WELL Health (WELL-TSX) announced a $65 million bought deal offering of convertible debentures, and CubicFarm (CUB-TSX) announced $20 million bought deal public offering of common shares. Sophic Client, Clear Blue Technologies (CBLU-TSXV) closed a convertible debenture financing for $4.4 million, exceeding the company’s funding goal. EMERGE Commerce (ECOM-TSXV) entered the B2B space with the purchase of WholesalePet.com for up to $31.2 million. Cboe Global Markets agrees to acquire NEO, strengthening global equities offering. Canadian SaaS funding in 2021 rebounded from a 2020 low, fuelled by influx of US investors. Affirm stock dropped after BNPL company announced plans for a convertible offering. MercardoLibre stock sinks after equity offering priced at a 5.1% discount. India’s Paytm dropped 26% in its first day of trading. Online mattress seller Casper Sleep agreed to a buyout offer from investment firm Durational Capital Management, ending Casper’s disastrous stint as a public company. Qualcomm stock hit a record high after it said it will grow without Apple. Alibaba Group slashed its revenue guidance for the full fiscal year, as the e-commerce giant grapples with China’s slowing economic growth and Beijing’s regulatory crackdown on the internet sector. Crypto-focused VC firm Paradigm said Monday that it had raised a US$2.5 billion venture fund, the industry’s largest to date. The new fund surpassed the US$2.2 billion crypto fund Andreeseen Horowitz announced in June. Apple now believes it can ship self-driving EV as soon as 2025, Bloomberg reports. Ford and Rivian have abandoned a plan they had to jointly develop an EV together.
Canadian Technology Capital Markets & Company News
WELL Health (WELL-TSX) announces $65 million bought deal offering of convertible debentures.
The company has entered into an agreement pursuant to which Eight Capital and Scotiabank as joint bookrunners, together with a syndicate of underwriters including Stifel GMP as co-lead underwriter with Eight Capital and Scotiabank (collectively, the “Underwriters”), will purchase, on a bought deal basis, $65 million aggregate principal amount of convertible senior unsecured debentures of the Company due December 31, 2026 (the “Debentures”) at a price of $1,000 per Debenture (the “Offering”). The Debentures will have a coupon of 5.50% per annum, and a conversion price of $9.23 per WELL common share, subject to adjustments in certain circumstances. The Company has received an indication of interest for a lead order in connection with the Offering from a large Canadian pension fund manager. https://bit.ly/3CuxX20
CubicFarm (CUB-TSX) announces $20 million bought deal public offering of common shares.
The company entered into an agreement with Raymond James Ltd., Stifel Nicolaus Canada Inc. and Canaccord Genuity Corp. as joint bookrunners, on behalf of a syndicate of underwriters (collectively, the “Underwriters”), pursuant to which the Underwriters have agreed to purchase, on a “bought deal” basis, 16,000,000 common shares (the “Common Shares”) of the Company at a price of C$1.25 per Common Share (the “Issue Price”) for aggregate gross proceeds to the Company of approximately C$20 million (the “Offering”). The Company has agreed to grant the Underwriters an over-allotment option to purchase up to an additional 15% Common Shares at the Issue Price, exercisable in whole or in part at any time for a period ending 30 days from the closing of the Offering. https://bit.ly/30NhusI
Sophic Client Clear Blue Technologies (CBLU-TSXV, CBUTF-OTC, 0YA-FRA) closes convertible debenture financing, exceeding funding goal.
The company closed the second (and final) tranche of a previously announced private placement offering of convertible unsecured subordinated debentures (the “Debentures ”) for gross proceeds of C$2,899,000. With the second tranche completed, and cumulative gross proceeds of C$4,434,000, including both tranches, the Company exceeded the cumulative funding target of C$4 million, previously announced on October 29, 2021. https://bit.ly/3x5KO9G
Exro (EXRO-TSX) announces filing of shelf prospectus.
Subject to securities regulatory requirements, the shelf prospectus will provide for the potential offering in Canada of up to an aggregate of C$200,000,000 of Exro’s subordinate voting shares, preferred shares, debt securities, warrants, subscription receipts and units from time to time over a 25-month period after applicable Canadian securities regulatory authorities have issued a receipt for the final short form base shelf prospectus. https://bit.ly/3kSYEay
EMERGE Commerce (ECOM-TSXV) enters B2B space with purchase of WholesalePet.com for up to $31.2 million.
“With this acquisition, Emerge eclipses $100 million in pro forma GMS [gross merchandise sales] making us one of a few pure-play Canadian e-commerce players, and to our knowledge, the only Canadian e-commerce consolidator, to eclipse the coveted $100 million GMS mark that nearly every e-commerce startup deck plots out a path towards,” claimed Emerge founder and CEO Ghassan Halazon. WholesalePet.com is a leading technology-enabled B2B e-commerce marketplace, connecting over 8,000 independent retail locations with over 400 independent pet vendors, offering more than one million items. The transaction consists of US$12 million in cash, US$2 million in Emerge common shares, $2 million in deferred consideration payover over two years, and a contingent earnout consideration of up to US$9 million over a two-year period. “This acquisition marks our first foray into both the sticky B2B e-commerce space, as well as the pets vertical, one of the fastest-growing segments in the e-commerce sector,” Halazon said. https://bit.ly/30NeGfd
Faire banks US$400 million Series G at US$12.4 billion valuation.
Kitchener-Waterloo and San Francisco-based startup Faire, which connects independent retailers to brands through its online wholesale marketplace, has closed its third major funding round in 13 months. On the heels of its successful European expansion, Faire has secured US$400 million in Series G financing at a US$12.4 billion valuation, nearly quintuple its value following its Series E round last October. The company’s Series G round was co-led by new investor Durable Capital Partners LP and return investors D1 Capital Partners and Dragoneer Investment Group, and saw support from all of Faire’s other existing investors. https://bit.ly/3oFZU1O
GaN Systems nails $189.7 million to drive semiconductor innovation.
GaN Systems, a producer of gallium nitride power semiconductors, has secured a US$150 million growth capital funding round. The company intends to use the funds to accelerate innovation and adoption of its technology across automotive, consumer, industrial, and enterprise markets. GaN plans to use the capital to accelerate the adoption of its tech across automotive, consumer, industrial, and enterprise markets. Fidelity led the round with Vitesco Technologies, BMW i Ventures, and other undisclosed investors. The date the round closed was not disclosed. Gan said the investment will help fuel its rapid market penetration as global power electronics companies shift from legacy silicon devices to small, low-cost, efficient power systems. https://bit.ly/3DDp2wq
Clutch gears up for expansion with $100 million Series B round.
Clutch, an online car retailing startup, got the green light for expansion with $100 million Series B equity financing. D1 Capital Partners led the financing round with participation from Flight Deck Capital, Canaan Partners, Upper90, Real Ventures, GFC, Brand Project, and FJ Labs. D1’s Scott Baxter, an investor at the New York City-based investment firm, joins Clutch’s board of directors. D1 has deep experience in the online used car market, holding investments in leading global companies like Carvana, Cazoo, and Kavak. It also holds a portfolio of some of the biggest global names in technology including Stripe, Instacart, Robinhood, GoPuff, Airtable, SpaceX, Toast, and Warby Parker. The Series B round marks the second big raise this year for Clutch. In March it raised $60 million, which comprised $20 million in equity financing, and $40 million in debt in a Series A round. Clutch raised a seed round of $7 million in 2020. https://bit.ly/3DpEX1i
HiMama rakes in US$70 million baby bonus to pursue growing childcare market.
HiMama, a childcare centre software solutions provider and Certified B Corp, just got a large baby bonus thanks to a US$70 million Series B round to provide early childhood educators and parents with affordable tools meant to improve educational outcomes. Bain Capital Double Impact led the round, which included participation from existing investors Round13 Capital and BDC Capital’s Women in Technology Venture Fund. As the need for quality childcare has increased due to COVID-19, and governments like Canada and the United States expand investments in childcare programs, HiMama is ready to seize a sizeable market opportunity.Founded in 2013, the startup bootstrapped until it raised a $7.5 million CAD Series A round led by Round 13 Capital in 2019. In 2020, HiMama also silently raised $5 million from BDC’s Women in Tech fund. https://bit.ly/3HCtb6l
Klir raises $20.1 million to help cities, utilities better manage water.
Klir, a management platform for water utilities, announced funding of $16 million in a Series A raise. Insights Partners led the round with participation from Bowery Capital, Spider Capital, and SaaS Ventures. The funds will be plunged into engineering projects, product development, and sales and marketing. Klir is a cloud-based platform that uses data analytics and task automation to help utilities capture widespread efficiency gains while ultimately protecting the environment. https://bit.ly/3CzCn7Q
Breather, Ritual alumni look to ride retail investing wave with automated trading platform Composer.
Toronto-based FinTech software startup Composer has revealed $6.73 million in previously unannounced seed financing to fuel the launch of its automated trading platform. Backed by a group of investors that includes San Francisco’s First Round Capital and Toronto’s Golden Ventures, Composer aims to bring institutional investment strategies to retail investors. The rollout of the open beta of Composer’s offering comes amid a spike in the popularity of retail investing during COVID-19, fuelled by the growth of investment groups on social media platforms like Reddit. In an exclusive interview with BetaKit, Composer’s co-founder and CEO Benjamin Rollert claimed this rise in retail investment activity began before the pandemic hit. Composer allows individual, non-professional investors (retail investors) to design and adopt sophisticated, hedge fund-like investment strategies. https://bit.ly/3nnqpKd
Billdr secures $4 million to build up its home renovation marketplace.
Montréal-based startup Billdr, which offers a market network for the home renovation industry, has scored nearly $4 million in seed financing to fuel its product development and expansion plans. After proving out its solution in Montréal, Billdr plans to use the fresh funding to expand its platform and cement its presence in new markets like Toronto and Chicago, where it hopes to replicate its model. Billdr’s all-equity seed round, which closed in October, was led by Boston’s One Way Ventures, and saw participation from Quebecor, Kima Ventures, Goodwater Capital, Moving Capital, Simple Capital, and angel investors from Uber and Shopify. The new capital brings the company’s total funding to date to $4.2 million. Nembot, the former head of Uber’s marketplace for South-Saharan Africa, referred to the home renovation industry as “a black box.” His startup aims to address this issue by improving information flow and bringing more transparency to the process, particularly on the pricing side. https://bit.ly/32fxCnz
Judo scores $3.8 million to expand no-code mobile app development solution beyond sports.
Toronto-based software startup Judo has raised $3.8 million in seed financing to meet demand for its mobile experience platform outside of the sports world. After establishing itself and gaining profitability serving sports franchises like the Milwaukee Bucks, Minnesota Vikings, San Jose Sharks, and Everton FC, Judo is moving into new verticals like consumer FinTech and retail. The startup’s all-equity seed round was co-led by two California-based investors, TenOneTen Ventures and Freestyle Capital, and supported by a group of angels including former Airbnb software engineer Ryan Brooks. In conjunction with the financing, longtime Judo advisor Seamus McAteer, formerly of Otter.ai, has joined the company as COO. https://bit.ly/3crONE2
Moment Energy secures $3.5 million to repurpose retired electric vehicle batteries.
Port Coquitlam-based cleantech startup Moment Energy, which creates sustainable energy storage systems by repurposing retired electric vehicle (EV) batteries, has raised $3.5 million to bolster its production capabilities to meet growing demand for its solution. Fresh off of a grand prize win at the 2021 National Impact Investor Challenge and a third-place finish at New Ventures BC’s latest startup competition, Moment Energy plans to build on its momentum and use its seed funding to expand the reach of its energy storage solution. Moment Energy’s all-equity seed round, which closed in October, was led by Vancouver-based Version One Ventures and supported by Kitchener-Waterloo’s Garage Capital, Los Angeles-based Fika Ventures, and Boston-based My Climate Journey’s MCJ Collective. The capital brings Moment Energy’s total funding to date to over $3.8 million. https://bit.ly/3DCuFv4
Espresso Capital closes $200 million credit facility led by KeyBank.
“We’re excited to welcome KeyBank as a funding partner,” said Espresso Chief Operating Officer and CFO, Enio Lazzer. “Securing this facility is an important milestone that further expands our capacity to support borrowers with innovative venture debt solutions. The KeyBank facility complements Espresso’s existing facilities with BMO Bank of Montreal and Scotiabank.” Since it was founded in 2009, Espresso has funded more than 300 companies across the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom. Espresso’s financing solutions help companies and their investors accelerate growth, extend runway, and increase strategic flexibility with non-dilutive capital. https://bit.ly/3qR3Bod
Cboe Global Markets agrees to acquire NEO, strengthening global equities offering.
Cboe Global Markets announced it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Aequitas Innovations, Inc., more commonly known as NEO1, a fintech organization that comprises of a fully registered Tier-1 Canadian securities exchange with a diverse product and services set ranging from corporate listings to cash equity trading. Ownership of NEO will help allow Cboe to provide a more fulsome Canadian equities offering, operating the NEO Exchange, a national securities exchange with trading, listings and other services, in addition to MATCHNow, the alternative trading system (ATS) acquired by Cboe in 2020. This strengthened offering is expected to drive more trading activity on Cboe markets and improve efficiencies and opportunities for investors and capital-raisers in both Canada and the U.S. https://bit.ly/3cy9AGc
US-based research firm acquires Methodify, AskingCanadians from Toronto-based Delvinia.
New Jersey-based research and data firm Schlesinger Group has acquired two products offered by Delvinia, a research technology company in Toronto, for a combination of cash and shares. The financial terms of this deal were not disclosed. A spokesperson for Schlesinger Group indicated that the acquisition represents the majority of Delvinia’s business. BetaKit has reached out to Delvinia for comment. Delvinia executives Froman, Steve Mast, and Raj Manocha will continue to lead the Methodify and AskingCanadians businesses and teams from the company’s headquarters in Toronto. https://bit.ly/3qKd14O
Canadian SaaS funding in 2021 rebounds from 2020 low, fuelled by influx of US investors.
Fuelled by pandemic-induced digital transformation efforts and rising support from United States (US) investors, Canadian software-as-a-service (SaaS) company funding in 2021 has reached a total of $9.16 billion to date. This is according to L-SPARK’s latest State of SaaS report, which is being released today as part of SAAS NORTH, Canada’s leading annual SaaS conference taking place November 17 and 18. In 2020, during the pandemic, only $1.17 billion in total capital was invested in Canadian SaaS startups, compared to $5.13 billion the previous year. https://bit.ly/3qMJOGy
Canadian teen arrested in crypto theft worth $36.5 million.
A Canadian teen was arrested for allegedly stealing $46 million ($US 36.5 million) worth of crypto from a U.S. victim, the biggest crypto theft reported from one person, according to the City of Hamilton police. Police say the victim was targeted through a cell phone scam known as SIM swapping, in which a scammer hijacks a wireless customer’s phone number to intercept two-factor authentication, and gain access to the victim’s accounts. The arrest was the result of a joint investigation with the FBI and the U.S. Secret Service Electronic Crime Task Force. The investigation was launched last year in March. https://bloom.bg/3cvJ5Ba
Global Markets: IPOs, Venture Capital, M&A
Affirm stock drops after BNPL company announces plans for convertible offering.
Affirm Holdings said Thursday that it intends to offer US$1.25 billion in convertible notes. The company plans to use the proceeds for general corporate purposes and to help fund future growth initiatives. The notes would be due in 2026 and Affirm anticipates that it will grant initial purchasers the option to buy up to an additional US$187.5 million of notes on the same terms within a 13-day period starting when the notes get first issued. Shares of Affirm are off 4.4% in premarket trading Thursday. The buy-now pay-later company’s stock has rocketed 135% over the past three months as the S&P 500 has risen about 7%. https://on.mktw.net/3qSVzv5
MercardoLibre stock sinks after equity offering priced at a 5.1% discount.
Shares of MercadoLibre Inc. sank 5.6% in morning trading Tuesday, after the Latin America-based e-commerce platform said it raised US$1.55 billion through public stock offering of 1 million shares that priced at a discount. The company said the offering, plans of which were announced late Monday, priced at US$1,550.00 per share, which was 5.1% below Monday’s closing price of US$1,633.21. The 1 million-share offering represented 2.0% of the shares outstanding as of Nov. 3. The stock has declined 14.1% over the past three months, while the S&P 500 gained 4.8%. https://on.mktw.net/3cfPVun
Peloton seeking to raise US$1 billion in public stock offering.
Fitness company Peloton is raising US$1 billion in a stock offering, supplementing the company’s cash reserves as it grapples with a sharp slowdown in growth and significant losses in the most recent quarter. Peloton is selling roughly 24 million shares priced at US$46 each, a slight discount to where the stock has been trading in the past few days. The news Tuesday morning slightly lifted Peloton’s stock price by 5% to above US$50 this morning. That’s still well down from the stock price of above US$86 earlier this month. The US$809 million in revenue that Peloton reported for the quarter ending September 30 was only a 6% increase from the same period last year, a much weaker increase than the year-over-year increases in previous quarters. In its latest earnings report, the company also scaled back its sales projections for the next fiscal year. The company also projected a loss, before various expenses, of between US$425 million and US$475 million for the year. https://bit.ly/3Fvni9a
India’s Paytm drops 26% in first day of trading.
Shares of Indian online payments platform Paytm fell some 26% on their first day of trading after the country’s largest ever initial public offering amid questions over profitability and its business model. The steep drop of One 97 Communications, the operator of Paytm, could cast a pall over the boom in India tech IPOs that have drawn investor enthusiasm and raised billions of dollars in a record-setting run. Other India tech public market debuts this year include the operators of online insurance market Policybazaar and food delivery firm Zomato. But Paytm has been losing market share to services offered by rivals Google and Walmart-owned Flipkart’s PhonePe. Backers include SoftBank and Ant Financial, both of which have reduced their stakes in the company, and Berkshire Hathaway. https://bit.ly/3kTLJ8s
Streaming TV measurement firm Samba TV files to go public.
Samba TV, a data and analytics startup focused on measuring streaming-TV viewership and advertising, has filed paperwork with the SEC to go public. The firm said it intends to raise up to US$75 million. Samba TV is among a group of companies that is seeking to replace Nielsen as the industry’s yardstick for measuring TV viewership, particularly as consumers increasingly stream content on smart TVs and internet-connected devices. Nielsen itself has faced criticism from TV network owners who complained that the measurement giant isn’t accurately measuring the viewership they get on their TV channels and streaming services. In September, industry watchdog the Media Rating Council stripped Nielsen of its national and local TV accreditation. Samba TV said it generated US$82.8 million in revenue through the first nine months of 2021, up from US$67 million across the same time period last year. The company recorded a net loss of US$17.1 million. In the filing, the firm’s CEO Ashwin Navin said the company plans to pursue “opportunistic M&A” among other investments aimed at growing its customer base. https://bit.ly/3HIBZYy
Bitdeer to go public via SPAC merger valuing the bitcoin mining company at $4 billion.
On Thursday, bitcoin mining company Bitdeer announced it is going public by merging with blank-check firm Blue Safari Group Acquisition in a deal valued at $US4 billion. The group plans to list on the Nasdaq after the deal closes in the first quarter of next year. The combined company will be renamed Bitdeer Technologies Group. https://bit.ly/3HzbFQm
Casper accepts buyout offer.
Online mattress seller Casper Sleep agreed to a buyout offer from investment firm Durational Capital Management, ending Casper’s disastrous stint as a public company. Durational will pay US$6.90 a share for Casper shares, more than double the US$3.19 price where the stock was trading as of last Thursday. But that’s a big discount on the US$12 at which Casper sold shares in its IPO in early 2020. Casper had struggled even before going public but the pandemic aggravated its difficulties, forcing the company to lay off staff, close U.S. stores and shut down its European operations. The company has continued to burn through cash however, adding to its woes. Casper had tried to pitch itself as the “Nike of sleep”, broadening its original concept of delivering mattresses to people’s homes in a box, sold through the web. But its wider ambitions, which also involved partnering with traditional retailers, led Casper into difficulties. Casper’s third quarter results paint a grim picture of how supply chain issues rattled the company’s financial performance in the second half of the year. Casper reported 27% revenue growth to US$157 million in the third quarter of the year, a slowdown from the 38% revenue increase it saw in the second quarter. Supply chain shortages have driven up the costs of critical materials to make Casper’s mattresses, resulting in a reduction in the number of mattresses the company was able to sell in the third quarter as the costs to produce its goods rose 68% year-over-year. That was a dramatic jump from the 2% year-over-year rise in costs Casper incurred in the first quarter. Casper losses also widened to US$25 million, and it burned through US$49 million in the first nine months of the year with only US$43 million in cash on its balance sheet during the same period. Given its inability to meet demand and the cash problems that have come with that holdup, a buyout was the most logical next step for the 7-year-old mattress seller, Casper’s CEO Philip Krim said in the company’s earnings release. Krim also announced he is stepping down and will be succeeded by the company’s president and chief commercial officer Emilie Arel. Krim is the most recent CEO to leave the helm of a business he took public. Wish’s founder and CEO last week announced he was stepping down amid a slowdown in the company’s sales growth. https://bit.ly/3nI55zj
CyrusOne to be sold in US$15 billion deal to KKR and global infrastructure partners.
CyrusOne Inc. said Monday that it is selling itself to buyout firms KKR & Co. and Global Infrastructure Partners LLC in a deal valued at about US$15 billion including debt. Based in Dallas, CyrusOne is a real-estate investment trust that designs, builds and operates data centers. It owns more than 50 in North America, South America and Europe, serving over 1,000 customers, according to its website. KKR and GIP are to pay US$90.50 a share for CyrusOne. The stock rose 4.5% to US$89.27 Monday morning on the news. https://on.wsj.com/3DrxrDa
Qualcomm stock hits record high after it says it will grow without Apple.
Qualcomm stock closed up 7.9% on Tuesday after it issued bullish forecasts at an investor’s conference in New York and said that its growth doesn’t rely on a relationship with any single customer, such as its modem chip sales to Apple. “This company can no longer be defined by a single market and a single end-customer,” Qualcomm CEO Cristiano Amon said. Qualcomm currently supplies wireless chips for Apple’s devices but said it expects to provide just 20% of the modem chips needed for the 2023 iPhone. Company officials declined to say what percentage of its current revenue comes from Apple. The company reported US$27 billion in total chip sales in 2021. Qualcomm said it expects its entire chip business, called QCT, will grow at least 12% by 2024 even as it predicts its business with Apple declines to a “low single-digit” percent of sales in its chip business by the end of 2024. https://cnb.cx/3DqVRg9
Huawei recruits smartphone partners to sidestep U.S. sanctions.
Huawei Technologies Co., whose smartphone business has been devastated by U.S. sanctions, is planning to license its handset designs to third parties as a way to gain access to critical components, people with knowledge of the matter said. The Shenzhen-based tech giant is considering licensing its designs to a unit of state-owned China Postal and Telecommunications Appliances Co., or PTAC, which will then seek to buy parts barred under the Trump-era blacklisting, said one of the people, asking not to be identified discussing internal matters. The unit, known as Xnova, is already selling Huawei-branded Nova phones on its e-commerce site and the partnership will see it offer self-branded devices based on the larger company’s designs. https://bloom.bg/3FirfxS
U.K. orders full antitrust and security review into Nvidia-Arm deal.
The U.K. government has stepped up scrutiny of California chipmaker Nvidia’s proposed acquisition of chip designer Arm after an initial report found the blockbuster US$55 billion takeover would possibly lessen competition in industries ranging from data centres to gaming. The U.K.’s antitrust regulator first probe of the deal found that Nvidia’s purchase of the U.K.-based company from Softbank identified competition concerns in four main areas: data centers, ‘Internet of Things’, automotive and gaming. The country’s digital secretary has now instructed the same agency to conduct a six month review into the acquisition looking more deeply at the antitrust problems and whether the sale would jeopardise the U.K.’s national security. As The Information explained last month, the Nvidia-Arm deal could reshape the global chip industry but looks increasingly imperiled by overlapping regulatory reviews in several countries. https://bit.ly/3qZ8FXB
Alibaba slashes revenue guidance as China’s economic growth slows.
Alibaba Group slashed its revenue guidance for the full fiscal year, as the e-commerce giant grapples with China’s slowing economic growth and Beijing’s regulatory crackdown on the internet sector. Alibaba said Thursday it now expects its annual revenue for the current fiscal year through March 2022 to grow 20% to 23% year on year—down from its previous guidance of nearly 30% growth. The revision takes into account macroeconomic headwinds as well as intensifying market competition. For the quarter through September, the company reported an 81% drop in net profit, due in part to declines in the market prices of its equity stakes in other companies. Alibaba’s revenue rose 29% year on year, but part of that growth came from its acquisition last October of supermarket chain Sun Art. Alibaba’s tougher outlook comes as the Chinese government this year has stepped up its effort to tighten its scrutiny of internet companies, through antitrust penalties, data security investigations and other measures. In April, China’s market regulator slapped Alibaba with a record $2.8 billion anti-monopoly fine, accusing the company of abusing its market dominance. https://bit.ly/3CA1G9U
Paradigm raises US$2.5 billion crypto fund.
Crypto-focused VC firm Paradigm said Monday that it had raised a US$2.5 billion venture fund, the industry’s largest to date. The new fund surpassed the US$2.2 billion crypto fund Andreeseen Horowitz announced in June. The fund cements Paradigm’s position as a leading crypto investor. The firm was started by Coinbase co-founder Fred Ehrsam and former Sequoia Capital partner Matt Huang in 2018. Since then, it has invested in companies such as crypto exchange FTX, crypto lender BlockFi and crypto tax software firm TaxBit. Paradigm said the new fund will invest in crypto companies at all stages of growth, and that it is interested in the use of crypto in decentralized finance and Web3. Decentralized finance uses blockchain technology to automate transactions without the use of an intermediary like a bank. Web3 refers to a decentralized, blockchain-based version of the internet that isn’t dominated by large tech companies. https://bit.ly/3HFiuzR
Apple now believes it can ship self-driving EV as soon as 2025, Bloomberg reports.
Apple is currently determined to ship an electric car that can drive its passengers around within the next four years, according to a report from Bloomberg. Apple’s so-called Project Titan effort to bring an electric car to market has been a years-long focus that has shown signs of evaporating before a product ever comes to market. The latest report may be the most optimistic yet, stating that actual hardware could reach consumers in this decade. Bloomberg highlighted that the direction for the Apple Car is not to simply match existing electric vehicles with self-driving features, but to leapfrog the EV market with a vehicle that can truly drive itself and passengers. https://bit.ly/3qSPEGr
Waymo Via expands UPS partnership to include autonomous freight with Class 8 trucks.
Waymo Via, the delivery division of Alphabet’s self-driving arm, is expanding its existing partnership with UPS to carry freight via autonomous Class 8 trucks. Waymo is not sharing the specific number of trucks it will use for the pilot, but it did say “multiple trucks” from its test fleet of Peterbilts that are equipped with its fifth-generation Driver will be delivering goods for UPS’s North American Air Freight (NAAF) unit. The trucks will have two autonomous specialists onboard — one driver with a commercial driver’s license and one software technician — who will monitor Driver’s operations while in autonomous mode. If the trucking pilot goes well, Waymo might pose a threat to companies like TuSimple that have been partnering with UPS and its NAAF division since 2019. https://tcrn.ch/3HEXB7M
Media, Streaming, Gaming & Sports Betting
Apple developing new ‘SportsKit’ framework for Apple TV.
It’s no secret at this point that Apple is becoming more interested in the sports segment, as the company has been investing and hiring related professionals to work in its TV division. 9to5Mac has now found evidence to support these rumors, including a new “SportsKit” framework for iOS and tvOS apps. Since the first beta of iOS 15.2 was released in late October for developers, 9to5Mac found references to something called “SportsKit” in the system’s internal files. There aren’t many details about this framework yet, as it’s probably still under development, but we can tell that it’s integrated with the Apple TV app, Siri, and even home screen widgets. The “SportsKit” home screen widget includes the ability to receive real-time updates of sports matches. Right now, Siri can already show sports scores, so Apple probably wants to expand this interaction to other parts of iOS and tvOS. https://bit.ly/3DqzKGL
Sportradar rallies on new NBA alliance.
Sportradar Group AG shares rose 13% to US$24.60 in premarket trades on Wednesday after the company said it inked a new data partnership agreement with the National Basketball Association (NBA). The deal provides the NBA with an undisclosed equity stake in Sportradar. The multiyear partnership agreement that will see the NBA, Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) and NBA G League use Sportradar to grow U.S. operations, increase their international footprint and drive fan engagement starting with 2023-24 NBA season, the company said. The agreement maintains Sportradar as the exclusive provider of NBA data worldwide. The company will continue to be the authorized global distributor of official NBA and WNBA betting data and the distributor of live game video for international sports betting operators. The deal includes expanded distribution rights regarding the use of player tracking data. Sportradar CEO Carsten Koerl said the agreement with the NBA “will contribute to Sportradar’s profitable business and continued growth.” Scott Kaufman-Ross, senior vice president, head of gaming and new business ventures led the deal for the NBA. https://on.mktw.net/3wYXIqa
The NFL is attaching NFTs to tickets, and the Lions Thanksgiving game is on the list.
NFL fans will be able to get a digital digital token included with the purchase of tickets to certain games this season. The first Virtual Commemorative Ticket game already happened on November 7th when the Cardinals played the 49ers, and the next one is scheduled for Thanksgiving during the Bears / Lions matchup. NFL club business development senior vice president Bobby Gallo said that leveraging the emerging world of NFTs is a new and exciting way for the league to create additional value and further engage with fans who attend select games. https://bit.ly/30FIrhC
Adtech, Privacy & Regulatory
At least 8 state AG’s are investigating Facebook and Instagram after leaked documents showed the danger they can pose to children.
A group of 8 state attorneys general are investigating Facebook and Instagram over the harmful effects they have on young users. A press release from one of the AGs stated that the group is condemning Facebook, now called Meta, over the company promoting Instagram to kids despite knowing its negative impacts on children’s mental health. Specifically, the group is looking into the techniques utilized by Meta to increase the frequency and duration of engagement by young users and the resulting harms caused by extended engagement. https://bit.ly/3qTR4R0
Epic’s battle with Apple is partly motivated by metaverse goals.
Epic’s battle with Apple, in which both sides claimed victory, is at least partly motivated by the developer’s metaverse ambitions, suggests a new report today. The term was used by Facebook, which even renamed the company to reflect its goals in this area. Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney said there’s a race to be the first metaverse company to get a billion users … Fortnite currently has 60 million monthly active users, but the report notes that Epic is one of several companies to have something of a head-start in this area. Both Epic and Nvidia also hope to sell 3D graphics tools to metaverse creators, with Sweeney pitching Unreal Engine. Sweeney yesterday said that “Apple must be stopped” and that Google is “crazy,” in respect of their approaches to their app stores. While a court ruled that Apple must allow Epic to use its own payment platform, the Cupertino company has refused to allow the company back into the App Store until the appeal is heard. https://bit.ly/3x10VFD
Quentin Tarantino sued over ‘Pulp Fiction’ NFT auction by Miramax.
Miramax filed a lawsuit on Tuesday accusing Quentin Tarantino of copyright infringement by selling NFTs based on the screenplay for “Pulp Fiction.” The plan is to auction off NFT — non-fungible tokens — based on excerpts from Tarantino’s original handwritten script for the film, accompanied by commentary. The NFT is pitched as “secret,” meaning that its contents will be viewable exclusively by the owner. But according to the suit, Tarantino did not consult beforehand with Miramax — which still owns the rights to the director’s 1994 classic. Miramax’s attorneys have sent a cease and desist letter seeking to block the sale, but that has not stopped Tarantino and his team from moving forward. https://bit.ly/3npBcna
Fintech, Blockchain & Cryptocurrency
Hillary Clinton says cryptocurrency has the potential to destabilize nations and traditional currencies.
Hillary Clinton isn’t a fan of cryptocurrency, and she thinks its widespread adoption could undermine traditional currencies, including the dollar, and destabilize nations, big and small. The former Democratic presidential candidate and secretary of state made the comments via webcast during a panel discussion at the Bloomberg New Economy Forum in Singapore on Friday. “What looks like a very interesting and somewhat exotic effort to literally mine new coins in order to trade with them has the potential for undermining currencies, for undermining the role of the dollar as the reserve currency, for destabilizing nations, perhaps starting with small ones but going much larger,” she said. Clinton’s comments come as countries grapple with both the adoption and the regulation of cryptocurrencies. China has banned the private use of cryptocurrencies, making all cryptocurrency-related business activities illegal. The recently passed US$1 trillion US infrastructure bill brings tougher rules on crypto-trading taxes. Meantime, some developing nations are embracing crypto. El Salvador adopted bitcoin as legal tender in September with the hope of bettering its economy and Zimbabwe is considering doing the same. The biggest companies in the world are already using blockchain, the technology that powers cryptocurrency, including Amazon, Cargill, CVS, IBM, Seagate, and Visa. CEOs including Elon Musk, Richard Branson, and Jack Dorsey, and government officials such as Miami Mayor Francis Suarez and incoming New York Mayor Eric Adams, have all voiced support for cryptocurrency and its wider adoption. Meantime, North America has become the world’s biggest victim of ransomware attacks – paying a hefty US$131 million in cryptocurrency to criminals in just one year amid the rapid rise of cryptocurrency adoption, a new study by Chainalysis showed. Most of the crypto-based attacks were associated with Russia-based cybercriminal groups, the study added. Clinton’s concerns about crypto were “spot-on,” economic regulations expert John Reed Stark, who spent 11 years as the chief of the SEC’s Office of Internet Enforcement, told Insider. “The investment in cryptocurrency goes against every basic rule of investor protection,” Stark told Insider. “Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies trade on platforms that don’t have any of the safety mechanisms that traditional exchanges have.” https://bit.ly/3nBR85U
Solana becomes the 3rd crypto that can be tracked on the Bloomberg terminal after bitcoin and ethereum.
Solana is now the third cryptocurrency to be tracked by the Bloomberg terminal, following in the footsteps of bitcoin and ethereum. The price tracker, titled “Bloomberg Galaxy Solana Index,” went live on the terminal Monday as “the first institutional grade pricing source for Solana,” wrote Tim Grant, the head of Europe at Galaxy Digital, which partnered with Bloomberg to list the new crypto. Solana is the fourth-largest cryptocurrency by market cap, behind bitcoin, ethereum, and binance coin, according to CoinMarketCap data. The addition comes amid Solana’s epic year in which it has gained about 1,300% so far, according to the Bloomberg tracker, with much of those gains coming in the last few months alone. Solana has become a popular coin among those who believe it could overtake ethereum someday as the go-to for smart contracts. https://bit.ly/3qJd8NR
Luxury NFTs could become a US$56 billion market by 2030 and could see ‘dramatically’ increased demand thanks to the metaverse, Morgan Stanley says.
Luxury-branded non-fungible tokens could become a US$56 billion market by 2030 and could see “dramatically” increased demand thanks to the metaverse, Morgan Stanley said in a note published Tuesday. As a whole, NFTs could grow to a roughly US$240 billion market by 2030, with digital collectibles from luxury brands making up 8% of the space by that time, analysts, led by Edward Stanley, said. In 2021, the analysts estimate that luxury NFTs will only account for less than 1% of the transaction value. Web 1.0 connected people to information and Web 2.0 represented the social-media iteration, while Web 3.0, more commonly known as the metaverse, is “reserved for personal avatars with which people can use to interact,” they explained. And since these human representations can be styled and dressed, it offers luxury brands a “big opportunity,” they added. NFTs will open up brands to the possibility of earning in “perpetuity” thanks to smart contracts, which capture a percentage of each sale for the owner, as opposed to the physical world wherein the profit only comes from the first and initial sale. https://bit.ly/3cnVVRK
Alibaba-led consortium poised for US$8 billion deal for China chip giant Tsinghua.
A consortium led by multinational tech giant Alibaba Group Holding could be set to take over debt-ridden Chinese chipmaker, Tsinghua Unigroup, in a deal worth over 50 billion yuan (US$7.8 billion), Bloomberg New reported Wednesday, citing sources. Alibaba’s bid was seen as leading due to its weight in the tech space and financial position, and as it already has a cloud and chip business. Shares of Unisplendour , a unit of Tsinghua, climbed 5% in Shenzhen on Wednesday. None of the parties involved would offer comment to Bloomberg. The transaction is expected to be completed by December. https://on.mktw.net/3np2YjF
Ford and Rivian cancel plan to jointly develop an EV.
Ford and Rivian have abandoned a plan they had to jointly develop an EV together. In an interview with Automotive News, Ford CEO Jim Farley said the automaker will go it alone as it aims to produce 600,000 vehicles per year by the end of 2023. When the company invested US$500 million in Rivian in 2019, the two said they would work together to produce a Ford-branded EV featuring the startup’s “skateboard” powertrain. In early 2020, the two, citing the pandemic, canceled a Lincoln-branded EV. At the time, they said they still planned to go forward with an “alternative vehicle” based on Rivian’s technology. Now, that project won’t go forward either. “Right now, we have growing confidence in our ability to win in the electric space,” Farley told Automotive News. “When you compare today with when we originally made that investment, so much has changed: about our ability, about the brand’s direction in both cases, and now it’s more certain to us what we have to do.” According to Farley, part of the reason Ford and Rivian decided not to move forward with the project is the complexities of marrying their hardware and software together. The companies say the decision has not affected their relationship. https://tcrn.ch/3qTJllO
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