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Digital Assets: MicroStrategy To Pay Directors In Bitcoin

April 12, 2021

In a unique plug for bitcoin’s adoption, MicroStrategy (NASDAQ: MSTR), the business information firm, has decided to pay its non-employee directors in bitcoin. The company has been a trendsetter, setting aside millions of dollars from its reserves to invest in bitcoin. Now its directors will get bitcoin in lieu of their services.

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Alternative Investments/Digital: Yet Another Bitcoin ETF Application; Galaxy Digital Is The Latest Hopeful

April 12, 2021

Galaxy Digital, the cryptocurrency investment firm led by Mike Novogratz, has filed an application with the SEC to launch a bitcoin ETF that will trade on the NYSE Arca. The preliminary prospectus states that “the trust provides direct exposure to bitcoin. The shares are valued on a daily basis based on data from bitcoin pricing sources.”

Artificial Intelligence: Microsoft Eyeing Acquisition of Nuance Communications (Bloomberg)

April 12, 2021

Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) may buy Nuance Communication (NASDAQ: NUAN) at a valuation of $56 per share, according to Bloomberg, which cited unnamed people who were familiar with the matter. The price represents a premium of 23% over the Friday closing of Nuance of $45.58.

Venture Capital: Supervest, A Platform That Matches Loan-Seeking Merchants With Investors, Is Seeking Funds

April 12, 2021

Supervest calls it a new asset class. Merchant cash advances (MCA) are a form of short-term financing for merchants in the form of a sales agreement in which capital is exchanged for a proportion of future sales. Typically, an MCA is availed by small businesses or startups that need to receive a large amount of money quickly with minimal strings attached. Supervest is a platform where accredited investors and individuals can invest in the high-yielding MCA space.

FinTech: Saudi Arabia Could Add $293B To Its GDP Using Intelligent Automation

April 12, 2021

A new report by EY and Automation Anywhere titled “Saudi Arabia: showing the way to the world,” says Saudi Arabia’s use of intelligent automation could double the size of its economy to $1.6 trillion, adding an additional $293 billion by 2030. A combination of AI and Robotic Process Automation (RPA), intelligent automation could make huge strides in the improvement of technology-led productivity.

Digital Assets: NYDIG To Create Bitcoin-Powered Products For The $6T Insurance Industry

April 9, 2021

New York Digital Investment Group (NYDIG) announced Thursday its raise of $100 million as additional growth capital from strategic insurance partners including property and casualty (P&C)-focused insurers Starr Insurance, Liberty Mutual Insurance, and other P&C insurers. NYDIG already partners with life insurance and annuity-focused strategic partners New York Life and MassMutual.

Alternative Investments/ESG: BlackRock’s New ESG ETF Rakes In A Record $1.25B On Launch

April 9, 2021

The BlackRock US Carbon Transition Readiness ETF (LCTU), which began trading on Thursday, won the crown for being the largest ETF launch ever, drawing investments of $1.25 billion from institutional investors. BlackRock also launched the BlackRock World ex U.S. Carbon Transition Readiness ETF (LCTD) alongside the US ETF. This ETF attracted $475 million in investments.

FinTech: German Lending Platform auxmoney Gets €250 Million From Citigroup And Chenavari Investment Managers

April 9, 2021

Auxmoney, a Germany-based loans marketplace, received €250 million for loans from Citigroup and Chenavari Investment Managers, a credit-focused asset manager. The two companies are partnering with auxmoney, a primarily consumer-oriented lender, for lending on its marketplace. For the first time, auxmoney will also co-invest alongside these partners.

Venture Capital: As The Indian VC Scene Heats Up Alteria Raises $177M Venture Debt Fund

April 9, 2021

Alteria Capital, an Indian venture debt fund, announced today its first close of a ₹ 1325 crore (US$ 177.41 million) fund targeting start-ups looking for loans, not capital. The firm has a target of ₹ 1700 crores (US$ 227.62 million) expected to be raised within the next 3 to 4 months.

Artificial Intelligence: AI To Keep An Eye On Indian Jail Holding Mafia Don

April 9, 2021

AI-based drone cameras will maintain an aerial vigil on the Banda district jail in the Uttar Pradesh state of India. Lodged in the jail is notorious gangster-cum-politician Mukhtar Ansari, and Director-General Prisons, Anand Kumar, is leaving no stone unturned in ensuring maximum security.

Alternative Investments/Digital: SEBA Bank Launches Four Crypto ETPs On SIX Swiss Exchange

April 8, 2021

SEBA Bank, a FINMA-licenced Swiss Bank, and GHCO, a liquidity provider and market maker specializing in exchange-traded funds, have partnered to launch a suite of crypto ETPs on the SIX Swiss Exchange from April 9, 2021.

Venture Capital: India’s ShareChat Scores $502M Raise From Top Investors

April 8, 2021

Sharechat, the Indian AI-powered social media and content-sharing platform, announced a raise of $502 million in a round led by Tiger Global. Twitter (NYSE: TWTR), Lightspeed, and Snap (NYSE: SNAP) also participated in the investment round which valued the start-up at $ 2.1 billion.

Digital Assets: XRP Makes A Comeback As Ripple Gains Legal Headway

April 8, 2021

XRP made a huge move Tuesday, shooting above $1 and touching a 3-year high. No real reason could be ascribed to the move then, beyond generally bullish cryptocurrencies – the market value of all cryptocurrencies moved above $2 trillion. However, Ripple made a dent in its suit with the SEC, winning the right to ‘discovery,’ or access, to the SEC’s internal records on bitcoin, ether, and XRP.

FinTech: Indian Fintech Startup Cred Raises $215M, Turns Unicorn

April 8, 2021

Cred, a fintech founded by Kunal Shah, has just achieved the distinction of becoming the second-fastest Indian startup to emerge as a unicorn, that too within a mere 29 months of launch. It raised $215 million in a Series D round at a valuation of $ 2.2 billion, as investors continued to favor its business model of rewarding credit card payments made on time.

Artificial Intelligence: Indoor Farming Company AppHarvest Acquires Root AI

April 8, 2021

AppHarvest, Inc (NASDAQ: APPH), an indoor and sustainable farming company, announced today its acquisition of Root AI, a startup that develops AI-powered robots for use in indoor farming and harvesting. The deal includes Root AI’s signature robotic harvester dubbed Virgo. AppHarvest will pay about $60 million for the acquisition, comprising $10 million in cash and the rest in shares.

Alternative Investments/Digital: CoinShares And 3iQ Join Hands For BTC ETF

April 7, 2021

Asset manager Coinshares is partnering with 3iQ for the launch of the 3iQ Coinshares Bitcoin ETF. The move follows a strategic investment by CoinShares in 3iQ. The ETF is expected to trade on the Toronto Stock Exchange from early April under the symbols “BTCQ.U” (in US dollars) and “BTCQ” (in Canadian dollars). 3iQ will act as the investment and portfolio manager of the ETF.

FinTech: Plaid Collects $425M At A Solid $13.4B Valuation

April 7, 2021

Fintech Plaid announced today its Series D round funding of $425 million at a valuation of $13.4 billion. The round was led by Altimeter Capital with participation from new investors, Silver Lake and Ribbit Capital. Earlier investors Andreessen Horowitz, Index Ventures, Kleiner Perkins, and New Enterprise Associates also participated.

Artificial Intelligence: Google’s Ethical AI Crisis Escalates; Samy Bengio Resigns

April 7, 2021

Renowned AI authority and senior AI research manager at Google (NASDAQ: GOOGL), Samy Bengio, has resigned. His departure, scheduled for April 28, shows the rising discord within Google’s AI ranks, as it follows on the firings of researchers Timnit Gebru and Margaret Mitchell. The two women reported to Bengio. Google later handed over the charge of Bengio’s department to Mariam Croak.

Venture Capital: KKR Amasses $15B Warchest For Asia Fund

April 7, 2021

KKR & Co (NYSE: KKR), the global investing heavyweight, has just wrapped up raising Asia’s biggest ever private equity fund. The KKR Asian Fund IV closed with commitments of $15 billion and will focus on private equity investments in the Asia Pacific region.

Digital Assets: Paxos’ Blockchain Conducts The First-Ever, Same Day (“T+0”) Equity Settlement

April 7, 2021

According to an announcement on Tuesday, Credit Suisse (SWX: CSGN) and Instinet settled U.S.-listed equity trades, entered at 11 AM ET and 3 PM ET, on the same day at 4:30 PM ET via a same-day settlement cycle (“T+0”) conducted on the Paxos Settlement Service blockchain.

FinTech: Stripe Enters The Middle East

April 6, 2021

Payments processing giant Stripe announced Monday its official launch in the United Arab Emirates, marking the company’s first expansion into the Middle East. With the UAE launch, businesses in the UAE can make payments across the world, while existing global users of Stripe can now access the UAE for growing their business in the region.

Alternative Investments/Digital: North America’s First Bitcoin Mutual Fund From CI Global

April 6, 2021

CI Global Asset Management announced Monday the launch of the first mutual fund to offer exposure to bitcoin. The CI Bitcoin Fund requires a minimum investment of only $500 and charges a management fee of 0.40% – claimed to be an industry-low. With the launch of this product, CI Global earns the distinction of being the only firm across the globe to offer a bitcoin mutual fund as well as a bitcoin ETF.

Digital Assets: MicroStrategy Adds To Bitcoin Hoard With $15M Purchase

April 6, 2021

MicroStrategy (NASDAQ: MSTR) the listed business intelligence company led by bitcoin evangelist Michael Saylor has invested another $15 million in cash to buy bitcoin. The purchase came to light in an SEC Form 8-K filing.

Venture Capital: Source Code Capital, The Chinese VC Firm, Raises $1B

April 6, 2021

Source Code Capital, the highly regarded Chinese VC firm, announced today its raise of $1 billion for new dollar-denominated funds. According to DealStreetAsia, the funds are presumably intended for Source Code Growth Fund II ($580 million) and Source Code Venture Fund V ($420 million), going by a previous filing with the U.S. SEC.

Artificial Intelligence: Indian Lingerie Maker Clovia Uses AI To Recommend The Right Bra Size

April 6, 2021

Clovia sells innerwear, loungewear, and personal care brands across India and proudly proclaims it has served over 2 million customers. It uses data science and machine learning to crunch over 150 million data points from 2.8 million users daily. The technology helps Clovia across all aspects of its business – from manufacturing to dispatch.