Most Canadian investors we spoke with this past week, seem as enthusiastic as ever on the telehealth space. We expect more activity in this sector. In the larger tech space, PayPal’s crypto move and the US Antitrust lawsuit against Google seem to be major stories this past week. Looking ahead, the next week is packed with major tech giants releasing earnings, as well as Twitter’s Jack Dorsey, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg and Alphabet’s Sundar Pichai will appear before a US Senate committee examining Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act.

Canadian Technology Capital Markets & Company News

BBTV files final prospectus, prices IPO shares at $16. BBTV Holdings, the holding company behind Vancouver-based media and technology company BroadbandTV, has officially set the price of its initial public offering (IPO) on the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX) at $16 per share. The TSX has conditionally approved the listing of the shares. The company recently filed its final prospectus for the IPO and is set to issue an aggregate of more than 10.7 million subordinate voting shares at the $16 pricing. BroadbandTV stated in its filings that the IPO is set to bring in total gross proceeds of $172.4 million. The TSX has conditionally approved the listing of the shares. The IPO offering is set to close on October 28 and will be followed by BroadbandTV commencing trading on the TSX, under the symbol BBTV. BroadbandTV creates, distributes, manages, and monetizes video content. The Vancouver company provides end-to-end content management and technology solutions for independent content creators and media companies with the intent of helping to grow their presence online.According to BBTV’s initial 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 exchange for a 51 percent stake in the company. https://bit.ly/3oo42CP

mdf commerce inc. (MDF-TSX) announces increase to bought deal offering. Due to a stronger demand, it has agreed with a syndicate of underwriters led by Stifel GMP (together with the syndicate of underwriters, the “Underwriters”), to increase the size of its previously announced $40 million bought deal offering. Pursuant to the upsized deal terms, the Underwriters have agreed to purchase, on a bought deal basis, 4,157,000 common shares of the Company at a price of $10.00 per Common Share for aggregate gross proceeds to mdf of $41.6 million. https://bit.ly/3m45fwX & https://bit.ly/34aVYgF

CloudMD (DOC-TSXV) announces an increase to previously announced bought deal public offering to $32.4 million. The company entered into an amendment to the previously announced engagement agreement with Canaccord Genuity Corp. pursuant to which Canaccord, on behalf of a syndicate of underwriters, including Beacon Securities Limited, as co-lead underwriter and co-bookrunner, and Echelon Wealth Partners Inc. have agreed to increase the size of the previously announced bought deal financing. Pursuant to the amendment, the underwriters have agreed to purchase, on a bought deal basis pursuant to the filing of a short form prospectus, an aggregate of 13.5 million common shares at a price of $2.40 per share for aggregate gross proceeds to the company of $32.4 million. https://bit.ly/31sfFid & https://bit.ly/3dM6cHl

Sourced Group secures additional $2.5 million in funding. Sourced Group Worldwide Inc. (“Sourced”), a technology consultancy, secured $2.5 million from existing investor, Round 13 Capital. The financing will be used to launch a new company and product, Kivera, that was incubated within Sourced and will now be spun out as a separate entity. Kivera is a cloud security product that applies governance policies universally and consistently across an enterprise’s multi-cloud environments. Kivera provides developers with the freedom to choose the best orchestration tool for the job, native or otherwise, while bolstering the organisation’s security posture through continual assurance. https://bit.ly/2FML33g

Food robotics startup YPC Technologies raises $1.8 million seed round. Montreal-based YPC Technologies, a food robotics company with the goal of making good food more accessible, has closed a $1.8 million seed round, bringing the startup’s total equity funding to date to $2.3 million. The round was co-led by Hike Ventures and returning investor Real Ventures, with participation from Toyota AI Ventures, Uphill Capital, and multiple unnamed angel investors. YPC Technologies will use the financing to expand its engineering team and launch its beta version with an industry-leading multinational. https://bit.ly/3mjm6fB

Proptech startup Doorr acquired by mortgage business of Finastra. Doorr, a Toronto-based proptech startup that offers a mortgage platform for brokers and financial institutions, has been acquired by Filogix, the Canadian mortgage business of FinTech company Finastra. The price of the acquisition was not disclosed. As part of the deal, Doorr’s core technology will be integrated into Filogix, including its user interface. Doorr’s entire team will join Filogix, and CEO Muhammad Rashid will assume the role of director of business development at Filogix. Doorr’s investors include Celtic House Venture Partners, MaRS Investment Accelerator Fund, and Techstars, and the startup’s last round of financing was raised in May, totalling $1.75 million. https://bit.ly/2TlYytP

Kik announces settlement with U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Judge Alvin K. Hellerstein of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York approved a negotiated settlement between Kik and the U.S. SEC in connection with the company’s initial sale of the Kin token in 2017.  Under the settlement Kik will pay a one-time fine of US$5 million. The settlement relates specifically to the 2017 Kin Token Distribution Event and will not require the registration of the Kin token as a security with the SEC. This settlement resolves all ongoing matters between Kik and the SEC. https://bit.ly/2HrpGF8

Ontario introduces program that could replace physical ID cards with phones. The Ontario government just introduced a new project that, if all goes well, would eliminate our need to carry around physical health cards, driver’s licenses and other forms of provincially-issued ID. Premier Doug Ford and Peter Bethlenfalvy, chair of the government’s newly-established “Future State Modernization Committee,” announced what they’re calling the “Digital Identity program” on Monday as part of a sweeping action plan called Ontario Onwards: Ontario’s COVID-19 Action Plan for a People-Focused Government. One of more than 30 projects intended to “improve the way people and businesses interact with government, saving them both time and money,” the digitial identity program would essentially allow Ontario residents to port their government-issued identification documents into a digital wallet. https://bit.ly/2FJv06i

Global Markets: IPOs, Venture Capital, M&A

Founder-led firms outpacing CEO-led ones in market recovery. Technology companies led by their founders have been the standout winners in share price performance and profit growth this year, beating companies led by other managers, according to a Reuters analysis. Major founder-led tech firms have seen their share prices double so far this year, comfortably beating a 7.8% gain for the S&P 500 index. They have also outperformed rival tech firms led by hired managers, enriching investors and adding billions of dollars to the wealth of the founders themselves, including Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, Netflix’s Reed Hastings and Tesla’s Elon Musk. Profit growth has outperformed too, with founder-led tech firms seeing growth of around 30% over the past five years versus 6.7% for companies led by other managers. https://reut.rs/2TexCwf

China is experiencing a boom in share sales. China is claiming a record proportion of global initial public offerings and other debuts, aided by buoyant markets, a new tech board and companies seeking listings closer to home. So far this year, exchanges in Shanghai and Shenzhen have hosted more than US$47.5 billion of IPOs and listings for firms that have shares already trading elsewhere, Refinitiv data shows. That is already the highest annual tally compared with any full year since 2010 and an unprecedented 27% of the global total, the data shows. If deals in Hong Kong by Chinese companies are added, the proportion rises to 43%. Deal volumes are likely to remain robust. Ant Group Co., the financial-technology affiliate of Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., is planning dual listings in both Hong Kong and on Shanghai’s STAR Market, which could together rank as the world’s largest-ever IPO. One reason for the bonanza is that Chinese stock markets are outshining global peers, aided by the country’s economic recovery as the first in and first out of the coronavirus pandemic. The benchmark Shanghai Composite has advanced about 9% this year. That makes a listing more attractive for China’s growing ranks of large, unlisted companies. A second catalyst has been the STAR Market, which launched last year. It is free from some of the constraints that usually apply in mainland Chinese markets, where there are unwritten curbs on valuations and where applicants can wait years for official approval before going public. The STAR Market is a pet project of President Xi Jinping and is China’s third attempt to build a homegrown answer to Nasdaq, so it can help revitalize its economy and sharpen its edge in the fight for global tech dominance. https://on.wsj.com/3krPBuQ

China Fintech firm Lufax seeks up to US$2.36 billion in IPO. Chinese financial technology firm Lufax Holding Ltd., backed by Ping An Insurance Group Co., is looking to raise as much as US$2.36 billion in an initial public offering that would be one of the biggest by a Chinese company this year on a U.S. exchange. Lufax is marketing 175 million American depositary shares for US$11.50 to US$13.50 each, according to a filing Thursday with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Two ADS represent one ordinary share. Lufax is going public in the U.S. as relations between Washington and Beijing are at a low ebb, with the world’s two biggest economies clashing over trade, access to capital markets and data privacy. In August, U.S. regulators threatened to ban Chinese companies from listing on American exchanges, citing Beijing’s refusal to allow inspections of the firms’ audits. Nevertheless, firms based in China and Hong Kong have raised US$10.9 billion through U.S. IPOs this year, the most since 2014, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Lufax, which was once among China’s largest peer-to-peer lenders, has morphed into a financial giant offering wealth management and retail lending services. At the top of its price range, it would be valued at almost $33 billion based on the outstanding shares listed in its prospectus. https://bloom.bg/34tdcGl

Alibaba says it will buy 22% of Ant Group shares in IPO. Alibaba announced in a Wednesday afternoon filing that it has agreed to subscribe for 730 million A shares in Ant Group Co. Ltd.’s upcoming initial public offering. With Ant initially planning to offer 1.67 billion A shares on the Shanghai Stock Exchange and 1.67 billion H shares on Hong Kong’s stock exchange, Alibaba’s agreement covers about 22% of shares initially offered. Ant Group will also allow underwriters to purchase additional shares in the both offerings, with this over-allotment option representing no more than 15% of the number of shares initially offered. Alibaba currently holds ordinary shares of Ant Group and class C shares of Ant International Co. Ltd., a subsidiary, which together amount to 33% equity interest in Ant Group “assuming the completion of the redemption and subscription arrangement.” The filing noted that Ant International will redeem all class B and class C shares and that Ant Group will issue 3.3 billion H shares to holders of class B and class C shares of Ant International, including 1.2 billion H shares to Alibaba. U.S.-listed shares of Alibaba are off 0.3% in Thursday trading. They’ve gained 22% over the past three months as the S&P 500 has risen 4.8% and as the KraneShares CSI China Internet ETF has increased 7%. https://on.mktw.net/3ohbVtD

Ant Group gets nod from China to list in Hong Kong. Ant Group, China’s biggest digital payments company, received a nod from China’s securities regulator to list in Hong Kong, Bloomberg reported. The sign off from the China Securities Regulatory Commission is typically required for mainland Chinese companies seeking to list in Hong Kong, which operates its bourse differently from the mainland. Ant is still waiting for Beijing to approve its listing in Shanghai as well. Bloomberg noted that the CSRC’s approval came later than usual and that there had been concerns that Ant’s initial public offering had been held up. The company is seeking around US$35 billion at a valuation of at least US$280 billion, it said, which would make it the largest IPO in history. https://bit.ly/2HmQdTS

Didi lines up 2021 IPO in Hong Kong, targets more than US$60 billion valuation, sources say. Didi, backed by technology investment giants SoftBank, Alibaba and Tencent, has started initial talks with investment banks for the long-awaited IPO, according to three people. It’s looking to formally appoint lead banks for the float in the coming months, two of them said. Founded eight years ago, Didi began generating healthy profit in the second quarter this year and some investors are now keen to cash in, said one of the people. Didi is also considering a new fundraising round ahead of the IPO in a bid to boost its valuation, two of the people said. In the private secondary market, some of its shares are trading well below a valuation of US$56 billion it reached in 2017. Didi had for years aimed for a U.S. IPO because of the prestige of a New York listing, the presence of comparable peers like Uber and Lyft and a deeper capital pool, according to two of the people. If completed, Didi’s IPO would further burnish Hong Kong’s status as a capital markets hub, with $28.8 billion worth of IPOs and secondary listings carried out in the city between the start of this year and mid-October, Refinitiv data showed. https://reut.rs/3m46NXN

Chinese used-car trading platform once valued at US$1.4 billion could be sold for US$1,400. A Chinese online used-car trading platform once valued at US$1.4 billion has agreed to sell itself for just US$1,400, according to Bloomberg. The startup, Renrenche, had raised US$760 million as of 2018, according to PitchBook, and had backers including Goldman Sachs, Tencent and Didi Chuxing. Bloomberg said the potential deal to sell to Chinese online classifieds listing portal 58.com would include a loan to help keep the business afloat. But the deal, which would mark one of the more spectacular flameouts in China tech, could be scuppered by debtors demanding that the company be wound up, the report said. https://bit.ly/2HkTy6t

Microsoft-backed Databricks plans IPO next year. Databricks Inc., whose business overlaps with data and analytics software maker Snowflake Inc., is preparing an initial public offering that could come in the first half of 2021, according to people with knowledge of the matter. Discussions are at an early stage and the company has held talks with banks but has yet to hire underwriters, said the people, who asked not to be identified discussing private information. The company’s plans could still change, they said. San Francisco-based Databricks is aiming to go public at a price significantly higher than the valuation in its last funding round, one of the people said. It was valued in 2019 at US$6.2 billion when it raised US$400 million, according to a statement at the time. Of the US$129 billion raised in IPOs on U.S. exchanges this year, Software accounts for 10% of the total, the data show. That portion rises to more than 20% when special purpose acquisition companies are excluded. Software firms have also outperformed other newly public companies, rising 97% from their offer prices on a weighted average basis compared with 48% for other companies, the data show. https://bloom.bg/3jsRDtA

Online thrift shop ThredUp files confidentially for U.S. IPO. ThredUp is targeting a listing early next year and could raise US$200 million to US$300 million, Bloomberg News reported in August. Goldman Sachs Group Inc., which is an investor in the company, is advising it on its proposed listing. Last year, the company raised US$175 million from new and existing investors, including Park West Asset Management and Irving Investors, at a valuation of $670 million, according to PitchBook. The firm is joining rival Poshmark Inc. in tapping the public market. Poshmark said in September that it confidentially filed for an offering after delaying the listing for almost a year to focus on boosting sales and improving execution, Bloomberg News reported. ThredUp is part of a growing number of e-commerce sites selling used goods and competing against consignment shops and Salvation Army Thrift Stores. The digital resale market is poised to grow 27% this year to about US$9 billion in sales and could quadruple that total by 2024, ThredUp said in a report earlier this year. https://bloom.bg/2HfR8Gl

Michael Bloomberg held talks to take his media empire public. Michael Bloomberg has been in talks to take his media empire public through an entity controlled by billionaire Bill Ackman, The Post has learned. The former mayor of New York City and failed presidential hopeful recently entertained an offer to sell a minority stake in Bloomberg LP — the news agency behind Bloomberg Businessweek magazine and Bloomberg TV — to Ackman’s US$5 billion blank-check company, multiple sources said. If the men reach a deal, Bloomberg’s stock would trade on the New York Stock Exchange in place of Ackman’s Pershing Square Tontine Holdings, a blank-check company that’s raised US$5 billion to buy or merge with another company that would then take its stock listing. It’s unclear whether Bloomberg will move forward with a partial sale, but the billionaire — worth an estimated US$55 billion, according to Forbes —has spoken about the plan directly with Ackman, sources said. Sources say the deal on the table calls for the three-term ex-NYC mayor — who rose to national prominence this year when he sought the Democrat nomination for president — to sell a small personal stake so he can cash out without giving up control of news agency he founded in 1981, of which he owns 88 percent. https://bit.ly/2IOKrv7

PayPal explores crypto takeovers including Goldman-backed startup BitGo, report says. PayPal is looking to acquire cryptocurrency firms including a Goldman-backed startup BitGo, Bloomberg reported on Thursday, expanding its recent entry into the digital currency market. The US online payments company has been in discussions with BitGo – a custodian of digital assets. But any potential deal could still fall apart as PayPal may look at other targets, the news agency said, citing sources. BitGo raised about US$58 million in venture capital funding in 2018, according to PitchBook. If a deal is finalized, the amount that PayPal would pay for the startup is unknown at this stage. The startup offers multisignature cryptocurrency wallets, meaning that transactions require two or more signatures before they can be executed. Its investors include Goldman Sachs, Galaxy Digital Ventures, Valor Equity Partners, Redpoint Ventures, DRW, Digital Currency Group, and Founders Fund. https://bit.ly/3jtITU7

Intel enters deal to sell NAND memory unit to SK Hynix. Intel Corp. has reached a deal to sell its flash-memory manufacturing business to South Korea’s SK Hynix Inc. for about US$9 billion, in a move that would reorient the semiconductor giant away from an area of historical importance that has become increasingly challenged.The Intel unit makes NAND flash memory products primarily used in devices such as hard drives, thumb drives and cameras. The U.S. chip maker has been weighing getting out of the business for some time, driven by sagging prices for flash memory. https://on.wsj.com/35iDkm7

Amazon labs now conducting ‘thousands’ of Covid tests a day. Amazon’s program to test its warehouse workers for Covid-19 continues to grow. The e-commerce giant said Wednesday it is now processing ‘thousands’ of Covid tests a day using its own federally certified laboratories, and that it aims to process “50,000” tests a day by next month. The press release confirmed key details about the expansion of its in-house Covid-19 testing program, codename Project Ultraviolet, which The Information previously reported. Amazon said it had obtained certification from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to conduct complex laboratory testing at facilities in San Jose, Calif. and Hebron, Ky., but it has also filed paperwork that suggests plans for eight additional U.S. labs could be in the works. Since late April, Amazon has been quietly rolling out the service to warehouse workers. Fulfillment center employees collect and package their own nasal swabs, which are sent to the labs for processing. https://bit.ly/3jmOEmu

Airbnb announces multi-year partnership with Jony Ive, a year after leaving Apple. Jony Ive retired from Apple about a year ago, following an almost 25 year tenure as head of Apple product design. At the time, it was announced that Ive would form a new independent design firm called ‘LoveFrom’ which would regard Apple as a primary client. Whilst we are still waiting for Ive’s supposed ongoing relationship with Apple to bear any fruit, today Airbnb revealed a multi-year partnership with Jony Ive and LoveFrom. Ive will help design the next generation of Airbnb products and services. https://bit.ly/3jkJKpW

Huawei’s revenue growth slows amid U.S. sanctions. Huawei’s financial results for the first nine months of this year indicated that the Chinese tech giant’s revenue growth slowed in the third quarter. The slowdown comes as Huawei continues to face a harsh business climate in overseas markets due to the Trump administration’s sanctions and the global coronavirus pandemic. Huawei, one of the world’s biggest makers of smartphones and telecom equipment, said its revenue in the first three quarters of this year rose 9.9% to 671.3 billion yuan (US$100.4 billion). In July, the company said its revenue in the first half of this year increased 13%. Based on Huawei’s previous financial results, the company’s revenue in the third quarter likely increased 3.7%. The U.S. government’s sanctions have limited Huawei’s access to chips and other components as well as software developed by American companies. https://bit.ly/31zAsjQ

Emerging Technologies

iPhone 12 preorders twice that of last year’s iPhone 11; Pro demand higher than expected – Kuo. Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo estimates that iPhone 12 preorders are more than twice the level seen for the iPhone 11 last year. He says that preorders reached somewhere in the 1.7 million to 2 million range within the first 24 hours, contrasting this with a 500k to 800k range for the iPhone 11. However, while it has been widely predicted that Apple’s first 5G phones would generate another ‘super-cycle,’ similar to that seen when the company launched the first larger-screened devices which debuted in the iPhone 6, there isn’t yet the evidence to support this scale of demand. Kuo says that first 24-hour orders for the iPhone 6 were around 4M. However, this year only two of the four iPhone 12 models are yet available for pre-order. Pre-orders for the iPhone 12 mini and iPhone 12 Pro Max don’t officially open until November 6, though some carriers will open theirs before then. In terms of the split between the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro, Kuo estimates that demand for the more expensive model is higher than expected. The standard model was expected to be the more popular of the two, but early signs in iPhone 12 preorders suggest that demand is split equally between them. https://bit.ly/2H4AOIs

Apple AR headset progresses as Sony said to supply micro-display. A new report from the Japanese newspaper Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun today claims that Apple is working with Sony on display technology that would be used in its reported AR headset. The headset could be announced as 2021, the report claims. The report (via Macotakara) explains that supplying the micro-display for Apple’s head-mounted display will become a “pillar of Sony’s earnings” over the coming years. Reports have painted a messy picture of what to expect from Apple’s rumored headset(s). As of right now, the expectation is that Apple is developing dual products: an AR headset for gaming and a sleeker pair of AR glasses. The gaming headset, slated for 2022, would purportedly combine the best of AR and VR to offer impressive gaming and content VR experiences. The slim and light glasses would focus on using AR to place data like maps navigations over what the user is seeing in the real world, and would be released in 2023 at the earliest. https://bit.ly/3dQiVc9

The Chinese electric vehicle industry is on a rebound after an almost year-long slump, but startups BYD and NIO are taking initiative to shield against market volatility. The Chinese passenger EV sector is on a rebound after a prolonged period of low sales volume but volatility remains. With over 400 registered EV manufacturers In the country, some level of sector consolidation is expected. Leading EV companies such as BYD and NIO are innovating in customer service and charging infrastructure. The future of EVs in China will be closely linked to the development of autonomous driving in the country. Because of their work, Business Insider named BYD founder Wang Chuanfu and NIO CEO, William Li, to our annual list of the 10 leaders transforming manufacturing in Asia. https://bit.ly/35pG6Gy

SpaceX successfully launches 60 more Starlink satellites, bringing total delivered to orbit to more than 800. SpaceX on Sunday launched another batch of 60 of its internet-beaming Starlink satellites, growing its constellation even further. That makes 835 Starlink satellites launched thus far, though not all of those are operational (some were test satellites that were intentionally decommissioned). The launch, from Florida’s Kennedy Space Center, also included a successful controlled landing and recovery of the first stage booster, as well as a semi-successful dual catch of the fairing halves used to protect the cargo during launch. This is another impressive show of SpaceX’s ability to maintain a very fast and frequent pace of launches, which has this year focused mostly on delivering its own Starlink satellites to orbit. The company has already launched almost 300 new Starlink satellites since June, and has plans to launch at least two more batches during the next month, including a tentative launch scheduled for this coming Wednesday. https://tcrn.ch/3jc8CAe

Media, Streaming, Gaming & Sports Betting

AOC drew more than 400,000 Twitch viewers while playing ‘Among Us’ — here’s how the game works. The New York Democrat made her debut on the Amazon-owned streaming service Tuesday night, playing the online multiplayer game “Among Us” with fellow Squad member Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) to encourage voting in the Nov. 3 election. And her stream was a hit, peaking with 435,000 viewers during her first match, while another 200,000 or so followed her progress over separate broadcasts streamed by gaming stars like Pokimane and Jacksepticeye, Forbes reported. But this news has led many voters outside of the gaming community to ask: What is “Among Us,” and why would a 31-year-old politician join Twitch to spend hours playing it? Streaming services like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu and Disney+ have enjoyed subscription boosts during the COVID-19 pandemic as people spend more time at home. More than one in four consumers (28%) in a recent Hub Entertainment Research survey said they’ve added at least one new subscription service since February. And Twitch, which launched in 2011 and primarily focuses on videogames and esports, has seen its viewership surge. The number of hours watched on the platform jumped 50% between March and April alone to hit 1.49 billion hours, according to StreamElements and Aresenal.gg’s monthly State of the Stream report. August saw 1.47 billion hours watched. https://on.mktw.net/31DudvA

Twitch announces beta for Soundtrack, the platform’s new music service. Twitch has opened up beta testing for its new music streaming service to all of its users. Soundtrack will allow streamers to use licensed music on their streams without being flagged for DMCA. Using the application Twitch will separate the music from the streamer’s audio devices, allowing them to keep their audio on playback. In the past, this audio would have been automatically muted. https://bit.ly/3dK5Ot1

Instagram and Snapchat look to take on TikTok with new product updates. In recent months, both Instagram and Snapchat have made several product changes that are reminiscent of growing contender TikTok. Instagram launched its highly anticipated feature Reels, which allows users to create short videos set to music, and Snapchat introduced a slew of new features, including adding music and a test for vertical navigation. https://bit.ly/2HjyuNG

Future of tech: gaming predicted to become next dominant technology platform. Gaming is set to emerge as the next dominant technology platform much the way search engines, mobile phones and social networks redefined industries in previous decades, says Michael Wolf, co-founder and chief executive of consulting firm Activate Inc. Some games are transforming into digital hubs that offer people an array of services once only possible in real life, according to Mr. Wolf. https://on.wsj.com/3odtZ7T

Netflix is experimentally giving an entire country two days of Netflix for free. Netflix is planning a two-day “event” that will allow non-subscribers in India to stream the company’s library without a subscription plan. The move follows news that Netflix has ended free trial periods, choosing instead to focus on other marketing promotions to try and amass new subscribers. https://bit.ly/3oasnf8

HBO Max has 8.6 million activations. HBO Max  has had 8.6 million people activate the service as of September 30, double where activations stood at the end of June, way behind rival services like Disney + and Netflix. For AT&T, the success of HBO Max is key as more customers cancel their video subscriptions for older services like DirecTV in favor of streaming services. In the third quarter, the company lost 627,000 video customers, a smaller loss than previous quarters, but still a continued downward trend. AT&T also said it is still planning its ad-supported offering of HBO Max  in 2021, and that it would likely add some live programming to that –but not sports. That seems to imply that news may be key to the next iteration of HBO Max and what that means for CNN remains to be seen. https://bit.ly/2J0Vcuw

The streaming service Quibi is shutting down, according to a report from The Wall Street Journal. The streaming service, which was founded by DreamWorks cofounder Jeffrey Katzenberg, raised US$1.75 billion from investors like Walmart, PepsiCo, and Anheuser-Busch ahead of its launch in April. But Quibi has struggled to gain viewers, which has resulted in lucrative advertising deals being put on hold, The Journal reported. Last month, The Journal reported that Quibi was exploring multiple options, including a sale. Katzenberg had recently told people he may have to shut down the company, The Information reported on Tuesday. Despite the big-name investors and powerful names attached to the service — including former Hewlett Packard Enterprise CEO Meg Whitman at the helm — Quibi has struggled to gain a foothold in the streaming industry since its launch. https://bit.ly/3mgUqrG

Former TiKTok CEO Mayer says moderators can’t keep up with content. Former TikTork CEO Kevin Mayer said today that human moderators cannot keep pace with the flood of content that is uploaded by users on TikTok and other user-generated content platforms. “That makes regulation a bit difficult,“ said Mayer, who was speaking at a virtual conference hosted by the Technology Policy Institute on regulation of tech platforms. Mayer left TikTok just months into his tenure as CEO, after President Trump targeted the video sharing app as a national security threat because of data it collects from U.S. citizens. Trump has also accused Chinese firms of stealing U.S. technology. Mayer did not directly address Trump’s concerns. He did say that Zhang Yiming, the founder and chief executive of ByteDance, TikTok’s parent company, is a “genius.” He also said that the company’s engineers are “every bit as accomplished and as cutting edge as anything you find in the U.S.” When it comes to artificial intelligence, Mayer said, “they are probably more advanced.” https://bit.ly/2FWRP6C

Adtech, Privacy & Regulatory

U.S. Justice Department files antitrust lawsuit against Google. The United States Justice Department on Tuesday sued Google for antitrust violations, alleging that it abused its dominance in online search and advertising to stifle competition and harm consumers. The lawsuit marks the government’s most significant act to protect competition since its groundbreaking case against Microsoft more than 20 years ago. It could be an opening salvo ahead of other major government antitrust actions, given ongoing investigations of major tech companies including Apple, Amazon and Facebook at both the Justice Department and the Federal Trade Commission. Google responded immediately via tweet: “Today’s lawsuit by the Department of Justice is deeply flawed. People use Google because they choose to — not because they’re forced to or because they can’t find alternatives.” The case was filed in federal court in Washington, D.C. It alleges that Google uses billions of dollars collected from advertisers to pay phone manufacturers to ensure Google is the default search engine on browsers. Eleven states will join the federal government in the lawsuit. https://bit.ly/3kz0dIM

Australia considers its own antitrust lawsuit against Google. Australia’s top competition enforcer signaled that it will look into antitrust action against Google, following the U.S. lawsuit filed on Tuesday. Rod Sims, chair of the Australian Competition Commission’s Rod Sims, said on Wednesday he was “delighted” to see the long-awaited antitrust case brought forward. “We’re going to look at it and see whether there’s any value in what we might do,” he added. The ACCC under Sims has already taken aggressive measures against Google on several fronts. The regulator has brought two separate cases in the Australian courts pertaining to the way Google handles and gets consent around customer data. Meanwhile, Sims has been at the forefront in crafting laws that would fundamentally change the relationship between traditional media businesses and the big tech companies Google and Facebook. Under the plans, an arbitrator would be able to make binding decisions about how much the tech companies should pay news publishers for the use of their content on platforms. Both Google and Facebook have launched aggressive lobbying efforts against the proposals. https://bit.ly/3og7vTI

Senate Judiciary Committee authorizes subpoenas for Twitter and Facebook CEOs. The Senate Judiciary Committee authorized its chairman to issue subpoenas to the chief executives of Facebook Inc. and Twitter Inc. after the companies limited sharing of New York Post articles regarding the son of Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden. The Republican-led panel voted 12-0 to authorize Chairman Lindsey Graham (R., S.C.) to issue subpoenas to Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg and Twitter’s Jack Dorsey. https://on.wsj.com/3omGxtB

Instagram commits to fighting hidden ads amid U.K. probe. Facebook Inc.’s Instagram will change the way users post advertisements as part of a wider probe by the U.K. competition watchdog to combat misleading online ads. Facebook has committed to this “important behavior shift” following an investigation by the Competition and Markets Authority, the regulator said in a statement Friday. The changes will make it “much harder” for users to post ads without labeling them as such. https://bloom.bg/359kkqs

Facebook building neighborhood feature as Nextdoor eyes IPO. Facebook Inc. is building a feature for users of its social network to connect with their neighbors, a push toward more intimate interactions that treads on the idea behind rival Nextdoor Inc., which is considering a public offering. Screenshots of Facebook’s new feature, which is currently being tested, were shared on Twitter Tuesday by Matt Navarra, a social media consultant. The images show a product called Neighborhoods, where users can enter their address and complete a unique “neighbourhood profile.” A Facebook spokeswoman confirmed the company is testing the feature in one market: Calgary. The screen grabs show the soft are using the Canadian English spelling of its name. Other images show Facebook reminding users that its “community standards” still apply inside the Neighborhoods feature and the company encourages people to “Keep It Clean” and “Be Inclusive.” https://bloom.bg/31uTAzm

China lawmakers pass export control law protecting tech. The country’s top legislative body, the National People’s Congress Standing Committee, adopted the measure on Saturday that applies to all companies in China, including foreign-invested ones. The law will be effective Dec. 1. Souring ties between China and the U.S. had led Washington to take action against several Chinese companies including Huawei Technologies Co., ByteDance Ltd.’s TikTok app, Tencent Holdings Ltd.’s WeChat and Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corp. The new law provides a framework for Beijing to better fight back. While its existing control list is much narrower than the one used by the U.S., the country’s commerce ministry made an amendment in August that included technology such as algorithms and drones. The list could be further expanded to include even more products and technologies. https://bloom.bg/3o2F7o5

Huawei, China tech firms raise concerns about Nvidia’s Arm deal. Huawei and some other Chinese tech companies have expressed strong concerns to the country’s regulators about Nvidia’s proposed $40 billion deal to buy U.K. chip designer Arm from SoftBank, Bloomberg reported. The Chinese companies are worried that Nvidia, a U.S. company, could force Arm to stop providing its designs to its Chinese clients such as Huawei, given Washington’s broader efforts to curb the international expansion of Chinese tech giants due to national security concerns. The Chinese tech firms are lobbying local regulators to either block the deal or impose conditions to make sure that Arm will continue to serve its Chinese clients, according to Bloomberg. The opposition from Huawei and others could create a major obstacle for Nvidia’s deal. The deal also is crucial for SoftBank, which is selling Arm as part of its attempt to reduce its debt and finance share buybacks by selling some of its major assets. https://bit.ly/3m19gCu

The Police can probably break into your phone. At least 2,000 law enforcement agencies have tools to get into encrypted smartphones, according to new research, and they are using them far more than previously known. https://nyti.ms/37sJPWn 


Whole Foods now offers free one-hour grocery pickup at all US stores. Amazon Prime subscribers now get free one-hour grocery pickup at all of Whole Foods’ 487 US stores, Amazon announced. The news marks an expansion of Whole Foods’ existing pickup service, which was previously only available at select stores, according to CNBC. Orders costing US$35 or more are eligible, and thousands of items including fresh produce, meat and seafood, and other staples are available for pickup. Whole Foods isn’t alone in expanding its pickup options. Back in June, Target announced plans to offer fresh grocery pickup in over 1,500 of its stores by this year’s holidays. Meanwhile, Walmart offers grocery pickups at hundreds of locations across the country. Both stores currently dwarf the size of Whole Foods in terms of retail locations. Walmart has over 4,700 stores in the US, while Target has over 1,800, compared to less than 500 locations for Whole Foods. https://bit.ly/3mf09OO

Alibaba takes control of Chinese retailer in US$3.6 billion deal. Alibaba said it will spend about US$3.6 billion to take control of Chinese supermarket operator Sun Art, in one of the e-commerce giant’s biggest investments in offline retail. In 2017, Alibaba bought a 36% stake in Sun Art for about US$2.88 billion. The new investment in Sun Art will raise Alibaba’s direct and indirect stake in the company to about 72%, Alibaba said in a statement. As a result, Sun Art’s earnings will be consolidated into Alibaba’s. The deal enables Alibaba to deepen its collaborations with Sun Art and collect more data. Sun Art’s physical stores already are connected to Alibaba’s platforms that offer online delivery services. But the move to acquire Sun Art also raises questions about Alibaba’s strategy. Sun Art’s net profit margin in the first half of this year was 4.1%, much lower than Alibaba’s margin, which was more than 30% in the latest quarter. When Alibaba began to accelerate its expansion into offline retail several years ago, some investors expected the company to focus mainly on selling its software and services to brick-and-mortar retailers through business partnerships—without Alibaba owning controlling stakes in those businesses. Still, some Alibaba employees say the company’s effort to turn traditional offline retailers into its clients has run into challenges. https://bit.ly/37kLbm7

Influencers’ next frontier: their own live shopping channels. 2020 has been the year of live shopping for US tech companies. Amazon launched Amazon Live for influencers in July, and Instagram and Facebook launched live shopping features in August. Google’s R&D division, Area 21, also launched Shoploop, which isn’t live but offers shoppable stories, and smaller startups continued their efforts to make live shopping not just a thing, but the future of retail. On every platform, it ends up looking like a modern twist on QVC — but with influencers instead of celebrities, and those influencers getting a cut of the sales. There’s good reason for tech companies to believe live shopping could be big in the US: it’s already massive in China. In March, 60 million people tuned into shopping live streams, an increase of 126 million compared to last June, according to a report published by the China Internet Network Information Center. https://bit.ly/3dUO3Hu

Fintech, Blockchain & Cryptocurrency

PayPal to allow cryptocurrency transactions beginning next year. PayPal Holdings Inc. on Wednesday said customers will be able to buy cryptocurrency through their accounts beginning next year and use it for payments. CEO Dan Schulmantold Reuters that he hopes the new service will encourage global use of virtual coins and prepare its network for new digital currencies that may be developed by central banks and corporations. https://bit.ly/3onCsWm

Powell: Fed open to private sector collaboration in possible digital dollar. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said Monday that the Fed is open to collaborating with the private sector on a possible digital U.S. dollar, but reiterated that the central bank has not committed to actually launching one. “We will have lots of conversations with industry and stakeholder engagement, and that’ll help us in our work on digital currencies and cross-border payments,” Powell said in an International Monetary Fund panel. Powell said private sector initiatives like Facebook’s Libra project have accelerated central banks’ interest in setting up their own digital currencies. But Powell cautioned that the Fed faces “difficult policy and operational questions,” such as the monetary policy implications of a digital dollar. Powell also listed illicit activity and cyber attacks as risks. “I actually do think this is one of those issues where it’s more important for the United States to get it right than it is to be first,” Powell said. https://yhoo.it/3o7TTK9

Central Bank of Bahamas launches landmark ‘Sand Dollar’ digital currency. The first of its kind in the world to have been fully deployed, the sand dollar is a digital version of the Bahamian dollar. Issued by the country’s monetary authority as a central bank digital currency (CBDC), the announcement of the launch came via a tweet on Wednesday. The project is designed to bring more “inclusive access to regulated payments and other financial services,” per the central bank’s FAQ. CBDCs have been a hot topic this year; China, for instance, appears to be close to launching its digital yuan, which in recent days has seen its biggest public trial. Others, like the U.S., Russia and the European Union are looking into their respective CBDC launches. https://bit.ly/3mdQPuk

JPMorgan Chase takes on Square and PayPal with smartphone card reader, faster deposits for merchants. JPMorgan Chase is making a play to sell more services to millions of American small business owners, pushing into an area pioneered by fintech firms including Square, PayPal and First Data, CNBC has learned. The bank is rolling out a checking account that is paired with a new fintech-inspired service called QuickAccept, according to JPMorgan executives. QuickAccept lets merchants take card payments within minutes, either through a mobile app or a contactless card reader, and users will see sales hit their Chase business accounts on the same day. That fast funding is offered free, unlike competitors including Square, which typically take a day or more and charge a 1.5% fee to make instant transfers. “Our competition either doesn’t have same-day funding, or they charge for it,” Max Neukirchen, CEO of JPMorgan’s merchant services arm, said in an interview. “We think it’s a great differentiator for businesses because getting money into their account quickly is so important as they manage their cash flow.” https://cnb.cx/3jjz4rO


Intel hit as consumers flock to lower-cost laptops, datacenter chips. Chip giant Intel Corp. may be seeing an end to the work-from-home boost it enjoyed during the pandemic, with earnings hit by consumers gravitating to cheaper laptops and data-center sales softening. The company on Thursday said revenue dropped 4% to $18.3 billion after it enjoyed strong sales in the first half of the year. The company’s bottom line also suffered, with earnings per share falling to $1.02 in the period from $1.35 a year earlier and falling short of Wall Street’s expectation. https://on.wsj.com/3ojOr7g


ITC benefits; how it’s changing. ITC benefits provide organizations substantial cost savings to solar installations. In 2021 ITC benefits will shift; here’s what you need to know and how we can help. https://bit.ly/2FFptO3

Siting report finds Maryland can meet state solar goals with available brownfields and roof space. The Chesapeake Conservancy’s Conservation Innovation Center (CIC) released a new report: “Optimal Solar Siting for Maryland: A Pilot for Baltimore County and City.” Using geospatial analysis, the report identifies optimal solar sites and answers the key question: Are enough optimal sites available to meet Maryland’s renewable energy goals for solar energy? The analysis results showed Baltimore County and City offer extensive opportunities for solar placement on degraded lands and underutilized industrial sites, on rooftops of commercial, industrial and residential buildings, and for the development of solar parking canopies. Maryland is one of 30 states in the United States with a Renewable Portfolio Standard, a mandate to increase electricity production from renewable energy sources. Maryland’s mandate requires 50% of electricity sold by utilities to come from renewable sources, with 14.5% from solar. To meet this goal, the state will need six-times the current solar energy production. Siting of solar energy development is an increasing concern, given the rapid increase in solar energy capacity required. Solar installations range from small rooftop photovoltaic systems and medium-sized distributed generation installations that use energy locally and feed excess energy back to the grid, to large ground-mounted installations that sell energy directly to utilities. The Governor’s Task Force on Renewable Energy Development and Siting estimates that the land needed to meet the state’s RPS goal will require between 7,000 and 35,000 acres across the state. https://bit.ly/2IOnNmB

Sophic Capital Client Insights

 AnalytixInsight (ALY:TSXV, ATIXF:OTC) – Meet the CEO of Sophic Capital’s newest client. AnalytixInsight Inc.  is an artificial intelligence/machine learning firm that transforms massive amounts of data into knowledge. With clients including The Wall Street Journal and Refinitiv, AnalytixInsight is now moving into it’s largest market opportunity – workforce optimization. Sophic Capital interviewed CEO Prakash Hariharan to learn more about this market opportunity, AnalytixInsight’s solutions, and the Company’s background. https://bit.ly/3jwxjYe


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