This past week was relatively quiet in Canadian capital markets, in the face of global market volatility, however there were multiple developments in various innovation sectors globally. In Canada, Shopify (SHOP-TSX, SHOP-NYSE) reportedly surpassed Amazon in online traffic. Vancouver-based Dapper Labs raised US$250 million led by Coatue. These two developments, once again highlight how the tech ecosystem, and investing opportunities in Canada have expanded in recent times. CEO of Sophic Client Clear Blue Technologies (CBLU-TSXV, CBUTF-OTC, 0YA-FRA), Miriam Tuerk, showed how Clear Blue’s power innovation for MNOs in Africa unleashes The Green New Deal that pays for itself in an interesting industry discussion. In the USA, Toast and Freshworks had strong public market debuts, and WeWork set Oct. 21 as the date of its public listing. DraftKings stock dropped after a CNBC report of a US$20 billion cash-and-stock buyout bid for U.K.’s Entain. China said all crypto-related transactions are illegal, and the SEC’s Gary Gensler criticizes stablecoins amid call for tougher crypto regulation.
Canadian Technology Capital Markets & Company News
Shopify (SHOP-TSX, SHOP-NYSE) reportedly surpasses Amazon in online traffic, heating up race between the e-commerce firms.
According to data reviewed by Business Insider, Shopify-powered sites surpassed Amazon for unique visitors in the last quarter of this year. Shopify is said to have reached 1.16 billion average monthly unique visitors during the three months ending in June, compared to 1.10 billion for Amazon. https://bit.ly/39tnIie
Vancouver-based Dapper Labs raises US$250 million, partners with Spain’s LaLiga.
Led by Coatue, Vancouver-based Dapper Labs raised US$250 million in funding. The company also announced a partnership with LaLiga, a private sports association for men’s professional soccer. This latest round follows a year of exponential growth for Dapper Labs. While still in Beta, its flagship NBA TopShot grew by 30 times in 2021, with more than US$780 million in collectibles bought and sold. https://bit.ly/3AFW1yQ
Rebranded Daylight Automation raises $15.7 million in Series A funding.
FormHero announced its rebrand to Daylight Automation Inc., along with a US$12.3 million Series A funding round on September 21. RTP Global, Bessemer Venture Partners and Golden Ventures led the round. Daylight will use the funding to support its rebrand, accelerate hiring, and advance product development and marketing initiatives in the United States and Canada. The round closed in late March 2021. The round follows a US$2.26 million (CAD $2.9 million) round in March 2020. Both Bessemer and Golden Ventures invested in that round as well. Daylight’s main customers come from banking, insurance, and the pharmaceutical industry. They include BMO, Manulife, and Shoppers Drug Mart. https://bit.ly/3nWMdwW
Cyber insurtech BOXX Insurance announces USD $10 million Series A round to further accelerate growth, prepare for international expansion.
BOXX, a cyber insurance provider for small businesses, individuals and families, announced today that it has closed its oversubscribed USD $10 million (CAD $12.7 million) Series A-round in a bid to accelerate growth and expand its footprint internationally. The new investors are Cyber Mentor Fund (CMF), Zurich Insurance Group (Zurich) and SixThirty Ventures. https://bit.ly/39C0Ugn
Convictional receives $6.7 million in series A funding as it works to become digital backbone of B2B trade.
B2B e-commerce startup Convictional has landed $6.7 million in series A funding led by Lacy Groom. The Toronto based start-up hopes to replace electronic data interchange (EDI) and become the digital backbone of B2B trade. https://bit.ly/3o4hE8l
Vancouver-based First Fund closes additional $6 million for pre-seed investment fund.
Samarth Chandola launched his fund, Vancouver-based First Fund, last year, focused on backing pre-seed stage tech companies across Canada. With a rolling fund model that allows the firm to secure small amounts of capital on an annual basis, First Fund raised $4 million last year in addition to the recent $6 million. The most recent tranche closed September 13. Now, he’s ready to invest in as many as 25 to 30 new startups over the next year thanks to a recently closed round of $6 million. First Fund is backed by 32 individual investors that Chandola declined to disclose. He did note, however, that the majority of investors in the fund are people with operational experience rather than professional investors. Cheque sizes range from $100,000 to $400,000 per startup. With its focus on helping launch startups, First Fund does not currently do follow-on funding, though https://bit.ly/2Z5CzgU
Angel host raises US$5.2 million to capitalize on vacation rental industry spike.
Led by White Star Capital, Angel Host raised US$5.2 million during its seed funding round in August. The Montreal-based startup was founded in 2019 and specializes in an all inclusive tech-human solution for the vacation rental management industry. Angel Host uses data pricing and analytics to generate listings for major booking platforms like AirBnb and Booking.com. Angel Host plans on using the new capital to capitalize on the growing needs of the short-term and vacation rental industry. In April 2021, demand increased by 66.4% over 2020 levels, and over 5.4% over 2019 levels. https://bit.ly/3CHhFTV
Sparrow raises $3.25 million to accelerate computational health tech development.
Halilfax-based Sparrow has raised $3.25 million in its Pre-Series A financing round from Klister Credit Corp. and Killick Capital Inc. The funding is earmarked for developing sales relationships with major healthcare institutions in Canada and the United States, as well as hiring a commercialization team, and covering costs associated with approval processes for medical technologies. Telehealth, or the use of mobile devices to deliver healthcare services, is seeing a steady increase as the overall digital health market is expected to exceed half a trillion dollars in revenue by 2025. https://bit.ly/3CudavG
PhenoTips secures $2.5 million to expand reach of medical genetics software.
Toronto-based medical software startup PhenoTips has raised $2.5 million in its first round of venture financing, as it looks to help healthcare providers prepare “for the imminent mainstreaming of genomic medicine.” The all-equity seed round, which closed earlier this month, was led by Toronto-based GreenSky Capital’s GreenSky Accelerator Fund IV. The round also saw participation from the Toronto Innovation Acceleration Partners, Calgary-based Thin Air Labs, Toronto’s Yorkville Partners, and a group of undisclosed angel investors, including members of the GreenSky President’s Club. https://bit.ly/39ucABT
Salesforce set to acquire Toronto-based LevelJump.io.
Silicon Valley-based Salesforce has entered an agreement to acquire Toronto SaaS startup LevelJump.io. LevelJump was founded in 2014 by founder and CEO David Bloom. The company offers sales onboarding and enablement software entirely built on Salesforce’s platform. Users are able to link exercises to CRM milestones, metrics and business outcomes. Managers also have the ability to get insight into a business rep’s progression, which can be compared to other users. Details about LevelJump’s integration and what will happen to its team have not been shared, and the financial terms of the acquisitions were not disclosed. Salesforce launched a $100 million Canada Trailblazer Fund in May 2018 dedicated to investing in Canadian startups. That followed Salesforce saying that it wanted to commit $2 billion to fuel its business in Canada by creating more than 28,000 new direct jobs and $17 billion USD in new business revenue in the country by 2022. https://bit.ly/3i8z4gq
Invesco is partnering with Mike Novogratz’s Galaxy Digital (GLXY-TSX) to launch crypto ETFs.
Invesco confirmed on Tuesday it is partnering with Galaxy Digital Holdings to launch a cryptocurrency exchange-traded-fund. This will join a long list of other ETFs planning on being the first to launch a fund backed by digital assets. Invesco is aiming for their ETF to track the performance of cryptocurrencies while trading like a stock. Currently, the regulator, under the leadership of Gary Gensler, has yet to approve any cryptocurrency ETF. The US lags behind other countries in approving bitcoin ETFs, with Canada this year approving the first publicly traded bitcoin ETF in North America. https://bit.ly/3zyAMgY
Sophic Client Clear Blue Techonologies (CBLU-TSXV, CBUTF-OTC, 0YA-FRA): CEO of Clear Blue Technologies, Miriam Tuerk shows how Clear Blue’s power innovation for MNOs in Africa unleashes The Green New Deal that pays for itself. Globally. A stunning new flow of revenues and opportunities for MNOs and towercos that no one has seen before. https://bit.ly/3onGO2f
Global Markets: IPOs, Venture Capital, M&A
Toast and Freshworks have strong public company debuts.
Restaurant-management software platform Toast and enterprise subscription software company Freshworks both saw their stocks soar on their opening days as public companies on Wednesday. Boston-based Toast, which priced its IPO at US$40 per share, above the expected range, and closed the day at US$62.51. And Freshworks, which priced shares at US$34, closed at US$47.55, amounting to a 32% increase. The success of Toast’s IPO seemed unlikely over a year ago, when the company saw its revenues decrease sharply as a result of restaurant closures. But the company has since revived due to high demand from restaurants for its software, driving an increase in revenue. And Freshworks, a 10-year-old company that was founded in India, is seen to be a rival of Salesforce. The company has over 52,000 customers and over half of its annual recurring revenue comes from companies with 250 or more employees. The strong performance of the two companies demonstrates the strength of the tech IPO market, which will likely see several other companies like Warby Parker and Allbirds go public later this year. https://bit.ly/3udialt
WeWork sets Oct. 21 as date of public listing.
Shares of WeWork will start trading on the stock market on Oct. 21, after the co-working space provider completes its merger with special purpose acquisition company BowX Acquisition Corp. BowX’s shareholders will vote on the proposed merger on Oct. 19. The company will be listed on the New York Stock Exchange with the symbol “WE,” which will replace “BOWX.” The SPAC is currently trading at US$9.99 a share. The expected timing of WeWork’s arrival on the public market will be roughly two years after the company abandoned its originally planned IPO amid questions about its business and proposed valuation. That sparked co-founder Adam Neumann’s exit as CEO and an extensive overhaul of the senior management team. WeWork ended up laying off thousands of employees and selling several businesses it had acquired under Neumann. https://bit.ly/2XScFgF
eToro postpones plans to go public via SPAC to the 4th quarter, citing regulatory delay.
Online trading platform eToro is postponing its plan to go public to the 4th quarter, slightly later than its initial plan to debut during the third. The company first announced its plans to list in March through a US$10.4 billion merger with SPAC. The brokerage, which competes with apps like Robinhood, has been planning to expand in the US, a region that accounts for only 12% of their users. As of the second quarter of 2021, most of eToro’s users are in Europe, comprising 68% of their total customers. https://bit.ly/3kDoHTp
DraftKings stock drops after CNBC report of $20 billion cash-and-stock buyout bid for U.K.’s Entain.
Shares of DraftKings Inc. dropped 5.8% in morning trading Tuesday, after CNBC reported that the digital sports betting and entertainment company has made a US$20 billion bid to buy U.K.-based online sports betting company Entain PLC . Citing people familiar with the matter, CNBC said the bid was largely in DraftKings stock, and included cash. Entain’s U.S.-listed shares shot up 14.1%, while the U.K.-listed stock climbed 16.3% into record territory. In January, Entain’s stock had tumbled after MGM Resorts International said it did not plan to revise its buyout bid after Entain had rejected a previous US$11 billion bid. Entain’s U.K.-listed shares have soared 96.5% year to date and DraftKing shares have climbed 15.0%, while the S&P 500 has advanced 16.3%. https://on.mktw.net/3zqlpHf
DAZN in advanced talks to acquire U.K.’s BT Sport.
DAZN, the sports streaming company owned by Russian billionaire Len Blavatnik, looks set to acquire the sports broadcasting business of U.K. telco BT—a move which would see the streamer pick up some of the prestigious local broadcast rights to the English Premier League football. Those rights for years have been shared between BT and Comcast’s Sky, and more recently Amazon. The company is in advanced talks to acquire BT Sport, according to the Financial Times, with a deal possibly announced in the coming weeks. BT has been seeking buyers for its sports broadcasting business for several months. As The Information reported earlier this year, DAZN’s lofty goal of becoming a sports-only streaming service—a so-called “Netflix for sport”—has been tough going. But the streamer has been aiming to get 13 million subscribers by the end of this year. https://bit.ly/3ERPHqr
Facebook drops after warning Apple ad-tracking will slow growth.
The stock’s tumble reflects investors’ concern that Facebook is already seeing declines in its digital advertising business after Apple implemented a software update to limit targeted advertising on iPhones. Apple’s new rules require app users to explicitly say they are willing to allow their activity to be followed across the internet. Large brands and small businesses often rely on user activity as a way to reach precise groups of prospective customers. https://bloom.bg/3Cz45li
QuantumScape soars 16% as a ‘Top 10’ automaker is set to test its EV battery prototypes.
QuantumScape stock jumped Tuesday after the electric vehicle battery maker said a prominent but unnamed vehicle manufacturer will test prototypes of its solid-state battery cells. The automaker has also agreed to purchase 10 megawatt-hours of capacity from QuantumScape’s pre-pilot production line facility. Shares soared as much as 16% to US$24.10, the first time the stock has traded above US$24 since August 11. A win on Tuesday would help QuantumScape stock trim its year-to-date loss of 75% posted through Monday’s session. The California startup counts Volkswagen and Bill Gates’ Breakthrough Energy Ventures among its investors and partners. As of July, the company had a funding total of about US$2 billion. https://bit.ly/3hQlIW3
Apple headset on sale 2H 2022; Apple Glasses ‘after 2023’.
A new supply chain report suggests that the first Apple headset will go on sale in the second half of 2022, while the separate consumer-friendly product widely dubbed Apple Glasses won’t be available until “after 2023.” The Apple headset – which is expected to be a very expensive product aimed at developers and enterprise – is said to have completed the second phase of prototype testing. The report suggests that Apple has been struggling to finalize the design, trying to balance the company’s vision for the product with the realities of what is currently possible. In particular, Apple is said to have had concerns about heat dissipation, weight, and battery life. https://bit.ly/39xr3Np
Apple is working on iPhone features to help detect depression, cognitive decline.
Apple Inc. is working on technology to help diagnose depression and cognitive decline, aiming for tools that could expand the scope of its burgeoning health portfolio. Using an array of sensor data that includes mobility, physical activity, sleep patterns, typing behavior and more, researchers hope they can tease out digital signals associated with the target conditions so that algorithms can be created to detect them reliably, the people said. The efforts spring from research partnerships that Apple has announced with the University of California, Los Angeles, which is studying stress, anxiety and depression, and pharmaceutical company Biogen, which is studying mild cognitive impairment. “Seabreeze” is Apple’s code name for the UCLA project and “Pi” is the code name for the Biogen project, according to the people and documents. https://on.wsj.com/2W1wZv1
Google reportedly has a second foldable in the works.
Google appears to be internally testing a second foldable Pixel smartphone. The device is said to be under development with the codename “Jumbojack,” that’s referenced in a future version of Android 12 which 9to5Google identifies as “Android 12.1.” This is the latest foldable codename we’ve heard about at Google, following reports of another device called “Passport.” Its existence suggests Google is more serious about foldables than it initially appeared as the company gears up to produce its first true flagship competitor with the Pixel 6. https://bit.ly/3tWomhM
In Amazon’s flagship fulfillment center, the machines run the show.
One recent morning, inside a cavernous Amazon.com Inc. fulfillment center outside Seattle, Evan Shobe positioned himself before a bank of nine computer screens. Known internally as the quarterback desk, or QB, the command center lets Shobe monitor the intricate workings of a building the size of about 15 footballs fields. Thousands of blue dots show robots ferrying products around the facility; yellow figures that look a little like restroom signs represent the humans who load and unload the robots. A maze of green lines shows conveyors speeding orders to stations down the line and, ultimately, to waiting delivery trucks. The system is running smoothly on this early August morning, as it mostly does seven days a week at more than 900 Amazon logistics facilities across the U.S. https://bloom.bg/3lMOtnC
Media, Streaming, Gaming & Sports Betting
Apple tells Epic it won’t allow Fortnite back on the App Store until court verdict is final.
The battle between Epic Games and Apple continues. Earlier this month, Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers ruled that Apple must allow App Store developers to redirect users to other payment systems. The judge sided with Apple on all other claims, leading Apple to call the ruling a “resounding victory,” while Epic filed an appeal. Now, Apple has reportedly denied Epic’s request to reinstate its developer account, which would allow it to bring Fortnite back to the App Store. https://bit.ly/3i1amP3
Analyst says Spotify is close to overtaking Apple Podcasts.
Ever since Spotify introduced its own podcast platform, we’ve been seeing the Swedish streaming service surpass Apple Podcasts in some countries. Now, according to an analysis by eMarketer, Spotify is actually close to globally overtaking Apple Podcasts in number of users. Data from a new analysis by eMarketer shows that Spotify is expected to reach 28.2 million users by the end of 2021. By comparison, Apple Podcasts should end the year with 28.0 million users. It’s a small difference for sure, but still enough to put Spotify in first place. The research also revealed that about 40% of internet users located in the United States listen to podcasts at least once a month, and this number is expected to grow to 45% by 2024. In addition to Apple and Spotify, YouTube and Google are also becoming popular platforms for podcast listeners in the US. https://bit.ly/39rPiws
TikTok parent ByteDance adds time limit for kids under 14 on its video app in China.
The Chinese version of the popular short video app TikTok, known as Douyin, will limit users in China who are under 14 years old to 40 minutes a day, parent company ByteDance said in a blog post Saturday. The app’s youth mode keeps it in line with the Chinese government’s new restrictions on access to video games for younger children. Teens under 14 will be able to access Douyin between 6AM and 10PM, but won’t be able to use the app outside of that window, the company said. https://bit.ly/3tToHSq
Adtech, Privacy & Regulatory
Twitter to pay US$800 million in class-action settlement.
Twitter Inc. announced Monday that it had entered an agreement to settle a class-action lawsuit that began in 2016. Twitter will pay US$809.5 million to settle claims that it violated the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, though the company does so “without any admission, concession or finding of any fault, liability or wrongdoing,” according to a press release. Twitter and the individual defendants named in the case “continue to deny any wrongdoing or any other improper actions,” the release continued. Twitter plans to use cash on hand to pay for the settlement and expects to record a related charge during the third quarter. The company’s final settlement agreement is subject to court approval, per the release. Shares of Twitter are down 2.3% in morning trading Monday. They’re near flat over the past three months as the S&P 500 has risen 4.8%. https://on.mktw.net/3tXLNah
Facebook, Alphabet poised for bigger fines over Russia content.
Companies that refuse to delete content judged to be illegal in Russia could soon face amends of 5% to 20% of their annual local revenue, Roskomnadzor, the federal communications watchdog, said in an email Monday. https://bloom.bg/39pvo5e
EU rules to force USB-C chargers for all phones.
Manufacturers will be forced to create a universal charging solution for phones and small electronic devices, under a new rule proposed by the European Commission (EC). The aim is to reduce waste by encouraging consumers to re-use existing chargers when buying a new device. https://bbc.in/3o0Dny1
Brandemic marketing: Going viral in the age of COVID.
Last year, marketers coined the term “brandemic marketing,” an instructive shorthand urging industry peers to adapt their advertising strategies to fit the new normal—a world of social distancing, lockdowns, and working (and schooling) from home. In response, a few brands slashed their budgets and went quiet. Others exploited the growth opportunity. In a series of reports, Fortune brings you the stories of companies that emerged from the pandemic stronger (or at least wiser), and the new messages they intend to deliver to the world. https://bit.ly/3zD67z9
Fintech, Blockchain & Cryptocurrency
China says all crypto-related transactions are illegal.
All cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin and Tether, are not fiat currency and cannot be circulated on the market, the People’s Bank of China said on its website. All crypto-related transactions, including services provided by offshore exchanges to domestic residents, are illicit financial activities, the PBOC said in the statement. https://bloom.bg/3AEuRZb
SEC’s Gary Gensler criticizes stablecoins amid call for tougher crypto regulation.
The digital assets have taken center stage in an intensifying debate over Washington’s role in regulating the crypto industry. Proponents say stablecoins offer a more reliable store of value than other tokens subject to wild price swings, facilitate trading on crypto exchanges, and could transform payment processing for everyday consumers. Skeptics worry that issuers will fail to maintain sufficient collateral for the assets, posing a risk to the financial system’s stability in the absence of regulation. https://wapo.st/3lJvBWJ
Coinbase is planning to pitch federal agencies on crypto regulations following its public feud with the SEC.
Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong said that his company is drafting a framework to help regulators create a structure for dealing with new policy questions posed by crypto’s rapid rise. “Coinbase wants to be an advisor and a helpful advocate for how the U.S. can create that sensible regulation. In fact, there’s a proposal that we’re putting out at the end of this month, or maybe early next month, that is our proposed regulatory framework.” said Armstrong. This announcement came shortly after Coinbase was forced to step-back on plans for a crypto-lending product over which the SEC had threatened to sue the company. https://bit.ly/39F3YrW
U.S.’s Binance probe expands to examine possible insider trading.
As part of the inquiry, U.S. officials have been looking into whether Binance or its staff profited by taking advantage of its customers, said people with knowledge of the matter who asked not to be identified because the probe is confidential. The review involves Commodity Futures Trading Commission investigators, who in recent weeks have been reaching out to potential witnesses, one of the people said. https://bloom.bg/3nNTVJs
Robinhood muscles deeper into Coinbase’s territory with new crypto wallet feature.
On Wednesday, stock-trading app Robinhood announced that they will soon be testing out crypto wallets for their users. The crypto wallets, which are supposed to begin rolling out in the next few months, will allow users to trade, send, and receive crypto tokens inside the app. Users had previously been able to buy and sell cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, but had been unable to send those coins to external wallets or receive them from elsewhere. Coinmarketcap estimates that the global market cap for cryptocurrencies stands just shy of $2 trillion. https://tcrn.ch/3uaCFPP
Twitter accelerates again with Bitcoin tips, NFTs, recorded Spaces, creator fun and more.
This week Twitter introduced a number of new initiatives aimed at better serving the conversations and community using its platform, including support for tipping crypto, NFT authentication and plans for other experiments. They also announced that they are preparing to launch a creator fund in the upcoming weeks to provide creators with access to financial, technical and marketing support. The company has continued to launch new products at an incredibly fast clip, with additions that have included, fact-checking, tipping, an improved audio chat platform, conversation controls, and more. https://tcrn.ch/3EZaZCG
Global chip shortages are expected to cost automakers $210 billion in 2021 – almost double previous estimates, a consulting firm says.
Consulting firm AlixPartners said Thursday that automakers could lose US$210 billion in revenue this year because of global chip shortages. This projection is nearly double the last projection from AlixPartners which estimates automakers would lose US$110 billion in revenue for 2021. A recent forecast also stated that there could be 7.7 million fewer vehicles produced this year due to the shortage. US dealers have only about 20 days’ supply of vehicles, which is less than half of normal levels. Projections from AlixPartners show automakers could see tight inventories until late 2022 or early 2023. https://bit.ly/3kBd9QH
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