website and/or have signed up to receive the Company’s monthly newsletter or any other Material, you acknowledge that the information in the Material is intended for use by persons resident in Canada only. Sophic is not an investment advisor nor does it maintain any registrations as such, and Material provided by Sophic shall not be used to make investment decisions. Information provided in the Company’s Material is often opinionated and should be considered for information purposes only. No stock exchange or securities regulatory authority anywhere has approved or disapproved of the information contained herein. There is no express or implied solicitation to buy or sell securities. Sophic and/or its principals and employees may have positions in the stocks mentioned in the Company’s Material and may trade in the stocks mentioned in the Material. Do not consider buying or selling any stock without conducting your own due diligence and/or without obtaining independent investment advice from a qualified and registered investment advisor. The Company has not independently verified any of the data from third party sources referred to in the Material, including information provided by Sophic clients that are the subject of the report, or ascertained the underlying assumptions relied upon by such sources. The Company does not assume any responsibility for the accuracy or completeness of this information or for any failure by any such other persons to disclose events which may have occurred or may affect the significance or accuracy of any such information. The Material may contain forward looking information. Forward-looking statements are frequently, but not always, identified by words such as “expects,” “anticipates,” “believes,” “intends,” “estimates,” “potential,” “possible,” “projects,” “plans,” and similar expressions, or statements that events, conditions or results “will,” “may,” “could,” or “should” occur or be achieved or their negatives or other comparable words and include, without limitation, statements regarding, projected revenue, income or earnings or other results of operations, strategy, plans, objectives, goals and targets, plans to increase market share or with respect to anticipated performance compared to competitors, product development and adoption by potential customers. These statements relate to future events and future performance. Forward-looking statements are based on opinions and assumptions as of the date made, and are subject to a variety of risks and other factors that could cause actual events/results to differ materially from these forward looking statements. There can be no assurance that such expectations will prove to be correct; these statements are no guarantee of future performance and involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors. Sophic provides no assurance as to future results, performance, or achievements and no representations are made that actual results achieved will be as indicated in the forward looking information. Nothing herein can be assumed or predicted, and you are strongly encouraged to learn more and seek independent advice before relying on any information presented.