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Venture Capital: Rivian Lands $2.5B; Plans Second EV Plant Including For Batteries

July 26, 2021

Electric vehicle maker Rivian announced Friday (July 23, 2021) its close of a $2.5 billion funding round led by Amazon’s (NASDAQ: AMZN) Climate Pledge Fund, D1 Capital Partners, Ford Motor Company (NYSE: F), and funds and accounts advised by T. Rowe Price Associates, Inc. Also investing were Third Point, Fidelity Management and Research Company, Dragoneer Investment Group, and Coatue.

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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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Alternative Investments/ESG: Goldman Sachs Launches Active, Climate-Focused ETF

July 16, 2021

Goldman Sachs (NYSE: GS) has launched its first actively managed, transparent ETF that extends its range of thematic funds. The Goldman Sachs Future Planet Equity ETF will invest in companies that seek to provide solutions to environmental problems aligned with five key themes: clean energy, resource efficiency, sustainable consumption, the circular economy and water sustainability.

Venture Capital: Revolut Valued At $33B In $800M Funding Round

July 15, 2021

Revolut, the Uk-based challenger bank and fintech, raised $800 million in a funding round led by SoftBank’s Vision Fund 2 and Tiger Global Management, both new investors. The funding came in at a valuation of $33 billion, about six times Revolut’s valuation in a previous round in 2020.

Venture Capital: Mighty Buildings, Which Makes Sustainable 3D-Printed Homes, Scores $22M Raise

July 14, 2021

Mighty Buildings , which aims for sustainable buildings construction that address the housing shortage, has raised an additional $22 million in its Series B funding round. Taken with the previous raise of $40 million in February this year, Mighty now has $100 million of capital under its belt since its founding in 2017.

Venture Capital: Indian eCommerce Giant Flipkart Raises $3.6B At $37.6B Valuation

July 12, 2021

Flipkart, the Indian e-commerce platform majority-owned by Walmart (NYSE: WMT), announced today (July 12, 2021) its $3.6 billion funding round led by GIC, Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPP Investments), SoftBank Vision Fund 2, and Walmart. Sovereign funds DisruptAD, Qatar Investment Authority, Khazanah Nasional also participated in the round alongside big-name investors such as Tencent, Willoughby Capital, Antara Capital, Franklin Templeton, and Tiger Global.

FinTech: Stripe Makes The First Move En Route To Much Anticipated Stock Market Listing

July 9, 2021

A Reuters exclusive report said digital payments processor Stripe Inc had hired a law firm to advise on a potential listing. Stripe is reckoned as the most valuable US tech startup after it garnered a valuation of $95 billion in a $600 million fundraising round in March. Investors included Allianz X, Baillie Gifford, Sequoia Capital, and Ireland’s National Treasury Management Agency (NTMA).

Alternative Investments/Digital: Roundhill Launches A Virtual Worlds’-Focused “Metaverse” ETF

July 9, 2021

Roundhill Investments launched last week a new ETF built around the theme of the Metaverse. The Roundhill Ball Metaverse ETF is the first-of-its-kind ETF to provide investors exposure to the market of the Metaverse – “a successor-state to today’s mobile Internet, but which will involve countless interoperable and persistent virtual worlds, be richly integrated into the physical world as well, thereby creating a new medium and economy for work, leisure, and innovation.”

Venture Capital: Clearco, Which Offers Equity-Free Capital To Startups, Raises $215M

July 8, 2021

That model is clearly working because Clearco has so far paid out $2.4 billion to 5,500 founders in the e-commerce, mobile app, and enterprise software segments. Today (July 8, 2021) the company said it raised $215 million in an equity funding round led by SoftBank Group Corp’s Vision Fund 2.

Alternative Investments/ESG: Sprott’s To Reorganize UPC Into Physical Uranium Fund

July 8, 2021

Sprott’s has agreed with Uranium Participation Corp (TSE: U), a Toronto-based company focused on investing in physical uranium, to reorganize the latter into an investment-fund listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange. Subsequent to such reorganization, the fund will pursue a listing on the NYSE Arca exchange.

FinTech: Money Transfer App Wise Gets $11B Valuation In London Direct Listing

July 7, 2021

Fintech Wise Plc (LON: WISE) on Wednesday pioneered the direct listing route for a tech company going public on the London Stock Exchange (LSE), and in the process, garnered a solid capitalization of £8 billion ($11 billion). Apart from turning founders Taavet Hinrikus and Kristo Kaarman into billionaires, Wise’s bumper listing also marked a win for the UK, which has set its heart on turning London into a fintech superhub after Brexit.

Liquid Alternatives: BlackRock Launches Liquid Alternatives ESG Fund In Europe

July 7, 2021

BlackRock (NYSE: BLK) has introduced its Systematic Multi-Strategy ESG Screened fund in Europe. The new fund is categorized as Article 8 under the European Union’s Sustainable Finance Disclosure Regulation (SFDR). It seeks to provide a total return in the form of capital and income through three uncorrelated and complementary strategies.

FinTech: Revolut In Talks To Raise Upto $1B At A Valuation Over $30B

July 6, 2021

Revolut, the British challenger bank, and its advisers have sounded a select group of investors on an investment between $750m (£542m) and $1bn (£723m), according to Sky News. The report, which cited “industry sources,” also said SoftBank’s Vision Fund 2 is one of those investors, and that the round, if successful could value Revolut at a massive $30 billion or more.

Digital Assets: World Bank Snub Regardless, El Salvador Announces Bitcoin Wallets, ATMs

June 25, 2021

Speaking to the nation on Thursday, El Salvador’s President Nayib Bukele said that bitcoin will become legal tender in the country effective September 7. Bukele also gave details of the Chivo bitcoin wallet that Salvadoreans could use and which would be credited with a free $30 worth of bitcoin for signing up.

Digital Assets: Africrypt, The South African Crypto Platform, Is Missing $3.6B In Bitcoin

June 24, 2021

This is another instance when exchange founders have decamped with investors’ savings held on their platform as investments in crypto, this time in South Africa. Bloomberg reported that about 69,000 bitcoin worth $3.6 billion is missing from South African crypto investment platform Africrypt. Also untraceable are the Cajee brothers, who founded Africrypt in 2019.

Artificial Intelligence: AI Simulates Long Lost Portions of Rembrandt’s Masterpiece

June 23, 2021

Rembrandt’s famed masterpiece, “The Night Watch,” an icon of the Netherlands that hangs in the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, is not the whole work as painted by the artist. In 1715, sections of varying widths were cut off from all sides of the painting to fit on a wall between two doors in the city’s Town Hall. The massive painting, now sized about 15 feet wide by 13 feet high, occupies pride of place in the Rijksmuseum. However, using AI, the public can now see the work nearly whole, and as intended by Rembrandt when he painted it in 1642.

Digital Assets: Steve Cohen Is “Fully Converted” To Crypto; Burry Expects A Crash

June 21, 2021

Steve Cohen, the billionaire Chairman and CEO of Point72 Asset Management, the family office, came out swinging in favor of cryptos in an interview last week. “I’m not going to miss this,” he said. “I already feel like I missed the first part of it, but I still feel like it’s early.”

FinTech: Fintech Credijusto Snaps Up Mexican Bank; Becomes Regulated Neobank

June 18, 2021

According to Entrepreneur, Credijusto, the Mexican fintech and lending platform acquired Banco Finterra for about $50 million, in the process bagging a banking license. Banco Finterra specializes in financing solutions for the agri-food sector.

Artificial Intelligence: LVMH Ties With Google Cloud For AI-Powered Experiences At Maisons Luxury Brands

June 16, 2021

LVMH (EPA: MC) announced today its tie-up with Google (NASDAQ: GOOGL) Cloud for the development of cloud-based AI solutions. LVMH and Google Cloud will work together and deploy the latter’s cloud technology and AI/ML tools for every part of the value chain at LVMH – from product development to supply chain, to the interfaces with employees, partners, and customers.

FinTech: Stripe Shareholders Sold $1B Shares Last Month (WSJ); Company Launches ID Tool

June 15, 2021

Major investors last month snapped up $1 billion worth of shares from existing shareholders in Stripe in a tender offer that received as much as $4 billion in bids according to the WSJ.

Artificial Intelligence: Clinical Stage Pharmatech Startup Exscientia Acquires AI-Powered Allcyte

June 15, 2021

Exscientia, which uses AI to design and create drug candidate molecules satisfying complex therapeutic requirements with revolutionary efficiency, has acquired Allcyte, the Austrian company that uses AI for cancer screening. Exscientia will pay 50 million euros ($60.6 million) in a combination of cash and shares for the acquisition.