With relatively light small cap Canadian capital markets activity last week, combined with market turbulence, Hootsuite eyes 2022 as “window has closed” for new Canadian tech IPOs. Constellation Software launched a $200 million venture capital fund, called VMS Ventures, saying it will finance startups and rapidly growing vertical market software businesses. In a crowded global market, Canadian AI startups’ fundraising results stand out. Tesla CEO Elon Musk sold another 934,091 shares of the electric vehicle maker worth US$1.05 billion after exercising options to buy 2.15 million shares, US securities filings showed on Tuesday. China’s tech crackdown continued, as the government asked Didi Global to devise plan to delist from U.S., China’s market regulator have ordered Alibaba, Tencent, Baidu and other companies to pay a total of about US$3.4 million in penalties for 43 cases of antitrust violations regarding their past acquisitions and other deals. Noted Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo says the company will launch a new AR headset in 2022, he also predicts that the iPhone will live for as long for 10 more years, and after that will be replaced with AR. Online retail sales over Thanksgiving came in at a disappointing US$5.1 billion, as product shortages and limited discounting may have dampened excitement. According to data from Adobe Analytics. Crypto exchange Binance has been in talks with sovereign wealth funds about potentially taking a stake in the company. The metaverse has the potential to become a US$1 trillion annual revenue opportunity according to a report from crypto giant Grayscale.
Canadian Technology Capital Markets & Company News
ProStar (MAPS-TSXV) announces closing of private placement for gross proceeds of $10.2 million.
The company has closed its previously announced brokered and non-brokered private placements (collectively, the “Offering”) for gross proceeds of $10,200,000. The brokered portion of the Offering (the “Brokered Offering”) was led by Echelon Wealth Partners Inc. (the “Agent”) and consisted of the sale of 14,375,000 units (the “Units”) for aggregate gross proceeds of $5,750,000 at a price of $0.40 per Unit (the “Offering Price”). Each Unit consisted of one Common Share (each, a “Common Share”, and collectively the “Common Shares”) and one-half of 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 $0.56 per Common Share for a period of 24 months from the closing date of the Offering. https://bit.ly/3xt1ZlK
mCloud (MCLD-TSXV) announces pricing of $9.5 million underwritten public offering and uplisting to Nasdaq.
The company announced the pricing of its underwritten public offering of 2,100,000 units at a price to the public of US$4.50 per unit. Each unit to be issued in the offering consists of one common share and one warrant to purchase one common share at an exercise price of US$4.75. The common shares and warrants are immediately separable and will be issued separately. The common shares are expected to begin trading on The Nasdaq Capital Market on November 24, 2021 under the symbol “MCLD”. https://bit.ly/3HZ1x3p
Redline Communications Inc. announces new $7,000,000 credit facility.
The Company entered into a new credit agreement (the “Credit Agreement”) with Edgepoint Wealth Management (“Edgepoint”) and two existing investors. The Company intends to use the proceeds to further drive new product development as well as to expand the sales and marketing efforts to drive increased revenues. Terms of the CDN$7,000,000 term loan facility include: 10% interest rate, serviced with interest-only payments for the entire three-year term (only the first year interest is guaranteed), and the issuance of 3,500,000 common share purchase warrants (the “Warrants”). Each Warrant will be exercisable for one common share of the Company for a period of three years from the date hereof, at exercise prices of: (i) CDN$0.65 per common share with respect to one-third of the Warrants; (ii) CDN$0.75 per common share with respect to one-third of the Warrants, and (iii) CDN$0.85 per common share with respect to one-third of the Warrants. One insider of the Company is being issued 670,500 Warrants (so as to maintain its pro rata ownership percentage) and the issuance of Warrants to such insider will not materially affect control of the Company. https://bit.ly/3riM4W6
Hootsuite eyes 2022 as “window has closed” for new Canadian tech IPOs.
While Hoodsuite’s IPO dream may not be dashed, they are delayed, as frigid public market response to tech IPOs has motivated the Vancouver-based social startup to reevaluate its timeline. Sources familiar with the company’s operation have indicated that they are set to make a “go-no-go” call this week, it is highly unlikely the company will be able to meet its original timeline. The average return for the tech sector IPO in the past year is minus 2.4% compared to 16% for the average stock market. https://bit.ly/32BEcVv
Constellation Software launches $200 million venture fund to find potential acquisitions.
Constellation Software Inc. has launched a $200 million venture capital fund, called VMS Ventures, saying it will finance startups and rapidly growing vertical market software businesses. The fund intends to invest in startups that have the potential to become standalone business units within Constellation, but will not back any that have to rely upon Constellation for ongoing sales, marketing, and customer support, and development, Constellation management said. The $200 million will be invested over a three-to-five-year time span. Constellation management said they do not expect the fund to add to the company’s organic revenue growth rate. https://bit.ly/3xvpCdj
Rhino Ventures unveils $120 million third fund to invest beyond Western Canada.
Rhino Ventures announced its Fund III on November 23, and armed with $120 million is ready to move beyond British Columbia and take on not just Canada, but the world. The VC firm has already closed its first investment in Toronto (into an undisclosed company), and has two additional term sheets executed from Fund III, one for a Vancouver-based business, the other for one in London, United Kingdom. The fund closed October 15 with investments from Kensington Capital Partners as an anchor investor, contributing $20 million from its private equity fund. A number of CEOs and founders Rhino previously backed contributed to the fund as did CIBC and BMO. It took Rhino only three months to raise $120 million, $20 million more than it expected for the oversubscribed fund. Fund III has a 10-year lifespan and will fund companies pre-seed through to Series A, with cheques ranging in value from $5,000 to $5 million. https://bit.ly/3FImEoJ
Bill Gates firm backs Mangrove Lithium, as need for faster lithium processing for electric vehicles booms.
Mangrove Lithium has received a US$10 million Series A round to address the emerging deficit of high-purity lithium needed for electric vehicle batteries. The company will use the investment to build its first commercial-scale plant with the intention of expanding lithium refining capacity in the Western Hemisphere. Breakthrough Energy Ventures led the round with participation from existing investor BDC Capital’s Cleantech Practice. Established in 2015 by Bill Gates and a coalition of private investors concerned about the impacts of accelerating climate change, Breakthrough Energy Ventures supports the innovations that will lead the world to net-zero emissions. Simon Moores, CEO of Benchmark Mineral Intelligence, contends that currently lithium demand is growing at three times the speed of lithium supply. “That’s a big problem that needs to be solved, he said. https://bit.ly/3DRe3zE
In a crowded global market, Canadian AI startups’ fundraising results stand out.
Funding for Canadian AI startups rose to record heights in 2019 before seeing declines in 2020 to just $488 million in total funding. But 2021 is proving to be more than a return to form for Canadian AI startups, with some $1.5 billion raised through the third quarter. Canada saw $895 million across 21 deals in Q2 2021 AI funding, and just $446 million in the third quarter, albeit from a slightly higher deal count of 24. But as the Q3 2021 dollar result for the country is nearly on par with its full-year 2020 total, it’s hard to be too bearish. The evolution of Canadian AI funding as a portion of all venture capital funding in the country is impressive. AI companies raised 16% of known venture capital funds in 2021 thus far, a huge gain on the mere 2% that they were worth of total dollar volume in 2016. https://tcrn.ch/3ldxhIm
A small restaurant chain in Canada is plowing all of its profits into bitcoin.
Its returned 460% on its investment and is tripling locations during the pandemic. Tahinis is a family-based restaurant chain that along with its Middle Eastern cuisine serves this advice to small-business owners everywhere: Invest in bitcoin. Tahinis is billed as the world’s first restaurant chain to invest 100% of its cash reserves into the cryptocurrency. Its founders, brothers Aly and Omar Hamam, said bitcoin exposure has been key in aiding its expansion in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic and soaring inflation that’s sent prices soaring for ingredients they need for shawarma and other dishes. The company based in London, Ontario, Canada, first invested in bitcoin in August 2020. Bitcoin in August 2020 traded under US$12,000. It was around US$58,075 as of Friday after last week’s record high above US$69,000. Tahinis follows a so-called “bitcoin-standard strategy” under which it operates in fiat currency, or Canadian dollars, then invests all profit into bitcoin, a move Aly said was similar to that of MicroStrategy’s. https://bit.ly/2ZnARbo
Uber enters booming cannabis market with orders in Ontario.
Uber will allow users in Ontario, Canada, to place orders for cannabis on its Uber Eats app, marking the ride-hailing giant’s foray into the booming business, a company spokesperson said on Monday. Uber Eats will list cannabis retailer Tokyo Smoke on its marketplace on Monday, following which customers can place orders from the Uber Eats app and then pick it up at their nearest Tokyo Smoke store, the spokesperson said. Uber, which already delivers liquor through its Eats unit, has had its sights set on the burgeoning cannabis market for some time now. Its CEO Dara Khosrowshahi told media in April the company will consider delivering cannabis when the legal coast is clear in the United States. https://reut.rs/3xhwg77
Global Markets: IPOs, Venture Capital, M&A
Elon Musk just sold 934,000 company shares worth US$1.05 billion.
Tesla Inc Chief Executive Elon Musk sold another 934,091 shares of the electric vehicle maker worth US$1.05 billion after exercising options to buy 2.15 million shares, US securities filings showed on Tuesday. The world’s richest person had on November 6 tweeted that he would sell 10% of his stock if users of the social-media platform approved. A majority of them had agreed with the sale. Since then, he has sold 9.2 million shares worth US$9.9 billion. Last Tuesday, Musk sold 934,091 shares to meet tax withholding obligations related to the exercise of stock options. https://bit.ly/3CVstxl
China’s government asks Didi Global to devise plan to delist from U.S.
The Chinese government has asked Didi Global’s executives to delist the ride-hailing company from the U.S. stock market, Bloomberg reported, citing people familiar with the matter. The Cyberspace Administration of China, the country’s top internet regulator, has directed Didi to draw up a delisting plan and work out the details, according to Bloomberg. Possible scenarios include privatization or a Hong Kong listing, which would be followed by the U.S. delisting. A delisting would be a drastic outcome for Beijing’s harsh crackdown on Didi that began nearly five months ago. Just a few days after Didi went public on the New York Stock Exchange in late June, the internet regulator launched a cybersecurity investigation into the company and removed its apps from Chinese app stores, saying it violated data privacy laws. The shares of SoftBank Group, Didi’s largest shareholder, extended their losses after the Bloomberg report came out. SoftBank’s stock was down 4.9% as of Friday afternoon in Tokyo. https://bit.ly/3cV0RxO
Binance is in talks with several sovereign wealth funds about taking a stake in the crypto exchange, report says.
Crypto exchange Binance has been in talks with sovereign wealth funds about potentially taking a stake in the company, chief executive Changpeng “CZ” Zhao told the Financial Times on Tuesday in an interview. CZ said he believed this step could improve its “perception and relationships” with various governments and regulators, the FT said. He did not disclose which funds the company has been talking to, but he did say “the ticket size involved will not be small . . . it won’t be a short process,” according to the FT. However, this wouldn’t be the company’s first brush with a sovereign wealth fund. The FT noted that Binance’s Singapore arm is backed by Vertex Ventures, the venture capital arm of Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund, Temasek. The FT also quoted CZ as saying at the Bloomberg New Economy Forum last week that Binance was recording daily transaction volumes of US$170 billion, compared with US$10 billion to $30 billion two years ago and that the revenue run rate was “in the billions”. https://bit.ly/3rcrlDp
Ericsson to buy U.S. cloud company Vonage in US$6.2 billion cash deal.
Ericsson has agreed to buy U.S.-based global cloud-communications provider Vonage for US$21 a share, with an enterprise value of US$6.2 billion, the companies announced on Monday. The deal has been unanimously approved by Vonage’s board of directors, and will build on Ericsson’s aims to expand globally in wireless enterprise, “offering existing customers an increased share of a market valued at US$700 billion by 2030,” the Swedish telecoms-equipment maker said. The cloud-based Vonage Communications Platform (VCP) has over 120,000 customers and more than one million registered developers globally. Ericsson said the transaction would be earnings and free cashflow accretive before mergers & acquisitions from 2024 onwards. Vonage closed Friday at US$16.37 per share. https://on.mktw.net/3l1c84i
AWS loosens limits on moving data out of cloud.
Amazon Web Services is dramatically increasing the amount of data that users can move out of its cloud before incurring “network egress” charges, according to a blog post. The decision suggests that AWS is feeling the heat from companies like Cloudflare and Oracle, which have accused the cloud giant of overcharging customers for the networking bandwidth consumed when moving data out of its cloud. Starting next week, users of AWS’ free service tier will be able to move 100 gigabytes of data per month out of AWS to the internet, up from 1 GB previously. For users of the Amazon Cloudfront content delivery service, the new limit is 1 terabyte monthly, up from 50 GB previously. In a tweet, Cloudflare co-founder and CEO Matthew Prince hailed the move as a “step toward the inevitable end” of network egress charges, which have been costly for companies like Apple, Pinterest and Netflix, as we reported in 2019. https://bit.ly/3E1bR8G
Apple plans to replace the iPhone with AR in 10 years.
Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo says the company will launch a new AR headset in 2022, he also predicts that the iPhone will live for as long for 10 more years, and after that will be replaced with AR. Even though Apple is the most valuable company of all time, CEO Tim Cook is aware that a business can’t rely that much on one product, as half of the company’s revenue is still about the iPhone. Kuo also added that Apple will need to make a giant shift if they really want AR to replace the iPhone in 10 years. https://bit.ly/3nWRfsW
Apple’s AR headset coming next year with “Mac-level’ power: report.
According to a research note from analyst Ming-chi Kuo, Apple will release their first AR headset in the fourth quarter of 2022. The headset will have two processors, one with “the same level of computing power as M1” and one lower-end chip to handle input from various sensors. The headset is also said to have two 4K OLED micro displays from Sony. The headset is said to have Mac-level computing power. https://bit.ly/3HWm7BO
Niantic receives US$300 million investment from Coatue.
Niantic Inc., developer of the world’s first and only planet-scale AR platform, announced today that Coatue has made a US$300 million investment in the company at a valuation of US$9 billion. Niantic will use the funds to invest in current games and new apps, expand the Lightship developer platform, and build out its vision for the Real-World Metaverse. Earlier this month, Niantic launched the Lightship platform, enabling developers across the world to realize their visions for augmented reality and the Real-World Metaverse. The Lightship Platform is the foundation for Niantic’s own products, built on years of experience developing and running titles such as Ingress Prime and Pokémon GO. Our launch partners included Coachella, Historic Royal Palaces, Lifull, the PGA of America, Science Museum Group, Shueisha, SoftBank, the artist JR and Superblue, TRIPP, Universal Pictures, and Warner Music Group. Niantic also announced Niantic Ventures, a $20 million fund to help identify and fund the AR leaders of tomorrow. Niantic’s mission is to inspire people to explore the world, together. https://bit.ly/3nMLnSI
The metaverse is a US$1 trillion opportunity, crypto giant Grayscale says as virtual land sales boom.
The metaverse has the potential to become a US$1 trillion annual revenue opportunity according to a report from crypto giant Grayscale. The report came after a surge in interest regarding the metaverse after Facebook officially changed their name to Meta. The metaverse refers to a range of online 3D virtual environments, in which people can play games, build things, socialize, work, and even trade and earn crypto assets. The most popular part of the metaverse is currently gaming, with Roblox and Fortnite booming over the last few years. https://bit.ly/32r7Cp4
Baidu kicks off its robotaxi business, after getting the OK to charge fees in Beijing.
Chinese tech giant Baidu announced this week that they can start collecting robotaxi fares, marking a major step toward building its driverless taxi business. The regulatory approval to support robotaxis in China comes as local governments in the U.S. have been progressing in a similar direction. Approval in Beijing marks the first large city in the country that can charge the public for robotaxi rides. While the company hasn’t announced the exact price of the rides, it said fares will be comparable with the premium level ride-hailing charges available through apps like Didi. https://cnb.cx/313chgI
Media, Streaming, Gaming & Sports Betting
Amazon in talks to acquire minority stake in NFL media properties.
Months after winning the exclusive streaming rights to the NFL’s “Thursday Night Football” package for more than US$1 billion a year, Amazon is reportedly seeking to invest more in pro football: It’s in talks to acquire up to a 49% stake in NFL media properties including the NFL Network and RedZone TV channels, as well as NFL.com, according to sports-business publication Front Office Sports. In June, The Wall Street Journal had reported that the NFL had hired Goldman Sachs to explore strategic options in the properties, which could include selling a minority stake. The NFL, meanwhile, could expand its popularity overseas by bringing on a global technology company as an investor in its media business, according to reports. Amazon’s interest in more live programming, and especially the NFL—the country’s most popular sports league—makes a ton of sense: The e-commerce giant wants to significantly expand its advertising business by focusing on luring more TV and video ad dollars that are going to streaming. It also already owns stakes in other sports-media properties such as the YES Network, which broadcasts New York Yankees games. Getting closer to the leagues by investing in their media properties could be just good long-term business planning. But after agreeing to its “Thursday Night Football” deal, Amazon might wait a bit before agreeing to a new expensive live-sports rights contract. For example, the NFL is also seeking a new broadcast partner for its “Sunday Ticket” subscription package, which allows customers to view any NFL game from any local market during the season. Apple and Disney have been interested in Sunday Ticket, as The Information previously reported. Amazon has expressed interest as well, though recently it has not been considered a frontrunner by the NFL, said a person familiar with the matter. The league believes the e-commerce giant wants to see if it can succeed with “Thursday Night Football” first before committing to any more expensive live-sports rights, the person said. https://bit.ly/3p3PtFt
ByteDance rival Kuaishou’s ad revenue jumps 77%.
Chinese online video company Kuaishou, a major competitor of TikTok owner ByteDance in China, reported a 77% jump in online advertising sales for the quarter through September, despite the country’s slowing economic growth and Beijing’s regulatory crackdown. Hong Kong-listed Kuaishou said its total revenue rose 33%, thanks to the strength of its ad sales. But its operating loss widened due to a sharp increase in marketing expenses. Kuaishou’s revenue, which was better than analysts’ expectations, came after other Chinese internet giants such as Alibaba and Tencent earlier this month reported weaker-than-expected quarterly results. But Kuaishou, like its peers, continues to face uncertainties as the Chinese government’s scrutiny of the internet sector continues. Last month, Kuaishou cofounder Su Hua stepped down as the company’s CEO, in the latest in a series of leadership changes at major Chinese tech firms amid Beijing’s escalating crackdown. https://bit.ly/30ZElBN
Spotify takes on TikTok with vertical feed of music videos.
We have seen several apps like Instagram and YouTube replicating the TikTok style with a vertical short video feed, and now Spotify is also joining this list. The company has been testing a new feature in its mobile app that basically adds a vertical feed of music videos that users can scroll through to find something they like. Spotify declined to provide further details about the vertical feed of music videos, but the company confirmed in a statement that it has been “exploring the idea of a vertical video feed,” but this doesn’t mean that the feature will see the light of day for everyone. https://bit.ly/3nSgsEC
Adtech, Privacy & Regulatory
China slaps internet giants with fines related to past deals.
China’s market regulator have ordered Alibaba, Tencent, Baidu and other companies to pay a total of about US$3.4 million in penalties for 43 cases of antitrust violations regarding their past acquisitions and other deals. While the fines are tiny relative to the vast sizes of those companies, the latest crackdown shows how the regulators are going back in time and scrutinizing years-old investments made by the tech giants. This is the latest indication of how the Chinese government’s scrutiny of internet companies hasn’t stopped. Over the past year, Beijing has stepped up its control over the tech sector through anti-monopoly investigations, data security probes and other measures. China’s State Administration of Market Regulation announced the latest penalties and the details of the 43 cases in a statement released over the weekend. Some of the alleged violations were related to investments that happened nearly a decade ago. https://bit.ly/3I8MqEW
China’s state-owned firms restrict use of Tencent messaging app.
Some of China’s biggest state-owned companies are limiting their employees’ use of the domestic version of Tencent’s WeChat messaging app, citing security concerns, The Wall Street Journal reported. The move comes as the Chinese government continues to step up its scrutiny of Tencent and other tech giants in a sweeping crackdown on the country’s internet sector. Data security is one of the main focuses of Beijing’s escalating regulatory crackdown. The state-run companies, including China Mobile Ltd., China Construction Bank Corp. and China National Petroleum Corp., have told employees to shut down chat groups that were set up for work purposes in Tencent’s app, saying that the information shared in such groups could be sensitive, according to the Journal. https://bit.ly/3D2ocs2
Apple, Amazon hit with US$225 million in antitrust fines from Italian regulator.
Italy’s antitrust regulator fined Apple and Amazon about US$229 million on Tuesday over an agreement between the two companies that limited which resellers could offer Apple and Beats products on Amazon’s Italian website. The investigation dates back to a 2018 agreement between the companies. The regulator said more than 70% of consumer electronics in Italy are purchased on Amazon, and the agreement restricted choices and raised prices for consumers. It fined Apple about US$151.5 million and Amazon about US$77.4 million. Both companies told Reuters they plan to appeal the decisions. Amazon and Apple, along with Google and Facebook, now Meta Platforms, are under antitrust scrutiny by regulators around the world. In the US, as part of the Federal Trade Commission’s investigation of Amazon, the agency is looking at a similar, smaller scale arrangement between Amazon and Apple, where some sellers of refurbished Apple products were restricted from selling on Amazon. https://bit.ly/3xsUzPq
Apple sues NSO Group for attacking iOS users.
Apple on Tuesday announced that it has filed a lawsuit against NSO Group, which is known for developing the advanced spyware “Pegasus” to attack and surveil users of iOS and Android devices. The company claims that it is suing the creators of the spyware to “prevent further abuse and harm to its users.” Pegasus was developed with governments and law enforcement agencies in mind since the NSO Group does not sell the spyware to regular users. Still, most of the countries that have purchased Pegasus are known to violate human rights, which puts people like journalists and political opponents in danger.In addition to the lawsuit, Apple also announced a $10 million contribution to organizations working on behalf of cybersecurity. More details can be found on Apple’s website. https://bit.ly/3DW57Jo
Online retail sales over Thanksgiving came in at a disappointing US$5.1 billion.
Product shortages and limited discounting may have dampened excitement. According to data from Adobe Analytics, which tracks over a trillion visits to US retail sites, consumers spent US$5.1 billion online on Thursday, which was at the lower end of its estimates. Online sales were flat versus 2020, when they jumped 21.5% from 2019. Increasingly, peak holiday shopping days in the US have lost significance amid year-round deals and discounting. But this year, warnings of product shortages and fewer discounts because of supply chain issues may have caused consumers to shop earlier in the season to avoid disappointment, or to opt out entirely. Experts say that consumers looking for deep discounts this year may well be disappointed. According to data from Salesforce, the average discount over Thanksgiving was 27%, which marked a 7% drop from last year. Black Friday sales are already underway and Adobe is estimating that consumers will spend somewhere between US$8.8 billion and US$9.6 billion over the course of the day, which is in line with last year’s estimate. But with mountains of stock stuck on container ships or docks that may never make it to stores in time for Christmas, experts say we could end up seeing major holiday-style sales in January. https://bit.ly/319EZfP
Twitter tests live shopping ahead of Holidays.
Twitter is the latest social network to try out live shopping this year, following a crowded field of startups aiming to offer an updated take on QVC and HSN. For its first test, Twitter is working with Walmart and singer Jason Derulo to host a shopping livestream on Sunday, featuring home goods, clothing and electronics. Viewers can make purchases during the event. YouTube, meanwhile, is wrapping up a week of holiday shopping livestreams on Monday featuring video creators and brands offering special deals on products. Facebook this summer hosted live shopping sessions with retailers including Sephora and Abercrombie & Fitch. Twitter has dabbled in e-commerce efforts in the past. In July, it began a pilot shopping program in the U.S. called Shop Module, in which businesses can highlight their products at the top of their profile. Users can scroll through the items and buy something through an in-app browser. On Monday, it said it would expand the program to more U.S. retailers in the coming weeks. The company first forayed into shopping in 2014 with a “buy” button, but it didn’t take off and was shut down three years later. https://bit.ly/3nZd4rS
Fintech, Blockchain & Cryptocurrency
Crypto.com coin has surged 91% since the exchange secured the naming rights to the home of the LA Lakers.
Crypto.com coin has surged in the week since the exchange announced it had secured the naming rights to the home of Los Angeles Lakers and the Los Angeles Clippers. Crypto.com rallied to US$0.7536 on Monday, reflecting a 91% jump from its November 17 price of US$0.3931. The coin hit an all-time high of US$0.7984 on Sunday, which was a 103% rise from when the exchange announced the news. The token of the Singapore-based cryptocurrency platform worked its way up to become the 13th largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization, according to CoinMarketCap. It now boasts a US$19 billion valuation, up US$10 billion from last Tuesday .The company made headlines last week when it scored the marketing slam-dunk by signing a deal with the owner of the Staples Center, AEG, for 20-year naming rights beginning on Christmas day. For a whopping US$700 million, the official home of the Los Angeles Lakers will now be named Crypto.com Arena. https://bit.ly/3cIoA4f
El Salvador will launch ‘bitcoin bond’ that pays special dividend amid plans for new crypto city.
El Salvador is partnering with digital assets firm Blockstream to raise about US$1 billion for a “bitcoin bond,” President Nayib Bukele announced Saturday. Half of the funds raised from the bond will be used to purchase more bitcoin, and the other half will be used for energy and bitcoin mining infrastructure. Blockstream is developing a tokenized financial instrument for the 10-year “bitcoin bond,” which will pay 6.5% initially, according to Coindesk. Then El Salvador will sell bitcoin after a five-year lockup period, allowing it to pay a special dividend on the bonds. Meanwhile, Bukele also said El Salvador is launching the world’s first “Bitcoin City,” funded by cryptocurrency. https://bit.ly/3DTWOxG
More chips will be made in America amid a global spending surge.
Investment in U.S. chip production is on the rise. But so too, is semiconductor spending elsewhere. Samsung Electronics Co. ’s planned US$17 billion chip factory in Texas is expected to crank out top-end semiconductors that are essential to 5G cellular networks, self-driving cars and artificial intelligence. It follows hefty bets on U.S. soil by Intel Corp. , Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. and Texas Instruments Inc. The new factories won’t be operational for years. But the investment promises to boost America’s production foothold in advanced chip making after decades of ceding ground to locations in Asia like Taiwan, South Korea and China. It comes at a time, though, when chip makers are investing heavily in these locations, too. U.S.-based companies represent about half of the US$464 billion semiconductor industry, according to the Semiconductor Industry Association and market-researcher International Data Corp. But many of the biggest names, like Qualcomm Inc. and Nvidia Corp. , design chips but don’t manufacture the parts themselves, choosing instead to outsource the work. And that is often done overseas. About three-quarters of global semiconductor production capacity sits in just four Asian locations: Taiwan, South Korea, China and Japan, according to the Semiconductor Industry Association. The U.S. represents just 13%. Global chip manufacturers are projected to lay out $146 billion in capital expenditures this year, about 50% higher than before the Covid-19 pandemic began and double the level of just five years ago, according to Gartner Inc., a market researcher. The U.S. is capturing just about a seventh of that global investment, a level similar to two years ago, Gartner said. Asia, by contrast, represented more than 80% of the total spending. The ratios are expected to be similar through 2025, Gartner says. https://on.wsj.com/3p8pJry
Samsung to build US$17 billion chip plant in Texas.
South Korean conglomerate Samsung Electronics plans to build a US$17 billion chip making plant in Texas, The Wall Street Journal reported. The plant, part of Samsung’s US$205 billion three-year plan to expand its capacity to manufacture computer chips and other products, will start production of more advanced chips around the end of 2024, the report said. Those high end chips won’t address the current shortage of older generation chips in everything from smartphones to cars. The Samsung investment comes amid a push by the Biden administration to bring technology manufacturing back to the U.S., and as producers including Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co., and Intel earmark hundreds of billions of dollars to expand output. https://bit.ly/3xsfQsB
Apple taps TSMC to build custom iPhone 5G modem in 2023.
Apple is forging a closer partnership with Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. in hopes of reducing its reliance on Qualcomm, Nikkei Asia has learned, with plans to have the Taiwanese chip titan make 5G iPhone modems from 2023. Apple plans to adopt TSMC’s 4-nanometer chip production technology to mass produce its first in-house 5G modem chip, four people familiar with the matter said, adding that the iPhone maker is developing its own radio frequency and millimeter wave components to complement the modem. Apple is also working on its own power management chip specifically for the modem, two people briefed on the matter said. In the latest iPhone series, all of these components are provided by Qualcomm of the U.S. Apple has been attempting to reduce its reliance on Qualcomm and gain more control over vital semiconductor components for several years. The two U.S. companies settled a lengthy legal battle over patent royalties in 2019, and Qualcomm recently confirmed that its share of iPhone modem orders will drop to about 20% in 2023. https://s.nikkei.com/3laIvNW
GMC will begin Hummer EV deliveries in December.
The first electric Hummers will be making their way to their new owners this holiday season. According to Autoblog, GMC boss Duncan Aldred has announced that deliveries of the Hummer Edition 1 — the all-electric truck variant that’ll set buyers back over $112,000 — begin in December. The conference has also revealed that Edition 1 has an EPA range of 329 miles, a bit lower than the 350-mile range the automaker was originally expecting. GMC’s four-ton electric truck has 1,000 horsepower and 11,500 ft/lb of torque generated by its three motors, giving it the capability to get from zero to 60 miles-per-hour within 3 seconds. The truck can also tow up 7,500 pounds and can carry up to 1,300 pounds. It was built on the Ultium battery pack, the platform GM developed to electrify dozens of models across its brands in the coming years. When it starts shipping out next month, the Edition 1 Hummer EV will become of the first electric trucks in the market along with Rivian’s R1T. Tesla is also working on the electric Cybertruck, but the company delayed its release to 2022 in August. https://tcrn.ch/3ld5Xdj
GM backs electric boat startup in US$150 million deal.
General Motors has taken a 25 percent stake in Pure Watercraft, a Seattle-based startup that makes electric outboard motors and batteries for boats, CNBC reports. The deal is worth US$150 million, though that’s split between cash and payment-in-kind contributions from GM. The two companies didn’t tell CNBC what that split will look like, but GM “will become a supplier of components to Pure Watercraft, a co-developer of new products, and will provide engineering, design and manufacturing expertise to help [Pure Watercraft] establish new factories,” according to the report. GM struck a similar deal — though half the size — with Lordstown Motors in 2020 as part of that electric pickup truck startup’s merger with a special purpose acquisition company. The automaker also once had a deal in place to receive $2 billion of stock in hydrogen-electric trucking startup Nikola in exchange for access to parts, components, and some manufacturing. But that deal fell apart after Nikola was accused of fraud in September 2020. GM has made far less rocky bets outside of the EV space. It bought self-driving startup Cruise in 2016, and backed an MIT spinoff focused on batteries in 2015. https://bit.ly/3raFaCe
UK will require new homes to have EV chargers starting in 2022.
Electric vehicle (EV) charging stations will be required for all new homes and businesses in the UK starting in 2022, the government announced. The new measure aims to boost EV adoption in the nation by adding up to 145,000 extra charging points each year. The UK government has already backed the installation of over 250,000 charging points, so the new rules would increase that by over 50 percent in the first year alone. Details of the rules, like specifications and power outputs of the installations, have yet to be released. The UK government aims to completely ban the sale of fossil fuel cars by 2030 — 10 years earlier than planned. The government previously said that it’s prepared to spend £500 million (about US$660 million) on building EV charging infrastructure in the country. https://tcrn.ch/3cIwrPp
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