News

France Creates Fund to Protect Tech Startups from Takeovers

France is creating a fund to protect home-grown technology companies that may become “prey” for foreign buyers, adding the vehicle to its bailout package for startups.

The Finance Ministry has created an initial 150 million euro ($170 million) fund through state-backed lender Bpifrance Financement SA to invest in local companies if they’re approached by an unsolicited foreign investor, it said in a statement on Friday. The government may increase the fund to 500 million euros from early next year.

Read more: France to Boost Tech Bailout Package as Investors Pull Out

The new funding vehicle is part of an upgraded bailout package for the technology industry as France attempts to counteract an investor retreat. A series of financial measures were set up in late March to keep innovative companies afloat, part of a bigger 300 billion-euro package of state-guaranteed loans from the Finance Ministry, Bpifrance and the French Banking Federation.

France is also adding ...

June 5, 2020


How Covid-19 is attracting investors to US health ventures

Healthcare is already familiar territory to many. The sector has been a popular trade in the past decade, outpacing even the strong bull market for US stocks. Healthcare companies in the S&P 500 index rose 240 per cent in the decade to mid-May 2020, compared with 140 per cent for the index as a whole.

Ageing populations in the developed world, advances in medical technology and expensive blockbuster drugs targeting cancer and other diseases have all drawn investor attention, both to listed companies and risky start-ups.

In the first quarter of this year alone, healthcare start-ups raised more than $14.6bn globally — the highest levels since 2018, according to the data provider CB Insights. Total healthcare funding reached almost $54.7bn last year.

The healthcare sector has held up even as the pandemic triggered shocks in financial markets. By late May, healthcare stocks in the S&P 500 were up almost 6 per cent on ...

May 27, 2020


Nasdaq Set to Tighten Listing Rules, Impacting Chinese IPOs

Nasdaq Inc. is planning new rules that would make initial public offerings more difficult for some Chinese companies, thrusting the U.S. exchange into the middle of an increasingly contentious debate over financial linkages between the world’s largest economies.

The proposed regulations include minimum fundraising thresholds and stricter requirements for auditors, according to Nasdaq filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission seen by Bloomberg News. While the rules wouldn’t only apply to China, companies from there would be among the most affected.

Nasdaq’s proposal follows a string of accounting scandals at Chinese firms that have burned some of the biggest names on Wall Street and drawn the attention of Donald Trump. The U.S. president said last week he’s “looking at” Chinese companies that don’t follow American accounting rules, while his administration moved to stop a federal retirement savings fund from investing in the Asian nation’s stocks. Relations between the superpowers have deteriorated in ...

May 22, 2020


Radicle Growth and Syngenta Launch the The Radicle Protein Challenge by Syngenta to Invest $1.25m in Technologies to Support the Future of Protein

Radicle Growth, an acceleration fund, and Syngenta, a leading agriculture company helping to improve global food security, today announced the launch of The Radicle Protein Challenge by Syngenta. Together, Radicle and Syngenta will identify two companies with novel solutions to support the future of protein (which could include new or experimental protein sources, or protein conversion technologies) that are solving challenges spanning from plant-based ag to the regenerative side of agriculture, to invest $1.25m in.

Radicle and Syngenta are seeking entrepreneurs representing companies of all stages from around the world to apply for the $1.25 million in investment—$1 million for the Challenge winner and the $250k for the second-place winner—to accelerate the growth of their technologies. Applications are open through May 29, 2020. The winners will not only receive a significant investment and custom accelerator program from Radicle Growth but will have access to Radicle and Syngenta’s broad agriculture expertise and ...

May 13, 2020


Runa Capital closes Fund III at $157M, with an added focus on quantum computing

VC fund Runa Capital was launched with $135 million in 2010, and is perhaps best known for its investment into NGINX, which powers many web sites today. In more recent years it has participated or led investments into startups such as Zipdrug ($10.8 million); Rollbar this year ($11 million); and Monedo (for €20 million).

HQ’d in San Francisco, it has now completed the final closing on its $157 million Runa Capital  Fund III, which, they say, exceeded its original target of $135 million.

The firm typically invests between $1 million and $10 million in early-stage companies, predominantly Series A rounds, and has a strong interest in cloud infrastructure, open-source software, AI and machine intelligence and B2B SaaS, in markets such as finance, education and healthcare.

Going forward the firm says it aims to concentrate much of its firepower in the realm of machine learning and quantum computing.

/Source: TechCrunch/

May 8, 2020


Moderna signs deal with Lonza to make potential Covid-19 vaccine

Moderna has signed a deal with Swiss healthcare manufacturer Lonza to expand manufacturing of its potential vaccine for Covid-19, after the Boston-based biotech received almost $500m from the US government to bolster production.

The companies will start manufacturing the vaccine candidate together in the US in July. Then they will expand production to Switzerland and later other sites around the world, as they gear up to eventually make a billion doses a year.

No financial details were disclosed for the partnership, which will last 10 years and include Moderna’s other potential vaccines for conditions including a strand of flu and Zika.

Earlier this week, Moderna said it had applied for permission to move to the next stage of human trials for the Covid-19 vaccine candidate, intending to enrol 600 healthy participants. 

/Source: Financial Times/

May 4, 2020


Portugal plans $5bn green hydrogen plant to lead Covid fightback: report

Portugal aims to build a solar-powered green hydrogen production plant that would be among the world’s largest planned so far at 1GW, according to reports.

The €5bn ($5.4bn) plant near the port of Sines could be producing hydrogen as early as 2023, with the aim of reaching full capacity by 2030, said Reuters, quoting the country’s environment minister Joao Matos Fernandes.

Fernandes told the financial newswire that the plant is a key plank of Portugal’s response to the economic collapse caused by Covid-19. "The economy cannot grow along the lines of the past and our post-coronavirus vision is to create wealth from projects that reduce carbon emissions and promote energy transition and sustainable mobility," he’s quoted saying.

National utility giant EDP and Portuguese oil & gas group Galp are both considering participating in the project, said Fernandes. Galp earlier this year trumpeted its ambitions to be “Iberia’s biggest solar player” after ...

April 30, 2020


Oil rallies more than 40% in two days as it comes back from record lows

Oil jumped nearly 20% on Thursday, accelerating its recent rally as the Street eyed continued production cuts and rising U.S.-Iranian tensions.

West Texas Intermediate, the U.S. benchmark, rose 19.7%, or $2.72, to settle at $16.50 per barrel. WTI did close off the highest level of the day, however, after hitting $18.26 in mid-morning trading. Brent crude, the international benchmark, gained 96 cents, or 4.7%, to settle at $21.33.

On Wednesday, WTI jumped 19.1% — one of its best days on record. In just two days, from Tuesday’s settle of $11.57 to Thursday’s settle WTI has gained 42.6%. Given oil’s more than 70% decline this year a smaller gain, of course, now accounts for a much larger percentage move.

The rise was fueled in part by President Donald Trump’s threat that the U.S. would “destroy” any Iranian gunboats that harass American ships in the oil-rich Persian Gulf, said Bjornar Tonhaugen, head of oil markets ...

April 24, 2020


Coronavirus takes toll on global M&A as $1 billion deals disappear

For the first time since September 2004, no merger and acquisition deal worth more than $1 billion was announced worldwide last week, according to data provider Refinitiv, as the new coronavirus stifles global M&A.

The dearth of mega deals comes as countries across the world have shut down large swathes of their economies as they battle the COVID-19 pandemic that has infected over 2.33 million people and claimed 165,000 lives.

Worldwide merger activity so far this year is down 33% from a year ago and at $762.6 billion is the lowest year-to-date amount for dealmaking since 2013, the data showed. The number of deals also fell 20% year-on-year.

Regulators worldwide have also toughened rules for foreign investments to protect national assets. 

With big deals largely put on hold as buyers wait to gauge the true impact of the pandemic, dealmakers are seeking other, related work on companies needing rescues, restructurings and potentially nationalizations as ...

April 20, 2020


Jeff Bezos Gets $6.4 Billion Richer As Amazon Stock Hits A New Record High

Already the world’s richest person, Jeff Bezos saw his net worth jump nearly 5% after Amazon’s stock hit a new all-time high on Tuesday, with the e-commerce giant experiencing unprecedented demand amid widespread coronavirus-related shutdowns.  KEY FACTS

Amazon stock surged 5.3% on Tuesday, hitting a new record close of $2,283 per share. The stock is now up over 20% so far this year, outpacing the benchmark index (the S&P 500 is down over 12%).

Amazon is the first major company to rebound from the coronavirus market selloff, which started in late February: It’s one out of only 28 stocks in the S&P 500 to do so.

The stock has soared in 2020—despite the coronavirus downturn and widespread business shutdowns, with Amazon benefiting from skyrocketing demand as consumers who are stuck at home rely on online shopping more than ever.

As the company’s stock rises to a new all-time high, that’s made CEO and founder ...

April 15, 2020