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FinTech: UK-Based BNPL Player Zilch Closes Series B With Additional $110M

July 23, 2021

The $110 million comprised both debt and equity capital. Zilch, the UK-based BNPL platform has raised an additional $110 million from Goldman Sachs and DMG Ventures. The funding is part of the extended Series B round, first announced by Zilch in April for launching in the USA and Europe. It had then raised $80 million…

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Alternative Investments/Hedge Funds: Inflation Fears Boost Hedge Funds’ AUM To Nearly $4T

July 23, 2021

A market survey by alternatives technology provider Vidrio Financial shows that fears of inflation have helped move substantial fund allocations during the first half of 2021 to alternative assets such as private equity and hedge funds. Market sentiment has tended to favor these asset classes during inflationary periods in the economy. Total hedge fund assets burgeoned to nearly $4 trillion by the end of the period, according to HedgeWeek.

Alternative Investments/Digital: Global X Throws Its Hat In The Bitcoin ETF Ring

July 23, 2021

Global X, the New York-based ETF provider and subsidiary of $560 billion investment manager Mirae Asset, has filed with the SEC for permission to launch a bitcoin ETF titled the Global X Bitcoin Trust on the Cboe BZX Exchange. No ticker symbol was suggested, but this would be announced before the commencement of trading if the ETF wins the much sought-after approval from the SEC.

Digital Assets: Crypto Adoption Stories From JPMorgan, Gallup Poll, Bitcoin Depot, And UBS

July 23, 2021

Four news bites that show cryptos are hanging on, recent crashes notwithstanding. From bitcoin ATMs to crypto FOMO, here goes….

Venture Capital: Index Ventures Hauls In $3.1B; Eyes Global Flood Of Startups

July 23, 2021

Index Ventures, the transatlantic venture firm that backed startups such as Confluent (NASDAQ: CFLT) and Roblox (NYSE: RBLX), has raised a massive $3.1 billion across three funds. The new funds are early-stage fund Index Ventures XI ($900 million ), growth fund Index Ventures Growth VI ($2 billion), and the previously announced seed fund Index Origin ($200 million). The funds would together help entrepreneurs to build and scale startups from seed-stage to IPO.

Artificial Intelligence: AI Finds Anti-Aging Compounds

July 23, 2021

Researchers at the University of Surrey have taken a step forward in the journey to develop pharmaceuticals that slow down human aging. They have developed an AI model that can scan chemical compounds and detect their suitability for use in anti-aging innovations.

Venture Capital: Black Founders Raised Four Times More Capital In The First Half This Year

July 22, 2021

According to a Crunchbase report, Black startup founders raised a record $1.8 billion of capital in the first six months of this year. That’s more than 4X the amount of $400 million of funding they landed in the same period in 2020. Again, compare that to the full-year tally of $1 billion and $1.4 billion for 2020 and 2019, respectively.

FinTech: UK Digital Bank Starling Halves Losses, Boosts Turnover 600%

July 22, 2021

Starling today reported numbers for the 16 months ended March 31, 2021. Revenue at British neobank Starling for the 16 months ended March 31, 2021, rose by nearly 600% to £97.6 million from £14 million for the previous period ending 30 November 2019, while loss after tax more than halved to £23.3 million from £52.1…

Alternative Investments/ESG: Bridgewater Launches New Fund Aligned With UN Sustainable Goals

July 22, 2021

Bridgewater Associates, the world’s largest hedge fund, has unveiled the Lyxor/Bridgewater All Weather Sustainability Fund, which will use a UCITS-compliant investing strategy seeking a range of assets compliant with the United Nation’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) benchmarks.

Artificial Intelligence: Ford, Argo AI, Lyft To Commercialize Autonomous Ride-Hailing

July 22, 2021

Ford (NYSE: F) said Wednesday (July 21, 2021) that as part of a unique three-company collaboration, Argo AI and Ford will deploy Ford self-driving cars with safety drivers on the Lyft (NASDAQ: LYFT) network as part of a network access agreement aimed at commercializing autonomous ride-hailing at scale.

Liquid Alternatives/Hedge Funds: Aspect Capital Launches Core Strategy In Liquid Wrapper

July 22, 2021

The Aspect Core Diversified Programme is offered in a  daily-liquid, UCITS-compliant investment vehicle. Aspect Capital Limited, a London-based systematic hedge fund and CTA pioneer with $8.8 billion in assets announced Wednesday (July 21, 2021) its launch of the Aspect Core UCITS Fund. The new fund joins the Aspect Diversified Trends Fund and the Aspect Systematic…

FinTech: Eyeing A ‘Global Super App,’ Revolut Launches Travel Booking Feature

July 21, 2021

After its recent $800 million funding, Revolut, the UK-based challenger bank has lost no time in announcing Stays, a travel booking facility in its app. The bank’s Premium and Metal category of users get 10% instant cashback on their bookings, the bank said in a blog, marking its entry into a non-finance-related product.

Digital Assets: Digital Exchange FTX Lands $900M In Biggest Crypto Deal Ever

July 21, 2021

FTX, the crypto exchange founded by Sam Bankman-Fried in May 2019, has written up the history books with its Series B raise of $900 million at a valuation of $18 billion. A clutch of top-notch investors participated in the funding, reflecting the demand for promising opportunities in the crypto space, despite recent volatility in the price of bitcoin, the leading cryptocurrency.

Alternative Investments: ‘Nasdaq Private Market’ To Be Spun Out As New Venue For Private Company Stocks

July 21, 2021

Issuers, brokers, shareholders and prospective investors of private company stock will soon be able to deal on a new platform to be set up as a partnership between Nasdaq (NASDAQ: NDAQ), SVB Financial Group (NASDAQ: SIVB), Citi (NYSE: C), Goldman Sachs (NYSE: GS), and Morgan Stanley (NYSE: MS). Nasdaq’s existing “Nasdaq Private Market,” which was launched in 2014, will be spun off and contributed to this new JV between Nasdaq and the Wall Street financial giants.

Venture Capital: Pioneering NFT Marketplace OpenSea Turns Unicorn After $100M Funding

July 21, 2021

NFTs are digital assets residing on a blockchain such as digital art, music, videos, games, even code. The blockchain certifies to the asset’s uniqueness and its ownership. Founded in 2017, OpenSea is the largest NFT marketplace that benefited handsomely from the explosion in interest in NFTs this year. Evidently, non-fungible-tokens (NFTs) are not a digital flash in the pan, judging from OpenSea’s latest valuation.

Artificial Intelligence: Cambridge Spin-Off AAT Develops AI Platform For Sustainable Cultured Meats

July 21, 2021

Animal Alternative Technologies (AAT), a spin-off from the University of Cambridge, is focused on developing a scalable platform for cell-based meat services, including bioreactors, optimisation software, tissue engineering and analytics. AAT has come out of stealth and its Renaissance Farm platform enables large-scale cultured meat production commercially viable for food manufacturers, restaurant chains, retailers and governments. And its not just mince or bites – it is structured meat (read: steaks) synthesised directly from animal cells.

Alternative Investments/Digital: Viridi Launches The First Clean Energy Crypto Mining ETF In The US

July 20, 2021

Coinshares-backed Viridi Funds, a registered investment adviser and emerging fund manager, has launched the Viridi Cleaner Energy Crypto-Mining & Semiconductor ETF (RIGZ), a first-of-its-kind clean energy crypto mining product in the US.

Digital Assets: Sustainable Aussie Bitcoin Miner Iris Energy In Pre-Listing $200M Cash Chase

July 20, 2021

Iris Mining, a Sydney-based bitcoin mining company that uses renewable energy for its operations, is looking to raise $200 million before its seeks a direct listing on the Nasdaq, according to a Bloomberg report. The company has already appointed an adviser, commenced discussions with potential investors, and plans to use the funding to lay the base for the listing – perhaps this year.

Artificial Intelligence: Optibus Optimizes Transit Planning Using AI

July 20, 2021

Optibus co-founder and CEO Amos Haggiag and CTO Eitan Yanovsky founded the Tel Aviv-based company in 2014 to address the challenges that transit and bus route planners face the world over – how to juggle the vast matrix of vehicles, drivers, routes, schedules, and traffic patterns. The task was becoming too complex for manual or Excel solutions, and the Optibus founders decided to deploy the cloud and AI to make it manageable.

Venture Capital: Indian Food Delivery Startup Swiggy Closes $1.25B Series J Round

July 20, 2021

Indian food delivery startup Swiggy, announced the close of a $1.25 billion Series J funding that valued it at $5.5 billion post-money. Evidently encouraged by rival Zomato’s bumper IPO which closed earlier this week being subscribed over 40 times, SoftBank itself took up $450 million out of the “heavily oversubscribed” Swiggy round. The round includes $800 million disclosed by Swiggy in April that saw participation from new investors such as Qatar Investment Authority, Falcon Edge Capital, Amansa Capital, Goldman Sachs, besides Prosus and Accel.

FinTech: Founderspeak From Checkout.com, One Of Europe’s Most Valuable Fintechs

July 19, 2021

Guillaume Pousaz, founder, Checkout.com, spoke to CNBC last week on everything fintech. Charting a torrid growth trajectory this year, Checkout.com is one of Europe’s most valuable fintechs. What is not so well known, however, is the fact that the startup bootstrapped it for seven of its initial years under founder Pousaz. Pousaz dwells on a…

Venture Capital: Indian Logistics Startup Delhivery Lands $100M From Fedex

July 19, 2021

FedEx Express, a subsidiary of FedEx Corp (NYSE: FDX), has invested an amount of $100 million in Delhivery, an Indian logistics and supply chain startup, following a long-term commercial collaboration and investment agreement between the two companies. Don Colleran, President and CEO of FedEx Express will join the Delhivery Board of Directors pursuant to the deal.

Alternative Investments/ESG: Faith+Knights Of Columbus Launch ETF Designed For Catholic Investors

July 19, 2021

Faith Investor Services, LLC (FIS) and Knights of Columbus Asset Advisors (KoCAA) have together launched a new ETF that seeks to offer investors access to a global portfolio of financially attractive stocks whose business practices align with the investment criteria established by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB). The new fund, the FIS Knights of Columbus Global Belief ETF, will trade under the ticker symbol KOCG.

Artificial Intelligence: AI Used To Create Anthony Bourdain’s Voice In The “Roadrunner” Documentary

July 19, 2021

A documentary on the late chef Anthony Bourdain, Roadrunner: A Film About Anthony Bourdain, will open in theatres on Friday. Morgan Neville, who made the film, used AI to convert some words Bourdain wrote, but never spoke, into speech. The move to artificially clone the voice of the renowned chef, who died by suicide in 2018, provoked a media backlash.

Digital Assets: The Pegasus Spyware From Israel’s NSO Group Hacked Phones Of Journalists And Activists

July 19, 2021

Forbidden Stories, a Paris-based journalism nonprofit, and Amnesty International shared a contact list with The Pegasus Project, a collaborative investigation between the Washington Post and 15 other news organizations to investigate smartphone hackings of reporters, human rights activists, business executives and the fiancee of murdered Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.