The briefing on technology
The latest news, trends and data on technology
Technology news in numbers
The number of people worldwide who have been infected with Covid-19 as of March 11, 2022, according to the WHO.
The total value shaved off from the global cryptocurrency market between November and February.
The number of Elon Musk’s Starlink satellites orbiting the Earth and that are operational at any given time.
The total amount raised by the cybersecurity sector in 2021, according to GlobalData.
The number of fintech deals closed around the world in 2021, according to GlobalData. They were worth a combined $88bn.
The total net revenue of Mastercard and Visa that came from Russia before they pulled out of the country.
You heard it here first: Shares bags $40m in Series A round
Shares, the social trading app, has secured $40m in a Series A funding round, confirming our scoop from February. The round brings the total venture capital injected into the fintech startup to $50m. The company stayed mum about what the cash injection means for its valuation, but sources with intimate understanding of the deal that spoke to Verdict put it somewhere around €180m ($200m) ahead of the announcement.
Valar Ventures led the round. The venture capital firm is run by PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel who recently announced that he’s leaving Meta’s board. He was an early investor in Facebook, but has since become a controversial figure following his support of ousted US president Donald Trump. Other investors backing Shares’ Series A round included Singular, Global Founders Capital and Red Sea Ventures.
The Series A round will enable Shares to expand its app from the UK, where it has only been accessible the 60,000 people on its waitlist, to Europe. The startup has offices in London, Paris and Krakow.
Image credit: Shares
From the news
FinCEN warns cryptocurrencies could circumvent sanctions: Experts say it’s unlikely
The US Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) has warned that cryptocurrencies could be used by Russian oligarchs to sidestep punitive sanctions imposed by the US and its allies over the war in Ukraine. However, market stakeholders believe bitcoin is hardly the best way to dodge sanctions.
FinCEN has issued a warning to all financial institutions to be on the lookout for signs that sanctioned Russian individuals and entities are attempting to transfer their assets out of Russia. With financial institutions, the financial markets watchdog refers to depository institutions, insurers, money services businesses, mortgage brokers, the precious metals and jewelry industry, casinos, and securities and futures operators.
Ukraine crisis: US and allies agree to cut off Russian banks from SWIFT
The US and its allies have decided to impose harsher sanctions on Russia’s financial system amid the ongoing Ukraine crisis.
The sanctions include blocking selected Russian banks from the SWIFT international payments system to harm their global operability.
Additionally, the group has decided to impose restrictive measures on the Russian Central Bank to prevent it from countering the sanctions from the West using its international reserves.
“Even beyond the measures we are announcing today, we are prepared to take further measures to hold Russia to account for its attack on Ukraine,” the leaders of the European Commission, France, Germany, Italy, the UK, Canada, and the US said in a joint statement.
Icelandic challenger bank indó emerges out of stealth mode
Icelandic challenger bank, indó has announced that it is coming out of stealth mode with $4.5m in seed funding.
Concurrently, the digital banking startup announced that it has been granted a licence from the Central Bank of Iceland to operate as a savings bank.
Founded in September 2018, indó is the first challenger bank in Iceland and intends to focus on digital innovation and transparency.
Semiconductor supply chain data: Record production but demand keeps rising
New figures have shown that global semiconductor production and sales hit record levels in 2021, but demand continues to climb fast and manufacturers dependent on the chip supply chain are predicting that shortages could continue into 2023.
The Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA), which represents almost all US-based chipmakers and a majority of non-US ones, announced the figures on Monday. Global sales hit $555.9bn in 2021, a record annual total some 26.2% up on 2020. The industry shipped 1.15 trillion semiconductor units in 2021, another annual record, as chipmakers around the world ramped up production to meet soaring demand.
Supply chain tech startups have raised $7bn since 2018
Venture capitalists have invested almost $7bn into the supply chain technology sector since 2018, according to data from analytics firm GlobalData. Of that, $2.46bn was raised by the sector in the past two years. That figure is bigger than the 24 deals worth a total of $180m raised in 2013. However, that’s still down from the peak of 2019 when 240 deals injected $2.99bn into the sector.
"The pandemic revealed multiple inefficiencies in supply chains across all major industries," Alexey Bulygin, associate business analyst at Sova VC, tells Verdict. "As a result, both VCs and corporate investors have turned their attention to tech startups aiming to solve these problems."
Will South Korea’s $200bn finally make the immersive metaverse take off?
South Korea is doubling down on its metaverse ambitions. The nation’s $200bn sovereign wealth fund is increasing its investment in Silicon Valley startups. The Korea Investment Corp will focus especially on metaverse and artificial intelligence ventures.
The news comes just days after Facebook owner Meta suffered one of its bloodiest days ever on the stock market, casting doubt on the mixed-reality metaverse future envisioned by CEO Mark Zuckerberg.
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