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Venture Capital: Aero, Which Promises “Premium Semi-Private Jets All First Class,” Nabs $20M

March 5, 2021

Luxury air travel provider Aero launched its inaugural flight between Los Angeles’s Van Nuys Airport and Aspen’s Pitkin County Airport on Thursday. Tickets are $ 990 each way through February. Aero is backed by Uber’s co-founder Garret Camp. Aerospace engineer veteran Uma Subramanian is CEO. The service offers flights without queues, private lounges for boarding, and in-flight social distancing with just 16 seats per aircraft. The start-up raised $ 20 million in Series A funding.

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FinTech: Square Acquires Jay-Z Led Streaming Service Tidal For $297M

March 4, 2021

Square Inc (NYSE: SQ), the payments giant, announced today its acquisition of a majority interest in TIDAL, the audio and video streaming platform led by Jay-Z, for $297 million in cash and stock. Existing artist shareholders will be the remaining stakeholders, the announcement said, and Shawn “JAY-Z” Carter would be named to Square’s board of directors.

Venture Capital: Virtual Events Provider Hopin Collects $400M In A Series C Round

March 4, 2021

Online events, once necessitated from the pandemic’s demand for social distancing, are here to stay it seems. Companies can scale up virtual events, earn a broader and global reach without boundaries, and do so at much lower costs. What’s more, there are so many more digital data payoffs from the interactions during virtual conferences. These can prove invaluable for marketing teams. Virtual events provider Hopin, which promises to help you set up a virtual event in just minutes, is clearly in a clover patch, judging from its latest raise.

Venture Capital: Instacart Raises $265M; “Incredible Opportunity Ahead”

March 3, 2021

Online grocery delivery platform Instacart announced on Tuesday its raise of $265 million as part of a new funding round. The company confirmed the round boosted its valuation to $39 billion. Existing investors including Andreessen Horowitz, Sequoia Capital, D1 Capital Partners, Fidelity Management & Research Company LLC, and T. Rowe Price Associates, Inc. participated in the funding.

Venture Capital: Crypto Exchange Kraken Could Value Over $10B In Potential Funding

March 1, 2021

Crypto exchange Kraken, which Chief Executive Officer Jesse Powell founded in 2011, is in discussions to raise new funding that could value it at over $10 billion. That’s more than double its valuation of approximately $4 billion when it last raised $13 million in 2019.

Artificial Intelligence: Self-Driving Bus Does Five Mile Route Daily In Málaga, Spain

February 26, 2021

Irizar Group, an international business group headquartered in Spain, has built a bus capable of running autonomously for Avanza, the first private operator of urban, public road transportation in Spain. The electric bus started operations in the Spanish city of Málaga from Saturday.

Liquid Alternatives: “Create Interesting Revenue Streams Without Locking Up Money For Ten Years”

February 25, 2021

Though many liquid alternative strategies have disappointed in recent times, investors can nevertheless create “interesting revenue streams” by combining various strategies. This they can achieve without locking their money up for up to 10 years, says Patrick Ghali, co-founder at hedge fund advisory Sussex Partners.

Venture Capital: Klarna’s Funding Binge On Course For A $1B Raise

February 24, 2021

Bloomberg reports that Klarna Bank AB, the Swedish fintech startup that was valued at $10.65 billion in September, may raise another $1 billion. But this time its valuation could be as much as $31 billion – nearly thrice its valuation from just six months ago.

Alternative Investments/Digital: Tesla’s Bitcoin Foray Earned It $1B

February 22, 2021

According to Daniel Ives, an analyst at Wedbush Securities, Tesla (NASDAQ: TSLA) may end up making more money from its investment in bitcoin than from the sale of its EVs cars in all of 2020. The company is already sitting on unrealized profits of approximately $1 billion from its $1.5 billion investment in bitcoin.

FinTech: Brex, The Fintech For Startups, Applies For Banking License

February 22, 2021

Fintech Brex, which is backed by Kleiner Perkins Growth, YC Continuity Fund, Greenoaks Capital, Ribbit Capital, IVP, DST Global, as well as investors like Peter Thiel and Max Levchin, has filed for a bank charter.

FinTech: Stripe’s $115B Valuation Is “Nuts” But “Not Utterly Insane”

February 19, 2021

Stripe, the payments processing company that Irish brothers Patrick and John Collison founded in 2010, has tripled its valuation in the space of the last 10 months. A Forbes report said transactions in the secondary market of the private fintech giant’s shares now value it at $115 billion, more than 3X the $36 billion valuation it garnered in an April 2020 funding raise.

Venture Capital: Marquee Investors Put $300M Into Adjuvant Capital For Overlooked Diseases

February 18, 2021

Adjuvant Capital, which finances cures for “high-burden and neglected diseases,” announced today its raise of an oversubscribed $300 million fund from big names in pharma and philanthropy. Diseases such as malaria, shigella, hookworm, tuberculosis, and Lassa fever affect millions of people in the poorer countries.

Venture Capital: SpaceX Rakes In $850M New Capital At $74B Valuation

February 17, 2021

According to a CNBC exclusive, Elon Musk’s SpaceX raised $850 million last week, selling shares at $419.99 a share, and garnering a valuation of $74 billion. So eager were investors for a piece of the funding pie that offers worth $6 billion poured in over just three days. Company insiders and existing investors, therefore, sold another $750 million of shares into the demand.

Digital Assets: Bitcoin Hits +$50K; MicroStrategy Readies $600M Investment

February 16, 2021

MicroStrategy (NASDAQ: MSTR), the listed business information company that has already accumulated 71,079 bitcoin since August 2020, is planning another binge buy of the leading cryptocurrency. This morning CEO Michael Saylor tweeted his intentions of buying bitcoin worth $600 million by issuing convertible notes to fund the investment.

Alternative Investments/Digital: America’s Neighbour To The North Clears The Purpose Bitcoin ETF

February 12, 2021

The Ontario Securities Commission has cleared for launching the Purpose Bitcoin ETF. Purpose will be the first in the world to invest directly in physically settled Bitcoin. It will therefore be similar to gold or silver ETFs which are backed by precious metals. Purpose, however, will be backed by physically settled holdings in bitcoin.

Venture Capital: Joby Aviation May List Via Merger With Blank Check Company Reinvent

February 12, 2021

Reinvent Technology Partners (NYSE: RTP), the blank check company (or, SPAC) helmed by LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman and tech entrepreneur Mark Pincus may acquire Joby Aviation, a company developing the next-generation, electric-powered vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) flying air taxis.

Alternative Investments/ESG: Colin Kaepernick Forms SPAC Eyeing $1B ESG Consumer Company

February 11, 2021

An SEC filing on Tuesday revealed that Mission Advancement Corp., an ESG-focused SPAC founded by Colin Kaepernick and Jahm Najafi, will raise $250 million via an IPO. The company will offer 25 million units at $10. Each unit will consist of one share of common stock and one-third of a warrant, exercisable at $11.50.
The SPAC, or “blank check company,” intends to acquire a so-far unidentified target, approximately sized $1 billion, and having a positive ESG impact.

Venture Capital: Thrasio Nabs Another $750M To Acquire Amazon Merchants

February 11, 2021

Thrasio, which claims to be “the fastest profitable U.S. company to ever reach a $1 billion valuation,” announced Tuesday its equity fundraise of another $750 million received almost entirely from existing investors including Oaktree and Advent. The company said the money will further boost its acquisitions of FBA (“Fulfilled By Amazon”) sellers on the Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) marketplace.

Venture Capital: Brand New VC Firm Panoramic Ventures To Focus On Diversity And Under-Funded Regions

February 10, 2021

Panoramic Ventures is a new Atlanta-based VC firm. It is a partnership between Paul Judge, a black serial entrepreneur and investor, and BIP Capital. The latter has more than $550 million in assets under management. While announcing its formation, Panoramic also flagged off a new $300 million fund targeted at founders from under-capitalized communities and startups located in the south-west and mid-west regions of America.

FinTech: RBC Analyst Says Apple Pay Should Offer Cryptos

February 9, 2021

RBC Capital Markets analyst Mitch Steves recommends that Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) should throw its hat into the digital assets ring and build trading of cryptos into its Apple Wallet. The analyst said Apple could generate substantial revenues given the experience with cryptos at PayPal (NASDAQ: PYPL) and Square Inc (NYSE: SQ).

Digital Assets: Tesla Converts $1.5B Of Surplus Cash To Bitcoin

February 8, 2021

Bitcoin reacted highly bullishly to Monday’s SEC filing by Elon Musk’s Tesla (NASDAQ: TSLA) which showed the EV-maker had invested $1.5 billion in the leading cryptocurrency.

Artificial Intelligence: USC Develops AI To Tackle New Virus Variants “In Seconds”

February 8, 2021

Researchers at the University of Southern California (USC) have developed a method to accelerate vaccine development to counter potential new mutations of the coronavirus. Using AI, the researchers can vaccine analysis and identify the best medical therapy for treatment.

Digital Assets: Star-Studded Lineup Supports New $72M VC Fund Eyeing Crypto

February 5, 2021

A star-studded lineup supports a new $72M VC Fund eyeing crypto. Private equity stalwart Glenn Hutchins along with son James Hutchins and partner Travis Scher launched the new fund and attracted hedge fund billionaire Paul Tudor Jones, Raj and Indra Nooyi (the latter being the former CEO of PepsiCo), and James Todd Smith, a.k.a LL Cool J as investors.

FinTech: Digital Payments Fired Up By The Pandemic Propel PayPal To Its Strongest Year Ever

February 4, 2021

PayPal (NASDAQ: PYPL) had a superlative fourth quarter fueled by the ongoing shift to digital payments following the pandemic. Its total payment volume (TPV), or the value of transactions made across the platform, rose to $277 billion, up 39% from $199.4 billion in the year-earlier period. PayPal beat analysts’ estimates of TPV of $268 billion. Active accounts surged to 377 million after the platform added 16 million in the fourth quarter.

FinTech: Ant Group Agrees With Regulators To Become A Financial Holding Company

February 3, 2021

The Ant Group, which had to shelve its $35 billion IPO in November following a scrap with China’s regulators, has agreed with them to restructure its operations. According to Bloomberg, Ant will now house all its operations, including the tech-heavy food delivery and blockchain, in a financial holding company. This company will be subject to capital requirements akin to banks.