Growth stocks performed well last week, Nasdaq was up 3.25%, S&P 500 rose 2.5%, and Dow Jones gained 1.4%. Arm will start conversations with potential IPO investors with a US$50 billion to US$55 billion valuation in mind, for at least a 56% increase from the price at which SoftBank bought Arm seven years ago. OpenAI is on pace to generate more than US$1 billion in revenue, up more than 35 times compared to last year. Nvidia-backed CoreWeave is seeking stake sale at up to a US$8 billion valuation, even as some employees are looking to cash out an astonishing US$500 million worth of shares, according to The Information. In Canada, Sophic Client Kraken announced a $2.7 million sonar & subsea battery order, and reiterated financial guidance for 2023 with Q2 results. The Company expects revenue to be in the $66 – $78 million range and adjusted EBITDA in the $12 – $17 million range. Mid-point of guidance range implies revenue growth of 76% over 2022 and adjusted EBITDA growth of 275%. Sophic Client, Clear Blue Technologies announced Q2 results, and is focused on revenue growth in H2 2023, net-zero cash burn and positive EBITDA. Private equity firm Veritas Capital made an offer to buy BlackBerry, months after the Company began a strategic review, its U.S-listed shares rose about 17% on the news. Amazon and Shopify announced a partnership Wednesday to allow Shopify sellers to offer Amazon’s Buy With Prime service on their e-commerce sites, Shopify also began quietly rolling out a TikTok integration. Toronto-based Cohere is being advised by JPMorgan and Goldman Sachs on a potential financing round. Cohere, a competitor to OpenAI, raised US$270 million in June at a valuation of US$2.2 billion, recently Tiger Global was close to selling a stake in Cohere in a deal that would have valued the company at about US$3 billion.

Canadian Technology Capital Markets & Company News

Sophic Client Kraken Robotics (PNG-TSXV, KRKNF-OTC) announces $2.7 million of sonar & subsea battery.

Kraken has received contracts totalling $2.7 million for subsea batteries and synthetic aperture sonar systems (SAS). The SAS sensor contracts represent two new customers, continuing the growth of Kraken’s ever-expanding list of users. One customer is a European Research Institute operating next-generation AUVs, and the other is a NATO member country in underwater defense applications. Deliveries will occur in 2024. https://bit.ly/3R5oTvl

Sophic Client Kraken Robotics (PNG-TSXV, KRKNF-OTC) reports strong Q2 2023 financial results.

Kraken is reiterating its financial guidance for 2023. Revenue and adjusted EBITDA will continue to accelerate in the second half of 2023 as the Company executes on the large number of orders received in late 2022 and early 2023. The Company expects revenue to be in the $66 – $78 million range and adjusted EBITDA in the $12 – $17 million range. The mid-point of guidance range ($72 million in revenue and $14.5 million in EBITDA) implies revenue growth of 76% over 2022 and adjusted EBITDA growth of 275%. Capex in 2023 is expected to be approximately $6 million. Q2 2023 Financial Highlights; Consolidated revenue for Q2 2023 was $13.7 million compared to $14.7 million for the quarter ending June 30, 2022, a decline of 4% due to the large services project in Q2 2022. Sequentially, consolidated revenue increased 80% in the quarter compared to Q1 2023; Gross margin in Q2 2023 was 57% compared to 45% in Q2 2022; Adjusted EBITDA for the quarter was $3.0 million compared to an Adjusted EBITDA of $3.0 million in the comparable quarter. Adjusted EBITDA margin in the quarter was 22% compared to 21% in the comparable quarter due to improved gross margins; During the quarter it was determined that PanGeo (acquired in July 2021) would not meet its second earn-out under the terms of the Share Purchase Agreement. As a result, the Company recorded a gain on the extinguishment of contingent consideration of $4.0 million and recorded an impairment of goodwill $2.8 million; Net income in the quarter was $2.0 million, compared to net income of $0.5 million in Q2 2022; Subsequent to the quarter, warrants for shares of 10.0 million expired on July 26th and the Company paid Promissory Notes and interest associated with the acquisition of PanGeo of $4.4 million. This combined with the extinguishment of contingent consideration and other debt payments has resulted in debt reduction of $11.4 million; Total assets were $70.5 million on June 30, 2023, compared to $63.4 million on June 30, 2022. https://bit.ly/45Kj9eD

Sophic Client Clear Blue Technologies (CBLU-TSXV, CBUTF-OTC, 0YA-FRA) announces second quarter fiscal 2023 financial results.

Revenue was $752,325, relatively flat from $782,101 for the quarter ended June 30, 2022 (“Q2 2022”), but up 187% from $262,137 in the prior quarter (“Q1 2023”); Recurring revenue was $139,056, a 61% decrease from $358,250 in Q2 2022; Gross Margin was 41%, up from 35% in Q2 2022; Gross Profit for Q2 2023 was $309,007 compared to $277,295 for Q2 2022, an 11% increase; EBITDA was $(664,964) versus $(989,498) in Q2 2022, a 33% improvement from Q2 2022. Cash at June 30, 2023 was $746,100 versus $853,330 at December 31, 2022; As of June 30, 2023, the Company has $5.4 million of available government funding, with $3.65 million receivable in government grants, and $1.7 million receivable in the form of a 10-year interest free loan to fund its plans going forward over the next 3 years. Outlook is for Q3/23 revenue to be in the range of $1.5 million to $2.5 million. Clear Blue’s focus continues to be cash centric. Revenue growth in Q3 and Q4 2023, net-zero cash burn and positive EBITDA are still objectives for the rest of the year. Of the $4,654,286 in bookings as at the end of Q2, $3,920,006 is expected to be revenue recognized over the coming 12 months. https://bit.ly/45PKkVd

Private equity firm Veritas makes takeover offer for BlackBerry (BB-TSX, BB-NYSE), source says.

Private equity firm Veritas Capital has made an offer to buy BlackBerry Ltd, according to a person familiar with the matter, months after the Canadian technology company began a strategic review. U.S-listed shares of BlackBerry, which earlier rose about 17% on the news, closed at US$5.23, giving the company a market capitalization of US$3.1 billion. Veritas has made an offer for the entire company, the source said, adding that BlackBerry is also in talks with other potential buyers. BlackBerry had said in May it would consider strategic options for its portfolio of businesses that could include the possible separation of one or more of its businesses. It pulled the plug on its smartphones business last year and has since been trying to sell its legacy patents related to its mobile devices. In May, BlackBerry said it will continue with the previously announced sale of the patents related to its mobile devices to Malikie Innovations Limited for up to US$900 million. A prior deal to sell those patents to Catapult IP Innovations Inc for US$600 million fell through as it took longer than usual to close. https://tinyurl.com/bdzk4s2t

Amazon and Shopify (SHOP-NYSE, SHOP-TSX) strike Buy with Prime partnership.

Amazon and Shopify announced a partnership Wednesday to allow Shopify sellers to offer Amazon’s Buy With Prime service on their e-commerce sites, the culmination of a battle between the two e-commerce giants as they increasingly edge onto each other’s turf. Buy With Prime allows merchants to offer Amazon’s checkout and quick fulfillment services to Prime members on their own sites. But questions emerged inside Shopify when Amazon first announced Buy With Prime about whether Shopify could compete with Amazon after it launched the service, especially if Amazon began taking valuable payments processing revenue away from Shopify. Under the new partnership, retailers using Amazon’s fulfillment services will still be able to allow shoppers to complete orders on their own sites using their Amazon accounts and payment information. But now, Shopify sellers will be able to process Buy With Prime sales through Shopify’s checkout, allowing Shopify to retain revenue from facilitating payments. A new app integration rolled out to some Shopify merchants on Wednesday and will be available to all U.S. Shopify merchants by the end of September, the companies said. https://tinyurl.com/396suxfy

Shopify (SHOP-NYSE, SHOP-TSX) begins rolling out TikTok Shop integration.

This week, Shopify began quietly rolling out a way for merchants using its e-commerce software to integrate more closely with TikTok Shop, the social media app’s small but growing online shopping service, The Information reported Thursday. The partnership will help Shopify keep its sellers who want to experiment with selling on TikTok happy, while also allowing TikTok to woo more merchants and expand its Shop service. The new TikTok Shop integration will allow Shopify sellers to directly access order details and some customer information from sales made on TikTok through their Shopify dashboards, a person familiar with the matter said. Previously, sellers had to use third-party software to transfer sales data from TikTok’s Seller Central to Shopify’s platform, which many small sellers use as a central hub to run their entire businesses. The partnership replaces Storefronts, which allowed sellers on Shopify and other e-commerce platforms to link to products from their stores on TikTok. TikTok has told sellers it plans to sunset Storefronts on Sept. 12. The new integration marks a concession of sorts for Shopify, which has raced to keep up with TikTok as it has transformed into a growing e-commerce threat. https://tinyurl.com/yet6fdy6

OpenAI rival Cohere taps JPMorgan, Goldman for financing.

Toronto-based Cohere is being advised by JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. on the potential round, the people said, asking not to be identified because the matter is private. Talks are early and details of the round, such as what amount the company is seeking, haven’t been set. Cohere, a competitor to OpenAI, raised US$270 million in June from a mix of investors at a valuation of up US$2.2 billion, Bloomberg News reported. The company is seeking a higher valuation in the current round, one of the people said. The Information reported on Aug. 22 that Tiger Global Management was close to selling a stake in Cohere in a deal that would have valued the company at about US$3 billion. https://tinyurl.com/2vpxvdue

Novarc Technologies announces closing of US$20 million for its AI-powered automated welding robots.

Vancouver-based Novarc Technologies, which specializes in automated welding equipment using artificial intelligence (AI), announced it has raised US$20 million in all-equity Series A funding. Caterpillar Venture Capital, a subsidiary of the United States (US)-based construction vehicle company Caterpillar, and Export Development Canada (EDC) joined the round led by Graham Partners, which had announced its initial investment in the round in September 2022. Novarc declined to disclose its valuation. According to Novarc, the funding will go towards expanding its speciality spool-welding robot (SWR) offering, launching its NovAI robotic vision system for automated welding, and its “global expansion,” including hiring additional staff. https://tinyurl.com/yz3r84mv

FlipGive raises $5 million financing round.

FlipGive, a Toronto, Canada-based cashback rewards and end-to-end fundraising solution for youth sports teams, closed a $5 million financing round. The round was co-led by Thrive Venture Fund at BDC Capital and Framework Venture Partners. The company intends to use the funds to further grow its direct-to-consumer app across North America, and to scale its new white label embedded cashback rewards shopping platform. https://tinyurl.com/266s4yeh

WatchMojo CEO leads Mosea $2.5 million raise to help Canadians split the bill.

Mosea, a Toronto-based payments startup, has raised $2.5 million in seed funding. The startup says it plans to use the funds to fuel its expansion and introduce its social payments app to new users across Canada. The Granicus Group, a holding company run by the CEO and founder of WatchMojo, led the round. A number of undisclosed angels also participated in the round, which closed in May.

Flojoy raises $1.7 million to apply AI to instrumentation testing for heavy industries.

Montréal-based Flojoy has raised $1.7 million (US$1.3 million) all-equity and all-primary in seed funding to develop its no-code software that enables industrial companies to automate their testing processes. Flybridge Capital Partners, Boreal Ventures, and BDC Capital participated in the round, which closed on July 21. https://bit.ly/3sH34YJ

Global Markets: IPOs, Venture Capital, M&A

Arm shoots for IPO valuation above US$50 billion.

SoftBank-owned chip designer arm will start conversations with potential initial public offering investors next week with a US$50 billion to US$55 billion valuation in mind, according to the Wall Street Journal. The valuation range is likely a starting point that it hopes to increase over the next week before an IPO on the Nasdaq exchange the following week. It would represent at least a 56% increase from the price at which SoftBank bought Arm seven years ago, a much-needed win for SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son. But the price isn’t a sure thing. It would still represent a valuation premium over other some other firms in the semiconductor sector, such as AMD and Broadcom. Investors will have to weigh Arm’s strong market position providing chip blueprints to phonemakers and other tech firms, along with inroads it’s making providing technology to data centers, with challenges like emerging open-source competitors and slowing sales. https://tinyurl.com/4jhafue3

OpenAI’s revenue surges more than 35 times.

OpenAI is currently on pace to generate more than US$1 billion in revenue from selling artificial intelligence software and server capacity to power it, The Information reported. Compared to its average monthly revenue last year, the startup’s business is more than 35 times bigger today. OpenAI is a key barometer of broader spending on conversational AI. What’s behind the revenue growth? ChatGPT subscriptions, for starters, but also enterprise deals with big customers such as Wall Street firm Jane Street, which also quietly hired a key Google researcher who helped develop large-language models, the report said. https://tinyurl.com/y7hx995u

Nvidia-backed CoreWeave seeks stake sale at up to US$8 billion valuation.

CoreWeave, a cloud computing provider that’s becoming one of the hottest startups in the artificial intelligence race, is exploring a minority stake sale that values the company at as much as $8 billion or more, according to people with knowledge of the matter. The Roseland, New Jersey-based company, which previously specialized in ethereum mining, is working with an adviser as its management team seeks buyers for a roughly 10% equity stake at a valuation of between US$5 billion and US$8 billion, said the people, who requested anonymity discussing confidential talks. Terms haven’t been finalized and could still change, they added. CoreWeave is projected to achieve about US$1.5 billion in revenue in 2024, a person with knowledge of the matter said. CoreWeave is building out data centers based on Nvidia’s chips to offer artificial intelligence-related computing as a service. Earlier this month, Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang name-checked the company on his earnings conference call saying it’s doing “incredibly well.” CoreWeave said earlier this month it secured US$2.3 billion in debt financing led by Magnetar Capital and funds managed by Blackstone Tactical Opportunities. Coatue, DigitalBridge Credit and affiliates of BlackRock, Pimco and Carlyle also participated, the company said. https://archive.ph/G1uUp

Nvidia-powered cloud provider preps US$500 million employee stock sale.

As Nvidia has ascended to new heights this year, it’s brought along a small cloud provider, CoreWeave. Now CoreWeave’s founders and some employees are looking to cash out an astonishing US$500 million worth of shares in a deal that values the company at US$6 billion or higher, The Information reported. While the company’s revenue growth from renting specialized servers for artificial intelligence doesn’t make the deal seem exhorbitant for prospective buyers. But it’s rare for employees to sell such a giant sum—especially at a company almost nobody had heard of before Nvidia blessed it with money and server chips in the second quarter of the year. https://tinyurl.com/482u5398

Salesforce shares jump 6% as AI products boost revenue growth.

Salesforce shares rose 6% in after-hours trading on Wednesday after the company said its new portfolio of artificial intelligence products helped drive 11% revenue growth to US$8.6 billion in the July quarter, beating its earlier projection of 10% growth. The company also raised its revenue projection for its fiscal year, which ends in January, by 1 percentage point, or US$200 million, and its operating margin projection also improved by 2 percentage points. In buoyant remarks, CEO Marc Benioff said in a call with analysts that he predicts a “massive tech buying cycle” as companies adopt more AI tools to automate business tasks, and cited the fact that OpenAI exceeded US$1 billion in annual recurring revenue as evidence of the trend. The Information was first to report OpenAI’s revenue-pace milestone on Tuesday. Free cash flow for the July quarter was US$630 million, a nearly five-fold increase from the same period last year. The relatively sunny results come after Salesforce in June announced a suite of AI-powered tools that use software from OpenAI, Anthropic, and others to help Salesforce customers automatically draft sales emails, summarize meetings, or handle service complaints. Salesforce charges US$50 per person per month for the new AI features, or US$360,000 per year for an all-inclusive enterprise subscription, on top of its previous prices. Salesforce’s slight margin growth comes after months of pressure from activist investors to cut costs, but its top line growth remains slower than the roughly 24% revenue growth it reported in both 2021 and 2022. https://tinyurl.com/3xjjyay4

PDD Holdings net profit surges 47% in second quarter.

The company behind Chinese online retailer Pinduoduo said Tuesday that its net profit grew 47% on-year to US$1.8 billion in the second quarter. The earnings bucked weak trends in consumer spending. China’s most recent monthly consumer price index shows the country’s economy is on the verge of deflation. PDD Holdings’ revenue jumped 66% to US$17.2 billion in the quarter ending in June. In an earnings call, co-CEO Jiazhen Chen said consumers were increasingly willing to shop after the government’s recent efforts to boost the economy, without elaborating. The company didn’t provide any financial details for Temu, its popular e-commerce site for consumers outside of China, with executives saying that the site wasn’t focused on monetization at the current stage. https://tinyurl.com/5r8v6ca9

China’s BYD to pay US$2.2 billion to expand business with Apple.

The consumer electronics unit of China’s BYD has entered into a preliminary agreement to buy several Chinese factories operated by Jabil, a U.S. manufacturer that counts Apple as one of its biggest customers. The factories to be sold have historically assembled components for Apple products ranging from aluminum housings to touch, trackpad and keyboard modules, according to people familiar with the matter. Jabil’s factory divestiture comes at a time when U.S. companies are reducing their exposure to China given increasing trade tensions, which could potentially disrupt the flow of materials and products between the two countries. While Apple is also trying to diversify its production beyond China, it is simultaneously turning more to Chinese companies like BYD to expand its production in places like Vietnam. BYD has long supplied components including small metal parts and batteries to Apple but began to assemble the iPad in 2020, the people said. BYD is part of a growing trend of Chinese manufacturers moving up the supply chain from simply providing low-end components to becoming an assembler of more sophisticated modules and entire products. https://tinyurl.com/mrx5t3a8

Emerging Technologies

OpenAI launches ChatGPT for businesses, competing directly with Microsoft.

OpenAI said Monday it is now selling a version of ChatGPT that runs faster and offers more security and privacy assurances than the basic paid version of the chatbot. Dubbed ChatGPT for Enterprise, the service will also eventually let customers tweak ChatGPT using their own proprietary data so the chatbot can answer questions using business terms employees are already familiar with, such as the specific names of their internal units or products. That feature isn’t yet available, however. OpenAI’s move puts it in direct competition with Microsoft, which also offers an OpenAI-powered chatbot to its business customers. (Microsoft invested billions of dollars in OpenAI and uses the startup’s technology in its own products.) OpenAI said the price of ChatGPT for Enterprise will vary, depending on the customer, while Microsoft’s Bing Chat Enterprise is US$5 per user per month. The OpenAI announcement is in line with startup’s long-term goal to turn ChatGPT into a “super smart personal assistant for work,” The Information first reported in June, but OpenAI is grappling with how to make customizable versions of its models that don’t sacrifice customers’ privacy or cost too much. https://tinyurl.com/4k37m9p4

Google to charge big businesses US$30 per user per month for AI in Gmail and work apps.

Google plans to start charging large businesses US$30 per month for each user of its artificial intelligence enhancements that are being added to Gmail and other productivity apps, the company said Tuesday. The technology — called Duet AI — will cost just as much as Microsoft’s 365 Copilot enhancements, which could become available in the first half of next year. The two companies have been racing to add generative AI into more of their core products following the release of OpenAI’s ChatGPT chatbot late last year. The fees are on top of what companies are already paying for their subscriptions to the productivity suites. Google says it’s allowing companies to join free trials before committing to the subscription. For smaller organizations and individual users, the company hasn’t finalized pricing. https://tinyurl.com/yeypa2np

China’s tech firms begin roll out of Chatbots after Beijing approves.

Some of China’s biggest tech companies announced that their generative AI products would be available to the public after getting approval from Beijing. The rollouts provide an opportunity for Chinese companies including search giant Baidu, artificial intelligence firm SenseTime and machine-learning startup Zhipu AI to gain valuable feedback from users, which can help improve their large language models. Baidu said its chatbot, known as ERNIE bot, would be available to use as of today via its website and mobile app stores. China doesn’t have a clear leader in developing LLMs that automate tasks such as writing documents, building websites or summarizing long text. China’s press has described the AI market as a “hundred-model war” because dozens of established tech companies are trying to compete in the field, alongside startups. https://tinyurl.com/s5eb3fh6

US military plans to unleash thousands of autonomous war robots over next two years.

The United States military plans to start using thousands of autonomous weapons systems in the next two years in a bid to counter China’s growing power, US Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen Hicks announced in a speech on Monday. The so-called Replicator initiative aims to work with defence and other tech companies to produce high volumes of affordable systems for all branches of the military. Military systems capable of various degrees of independent operation have become increasingly common over the past decade or so. But the scale and scope of the US announcement makes clear the future of conflict has changed: the age of warfighting robots is upon us. For the US military, Russia is an “acute threat” but China is the “pacing challenge” against which to benchmark its military capabilities. China’s People’s Liberation Army is seen as having a significant advantage in terms of “mass”: it has more people, more tanks, more ships, more missiles and so on. The US may have better-quality equipment, but China wins on quantity. By quickly building thousands of “attritable autonomous systems”, the Replicator program will now give the US the numbers considered necessary to win future major wars. https://bit.ly/47SP5PP

Media, Streaming, Gaming & Sports Betting

PlayStation Plus prices are being raised by up to US$40 per year.

Sony is raising the price of its PlayStation Plus subscription next month. The service’s annual Essential plan will go from US$60 to US$80, the Extra plan from US$100 to US$135, and the Premium plan from US$120 to US$160. The new pricing goes into effect starting September 6th. If you’re currently subscribed to PlayStation Plus, Sony says the price increase won’t take effect until your next renewal date or after November 6th. However, if you make any changes to your subscription, “such as upgrades, downgrades or buying additional time,” you’ll have to pay the new rate. Sony says the price hikes will go into effect globally and will allow the company to “continue bringing high-quality games and value-added benefits” to the service. It adds that the yearly plans will still come at a discounted rate as opposed to the one- or three-month subscriptions that it offers. https://bit.ly/3L1ErMX

Adtech, Privacy & Regulatory

Meta considering paid, ad-free versions of apps for EU users.

Meta Platforms is weighing a plan to offer paid, ad-free versions of Facebook and Instagram to European users, the New York Times reports. The move, a response to regulatory changes in the region, signals how Meta’s apps may operate differently in Europe in light of new tech rules. If the plan goes ahead, European users would be given the option to pay for subscriptions to Facebook and Instagram that would not show ads. Versions of the apps that contain ads would still be available for those who did not want to pay. It is not clear how much the subscriptions would cost. Meta is contending with a raft of regulatory changes in Europe that target its core business model. The company recently announced it would begin asking European users for consent to target them with ads based on their activity on Facebook and Instagram, after a ruling against Meta in Europe’s highest court. https://tinyurl.com/yc233kuv

Fintech, Blockchain & Cryptocurrency

Visa and Mastercard to raise fees on merchants.

Visa and Mastercard are set to raise the fees they charge merchants when customers use credit cards that route purchases through the companies’ networks, The Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday. The report didn’t specify the size of the planned increases, but said they are scheduled to begin in October and April and will in many cases apply to online purchases. Visa and Mastercard earn a significant percentage of their revenue from so-called network fees, and The Wall Street Journal’s report estimated that slightly more than half of the new fees will go to the card networks. The other portion, known as interchange fees, will go to the banks that issue credit cards which use the Visa or Mastercard networks. https://tinyurl.com/bdht4vny

Bitcoin surges after court clears the way for Grayscale to turn its crypto trust into an ETF, handing the SEC a defeat.

The wait for a bitcoin ETF could soon be coming to an end after Grayscale Investments won its court case against the Securities and Exchange Commission on Tuesday. Grayscale sued the SEC in 2022 after the agency rejected its application to turn its over-the-counter traded bitcoin trust into an ETF. The District of Columbia Court of Appeals ruled in favor of Grayscale, handing the SEC a stinging defeat. Bitcoin soared as much as 6% on Tuesday following the court ruling, ether jumped about 4%, and Coinbase surged about 15%. The court decision could pave the way for a number of bitcoin ETFs to hit the market, as financial giants like BlackRock and Fidelity have been working on applications with the SEC for their own bitcoin ETFs. The SEC originally denied Grayscale’s bitcoin ETF application because it said the company failed to answer questions and concerns related to potential market manipulation and investor protections. The SEC has used similar reasoning for its denial of a plethora of bitcoin ETF applications over the past few years. If the SEC approves bitcoin ETFs, one Wall Street analyst expects the demand for bitcoin, and subsequently its price, to soar to record highs. https://bit.ly/3R2cF6C


TSMC 3nm chips will be exclusive to Apple this year, as Intel falls behind schedule.

Only Apple products will get TSMC 3nm chips this year, says a new supply chain report. Only in 2024 will the Taiwanese chipmaker start making 3nm chips for other companies. This is a change to earlier expectations, which would have seen Intel receive some TSMC-made 3nm chips toward the end of this year. Up to and including the iPhone 6S, Apple used to split its A-series chip manufacturing between TSMC and Samsung. However, TSMC subsequently developed a strong technical lead over Samsung, with ever-smaller processes. This saw it win all of Apple’s business for the A10 Fusion chip used in the iPhone 7, and it has been the sole supplier of A-series chips ever since then. The same was true of Apple Silicon Macs, where TSMC’s technological lead has seen it win all of the Cupertino company’s chipmaking business. While Apple was always expected to be the primary customer for TSMC 3nm chips, starting with the iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max, US chipmaker Intel was also said to be placing orders toward the end of the year. This means that the Taiwanese chipmaker’s most advanced chips will be exclusive to Apple in 2023. https://bit.ly/3PjgbIG

Nvidia and AMD say they face new restrictions on AI chip sales.

Nvidia and AMD say they face new restrictions in some Middle Eastern countries. This widens the restrictions on these chips beyond China and Russia. The new licensing requirement applies to “a subset” of Nvidia’s top-end chips, the company said. The Biden administration “has not blocked chip sales to the Middle East,“ says a spokesperson from the Bureau of Industry and Security. She noted that the BIS is legally restricted from publicly releasing information related to specific licenses — and so could not comment on any company-specific actions. Nvidia announced the new licensing requirement in a regulatory filing. Nvidia added that it didn’t anticipate the constraints would have “an immediate material impact.” AMD received a letter “with similar restrictions.” https://bit.ly/3szaIEG


Biden offers US$15.5 billion to boost battery and EV manufacturing.

The United States Department of Energy is dedicating US$15.5 billion to support the transition to electric vehicles. As part of President Joe Biden’s Investing in America agenda, most of the money will go to automakers and suppliers to retool their plants to produce electric, hybrid and hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles, the agency said Thursday. A total of US$12 billion (US$2 billion in grants and US$10 billion in loans) will directly support automotive manufacturing conversion projects for light-, medium- and heavy-duty EVs. The remaining US$3.5 billion will go toward expanding domestic manufacturing of batteries for EVs and the nation’s grid, as well as battery materials and components that have historically been imported from other countries. This is the second tranche of funding for battery materials and manufacturing that the DOE has made available. The federal investments into domestic EV and battery manufacturing are in line with the Biden administration’s commitment to bringing high-paying manufacturing jobs to Americans, particularly in conservative states like Georgia, North Carolina and Tennessee. Manufacturers will be able to apply for grants through the DOE’s Office of Manufacturing and Energy Supply Chains or for preferable debt financing through the DOE’s Loan Program Office. Preference will be given to companies with plants in communities with a history of automotive manufacturing and to projects that commit to paying high wages for production workers and maintain collective bargaining agreements. https://bit.ly/3R4Y76m

Mercedes to open first charging hubs in Atlanta, China, Germany.

Mercedes-Benz has shared plans to open its first electric vehicle DC fast-charging hubs in Atlanta, Georgia; Chengdu, China; and Mannheim, Germany, starting in the fourth quarter of 2023. The automaker plans to install 2,000 charging hubs worldwide by the end of 2024, with 10,000 chargers in North America, Europe, China and “other core markets” by 2030. In July, Mercedes joined the ranks of automakers to adopt Tesla’s North American Charging Standard (NACS) charge port. Starting in 2024, the automaker will offer an NACS adapter for any existing EV with CCS ports so that those vehicles can access Tesla’s extensive Supercharging network — 45,000 chargers worldwide, as of April 2023. For model years 2025 and later, Mercedes’s North American vehicles will be built with an NACS port. As Mercedes builds out new hubs, the type of charge point it uses (i.e., CCS, NACS or the Chinese standard GB/T) will depend on the region. The company did not share what ports its new hubs will be built with, but it did say that the “Mercedes-Benz High-Power Charging Network” will be accessible to all brands. https://bit.ly/45zPOnm

Google to begin selling maps data to companies building solar products, hopes to generate US$100 million in first year.

Google is planning to license new sets of mapping data to a range of companies to use as they build products around renewable energy, and is hoping to generate up to US$100 million in its first year, CNBC has learned. The company plans to sell access to new APIs (application programming interfaces) with solar and energy information and air quality, according to materials viewed by CNBC. Among the new offerings will be a Solar API, which could be used by solar installers like SunRun and Tesla Energy and solar design companies like Aurora Solar, according to a list of example customers viewed by CNBC. Google also sees customer opportunities with real estate companies like Zillow, Redfin, hospitality companies like Marriott Bonvoy, and utilities like PG&E. Some of the data from the Solar API will come from a consumer-focused pilot called Project Sunroof, a solar savings calculator that originally launched in 2015. The program allows users to enter their address and to receive estimated solar costs such as electric bill savings and the size of the solar installation they’ll need. It also offers 3D modeling of the roofs of buildings and nearby trees based on Google Maps data. Google plans to sell API access to individual building data, as well as aggregated data for all buildings in a particular city or county, one document states. The company says it has data for over 350 million buildings, according to documents, up significantly from the 60 million buildings it cited for Project Sunroof in 2017. One internal document estimates the company’s solar APIs will generate revenue between $90 and $100 million in the first year after launch. There’s also a potential to connect with Google Cloud products down the line, documents state. https://tinyurl.com/2479j9rb


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