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Weekly Cache

Weekly Investment News and Analysis

Please see what we’ve been reading in technology and ESG related investing this week. Please feel free to send us what you’ve found interesting.

Latest Invesment News

July 03, 2022: A Brutal First Half Of 2022

H1 2022 was a brutal start to the year — the Nasdaq was down almost 30%, for its worst first half on record, the Dow Jones Industrial Average declined 15%, for its worst first-half performance since 1962, and the S&P 500 closed down over 20%, for its worst first half since 1970. US markets climbed a bit on Friday, but the major indices were still down for last week, after having posted weekly losses in four out of the last five weeks. At a time when U.S. venture dollars are slowing down, CIBC Innovation Banking is announcing $1.5 billion in growth capital commitments, dubbed “Unicorn Fuel,” to focus on later-stage companies across software, life sciences, healthcare and clean tech industries. Sophic Client UGE (UGE-TSXV, UGEIF-OTC) secured $25 million to deploy six community solar projects in Maine. Sophic Client Clear Blue Technologies (CBLU-TSXV, CBUTF-OTC, 0YA-FRA) announced a $4-million non-dilutive Government of Canada financing. Draftkings was fined $100,000 in Ontario for advertising violations. EToro seems likely to abandon its deal to go public via SPAC merger. Short video app Triller confidentially filed for a U.S. IPO. Klarna will raise cash at a US$6.5 billion valuation, in dramatic 85% down round. Nio shares slid Wednesday after a short seller accused the Chinese electric vehicle maker of artificially inflating its financial figures. Chinese electric vehicle maker Li Auto will raise US$2 billion from U.S. investors in a new stock offering. Tesla lays off nearly 200 Autopilot workers, and shutters its San Mateo office. Facebook warns of engineer job cuts, and a sharp downturn ahead. The FCC Commissioner writes to Apple and Google about removing TikTok. FTX says it is not in active talks to buy Robinhood. Crypto hedge fund Three Arrows Capital plunges into liquidation. Crypto broker Voyager Digital (VOYG-TSX) suspends withdrawals.

Invesment News in the Past Weeks

July 25, 2021 : Strong Canadian 2021 VC funding, fund raising activity by Sophic Clients and potential Nasdaq benefit from China’s tech overhang

July 25, 2021 : Strong Canadian 2021 VC funding, fund raising activity by Sophic Clients and potential Nasdaq benefit from China’s tech overhang

Last week saw a fair bit of news pertaining to Canadian VC activity, including a shout out from market intelligence firm CB Insights, indicating data indicates that Canadian startups this year have already raised more than double their 2020 totals. The same data set indicates that Canada’s venture capital results now rival those of the entire Latin American region. In the public markets small cap space, Kraken Robotics (Sophic Client, PNG-TSXV, KRKNF-OTC) signed definitive agreement to acquire PanGeo and announced a public offering of units for approximately $10 million and Body and Mind (Sophic Client, BAMM-CSE, BMMJ-OTC) closed a US$11.1 million debt financing. Sophic Client LuckBox (LUCK-TSXV, LUKEF-OTC) CEO, Thomas Rosander investor update. In the USA, Robinhood plans to raise as much as US$2.3 billion in its upcoming stock-market debut. The popular investing app said it’s offering 55 million shares priced at between US$38 and US$42 each during its roadshow. At the top end of that range, Robinhood could have a market valuation of US$35 billion. Bitcoin mining firm Core Scientific is going public via SPAC in a US$4.3 billion deal. Lastly, with overhang on US listed Chinese equities increasing, the Nasdaq could rise 10%, according to investment firm Wedbush.

July 18, 2021: Canadian public capital markets appear to be in the seasonal summer lull, but a couple Sophic Capital ideas to watch

July 18, 2021: Canadian public capital markets appear to be in the seasonal summer lull, but a couple Sophic Capital ideas to watch

Canadian public capital markets appear to be in the seasonal summer lull, which most industry participants expect to be more pronounced than usual this year. That said, Sophic Client GameSquare Esports (GSQ-CSE) announced a second acquisition in a few weeks, as management executes on a disciplined M&A strategy. Wealthsimple has introduced fractional shares to make buying and selling large stocks more accessible for new retail investors. The move comes amid a recent rise in retail investing on trading platforms during COVID-19, which has benefitted Wealthsimple. For investors looking to play the retail investing trend, Sophic Client, AnalytixInsight (ALY-TSXV, ATIXF-OTC) could be an interesting stock to watch in the fall. In the USA, there was a decent level of IPO activity this past week, combined with potentially large M&A. At the same time, numerous news items allude to regulatory risk for large cap tech, including the US President & White House sparring with Facebook over the misinformation on the platform.

July 11, 2021 : Strong VC activity in H1 2021, regulatory overhang on US listed Chinese equities

July 11, 2021 : Strong VC activity in H1 2021, regulatory overhang on US listed Chinese equities

A lot of attention this week focused on US listed Chinese equities, which have collectively lost nearly a trillion dollars of value as recent regulatory uncertainty clouds these stocks. In North America, Toronto and US startups hit records for VC funding in H1/2021 – in both cases, six month activity nearly matched all of 2020. Payments firm, Stripe could be taking its first steps to its public markets debut, while European fintech Wise, direct listed in London, and Nextdoor and Planet Labs are going public in the US via the SPAC route. Sophic Capital client Real Luck Group (LUCK-TSXV, LUKEF-OTC) is poised to become a dominant esports betting service. CEO Thomas Rosander is hosting an investor update on Monday, July 19 at noon EST / 9am PST. Investors are encouraged to submit their questions via email at All@SophicCapital.com. Another Sophic client, Swarmio (Private) is aiming to go public on Canadian Securities Exchange as indicated in Canadian tech blog Betakit.

July 04, 2021: Heading into a slower summer?

July 04, 2021: Heading into a slower summer?

This past holiday shortened week saw a lower level of Canadian capital markets activity than we’ve all grown accustomed to over the past few months. As we head into the short US trading week, and the summer, the consensus seems to be that the recent high volume of capital markets activity may slow down. That said, Robinhood filed for its much anticipated IPO, on the back of a large US$70 million FINRA fine and other regulatory concerns, including that the CEO had federal prosecutors serve a search warrant on his cellphone. Some have argued that Robinhood’s IPO could mark the top for “meme” stocks — time will tell. Even as regulatory risks seem to mount for large tech companies, a D.C. federal court on Monday dismissed two antitrust cases brought against Facebook last year in a major setback for federal and state regulators. On the streaming media front, both Apple and Disney appear to be running into some headwinds, as evidenced by a few data points. CRISPR injected into blood treated a genetic disease for first time. In a medical first, researchers injected a CRISPR drug into the blood of people born with a disease that causes fatal nerve and heart disease and shown that in three of them it nearly shut off production of toxic protein by their livers, which could herald a new phase fore this exciting new technology.

June 27, 2021 : Likely a record year for Canadian Venture Capital

June 27, 2021 : Likely a record year for Canadian Venture Capital

As we’ve been pointing out in this column for a while, Canadian tech VC and public markets activity has been witnessing a major increase in activity – unlike anything we’ve ever witnessed in our over a decade on the sell-side. The Globe & Mail recently pointed out that Canadian VC funding records for the second consecutive quarter in Q2, puts the sector on track to surpass the all-time high for a single year, set during the dot-com bubble a generation ago. Public markets are likely not far behind either, and we have witnessed very strong IPO in activity in Canada in the recent past. The Senate passed Bill C-218, legalizing single-event sports betting in Canada – we expect busy capital market on the back of this bill, and have already witnessed the first signs, with Fansunite’s (FANS-CSE) equity offering announced just hours after the bill was passed. In the USA, Robhinhood’s much anticipated public markets debut appears a bit delayed, likely owing to its crypto business drawing questions from the US SEC. Aside from this delay, last week was very busy for US tech IPOs, even as there appear to be new privacy, and big tech related regulatory questions nearly every day in the USA and Europe.

June 20, 2021 : Relatively fewer innovation sector public markets transactions, but plenty of activity

June 20, 2021 : Relatively fewer innovation sector public markets transactions, but plenty of activity

While last week saw relatively fewer innovation sector public markets transactions in Canada, we saw employee wellness software firm LifeSpeak file for a TSX IPO, VerticalScope upsized its IPO to $125 million, and Shopify reportedly invested in Stripe, bringing its total stake to over $350 million. In the USA, and Europe there appears to be increasing focus on regulations and consumer privacy, including the appointment of tech critic Lina Khan as FTC Chair, a Senate proposal for a new US agency to protect Americans’ data, Google’s adtech business reportedly set to face a formal EU probe by year-end, and U.K. regulators looking to examine if Google and Apple run a smartphone duopoly. Sophic client, Killi (MYID-TSXV, MYIDF-OTC) could be a way for investors to gain exposure to this theme. We’re awaiting public markets debuts by PUBG maker, Krafton in South Korea, Grocery courier Boxed via a SPAC deal, and fintech provider Wise via a London direct listing.

June 13 2021: Something for everyone, in a busy capital markets week

June 13 2021: Something for everyone, in a busy capital markets week

Last week was exceptionally busy in Canadian capital markets with regards to both public and private markets funding. We witnessed very robust activity with M&A and associated funding, IPO activity, a couple US listing and a few more iconic VC funding rounds – the Canadian tech funding ecosystem seems to evolving very nicely. In the small cap space, we saw a successful marketed offering by Sophic Client AnalytixInsight (ALY-TSXV, ATIXF-OTC). In addition, privately held crypto custodian Brane Capital, saw a strategic investment by DMG Blockchain Solutions — we’ve been tracking the company for a year, and they appear to be making good progress. In the US, Goldman Sachs’ global head of internet banking, recently remarked that a “listings supercycle” for tech companies was only just beginning. We’re excited! Even though, Grab pushed back its US$40 billion SPAC target date, we’re keeping an eye out for this one. Robinhood could be public next month, and Didi Chuxing’s IPO filing warrants deeper attention.

June 06, 2021: Quiet public markets fundraising week in North America

June 06, 2021: Quiet public markets fundraising week in North America

This past week was relatively quiet in terms of new public markets funding, in fact, in the United States, Barrons observed — DLocal is the only IPO this week due to the Memorial Day holiday. Next week, several companies are scheduled to go public, including TaskUs, LifeStance Health Group, and monday.com. We hosted an investor presentation for Sophic Client. In Canada, Dye & Durham (DND-TSX), following an indication of interest from a shareholder group led by management to acquire the Company, its board of directors has commenced a process to explore and evaluate potential strategic alternatives focused on maximizing shareholder value. The indication of interest would result in Dye & Durham being taken private at an approximate 23% premium to the current market value, being a per share value of $50.50 — recall the company raised $200 million in equity at $50.50/sh (in addition to convertible debt), a few months ago.

May 30, 2021 : Busy week all around in Canadian capital markets

May 30, 2021 : Busy week all around in Canadian capital markets

The holiday shortened last week in Canada, saw very healthy levels of capital markets activity, in public markets, including IPOs, equity financings and some convertible debt as well. VC financing had positive newsflow as well. In addition, many companies, including multiple Sophic clients reported their quarterly financial results. In the USA, we’re paying attention to Acorns’ potential SPAC deal, Vimeo’s public market debut, additional stock awards at WeWork, and Amazon’s MGM acquisition, which we mentioned when the potential acquisition first surfaced a week ago. Outside North America, we’re watching Gojek and Tokopedia’s holding group GoTo’s IPO and fundraising later this year, and Paytm’s potential IPO in India.

May 23, 2021: Busy week for Canadian VC funding

May 23, 2021: Busy week for Canadian VC funding

This past week saw more activity in VC funding relative public markets in Canadian tech and clean tech sectors. In the US, we are eagerly awaiting Robinhood’s S-1 filing, which is expected next week. Interestingly, Robinhood, SoFi and Public plan to give retail investors IPO allocation access, a great move, in our view. In the Fintech space, German trading app, Trade Republic saw a ~9x increase in its Series C financing to ~US$5.5 billion, and Fidelity plans to offer no-fee investment services for teenagers who want to trade stocks and ETFs. For investors, looking for exposure to a similar theme in Canada, Sophic client, AnalytixInsight (ALY-TSXV, ATIXF-OTC), should benefit from its deepening relationship with Intesa Sanpaolo, a major European bank. Outside North America, the Gojek-Tokopedia merger and IPO is anticipated by investors, as another potential super-app. Snap announced its next iteration of AR glasses. In the gaming sector, Saudi Arabia’s US$400 billion wealth fund doubled down on its stakes in US video-game makers and dumped a major oil position in Q1, at the same time, Netflix is looking to hire an executive to oversee an expansion into videogames.

May 16, 2021:Relatively more acquisitions than financings in public markets, positive Canadian tech ecosystem developments

May 16, 2021:Relatively more acquisitions than financings in public markets, positive Canadian tech ecosystem developments

Last week was very volatile for growth stocks, more capital markets activity was skewed towards acquisitions rather than public market financings. Aside from the public market volatility, we are very encouraged by a recent techcrunch piece highlighting Shopify’s former employees taking on founder and investor roles, which in our view is very positive for the Canadian tech ecosystem, as are Google’s plans to build a $735 million data centre in Québec. As the energy consumption of Bitcoin has gained a lot of attention in the past week, Canadian bitcoin ETF issuer Ninepoint Partners announced Monday that it is planning to “fully offset” its carbon footprint, as it seeks to reassure investors concerned about the negative environmental impacts of cryptocurrency mining. In the USA, we are anticipating the Bird’s SPAC, as well as Better’s public markets debut, and a potential IPO by Flipkart in India.

May 09, 2021:Busy Canadian capital markets week, as global chip shortage continues

May 09, 2021:Busy Canadian capital markets week, as global chip shortage continues

After a few quiet weeks, last week was once again very strong from a Canadian capital markets perspective. Nearly a billion dollars of Canadian VC funding was announced, with a lot of attention on Wealthsimple’s $750 million financing. Canadian innovation public markets have also been very robust, with recent IPOs by Thinkific, Magnet Forensics and listings by Taiga Motors, and InterCure. In the USA, the Apple – Epic lawsuit continues to reveal very interesting data points, while the global chip shortage continues to persist. Lastly, Bitcoin is expected to become available to customers of hundreds of banks in the US this year, as crypto custody firm NYDIG has teamed up with fintech company Fidelity National Information Services, in a move which could be very interesting for the cryptocurrency.