Canadian public market investors appear bullish on telehealth & health tech companies, as evidenced by their recent stock performance. We would expect increased capital allocated to this sector in the near term. The investment by a subsidiary of the investment arm of Alibaba Group into PopReach (POPR-TSXV) also appears to have resonated well with investors. Recall, such validation by a well regarded international investor was a very strong endorsement for Well Health (WELL-TSX), which dramatically improved that company’s access to capital.

Canadian Technology Capital Markets & Company News

PopReach (POPR-TSXV) announces $5 million strategic investment by Alibaba Group’s global investment arm. Further to an initial non-binding letter of intent accepted on September 25, 2020 and a price reservation pursuant to the policies of the TSX Venture Exchange, the company has received a binding subscription agreement for a strategic investment by New Insight Incentive Plan Company, a 100% owned subsidiary of eWTP Tech Innovation Fund LP (“eWTP”), the global investment arm of Alibaba Group. Pursuant to the binding agreement and subject to the policies of, and approval by, the TSX Venture Exchange, eWTP will invest $5,000,000 in PopReach by subscribing for up to 6,944,444 common shares at a price of $0.72 per common share (representing a 10% discount to the closing price of the shares on the TSX Venture Exchange on September 24, 2020) in a non-brokered private placement. https://bit.ly/37eanKI

Newtopia (NEWU-TSXV) announces upsize of previously announced bought deal to C$7.5 million. Newtopia Inc., a tech-enabled disease prevention company focused on healthy habit change, today announced it has agreed to upsize its unit offering previously announced on October 14, 2020. The Company has entered into an agreement with a group of underwriters led by Bloom Burton Securities Inc. and including Stifel GMP and INFOR Financial Inc. pursuant to which the Underwriters have agreed to purchase, on a “bought deal” private placement basis, 7,900,000 units of the Company at a price of $0.95 per Unit for aggregate gross proceeds of $7,505,000. https://bit.ly/2T0pL5d

AnalytixInsight (ALY-TSXV, ATIXF-OTCQB, Sophic client) closes private placement financing. Artificial Intelligence company AnalytixInsight Inc. closed its previously announced non-brokered private placement. The Company has issued 3,059,637 units at a price of $0.55 per Unit for gross proceeds of $1,682,800.35. Each Unit is comprised of one common share of the Company and one-half of one Common Share purchase warrant. Each whole Warrant will entitle the holder thereof to purchase one Common Share at a price of $0.75 at any time prior to October 16, 2022. The Company also entered into a capital markets advisory agreement with Sophic Capital Inc. Sophic will manage AnalytixInsight’s investor relations activities. https://bit.ly/348HtK7

Wealthsimple announces $114 million investment led by TCV to transform financial services in Canada. The investment was led by TCV, alongside Greylock, Meritech, Two Sigma Ventures and existing investor Allianz X. Concurrent with the funding, David Yuan, General Partner at TCV, will join Wealthsimple’s Board of Directors. Founded in 2014, Wealthsimple has over 1.5 million Canadians use Wealthsimple products. The company is known for its client-centric approach to financial products, which include automated investing, commission-free stock and crypto trading, a savings account, and a tax filing software. Wealthsimple will use the new capital to expand its market position, build out its product suite, and grow its team in Canada. TCV invests in tech-focused companies with an ambition to become market leaders. The growth equity firm has backed over 350 technology companies, including Airbnb, Klarna, Netflix, Nubank, Peloton, Revolut, Spotify, and Zillow. Greylock, a longstanding venture capital firm that focuses on enterprise and consumer software, has invested in companies including LinkedIn and Airbnb, and has partnered with over 180 companies through IPO, while Meritech has partnered with 200 companies globally including Salesforce and Snowflake. The investment also marks the first time that Meritech has invested in the Canadian market. https://bit.ly/3nOVDIi

Amid EdTech boom, Knowledgehook raises $20 million Series A. Kitchener-Waterloo-based Knowledgehook, which has developed an artificial intelligence-based EdTech platform aimed to improve math education in school districts, has raised a $20 million Series A round of financing. “The pandemic has heightened the need for digital solutions that focus on building teacher capacity to deliver high-quality math instruction.” The lead investor in the round was not disclosed. However, Knowledgehook said in a statement the lead was a London-based EdTech investment fund. Other participants in the Series A round included Mesoamerica’s Alexandria Corp., Nelson Education, Ideal Ventures, and Nicoya Ventures. The investment comes at a time of high activity in the EdTech sector, as many technology startups are looking to gain prominence in a hybrid era of remote and in-person learning during the COVID-19 pandemic. https://bit.ly/35cLooH

Government invests $20 million in Terrestrial Energy as step towards net-zero greenhouse emissions by 2050. Oakville-based nuclear tech company Terrestrial Energy has received a $20 million commitment from the federal government to aid in the development of the company’s small modular reactor (SMR) technology. Minister of Innovation Navdeep Bains and Minister of Natural Resources Seamus O’Regan announced the funding on Thursday. The capital is provided through the Strategic Innovation Fund (SIF) and is meant to help Terrestrial Energy complete a key pre-licencing milestone through the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission. The licensing will assess the acceptability of the Oakville company’s Generation IV technology, which it is developing as part of a $68.9 million Integral Molten Salt Reactor (IMSR) project – meant to provide affordable energy for utilities and industry. SMRs are nuclear fission reactors that are being designed as smaller alternatives to traditional large reactors. While the technology for the small nuclear reactors has existed since the beginning of reactor technology fifty years ago, it is currently being developed and considered as ways to cut the economic and environmental costs of nuclear energy. https://bit.ly/2GZTZDc

Praemo raises $4.5 million in Series A follow-on financing. Kitchener-Waterloo-based Praemo, which uses industrial IoT data to provide insights to enterprises, has raised $4.5 million in financing, bringing the startup’s total raised to date to $8 million. The financing was led by previous investor McRock Capital, which led Praemo’s $3.5 million Series A round in 2019. Caterpillar Venture Capital and BDC Capital’s Industrial Innovation Venture Fund also participated in this most recent financing. Scott MacDonald, co-founder and managing partner of McRock Capital, classified this latest financing as Series A follow-on capital. The funding will be used by Praemo to expand the team, which currently consists of 13 people, and advance the capabilities of Praemo’s prescriptive intelligence software for industrial environments. https://bit.ly/3dp8hsC

Virtuos acquires CounterPunch Studios, opens Montreal studio. Games development and services firm Virtuos has expanded its North American presence with the acquisition of a US studio and the opening of a new branch in Canada. The company has purchased Los Angeles-based CounterPunch Studios for an undisclosed sum. The studio is best known for its animation work supporting AAA productions, including The Last of Us Part 2 and Mortal Kombat 11. https://bit.ly/3nODFp8

Auto supplier Magna will take a 6% stake in Fisker and build the electric-car startup’s first vehicle, the US$37,499 Ocean SUV. Fisker, Inc. has a new deal with a familiar name in the auto industry, Canada-based Magna International. The electric-car startup, founded by Henrik Fisker in 2016, announced the partnership on Thursday. This deal builds on a memorandum of understanding under which Fisker will use Magna’s European contract-manufacturing arm, Magna Steyr, to build its first vehicle, the Ocean SUV, slated for a 2022 launch. As part of the deal, Magna has the option to take a 6% equity stake in Fisker that would represent approximately US$180 million in value when Fisker completes a US$3 billion reverse-merger with Spartan Energy Acquisition Corp. at the end of October. Spartan was formed by Apollo Global Management, a large private-equity firm, and decided to merge with Fisker in July. That deal would give Fisker about US$1 billion to bring the Ocean to market. “The big news here is that Magna has skin in the game,” Henrik Fisker said in an interview with Business Insider, adding that the carmaker looked at three vehicle platforms from different manufacturers before settling on Magna’s FM29 architecture, a lightweight, all-aluminum design. https://bit.ly/37jNdmx

Toronto will trial automated shuttles from Local Motors in new pilot program. The city of Toronto is going to start operating autonomous shuttles on a trial basis, through an agreement with Local Motors that will see that company’s Olli 2.0 all-electric self-driving shuttle ferry passengers beginning in Spring 2021. The trial is being conducted with Pacific Western Transportation, a transportation operations company, and each ride over the course of the trial will include two full-time staffers, an operator on board from that partner, as well as a customer service rep from either TTC or Metrolinx, the company Toronto engages for much of its commuter transportation services. The Olli 2.0 vehicle has a passenger capacity of up to eight people at a time, and includes accessibility features like a wheelchair ramp and securing points. It also includes an AV system for providing information and updates to passengers. The safety operator onboard the vehicle has the ability to take over manual control at any time, should the need arise due to safety concerns or for any other reason. This pilot route will provide service between West Rouge and Rouge Hill GO station, which is a neighborhood west of the city of Toronto proper in the Greater Toronto Area community of Scarborough. https://tcrn.ch/34792Ul

Loblaw works with League to help transform how Canadians access and navigate healthcare through the launch of PC Health app. Through the app, Canadians will have free access to registered nurses and dietitians who can provide advice and support as well as receive rewards for completing customized health goals.  By completing a health profile on the app, each user receives personalized recommendations for tools and support based on their own particular health needs or interests.  The app features care navigators, who can help guide the patients’ journey, provide access to consultations with registered nurses and dietitians, offers health programs to help users develop healthy habits, and the ability to earn PC Optimum™ rewards for reaching health program milestones along the way. https://bit.ly/31e0MzI

Global Markets: IPOs, Venture Capital, M&A

SoftBank preparing to launch SPAC. SoftBank is preparing to launch a special purpose acquisition company, or SPAC, Axios reported Monday afternoon. Goldman Sachs and Citigroup would manage the initial public offering. It’s not clear what the SPAC will focus on but the report did say SoftBank won’t use the SPAC to acquire one of its portfolio companies. One of the most deeply pocketed tech investors, SoftBank backed companies like Uber and WeWork in its US$100 billion Vision Fund and Vision Fund 2. SoftBank-backed Opendoor, an online real estate marketplace, recently announced it’s going public by merging with a SPAC. SPACs are undergoing a boom this year: 138 SPAC IPOs have raised more than US$53 billion this year, up from 59 SPACs that raised over US$13 billion last year, data from SPAC Research shows. In a SPAC deal, a blank-check firm whose only asset is cash merges with a private company, bringing it public in the process.  https://bit.ly/3lLdYnx 

Roblox confidentially files to go public.  Gaming company Roblox announced Monday it confidentially filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission to go public. The company didn’t disclose its financial information and how many shares would be offered. Roblox most recently was privately valued at US$4 billion in late February, after venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz led a US$150 million Series G funding round. Reuters, which first reported the company’s plans to go public, said Roblox expects that a listing could double its valuation. A Roblox spokesperson declined to comment. https://cnb.cx/3nQl38w

McAfee IPO is said to be priced on Oct. 21. McAfee, the cybersecurity company backed by Intel and private-equity firms, could raise as much as US$814 million when it goes public next week. McAfee plans to price its deal on Oct. 21 and begin trading the next day, Thursday, Oct. 22, people familiar with the matter told Barron’s. On Tuesday, the San Jose, Calif., company set terms for its initial public offering. McAfee is offering to sell 37 million class A shares at US$19 to US$22 each, according to a securities filing. It plans to trade on the Nasdaq market, under the ticker MCFE.  Eighteen underwriters are listed as working on the deal, including Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs, TPG Capital, Bank of America Securities, and Citigroup. The underwriters have the option to buy an additional 5.55 million shares at the IPO price (a practice known as the “greenshoe option”). The company’s consumer-focused products currently protect more than 600 million devices as of June 27, the prospectus said. https://bit.ly/2FrGyef

Nextdoor is said to eye public listing, US$5 billion valuation. Nextdoor Inc., a social network for neighbors sharing information or trading goods and services, is considering options to go public, including an initial public offering, according to people with knowledge of the matter. The company is targeting a valuation in the range of US$4 billion to US$5 billion, said the people, who requested anonymity because the talks are private. Nextdoor might also go public through a direct listing or by merging with a blank-check firm, and a transaction may happen before the end of next year, one of the people said. Nextdoor has rebuffed approaches from some special purpose acquisition companies to pursue growth, which has accelerated as a result of the pandemic, one of the people said. Nextdoor has raised about US$470 million, and was last valued at US$2.2 billion after a funding round in September 2019, according to PitchBook. Its investors include Benchmark, Greylock Partners, Kleiner Perkins, Riverwood Capital, Axel Springer and Tiger Global Management. https://bloom.bg/2HkpMhC

Array Technologies shares close 66% higher after Nasdaq debut. Shares of Array Technologies surged nearly 66% in their Nasdaq debut on Thursday, valuing the solar power equipment maker at more than $4.6 billion, while underscoring investor appetite in a red-hot market for initial public offerings. The Albuquerque-based company’s shares opened at $29.50 after its upsized IPO was priced at $22 per share, above the upper end of its target range. Array shares rose 65.7% to close trading at $36.45. https://reut.rs/3lX99b7

TikTok rival Triller explores deal to go public.  Triller Inc, a budding competitor to popular short-video app TikTok, is in discussions with blank-check acquisition companies about a merger which would take the U.S. social media company public, according to people familiar with the matter. The deal would come as Triller seeks to capitalize on TikTok’s woes. U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration has ordered TikTok’s Chinese parent ByteDance to divest the app, citing concerns that the data of U.S. citizens could be accessible to China’s Communist Party government. TikTok has sued the U.S. government to stave off a ban from U.S. app stores while deal negotiations continue. Triller, which was launched in 2015 and only has a fraction of the 100 million users that TikTok boasts in the United States, has said it hopes that the uncertainty over its rival’s future will drive more influencers and users to its platform. Triller has so far secured around US$100 million in that round at a US$1.25 billion valuation, according to the sources. It is deliberating whether to proceed with the private fundraising or opt for the deal with a SPAC, one of the sources added. https://reut.rs/3dpKWXC

Airbnb was profitable in third quarter. Airbnb was profitable in the third quarter of this year after posting a loss of nearly US$400 million in the second quarter because of Covid-19, The Wall Street Journal reported. The newspaper reported that the company began seeing a recovery in May when city dwellers started looking for homes to rent in nearby towns so they wouldn’t have to fly for vacations. Half of Airbnb’s bookings in August, for example, were for rentals within 300 miles of the guest, it said. The Journal’s report, which includes an interview with CEO Brian Chesky, is likely to help strengthen investor confidence in the company ahead of its planned initial public offering later this year.  https://bit.ly/33VaKYw

U.S. PC market has best quarter in a decade on pandemic demand. Personal computer shipments rose in the third quarter, with the U.S. market having its best performance in a decade, on demand from consumers working and studying remotely. PC makers shipped 3.6% more devices in the three-month period compared with a year earlier, for a total of 71.4 million units, according to preliminary data released Monday by researcher Gartner Inc. https://bloom.bg/2SPhtwT

Stripe makes play for African e-commerce landscape with Paystack acquisition. Privately held financial-technology company Stripe announced Thursday that it plans to acquire Paystack, a Nigeria-based payment-processing company. Paystack already processes half of all online transactions in Nigeria, according to Stripe’s release, and the company is aiming to expand across Africa. Paystack’s services are used by more than 60,000 businesses in Nigeria and Ghana, per the release. Stripe and Paystack have a history of working together as Stripe led Paystack’s Series A financing round back in 2018. Terms of the deal weren’t disclosed, but TechCrunch reported that the purchase price is over US$200 million. Stripe is one of the most valuable private tech companies with a private-market valuation of US$36 billion based on the US$600 million extension of a funding round in April. https://on.mktw.net/31eGbve

Huawei in talks to divest parts of Honor smartphone business, sources say. Huawei Technologies Co Ltd is in talks with Digital China Group Co Ltd and other suitors to sell parts of its Honor smartphone unit in a deal that could fetch up to 25 billion yuan (US$3.7 billion), people with knowledge of the matter said. Embattled Huawei is resetting its priorities in the face of U.S. sanctions and will focus on its higher-end Huawei phones rather than the Honor brand which is aimed at young people and the budget conscious, they said. The assets to be sold have yet to be finalised but could include Honor’s brand, research & development capabilities and related supply chain management business, two of the people said. The deal may be an all-cash sale and could end up smaller, worth somewhere between 15 billion yuan and 25 billion yuan, one of the people said. https://reut.rs/3drAGy7 

Emerging Technologies

Finally, the first room-temperature superconductor. For decades, physicists have dreamed of discovering a material that could effortlessly convey electricity at everyday temperatures, a feat that would save gargantuan amounts of energy and revolutionize modern technology. Writing in the journal Nature, a team of researchers announced on Wednesday that they have done just that. They have made a superconductor that works at 58 degrees Fahrenheit, the temperature of a cool autumn day. https://nyti.ms/3lTdOLb

Forget silicon. This material could be a game-changer for solar power. Solar energy is poised for what could be its biggest transformation in over half a century. A group of materials called perovskites are being used to create the next generation of solar panels, which could eventually be twice as efficient as current models, and flexible enough to wrap around entire buildings. https://cnn.it/379azuV

Apple announces first 5G smartphones with iPhone 12. Apple’s new iPhones, announced Tuesday, are the first with faster 5G wireless networking. More importantly, they will be the first real test of Apple’s ability to get its fans to upgrade their pricey devices during a global economic downturn. Apple said the new iPhone 12s—which run the gamut in starting prices from the US$699 iPhone 12 Mini to the US$1,099 iPhone 12 Pro Max—will use 5G to operate at network download speeds of around 1 gigabit per second, in typical conditions. They will come with the usual improvements, including better cameras, more crack-resistant screens through a technology called ceramic shield and a faster Apple-made processor, the A14 Bionic. The Pro line of iPhones will also have a LiDAR scanner, a technology (which stands for Light Detection and Ranging) that Apple said can map rooms to provide better augmented reality experiences. The only significant non-iPhone news was a new smart speaker from the company, the US$99 HomePod Mini. The loyalty of Apple users is legendary. As the pandemic ravages pocketbooks though, this could be a year that many of them decide they’re content with the devices they already own. https://bit.ly/33VVU48

Snapchat among first to leverage iPhone 12 Pro’s LiDAR Scanner for AR. Apple introduced its latest flagship iPhone models, the iPhone 12 Pro and 12 Pro Max, at its iPhone event on Tuesday. Among other things, the devices sport a new LiDAR Scanner designed to allow for more immersive augmented reality (AR) experiences. Snapchat today confirms it will be among the first to put the new technology to use in its iOS app for a lidar-powered Lens. As Apple explained during the event, the LiDAR (Light Detection And Ranging) Scanner measures how long it takes for light to reach an object and reflect back. The technology can also be used by app developers to build a precise depth map of the scene, and help speed up AR so it feels more instantaneous, while enabling new app experiences that use AR. In practice, what this means for app developers is the ability to use lidar to enable things like object and room scanning — think, better AR shopping apps, home design tools or AR games, for example. It also can enable photo and video effects and a more exact placement of AR objects, as the iPhone is actually able to “see” a depth map of the room. That can lead to new AR experiences like what Snapchat is prepared to introduce. Already known for some best-in-class AR photo filters, the company says it will soon launch a lidar-powered lens specifically for the iPhone 12 Pro models. https://tcrn.ch/3duZu8v

Sweden’s new car carrier is the world’s largest wind-powered vessel. Oceanbird might look like a ship of the future, but it harks back to ancient maritime history — because it’s powered by the wind. The transatlantic car carrier is being designed by Wallenius Marine, a Swedish shipbuilder, with support from the Swedish government and several research institutions. With capacity for 7,000 vehicles, the 650 foot-long vessel is a similar size to conventional car carriers, but it will look radically different. The ship’s hull is topped by five telescopic “wing sails,” each 260 feet tall. Capable of rotating 360 degrees without touching each other, the sails can be retracted to 195 feet in order to clear bridges or withstand rough weather. https://cnn.it/3535OQQ

The polls are wrong. The U.S. presidential race is a near dead heat, this A.I. ‘sentiment analysis’ tool says. An analysis of the emotions being expressed on social media indicates that the upcoming U.S. presidential election may be a much closer contest than many commentators and pollsters believe. That’s the conclusion of Expert.ai, a company with offices in Modena, Italy, and Rockville, Md., that uses an A.I. technique called “sentiment analysis” to understand the emotions being expressed in social media posts. https://bit.ly/3jZHq9a

Media, Streaming, Gaming & Sports Betting

Americans who mainly get their news on social media are less engaged, less knowledgeable. The rise of social media has changed the information landscape in myriad ways, including the manner in which many Americans keep up with current events. In fact, social media is now among the most common pathways where people – particularly young adults – get their political news. https://pewrsr.ch/2H8Wvq4

US adults will spend over three and a half hours per day on mobile apps in 2020. US adults will spend an average of 4 hours, 1 minute (4:01) on mobile internet per day in 2020, with 3:35 of that time spent on mobile apps. Mobile app time will be up by 25 minutes from 2019, well above the long-term growth trend, with the pandemic as the main driver for this increase. https://bit.ly/33Ui2vW

Epic vs Apple case may have “serious ramifications” for Nintendo, PlayStation and Xbox. The judge overseeing the Epic vs Apple legal dispute has warned that the final decision could have “serious ramifications” for the three console makers. In new court documents, shared by The Verge, Judge Yvonne Gonzales Rogers responded to Epic’s arguments for a preliminary injunction that would reinstate Fortnite to iOS and prevent Apple from once again attempting to block Unreal Engine or any other part of its business not connected to the battle royale game. https://bit.ly/3dnyE1Z

AMC Entertainment may run out of cash. AMC Entertainment Holdings said it may run out of cash by the end of the year unless it raises funds or attracts more customers to its theaters following shutdowns from teh coronavirus pandemic. The biggest movie theater chain in the U.S. said that it had reopened the majority of its U.S. theaters–494 of 59, but attendance is down 85% year oever year. As the effects of the shutdown continue to hurt theater chains and film studios, the industry is going to have to figure out new models for revenue. Even if there is a vaccine in a few months, it will take some time for people to return to movie theaters given the economic downturn and fears about the pandemic. Hopefully the theater chains and studios will find creative ways to make money before it’s too late for some of them. https://bit.ly/33Vs3Zy

Amazon to stream NFL playoff game. Amazon is getting into the NFL playoffs. The league announced to team owners today that it had struck a deal to put one of its newly created wildcard games on Amazon’s streaming service, according to The Wall Street Journal. Amazon has been streaming regular season Thursday night games for the past  few years. It’s unclear how big that those games have been for the site; clearly they must be happy if they’re willing to pay up for a playoff game, which goes for a higher rate than the regular season game. CBS, which will air the game on TV as well as its own streaming service, paid US$70 million, according to the Journal. In the last few years there’s actually been decreasing interest from the tech platforms in bidding for sports rights. Facebook has backed out of that game; and once-active players like Twitter and YouTube have been fairly quiet in recent years. One wildcard could be Apple TV, which hasn’t made its sports rights plans clear. https://bit.ly/3j9HxO6

YouTube debuts a clever solution to one of TV’s biggest UX problems. YouTube isn’t the first company to think about more interactive sports television—live sports are considered by many to be the most valuable programming on TV. Microsoft put considerable effort into integrating real-time NFL stats and fantasy platforms with its Xbox One interface. Xfinity has its X1 Sports app (a special column on the screen) that’s like a mission control for game day. Even Amazon has added extra options to its NFL streams, like allowing you to switch out commentators. To set up fantasy sports on YouTube TV, you tap on Fantasy, then you’re asked to log in to NFL.com. Assuming you have a fantasy team set up on the service, it will then suck in your team and current matchup. While watching the game, you can tap on the Fantasy tab and pull up your players’ scores, while the video window shrinks to a take up a small portion at the top of the screen. The data presentation is bare-bones—a simple list of player names and scores that’s pretty typical of fantasy apps—designed to be clear but not too distracting from the actual media you’re watching. You cannot trade or sell players; the information is read-only. But you can toggle multiple fantasy accounts. Furthermore, the fantasy players that you have in the game you’re currently watching will be pushed to the top of the list, highlighted when they score. And when you switch channels to another game, that list will adjust accordingly. https://bit.ly/2H8XpDl

Disney shakes up its operations to put focus on streaming. Walt Disney Co. is shaking up its operations to refocus on the thriving Disney+ business, redoubling its push to become a global streaming giant like Netflix Inc. The company is putting its TV networks, film studio and direct-to-consumer divisions inside one big group called Media and Entertainment, Disney said on Monday. Existing content chiefs will continue to oversee their businesses, but they will now be directly able to choose what movies and TV shows air on Disney’s growing lineup of streaming services. https://bloom.bg/2SQFJ1W

LA Kings, LA Galaxy enter deal with Esports Entertainment Group. Malta-based gambling firm Esports Entertainment Group (EEG) has been named the official esports tournament provider of the LA Kings and LA Galaxy. Under the terms of the agreement, EEG will host branded tournaments for the LA Kings and LA Galaxy via online tournament provider Esports Gaming League (EGL), which the company announced its intention to acquire in August. https://bit.ly/340ECTt

Turner Sports signs deal with Draft Kings. WarnerMedia’s Turner Sports division has signed a deal with sports betting platform DraftKings as it becomes the latest entertainment company to cater to the growing popularity of sports betting. The deal will let people get DraftKings-supplied sports being data through Turner web sites. As more states have been legalizing online sports betting, it has taken off. That has provided an opportunity for sports media sites to negotiate partnerships, like this one, with betting sites in which the media sites refer their readers in exchange for a cut of any betting revenue that results. As The Information reported a few months ago, subscription-only sports site The Athletic and Turner’s Bleacher Report had been in discussion to offer sports betting. The trend toward sports betting has been a boon for Draft Kings, which has seen its stock jump 345% this year. https://bit.ly/3maDT8L

Adtech, Privacy & Regulatory

With ‘absurd’ timing, FCC announces intention to revisit Section 230. FCC Chairman Ajit Pai has announced his intention to pursue a reform of Section 230 of the Communications Act, which among other things limits the liability of internet platforms for content they host. Commissioner Rosenworcel described the timing — immediately after Conservative outrage at Twitter and Facebook limiting the reach of an article relating to Hunter Biden — as “absurd.” But it’s not necessarily the crackdown the Trump administration clearly desires. In a statement, Chairman Pai explained that “members of all three branches of the federal government have expressed serious concerns about the prevailing interpretation of the immunity set forth in Section 230,” and that there is broad support for changing the law — in fact there are already several bills under consideration that would do so. At issue is the legal protections for platforms when they decide which content to allow and which to block. Some say they are clearly protected by the First Amendment (this is how it is currently interpreted), while others assert that some of those choices amount to violations of users’ right to free speech. Though Pai does not mention specific recent circumstances in which internet platforms have been accused of having partisan bias in one direction or the other, it is difficult to imagine they — and the constant refrain from Trump demanding the “repeal” of 230, which is part of a large and important set of laws — did not factor into the decision. https://tcrn.ch/31geNx4

Feds may target Google’s Chrome browser for breakup. Justice Department and state prosecutors investigating Google for alleged antitrust violations are considering whether to force the company to sell its dominant Chrome browser and parts of its lucrative advertising business, three people with knowledge of the discussions said. The conversations — amid preparations for an antitrust legal battle that DOJ is expected to begin in the coming weeks — could pave the way for the first court-ordered break-up of a U.S. company in decades. The forced sales would also represent major setbacks for Google, which uses its control of the world’s most popular web browser to aid the search engine that is the key to its fortunes. Discussions about how to resolve Google’s control over the US$162.3 billion global market for digital advertising remain ongoing, and no final decisions have been made, the people cautioned, speaking anonymously to discuss confidential discussions. But prosecutors have asked advertising technology experts, industry rivals and media publishers for potential steps to weaken Google’s grip. https://politi.co/3dk3PLO

EU targets Big Tech with ‘hit list’ facing tougher rules. EU regulators are drawing up a “hit list” of up to 20 large internet companies, likely to include Silicon Valley giants such as Facebook and Apple, that will be subject to new and far more stringent rules aimed at curbing their market power. Under the plans, large platforms that find themselves on the list will have to comply with tougher regulation than smaller competitors, according to people familiar with the discussions, including new rules that will force them to share data with rivals and an obligation to be more transparent on how they gather information. The list will be compiled based on a number of criteria, including market share of revenues and number of users, meaning the likes of Facebook and Google are likely to fall within it. Those deemed to be so powerful that rivals cannot trade without using their platforms could also be added. EU officials stressed Brussels will not seek to single out individual companies, but instead the criteria will determine which companies fall within the list of 20 names. The move to gain new powers is part of a growing effort in Brussels to force big technology companies to change their business practices without a full investigation or any finding that they have broken existing laws. https://bit.ly/3iVX9EL

Microsoft foils hacking operation to disrupt election. Microsoft  has foiled a sophisticated hacking plan to disrupt election infrastructure in the U.S., the company said Monday. Microsoft said it obtained a federal court order to disable the IP addresses associated with computer servers behind Trickbot, an immense malware network that criminals were using to launch cyberattacks. The legal action dovetails with an offensive by U.S. Cyber Command to disrupt the cybercriminals, according to The Washington Post. Microsoft acknowledged the digital intruders are likely to revive their operations. https://on.mktw.net/34Q8tNy

Robinhood internal probe finds hackers hit almost 2,000 accounts. Almost 2,000 Robinhood Markets accounts were compromised in a recent hacking spree that siphoned off customer funds, a sign that the attacks were more widespread than was previously known. A person with knowledge of an internal review, who asked not to be identified because the findings aren’t public, provided the estimated figure. https://bloom.bg/3nXbrZt

Fintech, Blockchain & Cryptocurrency

European fintech giant Revolut is close to applying for a bank charter in California, sources say. Revolut, the biggest European digital bank with 13 million users, is close to applying for a banking license in the U.S., CNBC has learned exclusively. The London-based fintech firm plans on applying for a charter with the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco and California’s Division of Financial Institutions within weeks, said people with knowledge of the matter. The move from Revolut, valued at US$5.5 billion in a February fundraising round, is the latest example of one of a new breed of digital challengers seeking to become a regulated bank. In March, payments giant Square won approval to start a bank. Earlier this year, Lending Club, a fintech pioneer, bought Radius Bank for $185 million in part to gain a national bank charter. https://cnb.cx/3nRfmqQ

Cryptocurrency ETFs could soon be a reality now that regulators are actively studying them, SEC chair Jay Clayton says. Cryptocurrency exchange-traded-funds are being actively considered by US regulators, the Financial Times reported chairman Jay Clayton saying at a conference. The US Securities and Exchange Commission is working with other financial agencies to establish whose jurisdiction various crypto-products would fall under, he said. “Our door is wide open — if you want to tokenise the ETF product in a way that adds efficiency, we want to meet with you and we want to facilitate that. Of course you have to register it and do what you would do with any other ETF,” the chairman said. Token contracts allow digital assets to represent a single security, like stocks, funds, or ETFs. Firms like Franklin Templeton and WisdomTree have already begun exploring this concept, according to the FT. Clayton said some of the initial crypto pioneers failed to consider investor protection and market efficiency. “One of the problems we’ve had was [that] we got off on the wrong foot in this innovation,” he said, adding that there were still members of the financial communties that favored a more unregulated approach. https://bit.ly/37j3kkg

The ECB is looking ‘very seriously’ at the creation of a digital euro, president Christine Lagarde says. European Central Bank president Christine Lagarde said Monday the ECB is “very seriously” looking at the creation of a digital euro. At a virtual IMF event, Lagarde said the pandemic has caused many structural changes including the way “we work, we trade, and we pay.” She said e-commerce rose by almost one fifth in terms of volume and size between February and June 2020 due to the pandemic. But she said a digital euro will only be a “supplement” to cash, and would never replace it. https://bit.ly/353gQ8W

A Chinese city is handing out US$1.5 million in digital ‘red envelopes’ to lottery winners to trial a cashless society. Authorities in Shenzhen, southern China, have handed out US$1.5 million of a new digital currency as part of a trial of a cashless society. Authorities gave 50,000 lottery winners the equivalent of US$30 each to spend digitally by October 16, the state-run China Daily reported Monday. The digital currency is not like a cryptocurrency, and is issued and controlled by China’s central bank, the People’s Bank of China. The PBoC said it plans to formally launch the digital payment system in late 2020, according to the BBC. https://bit.ly/33UHZeF

G7 bankers set to block Facebook’s Libra currency. Facebook’s ambitious plans to launch a global digital currency is about to hit another setback this week as financial leaders from the G7 move to publicly oppose the project. According to Reuters, finance minsters and central bankers from the G7—a club of seven of the world’s biggest economies including the U.S., Japan Germany and the U.K.—will publish a document on Tuesday that says Facebook’s currency, known as Libra, should not launch in its present form. https://bit.ly/3lJVSme

‘DeFi’ replaces ‘blockchain’ as the must-have crypto moniker. Remember when Long Island Ice Tea Corp. sent its shares soaring by reinventing itself as a crypto company before crashing and burning? Well, it’s happening again in the digital-asset sphere, but instead of adding “blockchain” to a name, DeFi is the moniker of choice. https://bloom.bg/3dqFqnH


Solar pushes aside coal as the cheapest fuel for power, IEA says.  Renewables are set to overtake coal this decade as the world’s favorite fuel to generate electricity, the International Energy Agency says. Solar photovoltaics are now cheaper than plants fired by coal and natural gas in most nations, the Paris-based researchers concludes in its annual report on global energy trends. Those cheaper costs along with government efforts to slash climate-damaging emissions will increasingly push coal off the grid and give renewables 80% of the market for new power generation by 2030, the IEA says. https://bloom.bg/3nIjr0h

Norway solar producer buys hydro power company for US$1.2 billion. The Norwegian developer Scatec Solar AS is paying US$1.2 billion to complement its solar installations around the world with the hydro-power assets of SN Power. For more than a decade, both Oslo-based companies have built renewable projects around the world in emerging markets from Africa to Asia and South America. One built solar plants and the other hydro stations. With the acquisition, Scatec Solar is bringing the two portfolios together. After the acquisition, the company will have power plants in 14 countries with a capacity of 3.3 gigawatts in operation or under construction. It hopes to be able to churn out as much as 4.1 terrawatt-hours by 2021. Since 2017, SN Power has been fully owned by the Norwegian state-operated investment fund Norfund after the utility Statkraft AS sold its remaining shares. The company was started in 2002 to develop hydro-power projects in emerging markets. https://bloom.bg/2IIEqQH

Sophic Capital Client Insights

AnalytixInsight (ALY-TSXV, ATIXF-OTCQB, Sophic client) closes private placement financing. Artificial Intelligence company AnalytixInsight Inc. closed its previously announced non-brokered private placement. The Company has issued 3,059,637 units at a price of $0.55 per Unit for gross proceeds of $1,682,800.35. Each Unit is comprised of one common share of the Company and one-half of one Common Share purchase warrant. Each whole Warrant will entitle the holder thereof to purchase one Common Share at a price of $0.75 at any time prior to October 16, 2022. The Company also entered into a capital markets advisory agreement with Sophic Capital Inc. Sophic will manage AnalytixInsight’s investor relations activities. https://bit.ly/348HtK7


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