Last week, the market suffered big losses last week as SVB Financial collapsed, which along with crypto bank Silvergate Financial sparked intense losses for bank stocks. Dow Jones lost 4.4%, S&P 500 fell 4.55%, and Nasdaq lost 4.7%. Silicon Valley Bank failed on Friday morning, as the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp took control of the bank, deepening uncertainty for startups and venture capital firms that rely on the bank for financial services. Several public companies disclosed they had money on deposit at failed Silicon Valley Bank, including Roku and Roblox, a sign of how widespread SVB’s tentacles reached. Stripe’s fundraise to reach US$6 billion, at a US$50 billion valuation, as the company faces a US$3.5 billion tax on employees’ shares expiration. Chinese online fashion retailer SHEIN is set to raise around US$2 billion in a new funding round this month and is aiming for a U.S. listing in the second half of this year. Uber is considering spinning off freight logistics division. Meta plans new layoffs that could match last year’s in scope. Microsoft Bing hits 100 million active users in bid to grab share from Google. In Canada, Toronto-based startup Cohere is among the first four companies to receive funding from Salesforce Ventures’ newly-launched US$250 million fund. As the battle to stop Magnet Forensics’ $1.8 billion sale rages on, an independent advisor has recommended shareholders vote for the deal. The Waterloo startup released a statement on Wednesday noting that Egan-Jones Proxy Services has recommended it gets approved. Sophic Client UGE announces placement of up to US$3 million of project development green bonds. Sophic Client Kraken Robotics received nearly $3 million in orders for its Synthetic Aperture Sonar for NATO and US defence customers. Sophic Client LuckBox announces triple digit growth across core KPI’s, as Global betting handle in February reached a record $2.8 million, as the player base now stands at 350,000.

Canadian Technology Capital Markets & Company News

Sophic Client UGE International (UGE-TSXV, UGEIF-OTC) announces placement of up to US$3 million of project development green bonds.

Sophic Capital client, UGE International Ltd. announced a brokered “best efforts” private placement of green bonds, for gross proceeds of up to US$3,000,000 (or Canadian dollar equivalent). The Offering will be led by Canaccord Genuity Corp., on behalf of a syndicate of agents. The Green Bonds will be denominated in US dollars and Canadian dollars and will be issued, at the subscriber’s discretion, at a price of either US$977.50 per US$1,000 principal amount, or $977.50 per $1000 principal amount. The Green Bonds will have a term of four years, and bear interest at a rate of 9% per annum, payable semi-annually in US dollars or Canadian dollars, as applicable, in arrears commencing December 31, 2023. http://bit.ly/3yv4Ax6

Sophic Client Kraken Robotics (PNG-TSXV, KRKNF-OTC) receives $1.3 million order for Synthetic Aperture Sonar for NATO Navy.

Sophic Capital client, Kraken Robotics Inc. announces a $1.3 million purchase order from an unnamed customer for our AquaPix® synthetic aperture sonars (SAS). These systems will be integrated to a NATO Navy’s Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUVs) for use in minehunting and security applications. Delivery is expected in 2023. http://bit.ly/3mHE2pw

Sophic Client Kraken Robotics (PNG-TSXV, KRKNF-OTC) Synthetic Aperture Sonar grows as Kraken receives additional $1.5 million of orders from US defense customer.

Sophic Capital client, Kraken Robotics Inc. announces $1.5 million in orders from a US defense customer for our AquaPix® synthetic aperture sonars (SAS). These 6000-meter rated systems will be integrated to the customer’s Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUVs). Delivery is expected in 2023. Demand for Kraken’s SAS products has increased significantly and for 2023 the Company expects to deliver approximately 3x the volume as compared to previous years. http://bit.ly/3JvXuyr

Sophic Capital client Sophic Client LuckBox (LUCK-TSXV, LUKEF-OTC) announces triple digit growth across core KPI’s.

Sophic Capital client, Real Luck Group Ltd. and its subsidiary companies doing business as “Luckbox”, an award-winning provider of licensed, real money esports betting, sports betting and casino games, announces another record month of operations ending February 28, 2023. Last month, the Company continued its rapid growth, achieving $2.8 million in Global Betting Handle, a new monthly record following $1.6 million in January – despite February being a short month. Monthly revenue also grew 110%, mainly driven by focusing on player margins, where the average revenue per customer increased by 127% MoM. http://bit.ly/4017bun

Spectra7 Microsystems Inc. (SEV-TSXV) announces private placement of $5.89 million.

The Company announced a proposed private placement to certain institutional investors and insiders of the Company (the “Private Placement”) of 5,890,000 units (“Units”), with each Unit consisting of one common share (each a “Common Share”) and one common share purchase warrant (each a “Warrant”) at a purchase price of $1.00 per Unit for aggregate gross proceeds of approximately $5.89 million. Each Warrant will be exercisable immediately and will entitle the holder thereof to purchase one Common Share at an exercise price of $1.18 per Common Share for a period of five years from the date of issuance. The expiry date of the Warrant can be accelerated by the Company at any time prior to the expiry date of the Warrants if the closing price of the Common Shares on the TSX Venture Exchange is greater than $4.00 for any 10 non-consecutive trading days. https://bit.ly/3yw0swx

Qualtrics gets US$12.4 billion buyout offer from Silver Lake, Canada’s CPPIB.

Software maker Qualtrics International said on Monday it has received a US$12.4 billion go-private offer from private equity firm Silver Lake Management and Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB). The offer values Qualtrics at US$18.15 per share, a premium of nearly 6% to the stock’s last closing price. Shares of Qualtrics rose 2.8% in early trading. They have gained 8.8% since the start of February when Silver Lake first expressed its interest in Qualtrics. Qualtrics and Silver Lake have entered into an exclusivity agreement for the deal talks, which ends on March 15. Germany’s SAP, the majority investor in Qualtrics with a 71% stake, said in January it was mulling a sale of its interest in the U.S. company as part of a restructuring. SAP had bought Qualtrics in 2019 for US$8 billion from founder Ryan Smith. Silver Lake already holds a near 4.2% stake in Qualtrics. https://reut.rs/3mMeCHb

Magnet (MAGT-TSX) shares independent advisor report recommending $1.8 billion acquisition as some shareholders push to halt deal.

As the battle to stop Magnet Forensics’ $1.8 billion sale rages on, an independent advisor has recommended shareholders vote for the deal. The Waterloo startup released a statement on Wednesday noting that Egan-Jones Proxy Services has recommended it gets approved. The announcement from Magnet follows a public campaign by one of Magnet’s largest investors, Nellore Capital Management, against the company’s proposed sale to Thoma Bravo. Thoma Bravo announced plans in January to buy Magnet for $1.8 billion. It is a deal that would take the publicly-traded Magnet private, and combine it with Thoma Bravo-owned digital forensics firm Grayshift. Thoma Bravo has agreed to pay $44.25 per share to holders of Magnet’s subordinate voting stock, more than 15% premium to Magnet’s closing price the day before the deal was announced. In its shareholder letter on Wednesday, Nellore argued that the premium “can’t even compete with 5 months of Magnet’s standalone growth.” The Magnet investor said it believes the “intrinsic value” of the shares is between $60 and $70. http://bit.ly/3mD0b8t

Cohere among first investments from Salesforce’s new US$250 million AI fund.

Toronto-based startup Cohere is among the first four companies to receive funding from Salesforce Ventures’ newly-launched US$250 million fund as part of a broader play into generative artificial intelligence (AI). On Tuesday, Salesforce’s investment arm announced a $250 million generative AI fund to invest in startups and “spark the development of responsible generative AI.” The fund is initially investing in four startups, with Cohere being the only Canadian. The other investments include United States technology companies Anthropic, Hearth.AI, and You.com. Earlier this year, Reuters reported that Cohere is in talks to raise hundreds of millions of dollars in a funding round that could value the startup at more than $6 billion. It remains unclear how much Cohere is seeking to raise in the current funding round. Cohere has raised a US$125 million Series B round last year and US$40 million in Series A financing in 2021. http://bit.ly/3J1QO9V

Web3 startup Helika closes $4 million seed round led by Diagram Ventures.

Toronto-based startup Helika has closed a $4 million seed round to expand its operations and develop its Web3 analytics platform. The round was led by Diagram Ventures, with participation from Sfermion, Sparkle Ventures, Big Brain Holdings, Fenbushi, and Builder Capital. Diagram Ventures is a quasi-accelerator and venture investor that “conceives and launches” tech companies in addition to providing funding. Since 2016, Diagram has created 12 startups totalling to over $1 billion in enterprise value. Its portfolio includes Web3 startups like StreamingFast and Conduit, and the firm currently employs a group of over 90 angel investors. Helika has seven investors to date. They completed a $600,000 pre-seed round in June 2022 with participation from Diagram Ventures and the VC’s portfolio company StreamingFast. http://bit.ly/3kYfnwB

Daily Blends raises $2.7 million, signs Metrolinx deal to deploy smart vending machines.

Toronto-based Daily Blends has announced an all-equity $2.7 million pre-seed funding round and a partnership with Ontario’s public transit agency to expand its smart vending machine technology to more locations. The round closed in December and was co-led by the Hustle Fund and 2048 Ventures, with participation from Backbone Angels, Looking Glass Capital, and other undisclosed, “mission-aligned investors,” a spokesperson for Daily Blends told BetaKit. Daily Blends also signed a multi-year partnership with Metrolinx, which operates GO Transit, Presto, and UP Express. http://bit.ly/3F9lO6y

Adaptis secures $2 million to help building owners move to net zero with AI.

Toronto-based cleantech startup Adaptis has closed a $2 million (US$1.5 million) pre-seed round to expand, automate, and optimize its building adaptation platform. 2048 Ventures led the round, which closed at the beginning of January, with participation from Blue Vision Capital and Powerhouse Ventures. Adaptis CEO and co-founder Sheida Shahi told BetaKit that future rounds would go toward scaling its technology. As well, just ahead of Earth Day in 2022, Cycle Capital and Demeter announced the first close for a new €150 million ($244.5 million) Circular Innovation Fund (CIF). Another fund investing in the circular economy is Vancouver’s Active Impact Investments. It closed its second fund in 2021, securing an additional $13 million to support early-stage climate tech startups across North America. http://bit.ly/3ZxSnU6

Toronto venture funding saw a “return to sanity” in 2022.

Toronto’s venture funding in 2022 may have dipped from a record-breaking 2021, but still far surpassed 2020 and 2019, signalling a “return to sanity” for the city’s tech sector. Toronto tech startups raised a collective $3.7 billion through 154 deals in 2022. Venture funding decreased by 33 percent from 2021, but still vastly outpaced the level of funding briefed.in tracked across 2019 and 2020. In fact, Toronto’s tech startups raised twice the amount of money in 2022 compared to 2019, and more than triple that of 2020. http://bit.ly/3SZlM72

Global Markets: IPOs, Venture Capital, M&A

Silicon Valley Bank fails, deepening uncertainty for startups and VCs.

Silicon Valley Bank failed on Friday morning, as the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp took control of the bank, deepening uncertainty for startups and venture capital firms that rely on the bank for financial services. While some customers had withdrawn their money on Thursday, as SVB’s stock was plunging, others did not. That left many startups uncertain how they could meet payroll in the coming days, with their funds stuck at the SVB. The FDIC will cover deposits up to US$250,000. But recovery of deposits above that limit will depend on what the FDIC can recover from asset sales. The FDIC is expected to seek a buyer for SVB’s businesses, which include a venture capital arm and an equity research business. In the meantime, other banks, such as First Republic Bank and JP Morgan, have seen a pickup in deposits. https://bit.ly/3Yz3aw0

Roku, Roblox and others disclose exposure to Silicon Valley Bank.

Several public companies disclosed they had money on deposit at failed Silicon Valley Bank, including Roku and Roblox, a sign of how widespread SVB’s tentacles reached. Roku, the streaming-device maker, said it had US$487 million at SVB, or about 26% of its total cash holdings of US$1.9 billion. The rest of its cash was distributed across multiple larger banks. Since the SVB deposits were largely uninsured, the company said it does not know how much of its funds will be recovered. Roblox, the gaming firm, said that about 5% of its US$3 billion in cash and securities were held at SVB. EyePoint Pharmaceuticals said it had “in the single digit millions” of dollars with the bank although it also has a loan agreement with the bank. More companies are likely to disclose their exposure to SVB as the ripples of the bank’s collapse spread. https://bit.ly/3ZTT2ig

New low: monthly funding dips below US$20 billion as funds continue record raises.

Global monthly funding fell to US$18 billion in February 2023. Not since February 2020 has global funding dipped below US$20 billion in a single month. Funding for the past month was down 63% from US$48.8 billion a year earlier. And month-over-month funding was down 43%. January funding was up in large part due to a US$10 billion round raised by OpenAI. Late-stage funding fell the most, by 73%, while early-stage funding was down 52% year over year, based on an analysis of Crunchbase data. This drop in late-stage funding takes place in a climate in which venture funds are closing on billion-dollar funds. This past month, San Francisco-based Bain Capital closed on US$1.9 billion in funds, its largest to date. And data-driven investor SignalFire, also based in San Francisco, raised US$900 million across its seed, breakout and opportunity funds, larger than prior funds. Money deployed at Series B, Series C and Series D in the past two years will struggle to raise follow-on funding. In this funding environment, we have reported on an increase in round extensions as companies struggle to raise the next funding at an increased valuation. http://bit.ly/3J9vNtQ

Stripe’s fundraise to reach US$6 billion.

Stripe is wrapping up its funding round with an eye-popping total: US$6 billion. That’s the amount of money that Stripe will shovel both toward the Internal Revenue Service—to cover employees’ tax withholdings—and to employees themselves who want to sell shares in a tender offer. Newcomer first reported the news Wednesday. The round is closing at a $50 billion valuation, capping off a weeks-long sprint for Stripe to raise capital before employees’ stock grants expire. The valuation is a 47% drop from Stripe’s previous round of venture capital in 2021. Existing investors Andreessen Horowitz, Thrive Capital, General Catalyst and Founders Fund are investing in the round, Newcomer reported. https://bit.ly/3mM0Rs2

Stripe faces US$3.5 billion tax bill as employees’ shares expire.

Stripe Inc., one of the world’s most valuable startups, told investors it plans to use money it receives in its latest round of fundraising to help cover a roughly US$3.5 billion tax bill. Using an illustrative valuation of US$55 billion, the payments giant said it is looking to raise about US$2.3 billion to cover tax withholdings in the first quarter, according to an investor document seen by Bloomberg News. It plans to withhold an additional US$500 million and US$700 million in taxes later this year and next year, respectively. http://bit.ly/3JpzXz3

China’s SHEIN set to raise US$2 billion, eyes US IPO later this year.

Chinese online fashion retailer SHEIN is set to raise around US$2 billion in a new funding round this month and is aiming for a U.S. listing in the second half of this year, three people with knowledge of its plans told Reuters. The United Arab Emirates’ sovereign wealth fund Mubadala is a major investor in this round as are existing investors, private equity firm General Atlantic (GA) and venture capital group Sequoia Capital China, said two of the people and a separate person with knowledge of the matter. SHEIN cut its valuation to US$64 billion in this fundraising, down by a third from a funding round a year ago, according to six sources with knowledge of the matter. The company last month held initial talks with several investment banks to pick lead bookrunners for the U.S. IPO, said two of the sources with direct knowledge of the plans. https://reut.rs/3YE0wVM

White House likely to support bill that could grant power to ban TikTok.

U.S. lawmakers are inching forward in their efforts to ban TikTok. The Biden Administration is likely to support a new bill expected to be unveiled by Senator Mark Warner that would grant the U.S. government the power to ban foreign companies or technology deemed a threat to national security. The bill doesn’t call out TikTok or its Chinese owner ByteDance by name, but would grant the government the power to block it. The Warner bill differs from other legislative efforts to ban TikTok in that it doesn’t just target the app and would codify the Commerce Department’s authority to examine threats and come up with solutions. https://bit.ly/3YFwdhi

Uber is considering spinning off freight logistics division.

Uber is exploring whether to spin off its Uber Freight logistics arm in a sale or as a separate publicly traded company to streamline its focus on ride hailing and food delivery, according to people familiar with the matter. The company is discussing its options with potential advisers, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the plans are private. A decision by Uber on the freight unit isn’t imminent and the company’s plans could change, the people added. An IPO is the more likely outcome, one of the people said. If the company lands on an IPO, it may not happen until next year and will depend on market conditions, another person said. Spinning out the freight division would allow Uber Chief Executive Officer Dara Kosrowshahi to focus on the ride-hailing and food-delivery units, which are growing. The freight unit runs by itself and has struggled during a broader downturn in trucking. Uber Freight faces a more challenging outlook than other divisions of the company. The division pairs trucking companies with those seeking to transport loads and operates as an independent unit. In January, Uber Freight said it would cut 3% of its workforce. Uber launched the freight division in 2017, pairing trucking companies with those seeking to transport loads in a similar model to the company’s ride-hailing business. In 2020, Uber sold a stake in the freight unit for US$500 million to investors. In 2021, Uber Freight acquired Transplace, a logistics company owned by TPG, for US$2.25 billion. Uber’s freight division comprises 18% of Uber Technologies’ overall revenue, climbing 43% from the previous year to US$1.5 billion during the fourth quarter. https://bloom.bg/3ZKqTuv

Meta plans new layoffs that could match last year’s in scope.

The new cuts, the first wave of which is expected to be announced next week, are likely to hit non-engineering roles especially hard, the people said. The company is also expected to shut down some projects and teams in conjunction with these cuts.  Meta cut roughly 11,000 jobs, or about 13% of its employees, last year. The reductions this year are expected to reach the same proportion of those who remain, the people said, though the final count of the cumulative cuts expected over the second quarter isn’t yet clear. Among projects that will be cut are some wearable devices that were in the works at Reality Labs, Meta’s hardware and metaverse division, the people said, suggesting a near-term retreat from efforts to popularize virtual and augmented reality products even as longer-term research efforts continue. Meta shares rose by more than 2% in after-hours trading after The Wall Street Journal reported the planned cuts. https://on.wsj.com/3l6cDND

Ari Emanuel’s Endeavor invested in Twitter 2.0.

Endeavor is the first outside investor known to have bought into Twitter 2.0, subsequent to Elon Musk closing his US$44 billion takeover and implementing a rash of layoffs and other changes. The investment came after Musk had already proven that his brash leadership style would lead to headaches for Twitter. The investment wasn’t material to Endeavor, one source noted, but made sense for the firm strategically. Endeavor’s clients include some of the world’s largest media, entertainment and sports stars, and the company routinely invests in tech and media platforms that will support its growth. As of January, dozens of media companies and sports leagues had inked sponsorship deals with Twitter for the first half of this year, Axios reported, showing how much those industries still rely on Twitter. Musk began approaching investors in December to help raise money to pay off Twitter’s debt. At the time, Axios’ Dan Primack reported that Musk, via his family office, was offering to sell additional equity to investors at the same US$44 billion valuation that he paid for Twitter. Between the lines: Fidelity cut its carrying value of Twitter by 56% during the first month of Elon Musk’s ownership, Axios reported in December. Musk and Emanuel have long had a close personal relationship. In September, Bloomberg reported that Emanuel tried to pave the way for a settlement between Musk and Twitter, when Musk was trying to back out of the deal. Musk was on Endeavor’s board until March 2022. https://bit.ly/3ywdIS0

Musk: Twitter has a ‘shot’ at becoming cash flow positive in second quarter.

Twitter has a chance of turning cash-flow positive in the second quarter, despite “a massive decline in advertising,” and after a severe cost cutting, Twitter CEO Elon Musk told attendees at a Morgan Stanley conference for investors in San Francisco Tuesday. Musk, who appeared in person, said that Twitter’s revenue was slated to drop to less than US$3 billion this year, which would be around a third less than the US$4.5 billion Twitter had expected “if 2023 had been a normal year.” Musk also said that Twitter had had “at least a 50% decline in revenue,” although it’s unclear how he calculated this number. He told Morgan Stanley banker Michael Grimes that efforts to make Twitter advertising more relevant to users should reverse that slide. “We’ve been wasting people’s time,” he said. “There will be a massive increase in revenue because it is now useful.” He also reiterated his interest in establishing an “everything app” that would provide financial services. “It’s possible to become the biggest financial institution in the world just by providing people with convenience,” he said. With Musk’s cost cuts, Twitter has managed to reduce its expenditures from an expected US$4.5 billion to US$1.5 billion, Musk said. The company also needs to pay another US$1.5 billion in debt servicing from his US$44 billion leveraged buyout of the company, he said. In slides accompanying his talk, Musk noted that Twitter has cut its cloud spending 40%. Musk has cut more than 70% of Twitter’s workforce, to fewer than 2,000, and axed other costs, from data centers to software payments. https://bit.ly/3yyyhgF

Sea Ltd. shares jump 22% after first-ever profit.

Shares of Sea Ltd., one of Southeast Asia’s biggest internet firms, surged 22% after it reported its first-ever profit. The Singapore-based company, whose main businesses are e-commerce and online games, said it swung to a net profit of US$422.8 million in the quarter through December. Its revenue for the quarter, which grew 7.1%, was better than analysts’ expectations. Sea’s profit came after the company last year implemented drastic cost cuts including massive layoffs. In November, The Information reported that the company had laid off more than 7,000 employees, or around 10% of its workforce. Sea’s stock, listed on Nasdaq, has so far risen more than 50% since the beginning of this year. The recovery came after the stock last year plunged more than 70%. https://bit.ly/3yw0Ivv

ThredUp shares jump as more budget shoppers move to secondhand shopping.

ThredUp predicted a rebound in revenue growth as other retailers cut back on discounting, sending shares of the apparel reseller up more than 9% in after hours trading on Monday. Revenue dipped to US$71.3 million in the fourth quarter, a 2% decline from the same period last year, as budget-conscious shoppers snapped up discounted new merchandise instead of opting to buy used items.  But ThredUp executives said they expect competition to die down now that most traditional retailers have worked through their gluts of inventory, forecasting 2023 revenue of between US$310 million to US$320 million, versus US$288.4 million in revenue this year. The company has taken steps to rein in losses, including experimenting with charging sellers fees for sending in items, and has also signed up more third-party retailers to use its resale technology. ThredUp narrowed its adjusted EBITDA losses to US$5.8 million in the fourth quarter from US$10.5 million in the year ago period, and said it was on track to reach its previous goal of adjusted EBITDA profitability in the second half of this year. https://bit.ly/3mNMgwf

Oracle shares dip 5% despite cloud growth, Ellison touts AI deals.

Oracle shares dropped more than 5% in the wake of its third-quarter earnings amid a broader market decline, but co-founder and CTO Larry Ellison could hardly contain his excitement about his company’s progress in signing up AI companies as cloud customers. Echoing our report from last month, Ellison said Oracle has emerged as a better-performing and more economically viable option for running complex machine-learning models than rival cloud providers. “Our network is very much faster than the other guys’ networks,” Ellison said on an earnings call. “We have a lot of new AI companies coming to Oracle, because we’re the only ones [that can handle] their workloads. And we are cheaper [than rival cloud providers].” Cloud revenue in the three months to Feb. 28 was US$4.1 billion, up 45% from last year’s quarter and 2% from last quarter. But only 29% of that figure came from cloud infrastructure services as opposed to applications, showing that Oracle still trails the major providers in sales of basic services like cloud servers and storage. Oracle’s overall revenue grew 18% to US$12.4 billion during the quarter. On an earnings call, CEO Safra Catz highlighted Oracle’s recent cloud deal with Uber, in which the ride-hailing firm is moving some computing from private data centers, and said she expects to announce more major cloud deals in coming quarters. https://bit.ly/3ZCBGqL

WeightWatchers moves into the Ozempic market with Telehealth deal.

Weight-management company is buying Sequence, which offers telehealth visits with doctors. Sequence is a subscription service that offers telehealth visits with doctors who can prescribe the drugs. Sequence, whose corporate name is Weekend Health Inc., started in 2021 and has amassed about 24,000 members as of February. WW said it would pay US$106 million in a combination of cash and stock for the deal: US$65 million in cash and US$35 million in the form of newly issued shares of common stock of WW at the closing of the transaction, and US$16 million in cash on the first anniversary and US$16 million in cash on the second anniversary. WW will assume US$26 million of Sequence’s cash. http://bit.ly/3JqVuYi

Microsoft Bing hits 100 million active users in bid to grab share from Google.

Microsoft’s Bing search engine has passed the 100 million daily active users milestone just weeks after the software maker launched its AI-powered Bing Chat feature. Bing has been steadily growing in recent years, but it appears the new Bing Chat feature is helping Microsoft grow usage with people that have never touched Bing before. Google has more than 1 billion daily active users, so that puts Microsoft’s 100 million milestone in perspective as it seeks to gain market share. Microsoft’s latest stats on Bing Chat usage come weeks after the company laid out its plans to grow its revenues in a digital ad market worth around US$500 billion. “For every 1 point of share gain in the search advertising market, it’s a US$2 billion revenue opportunity for our advertising business,” said Philippe Ockenden, Microsoft’s CVP of finance. http://bit.ly/421rx8w

Salesforce plans to incorporate generative AI across the platform.

Salesforce has been in the news for a lot of non-product reasons of late, so it would be understandable that the company wants to bring the focus back to the business of selling software and away from the machinations of activist investors. At the TrailheadDX developer conference, the company announced a generative AI push with a pilot of technology they are calling ‘Einstein GPT’ that adds ChatGPT-like features across the platform. The company has had an underlying intelligence layer, Einstein, which has been running under the hood since 2016, helping bring intelligence across the platform. “Think about all of the emails and chats that come into service agents today. They get inundated. With Einstein GPT for Service we can auto-generate draft replies so that the agents can respond to customers much faster, and they get final say. They can make any edits before they hit send,” she said. http://bit.ly/3ylINrx

Emerging Technologies

Meta is slashing up to US$500 off the price of its VR headsets after ‘underwhelming’ sales and mixed reviews.

Meta is slashing the price of its Quest 2 and Quest Pro virtual-reality headsets in a bid to boost sales. The price of the 256GB Meta Quest 2 will drop from US$500 to US$430, while the higher-end Meta Quest Pro will get a haircut from US$1500 to US$1,000. “Our goal has always been to create hardware that’s affordable for as many people as possible to take advantage of all that VR has to offer,” Meta said on its blog. The price cuts come into effect on Sunday in the US and Canada. headset has had mixed reviews and suffered “underwhelming sales,” The Verge reported. http://bit.ly/3yoYXQJn


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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.