Each day, DailyAlts tracks major developments across the alternative investment world. Our content is procured from primary contacts in the industry and secondary sources across the web. Our goal is to give readers the most up-to-date news and engaging experience to open new doors and areas of knowledge. Our stories cover nine separate verticals of the alternative investment industry.
PAYFAZZ, an Indonesian fintech start-up, scooped up $ 53 million in a Series B funding round led by B Capital Group and Insignia Ventures Partners. Existing investors Tiger Global Management, Y Combinator, ACE & Company, and Quiet Capital also participated in the funding. New investors included BRI Ventures.
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The Invesco Water Resources ETF (NYSE: PHO) holds a number of water resource companies in its portfolio. Drinking water is a precious resource and a need that can never go out of fashion. Clean and safe drinking water will always enjoy consumer demand, as well as their dollars. This ETF could deliver excellent returns in the long-term according to MENAFN.
Checkout.com has done it again. Last year it made waves with its Series A round worth $230 million, gatecrashing the unicorn party with a valuation tag of $2 billion. Today, it followed that up with an announcement of a Series B round, picking up $150 million at a stunning $5.5 billion valuation.
Palantir Technologies, the secretive data analytics firm led by billionaire and venture capitalist Peter Thiel, raised $500 million from Japanese insurer Sompo Japan Nipponkoa Holdings Inc according to Bloomberg. On June 10, Palantir had raised $50 million from another Japanese company Fujitsu Limited pursuant to a strategic partnership between the companies. There’s speculation this might be the data analytics company’s last raise before an IPO.
On Friday, June 19, Attorney General William P. Barr announced that President Trump intended to nominate Jay Clayton, currently the Chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, to serve as the next United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York (SDNY). The crypto industry is excited that the chances for approval of a bitcoin ETF may improve with Clayton’s exit.
Ever-increasing populations, less and less arable land, and climatic changes make it increasingly difficult for the planet’s food producers to keep up with demand. Fresh, sustainable food needs to be put on millions of tables and there is a great need to develop new methods for cultivation. Greenhouses and indoor cultivation will become commonplace. AI and machine learning can be deployed with great results in these spaces.
The ETFMG Treatments, Testing, and Advancements ETF (NYSEARCA: GERM) is a newly launched fund from the stable of ETF Managers Group or ETFMG. It offers investing exposure to companies engaged in the testing and treatment of contagious diseases.
Seagoing vessels in the polar area need to keep tabs on sea ice and the usual source is ice warning data issued by The Norwegian Meteorological Institute and similar centers. Unfortunately, this is a very expensive process that needs supercomputers and satellites. AI could change that, according to Sindre Markus Fritzner, a doctoral research fellow at UiT The Arctic University of Norway.
According to CNBC, which quoted data from Edison Trends, food delivery company DoorDash grabbed 45% of delivery orders after the lockdowns started in the US in mid-March. UberEats at 28%, Grubhub at 17% and Postmates at 7% were the also-rans in the food delivery sweepstakes.
Venture investors obviously liked the numbers, because they just forked over $400 million to DoorDash, valuing it at an impressive $16 billion in a Series H round.
Industry leaders across finance, technology and the non-profit sectors have come together to launch PayId, a simplified payment ID process for global remittances. The Open Payments Coalition, an alliance of leading companies such as GoPay, Ripple, Blockchain.com, BitPay, Brave, Flutterwave, Mercy Corps and others, will develop PayId.
In the second ransomware attack on Australian drinks manufacturer Lion in less than a week, the cyber villains have demanded a ransom amount of $800,000. The amount must be paid in the Monero cryptocurrency by June 19, failing which the amount doubles to $1,600,000.
A filing by WisdomTree for the proposed WisdomTree Enhanced Commodity Strategy Fund shows it intends to invest up to 5% of its net assets in bitcoin futures contracts. The balance of the funds would be invested in four commodity sectors, namely, energy, agriculture, industrial metals, and precious metals primarily through investments in futures contracts. The fund will not invest directly in bitcoin or in physical commodities.
Salt Financial just sold its Salt Low TruBeta U.S. Market ETF (BATS: LSLT) to Pacer Advisors. The ETF was the first and only negative-fee ETF, which meant investors got paid to invest in it. At the time of its launch in March 2019, the idea of such a fund was a no-brainer given the relentless fall in fund management fees. Yet, it appears that investors did not find the fund appealing enough. At the time of its sale to Pacer, the Salt Low TruBeta U.S. Market ETF had a tiny $9 million in assets.
GreenLight Biosciences, which is pioneering technology to create cell-free, high-performing natural RNA products, announced its raise of $102 million in an oversubscribed Series D funding round led by Chinese investment firm Morningside Ventures.
Japan’s biggest brokerage and investment bank, Nomura, blockchain security firm Ledger, and digital asset investment house CoinShares have come together to launch Komainu, a custodial service for digital assets aimed at institutions.
Global fintech Pagaya, which uses artificial intelligence in asset management and institutional investment, notched up $102 million in a Series D round led by GIC, Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund. With the latest funding, Pagaya has raised $147 million since its launch in 2016.
Broadridge Financial Solutions, Inc., (NYSE: BR), a global fintech company with over $4 billion in revenues, unveiled its LTX platform for trading in corporate bonds. The AI-driven platform has already traded successfully in recent weeks.
Online challenger bank Monzo has raised £60 million at a valuation of £1.25 billion, a 40% down round that has brought the industry face-to-face with the harsh fallout from the virus outbreak. The neo bank laid off 80 employees earlier this month, raising speculation about a valuation cut in the latest funding. However, the bank faced some inertia from investors suffering “challenger bank fatigue” even before the lockdowns.
Digital Assets: Bank of Canada Making Contingency Plans For its Own Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC)
The Bank of Canada is putting in motion plans for a “contingent system for a central bank digital currency (CBDC).” This proposal came to the fore when the bank posted an opening for “Project Manager, CBDC,” on its website.
In late 2019, Credit Sesame and Canadian challenger bank STACK joined hands to offer Sesame Cash, a checking account service that put users in control of their banking and credit in one place. Since mid-May, when Sesame Cash became available to the general public, more than 200,000 customers signed up in less than a month. Over 62% of Credit Sesame’s 15 million members are interested in the Sesame Cash service. Credit Sesame announced Tuesday its acquisition of STACK.
Invasive plant species cost the U.K. economy an estimated £1.7 billion annually. Though about 3,000 alien plant species are found in the country, only 234 of them are currently considered a threat to its ecosystem. These harmful species have properties such as the ability to reproduce rampantly, or to spread themselves across a range of habitats. In so doing, they develop an edge over native flora. The U.K. is now taking recourse to AI to counter these disruptive aliens called Invasive Non-Native Species (INNS).
Reflections on COVID-19…on ETFs’ 20th birthday in Europe.
Funds Europe checked out ETFs and how they performed during the crisis triggered by a black swan event such as the COVID-19 pandemic.
WhatsApp, the messaging app owned by Facebook (NASDAQ: FB) has launched a facility to make digital payments for users in Brazil. The announcement came Monday on the WhatsApp blog. Users can now send money to other users, or local businesses, from inside a chat.
Artificial Intelligence: Daphne Koller, Founder, Insitro: “In Biopharma, It’s Difficult to Fail Fast”
Insitro has brought together a high-throughput lab (“beyond the frontier on multiple levels,” according to Koller), top-flight biologists, and machine learning and data science people who are at the cutting edge of their profession. The objective is to accelerate decision-making during drug discovery and to assess faster whether the drug could succeed. Fast Company’s Ruth Reader interviewed Daphne Koller on how Insitro was making a difference in drug discovery and development.
Sapiens International Corp. N.V. (NASDAQ: SPNS), an Israeli software company listed both on the Nasdaq and in Tel Aviv, was allegedly forced to pay $250,000 in bitcoin to hackers amidst the COVID-19 crisis.