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Despite Turbulence, Hedge Funds Achieve Q2 Gains

July 10, 2020

Hedge Funds Up Amid Volatile Markets.   Hedge funds were up nearly two percent in the month of June.  This means that the industry faced its third monthly gain in a row.  Although the industry aggregate  — as measured by the HFRI Fund Weighted Composite Index — is still down, hedge funds are doing well considering…

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Private Equity: AMC Takes PE Route to Steer Clear of Bankruptcy 

July 10, 2020

Silver Lake Group Close on AMC Deal Private equity firm, Silver Lake Group, is on the brink of making a deal with AMC Entertainment Holdings.  The American movie theater giant is suffering due to a lack of business resulting from Covid-19, and risks having to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.  To avoid this, Silver Lake…

FinTech: Online Lender and Fintech SoFi Refiles For A National Bank Charter

July 10, 2020

SoFi becomes one more fintech looking to crossover into mainstream banking after it filed a de novo application with the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) for a national bank charter. According to American Banker, which cited a SoFi spokesperson, the fintech applied on Wednesday, though a copy of the charter application was not available till Thursday.

Venture Capital: Sony Pays $250M for a 1.4% Stake in Fortnite Game Maker Epic

July 10, 2020

Sony (NYSE: SNE) announced Thursday its deal to buy a minority stake in Epic Games, the private company behind the battle-royale juggernaut of a game known as Fortnite. It is the world’s largest game with over 350 million accounts and 2.5 billion friend connections. Sony is paying $250 million for its 1.4% stake in Epic, which also develops Unreal Engine – the software used by game developers the world over and which powers the top games across the globe.

Artificial Intelligence: World Artificial Intelligence Conference 2020, Shanghai

July 10, 2020

The theme of the conference is “Intelligent Connectivity, Indivisible Community.” Researchers, entrepreneurs, and officials from across the globe are discussing the emerging trends in artificial intelligence.

Digital Assets: Didi, Others Collaborating With Banks and PBoC on DCEP, the Chinese CBDC

July 10, 2020

The Chinese ride-hailing megacorp, DiDi Chuxing, has agreed to collaborate with the Digital Currency Research Institute of the People’s Bank of China (PBoC) on the DCEP – the CBDC under development by China. According to another report, Meituan, the major eCommerce service platform with over 240 million consumers and five million local merchants, as well as video-sharing site Bilibilibili, has begun to cooperate with banks developing the digital yuan.

Alternative Investments: Lyxor Launches Suite of Paris-Aligned Equity ETFs

July 10, 2020

Lyxor Asset Management said in June that ESG ETF inflows were strong over the month of May, with EUR2.4 billion flowing in. That has set up a record for ESG ETFs for the year to date. It showed investors’ rising preference for sustainable investments, amidst global easing of lockdown restrictions and stimulus measures in Europe.
Perhaps addressing the trend, Lyxor announced this week a suite of equity ETFs for investors seeking opportunities in companies that align with climate-related carbon-reduction goals.

Alternative Investment: Outlook On Real Estate ETFs; Is The Worst Over?

July 9, 2020

A report by Globe St. com quoted a survey result by RCLCO Real Estate Advisors. The survey said that real estate industry leaders thought the worst of COVID-driven real estate market declines sustained during the first six months this year may be behind us.

Digital Assets: Ceres Coin Files With SEC To Issue Tokens and Coins Worth $50M for Cannabis Network

July 9, 2020

Ceres Coin LLC, based in Chicago, filed with the SEC on June 30, 2020, requesting permission to issue digital securities comprising tokens of $30 million and Ceres coins worth $20 million. The tokens will capitalize the company for its proposed business to build an end to end transaction network for cannabis on the blockchain. The coins will be used as a mode of transactions in the cannabis payments network.

FinTech: Ant Group, the Fintech Arm of Alibaba, To Float Hong Kong IPO

July 9, 2020

Chinese fintech giant Ant Group, also known as the world’s most valuable unicorn, and previously called Ant Financial, is planning an IPO said Reuters. The news service quoted anonymous sources who also confirmed that Ant had been working with advisors on the sale of shares in recent months.

Artificial Intelligence: Payments Processor Elavon to Deploy Mastercard’s Brighterion AI To Combat Fraud

July 9, 2020

Elavon, a global payments provider and subsidiary of U.S. Bank (NYSE: USB), will work with Brighterion, Mastercard’s (NYSE: MA) AI company, to minimize fraud. Though EMV chip technology has helped to reduce frauds on cards, digital fraud is on the rise due to the massive growth in e-commerce transactions. Digital payments have surged during the COVID-19 crisis, and fraudsters are said to be eyeing a once-in-a-generation opportunity in digital fraud.

Venture Capital: Animal-Free Dairy Proteins Maker Perfect Day Expands Series C to $300M

July 9, 2020

Perfect Day, a food-tech startup that makes dairy proteins (no cows needed), announced the expansion of its Series C Round up to $300 million. The Series C had previously closed in December 2019 at $140 million and was led by Temasek Holdings and Horizons Ventures. The Canada Pension Plan Investment Board’s (CPPIB) investment group Thematic Investing led this new tranche of $50 million. Aggregate funding at the Berkeley, California-based startup is now over $360 million.

Real Estate: Kayne Anderson Raising $2 Billion for Sixth Fund 

July 9, 2020

Kayne Anderson Capital Advisors is seeking to secure its sixth real estate fund by raising $2 billion.  The goal of this fund is to focus on investments in student housing, and has received support from the Teachers’ Retirement System of Louisiana.  This includes a $50 million investment in the fund.   Strategy  As a result of…

Private Equity:  KKR Teams with Dan Daniel to Catapult U.S. Industrial Business 

July 9, 2020

KKR Pursues U.S. Industrial Sector Opportunities  Global investment firm KKR has announced its partnership with executive William K. Daniel.  Daniel is a former executive at Danaher Corporation — a global science and technology innovator.  This partnership will focus on acquisitions in industrial businesses.  In the long run, KKR hopes to grow businesses and improve their…

ETFs In The First Half of 2020

July 8, 2020

Some fun facts about fund flow to ETFs in the half-year ended in June 2020.

Venture Capital: Palantir, The Ultra Low Profile Data Firm, Files Confidentially for an IPO

July 8, 2020

Palantir Technologies, the highly secretive data analytics giant that works with governments, major banks, agencies such as the CIA and FBI, and the U.N.’s World Food Program, has confidentially submitted a registration statement for a proposed public listing to the Securities and Exchange Commission. The firm made the fact public on Monday, July 6.

Digital Assets: Arca Launches A Treasury Fund that Will Issue Its Shares as Digital ArCoins

July 8, 2020

The Arca U.S. Treasury Fund is the first-ever financial product regulated under the Investment Company Act of 1940 allowed to offer digital securities. Digital asset investment firm Arca launched the closed-end fund on July 6. Though the Arca U.S. Treasury Fund will invest 80% of its portfolio assets in U.S. Treasury securities, shareholders investing in the fund will be issued digital securities called “ArCoin.”

Artificial Intelligence: AI-Enabled Screening For Diabetic Retinopathy Can Save Patients’ Eyesight

July 8, 2020

A study used the images from 30,000 patient scans (120,000 images) from the English Diabetic Eye Screening Program (DESP) to identify signs of damage using the EyeArt artificial intelligence eye screening technology (Eyenuk, Inc., Los Angeles, U.S.). The results were 100% accurate for the detection of moderate to severe retinopathy that could potentially cause the loss of vision. It was 95.7% accurate while detecting issues requiring the patient to refer to a specialist’s services. The study has profoundly positive implications for diabetic retinopathy and its screening.

FinTech: Malaysian Company MFMi Group To Launch Digital Islamic Banking Using Mambu’s Platform

July 8, 2020

MFMi Group, a unit of Malaysian fintech MFM Synergy, announced its intention to launch digital Islamic financial services choosing Mambu’s SaaS, cloud-native banking platform. The initiative aims to enhance financial inclusion for Malaysia’s underserved consumers.

Hedge Funds: London-Based Hedge Fund to Retreat Following Losses

July 8, 2020

Sloane Robinson, a London-based Hedge Fund co-founded by George Robinson, is set to close by the end of this year.  This decision was based primarily on a decline in the firm’s assets under management.  The firm was also lacking in performance which was mainly due to volatile markets resulting from Covid-19.  Sloane Robinson’s Global Frontier…

Artificial Intelligence: How CrowdSmart’s Predictive AI Improves VC Investments

July 7, 2020

CrowdSmart’s Cyrus is a software-as-a-service (SaaS) platform that uses AI and collective intelligence to better predict the likely result of an investment. Speaking to Barron’s in a panel interview, Polese provided insights on how the platform improved due diligence on a proposed investment. It more accurately predicted the investment outcome, reduced bias and democratised VC funding.

Venture Capital: SaaS Data Protector OwnBackUp Gains $50M Funding

July 7, 2020

OwnBackup is a cloud-to-cloud backup and restore vendor that provides automated, daily backups of SaaS and PaaS data, as well as data compare and restore tools for disaster recovery. Its primary business is focused around clients needing to protect their Salesforce data. It raised $50 million in a follow-on round led by Insight Partners, with participation from Salesforce Ventures and Vertex Ventures.

Digital Assets: Now Book Any of 700,000 Expedia Hotels Through Crypto Friendly Travala.com

July 7, 2020

Travala.com is a blockchain-based, crypto friendly travel booking platform with access to over 2 million hotels in 230 countries. In a partnership with Expedia Partner Solutions announced Monday, more than 700,000 Expedia group accommodations can now be booked by travellers on Travala.com.

FinTech: Digital Payment Company Square To Give Banks A Run for their Deposits – Analyst

July 7, 2020

San Francisco-based Square Inc (NYSE: SQ), a digital payment processor led by Jack Dorsey, benefited Monday from a highly bullish report by SunTrust analyst Andrew Jeffrey. The stock touched an all-time high of $ 128.36 after the analyst wrote that it could take away direct deposits from banks and ultimately sit on a market share of 20%. Square’s market capitalisation, based on Monday’s close, is $ 52.27 billion. According to a Bloomberg report Square now has a market capitalisation higher than all but four banks in the KBW Bank index.

Real Estate: Angelo Gordon Raises Over $1.5 Billion for Europe Fund

July 7, 2020

Angelo Gordon, a global alternative investment firm, raised more than $1.5 billion for a real estate fund.  After surpassing the $1.2 billion target, the real estate fund will focus on undervalued assets to add to its portfolio.  Angelo Gordon currently manages $35 billion reaching across credit and real estate markets.  Since 2009, Angelo Gordon has…