Last week, Dow Jones gained 1.9%, S&P 500 rose 2.2% and Nasdaq was up 2.4%. OpenAI ousted Sam Altman for misleading its Board, which could have far reach consequences for the AI ecosystem. Google has delayed the cloud release of its Gemini AI product. Microsoft will sell AI from Cohere as its business moves beyond OpenAI. The company also unveiled an AI chip as it seeks to catch up to Nvidia, Amazon. Nvidia also unveiled a new AI chip, upping ante with AMD. Nvidia stock is riding its longest winning streak in seven years, adding US$220 billion in market value just in November, even as the ‘Big Short’ investor Michael Burry revealed a bet against Nvidia and other microchip stocks. SpaceX is considering spinning off its Starlink satellite internet business through an IPO as soon as 2024. Alibaba decided to cancel its plan to spin off its cloud computing division, citing new challenges facing the business due to the U.S. government’s restrictions on semiconductor exports. Meta Platforms, Alphabet, ByteDance and Snap must face lawsuits alleging they designed their platforms to attract and be addictive to children, thereby harming their mental health, a federal judge ruled on Tuesday. In Canada, Q4 is going private at half its IPO valuation with a $257 million buyout by Sumeru Equity Partners, after being public for just over two years. Sophic Client Xcyte began trading on the TSXV after a recent oversubscribed financing. Sophic Client UGE closed an offering of project development Green Bonds for aggregate gross proceeds of $1,538,050 and US$74,100. Sophic Client OneSoft reported Q3 2023 revenue of $2.8 million, +33% y/y. Management reiterated its 2023 revenue and Gross Profit guidance. Montréal-based carbon-capture startup Deep Sky closed $57.5 million in Series A financing as it looks to make Canada the “carbon removal capital of the world.”
Canadian Technology Capital Markets & Company News
Sophic Client Xcyte Digital (XCYT-TSXV) begins trading on the TSX Venture under the ticker XCYT.
Xcyte Digital Corp., a spatial computing event technology aggregator and developer providing a high value, cost effective, multi-platform subscription service to host online events, announces that it has begun trading as a public issuer on the TSX Venture Exchange (“TSX-V”) under the symbol XCYT. “Completing our TSX Venture listing and our recent oversubscribed financing represents a significant milestone in the Company’s evolution,” said Xcyte Digital CEO Randy Selman. “We look forward to engaging Canada’s capital markets and investor community as we continue to grow our business. https://bit.ly/46eZd3o
Sophic Client UGE International (UGE-TSXV, UGEIF-OTC) closes offering of project development Green Bonds.
UGE International Ltd., has closed its previously announced offering of 9% secured debentures of the Company having an aggregate principal amount of $1,619,000 and US$78,000 for aggregate gross proceeds of $1,538,050 and US$74,100. The Green Bonds have a term of approximately five years, maturing December 31, 2028, and bear interest at a rate of 9% per annum, payable semi-annually in arrears in C$ and US$ dollars commencing June 30, 2024. The Green Bonds are secured against a pool of the Company’s projects that have reached UGE’s stage 3.1 or higher, as determined by the Company by a pledge to each subscriber of Green Bonds of the equity interests in the Pledged Projects. UGE has covenanted with Subscribers to maintain a minimum coverage ratio of the value of the Pledged Projects equal to 150% of the aggregate amount of obligations outstanding under the Green Bonds. Net proceeds from the Offering will be utilized for the development of solar and energy storage projects of UGE and its subsidiaries. https://tinyurl.com/444acx47
Sophic Client OneSoft Solutions Inc. (OSS-TSXV, OSSIF-OTC) reports third quarter fiscal 2023 financial results.
Revenue in Q3 Fiscal 2023 was $2.8 million, an increase of 33% or $0.7 million over Q3 Fiscal 2022 revenue of $2.1 million. Annual recurring revenue increased quarter over quarter by $645,698 or 41.3% due to greater CIM use by new and existing customers and the inclusion of IM Operations software maintenance revenue. Gross profit increased 38.3% to $2.1 million in Q3 Fiscal 2023 from $1.5 million in Q3 Fiscal 2022. Gross profit as a percentage of sales was 76.9% in Q3 Fiscal 2023, an improvement over the 73.9% gross profit percentage reported in Q3 Fiscal 2022. Net income in Q3 Fiscal 2023 was $118,892, an improvement of $418,785 or 139.6% from a loss of $299,893 in Q3 Fiscal 2022, driven by the increase in revenue and gross profit. Further to the Company’s Fiscal 2023 guidance stated in a news release issued on January 24, 2023, the Company advises its progress for the first nine months of Fiscal 2023 as follows. Revenue was $7.5 million year-to-date September 30, 2023 and Management is not changing its revenue guidance for forecasted Fiscal 2023 revenue at this time. Management reiterates its gross profit guidance of $7.6 million in Fiscal 2023 as forecasted. Q3 2023 earnings webcast replay available at: https://www.onesoft.ca/. https://bit.ly/3MNNt0R
TSX-listed Q4 Inc. (QFOR-TSX) to go private with $257 million buyout by Sumeru Equity Partners.
Just over two years after going public on the Toronto Stock Exchange, Toronto-based investor relations software company Q4 Inc. is entering into a $257-million buyout agreement with American private equity firm Sumeru Equity Partners that will take it private. Q4 Inc. shareholders will receive cash payment of $6.05 per common share as part of the deal. While this marks a 36 percent premium compared to Q4 Inc’s closing price on November 10, it marks only half of the value of its October 2021 initial public offering (IPO) issue price of $12 a share. With the buyout, Q4 Inc. is set to join a wave of other Canadian tech companies that went public during the pandemic, have seen their stock prices fall and fail to recover amid the tech downturn, and elected to go private once more. This group includes Dialogue Health Technologies and BBTV Holdings.Earlier this month, Toronto-based digital pharmacy startup Mednow was placed into receivership to restructure and identify parties interested in purchasing the company or its assets just two years after the company raised $37 million in an IPO on the TSX Venture Exchange. A few days prior to the bankruptcy announcement, Mednow announced it had received a notice of default from its secured creditor Alirey Corp. amounting to $3.23 million. Meanwhile, in May, Calgary-based mCloud, which offers cloud services for asset management, was in talks to go private as it faced Nasdaq delisting due to its declining stock price. mCloud, which debuted on the Nasdaq at $4.50 a share in November 2021, was delisted in September after periodically trading under $1 since November 2022. https://tinyurl.com/aerar76m
Hopper-linked Deep Sky closes $57.5 million Series A to make Canada a “carbon removal capital”.
Montréal-based carbon-capture startup Deep Sky has closed $57.5 million in Series A financing as it looks to make Canada the “carbon removal capital of the world.” The round was co-led by Brightspark Ventures and Whitecap Venture Partners, and included a $25 million investment from Investissement Québec, as well as investments from BDC Capital’s Climate Tech Fund and OMERS Ventures. This new capital, plus a $17.7 million seed note that Deep Sky secured earlier this year, which converted as part of this round, brings the young company’s total funding to $75 million. https://tinyurl.com/y6bwkuk9
InBC invests $29 million into 4AG Robotics, Clarius Mobile Health, Pender, Amplitude Ventures.
InBC Investment Corp. has announced $29 million worth of investments into two tech startups and two venture capital (VC) funds with a presence in British Columbia (BC). InBC has invested $4 million into 4AG, $5 million into Clarius, and $10 million apiece into Pender and Amplitude’s second funds.InBC has invested $4 million into AgTech startup 4AG Robotics, $5 million into wireless ultrasound producer Clarius Mobile Health, and $10 million apiece into Pender Ventures’ and Amplitude Ventures’ second funds, which both have a focus on healthtech. InBC is a $500 million strategic investment fund that was created by the Government of BC in 2021. The province gave InBC the mandate to invest in companies and VC funds that benefit BC, with an eye towards sectors such as AgTech, cleantech, and life sciences. https://tinyurl.com/5e9f2jmu
Pathway raises $5 million in seed funding, opens free access to healthcare guidance platform.
Montréal-based healthtech startup Pathway has raised $5 million in seed funding for its AI-powered medical knowledge platform. Pathway says 370,000 clinicians from 200 countries are registered on its platform. Pathway says its platform compiles clinical practice guidance from millions of evidence-based sources into a database that allows healthcare professionals to search for and access medical information. The seed round was led by Yamaha Motor Ventures, with participation from new investor Verge HealthTech Fund and existing investors Amplify Capital, BoxOne Ventures, and Formentera Capital. Pathway also said a number of its platform’s physician users participated in the round. https://tinyurl.com/ym3rvfwu
Global Markets: IPOs, Venture Capital, M&A
SpaceX considers 2024 Starlink IPO.
SpaceX is considering spinning off its Starlink satellite internet business through an IPO as soon as 2024, Bloomberg reported Wednesday. SpaceX has started moving Starlink’s assets into a fully owned subsidiary to prepare for the spin off, according to the report, which cautioned that the IPO could be delayed until 2025. In a post on X Wednesday, Musk said the report was “false,” but didn’t elaborate. Musk told employees last year that SpaceX plans to spin out Starlink in 2025 or later, CNBC reported at the time. In early November, Musk announced that Starlink had reached breakeven cash flow, a major milestone for the internet service which has become an increasingly important revenue driver for SpaceX. With a US$150 billion valuation, SpaceX is the second most valuable private company in the world. Earlier this year, SpaceX told some investors that it expected to bring in US$8 billion in revenue and $3 billion in earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, which excludes expenses tied to building rockets and satellites, The Information previously reported. https://tinyurl.com/yub7x8kd
Alibaba cancels spin-off of cloud computing unit.
Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group has decided to cancel its plan to spin off its cloud computing division, citing new challenges facing the business due to the U.S. government’s restrictions on semiconductor exports. Back in May, Alibaba said it was aiming to complete a full spin-off of the Cloud Intelligence Group in the next 12 months. But on Thursday, the company said it had decided not to proceed with the plan. “The recent expansion of U.S. restrictions on export of advanced computing chips has created uncertainties for the prospects of Cloud Intelligence Group,” Alibaba said in a statement. “We believe that a full spin-off of Cloud Intelligence Group may not achieve the intended effect of shareholder value enhancement.” This is one of the most prominent examples of how the U.S.-China geopolitical rift is severely affecting China’s tech sector. Last month, the U.S. government announced tighter rules that restrict American firms such as Nvidia and Intel from selling advanced chips to Chinese companies. The spin-off of the cloud unit was part of Alibaba’s broader restructuring plans. In March, Alibaba said it would split into six business units in the biggest change in the company’s corporate structure in its 24-year history. Each of the six units, Alibaba said at the time, would seek its own initial public offering. On Thursday, Alibaba said that its grocery business unit, Freshippo, would put on hold its plan for an IPO. Alibaba’s Cainiao logistics unit, meanwhile, has applied for an IPO in Hong Kong. https://tinyurl.com/5n925wkc
OpenAI ousts Sam Altman for misleading Board.
Sam Altman is stepping down as chief executive officer of OpenAI, after the board of directors conducted an internal review and determined he was not “consistently candid in his communications” with them, according to a blog post published on Friday. The board said it no longer has confidence in Altman’s ability to lead the company. It did not elaborate on its findings. Altman could not immediately be reached for comment, and a spokesperson for OpenAI declined to provide further information. “We are grateful for Sam’s many contributions to the founding and growth of OpenAI,” the board wrote. “At the same time, we believe new leadership is necessary as we move forward.” https://tinyurl.com/4ft3xu9r
Google delays cloud release of Gemini AI.
Google’s company-defining effort to catch up to ChatGPT creator OpenAI is turning out to be harder than expected. Google representatives earlier this year told some cloud customers and business partners they would get access to the company’s new conversational AI, a large language model known as Gemini, by November. But the company recently told them not to expect it until the first quarter of next year, The Information reported. The delay comes at a bad time for Google, whose cloud sales growth has slowed while that of its bigger rival, Microsoft, has accelerated. Part of Microsoft’s success has come from selling OpenAI’s technology to its customers. Google’s delay of the large Gemini model for cloud customers implies that the company wants to buttress its consumer offerings with the new tech before giving outside software developers access to it. On a call with investors on Oct. 24, Pichai didn’t explicitly discuss Gemini’s launch but said, “We are just really laying the foundation of what I think of as the next-generation series of models we’ll be launching all throughout 2024.” https://tinyurl.com/naccrkwx
Microsoft to sell AI from Cohere as business moves beyond OpenAI.
Microsoft on Thursday announced a new cloud service to make it easier for customers to use artificial intelligence developed by companies other than OpenAI. Microsoft’s Model as a Service gives Azure cloud customers access to open-source and proprietary large language models from companies including Meta Platforms, Mistral and Cohere. The move shows how Microsoft, along with other major cloud providers, want to give customers as many options as possible for using generative AI. Microsoft in July made Meta’s open-source Llama models available through Azure but the latest update allows developers to use the models without having to source the expensive AI chips needed to power them. Customers can simply tap into the technology through an application programming interface, similar to the way Microsoft has sold OpenAI models, while still being able to customize those models using their private data. Cohere’s Command model, which is similar to OpenAI’s GPT LLMs, will be the first closed source LLM offered through Azure that isn’t from OpenAI. Command is now available on all the major clouds, including Amazon Web Services and Google Cloud Platform. https://tinyurl.com/52j8b7my
Microsoft unveils AI chip as it seeks to catch up to Nvidia, Amazon.
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella on Wednesday unveiled the first server chips that the company developed on its own. The disclosure confirmed The Information’s prior reporting on the yearslong effort by Microsoft to lessen its reliance on Nvidia, the biggest artificial intelligence chip designer, and catch up to other rivals that developed chips in-house—most notably, Amazon. At an annual conference for software developers, Nadella said Microsoft’s new central processing unit, Cobalt (internal codename: Cascade), and AI chip, Maia (codenamed Athena), will power servers in the company’s data centers sometime next year. The chips will power AI services that Microsoft sells to cloud customers, such as the Azure OpenAI Service and Office 365 Copilot, he said. Nadella offered little information on the chips’ performance, but noted the AI chip needed more advanced cooling, requiring Microsoft to build a custom server rack for it. Amazon was previously the only cloud provider to offer cloud customers an in-house CPU, known as Graviton. Google and Amazon already use and sell access to their own AI chips. (See them here.) Like other cloud providers, Microsoft wanted to develop its own chips so it could bring down the costs of running its data centers and be less reliant on Nvidia, Advanced Micro Devices, and Intel. It’s a tricky balance, though, since cloud providers are the biggest customers of those chip firms. Before Nadella announced the new chips, he highlighted the company’s work with those firms, including its plans to offer upcoming GPUs from Nvidia (whose CEO appeared on stage with Nadella) and AMD to Microsoft’s cloud customers. https://tinyurl.com/mrxfam43
Nvidia unveils new AI chip, upping ante with AMD.
Nvidia on Monday announced a new graphics processing unit, H200, which next year could become the most advanced chip on the market for developing artificial intelligence. The chip’s memory capacity will be significantly upgraded compared to a predecessor chip, H100, which has been in high demand among AI developers this year—boosting Nvidia’s stock 240% since Jan. 1. The increased memory allows large-language models powered by H200 chips to generate results nearly twice as fast as those running on H100s, Nvidia said. Companies that rent out cloud servers to businesses will have the H200s ready in the second quarter of 2024, which will put the chips in tight competition with AMD’s MI300X GPUs, slated for release later this year. The MI300 chips similarly have increased memory capacity, allowing customers to run larger models on the chips. Nvidia also announced that the H200 chips are compatible with H100s, meaning that companies training with the older-generation chip won’t need to reconfigure their software or servers for the new version. Nvidia’s stock rose 1% and AMD’s fell 1% following the announcement. https://tinyurl.com/yc52a7je
Nvidia stock is riding its longest winning streak in 7 years, adding US$220 billion in market value just in November.
Nvidia stock has climbed for 10 consecutive trading days, adding US$220 billion in market value in November alone. Shares are on their longest winning streak since December 2016, according to Bloomberg, and have surged nearly 22% since the start of the month. On Tuesday, Nvidia rose 1.7% to US$494.19, extending a massive year-to-date gain of 239%. The latest rally comes amid a broader market upswing, as investors have recently piled back into US equities on a growing bet that interest rates are unlikely to keep rising. https://tinyurl.com/5bhakz7f
‘Big Short’ investor Michael Burry reveals a bet against Nvidia and other microchip stocks.
Michael Burry ended his bets against the S&P 500 and Nasdaq 100 last quarter, but placed a new wager against semiconductor stocks, his latest portfolio update revealed on Tuesday. Burry’s Scion Asset Management purchased bearish put options on the SPDR S&P 500 and Invesco QQQ in the second quarter, but those positions were gone in his latest Securities and Exchange Commission filing. However, Scion did buy puts on 100,000 shares of Blackrock’s iShares Semiconductor ETF with a nominal value of US$47 million. The exchange-traded fund counts Nvidia — the graphics-chip specialist whose stock price has roughly tripled this year on the back of AI excitement — as its third-biggest holding. https://tinyurl.com/5n7h8nj6
Climate-tech startups amass US$7.6 billion in Q3, setting new record for VC funding.
Climate-tech startups focusing on carbon and emissions technology garnered US$7.6 billion in venture capital funding in the third quarter this year, surpassing the sector’s prior record by US$1.8 billion and opposing the downturn trend in fundraising. The surge in climate-tech companies during the quarter was propelled by a series of large financing rounds supporting the construction of factories, aided by government incentives. Government assistance offers significantly more non-dilutive financial support for decarbonization firms compared to other sectors. This enables climate-tech experts to sidestep the fundraising challenges that have affected a large portion of the VC industry. https://tinyurl.com/ea3tv8jp
Google CEO confirms 36% revenue split with Apple.
Google CEO Sundar Pichai said in court Tuesday that his company pays Apple 36% of its revenue from ads shown to users of Apple’s Safari browser, Bloomberg reported, confirming a figure that appeared to emerge by mistake in a separate court proceeding the day before. The company has never disclosed the amount it pays Apple under their agreement to include Google as the default search engine on its devices, an arrangement that is the focus of a Department of Justice antitrust lawsuit against Google. The figure implies Google Search generated US$50 billion in revenue from the Safari browser in 2021, or roughly a third of its total search ads revenue that year. (That estimate relies on an earlier New York Times report on Google payments to Apple.) On Tuesday, Pichai was testifying in a separate antitrust trial initiated by Fortnite maker Epic Games over Google’s payment policies for developers on its Google Play app store. Pichai said he didn’t know the percentage that Google shared with Samsung under a similar default search deal, though Epic’s attorney said it was 16%. In 2020, Google agreed to pay Samsung US$8 billion over four years to make its search engine, voice assistant and Play Store the default on Samsung phones, according to Bloomberg. https://tinyurl.com/4688cmnz
For Google Play, dominating Android world was ‘existential’.
Google agreed to pay US$8 billion over four years to Samsung Electronics Co. to make its search engine, voice assistant and Play Store the default on the company’s mobile devices, according to testimony presented by Epic Games Inc. James Kolotouros, Vice President for Partnerships at Google, testified Monday under questioning by an Epic lawyer in the San Francisco trial that Google devised plans to share app store revenue with Android mobile device makers to ensure their products were preinstalled with Google Play on home screens. https://tinyurl.com/mry4zctf
Tencent logs robust revenue growth as games, advertising sales shine.
China’s Tencent Holdings said third-quarter revenue climbed 10%, as its games business staged a robust recovery from a regulatory crackdown on the country’s tech sector and online advertising sales surged. Sales for the world’s largest video game company and operator of the WeChat messaging platform came in at 154.6 billion yuan (US$21.4 billion) – in line with market forecasts – for the three months to end September, its third straight quarter of revenue growth. https://tinyurl.com/mwpn2ahs
Apple’s China woes stoke US$20 billion Xiaomi rally.
Apple Inc.’s sales dip in China is providing an opportunity for yet another local Android smartphone maker to win favor with customers and investors. Xiaomi Corp. has gained about US$20 billion in market value since a June low on excitement over its latest handset as well as forays into electric vehicles and other businesses. The Hong Kong-listed stock rose more than 60% in that span, making it the best performer on the Hang Seng Tech Index. https://tinyurl.com/2c3s9urm
Jack Ma’s family trust to sell 10 million shares in China’s Alibaba.
Chinese billionaire Jack Ma’s family trust is set to sell 10 million American Depository Shares of Alibaba Group Holdings for about US$871 million, the ecommerce company said in regulatory filings. The sale will be done on Nov. 21 by JSP Investment and JC Properties, funds that are part of the family trust. Alibaba and the Jack Ma Foundation, the philanthropic organization that handles media queries for the billionaire, did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Ma stepped down as chairman of Alibaba in 2019. The company is currently led by Eddie Wu, one of the co-founders and a long-time lieutenant of Ma. U.S.-listed shares of Alibaba were down more than 3% in premarket trading ahead of its quarterly results. https://tinyurl.com/7c5myakv
Tencent’s third-quarter revenue grows 10% as ad sales recover.
Tencent said its revenue for the third quarter rose 10%, as the Chinese internet giant’s online advertising business grew 20%. This is the latest indication of Tencent’s recovery. Last year, China’s advertising market faced severe headwinds as the Chinese government’s draconian Covid-19 lockdowns dealt a blow to numerous domestic businesses. In the third quarter of last year, Tencent’s revenue fell 2% due in part to a 5% drop in ad sales. In its latest quarterly earnings report, Tencent, which operates WeChat and many other apps, cited “notable” growth in advertising demand from consumer goods makers and local services such as retailers. Another key contributor to the Chinese company’s revenue growth was its overseas videogame business, whose revenue grew 14%. Tencent’s total revenue rose to 154.6 billion yuan (US$21.3 billion) in the quarter from 140.1 billion yuan a year earlier. The company’s net profit for the quarter fell 9%, in part because last year’s third-quarter profit was boosted by gains from sales of its stakes in other companies. https://tinyurl.com/5y3wf4uw
Car dealership stocks tank after Amazon says it’s launching online vehicle sales in 2024.
Car dealerships like Carmax, Autonation, and Carvana are about to see increased competition after Amazon announced it will launch online vehicle sales next year. Shares of all three companies fell as much as 8% on Thursday following the announcement from Amazon. Shares of Amazon were down about a half of one percent in Thursday’s trading session. Amazon said it’s partnering first with Hyundai to sell its lineup of new vehicles, marking the e-commerce giant’s foray into vehicle sales. Hyundai’s American depositary receipts were up about 3% on Thursday, albeit on very light volume of less than 2,000 shares traded The car sales on Amazon’s platform will be managed and fulfilled by local car dealerships, making Amazon essentially a middleman between the customer and the car dealership. This asset-light approach contrasts sharply with companies like Carvana and Carmax, which often own the cars they sell. Amazon’s announcement on Thursday isn’t the first time it has shaken up an industry with a simple press release. The company sent shockwaves in the auto-parts retail industry after it announced its plans to start selling auto parts on its website in early 2017. The company’s foray into health insurance sent insurance stocks plunging in January 2018. And Amazon’s intention to launch physical pharmacies sent shares of CVS and Walgreens reeling in May 2021. Hyundai’s deal with Amazon extends beyond selling Hyundai cars, according to the announcement. Other aspects of the deal include Hyundai using Amazon Web Services as its preferred cloud provider and Hyundai building Alexa into its car models beginning in 2025. https://tinyurl.com/38d45jxk
Amazon cuts games unit jobs in broader restructuring.
Amazon has cut around 180 jobs in its games division, at least the second round of layoffs in under a week by the online retailer and digital streaming provider in a broader restructuring, an email viewed on Monday by Reuters showed. “After our initial restructuring in April, it became clear that we needed to focus our resources even more on the areas that are growing with the highest potential to drive our business forward,” said Christoph Hartmann, vice president of Amazon Games, in the Nov. 13 email. Amazon last week also began cutting jobs in its streaming music and podcast division, people familiar with the matter said. It also cut a very small number of jobs in its human resources unit known as People Experience and Technology, or PXT, the sources added. The games division offers downloadable versions of many video games, on a monthly rotation, as well as some Twitch channels and other services. The company remains focused on developing and publishing games such as “Blue Protocol” and the free games offered within Prime Gaming, it said. Amazon has cut more than 27,000 roles over the past year, part of a wave of U.S. tech layoffs after the industry hired too many people during the pandemic. https://tinyurl.com/5n7tkh5h
Hanwha Systems to build ultra-large UUV for ROKN.
South Korean company Hanwha Systems has signed a contract to build an ultra-large unmanned underwater vehicle (UUV) system for the Repulic of Korea Navy (ROKN). As informed, the deal, signed with Agency for Defense Development (ADD), is worth KRW 29 billion (US$22 million). This project is the cornerstone for the development of a multi-purpose modular unmanned underwater vehicle (MRXUUV, Mission Reconfigurable eXtra-large Unmanned Underwater Vehicle) system that will enable the navy to independently perform underwater operations. Ultra-large unmanned submarines are capable of performing various missions in a wide range of underwater areas, such as long-distance underwater surveillance and reconnaissance and mine laying. Hanwha Systems plans to produce a prototype to verify the basic technology of a very large unmanned underwater vehicle capable of performing autonomous missions at long distances by August 2027. Meanwhile, Hanwha Systems participated in the development project for large-scale unmanned submarines for reconnaissance (autonomous control verification prototype for unmanned submarines, 2017-2022) hosted by the Agency for Defense Development. https://tinyurl.com/4k66tp24
The stealthy sailboat-submarine drone the U.S. Navy Is using near Iran.
As the U.S. races to counter adversaries like Iran and China with drones, Ocean Aero is ramping up production of the Triton, an autonomous sailboat-turned-submarine that can carry weapons and other payloads. WSJ’s Shelby Holliday got a closer look. Click the link to watch the video. https://tinyurl.com/bdzx9my3
Media, Streaming, Gaming & Sports Betting
Discord is shutting down its AI chatbot Clyde.
Discord is shutting down Clyde, its experimental AI chatbot. In a support note, Discord says the chatbot will be “deactivated” at the end of the month, and that by December 1st “users will no longer be able to invoke Clyde in DMs, Group DMs or server chats.” https://tinyurl.com/3wfkb7ts
After iPhone 15 overheating issues, Apple may improve hardware cooling in iPhone 16.
Apple had to implement an iOS fix to solve iPhone 15 overheating problems – but a leaker today suggests that the company is looking to make a hardware change next year to improve passive cooling. The report says that Apple may make two changes to improve cooling in next year’s iPhone 16 line-up. It wasn’t too long after the launch of the iPhone 15 line-up that a significant number of owners found their phones were overheating. The issue affected all four iPhone 15 models, with some reporting that their phones get too hot to even hold without a case. https://tinyurl.com/49wp3ctu
Adtech, Privacy & Regulatory
Social media companies must face child safety lawsuits, judge Rules.
Meta Platforms, Alphabet, ByteDance and Snap must face lawsuits alleging they designed their platforms to attract and be addictive to children, thereby harming their mental health, a federal judge ruled on Tuesday. Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers of U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California ruled that the First Amendment and Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which shields technology companies from legal responsibility for the content users post on their websites, don’t protect the companies from all liability in these lawsuits. The companies were challenging lawsuits filed by school districts and state attorneys-general. Some of their claims are not related to speech or expression on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, TikTok or Snapchat, the judge noted. Instead, they are about platform “defects.” For example, telling parents their children are using social media wouldn’t change how social media networks publish and share content, she said. “Today’s decision is a significant victory for the families that have been harmed by the dangers of social media,” said Lexi Hazam, Previn Warren and Chris Seeger, the lead lawyers representing the plaintiffs, in a statement. “The allegations in these complaints are simply not true,” said José Castañeda, a Google spokesperson. “We will continue working to tackle industry-wide challenges,” a TikTok spokesperson said. Snap declined to comment. Meta did not immediately respond to a request for comment. https://tinyurl.com/56tamfa5
Digital pharmacy startup Truepill says hackers accessed sensitive data of 2.3 million patients.
Truepill, a digital health startup that provides pharmacy fulfillment services for healthcare organizations, has confirmed that hackers accessed the personal data of more than 2.3 million patients.The company’s investigation found that the accessed files contained sensitive customer information, including patient names, unspecified demographic information, medication type and the name of the patient’s prescribing physician. Truepill said Social Security numbers were not involved, as the company does not receive this information. Truepill confirmed 2.3 million patients were affected according to a required legal filing submitted to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ data breach reporting portal. https://tinyurl.com/26r9htc8
Amazon adds buy with Prime features ahead of holiday season.
Amazon beefed up its Buy With Prime service with new features ahead of the holiday shopping season, adding order tracking, customer service and returns for merchants that sell on other websites. Sellers using Buy With Prime, which launched in early 2022, could already offer Amazon’s checkout and fulfillment services on their own sites to Prime members. Amazon vastly expanded the reach of Buy With Prime in late August through a partnership with Shopify, opening up the service to the more than two million sellers who use Shopify’s e-commerce software to run their businesses. The rival e-commerce giants struck that deal after Shopify unloaded its logistics business in May. https://tinyurl.com/2rrt7twc
Amazon aggregator Thrasio prepares for bankruptcy.
Thrasio, a startup that raised billions of dollars to buy up consumer brands sold on Amazon, is preparing to file for bankruptcy as it contends with a postpandemic slump in online spending, according to people familiar with the matter. Consulting firm AlixPartners has advised Thrasio in recent years, and Holly Etlin, a veteran retail turnaround professional at the firm, is currently working with the company, the people said. Etlin has often served as a chief restructuring officer at bankrupt retailers, including most recently at Bed Bath & Beyond. https://tinyurl.com/4cnkry78
Online pet goods retailer Chewy lays off 200+ employees.
Chewy, the online pet supplies company that sold to PetSmart in 2017 for US$3.35 billion, but then split off a few years later, is the latest company to undergo layoffs, TechCrunch has learned. According to multiple sources, the pet supplier has laid off more than 200 employees — a figure Chewy confirmed — including those in its Plantation, Florida headquarters, and other sites. https://tinyurl.com/eucemjde
Sales fall on china’s biggest e-commerce shopping festival.
Sales from China’s annual biggest e-commerce shopping festival on Saturday fell by 9.75% to 277.6 billion yuan ($38 billion), Chinese outlet Caixin Media reported. The Singles’ Day shopping feast, which happens on Nov. 11 each year, is usually a barometer of consumer sentiment in China. The online retailing event was started by Alibaba Group 15 years ago and has become a popular fixture that usually features bargain deals and heavy promotions. Alibaba said on Sunday that its platforms recorded “positive year-on-year growth” in gross merchandise value on the shopping festival, but didn’t disclose the actual numbers. Neither did two other major shopping sites, JD.com and Pinduoduo, disclose their sales figures for the day. It’s the second year in a row that major Chinese online retailers didn’t report their sales for the event. This year’s Singles’ Day generated about 1 billion parcels, down 16.65% from last year, Caixin reported. https://tinyurl.com/3mu2fvba
You could soon hire Uber drivers to complete household tasks.
Uber is experimenting with a new service that allows users to hire drivers from its app to complete everyday household chores and projects, in a bid to expand beyond its existing ridesharing and courier business. The service, called Uber Tasks, will launch as a “small pilot” in the coming weeks in Fort Myers, Florida and Edmonton, Alberta. https://tinyurl.com/2b4hanbv
Applied Materials under US criminal probe for shipments to China’s SMIC.
Semiconductor equipment maker Applied Materials is under U.S. criminal investigation for potentially evading export restrictions on China’s top chipmaker SMIC, according to three people familiar with the matter. The largest U.S. semiconductor equipment maker is being probed by the Justice Department for sending equipment to SMIC via South Korea without export licenses, the sources said. Hundreds of millions of dollars of equipment is involved, one of the people said. Shares in Applied Materials fell 7.3% after the news and the company reported quarterly results. https://tinyurl.com/8zd7e6u2
Synopsys, Microsoft team up for a chip-design assistant.
Microsoft has mostly pitched its “Copilot” as a way to help finish up lines of computer code or quickly summarize a messy email inbox. But Synopsys on Wednesday said it has worked with Microsoft to create its own Copilot to help with designing computer chips. Chip design is one of the hardest tasks in the technology industry because billions of transistors – tiny on-off switches – must be precisely arranged on a piece of silicon just a few centimeters wide. Designing a chip typically costs hundreds of millions of dollars and takes several years, even with an army of engineers. Synopsys is the largest maker of software used in that process and said Wednesday that it used Microsoft’s Azure OpenAI system to create its own Copilot for use with its tools. https://tinyurl.com/2kmpvuu6
Tencent shrugged off a new US AI chip ban, saying it’s stockpiled enough Nvidia processors for ‘a couple more generations’.
A top Tencent exec said on Wednesday that the Chinese tech giant is holding a huge stockpile of Nvidia processors, downplaying fears that new US export bans might cripple its business. https://tinyurl.com/5b6jdc6x
Mercedes-Benz opens its first 400kW EV charging station in the US.
Mercedes-Benz cut the ribbon on its first EV fast-charging hub in the US, complete with a swanky waiting area and 400kW charging speeds courtesy of ChargePoint. The hub is located at the automaker’s US-based headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia, meaning most of the early users are likely to be Mercedes employees. But the company says that owners of non-Mercedes EVs are welcome to use the chargers as well. The charging station is the first of a proposed 2,000 hubs that Mercedes plans on installing worldwide as part of a US$1 billion, multiyear plan. But the company isn’t shouldering the whole cost itself; 50 percent will be covered by MN8 Energy, an offshoot of Goldman Sachs Asset Management focused on solar power and energy storage. https://tinyurl.com/yae6j9j4
Sophic Capital Client Insights
Sophic Client Xcyte Digital (XCYT-TSXV): spatial computing & virtual events could shake up business.
New Sophic Capital client Xcyte Digital Corp. (XCYT-TSXV) is a one-stop shop for all virtual event requirements. Xcyte provides event technology software and services through a convenient and cost-effective single subscription offering that grants access to multiple platforms and use cases. The resurgence of in-person events is accompanied by a shift towards technology-driven solutions due to rising costs, prompted by lessons from the COVID-19 pandemic. Spatial computing, once dismissed as the metaverse, is now gaining traction as a viable solution for companies reimagining and enhancing virtual events. This report introduces you to spatial computing and the growing virtual events industry. Stay tuned for more reports diving deeper into Xcyte Digital’s business model, revenue model, and potential catalysts for growth. https://bit.ly/3sDBfRt
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