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Venture Capital: Troubled Indian On-Line Education Startup Byju’s Wants To Restructure $1.2B Loan

December 7, 2022

Byju’s, the storied Indian educational startup that last scored a valuation of $22 billion, is seeking to renegotiate the terms of its $1.2 billion dollar loan amidst a surge in interest rates and steep losses in its business.

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Artificial Intelligence: Facebook Dating Will Use Facial Scanning To Detect Underage Users

December 6, 2022

“We’re bringing our age verification tools to Facebook Dating to verify that only adults are using the service, and to continue our efforts in preventing minors from accessing it,” said a blog post Monday by Meta (NASDAQ: META), the parent company of Facebook Dating. Users would be provided two options to verify their age, one of which is to take a video selfie.

Artificial Intelligence: Monarch’s Electric, Driver-Optional, Smart Tractor Now In Commercial Production

December 2, 2022

Monarch Tractor has rolled out the first production model of the MK-V tractor that combines electrification, automation, and data analysis to help farmers reduce their carbon footprint, improve field safety, streamline farming operations, and boost profitability. The company’s first customer is liquor and wine group Constellation Brands (NYSE: STZ), which has purchased the first six Founder Series MK-V tractors.

Digital Assets: Doom And Gloom Predictions, And A Massive Layoff By Kraken

December 1, 2022

Luminaries from both the financial and crypto worlds are sounding dire warnings about the future of the industry. At an event hosted by the New York Times DealBook, Larry Fink, CEO, BlackRock (NYSE: BLK), said he believed the majority of crypto businesses “are not going to be around” in the future, given that “there were misbehaviours of major consequences.”

Venture Capital: Daycations Platform ResortPass Lands $26M Series B Including From Gwyneth Paltrow

November 30, 2022

Ever considered a daycation (day+vacation) at your nearest luxury hotel, spending hours enjoying facilities at the property such as the pool, spa, fitness center, and more, without breaking the bank? It’s possible with ResortPass, which makes it possible to enjoy these ‘experiences’ right there in your neighbourhood, at hotels including Ritz-Carlton, Four Seasons, W Hotels, Hyatt Hotels, Fairmont, and Westin. ResortPass announced a Series B raise of $26 million.

FinTech/ESG: Carbon Management App Cogo Partners With Digital Bank Tandem

November 28, 2022

Cogo is a carbon management expert that pairs its Carbon Footprint model with live banking data allowing a bank’s customers to track how much carbon is associated with their spending anywhere, anytime. Cogo has announced a partnership with digital challenger bank Tandem to initially feature on the bank’s green living hub, which offers practical advice, information and tools for customers. Cogo will integrate with the Tandem banking app fully in 2023.

Artificial Intelligence: Thanks To AI, Insurers Now Have SuperNormal Powers, Says Sompo Chief

November 22, 2022

These prophetic forewarnings range from the weather, natural calamities, and even senile dementia, according to Mikio Okumura, chief of Japanese insurer Sompo Holdings (TYO: 8630). The forward-looking company invested $500mn investment two years ago in Palantir (NYSE: PLTR), the US specialist in big data analysis. It also has bought a stake in Abeja, a Japanese AI start-up.

Alternative Investments/ESG: Investment Advisory Wahed Launches Shariah And US Equity ETP

November 21, 2022

A new ETP (Exchange Traded Product) launched by Wahed, a registered investment advisor focused on Halal investments, will invest in US stocks that have passed through a screening process to determine their Shariah status. The ETP, named the Wahed FTSE USA Shariah ETF, has listed on the LSE.

Artificial Intelligence: AI Powers Mylo, A Virtual Lifeguard That Watches For Pool Drownings

November 8, 2022

Coral Smart Pool, an Israeli startup, has developed Mylo, a virtual lifeguard that uses computer vision and AI to detect potential drowning accidents in the swimming pool. It also sounds an alarm in case it detects a pool entry.

Artificial Intelligence: Mass Firings At Twitter Include Its Ethical AI Team

November 4, 2022

Elon Musk-owned Twitter (NYSE: TWTR) is executing a massive firing plan globally. Twitter has closed its offices and suspended the badges of all employees until a decision is made as to whether an employee is fired or retained.

Digital Assets: Coinbase Reports A Net Loss Of $545M In The Third Quarter As Trading Volumes Decline

November 4, 2022

Crypto exchange Coinbase (NASDAQ: COIN) has reported disappointing numbers for the September quarter, with its perfomance impacted by the bearish conditions prevailing in the digital assets market, and the consequential impact on transaction revenues.

FinTech: Stripe Lays Off 14% Of Employees As It Faces “A Different Economic Climate,” And “Leaner Times”

November 3, 2022

“Today we’re announcing the hardest change we have had to make at Stripe to date. We’re reducing the size of our team by around 14% and saying goodbye to many talented Stripes in the process. If you are among those impacted, you will receive a notification email within the next 15 minutes. For those of you leaving: we’re very sorry to be taking this step and John and I are fully responsible for the decisions leading up to it.

Alternative Investments/ESG: Hypatia, A New Fund Manager, Files For ETF On Women CEOs

November 3, 2022

Hypatia Capital Management boasts of a network of CEO-Level women, asset managers, and public board members that form its collaborative platform. The firm has formulated the Hypatia Women CEO Index (HWCEO), which is designed to measure the performance of female leadership in publicly traded companies. Hypatia has filed with the SEC for the launch of the Hypatia Women CEO ETF (ticker WCEO).

Artificial Intelligence: Meta AI Predicts The Shape Of 600 Million Proteins

November 2, 2022

Scientists at Meta (NASDAQ: META) used AI to predict the structures of approximately 600 million proteins from bacteria, viruses and other microbes that were not studied before. “Today, we announced an AI breakthrough that accelerates protein folding — the process of predicting a molecule’s shape. Our researchers have used it to create a database of the molecular structures of proteins, which are the building blocks of life on earth,” said an announcement from the company.

Alternative Investments: Teachers’ Retirement System (TRS) Of Illinois Plugs $1.5B Into Alternative Investments

November 1, 2022

Teachers Retirement Systems (TRS) said its long-term funded ratio rose 1.3% during fiscal year 2022 to 43.8%, above TRS’ average funded ratio of 40.7% over the past decade. The Teachers’ Retirement System (TRS) of the State of Illinois said it allocated nearly $1.5 billion to alternative investments, out of the $2.6 billion it committed since…

Venture Capital: Elon Musk’s SpaceX Launches Its Falcon Heavy Rocket On National Security Mission

November 1, 2022

Elon Musk’s SpaceX on Tuesday launched a classified USSF-44 mission for the U.S. Space Force on board its towering Falcon Heavy rocket. The launch came more than three years after the Space Test Program-2 (STP-2) mission in June 2019, which carried experimental satellites on a demonstration flight for the Pentagon. It was also the company’s record 50th launch this year from the Falcon series, with most from the Falcon 9.

Artificial Intelligence: Silver Lake Backed Bayanat AI Triples On IPO Debut In Abu Dhabi

October 31, 2022

An Initial Public Offer (IPO) by Bayanat AI, a company owned by Abu Dhabi’s G42, and backed by IHC, the most valuable firm in the United Arab Emirates, proved to be highly successful on its trading debut today on the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange (ADX). Shares of Bayanat AI, whose IPO was oversubscribed over 90X, more than tripled from their IPO price of 1.10 dirhams each, but closed the day at 4.10 dirhams, with gains of 272%.

FinTech: India’s Money View In Talks To Raise $150M At $1B Valuation

October 28, 2022

Sources have told The Economic Times that Money View, an Indian fintech, is in talks to raise up to $150 million at a valuation of $900 million to $925 million pre-money and over $1 billion post-money. The sources also revealed that global private equity giant Apis Partners is expected to join as a new investor and also lead the round.

Artificial Intelligence: Self-Driving Startup Argo AI Shuts Down, Parts To Be Absorbed By Backers Ford, VW

October 27, 2022

The signs were all there. In July, Argo AI, the self-driving startup backed by Ford (NYSE: F) and Volkswagen (ETR: VOW) laid off 150 jobs and slowed down its hiring. At the time the company attributed the action to “prudent adjustments to our business plan.” Three months down the line, Argo has downed shutters, with parts of it being taken over by Ford and VW.

Venture Capital: Walmart To Raise Upto $3B For Indian E-Commerce Subsidiary Flipkart

October 26, 2022

A news report said Flipkart, Walmart’s (NYSE: WMT) Indian e-commerce subsidiary was mulling a fundraise of $2 – 3 billion at a valuation of over $40 billion to drive a country-wide expansion. Last year, Flipkart raised $3.6 billion in a funding round that had the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, GIC, SoftBank Vision Fund 2 and Walmart as investors. That round gave it a valuation of $37.6 billion.

Artificial Intelligence: Google’s Dialogflow Service To Power Wells Fargo’s New Digital Assistant

October 25, 2022

Wells Fargo (NYSE: WFC) announced its launch of Fargo, a new virtual assistant that will assist customers with their banking in the coming months and provide a more personalised, convenient and simple banking experience. Fargo will be built upon the Google Cloud conversational AI platform known as Dialogflow which has language processing capabilities, can understand customers’ intents, and deliver an appropriate response.

Venture Capital: Climate Tech Fund Propeller Raises $100M For Ocean Climate Startups

October 24, 2022

Climate-tech fund Propeller announced its raise of a $100 million fund to support startups aiming to solve the climate crisis by innovating planet-saving, ocean-based science and technology solutions. The fund is launched in partnership with Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, a private, non-profit organization established in 1930, on Cape Cod, Massachusetts, and dedicated to marine research, engineering, and higher education.

FinTech: India’s PhonePe On Decacorn Path, Mulls Fundraise At Over $12B Valuation

October 21, 2022

PhonePe is negotiating a fundraise at a valuation of over $12 billion, with General Atlantic likely to lead the round with an investment in the range of $450 – $500 million. If the funding goes through, it would catapult PhonePe to the position of the most highly-valued fintech in India.

Venture Capital: Chinese EV Maker Aion Raises $2.53B Series A

October 21, 2022

Aion, the EV unit of Chinese automaker GAC (HKG: 2238), has raised a huge RMB 18.3 billion ($2.53 billion) Series A round at a whopping RMB 103.3 billion ($14.28 billion) valuation. That puts Aion at the top of the league of Chinese private, venture capital-backed EV makers.

Artificial Intelligence: Adobe Announces Generative AI For Adobe Creative Cloud

October 21, 2022

Adobe (NASDAQ: ADBE) has been researching Generative AI for its transformative potential to accelerate creativity and make it accessible to millions of people; for example, by speaking a few words to describe an image, and having the corresponding image magically produced on the computer screen by the AI.