After around 15 years of covering Canadian technology stocks, we’re very encouraged to begin see an increasing number of high quality Canadian companies go public or consider going public, which enables average investors to benefit from innovation driven wealth creation. In this regard, we’ve recently seen news pertaining to BBTV, Cymax and Nuvei.

Canadian Technology Capital Markets & Company News

BroadbandTV looking to go public on TSX through $172 million IPO. BBTV Holdings, the holding company of Vancouver-based media and technology company BroadbandTV, has filed for an initial public offering (IPO) with the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX). BroadbandTV is one of several Canadian tech companies to make moves in public markets this year. BBTV Holdings is looking to raise $172.4 million CAD through the IPO by issuing subordinate voting shares priced at $14 and $22.50 per share. The company plans to list on the TSX under the symbol BBTV. The TSX has yet to conditionally approve the company’s listing application. BroadbandTV creates, distributes, manages, and monetizes video content. The company provides end-to-end content management and technology solutions for independent content creators and media companies to grow their presence online. BroadbandTV was founded in 2005, before Google acquired YouTube for US$1.65 billion. Within four years, the National Basketball Association became a client of BroadbandTV, which spurred other media conglomerates like A&E and Sony to follow suit. According to BBTV’s prospectus, $158.8 million of the IPO proceeds will be used to acquire the issued and outstanding securities of BroadbandTV from the Canadian division of European media company RTL Group. In 2013, RTL Group invested $36 million into BBTV in 2013 in exchange for a 51 percent stake in the company. At the time, the deal marked the largest private placement into an internet media company in Canada since 2007. BBTV currently owns 49 percent of BroadbandTV. According to The Globe and Mail, the IPO would allow BBTV Holdings to buy out RTL Group’s ownership of BroadbandTV. The IPO is being led by Canaccord Genuity Corp. and Scotia Capital Inc. According to the recently-filed prospectus, BBTV’s revenue has increased from $33 million annually in 2014 to $372 million as of 2019. BroadbandTV is one of several Canadian tech companies to make significant moves in public markets this year. The most recent notable Canadian tech startup to go public was Toronto-based Nuvei, which made its TSX debut and raised an $833 million USD IPO, the largest in Canadian history. https://bit.ly/3lzyIi5

Vancouver online furniture seller Cymax eyes potential IPO as sales projected to double. B.C. furniture e-commerce company Cymax Group Inc. is exploring going public as early as next spring, joining a string of Canadian digital companies doing the same as investor demand for tech stocks soars during the pandemic. Burnaby-based Cymax, controlled by billionaire entrepreneur Markus Frind, has recently met with investment bankers and is in the process of hiring several executives to fill out its management team. He added “nothing is locked in stone” in terms of what Cymax will do, as its decision will hinge on a few factors, including a post-U.S. election read of indicators such as consumer confidence. Cymax operates an online marketplace for more than 150 furniture and home furnishing vendors to sell and ship their wares through its websites Cymax.com and Homesquare.com and others including Amazon.com, Walmart.com and Houzz.com. The Canadian company forecasts that its revenue will more than double this year to about US$300-million, outpacing the growth of rival Wayfair Inc. – whose stock has tripled in value this year. Cymax says it is also outpacing the whole online furniture and home furnishings category, which is expected to expand sales by 12.4 per cent this year, market research firm eMarketer says. Cymax is the latest in a string of Canadian tech companies considering initial public offerings in response to intensifying interest from public investors. The CEO of Vancouver’s BroadbandTV Corp. is trying to take her company public, while Grocery Gateway founder Bill Di Nardo is doing the same with his information management services provider Pivotree Inc. The Bloomberg news service said last week that smart thermostat maker Ecobee Inc. is looking to go public by merging with a Canaccord special purpose acquisition company. Online education software provider D2L Corp. of Kitchener, Ont., and Montreal telemedicine startup Dialogue are also exploring the possibility of going public. https://tgam.ca/2GtQowM

MediaValet (MVP-TSX) announces $10 million bought deal. MediaValet Inc. entered into an agreement with a syndicate of underwriters led by Cormark Securities Inc. pursuant to which the Underwriters have agreed to purchase on a bought deal private placement basis, 5.0 million common share at a price of $2.00 per Share, for gross proceeds to the Company of approximately $10.0 million. https://bit.ly/3lsGzxP

AnalytixInsight (ALY-TSXV) arranges financing. Artificial Intelligence company, AnalytixInsight Inc. is pleased to announce that the Company has arranged a non-brokered private placement financing of 3,000,000 units of AnalytixInsight at a price of $0.55 per Unit for gross proceeds of $1,650,000. Each Unit shall consist of one common share of the Company and one-half of one common share purchase warrant. Each whole Warrant entitles the holder to purchase one common share of the Company at $0.75 per share for a period of 24 months following the closing date of the Offering. The proceeds of the Offering are expected to be used for the Company’s growth initiatives and general corporate purposes. The Offering is expected to close on or about October 16, 2020. https://bit.ly/3djcJcq

CB2 (CBII-CSE) acquires Texas-based Maverick County Medical. Texas-based Maverick County Medical has been providing Primary Care Services to over 10,300 patients in Eagle Pass and surrounding regions. In 2019, Maverick County Medical generated $1.6 million in revenues and $0.29 million in net income. CB2 Insights will continue to expand services offered by Maverick County Medical including deployment of its proprietary telehealth platform to support patients across the state of Texas. CB2 Insights paid a total cash consideration of $0.98 million for the acquisition with 50% paid upfront and the remaining 50% following 6 months from the date of the transaction. https://bit.ly/3iLKHas

BIGG Digital Assets Inc. (BIGG-CSE) subsidiary Netcoins applies for landmark securities registration. BIGG Digital Assets Inc., owner of Netcoins, an online cryptocurrency brokerage announced that it applied for registration from the British Columbia Securities Commission (BCSC) and the Canadian Securities Administrators’ (CSA) regulatory sandbox which, if approved, would allow Netcoins to operate the first regulated open-loop crypto asset trading platform in Canada. The CSA Sandbox is an initiative of the CSA to support fintech businesses seeking to offer innovative products, services and applications in Canada, and allows firms to pioneer innovative ideas while tailoring unique regulatory requirements. Netcoins has been working with the BCSC and the CSA to identify unique ways to address risks inherent in crypto asset trading platforms and to provide comfort to the regulators, and we expect this will further crypto adoption in Canada. https://bit.ly/2GEkjCJ 

Clearbanc deepens push into e-commerce with inventory financing. Toronto-based Clearbanc has launched a new inventory program, whereby Clearbanc purchases inventory directly from suppliers and companies pay back Clearbanc after customers buy their products. The offering allows businesses to have their inventory purchased by Clearbanc from their suppliers upfront for up to $10 million. From there, Clearbanc and the business enter into a revenue share agreement, meaning businesses only pay Clearbanc back when the product is sold, with a six percent fee. Clearbanc, whose flagship revenue-share financing offering to startups rivals the likes of Shopify Capital (which launched in Canada over the spring), PayPal, and Amazon, is deepening push into alternative funding models for e-commerce companies with this new inventory financing tool. Historically, Clearbanc would take a cut of the company’s entire revenue, not just on the specific inventory purchased. Clearbanc charged up to a 12 percent fee until the financing was paid back. Michele Romanow, Clearbanc’s co-founder and president, explained that Clearbanc wanted to launch the inventory financing tool because this upcoming holiday season will be “make or break” for online brands. https://bit.ly/33GyWOl

Toronto Pearson enhances commitment to healthy airport by partnering with CleanSlate UV. Greater Toronto Airports Authority (GTAA), which operates and maintains Toronto Pearson, is excited to announce the deployment of a new technology as part of their “Healthy Airport” commitment. The GTAA will be installing CleanSlate UV Sanitizers, an innovative technology that uses hospital-grade UV light to sanitize objects like cell phones, wallets, keys and other potential germ-carrying items commonly found in airports. https://bit.ly/3d3FCsP

CAE (CAE-TSX) becomes first Canadian aerospace company to become carbon neutral. CAE offsets its carbon emissions by both investing in renewable energy certificates in the countries where it operates and by funding greenhouse gas reduction projects, including wind energy projects in India and forest preservation in Canada. These investments lead to carbon emission reductions equivalent to emissions from the fuel used for live training flights in its academies, energy consumption in its locations worldwide and from the air business travel of all its employees. https://bit.ly/3jBYwJR

Global Markets: IPOs, Venture Capital, M&A

The London Stock Exchange is exploring how to lure SPACs to the UK, a report says. The London Stock Exchange is exploring how to lure so-called blank-check companies to Britain, following a boom in activity in the US, the Financial Times reported Tuesday. More than US$48 billion has been raised from 127 US special purpose acquisition companies in the US so far in 2020, compared to less than US$14 billion from 59 SPACs in the entire of 2019, according to data from website SPACInsider. With IPO activity sluggish in London, the London Stock Exchange is in early talks with how to encourage blank check activity in the UK, according to the FT. “The banks see an enormous amount of activity going on in the US and think ‘could that be replicated over here?’ They’re interested in it,” a confidential source with knowledge of the matter told the FT. The FT said investing in SPACs is more difficult compared to the United States. In the US, shareholders get to vote on whether they approve the sponsor’s target company and can get their money back regardless of whether the target company is approved or not. However this is not the same in the UK. It is harder for investors to vote, or get their money back, but sponsors are able to include these two benefits. Investors usually only get to redeem their funds if the acquisition doesn’t go through within a specific timeframe of around 2 years. https://bit.ly/33ANvDe

Social Capital SPAC led by billionaire Chamath Palihapitiya will merge with Clover Health in US$3.7 billion deal. Social Capital Hedosophia Holdings Corp. III will value Clover Health at US$3.7 billion in the deal, which includes up to US$1.2 billion in cash proceeds. The move aims to fuel Clover Health’s streak as the fastest-growing Medicare Advantage insurer in the US, according to a press release. The special-purpose acquisition company, or SPAC, will use funds raised in its initial public offering to buy the insurance company and make it public. The blank-check company went public in April under the ticker IPOC, and has since soared roughly 24% amid Wall Street’s SPAC frenzy. Clover Health sells Medicare insurance in seven states and offers physicians software for aggregating data across patients. The model combines traditional healthcare with a data business more commonly seen in Silicon Valley. Physicians using the tool have lowered waste and patient costs while still delivering better care, according to a one-pager tweeted by Palihapitiya. https://bit.ly/2GBFxR7

Faraday Future plans to go public through a SPAC deal. Faraday Future, the electric vehicle startup with a messy and complicated past, is planning to go public through a special-purchase acquisition company (SPAC) deal. The company’s chief executive Carsten Breitfeld told Reuters that the company is working on a reverse merger with a SPAC and “will be able to announce something hopefully quite soon.” If the deal is successful, Breitfeld told Reuters that Faraday Future will first build the FF91 at its Hanford, California plant, but then work with a contract manufacturer in Asia that it has already entered into an agreement with. Faraday Future’s financial issues date back to 2017, when LeEco, the Chinese tech company it was closely linked to, began dealing with multiple financial headaches of its own. They worsened when Faraday Future fell out with its main backer, Evergrande Health, in 2018. https://tcrn.ch/30DC9MQ

DraftKings to offer 32 million shares in syndicated deal. Fantasy sports and sports betting operator DraftKings said Monday it is offer 32 million shares in a syndicated deal, joining the many companies raising equity and debt at record levels during the coronavirus pandemic. The offering consists of 16 million shares that are being offered by DraftKings and 16 million being offered by certain selling shareholders. The company will not receive any proceeds from the latter. Proceeds from its own offering will be used for general corporate purposes. Credit Suisse and Global Sachs are underwriting the deal. Shares slid 4.6% premarket on the news, but have gained 496% in the year to date, while the S&P 500 has gained 3.6%. https://on.mktw.net/2GuiR5v

Affirm says it has filed confidential IPO paperwork. Financial technology company Affirm Holdings Inc., which lets consumers split purchases into installments, announced Thursday afternoon that it had filed confidential paperwork with the Securities and Exchange Commission related to a proposed initial public offering. The company has yet to determine how many shares it would offer in an IPO and said that the offering is expected to take place after the SEC completes its review process. The company, which was founded by PayPal Holdings Inc. co-founder Max Levchin, announced a US$500 million series G funding round back in September. Affirm plays into the hot buy-now, pay-later trend, in which shoppers can pay for purchases over time. Others in this space include Klarna, Afterpay Ltd. and PayPal, which recently introduced its own split-payments offering. https://on.mktw.net/3nH4LhV

Security software company Telos files to go public. Security software company Telos Corp. has filed to go public, with the stock expected to trade on the Nasdaq exchange under the ticker symbol “TLS.” The Virginia-based company proposed in a filing a maximum offering of US$241.5 million worth of stock, but said that was a placeholder amount used solely to calculate a registration fee. The company has not yet determined the number of shares it will offer in the IPO, or the expected pricing range. B. Riley Securities, BMO Capital Markets and Needham & Co. are the underwriters. The company recorded a net loss of US$6.4 million on revenue of US$159.2 million in 2019, after a loss of US$1.6 million on revenue of US$138.0 million in 2018. https://on.mktw.net/2SJz61n

China solar stocks are surging after Xi’s 2060 Carbon pledge. China’s massive renewable energy industry has seen shares soar since President Xi Jinping announced the country aims to go carbon neutral by 2060. That surge continued Friday as mainland-listed solar giants like Longi Green Energy Technology Co. and Tongwei Co. jumped in their first trading after a week-long holiday during which some peers in Hong Kong posted gains of more than 20%. The furious rally illustrates the growth potential investors see in Beijing’s effort to go from the world’s biggest polluter to carbon neutrality. The shift could require anywhere from US$5 trillion to US$15 trillion in investment, much of it in wind- and solar-power generation. China is home to the most solar panels and wind turbines in the world, and is also the leading manufacturer of both. Its companies are technology leaders in photovoltaic panels, which are seen as the leading source of future power, according to BloombergNEF. Government officials are already considering proposals to accelerate adoption of clean energy, which would boost installations of solar and wind, in its next five-year plan, which begins in 2021. https://bloom.bg/2SGP0cA

Singapore’s GIC plans to invest more than US$1 billion in Ant. Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund GIC Pte plans to invest more than US$1 billion in Ant Group’s mega initial public offering as early investors look for a bigger slice of the Chinese payments behemoth, according to people familiar with the matter. GIC and Singaporean state investor Temasek Holdings Pte are considering participating in both the Hong Kong and Shanghai legs of the listing, which could together raise as much as US$35 billion, the people said. China’s US$318 billion National Council for Social Security Fund plans to purchase shares in the mainland sale, they added, asking not to be named because the matter is private. Jack Ma’s Ant is poised to list as early as this month in Hong Kong and on the tech-focused STAR board in what could be the world’s biggest IPO, topping Saudi Aramco’s record sale. Interest in the Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. affiliate prompted it to increase its IPO target based on a valuation of about US$250 billion, up from previous estimates of US$225 billion, people familiar have said. At that market capitalization it would be bigger than Bank of America Corp. and twice the size of Citigroup Inc. https://bloom.bg/2HYEewc

Instacart raises US$200 million more at a US$17.7 billion valuation. Instacart announced today that it has raised US$200 million in a new funding round featuring prior investors. D1 Capital and Valiant Peregrine Fund led the investment. Instacart is now worth US$17.7 billion, post-money, or US$17.5 billion pre-money. The plan is to use the funding to focus on introducing new features and tools to improve the customer experience, and further support Instacart’s enterprise and ads businesses, according to a blog post. Previously in 2020, Instacart raised US$100 million in July, and US$225 million in June. The June round valued the company at around US$13.7 billion, meaning that the unicorn’s new funding round — raised just months later — came at a much higher price. Instacart, like some other tech, and tech-enabled businesses, has seen demand for its service expand during the pandemic. It’s not hard to trace a connection between COVID-19 and its business results, as folks wanting to stay at home have turned to on-demand services to keep themselves safe. The growth shown by Uber’s food delivery business is another example of this trend. https://tcrn.ch/34EPO7t

IBM jumps 13% after it reveals plan to spin off legacy business to focus on cloud unit. IBM is shedding its legacy business to focus on growing its cloud unit, according to a release on Thursday. IBM will spin off its managed infrastructure business as a new publicly traded company in a tax-free deal for IBM shareholders. The spinoff is expected to be completed by the end of 2021. The spinoff of IBM’s legacy networking business will allow the company to become “laser-focused” on the US$1 trillion hybrid cloud opportunity, IBM CEO Arvind Krishna said. The deal follows IBM’s continued transition to the cloud business, which was heightened in 2019 after it acquired RedHat for US$34 billion to help bolster its cloud offering. https://bit.ly/3iDRy5L

IBM CEO will be on the hunt for acquisitions and new businesses after spinning off services unit. IBM shook up Wall Street on Thursday with a plan to spin off its information technology services unit as a separate company. Investors loved the idea, which could take until the end of 2021 to complete. IBM’s stock price, which had previously lost 7% in 2020, gained 6% on Thursday. https://bit.ly/30Q5eVf

AMD is in advanced talks to buy Xilinx. Advanced Micro Devices Inc. is in advanced talks to buy rival chip maker Xilinx Inc., according to people familiar with the matter, in a deal that could be valued at more than $30 billion and mark the latest big tie-up in the rapidly consolidating semiconductor industry. The companies are discussing a deal that could come together as soon as next week, the people said. There is no guarantee they will get there, especially given that the talks had stalled before recently restarting, according to some of the people. https://on.wsj.com/3nzSFqQ

Hedge fund billionaire Dan Loeb urges Disney to stop paying US$3 billion dividend and use funds to grow Disney+. Investor Dan Loeb urged Disney CEO Bob Chapek to end the company’s annual US$3 billion dividend payments and redirect those funds to building up Disney+ in a Wednesday letter. The founder of Third Point said that reallocating dividend money to Disney+ could double the streaming service’s budget for original content, bring in additional subscribers, lower churn, and boost pricing power, according to the letter obtained by Bloomberg. His push for streaming comes as in-person movie theaters continue to suffer throughout the pandemic. In August, Loeb initiated a long position in Disney during the second quarter and said in a quarterly letter that streaming is Disney’s “biggest market opportunity ever with potentially US$500 billion of revenue.” Shares of Disney rose as much as 2% during Wednesday trading. The media giant is down nearly 15% year-to-date but has gained over 42% since the depths of the pandemic.  https://bit.ly/30OwXFM

App Annie puts Q3 App Store revenue at US$18 billion, 20% up on 2019. Sensor Tower last week estimated Q3 App Store revenue at US$19 billion, up 31% year-on-year. App Annie is now out with its own data and estimates a somewhat more conservative 20% growth to US$18 billion. Both agree on two key points, however … That the quarter was an all-time record, and that the coronavirus helped drive demand as consumers sought increased entertainment options on their devices while so many outside entertainment venues are closed or restricted. According to a new report from App Annie, consumers in the third quarter downloaded 33 billion new apps globally and spent a record US$28 billion in apps — up 20% year-over-year. They also spent more than 180 billion collective hours each month of July, August and September 2020 using apps, an increase of 25% year-over-year. Google Play downloads grew 10% year-over-year, accounting for 25 billion of the total 33 billion new downloads in the quarter, while iOS accounted for nearly 9 billion downloads — up 20% year-over-year. On iOS, spend grew 20% year-over-year to US$18 billion, while Google Play saw a 35% year-over-year increase to over US$10 billion. App Annie says that this level of growth would normally have been expected over two or three years, not one. https://bit.ly/3lujRFU

TikTok passes Instagram as second-most popular social app for U.S. teens. TikTok has surpassed Instagram as U.S. teenagers’ second-favorite social media app, according to a report published Tuesday. The short-video app is now favored among teens second only to Snap’s Snapchat, according to Piper Sandler. The report found that 34% of teens list Snapchat as their favorite social app followed with 29% picking TikTok. Trailing Snapchat and TikTok was Facebook’s Instagram, with only 25% of teens picking it as their favorite social app. TikTok placed No. 3 in the spring 2020 version of the Piper Sandler report. Usage was a different story, according to the report. In that regard, Instagram remains in first place with 84% engagement, followed by Snapchat at 80% and TikTok at 69%, up from 62% in the spring. The report shows TikTok is continuing to gain market share among young U.S. users, which are a key demographic for social apps. These users are next a key demographic for advertisers, which are the main source of revenue for social apps. To circumvent the growing TikTok threat, Facebook in August released Reels, a copycat version of TikTok that lets Instagram users make short video clips of them lip syncing, dancing or doing skits. TikTok is owned by China’s ByteDance. Last month, President Donald Trump gave approval for a deal that will allow Oracle and Walmart to acquire 20% of TikTok Global, a new company that will handle Americans’ TikTok data. https://cnb.cx/3iCqR1q

Trump to tighten H-1B visa requirements. The Trump administration is tightening rules for skilled-worker visas under the H-1B program, which will make it harder for outsourcing firms to bring more foreign workers to the U.S. Among the tighter rule changes are raising the minimum salaries required for H-1B sponsorships and requiring that applicants have a relevant college degree for the job they are filling, The New York Times reported. The tighter rules will likely impact outsourcing firms like Cognizant, Capgemini and IBM, but probably not major tech firms such as Amazon and Google,which tend to already meet these higher standards in their sponsorships. All of these companies are among the top recipients of skilled-worker visas each year. The Information reported last year that the Trump administration already has been rejecting skilled-worker visas at a much higher rate than during the Obama administration. https://bit.ly/36TkOmX

Microsoft says employees can work from home as long as they want. Microsoft Corp. is giving employees the option to work from home permanently under a “hybrid workplace” plan during and after the pandemic, according to a blog post. “The COVID-19 pandemic has challenged all of us to think, live, and work in new ways,” Kathleen Hogan, Microsoft’s chief people officer, said in a note to employees. “We will offer as much flexibility as possible to support individual workstyles, while balancing business needs, and ensuring we live our culture.” In a statement to MarketWatch, a Microsoft spokesman said: “We shared guidelines internally this week to provide options for our employees to plan ahead for when we can return to the workplace safely. Our goal is to evolve the way we work over time with intention-guided by employee input, data, and our commitment to support individual workstyles and business needs while living our culture.”  https://on.mktw.net/30QVRob

Airbnb’s U.S. sales in September rose 41%, research firm says. Airbnb’s summertime resurgence continued in the U.S. in September, according to e-commerce firm Edison Trends. The company’s sales in the U.S. grew 41% in September, compared to the same period last year. The increase followed a 48% year-over-year increase in August, according to a sample of 80,000 transactions on Airbnb that the firm analyzed. The company has seen consistent year-over-year increases in U.S. sales since mid-June. Airbnb has said that it has seen growth in stays in destinations that people reach by car, as well as more people booking homes on Airbnb to perform remote work. The Edison data doesn’t include international bookings, which make up a bulk of Airbnb’s sales. Airbnb is set to release third-quarter financial data—the July through September period—when it releases its IPO prospectus, likely next month. The expected recovery would follow a Q2 when Airbnb’s revenue fell by 73% year over year. The company burned through $1.2 billion in cash between mid-2019 and mid-2020, The Information reported Wednesday. https://bit.ly/36Spv0n

Emerging Technologies

Nvidia announces partnership with GSK focused on drug discovery. Nvidia Corp. shares are up 3% in Monday trading after the company said it would partner with GlaxoSmithKline PLC to use computing and artificial intelligence for drug discovery. “GSK is leading the industry in defining the next generation of data-driven drug discovery by harnessing genetic and clinical data to bring more precision to research and medicine,” Nvidia’s healthcare vice president Kimberly Powell said in a release. The companies will work together to “put vast data sources to work to advance the discovery of new medicines and vaccines,” she continued. Nvidia announced in a separate release that it was working to build the U.K.’s most powerful supercomputer, “which it will make available to U.K. healthcare researchers using AI to solve pressing medical challenges, including those presented by COVID-19.” These announcements come after Nvidia revealed in September that it plans to acquire British chip company Arm Ltd. from Softbank Group Corp. in a deal valued at US$40 billion in cash and stock. Nvidia shares have gained 129% so far this year as the S&P 500 has risen 4.5%. https://on.mktw.net/36BcFn5

Waymo’s robo-taxi service opens to the public in Phoenix. Waymo will relaunch and expand its fully automated, robo-taxi ridehailing service in Phoenix, rebooting its effort to transform years of autonomous vehicle research into a revenue-producing business. Waymo, the self-driving vehicle technology unit of Google parent Alphabet, said it will start offering rides in minivans with no human attendant on board to current members of its Waymo One service in Phoenix. Within a few weeks, Waymo plans to open access to anyone who downloads its smartphone app and wants a ride within a 50-square mile area of Phoenix. https://bit.ly/3iKgqsL

The world’s first autonomous robotic kitchen assistant. Miso is working with major QSR locations to integrate Flippy as an overhead rail system. The overhead rail system will reduce the cost to produce Flippy by 50% and requires ZERO real estate footprint. https://bit.ly/34xsHLV

Aviation outsider builds supersonic jet for transatlantic flight. Twenty years after the retirement of the Concorde, Boom Technology is developing a passenger plane it’s promising will fly at much faster speeds in a more comfortable setting than today’s carriers. https://bloom.bg/3jHtrob 

Media, Streaming, Gaming & Sports Betting

Amazon’s Twitch dominates game streaming market after Microsoft Mixer shutdown. Amazon-owned Twitch controlled more than 91% of the live video game streaming market during the third quarter — in terms of hours streamed — according to a report that Logitech-owned Streamlabs and analytics start-up Stream Hatchet released on Wednesday. Twitch lets people watch others play video games online, and it competes with similar products from Google and Facebook. Microsoft shut down its service, Mixer, in June and encouraged its users to adopt Facebook Gaming. But, most of the people who produced videos on Mixer appear to have gone with Twitch anyway. https://cnb.cx/3lsXArE

Streamlabs & Stream Hatchet Q3 live streaming industry report. Audiences watched over 7.46 billion hours of content across all live streaming platforms. This number is slightly down from last quarter (7.71 billion hours in Q2). Year-over-year, the live streaming industry grew by 91.8%, compared to 3.89 billion hours watched in Q3 2019. YouTube Gaming experienced the most growth for hours watched with an increase of 156M hours from Q2 to Q3. Facebook Gaming surpassed 1 billion hours watched for the first time. Following the shutdown of Mixer, the majority of its streamers appear to have gone to Twitch. Twitch now represents 91.1% of the market share for hours streamed, up 14.5% from last quarter. This massive increase can be attributed to Mixer’s shutdown, which captured 14.2% of all content live-streamed last quarter. That is compared to Facebook Gaming, which now represents 3.4% of the market share, and increased by 1% since last quarter, and YouTube Gaming, which now represents 5.5% of the market share, and decreased by 1.2% since last quarter. https://bit.ly/2SG9YIJ

IBM enters esports arena with Activision Blizzard in new multi-year deal as the presenting partner of the Overwatch league grand finals. IBM and the Overwatch League™, the world’s first global esports league with 20 city-based teams, announced its first-of-a-kind multi-year deal to bring IBM’s cloud computing and artificial intelligence (AI) technology to esports. A sponsorship component kicks off at this year’s 2020 Overwatch League Grand Finals, which started Oct. 8 and run through Oct. 10. With the agreement – IBM’s first-ever esports deal – the technology leader becomes the official AI, cloud, and analytics sponsor of the Overwatch League. The deal covers the 2020 Grand Finals and the entirety of the 2021 and 2022 Overwatch League seasons.  https://bit.ly/2IcJVqC

Adtech, Privacy & Regulatory

Apple to upend in-app advertising with iOS 14. As much as consumer behavior and the wider economic situation influence the app economy, so do Apple and Google. With their commissions on in-app purchases (IAPs) and subscriptions, and with their rules surrounding data and advertising, they can make or break different monetization strategies. The changes set to take effect in early 2021 under Apple’s iOS 14, especially, have upended app monetization. https://bit.ly/34nZHpW

ECJ limits government spying on citizens’ mobile and internet data. The top court in the European Union has delivered another blow to governments seeking to keep tabs on citizens through controversial spying techniques. The European Court of Justice (ECJ), the EU’s highest legal authority, ruled Tuesday that member states cannot collect mass mobile and internet data on citizens. Forcing internet and phone operators to carry out the “general and indiscriminate transmission or retention of traffic data and location data” is against EU law, the court explained in its ruling. The campaign groups argued that surveillance practices in the U.K., France and Belgium go too far and violate fundamental human rights. The groups specifically took issue with the U.K.’s Investigatory Powers Act, a 2015 French decree related to specialized intelligence services, and a Belgian law on collection and retention of communications data that was introduced in 2016. https://cnb.cx/2GMbPc0

US healthcare and pharma is among the fastest-growing digital ad spenders. The healthcare and pharma industry has been slower to embrace digital marketing compared with other US verticals we track. Heavy regulation makes ad targeting more difficult, which has kept traditional media buys and in-person marketing popular. However, the coronavirus pandemic restricted many of these in-person touchpoints, which caused both the B2B and business-to-consumer (B2C) aspects of the healthcare and pharma industry to further embrace digital advertising. https://bit.ly/30L2RTx

eCommerce

Facebook will test shopping from Reels later this year. Instagram only widely launched its TikTok competitor Reels in August, and it’s already looking to monetize the format. The company announced that it’ll start testing shopping within Reels later this year and will also start making shoppable IGTV videos global starting today. Eventually, these IGTV videos will also be available through Instagram Shop, a dedicated page for shopping within the app. Viewers can just tap through an IGTV video and purchase the items they’re interested in through Instagram checkout or the seller’s website. It’s unsurprising to see Instagram try to make shopping at thing on Reels, although the rollout timeline seems fast. Still, Facebook has prioritized commerce over the past few years, which could lead to it taking a bigger role in online transactions. The company would normally take a cut from these purchases, but it’s holding off on charging these fees through the end of 2020. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in 2019 that he expected commerce and payments to be the future of the company, and given the quick rollout of back-to-back shopping updates, he seems to be making good on that promise. https://bit.ly/34uGgM6

Kroger, one of America’s largest grocery chains, experiments with ghost kitchens and delivery in the Midwest. The Kroger Co., one of the biggest grocery chains in the Midwest is dipping its toe into on-demand delivery and the ghost kitchen craze through a partnership with an Indianapolis-based startup, ClusterTruck. Through the partnership with ClusterTruck, Kroger is expanding on a pilot conducted last year, where the grocer set aside 1,000 square feet at participating stores in Carmel and Indianapolis, Indiana and Columbus, Ohio for ClusterTruck staff to cook meals for delivery and in-store pickup.Ghost kitchens (or cloud kitchens) caught investors’ attention when Uber co-founder and former chief executive Travis Kalanick raised over a hundred million dollars to make the idea his next big bet after Uber. Interest and investment into the model, which sees companies offer food prep and storage spaces for would-be food truck and delivery entrepreneurs, soared. Kalanick’s CloudKitchens have gone on to raise several hundreds of millions of dollars and spawned competitors like the Pasadena, Calif.-based company Kitchen United. https://tcrn.ch/2Fh0Nvg

Sam’s Club is hiring 2,000 e-commerce workers and launching week-long deals in preparation for a surge in online holiday shopping. Sam’s Club is embarking on an e-commerce hiring spree and launching early deals ahead of the upcoming holiday season. Walmart’s members-only warehouse chain announced that it will be hiring 2,000 permanent, full-time workers to staff fulfillment and distribution centers and bolster its supply chain. Hundreds of those new employees will be working at the company’s newest fulfillment center in Perris, California. Sam’s Club’s push represents only the latest such e-commerce-centric hiring spree to take place in advance of the 2020 holiday season. Sam’s Club’s own parent company, Walmart, has also announced that it will hire 20,000 seasonal fulfillment center workers. Target and Kohl’s also plan to hire 130,000 and 90,000 seasonal workers, respectively. Sam’s Club, however, is one of the few retailers to focus more on permanent, full-time workers. https://bit.ly/3jLOfef

Fintech, Blockchain & Cryptocurrency

Robinhood users say accounts were looted, no one to call. “A limited number of customers appear to have had their Robinhood account targeted by cyber criminals because of their personal email account (that which is associated with their Robinhood account) being compromised outside of Robinhood,” a spokesman for the company said in an email. “We’re actively working with those impacted to secure their accounts.” The issue didn’t stem from a breach of Robinhood’s systems, the spokesman said. Robinhood, founded seven years ago and based in Menlo Park, California, has exploded in popularity this year as millions of Americans stuck at home — including throngs of millennials — look to make some money during a pandemic that has sent stock prices swinging. But the no-fee brokerage app has also attracted consumer complaints, with novice investors confused by the vagaries of stock options and margin loans. Now, even though the firm said this year that it has more than doubled its customer-service team, clients complain they’re struggling to get quick help when their funds are disappearing. Robinhood’s online portal showed their money went to a recipient at Revolut, another popular financial-technology startup. London-based Revolut, which offers a money transfer and exchange app, expanded to the U.S. this year. “Revolut has been made aware of the issue and is investigating urgently,” a company spokesman said Friday in an email. https://bloom.bg/3nFO46I

Venmo launches its first credit card, offering up to 3% cash back, personalized rewards. Last October, Venmo announced it would launch its first credit card sometime in 2020. The PayPal-owned company is making good on those promises with the debut of the Venmo Credit Card, initially rolling out to select customers. The Visa card offers 3% cash back on eligible purchases, personalized rewards and tools to track and manage finances. However, what makes the card potentially appealing to Venmo’s younger user base is how the card is directly integrated into the Venmo mobile app. Cardholders will be able to track their spending in real time, organized by category, plus split or share purchases, view their cash back status, make payments and manage their card directly in the Venmo mobile app. They can also opt in to receive real-time alerts when purchases and payments are made, much like other credit card and banking apps allow for today. And they can receive alerts when cash back is applied to their account. Instead of offering a certain percentage in cash back rewards to all Venmo users by category, for example, or as Apple Card does by vendor (at its top tier), the new Venmo Card rewards system will be personalized. Users can earn rewards from eight spending categories: Grocery, Bills & Utilities, Health & Beauty, Gas, Entertainment, Dining & Nightlife, Transportation and Travel. Users will earn 3% back on their top spending category, 2% from the second highest category, then 1% on all other purchases, the company says. https://tcrn.ch/2SxL1Pu

Square buys 4,709 bitcoins for US$50 million on the potential it will be a ‘ubiquitous currency’. Square jumped as much as 3% on Thursday after it announced it had purchased 4,709 bitcoins for an aggregate price of US$50 million. Square paid an average price of US$10,617 for each bitcoin. The company said it was able to make the US$50 million purchase within a day without disrupting the markets. The firm said its investment in the digital currency represents approximately 1% of its total assets at the end of the second quarter of 2020. This isn’t the first time Square got involved in bitcoin. In 2018, it launched the ability to buy and sell bitcoins within its Cash app, and in 2019, the company formed Square Crypto, a team solely focused on open-source work in the crypto space. https://bit.ly/36Mx4Wd

Cryptocurrency wallet BRD reaches 6 million users, driven by growth in Latin America and India. Mobile cryptocurrency wallet BRD announced today that it now has more than six million users worldwide, thanks to strong growth in India and Latin America. With this momentum, the company expects to reach 10 million users by early 2021. Founded in 2015, Zurich-based BRD also said it now adds about one million new users every two months, after initially taking more than four years to hit the one million user mark. It reached 550,000 monthly active users at the beginning of July. Co-founder and chief executive officer Adam Traidman attributes the increased interest in cryptocurrency, especially among first-time users, to the COVID-19 pandemic. https://tcrn.ch/3nnogfr

U.S. indicts anti-virus software creator John McAfee for tax evasion. Federal prosecutors unsealed an indictment on Monday against John David McAfee, creator of the eponymous anti-virus software, over charges that he evaded taxes and willfully failed to file tax returns. The U.S. Justice Department announced the charges shortly after the Securities and Exchange Commission revealed it had brought civil charges against McAfee, alleging that he made over US$23.1 million in undisclosed compensation from recommending seven cryptocurrency offerings on Twitter that were materially false and misleading. The indictment, filed under seal in June, was unsealed following his arrest in Spain where the United States is seeking to extradite him. https://reut.rs/33ANuiz

ESG

A clean energy company now has a market cap rivaling ExxonMobil. The news last week that U.S. utility and renewable energy company NextEra Energy briefly overtook ExxonMobil and Saudi Aramco to become the world’s most valuable energy producer shows just how valuable sustainable businesses have become. It’s yet another proof point that there are billions of dollars available for companies focused on renewable energy alone — and a sign that, finally, the floodgates may be about to open for companies that build their businesses to service a sustainability revolution. Large money managers are already returning to investing in earlier-stage sustainability investments after an extended hiatus. These are institutional investors like the Canadian Pension Plan Investment Board and Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec, which could commit billions between them to technologies focused on mitigating the impacts of climate change or reducing greenhouse gas emissions across industries. The flood of dollars into renewable energy and sustainable technologies actually began in the first quarter of the year. Some of the largest private equity funds in the U.S., like Blackstone (with US$571 billion in assets under management), announced a flood of investments into renewable power generation and storage. Blackstone alone invested nearly US$1 billion into Altus Power Generation, a renewable energy developer, and NRStor, an energy storage company; while Generate Capital raised US$1 billion for renewable energy infrastructure projects; and Warburg Pincus (with more than US$50 billion in assets under management) backed Scale Microgrids, which developed clean energy and storage projects, with another US$300 million. In March, the Canadian Pension Plan Investment Board closed its investment in Pattern Energy Group, a US$6.1 billion transaction that gave the massive money manager ownership of a renewable power project owner and developer with assets across North America and Japan. https://tcrn.ch/2SBzZJe

New Jersey doubles community solar project capacity in Year 2 of pilot program. The New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (NJBPU) took a major step forward to ensure an equitable clean energy future by approving the Year 2 Application and process for the State’s Community Solar Energy Pilot Program. This action ensures underserved and overburdened communities can access the health and financial benefits of renewable energy, and participate in the innovation economy that is contributing to a stronger and fairer New Jersey. https://bit.ly/2SsbM7V

Behind the rise of US utility-driven solar. But in the absence of overarching federal policy, utilities in the US are increasingly taking matters into their own hands. Recent months have witnessed a slew of integrated resource plans (IRPs) published by utilities, each detailing ambitious plans to deploy swathes of solar and other renewables, as well as energy storage, in a bid to wrestle back control of climate action. In a dramatic policy reassessment, Dominion Energy Virginia is now calling for the development and procurement of approximately 24GW of new renewable energy and storage capacity over the next 15 years – nearly quadruple the targets outlined in its 2019 IRP. https://bit.ly/3iE6ocu

Santa Barbara school board approves solar microgrids. In a big win for clean local energy and resilience in the Santa Barbara region, the Santa Barbara Unified School District (SBUSD) Board unanimously voted last week to proceed with Solar Microgrid projects throughout the District, along with additional standalone solar projects. https://bit.ly/33uT9Xd

Amazon unveils new electric delivery van with Rivian. Amazon on Thursday unveiled its first electric delivery vans. The vehicles, designed and built in partnership with electric truck startup Rivian, could be on the road making deliveries to customers around the world within two years, the company said.  The focus on electric vehicles is part of Amazon’s ambitious Climate Pledge program, which aims to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2040. In a blog post, Amazon said it planned to have 10,000 electric vans delivering packages to customers by “as early as 2022,” and that it would deploy a fleet of 100,000 of such vehicles by 2030. That’s an adjustment from estimates previously given by CEO Jeff Bezos, who had initially stated that all 100,000 electric vans would be on the road by 2024. Amazon led a US$700 million funding round for Rivian in February 2019, though it did not disclose how much it was investing in the startup. The e-commerce giant also participated in a July 2020 funding round for the company led by T. Rowe Price. https://bit.ly/3dcDGhT

The world’s biggest oil trader wants to buy your used car. If you live in Turkey or Pakistan and are looking to sell your car, the world’s biggest independent oil trader wants to make a deal. Vitol Group, which traded more than 8 million barrels of oil and petroleum products a day in 2019, is getting into the used-car business. https://bloom.bg/3jzqLck

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