Last week, capped off yet another tough month in the markets. Selling accelerated into the end of the week. According to Morning Brew, the US stock market just had its worst month since March 2020 as the S&P dropped 8.8%, the Dow 4.9%, and the Nasdaq, 13.3%—which marks that index’s worst month since 2008. While blog posts and trading memes are likely to continue — in truly market-neutral manner, businesses march on, regardless of market volatility. Sophic Client, Clear Blue Technologies (CBLU-TSXV, CBUTF-OTC, 0YA-FRA) announced the closing of the initial tranche of a unit offering, for around a million dollars. The Company expects to complete one or more additional tranches of the Offering in the coming days. VitalHub (VHI-TSXV) recently closed a $17.5 million bought deal public offering. Venture capital activity in Canada hit an all-time record high in the first quarter, with US$3.5 billion in investment across 213 deals, up from US$3 billion (across 276 deals) in the year-earlier quarter, according to KPMG. Amazon reported a quarterly loss leading to the stock having its worst day since 2006. Facebook briefly dropped 6% after Bloomberg incorrectly published disappointing forward guidance for revenue. Robinhood’s net revenue dropped 43% in the first quarter as the brokerage app saw trading activity cool dramatically versus the previous year. Elon Musk raised about US$8.4 billion through the sale of 9.6 million Tesla shares this week. Fidelity Investments said on Tuesday it will offer investments in bitcoin through its 401(k) accounts later this year, marking the first such move by a major retirement-plan provider. U.S.-listed shares of China-based technology companies soared in premarket trading Friday, after The Wall Street Journal reported that Chinese regulators were preparing to pause its campaign against technology companies, as they look to stem the deterioration in China’s economy.
Canadian Technology Capital Markets & Company News
Sophic Client Clear Blue Technologies (CBLU-TSXV, CBUTF-OTC, 0YA-FRA) announces closing of initial tranche of unit offering.
The Company closed an initial tranche of a non-brokered unit offering (the “ Offering ”) for gross proceeds of approximately $989,834. The initial closing of the Offering resulted in the issuance of 5,822,554 units of the Company (each, a “ Unit ” and collectively the “ Units ”) at a price of C$0.17 per Unit. Each Unit consists of one common share in the capital of the Company (each, a “ Common Share ” and collectively the “ Common Shares ”) and one common share purchase warrant (each whole warrant, a “ Warrant ” and collectively the “ Warrants ”). Each Warrant entitles the holder thereof to acquire one Common Share at a price of C$0.22 per Common Share for a period of 24 months from the grant date. All securities issued under the initial tranche of the Offering are subject to a statutory hold period ending four months and one day from the closing date of the initial tranche of the Offering. The Company expects to complete one or more additional tranches of the Offering in the coming days. The Offering remains subject to the final approval of the TSX Venture Exchange. https://bit.ly/3s2JseG
VitalHub Corp. (VHI-TSXV) closes $17.5 million bought deal public offering.
The Company closed its previously announced bought deal offering pursuant to a press release dated March 31, 2022. A total of 5,645,200 common shares of VitalHub (the “Common Shares”) were sold at a price of $3.10 per Common Share for total gross proceeds of approximately $17.5 million (the “Offering”). The Offering was conducted by a syndicate of underwriters led by Cormark Securities Inc. and Eight Capital and included Beacon Securities Limited, Canaccord Genuity Corp. and Roth Canada, Inc. (collectively, the “Underwriters”). https://bit.ly/3ksXW3g
Canadian venture capital market has strongest first quarter on record.
Venture capital activity in Canada hit an all-time record high in the first quarter, with US$3.5 billion in investment across 213 deals, up from US$3 billion (across 276 deals) in the year-earlier quarter, according to the latest KPMG Private Enterprise Venture Pulse Q1 2022 report. Canadian start-ups in particular raised US$824.4 million in the first three months of the year — a period marked by global uncertainty due to the war in Ukraine, rising inflation and interest rates, continued supply chain pressures and the persistence of the COVID-19 pandemic. A majority of that total funding came from Toronto-based software firm, which raised US$650 million in a Series C round. https://bit.ly/3Kz77JT
Alberta allocates $30 million to AI as part of new innovation strategy.
The Government of Alberta has earmarked $30 million over the next three years towards artificial intelligence (AI). Through this funding, Alberta intends to support AI research and development in the province, calling advancing AI “a key objective” of its new innovation strategy. This $30 million for AI is part of the larger $73 million amount that Alberta committed to the Alberta Technology and Innovation Strategy (ATIS)—a new plan to bolster the province’s tech sector and diversify its energy-reliant economy—over three years, in its 2022 budget. https://bit.ly/3vVHgqv
Swtch Energy secures $16.5 million to expand its electric vehicle charging network to the US.
Swtch Energy is charged up over securing $16.5 million, and is preparing to use the fresh funds to make inroads into the United States market. The electric vehicle (EV) charging and management startup secured $12.7 million CAD ($10 million USD) in a Series A round led by the venture capital arm of Aligned Climate Capital. Swtch also received a $3.8 million CAD ($3 million USD) credit facility from Silicon Valley Bank. https://bit.ly/3KnVTIp
Yamaha Motor Ventures leads Verge Ag’s $7.5 million Series A round to scale precision farming tech.
Founded in 2019, Verge is developing what it claims to be the first interactive software for farm operations planning powered by artificial intelligence (AI). With its platform named Launch Pad, farmers are provided with the ability to remotely plan and optimize the movement of farm equipment. Launch Pad was designed to fill a gap in the efforts to automate farm operations. https://bit.ly/3KorRnD
OneVest secures $5 million to help companies like Neo Financial launch wealth management products.
OneVest wants to make it easier for banks and FinTech startups alike to roll out digital wealth management experiences and services. In an interview with BetaKit, OneVest co-founder and CEO Amar Ahluwalia said that launching an investing app or product independently can be a time-consuming process. Between hiring the team, building the tech, and gaining regulatory licensing, Ahluwalia says it can take “upwards of about a year, if not more.”. Calgary and Toronto-based OneVest wants to change that. Through its newly launched, turn-key “wealth-as-a-service” platform, Ahluwalia claims that OneVest’s financial services industry customers can bring digital investing experiences to consumers “in a matter of weeks.” https://bit.ly/3OLU0Z9
Square makes loans offering available for Canadian small businesses.
Square has launched its loan offering in Canada, making the financing available to its Canadian merchants. Square Loans uses transaction data to provide customized financing to eligible sellers. Businesses receive one upfront loan fee, which is automatically paid back as a set percentage of daily card sales with Square. This means that merchants pay back more when sales are strong, and pay less during slower periods. Square claims that the loan fee never increases for the seller. https://bit.ly/3s250Ia
Global Markets: IPOs, Venture Capital, M&A
Alibaba, other China ADRs soar after WSJ report China to pause putting pressure on tech giants.
The U.S.-listed shares of China-based technology companies soared in premarket trading Friday, after The Wall Street Journal reported that Chinese regulators were preparing to pause its campaign against technology companies, as they look to stem the deterioration in China’s economy. Citing people familiar with the matter, the WSJ report said regulators are set to meet with the tech giants next week, and are planning to hold off on new rules that limit the time young people spend on mobile apps. Shares of Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. surged 10.5% in premarket trading, iQIYI Inc. shot up 11.7%, DiDi Global Inc. soared 14.9%, JD.com Inc. ran up 13.3% and Pinduoduo Inc. rallied 14.2%. Electric vehicle makers also benefited, as shares of Nio Inc. climbed 4.1%. The rallies come while futures for the S&P 500 dropped 0.8%. https://bit.ly/3OLX73C
Amazon’s stock suffering biggest selloff in more than 10 years, is wiping out US$183 billion in market cap.
Shares of Amazon.com Inc. tumbled 12.5% in morning trading Friday, enough to pace the S&P 500’s losers, after the ecommerce giant reported a surprise first-quarter loss and revenue that came up a bit shy. The stock, which was trading at the lowest levels seen during regular-session hours since June 2020, was on track for the biggest one-day percentage selloff since it plunged 12.7% on Oct. 26, 2011. The stock’s US$360.35 price decline was wiping out US$183.32 billion in market capitalization, to knock Amazon’s market cap down to US$1.288 trillion. The stock has dropped 24.1% year to date, while the S&P 500 has lost 10.7%. https://bit.ly/38E39Ti
Facebook briefly drops 6% after Bloomberg incorrectly publishes disappointing forward guidance for revenue.
Shares of the social media giant dipped briefly to around US$169 each before rebounding slightly. The stock was down about 4.3%, trading at US$173.11 as of 2:43 p.m. ET on Wednesday. The financial news and data service falsely announced that Facebook reported revenue guidance for the current quarter that came in below analysts’ estimates. The media firm acknowledged the mistake shortly after. https://bit.ly/3Lx7NAO
Robinhood revenue slumps 43%, users drop.
Robinhood’s net revenue dropped 43% in the first quarter to US$299 million as the brokerage app saw trading activity cool dramatically versus the previous year, when the meme-stock frenzy was at its peak. Monthly active users, which totaled 15.9 million in the first quarter, were down from the 17.3 million MAUs in the previous quarter. That represents the lowest figure since the fourth quarter of 2020, when Robinhood reported 11.7 million MAUs. Transaction-based revenue from cryptocurrencies, which makes up a significant portion of Robinhood’s business, also tumbled year-on-year. Robinhood reported US$54 million from crypto transactions, a 39% drop from the US$88 million in the same period last year, but an improvement from US$44 million in the previous quarter. “We’re seeing our customers affected by the macroeconomic environment, which is reflected in our results this quarter,” Robinhood CFO Jason Warnick said in a press release. Federal Reserve interest rate hikes, ongoing supply chain disruptions and inflation have all contributed to a decline in growth stocks, impacting trading volume on platforms like Robinhood. Earlier this week, CEO Vlad Tenev announced that Robinhood would lay off about 9% of its full-time staff, saying that the company’s rapid growth had created duplicate roles and job functions. Robinhood had been one of the most aggressive tech companies on the hiring front, increasing its head count 81% year-over-year, The Information reported earlier this month. Shares of the company have fallen 74% from its July IPO price as of market close on Thursday. Robinhood stock tumbled another 11% in after-hours trading after the company reported results. https://bit.ly/3EZIO6S
Twitter accepts Elon Musk’s buyout deal.
Twitter’s board has accepted an offer from billionaire Elon Musk to buy the social media company and take it private, the company announced Monday. The stock closed up 5.64% for the day after it was halted for the news. “Free speech is the bedrock of a functioning democracy, and Twitter is the digital town square where matters vital to the future of humanity are debated,” Musk said in a statement included in the press release announcing the US$44 billion deal. “I also want to make Twitter better than ever by enhancing the product with new features, making the algorithms open source to increase trust, defeating the spam bots, and authenticating all humans. Twitter has tremendous potential — I look forward to working with the company and the community of users to unlock it.” The cash deal at US$54.20 per share is valued at around US$44 billion, according to the press release. Twitter would become a private company on completion of the deal, which requires shareholder and regulatory approval. https://cnb.cx/3kqBub1
Tesla’s stock plunged US$126 billion the day after Elon Musk struck a deal to buy Twitter for US$44 billion.
On Tuesday, Tesla lost US$126 billion in value after its CEO, Elon Musk, clinched a deal to buy Twitter. Investors fear that Musk may sell some of his Tesla stock to fund his Twitter takeover. Musk’s personal stake in Tesla has fallen by US$40 billion in value this month. Tesla’s stock plummeted more than 12% on Tuesday, losing around US$126 billion in value a day after Elon Musk, the electric carmaker’s CEO, struck a deal to buy Twitter for US$44 billion. The company’s market capitalization is now US$906 billion, down from more than US$1 trillion on Monday. https://bit.ly/3vRwRvY
Musk sells more Tesla stock.
Elon Musk raised about US$8.4 billion through the sale of 9.6 million Tesla shares this week, he disclosed in securities filings Thursday night and Friday morning, but then signaled his selling was done. “No further TSLA sales planned after today,” Musk tweeted Thursday evening. Musk’s selling this week reduced his stake in Tesla by 4%, to about 222 million shares. Musk has promised to put US$21 billion in cash into the Twitter acquisition. It’s unclear whether he has cash on hand to fund the rest or whether he will raise money from other investors. As he is borrowing against his Tesla stake to secure some of the loans being taken out for the deal, he wasn’t expected to raise all of the equity component through share sales. https://bit.ly/3vRtDIJ
Elon Musk discussed layoffs and monetizing Twitter with bankers during deal negotiations.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk reportedly discussed job cuts and ways of monetizing Twitter with bankers during negotiations for his US$44 billion takeover of the online news and social networking site. Without offering specifics, Musk said cutting costs and jobs would help generate returns for Twitter, according to a Thursday report on Bloomberg, which cited sources. As well, Musk floated ideas over monetizing Twitter and increasing cashflow, such as subscription services. During those discussions, he also said that his track record at Tesla and SpaceX are proof he can transition companies and generate financial returns. https://bit.ly/3vUXG2o
OpenSea acquires NFT aggregator Gem.
OpenSea, one of the most popular marketplaces for non-fungible tokens, announced on Monday that it had acquired Gem, a startup that lets users browse NFTs across marketplaces. The deal will help OpenSea better serve its more sophisticated users, OpenSea co-founder and CEO Devin Finzer said in a blog post. Gem will continue operating independently from OpenSea, which will provide resources to help support the startup’s growth. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. The move comes roughly two weeks after BuzzFeed News reported that Gem fired Josh Thompson, a developer on its team who went by the pseudonym Neso and has been accused of sexual misconduct, after an investigation. OpenSea learned of the allegations while it explored the acquisition and the employee was terminated before the deal closed, Finzer wrote. “This individual has never and will never be affiliated with OpenSea,” Finzer said. OpenSea’s acquisition comes as overall trading volume for NFTs has fallen significantly since a peak in September. It also follows the launch of a new NFT marketplace by cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase, one of OpenSea’s earliest investors. OpenSea was last privately valued at $13.3 billion in a $300 million Series C round it announced in January. https://bit.ly/3ky3hGl
Ubisoft shares surge on report of private-equity interest.
French videogames maker Ubisoft Entertainment jumped 12% in midday Paris action, after Bloomberg News reported that private-equity firms including Blackstone and KKR were studying whether to make a bid. The stock is down 34% from its high last year. Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot in February said the company can remain independent but would consider offers. This year, Microsoft has agreed to buy Activision Blizzard, and Sony has agreed to acquire Bungie. https://on.mktw.net/3MWq2Aj
Snap releases Pixy, a companion camera drone for Snapchat users.
Snap unveiled plans to introduce a drone called Pixy which can take photos and videos, the company’s first entry into the drone hardware market. Snap is selling Pixy in the U.S. and France for US$229 or in a US$249 bundle with an additional battery and charger through its own website. The drone sports simplified controls that let users determine its flight paths and it is designed to take off and land on a person’s hand. Through connection with Snapchat, Pixy owners can apply filters and augmented reality Lenses to photos and videos taken by the drone. In 2017, The Information was first to report that Snap was looking to acquire Zero Zero Robotics, a Chinese consumer drone maker. That deal fell through, but last year The Information reported that Snap went on to invest US$20 million in Zero Zero and later revived the drone efforts within Snap Labs, the company’s hardware division. Snap Lab’s major area of focus is Spectacles, the line of camera-enabled glasses that Snap first launched to a commercially disappointing debut in 2016. The company has continued its glasses development since, and last year unveiled its first pair of Spectacles with embedded AR displays. So far, Snap has only made these latest Spectacles available to a select group of “hundreds” of AR developers. https://bit.ly/3vRtxkl
Apple adds pair of mixed reality headset patents to its portfolio as AR/VR product development continues.
While Apple Glasses rumors continue to brew, it seems we may be getting closer to seeing an augmented reality/virtual reality (AR/VR) headset from the tech giant. According to Patently Apple, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has granted Apple two mixed reality (MR) headset patents. One patent covers a head-mounted device (HMD) faceplate that uses an infrared one-way mirror finish. The patent notes that headwear-like sunglasses or ski goggles often use protective coatings that create a one-way mirror effect. When the user wears one of these items, you won’t be able to see their eyes. https://bit.ly/3LsJmoc
Apple Watch could feature satellite connectivity in a future model.
Last year, rumors about the iPhone 13 getting satellite connectivity started to spread. Although this iPhone didn’t get the feature, it’s rumored that the upcoming iPhone 14 could have it for emergencies or to send short texts to emergency contacts when out of cellular service range. Now, according to a new report by Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman, the next Apple Watch could also feature this extra technology. In his Power On newsletter, the journalist says ”the Apple Watch is also destined to get that functionality,” although Gurman believes Apple’s timeframe could be this year or 2023. https://bit.ly/39seyWH
Media, Streaming, Gaming & Sports Betting
TikTok was the top app by worldwide downloads in Q1 2022.
TikTok is one of the world’s fastest-growing social media platforms. Sensor Tower recently released its “Q1 2022: Store Intelligence Data Digest” report in which TikTok was the top app by worldwide downloads in Q1 2022. The app surpassed 3.5 billion all-time downloads in the first quarter of 2021, becoming just the fifth app (and the only one not owned by Meta) to achieve this milestone. https://tcrn.ch/3vRrm0m
Huya cuts hundreds of staff, sources say, as Chinese tech retrenches.
Chinese video game streaming site Huya has started laying off staff, three sources close to the matter said, as more of the country’s technology companies scale back after a bruising regulatory crackdown. Huya, which is controlled by Tencent Holdings and was once part of a plan the Chinese gaming giant had to create China’s answer to U.S. platform Twitch, intends to cut hundreds of staff, said the sources, who declined to be named because they are not permitted to speak to the media. https://reut.rs/38AMK1D
Adtech, Privacy & Regulatory
Apple to face fresh antitrust charges in Brussels.
Apple is set to face fresh antitrust charges in Brussels next week over the way it restricts rivals from accessing its mobile payment system, as the EU sets up its latest challenge to the market power of the world’s most valuable company. The tech giant will be accused of breaking EU law in the way it operates Apple Pay, a payments system that operates on hundreds of millions of iPhone devices, according to four people with direct knowledge of the matter. https://on.ft.com/3KtvqsS
Fintech, Blockchain & Cryptocurrency
Fidelity to offer exposure to Bitcoin through 401(k) plans.
Fidelity Investments said on Tuesday it will offer investments in bitcoin through its 401(k) accounts beginning later this year, marking the first such move by a major retirement-plan provider. Fidelity, which is the biggest U.S. retirement plan provider, works with more than 20,000 companies. The investment giant said that MicroStrategy, the analytics software firm that has invested billions of dollars in bitcoin, has already signed on to add the bitcoin offering to its 401(k) plans. It remains to be seen how many employers will choose to add bitcoin to the menu for their retirement plans. Fidelity’s announcement comes more than a month after the U.S. Department of Labor cautioned employers about adding crypto to retirement plans, highlighting the volatility of digital assets and the uncertain regulatory environment, among other factors. This isn’t Fidelity’s first venture into crypto. The firm began mining bitcoin in 2014, launched a trading platform and custodian for digital assets in 2018 and two years ago created a private bitcoin fund through its digital asset management business that is available to accredited investors. https://bit.ly/3rXFeoD
Goldman offers its first Bitcoin-backed loan in crypto push.
Goldman Sachs Group Inc. offered its first ever lending facility backed by Bitcoin, in a significant step for a major U.S. bank that accelerates Wall Street’s embrace of cryptocurrencies. The secured lending facility lent cash collateralized by Bitcoin owned by the borrower, a spokeswoman for the bank said. The deal was interesting to Goldman because of its structure and 24-hour risk management, she said in an email. https://bloom.bg/3vNLekS
Robinhood cuts hundreds of jobs as pandemic stock trading flurry slows.
Stock-trading app Robinhood is laying off about 9% of its staff, CEO Vlad Tenev said Tuesday. The company went on a hiring spree as its userbase exploded over the last two years. Shares of Robinhood dropped by more than 5% in late trading on Tuesday. Stock-trading app Robinhood plans to lay off 9% of its workforce, CEO and co-founder Vlad Tenev said in a blog post Tuesday. The company hired ferociously as it boomed in popularity during the pandemic. But that expansion was too quick, leading to overlapping job functions and other issues, Tenev said. https://bit.ly/39esIdJ
Intel CEO now expects chip shortage to last into 2024.
Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger told CNBC on Friday he now expects the semiconductor industry to suffer supply shortages until 2024. In an interview on “TechCheck,” Gelsinger said the global chip crunch may drag on due to constrained availability of key manufacturing tools, serving as an obstacle to expanding capacity levels required to meet elevated demand. “That’s part of the reason that we believe the overall semiconductor shortage will now drift into 2024, from our earlier estimates in 2023, just because the shortages have now hit equipment and some of those factory ramps will be more challenged,” Gelsinger said. The CEO’s comments come one day after the California-based chipmaker offered a fiscal second-quarter forecast that was lighter than Wall Street expected. Its fiscal first-quarter earnings and revenue topped analyst expectations, however. Intel shares were down more than 6% on Friday. https://cnb.cx/3s3TQ5L
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