Late last week, major stock indices suffered another leg down, with the NASDAQ having an especially bearish close on Friday. Clio, a Canadian provider of cloud-based legal technology, announced it had achieved “Centaur” status, a title reserved for private SaaS companies that achieve more than US$100 million in annual recurring revenue (ARR). To date, approximately 150 companies globally have passed this threshold, making this designation seven times rarer than the now plentiful tech unicorn. Elon Musk said SpaceX’s Starlink will not go public for another three to four years, CNBC reported. Twitter will now give Elon Musk ‘firehose’ data access to settle bot complaints, and the Texas Attorney General opened an investigation of Twitter bots. Twitter, at the same time, is gearing up for its most ambitious quarter of user growth, leaders of the social media company’s consumer products division told staff on Tuesday. Alibaba shares dropped 8% after Jack Ma’s Ant Group and regulator squash talk of revived IPO. At the same time, DiDi Global and two other Chinese firms soared on WSJ report that probe will end. U.S.-listed shares of Chinese tech firms rose amid signs that Beijing’s crackdown on the Chinese tech sector is easing. Roku stock rebounded 20% amid reports of a possible acquisition by Netflix. Apple’s mixed reality headset is now said to be coming in Q2 2023 and the company announced a Buy Now Pay Later feature amid a services push. Meta is reportedly scaling back plans for its AR glasses, pivoting away from marketing Portal as a consumer device. Meta also halted development of Apple Watch rival with two cameras. Seventy-three percent of “affluent” investors in Asia intend to hold some form of digital assets by the end of 2022, according to a new report from consulting firm Accenture. TSMC plans to start mass production of new 3nm ‘M2 Pro’ chip later this year.
Canadian Technology Capital Markets & Company News
Bluerush (BTV-TSXV) announces private placement of up to US$5 million of convertible debenture units.
BlueRush Inc., an emerging personalized video creation Software as a Service company, is pleased to announce that it intends to complete a proposed non-brokered private placement up to 5,000 convertible debenture units at a price of US$1,000 per Convertible Debenture Unit, for aggregate gross proceeds of up to US$5,000,000. Each Convertible Debenture Unit will consist of US$1,000 principal amount of a 10.0% unsecured convertible debenture and 12,500 common share purchase warrants of the Company. Each Convertible Debenture shall mature on the date which is 48 months from the closing of the Offering and will be convertible into common shares of the Company (“Common Shares”) at a conversion price of US$0.04 per Common Share (the ”Conversion Price”). Each Warrant shall entitle the holder thereof to acquire one additional Common Share at a price of US$0.075 per share until the date that is forty-eight (48) months from the closing of the Offering. The Company may force the conversion of the Convertible Debentures in the event (i) the volume weighted average price of the Common Shares on the TSX Venture Exchange (the “TSXV”) is greater than US$0.15 for any twenty (20) consecutive trading days, (ii) the Company is uplisted in the U.S., and (iii) the Company is current with its securities and TSXV filing requirements. https://bit.ly/3xe1XhP
Gatekeeper (GSI-TSXV) announces $8 million in TD Bank working capital facilities to enable growth.
Gatekeeper Systems Inc. a leading provider of intelligent video solutions for public transport and smart cities, is pleased to announce the Company has entered credit facilities for additional working capital to facilitate recently announced major contracts and continued growth. The Company has entered a revolving credit facility with Toronto Dominion Bank pursuant to which the Company may draw up to $6 million for working capital provisions. Interest on the Credit Facility is based on either the Canadian bank prime rate plus 0.85 percent or US bank base rate plus 0.75 percent. The Credit Facility is subject to set up fees as well as export guarantee program fees payable quarterly to Export Development Canada. https://bit.ly/3O4GfUj
TIMIA Capital (TCA-TSXV) originates US$5 million of non-dilutive capital.
TIMIA Capital Corporation a leading innovator in specialty private credit, is pleased to announce that it has originated a US$5 million investment facility for a growing technology company launching a software-as-a-service (SaaS) product. An initial disbursement of US$4 million has been advanced with US$1 million of additional capital to be disbursed upon certain milestones being met over the term of the agreement. TIMIA has developed a proprietary, scalable, technology-driven fintech platform to originate investments and earn higher risk-adjusted returns in different vertices of the private credit marketplace. https://bit.ly/3zvf7do
Delphia closes US$60 million to improve AI-driven investment platform with user-owned data.
Toronto FinTech startup Delphia closed a $75.2 million (US$60 million) all equity Series A funding round in April to tap into cryptocurrencies. The financing, which comprises all primary capital, was led by crypto fund Multicoin Capital with participation from Ribbit Capital, FTX Ventures, Valor Equity Partners, FJ Labs, Lattice Ventures, Cumberland, Thomas Bailey from Road Capital, and M13. Delphia’s previous funding rounds include a $4 million pre-seed round in 2018 and $15.3 million in seed funding in 2019. https://bit.ly/3aL9sFr
Alberta government to invest $23 million for quantum hub at University of Calgary.
The Alberta government is doling out $23 million for the development of a quantum hub at the University of Calgary (UCalgary). Named Quantum City, the hub is expected to help fill tech talent roles in the province, as well as provide support in accelerating the development and application of Alberta-grown quantum technologies. The UCalgary hub will be launched in partnership with the University of Alberta (UofA) and the University of Lethbridge..This latest investment is part of the $73 million Alberta Technology and Innovation Strategy (ATIS), which the provincial government launched as part of Budget 2022 to scale Alberta tech and produce more employment opportunities in the sector. Through ATIS, Alberta aims to create 20,000 new jobs in the province and help Alberta tech companies generate $5 billion more in annual revenue by 2030. https://bit.ly/3NHBm3Y
Thin Air Labs secures $20 million in initial close of Prairie-focused venture fund.
Thin Air Labs has secured $20 million in the initial close of its first fund as the venture studio looks to bolster the Prairie tech ecosystem. The initial close includes $4 million from the Opportunity Calgary Investment Fund (OCIF). Thin Air’s overall target for its first fund is $100 million. In addition to OCIF, investors in the fund include Calgary wealth management firm Sandstone Asset Management Inc, other undisclosed family offices, and high-net-worth individuals and entrepreneurs including Hanif Joshaghani (CEO of Symend) and Adrian Camara (CEO of Athennian). Vventure capital investment in Alberta has skyrocketed; in the first quarter of 2022, startups in the province collectively passed a new record for quarterly venture funding. In total, $205.6 million was raised, representing a 212 percent increase from the previous quarter, and a 26 percent increase year-over-year. https://bit.ly/3zvFQ9G
Vybe Network raises $13.1 million for Solana blockchain data infrastructure solution.
Burnaby startup Vybe Network has raised a $13.1 million (US$10.5 million) Series A round led by cryptocurrency exchange FTX. The financing also saw participation from Staking Facilities, Serum, Panony, Tess Ventures, Contango, Canonical Crypto Fund, EBT Group, and Sino Global, which was an investor in Vybe’s US$2.5 million seed round in January as well. On the venture capital side, Round13 Capital unveiled a new US$70 million fund last month, which aims to support blockchain and Web3 infrastructure companies. https://bit.ly/3QamEUF
VirgoCX receives CSA exemption as parent company secures $10 million.
Toronto-based VirgoCX’s parent company, Virgo Group, announced this week that it has raised $10 million in an all-equity Series A round. On the same day, VirgoCX said it received a restricted dealer exemption for crypto assets from the Canadian Securities Administrators (CSA). The financing, which was led by Draper Dragon, also saw participation from Blockdream Ventures, Cobo Ventures, Molecular Group, Sora Ventures, and How Link Investment. A spokesperson for VirgoCX told BetaKit that the $10 million investment will be used for the growth of all Virgo Group companies, including VirgoCX. Founded in 2018, VirgoCX is a cryptocurrency trading platform that supports Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, and more. https://bit.ly/3NG2nVg
Mash raises $7.5 million to help builders, developers, and creators monetize.
Mash, a cryptocurrency FinTech startup, has raised $7.5 million (US$6 million USD) to help builders, creators, and developers generate revenue for their online work. “There’s an explosion in the number of people who want to be full-time creators and builders. But to go full time, they need an easy way to actually monetize the value they deliver,” said Jared Nusinoff, founder and CEO of Mash. Mash’s technology is built on a foundation of Bitcoin, and the Lightning Network. The latter is a decentralized network that enables instant payments across networks. Castle Island Ventures and Whitecap Venture Partners led the round, with participation from Maple VC, Strategic Cyber Ventures, Aquanow, Spacecadet Ventures, and several angel investors. https://bit.ly/3MGRTDM
Flare Raises a $9.5 million Series A round to democratize cybersecurity.
Flare, the leader in digital footprint monitoring, announced a $9.5 million Series A Round led by Inovia Capital with participation from White Star Capital and Luge Capital. Flare’s Series A Round will be used to fund a rapid expansion. Flare’s digital footprint monitoring software enables organizations to proactively monitor the dark and clear web for data leaks, credential theft, and cybercrime. Flare offers a frictionless way to immediately discover the value of external monitoring through one of the first full featured free trials in the Digital Risk Protection space. It has recently begun an aggressive expansion into the U.S. market and is powered by a rapidly growing team of 40+ people passionate about helping organizations combat data leaks, account takeover, and cybercrime. https://bit.ly/39pjDzb
PayShepherd closes $3.8 million to fuel North American expansion of contractor billing solution.
Calgary-based billing software provider PayShepherd has secured $3.8 million (US$3 million) in seed funding towards its goal of becoming the “system of record” for financial transactions between industrial facilities and contractors. Since closing $700,000 in pre-seed financing in 2021, PayShepherd’s focus has been on building out its product and finding initial market traction in Canada and the United States (US). https://bit.ly/3MwF5jq
IntelliSports raises $2.5 million for gamified fitness app PlayFitt.
Montréal-based IntelliSports has raised $2.5 million in seed funding for PlayFitt, its gamified fitness app. The investment round, which was all equity, closed on May 16. The financing was led by Anges Québec, with participation from New York Jets’ guard and Canadian athlete Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, Vrvana founder Bertrand Nepveu, Imagineactive.org founder Charles Bombardier, investor group IC Excellent Ventures Inc., and other angel investors. A spokesperson for IntelliSports declined to disclose the company’s total funding to date. Per Crunchbase, the company has secured over $6 million in financing to date, including a $1.4 million seed round, and $2.9 million in debt from the Government of Québec. IntelliSports launched PlayFitt in 2019, and since its debut, the company claims that it has acquired around 214,000 users. https://bit.ly/3xjYD4X
Clio announces Centaur status, joining elusive US$100 million ARR club. Clio, a provider of cloud-based legal technology, is Canada’s first legal technology company to achieve centaur status, a title reserved for private SaaS companies that achieve more than US$100 million in annual recurring revenue (ARR). To date, approximately 150 companies globally have passed this threshold, making this designation seven times rarer than the now plentiful tech unicorn. The 2022 State of the Cloud Report, recently produced by Bessemer Venture Partners, cited the enduring qualities of centaur companies with product-market fit, scaleable GTM, and a growing customer base amid changing market conditions. In an era where investors consistently apply significant multiple advantages to company valuations, the centaur status offers a much more salient perspective on company valuations in respect to today’s index of public scale companies. In 2021, the company was also the first legal practice management platform to earn unicorn status with a Series E funding valuation of US$1.6 billion. https://bit.ly/3Qo5lQe
Global Markets: IPOs, Venture Capital, M&A
Elon Musk pushes back SpaceX’s Starlink public offering again by up to 4 years, report.
Elon Musk said SpaceX’s Starlink will not go public for another three to four years, CNBC reported. He told SpaceX employees that going public isn’t always “a sure path to riches,” per the report. It’s the latest delay to Starlink’s IPO, which Musk said in 2019 could go public this year. The SpaceX CEO told employees in an all-hands meeting last week that he wasn’t sure when an initial public offering (IPO) would happen, but guessed it would not be until 2025 or 2026, according to an audio recording obtained by CNBC. Musk has maintained that the timing must be right for Starlink to go public. He said in February 2021 that SpaceX has to go through “a deep chasm of negative cash flow” over the next year to make Starlink financially viable. https://bit.ly/3mAY01Q
Alibaba shares drop 8% after Jack Ma’s Ant Group and regulator squash talk of revived IPO.
Ant Group, founded by billionaire Jack Ma, scrapped its IPO in November 2020 after regulators flagged concerns with the company. Since then, the company has been ordered to rectify its business. Ant Group said that a revived IPO is not on the cards yet. Alibaba shares dropped 8% on Thursday after financial affiliate Ant Group said it currently has no plans to revive an IPO, and a key regulator said it had not conducted an evaluation on a potential listing. The planned IPO of Ant Group, which is controlled by billionaire Alibaba founder Jack Ma, was pulled in November 2020 after regulators flagged concerns with the company. The dual listing in Hong Kong and Shanghai would have been the biggest IPO in history. Since then, Ant Group has been ordered by regulators to rectify its business to comply with Chinese rules, including setting up a financial holding company. On Thursday, Bloomberg reported Chinese financial regulators have commenced early stage discussions about reviving the IPO, citing people familiar with the matter. Reuters reported that Chinese leadership has given the green light for a listing. But Ant Group said there are no plans for an IPO. “Under the guidance of regulators, we are focused on steadily moving forward with our rectification work and do not have any plan to initiate an IPO,” a spokesperson for the company told CNBC on Thursday. But there are signs that Beijing’s crackdown on the Chinese tech sector is easing. The Wall Street Journal reported this week that authorities in China are close to ending probes into ride-hailing giant Didi. https://cnb.cx/3xeKZjy
DiDi Global and two other Chinese firms soar on WSJ report that probe will end.
U.S.-listed shares of Chinese tech firms. DiDi Global, Full Truck Alliance and Kanzhun rocketed in premarket trade after The Wall Street Journal reported that Chinese regulators will let them add new users again as early as this week. DiDi Global jumped 50%, Full Truck Alliance rose 29% and Kanzhun rose 20%. The apps were removed last July when they were probed over data security. https://bit.ly/3xpDhEv
China’s approval of 60 new videogames boosts Tencent shares.
China’s government on Tuesday granted publishing licenses to 60 domestic videogames, triggering hopes in the industry that Beijing’s regulatory pressure will continue to ease. Shares of Tencent, China’s biggest videogame publisher, was up nearly 6% as of Wednesday afternoon in Hong Kong, while its major competitor NetEase also was up more than 4%. The latest approvals by China’s National Press and Publication Administration comes after the regulator in April granted licenses to 45 games to end a freeze on new license approvals since last July. Over the past year, China’s government has stepped up its scrutiny of the videogame industry and introduced new regulations, including severe limits on minors’ playing time. The crackdown took a toll on Tencent’s business in China, the world’s largest videogame market. In the first quarter, Tencent’s domestic games revenues fell 1% from a year earlier. https://bit.ly/3xjLnNL
Tencent-backed virtual social playground Soulgate withdraws IPO plans.
Soulgate Inc., a Shanghai-based virtual social playground backed by Tencent Holdings Ltd. , has filed to withdraw it’s plans for an initial public offering. The company did not provide a reason for the withdrawal, and just said its decision was “consistent with the public interest and protection of investors.” The company had first filed an F-1 Registration Statement for the IPO on the Nasdaq on May 10. On June 17, Soulgate amended the F-1 to say it planned to offer 13.2 million American depositary shares in the IPO, which was expected to price between US$13 and US$15, to raise about US$198.0 million. The company said the 13.2 million ADS being offered represented 19.8 Class A ordinary shares. Based on that multiple, and with 145.43 million Class A ordinary shares and 35.81 million Class B ordinary shares expected to be outstanding after the IPO, the expected pricing would have valued the company at up to about US$1.8 billion. The withdrawal comes at a relatively rough time for IPO investors, as the Renaissance IPO ETF has plunged 44.5% year to date, while the iShares MSCI China ETF has shed 13.4% and the S&P 500 has declined 13.8%. https://bit.ly/3xEFEUc
GitLab proves it’s possible to get a better valuation for your software company.
Shares of GitLab rose just over 28% to US$51.00 per share, up US$11.16 in a single day. And investors aren’t changing their mind, with shares of the developer-focused git service not giving back much, if any, of those gains in pre-market trading. What did GitLab have to accomplish to see such a dramatic repricing from investors? The rare public market triple-crown: It beat on revenue, profitability and outlook in the quarter. Here’s the data: Revenue growth of 75% to US$87.4 million, ahead of analyst expectations of US$78.1 million and faster than the 69% growth it recorded in the previous quarter. Adjusted loss per share of US$0.18, better than the US$0.27 per share loss expected in the quarter. Raised revenue forecast of US$93.5 million to US$94.5 million for the current quarter, and US$398.0 million to US$402.0 million for the current fiscal year. Both ranges are ahead of the US$93.14 million (quarter) and US$398.51 million (year) that Yahoo Finance calculates as the current analyst average. https://tcrn.ch/3xAs4kr
Roku stock rebounds 20% amid reports of possible acquisition by Netflix.
Video streaming platform Roku has seen its share price plunge more than 55% in 2022, before suddenly rebounding nearly 20% over market open on Tuesday as whispers of a Netflix acquisition make the industry rounds. While Netflix is suffering through its own stock tumble dating back to November, reportedly Roku employees have discussed the possibility of being acquired by the market-leading streaming service in recent weeks, according to Business Insider. The embattled company saw its share price rise 10% Wednesday while Netflix’s stock price has risen 2%. In response to recent chatter, Roku has reportedly halted the employee trading window, which prevents employees from selling vested stock. Traditionally, this strategy is employed shortly before a company makes an announcement that will impact their share price in order to circumvent potential insider trading. Roku has grown to more than 60 million active users, but is still largely considered too small to compete with Google, Apple and Amazon in the streaming device marketplace. As a result, reports of a potential acquisition have followed the company since at least last year when Comcast CEO Brian Roberts reportedly weighed a potential purchase. Roku devices aggregate a collection of apps and streaming services as well as offer its own original content — the bulk of which was acquired when the company purchased Quibi’s library. With experience in streaming advertisement technology, Netflix might view Roku as valuable infrastructure as it prepares to deliver its own ad-supported subscription tier by the end of this year. https://yhoo.it/3xEX6aT
Zendesk stock dives toward 2-year low after receiving ‘no actionable’ buyout bids as it pursued a potential sale.
Shares of Zendesk Inc. dove 5.6% toward a two-year low in premarket trading Thursday, after the customer-service software company said it decided not to pursue a sale, as “no actionable” buyout proposals were received. The company said as part of a strategic review to enhance shareholder value, the company reached out to 26 potential buyers and partners, including 16 potential strategic partners and 10 financial sponsors and a group of investors who had previously expressed interest in a purchase. The company’s market capitalization as of Wednesday’s close was US$9.87 billion. “Ultimately, only a subset of the financial sponsors, and none of the potential strategic counterparties, chose to continue in the process,” the company said in a statement. “Despite the company extending the process several times to provide interested financial sponsors additional time and access to attempt to secure sufficient financing, no actionable proposals were submitted, with the final bidders citing adverse market conditions and financing difficulties at the end of the process.” https://bit.ly/3Hc24is
Anaplan stock falls after per-share buyout deal with Thoma Bravo was lowered to resolve disagreement.
Shares of Anaplan Inc. dropped 3.9% in premarket trading Monday, after the business-planning software company said the per-share terms of the buyout deal with private-equity firm Thoma Bravo were lowered by 3.4% to resolve a disagreement regarding compliance with certain terms of the deal. The company said the terms of the deal were amended so that Anaplan shareholders will receive US$63.75 in cash for each Anaplan share they own, compared with the previous agreement of US$66.00 a share. The new per-share terms represent a 3.1% discount to Friday’s closing price of US$65.80. Thoma Bravo said the disagreements could have resulted in certain closing conditions not being satisfied, while Anaplan said it acted in good faith in compliance with the deal at all times. Anaplan’s stock has soared 43.5% year to date through Friday, while the S&P 500 has lost 13.8%. https://bit.ly/3awUPWe
Twitter will give Elon Musk ‘firehose’ data access to settle bot complaints.
Twitter is preparing to grant Elon Musk unprecedented access to platform data in an effort to address his concerns about automated accounts, The Washington Post reported on Wednesday. Citing a person familiar with the company’s thinking, the report says Twitter is preparing to give Musk access to the so-called “firehose” API that contains every tweet as it is posted. In April, Musk legally committed to purchasing Twitter but has grown increasingly vocal about possible bot activity on the platform, in what some see as an effort to cancel or renegotiate the deal on more favorable terms. Taken as a whole, Twitter’s firehose API shows what a user would see if they followed every account on Twitter — although the sheer volume of data is impossible to obtain or parse without automation. Nonetheless, it is one of the company’s most closely held resources, in part because of its value for ad-targeting and platform surveillance. Multiple companies and organizations have, or have had, access to the feed in real time, including MIT researchers and Google many years ago. https://bit.ly/3zvnZj0
Twitter’s stock falls after Musk becomes suspicious on why information on spam/fake accounts is not provided.
Shares of Twitter Inc. sank 5.0% in premarket trading Monday, after Elon Musk disclosed that he reiterated his request for information as he evaluates the number of spam and fake accounts on the social media company’s platform. In a letter to Twitter via Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP, Musk, the Tesla Inc. chief executive who has agreed to buy Twitter for US$54.20 a share, said he has “repeatedly requested” the information on spam/fake accounts over the past month and Twitter to “refused” to provide that information. Tesla’s stock rallied 3.5% in premarket trading. Musk said Twitter’s refusal to provide the information makes him suspicious, and raises concerns over what he might uncover from the requested information. Twitter’s stock has shed 7.1% year to date through Friday, while the S&P 500 has lost 13.8%. https://bit.ly/3tmzYM2
iOS 16 integrates U1 chip with ARKit amid rumors of Apple’s mixed reality headset.
iOS 16 introduces multiple new APIs, which allow developers to expand the capabilities of their apps. For instance, there are new APIs for lock screen widgets, walkie-talkie, interactive maps, weather data, and more. Interestingly, Apple has also updated the Nearby Interaction API to integrate the U1 chip into ARKit amid rumors of a new mixed reality headset. The Nearby Interactions API was introduced with iOS 14, and it lets developers take advantage of the ultra-wideband U1 chip available in iPhone 11 and later. The U1 chip, which enables precise location and spatial awareness for the devices, could be used for things like detecting the distance between one iPhone and another. https://bit.ly/399tDwq
Apple’s mixed reality headset coming in Q2 2023.
There had been multiple reports and speculation about the possibility of Apple teasing its new mixed reality headset at WWDC 2022. However, the company didn’t say a word about the device or any related software features during the event. Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo now believes that Apple’s AR/VR headset will come in Q2 2023, a bit later than expected. According to the analyst, Apple is expected to begin engineering validation testing (also known as EVT) with its headset in the next three months. If all goes well, the product could be announced in early 2023 with pre-orders and availability coming a few months later. Apparently, what caused the delay in Apple’s headset announcement is the COVID-19 lockdowns in China, which affected multiple Apple supplier facilities. https://bit.ly/38WvbtJ
Meta is reportedly scaling back plans for its AR glasses, pivoting away from marketing Portal as a consumer device.
Meta is scaling back its plans for its augmented reality (AR) glasses and is pivoting its Portal smart display device away from the consumer market, according to a new report from The Information. The report notes that the company had originally planned to launch the first version of its AR glasses, which are codenamed Project Nazare, in 2024. However, employees have been notified that Meta no longer plans to commercially release the AR glasses due to efforts to cut back on heavy investments in its Reality Labs and AR/VR division. A person familiar with the matter told The Information that the company plans to instead use the first version of the AR glasses as a demonstration product, as opposed to a commercial one. Meta is now planning to prioritize the release of the second version of the AR glasses, codenamed Artemis. https://tcrn.ch/3ttrWB0
Meta halts development of Apple Watch rival with two cameras.
Facebook parent company Meta Platforms Inc. has halted development of a smartwatch with dual cameras and is instead working on other devices for the wrist, according to a person with knowledge of the matter. The device, which has been in development for at least two years, was designed to include several features common in other smartwatches, including activity tracking, music playback and messaging. A prototype of the now halted device includes dual-cameras, a key differentiator from market leaders like the Apple Watch. One camera was located below the display and another sat on the backside against the wearer’s wrist, according to images and video of a prototype seen by Bloomberg. https://bloom.bg/3aTzab1
Media, Streaming, Gaming & Sports Betting
Twitter gears up for most ambitious quarter of user growth.
Twitter is gearing up for its most ambitious quarter of user growth, leaders of the social media company’s consumer products division told staff on Tuesday. Twitter is aiming to grow its monetizable daily active users, or users who see advertising, by 13 million this quarter, according to an internal meeting that was heard by Reuters. The San Francisco-based company is maintaining its ambition to attract new users even as its deal to be acquired by billionaire Elon Musk remains uncertain. Musk in a filing on Monday warned Twitter that he might walk away from the US$44 billion deal if the company does not provide data to allow him to independently verify the proportion of spam and fake accounts on the social media platform https://reut.rs/3HcQcNy
Amazon bows out of race for marquee Indian cricket rights.
Amazon will reportedly pull out of the race to secure the broadcast rights for the Indian Premier League cricket, leaving companies including Disney to battle for the closely-watched auction. The rights for India’s top cricketing competition are expected to fetch more than US$7 billion, with an auction expected to take place in the coming days. Amazon is not expected to bid for the rights, according to Bloomberg, which cited people familiar with the matter. The company has been spending big on marquee broadcast rights in recent years, including some English Premier League games and the NFL’s Thursday Night Football. Its absence will open the door to Disney, which has recently been banking on big subscriber growth for its streaming operations in India. Sony and locally-based Reliance Industries are also reportedly in the running. https://bit.ly/3HgwpMQ
Adtech, Privacy & Regulatory
U.K. regulator accuses Apple and Google of running duopoly in mobile.
The U.K. antitrust regulator has accused Apple and Google of running a duopoly in mobile browsers flagging it’ll now investigate how it can use its powers to intervene in the market. The Competitions and Markets Authority has been looking at the duo for some time, but on Friday released a report which laid out why the regulator thought they “hold all the cards” in so-called “mobile ecosystems”. The regulator will now start the process of running market investigations into the companies. The CMA said it’ll also take further action against Google’s in-app payments linked to its Play Store. These efforts will likely take years to play out. But Friday’s announcement shows the country’s regulator intends to be just as aggressive towards the U.S. tech giants as its European counterparts in the wake of Brexit. https://bit.ly/3QfmJXf
Texas Attorney General opens investigation of Twitter bots.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said he opened an investigation of Twitter, claiming the social media platform may be misleading people with false reporting of its bot accounts, violating the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act. The Republican attorney general announced the probe the same day Twitter would-be buyer, billionaire Elon Musk, threatened to pull out of his deal to purchase the company, saying it wasn’t meeting his demands for more information about spam and fake accounts. https://bloom.bg/3xcwsEX
Fintech, Blockchain & Cryptocurrency
Apple announces Buy Now Pay Later feature amid services push.
Apple announced a feature for its wallet app that will allow U.S. users to split the cost of their purchases into four interest-free installments. The feature, known as Apple Pay Later, competes with existing services such as Klarna and Affirm, the latter of which is already offered as a financing option for products on Apple’s website. Affirm’s shares, which are publicly traded in New York, fell more than 4.5% today and are down nearly 75% since the start of this year. Apple’s announcement comes weeks after Klarna, one of the original buy now pay later firms, announced it would cut 10% of its workforce. That came days after reports saying its private market valuation could fall. Apple has been aggressively pushing into services to reduce its dependence on revenue from the iPhone. Apple Pay Later is yet another feature, after its Apple-branded credit card, that’s meant to entice users to use its payment services. https://bit.ly/3zv3hQa
PayPal launches crypto transfers for Bitcoin, Ethereum.
PayPal announced on Tuesday that it now supports the transfer of a small number of cryptocurrencies like bitcoin and ethereum between PayPal accounts as well as outside wallets and exchanges. The payment giant has offered crypto purchasing and selling since 2020, but the announcement on Tuesday goes a step further. Crypto transfers to other PayPal accounts will be fare free, while transfers to outside wallets will incur transaction fees. Besides bitcoin and ethereum, the accepted tokens on PayPal also include bitcoin cash— a spinoff of bitcoin—and litecoin. PayPal joins a growing number of fintechs in broadening their crypto payments offerings. Stripe launched new features earlier this year that allows crypto companies to use its payment processing services for crypto and fiat currencies, and the startup Bolt, which is cutting costs amid heavy losses, announced in April it was acquiring blockchain tech firm Wyre for US$1.5 billion. Shares of Paypal were up 1% on Tuesday afternoon. https://bit.ly/3zwFQWD
Three quarters of Asia’s wealthy investors will own digital assets by 2022.
Seventy-three percent of “affluent” investors in Asia intend to hold some form of digital assets by the end of 2022, according to a new report from consulting firm Accenture. It’s unclear how Accenture surveyed the population across the expansive region or defined “affluent” investors. What’s clear is that the well-to-do in Asia, like their counterparts in the US, are increasingly seeking digital assets — which can include cryptocurrencies, stable coins, crypto investment funds, security tokens, and asset-backed tokens — to build their personal wealth. Currently, 52% of affluent investors in Asia already hold digital assets, according to Accenture. In the US, as many as 83% of millennial millionaires owned cryptocurrency, according to a survey released by CNBC in December. https://tcrn.ch/3GVeXO3
Chip shortage threatens cutting-edge tech needed for next-generation smartphones.
The two-year global semiconductor shortage is threatening to spread to some of the most advanced chips needed for next-generation smartphones and the data centers that power apps. Chips with the tiniest transistors and highest performance had largely escaped the drought that has hit the auto industry and other electronics. Now, problems ranging from production hitches to a shortage of manufacturing equipment have raised concerns over the ability of the world’s two highest-end chip manufacturers to meet delivery promises to customers. https://on.wsj.com/3O8gUck
TSMC to start mass production of new 3nm ‘M2 Pro’ chip later this year.
Apple this week unveiled the new M2 chip, which is the first upgrade to the Apple Silicon chips created specifically for the Mac and iPad. While the new M2-powered MacBooks are yet to hit the stores, analyst Jeff Pu of Haitong Intl Tech Research has now reported that Apple supplier TSMC will begin mass production of the new, more powerful “M2 Pro” chip later this year. The Taiwanese semiconductor company is expected to start mass production of Apple’s new “M2 Pro” chip later this year, which reportedly will be built on the 3-nanometer process. Apple says the M2 has 18% faster CPU performance than the M1, with 35% better graphics thanks to a new 10-core GPU. M2 also offers up to 24GB of RAM, while M1 is only available with 8GB and 16GB of RAM. https://bit.ly/3QeNkDG
Polestar’s first SUV, the Polestar 3 EV, arrives in Q3 2022.
Polestar released teaser images Tuesday for its first battery-electric SUV, the Polestar 3, which will make its global debut in October. The teaser shows a sleek, four-passenger SUV with a panoramic sunroof that stretches from windshield to rear spoiler and a bold taillight design. The Polestar 3, which will be built at the Volvo plant in Charleston, South Carolina, later this year, is the third model from the high-performance EV maker, following the discontinued, 600-horsepower Polestar 1 plug-in hybrid and the Polestar 2 all-electric sports sedan. The goal is to increase its presence to at least 30 global markets by the end of 2023, while growing its global sales tenfold to 290,000 units through 2025, compared with the 29,000 units it sold in 2021. The 2023 Polestar 2 BST Edition is a four-door fastback with 476 horsepower — 68 more than the regular Polestar 2 — and a starting price of US$75,500. Customers will begin receiving their orders later this year. https://tcrn.ch/398MNmf
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.