Tag Archives: Internet / World Wide Web

American chip startups that have long avoided Internet bets have once again aroused people’s excitement | Instant News

Oakland, California (Reuters)-Silicon Valley venture capitalists who have long focused on software and Internet companies have once again injected capital into the semiconductor industry, thanks to the promise of a new generation of artificial intelligence chips, which may challenge existing companies such as Intel and Nvidia Corp.

In this undated handout image obtained by Reuters on May 4, 2021, a view of the size of the Cerebras Systems WSE-2 chip. CerebrasSystems is an AI chip designer. Artificial intelligence chip startups are raising large sums of money from venture capitalists, betting on them to challenge existing chip giants.Provided by Cerebras Systems/Distributed via REUTERS

The new wave of semiconductor innovation cannot solve the shortage of chips based on old technologies that are currently plagued by the automotive industry and other industries. The shortage stems from a combination of factors, as automakers closed factories during the COVID-19 pandemic last year to compete with the huge consumer electronics industry for chip supply.

The enthusiasm of chip startups is mainly due to the demand for dedicated processors by companies using AI software, which can effectively run machine learning algorithms that require large amounts of data, which is the core of the booming artificial intelligence business.

Upstart chip makers including SambaNova Systems, Groq, and Cerebras Systems have stated that they produce better AI performance than Nvidia processors, and the latter’s multi-purpose graphics chipset (originally produced for video games) now dominates AI Dominance of the market.

“How can a car be good at driving pleasure, good at taking children and football to football practice and transporting goods, bricks and garbage? The answer is impossible.

Cerebras’ innovative technology is a very large chip, 56 times the size of a postage stamp, and encapsulates 2.6 trillion transistors.

Gartner analyst Alan Priestley pointed out that there are currently more than 50 companies specializing in the development of chips for AI applications, and said there may be more. He predicts that by 2025, the value of this market will exceed 70 billion U.S. dollars, up from 23 billion U.S. dollars in 2020.

Graphs related to Gartner AI semiconductor revenue forecasts:

According to data from the data company PitchBook, the venture capital investment of US chip start-ups reached 1.8 billion U.S. dollars last year, the highest level in at least two decades. 1.4 billion US dollars have been invested this year.

A chart about US venture capital investment in semiconductor companies:

In April alone, SambaNova said it had raised $676 million for its reconfigurable AI chip. Groq has an ultra-powerful single-core design that is fast and easy to program, and announced that it has raised $300 million. The CEOs of the two companies told Reuters that due to strong investor interest, the funding round exceeded the plan.

The opportunity now piques the interest of software-centric venture capital firms such as Battery Ventures, Bessemer Venture Partners, and Foundation Capital. PitchBook analyst Brendan Burke said they are one of the most active semiconductor investors in the past two years.

Dharmesh Thakker, a general partner of Battery Ventures, said that a few years ago he noticed that his AI software company was cooperating with Nvidia, and he began to consider chip investments.

“We said,’Hey, there may be a chance to build another Nvidia in the entire space surrounding AI.'”

Bessemer Venture Partners and Foundation Capital did not respond to requests for comment.

Ian Buck, general manager of NVIDIA accelerated computing, said he is confident that the company will maintain a leading position in AI chip games. Nvidia GPUs have been developing in the past seven years to meet the needs of AI software, some of which are dedicated to processing AI.

Subsidy call

Peter Barrett, general partner of Playground Global, an early investor, said that the new materials and technologies used to build chips are driving innovation in areas other than AI. He cited chips used in quantum computers, a new technology that uses subatomic particles to store and process information.

As the US government finalizes a new subsidy program to support the domestic chip industry, all these activities are coming. Andy Rappaport, Groq’s new board member, has been investing in chips for decades. He believes that the geopolitical turmoil and competition between China and the United States may even prompt venture capital firms not only to invest in chip design. Companies, and even invest in manufacturing. He said: “If the federal government wants to take on my return and take my risk, then you may see a possible situation, that is, a new manufacturing player may appear.”

In turn, this may trigger more bets on chip design companies. Hany Nada, a venture capitalist at ACME Capital, said: “If I know that manufacturing is no longer a problem, then it will make it easier for me to invest in IC companies.” He refers to integrated circuit or chip suppliers.

The irony is that through AI chips, AI algorithms can more easily improve chip manufacturing, reduce costs, and open manufacturing to start-ups again. Matthew Putman, who founded Nanotronics in 2011, said that he did exactly that and got Peter Early investment in the Thiel Founders Fund.

By 2019, Nanotronics has raised approximately US$90 million. Putnam no longer worries about where the money will come from.

He said: “In 2013 or 2014, I walked in. If you don’t have an app or any enterprise SaaS software, you won’t even miss the receptionist.” He added that even after the Founders Fund was established, the investment was made. “This has changed a lot.”

Reporting by Jane Lanhee Lee in Oakland, California; Editing by Jonathan Weber and Matthew Lewis


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Facebook re-launched WhatsApp money transfers in Brazil | Instant News

SAO PAULO (Reuters) – WhatsApp messaging service Facebook re-launched its inter-individual remittance service in Brazil on Tuesday, after being blocked by the central bank nearly a year ago, Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg said in a video Tuesday.

FILE PHOTOS: 3D printed Facebook and WhatsApp keyboard logos and buttons placed on the computer motherboard in this illustration taken on January 21, 2021. REUTERS / Dado Ruvic / Illustration

Brazil is the second country where a messaging service has launched money transfers. In India, WhatsApp’s biggest market with 400 million users, WhatsApp received approval to start financial services in November.

Using a debit or prepaid card number, 120 million WhatsApp users in Brazil can send each other up to 5,000 reais per month via the free messaging service. Initially, the system would not allow any transactions to exceed 1,000 reais or more than 20 transfers per day.

The rollout of new features will take place in stages, Chief Operating Officer Matthew Idema said in an interview. Starting today, a limited and undisclosed number of users will have a means of payment on their app. That way, they will be allowed to invite new users.

In June, WhatsApp launched its payment service in Brazil, but the central bank suspended it a few days later alleging it could undermine the country’s existing payment system in terms of competition, efficiency and data privacy.

Apart from reviewing the proposed payment network, the monetary authorities also asked the tech giant to be labeled a financial services company in Brazil, prompting Facebook to create a new unit called Facebook Pagamentos do Brasil, which is now regulated by the central bank.

But the central bank has yet to make green light payments with merchants, which are expected to be a paid service, adding a new revenue stream for WhatsApp. Last year, card payments in Brazil totaled 2 trillion reais ($ 368.12 billion), up 8.2% from 2019.

Idema said talks with the central bank were still ongoing and Facebook expected the launch of merchant payments to occur this year, declining to comment on whether it would be a paid service.

“For WhatsApp launching payments is attractive because it increases application usage,” said the COO.

WhatsApp started its payment service in partnership with Visa Inc and Mastercard card networks and payment processor Cielo SA. It will operate with cards issued by Banco do Brasil SA, Banco Inter, Banco Bradesco SA, Itau Unibanco Holding SA, fintech Nubank, MercadoLibre’s Mercado Pago and Sicredi.

($ 1 = 5,4330 reais)

Reporting by Carolina Mandl; Edited by Aurora Ellis


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After WallStreetBets, Australia’s securities regulator warned the stock trading forum | Instant News

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SYDNEY (Reuters) – Australian securities regulators have contacted internet stock trading forums to question them about their platform’s “pump and dump” fraud policy, a sign of increasing scrutiny of the investment subculture that surged during the lockdown pandemic.

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) told Reuters it was stepping up scrutiny of local retail trade internet chatrooms that have sprung up since Reddit’s “WallStreetBets” chatroom was linked to the wild fluctuation of US stocks this year.

That has led to discussions between regulators and some indecent, ironic and meme-laden chat forum operators – who often operate anonymously – about their responsibility if they allow stock inflation schemes to develop.

“If we look at behavior that looks as if it is a clear ‘pump and dump’ that will lead to a case of market manipulation, there is a desire within ASIC to take this matter forward,” said Calissa Aldridge, ASIC’s senior market executive leader. supervision.

The strategy demonstrates how the frenzy of trading around US video game chain GameStop Corp and so-called stock “memes” in recent months have reshaped enforcement practices by regulators around the world.

Retail investors currently account for 15% of trade on the A $ 2 trillion ($ 1.6 trillion) Australian stock market, compared with 10% before the COVID-19 lockdown sent most of the workers and students home. The proportion peaked at 20% in January amid reports of massive gains linked to WallStreetBets, ASIC said.

When suspected market manipulators operate on forums anonymously, ASIC prepares to identify them by double-checking claims they post online against verified trade data and Australian Taxation Office records.

“We’ve seen many instances … where there are people talking about what they just did with their trade – some posting snippets of their trading accounts with trades that have been made – in some cases we can reverse engineer it (to) find individual identity, “said Aldridge.


Moderators of the Reddit ASX_Bets forum, one of the country’s most popular trade chat rooms with 68,400 anonymous members, said they spoke with ASIC representatives in March.

ASIC asked them to remove the joke on the Frequently Asked Questions page that “lots of Rocket Emojis are a winning stock indicator”, but “apart from this, we didn’t change any behavior or was asked,” the ASX_Bets moderator said in an email, without naming them.

Moderators said the group, which started in March 2020, prohibited members from “pumping” shares and attached notices for company representatives who posted “to make it clear that they are not a neutral party”.

John Rye, founder of the Facebook group “Asx Stock Tips”, which has 20,100 members since the start of this month, said he had not been approached by ASIC and did not care about the attention of regulators.

In a Facebook chat, he said he regularly deletes “unhelpful” posts and warns about scammers but does not believe his group members can influence stock prices because they are “too stupid to do it here” and “the amount of money and co-ordination is too much. “.

($ 1 = 1.2840 Australian dollars)

Reporting by Byron Kaye; Edited by Lincoln Feast.


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Coinbase listing marks the latest step in cryptocurrency’s march towards the mainstream | Instant News

London (Reuters)-Coinbase Global Inc, the largest cryptocurrency exchange in the United States, will be listed on the Nasdaq on Wednesday, marking a milestone in the journey of virtual currencies from niche technology to mainstream assets.

File photo: In this picture taken on January 27, 2020, you can see the representation of the virtual currency Bitcoin and U.S. dollar banknotes. REUTERS / Dado Ruvic / Illustration / File Photo

This is by far the largest listing of a cryptocurrency company to date. The San Francisco-based company said last month that private market transactions have put the company at a valuation of approximately $68 billion this year, compared with $5.8 billion in September.

According to interviews with investors, analysts, and executives, it represents the latest breakthrough in accepting cryptocurrency, an asset class that mainstream finance only avoided a few years ago.

William Cong, associate professor of finance at Cornell University’s SC Johnson School of Business, said: “This listing is significant because it marks the development of the industry and its recognition of mainstream businesses.”

Bitcoin, the largest cryptocurrency, set a record of over $63,000 on Tuesday. With the enthusiasm of large investors, from Goldman Sachs to Morgan Stanley’s banks and household names such as Tesla Inc, for emerging assets, stock prices have more than tripled this year.

People interviewed by Reuters said that the direct listing of Coinbase (which means it hadn’t sold any shares before its debut) could speed up the process by raising investors’ awareness of digital assets.

Charles Hayter of CryptoCompare, a data company, said: “This is a very positive thing for Bitcoin itself, because it proves that it goes from the esoteric, narrow, cowboy-filled field to mainstream finance. A bridge built between.”

Nevertheless, some institutional investors are cautious about the long-term prospects of Coinbase and the cryptocurrency sector.

Swiss asset manager Unigestion said that he is cautious about the hype of cryptocurrency and therefore will not buy Coinbase stock.

Olivier Marciot, Unigestion’s portfolio manager, said: “We believe that things that look like cryptocurrencies are full of fanaticism and prosperity.”

“Hedge funds and retail may become early birds in these new stocks-they may be bought in large quantities-this should not be a clear indication of their long-term status.”

Interested in Bitcoin?

Other experts said that risks include the risk exposure of Coinbase’s high volatility assets, which still need to be subject to sporadic supervision.

Regulatory documents show that Coinbase was founded in 2012 and has 56 million users worldwide. The assets on its platform are estimated at 223 billion U.S. dollars, accounting for 11.3% of the market share of crypto assets.

The company’s latest financial performance highlights how revenues have grown simultaneously with the increase in Bitcoin transaction volume and price.

In the first quarter of this year, as the price of Bitcoin more than doubled, Coinbase estimated revenue of more than 1.8 billion U.S. dollars, with net income of between 730 million and 800 million U.S. dollars, and the entire 2020 revenue was 1.3 billion U.S. dollars.

Larry Cermak, head of research at the crypto website The Block, said: “After the stock price stabilizes after listing, the correlation with Bitcoin will be very high.”

“When the price of Bitcoin falls, Coinbase’s revenue and inherent stock price will inevitably fall.”

Others say that as Coinbase increases the number of digital assets that users can trade on its platform, regulatory risks are becoming more and more urgent.

Coinbase halted trading of its main digital currency XRP last year, after the U.S. regulator collected $1.3 billion in unregistered securities issuance from the related blockchain company Ripple. Ripple rejected the charges.

“Given the expansion of assets covered by Coinbase, other listings will inevitably be questioned,” said Colin Platt, chief operating officer of crypto platform Unifty.

Coinbase declined to comment.

Reporting by Tom Wilson and Anna Irrera Editing by Nick Zieminski


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UPDATE 1-Fashion group Tod put Instagram star Chiara Ferragni on its board | Instant News

* Shares in Tod’s jump more than 5% after the announcement

* The company aims to win over young people to drive growth (Adds details)

ROME, April 9 (Reuters) – Italian fashion group Tod’s said on Friday that it is appointing Instagram star and influencer Chiara Ferragni as a board member, stepping up its efforts to win over the younger buyers driving the sector’s growth.

The luxury leather goods maker shares jumped more than 5% after the announcement of Ferragni, a 33-year-old Italian digital entrepreneur with more than 23 million followers on his Instagram account where he shares fashion and style advice and raises awareness about social issues. .

“We believe that Chiara’s knowledge of the world of youth, combined with the experiences of other board members, can build thinking focused on solidarity with others, with a strong focus on the younger generation, who, now more than ever, need to be heard,” Tod said. .

Tod’s, known for his shoes, launched a new strategy in late 2017 to change his brand and appeal to younger consumers, but the COVID-19 pandemic has hampered his efforts. Sales fell by nearly a third in 2020 due to lockdowns and falls in tourism, marking the fifth consecutive year of annual sales decline.

“Ferragni’s entry into Tod’s board will lead to increased brand visibility, and investors hope this will help in driving group sales in today’s challenging market,” said a Milan-based trader.

Generations Z and Y, born after 1995, will meet about two-thirds of total demand in the luxury goods sector by 2025, up from about 45% in 2019, consultants Bain said in its latest estimate.

“Chiara’s knowledge of the youth world is invaluable,” said Diego Della Valle, Tod’s founder and top shareholder.

Reporting by Claudia Cristoferi; Edited by Giulia Segreti and Pravin Char


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