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Alternative Investments/ESG: VegTech Invest Launches Plant-Based Innovation & Climate ETF

January 4, 2022

VegTech Invest advisory has launched the VegTech Plant-based Innovation & Climate ETF (Ticker: EATV), its first financial product. The ETF offers exposure to publicly traded companies actively innovating with plants and plant-derived ingredients and producing primary products that are animal-free. These companies also have a beneficial impact on the environment and solve certain pressing global problems.

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Alternative Investments/Digital: Russia’s Sberbank Launches Blockchain ETF

December 31, 2021

Sberbank, a leading Russian bank has launched an ETF titled “Sber-Blockchain Economy,” that offers exposure to the top crypto companies across the globe including Coinbase (NASDAQ: COIN) and Galaxy Digital (TSE: GLXY). The ETF tracks the Sber Blockchain Economy Index developed by inhouse company SberCIB, and is the first product of its kind in Russia.

Digital Assets: DGC And Jamestown Partner To Recreate One Times Square And New Year’s Eve In The Metaverse

December 30, 2021

Digital Currency Group and Jamestown have partnered to recreate One Times Square virtually in the Decentraland metaverse. The iconic location, known the world over for its New Year’s Eve celebrations and ball drop, will launch in Decentraland on New Year’s Eve with the MetaFest 2022 global party featuring music and entertainment acts, rooftop VIP lounges, cryptoart galleries, and immersive games.

Artificial Intelligence: Japanese Corporates Play Cupid With An AI Dating App For WFH Employees

December 30, 2021

Faced with declining birth rates, and employees working from home with no time for searching out love, Japanese companies have hit on a new method to get romance back into their lives. About 800 Japanese organizations have signed up for Aill goen, an AI-powered app that promises to play matchmaker. Result: Happier, more productive employees.

Venture Capital: Swedish Battery Maker Northvolt Rolls Out Its Inaugural Li-Ion Cell

December 29, 2021

On December 28, the first lithium-ion cell to have been fully designed, developed and assembled at a gigafactory by a homegrown European battery company marked Northvolt Ett’s commencement of production at its Skellefteå facility in northern Sweden. The company is a rival to Tesla’s (NASDAQ: TSLA) battery division.

Digital Assets: Bahrain, Canada Approve Binance As Crypto Asset Service Provider

December 28, 2021

Binance has secured regulatory nods for providing crypto services in the Canada and the Kingdom of Bahrain. The approvals, an in-principle one from Bahrain’s central bank and the other from Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada, have been granted to Binance affiliates.

Alternative Investments/Digital: New Year Message From Mexican Billionaire Salinas – “Buy Bitcoin”

December 27, 2021

Ricardo Salinas Pliego: Billionaire and Mexico’s third richest person. In a Christmas video, Mexican billionaire Salinas exhorted people to avoid fiat money and to invest in bitcoin. The long-time bitcoin aficionado ranks the crypto as one of his “best investments ever,” having first bought it at $500 in 2013 through Grayscale. Like El Salvador president…

Venture Capital: Israel’s Future Meat Raises $347M To Build US Facility

December 23, 2021

In what is claimed to be the largest investment round for a cultured meat startup till date, Israel-based Future Meat announced the close of its $347 million Series B round co-led by ADM Ventures, the venture investing arm of ADM (NYSE: ADM), the Menora Mivtachim pension and insurance fund which manages over $85 billion in assets, and S2G Ventures.

Artificial Intelligence: MIT Researcher Develops Mirai – An AI To Accurately Predict Breast Cancer

December 22, 2021

Regina Barzilay, an AI expert at MIT and a breast cancer patient, decided to bring her skills in an AI specialty known as natural language processing to the prediction of cancer. Along with a student protege and a Mass General doctor, she built Mirai – an AI that can predict with unprecedented accuracy the chances of a healthy person developing breast cancer.

Digital Assets: Dubai World Trade Centre To Be Key Zone And Regulator For Crypto; Binance Signs Cooperation Agreement

December 21, 2021

The Government of Dubai on Monday designated the Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC) as a comprehensive zone and regulator for virtual assets and crypto including digital assets, products, operators and exchanges. Seen as one of the most crypto-friendly administrations the world over, the Dubai government is looking to create new economic sectors, and sees digital assets as “progressive.”

Venture Capital: Indian Used Car Platform CARS24 Nabs $450M

December 20, 2021

Within a space of just three months, Indian used cars platform and market leader CARS24 has nearly doubled its valuation from $1.84 billion to $3.3 billion with its latest Series G funding round comprising $300 million of equity and $100 million of debt. The equity round was led by Alpha Wave Global. The $100M debt came from diversified financial institutions in the UAE, India, and Australia.

FinTech: “Instalments By Barclays” Available To Amazon UK Customers Effective Today

December 17, 2021

British bank Barclays (LON: BARC) announced today a tie-up with Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) offering a pay-later option to the e-commerce giant’s customers in the UK. The new flexible payment method, dubbed “Instalments by Barclays,” is available to finance purchases of £100 or more on amazon.co.uk through a reusable credit account from Barclays.

Venture Capital: European Vertical Farming Startup Infarm Raises $200M, Including From The Qatar Wealth Fund

December 16, 2021

Infarm’s vertical farming technology uses 95% less water, 90% less transport and zero chemical pesticide. Infarm, the fast-growing Dutch vertical farming startup, raised a $200 million Series D round that launched it into ‘unicorn’ status. The Qatar Investment Authority, Partners in Equity, Hanaco, Atomico, Lightrock, and Bonnier and other existing and new investors participated in…

Digital Assets: Bitcoin Jumps As Fed Accelerates ‘Taper,’ Mulls Three Rate Hikes In 2022

December 15, 2021

At the conclusion of its two-day confabulations, the Fed said it will step up the rate of reduction (‘taper’) in its bond purchases. Further, projections showed that the central bank could hike interest rates as many as three times in 2022, twice in the year following, and again twice in 2024. However, at the latest meeting, the Fed kept rates on hold. The FOMC’s decisions were approved by members unanimously.

Venture Capital: Norwest Venture Closes On $3B Fund NVP XVI

December 15, 2021

Norwest Venture Partners, the Silicon Valley-based VC firm, closed on Norwest Venture Partners XVI, LP, a $3 billion fund to finance “paradigm-shifting” business across the consumer, enterprise and healthcare sectors. The announcement of the new fund, its biggest so far, coincided with the firm’s introduction of an ESG policy in parallel with its commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion.

Artificial Intelligence: “AI Will Never Be Ethical,” Says An AI Tool In A Debate

December 14, 2021

The topic of the debate: ‘This house believes that AI will never be ethical.’ An AI tool debating on the above topic has issued a blunt warning that AI will never be ethical. And it should know: It was trained on 63 million news articles, Wikipedia and Reddit Discourse. The AI tool, which has the…

Artificial Intelligence: AI Surveillance Firm SenseTime Forced To Put Off IPO After US Blacklisting

December 13, 2021

SenseTime, a Chinese AI startup, put its $767 million Hong Kong IPO in abeyance after being placed on a US investment blacklist for allegedly using its facial recognition technology to identify repressed ethnic minorities such as the Uighurs.

Artificial Intelligence: Chinese AI Company And IPO-Hopeful SenseTime To Land Up On US Blacklist

December 10, 2021

In protest against human rights abuses against Muslim Uyghurs in Xinjiang, the US is likely to place SenseTime, the Chinese AI company, on an investment blacklist, the Financial Times reported Thursday. Washington will take the action against SenseTime on Friday, on the occasion of Human Rights Day, and alongside similar steps against a host of other countries, sources familiar with the matter told the FT.

Venture Capital: Israeli Fintech Tipalti (“I Handled It”) Nabs $270M At $8.3B Valuation

December 9, 2021

Tipalti, an Israeli startup that automates accounts payables and processes over $30 billion in total annual payments volume, announced a $270 million Series F funding led by G Squared. New investors Marshall Wace and funds and accounts managed by Counterpoint Global (Morgan Stanley), in addition to current investors Zeev Ventures, Durable Capital Partners, 01 Advisors and others also participated in the funding.

Artificial Intelligence: A $500M Gift From Priscilla Chan And Mark Zuckerberg Funds New Harvard Institute

December 8, 2021

A gift of $500 million from Priscilla Chan and Mark Zuckerberg, announced Tuesday by the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI), will fund the Kempner Institute for the Study of Natural and Artificial Intelligence, launched by Harvard University the same day. It represents a new University-wide initiative standing at the intersection of neuroscience and artificial intelligence, seeking fundamental principles that underlie both human and machine intelligence.

Artificial Intelligence: Controversial AI Company Clearview To Nab Patent For “A Search Engine For Faces”

December 7, 2021

Clearview AI, the company that has been under fire from governments, tech giants and privacy advocacy organizations for scraping facial images from social media, is on the cusp of bagging a patent for a “search engine for faces” that can roam the internet to find matches.

Venture Capital: Investing Platform Public.com Now Has Tennis Star Maria Sharapova On Board

December 6, 2021

Former tennis star Maria Sharapova has picked up an undisclosed stake in Public.com, an investing platform that has more than 1 million users, 90% of which are first time investors. In a nod towards promoting financial literacy, Sharapova said she appreciated how Public broke down the category into simple, educational, user-friendly steps to make investing less intimidating, and helped users take control of their finances more confidently.

Venture Capital: Porsche Buys A Stake In Sustainable Homes-Focused Startup 1KOMMA5°

December 3, 2021

Porsche, the German car maker, has taken a stake in Hamburg-based startup 1KOMMA5° through its venture finance arm, Porsche Ventures. The startup seeks to boost the rollout of presently decentralized technologies related to renewable energy and mobility for homes by knitting together electrical installation entrepreneurs and companies onto a networking platform. 1KOMMA5° will also support them with technology for digitizing their business and centralization of admin tasks, as well as provide growth capital.

Venture Capital: Commonwealth Fusion Systems Raises $1.8B To Build The SPARC Net Energy Fusion Machine

December 2, 2021

Commonwealth Fusion Systems (CFS), the Cambridge-based startup developing fusion power plants to meet global decarbonization goals, has closed a $1.8 billion Series B round led by Tiger Global Management and included new investors such as Bill Gates, John Doerr, Google, and Marc Benioff’s TIME Ventures.

Artificial Intelligence: Insilico Medicine Initiates First-In-Human Trial Of AI-Discovered Drug For Pulmonary Fibrosis

December 1, 2021

Insilico Medicine, an end-to-end artificial intelligence (AI)-driven drug discovery company, has dosed a volunteer in Australia with ISM001-055, a potentially first-in-class small molecule inhibitor of a novel biological target discovered by its Pharma.AI platform for the treatment of Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis (IPF). It represents the first trial in humans of this drug candidate.