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Digital Assets: MicroStrategy’s Saylor, El Salvador’s Bukele Both Buy The Bitcoin Dip

November 30, 2021

Path-breaking corporate bitcoin investor MicroStrategy (NASDAQ: MSTR) said in a filing Monday that it purchased approximately 7,002 bitcoins for about $414.4 million in cash, or $59,187 per coin, between October 1 and November 29 – a classic ‘buy-the-dip’ operation as financial markets reel from the implications of a new, highly mutated virus.

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Venture Capital: Massive $500M+ Rounds From Snyk And Varo Bank

September 10, 2021

Lately chartered U.S. neobank Varo Bank announced Thursday its raise of a $510 million Series E at a valuation of $2.5 billion. Today, Israeli cloud security startup Snyk said it collected $530 million comprising $300 million in new money and $230 million in secondary funding. Snyk’s valuation was a solid $8.5 billion – up sharply from $4.7 billion in March when it raised $300 million.

Venture Capital: Bill Gates And Bezos-Backed MIT Startup Edges Closer To Energy’s Holy Grail

September 9, 2021

CFS and MIT’s PSFC announced Wednesday their successful test of a powerful magnet constructed from high temperature superconductors (HTS); the magnet can later be used in a “tokamak,” a fusion machine that could be scientists’ Holy Grail because it produces more energy than it consumes.

Digital Assets: Bitcoin Makes Bumpy Debut As Legal Tender In El Salvador

September 8, 2021

Bitcoin’s baptism as a country’s adopted currency was marred by glitches. September 7 marked El Salvador’s date with destiny when the country’s citizens got to legally and freely use bitcoin as a currency alongside the US dollar. The rollout, a pet project of President Nayib Bukele, was marred, however, by technical problems and a citizens’…

Venture Capital: OLIO, Which Enables Food To Be Shared, Raises $43M

September 7, 2021

OLIO, the food sharing app which encourages community sustainability, announced its Series B raise of $43 million led by Swedish investment firm VNV Global and New York-based hedge fund Lugard Road Capital. Existing investors Accel, Octopus Ventures, Rubio, tech entrepreneur Jason Stockwood, and politician and media businessman Lord Waheed Alli also participated.

Artificial Intelligence: BETSY, An AI Platform, Monitors Livestock Herds

September 3, 2021

Ranchers have long struggled with the problem of monitoring their herds of livestock across vast expanses of the ranch. Problems such as ill-health, calving, injuries and more could happen anytime and anywhere. Without lots of manpower, avoidable losses of precious bovines are inevitable. An AI platform dubbed BETSY, created by OneCup AI, is an effective solution.

Venture Capital: Proptech Platform HomeLight Scores $100M Round

September 2, 2021

HomeLight, a real estate technology platform that makes it easy to buy or sell a home by partnering with the right agent, raised a $100 million Series D capital round and $263 million in debt financing. The equity round valued the proptech at $1.6 billion, was led by existing investor Zeev Ventures and included participation from Group 11, Stereo Capital, Menlo Ventures and Lydia Jett of the SoftBank Vision Fund.

Venture Capital: Data Analytics Provider Databricks Snaps Up $1.6B Funding

September 1, 2021

Data and AI company Databricks announced Tuesday (August 31, 2021) its Series H raise of $1.6 billion in a round led by led by new investor Counterpoint Global (Morgan Stanley). Databricks previously raised $1 billion in February at a valuation of $28 billion.

FinTech: PayPal Looking To Offer Stock Trading

August 31, 2021

A CNBC report revealed Monday that fintech giant PayPal (NASDAQ: PYPL) is considering offering stock trading to individual investors amid a retail trading boom that has drawn millions of new investors into stock markets.

FinTech: Amazon Customers To Get Affirm’s BNPL Solution At Checkout; Affirm Shares Spike 43%

August 30, 2021

Affirm (NASDAQ: AFRM) announced it is partnering with Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) on a buy-now-pay-later (BNPL) solution, also known as a flexible payment facility, to be made available by Affirm to Amazon.com customers. BNPL has become highly popular across the globe, particularly after the pandemic, as customers sought payment solutions that were less expensive than credit cards.

Alternative Investments/Digital: Bloomberg Analysts Believe A Bitcoin Futures ETF Could Arrive October

August 25, 2021

Bloomberg analysts James Seyffart and Eric Balchunas have homed in on the sudden withdrawal of applications for futures-based Ethereum ETFs by VanEck and ProShares last week. Reading the tea leaves, the analysts say the withdrawals augur well for the SEC’s approval of a futures-based bitcoin ETF.

Digital Assets: Perma-Bull Michael Saylor-Led MicroStrategy Adds $177M To Bitcoin Bet

August 24, 2021

MicroStrategy (NASDAQ: MSTR), the business data company that pioneered parking corporate treasury reserves in bitcoin, has added another tranche of the cryptocurrency to its already massive hoard, according to a filing today (August 24, 2021).

FinTech: Fractional Trading Provider DriveWealth Snags $450M At $2.85B Valuation

August 24, 2021

DriveWealth last week raised $450 million in a Series D round co-led by New York-based global private equity and venture capital investors Insight Partners and Accel, with significant participation by Greyhound Capital, Softbank Vision Fund, and Series C lead Point72 Ventures. New investors including Base 10, FTX, and FlightDeck also participated. The round valued the fintech at a sizable $2.85 billion.

FinTech: Opay Nabs $400M; Turns Africa’s Fastest Unicorn

August 23, 2021

Opay, a mobile payments platform and POS device maker based in Africa, raised $400 million in a round led by Softbank Vision Fund 2 with participation by Sequoia Capital China and Redpoint China. Opay became a unicorn after the funding, the fastest startup in Africa to do so, after snagging a valuation of $2 billion.

Artificial Intelligence: At Its First AI Day, Tesla Unveils A Humanoid Robot

August 20, 2021

At Tesla’s (NASDAQ: TSLA) first AI Day held on Thursday, showman Elon Musk gave the world a glimpse of the Tesla Bot, a humanoid bot that could ultimately perform those tasks that human least like to do. You’re forgiven to imagine that an actual humanoid came on stage – no, it was just an actor in a body suit resembling the robot.

Artificial Intelligence: Chinese Internet Giant Baidu Launches Robocar and AI Chip

August 19, 2021

Baidu Inc (NASDAQ: BIDU), the Chinese tech company known for its internet search service and AI focus, presented a concept two-seater “Robocar” at its annual Baidu World 2021 conference on Wednesday. The futuristic, AI-packed car does not have a steering wheel, nor gas or brake pedals, but is big enough for a passenger to stretch out for a nap.

Venture Capital: Apeel Sciences Raises $250M For Its Longer Lasting Produce

August 18, 2021

Apeel Sciences, which applies an edible, plant-based coating to fresh produce to extend its life, announced today its Series E raise of $250 million led by returning investor Temasek. “Since 2019, Apeel has prevented 42 million pieces of fruit from going to waste at retail, which has helped avoid 10,000 metric tons carbon dioxide equivalent of greenhouse gas emissions and conserve nearly 4.7 billion liters of water,” the company claimed in a statement.

Liquid Alternatives: CI Global Launches Liquid Alt ETF And Mutual Fund

August 18, 2021

CI Global Asset Management announced on Monday the launch of six ETFs, one of which is an alternative fund that is also offered as a mutual fund. The CI Alternative Diversified Opportunities Fund is a liquid alternatives mutual fund sub-advised by Marret Asset Management Inc., a fund management team with deep experience in alternative fixed-income strategies.

Digital Assets: Crypto Broker Bitpanda Triples Valuation To $4.1B In Five Months

August 17, 2021

Austrian cryptocurrency broker Bitpanda announced today (August 17, 2021) its raise of $263 million in a Series C round led by Valar Ventures, with the participation of Alan Howard and REDO Ventures, as well as existing investors LeadBlock Partners and Jump Capital. Valar Ventures is the venture capital firm co-founded by U.S. tech billionaire Peter Thiel. The round valued Bitpanda at $4.1 billion, up from $1.2 billion in March, when the startup raised $170 million.

Venture Capital: Craft Ventures Raises $1.12 Billion Across Two Funds

August 16, 2021

Craft Ventures, an early-stage VC firm of “founders backing founders,” closed earlier this month two funds for a combined $1.12 billion fundraising – Craft Ventures III ($612 million) and Craft Ventures Growth I ($510 million). The new growth fund will round off the firm’s investment strategies, covering startups in both early and growth stages.

Venture Capital: Venture Capitalist Chris Sacca Raises $800M For Climate Funds

August 13, 2021

Chris Sacca’s Lowercarbon Capital announced Thursday (August 12, 2021) that it raised $800 million “in fiat, to keep unf**king the planet.” “There has never been a better time to start a company focused on emissions reduction or actively removing carbon already in the atmosphere,” Sacca wrote in Cash Cools Everything Around Me, a blog announcing the raise. “The total addressable markets are literally the biggest in history and we have no doubt that multitrillion-dollar market caps are just up ahead.”

Artificial Intelligence: AI-Powered Home Surveillance Imposed On Call Center Employees Working For US Corporations

August 12, 2021

An NBC News investigation has revealed that Colombia-based call center employees of Teleperformance (EPA: TEP), which has companies such as Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL), Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN), and Uber (NYSE: UBER) on its client roster, are being asked to sign contracts allowing for the installation of AI-powered cameras at home. NBC News reviewed such a contract, first issued by Teleperformance in March.

Digital Assets: “Dear Hacker, Please Give Us Back The $600M You Stole.”

August 11, 2021

In what could be the biggest crypto heist ever, a criminal hacked $600 million worth of tokens from Poly Network. But there’s a twist in the tale. Though the hacker exploited a vulnerability in blockchain network Poly Network and made off with that huge amount, it seems they had a change of heart and have started returning the stolen assets.

FinTech: Millennials Driving Demand For Shariah (Islamic) Banking – Mambu

August 10, 2021

A survey by SaaS cloud banking platform Mambu found that over half (53%) of young Muslims said they would choose Islamic banking – if barriers to entry were removed, and it became more accessible.

Digital Assets: Melanion Capital Launches First Bitcoin UCITS ETF In The EU

August 9, 2021

Melanion Capital, a Paris-based asset manager specializing in derivatives and computer-driven strategies, has been greenlighted by French regulators to launch a bitcoin UCITS ETF. This is a major landmark for the adoption of cryptocurrencies because the EU would be a potentially large market and one that has lacked an investment vehicle with the coveted UCITS tag – which signifies higher regulatory protection.