News

Autonomous drone maker Skydio raised $ 170 million from Andreessen Horowitz et al

Skydio has raised $170 million in a Series D funding round led by Andreessen Horowitz’s Growth Fund. That pushes it into unicorn territory, with $340 million in total funding and a post-money valuation north of $1 billion. Skydio’s fresh capital comes on the heels of its expansion last year into the enterprise market, and it intends to use the considerable pile of cash to help it expand globally and accelerate product development.

In July of last year, Skydio announced its $100 million Series C financing, and also debuted the X2, its first dedicated enterprise drone. The company also launched a suite of software for commercial and enterprise customers, its first departure from the consumer drone market where it had been focused prior to that raise since its founding in 2014.

Skydio’s debut drone, the R1, received a lot of accolades and praise for its autonomous capabilities. Unlike other consumer drones at the ...

March 1, 2021


Mexico's government readies roughly $5 bln lifeline for Pemex - source

The Mexican government will inject up to $1.6 billion into state oil company Petroleos Mexicanos (Pemex) this year and offer a tax break of 75 billion Mexican pesos ($3.68 billion), a senior official with direct knowledge of the matter told Reuters on Thursday.

The world’s most indebted oil company, Pemex had more than $110 billion in financial debt at the end of the third quarter last year while its liabilities far exceeded its assets. (Reporting by Ana Isabel Martinez; Writing by Stefanie Eschenbacher; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)

/Source: Reuters/

Feb. 24, 2021


South Korea unveils $43 billion plan for world's largest offshore wind farm

South Korea unveiled a 48.5 trillion won ($43.2 billion) plan to build the world’s largest wind power plant by 2030 as part of efforts to foster an environmentally-friendly recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The project is a major component of President Moon Jae-in’s Green New Deal, initiated last year to curb reliance on fossil fuels in Asia’s fourth-largest economy and make it carbon neutral by 2050. 

Moon attended a signing ceremony in the southwestern coastal town of Sinan for the plant, which will have a maximum capacity of 8.2 gigawatts.

“With this project, we are accelerating the eco-friendly energy transition and moving more vigorously toward carbon neutrality,” Moon said at the event.

Utility and engineering companies also attended, including Korea Electric Power Corp, SK E&S, Hanwha Engineering & Construction Corp, Doosan Heavy Industries & Construction Co., CS Wind Corp and Samkang M&T Co.

The companies will provide 47.6 trillion of the required funding and the ...

Feb. 19, 2021


Record-high insurtech funding hits $7.1 billion in 2020

Global investment in the insurtech sector reached an annual high of US$7.1 billion (approx. CA$9 billion) for 2020 despite the challenges faced by the re/insurance industry throughout the year.

According to the latest Quarterly InsurTech Briefing by Willis Towers Watson, there was a total of 377 insurtech investment deals in 2020, the most in any year to date. Versus 2019, total funding increased by 12% and deal volume was up 20%.

Insurtechs brought in US$2.1 billion across 103 deals in the fourth quarter, with 67% of the funds attracted by property/casualty-focused firms, according to the report. Life & health insurtechs had a decrease of 1.6 percentage points for the quarter.

Willis Towers Watson took note of several fourth-quarter fundraisings exceeding US$100 million by later-stage companies such as Hippo, Unqork, Waterdrop, Oscar Health, Bind Benefits, and Newfront Insurance, who amassed US$1.1 billion collectively. 

Meanwhile, early-stage deals declined to 47% of the total from 57% in ...

Feb. 15, 2021


Denmark wants to build a renewable energy island in the North Sea

Denmark is to push forward with plans to build a huge artificial island in the North Sea that will act as a major renewable energy hub and cost billions of dollars to develop.

The Danish Energy Agency, part of the government’s Ministry of Climate, Energy and Utilities, said the project would be owned by a public-private partnership, with the Danish state holding a majority stake.

The scale of the project, which will be located in waters 80 kilometers off the coast of Jutland, the large peninsula which contains the Danish mainland, is considerable.

The first phase — set to have a capacity of 3 gigawatts (GW) — will involve approximately 200 offshore wind turbines sending electricity to the hub, which will distribute it to nearby countries via the grid.

In future, the capacity of the hub could be expanded to 10 GW. This, Danish authorities say, would be enough to power 10 million homes ...

Feb. 10, 2021


Norway Wealth Fund Dumps Oil Stocks Amid $10 Billion Loss

Norway’s sovereign wealth fund has sold its entire portfolio of companies focused on oil exploration and production, marking a major step away from fossil fuels for the investing giant.

The portfolio, worth about $6 billion in 2019, was fully exited by the end of last year, Trond Grande, the fund’s deputy chief executive, said by phone on Thursday. The move completes a years-long process to reduce the giant investor’s exposure to a sector that has defined Norway’s economy for the better part of half a century.

Grande spoke after the fund revealed a roughly $10 billion loss on oil and gas holdings in 2020 that had been valued at over $40 billion at the start of the year. The fund still holds integrated oil companies, with Royal Dutch Shell Plc its seventh largest equity investment when it last disclosed its holdings at the start of last year.

The fund declined to comment on ...

Feb. 5, 2021


Allstate sells life insurance division to Blackstone in $2.8 billion deal

Blackstone Group Inc. agreed to buy a life business from Allstate Corp. for $2.8 billion as the private equity firm expands its foothold in the insurance industry.

Allstate will retain a New York life business and is seeking a way to sell or transfer risk from that unit to a third party.

Allstate has been looking to pivot away from life insurance and annuities as the Northbrook, Illinois-based firm focuses more on property-casualty products such as identity protection and personal coverage. The deal will help Blackstone expand further into life insurance and annuities after its work with FGL Holdings, which was bought by Fidelity National Financial Inc. last year.

The move helps Allstate deploy capital out of lower-growth businesses amid its plan to boost market share in personal property-liability, Chief Executive Officer Tom Wilson said in the statement.

Private equity firms such as Blackstone and Apollo Global Management Inc. have been drawn to annuity ...

Feb. 1, 2021


Samsung plans to invest $ 17 billion in a new chip factory in the US

South Korean Samsung Electronics Co. could invest up to $ 17 billion to build a chip factory in Arizona, Texas or New York, reported The Wall Street Journal citing documents and knowledgeable sources.

The company is considering two sites in and near Phoenix, two more in Austin and a large industrial complex in Genesee County, New York, one source told the newspaper.

An important factor in Samsung's decision to expand production is the US government's incentives to surpass conditions offered by other countries and lower costs in other regions.

The US is assessing the possibility of spending billions of dollars to boost chip production in the country to reduce dependence on supplies from Taiwan, China and South Korea. The new incentive measures were included in the defense budget passed in January, but they have yet to receive funding.

Previously it was reported that due to the trade restrictions of the previous administration of the ...

Jan. 27, 2021


BlueNalu Secures $60M for Production of Cell-Based Seafood

San Diego-based BlueNalu, a startup building technology to make cell-based seafood, announced today that it has raised $60 million in convertible note financing from new and existing investors. Rage Capital led this round of financing, with other participants including Agronomics, Lewis & Clark AgriFood, McWin, KBW Ventures, and Siddhi Capital.

This most recent round of financing will enable BlueNalu to open its planned 40,000 square foot pilot production facility and begin producing its cultured seafood there. Additionally, the company will complete an FDA regulatory review for its initial cultured fish products. BlueNalu will be trialing these initial products in foodservice establishments across the US sometime this year.

BlueNalu creates a variety of different seafood species by extracting cells from fish and crustaceans and growing these cell samples in large bioreactors. The company said it will start by launching cell-based mahi-mahi later this year, and then cell-based bluefin tuna after.

Due to global concerns ...

Jan. 22, 2021


EIB announces EUR 300m investment in space

The European Investment Fund and the EU Commission announced investment of some EUR 300 million into the European space sector Wednesday, supporting ground-breaking innovation in the industry.

The EIF/EC announcement at the European Space Conference was of investment into two space tech focused funds - Orbital Ventures and Primo Space, under the first ever EU-backed equity pilot - the InnovFin Space Equity Pilot. An additional investment expected to be signed by end of Q1 will mark the full deployment of the €100m InnovFin Space Equity Pilot. These agreements are supported by the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI), the central pillar of the Investment Plan for Europe.

Orbital Ventures, a Luxembourg based early stage fund, focuses on space technologies including downstream (communications, cryptography, data storage and processing, geolocation, earth observation) and upstream (space hardware, materials, electronics, robotics, rockets, satellites) areas. Primo Space, an Italian early-stage tech transfer investor, was the first fund ...

Jan. 18, 2021