Weekly Digest

Important global news (economy, finance & tech) this week by fff.vc team.

Weekly News 27.06.24

Private & public markets in the Baltics & Nordics

🇪🇪 Metaplanet Invests in Web3 and Neurotech Companies: Estonian fund Metaplanet invested in WeatherXM, a Greek Web3 climate analysis network, and Neurable, a US-based neurotechnology company. WeatherXM raised $7.7M in Series A to expand its decentralized weather station network. Neurable secured $13M to develop its AI-powered brain-computer interface technology.

🇪🇪 Specialist VC and Trind Ventures Invest in DrHouse: Estonian Specialist VC and Trind Ventures, along with US business angels, invested $3.5M in DrHouse, a telemedicine startup, to enhance its platform for providing virtual healthcare services.

🇪🇪 Metaplanet Invests in WeatherXM and Neurable: Estonian investment firm Metaplanet has invested in WeatherXM, a Greek Web3 climate analysis network, and Neurable, a US neurotechnology company. WeatherXM raised $7.7M to expand its decentralized weather station network, while Neurable secured $13M to develop its AI-powered brain-computer interface technology. These investments align with Metaplanet’s focus on innovative technologies with significant potential for human benefit.

🇪🇪 Up Group Acquires Stebby: French company Up Group acquired Stebby, an Estonian employee wellness benefit platform. Founded in 2012, Stebby has 180,000 users and 48 employees across the Baltics. The deal, which marks an exit for Livonia Partners, will see Stebby’s current management continue to lead the platform. Up Group designs integrated solutions for various aspects of daily life and operates in over 23 countries.

🇫🇮 Finland’s NordicNinja VC Leads €25M Series B for LiveEO: German climate risk startup LiveEO secured €25M in Series B funding led by Helsinki-based NordicNinja VC, marking their first investment in Germany. LiveEO, founded in 2018, provides earth observation technologies for clients like Deutsche Bahn and Network Rail. The funds will expand LiveEO’s AI-powered satellite data services internationally, enhancing safety and efficiency for infrastructure operators.

🇫🇮 Valpas Raises €4M Seed Funding: Helsinki-based startup Valpas secured €4M in seed funding led by Zenith Venture Capital. Valpas, founded in 2017, offers pesticide-free bedbug prevention solutions for hotels, utilizing smart bed legs and an IoT-enabled mobile app. The investment will help expand Valpas's affiliation network to over 1000 members and enhance production. Valpas already partners with 300+ hotels across Europe, Mexico, and Japan.

🇸🇪 Tandem Health Secures $9.5M Seed Funding: Stockholm-based Tandem Health raised $9.5M in seed funding led by Northzone, with participation from notable angel operators and Amino Collective. The funds will enhance Tandem’s clinician copilot platform, scale operations, expand the team, ensure compliance, and invest in research. Founded by Lukas Saari, Oliver Åstrand, and Oscar Boldt-Christmas, Tandem aims to revolutionize European healthcare by streamlining administrative tasks with AI, allowing clinicians to focus on patient care.

🇸🇪 Net Zero Company Secures $5.5M Seed Funding: Stockholm-based Net Zero Company raised $5.5M in seed funding led by Oilinvest, VARO Energy, and SilviCarbon. The company uses blockchain technology to offer Carbon Removal Tokens (CRT) for transparent and secure carbon credit transactions. Founded in 2022, Net Zero Company plans to expand globally and introduce new products to support scalable carbon removal solutions. The leadership team includes industry experts and executives dedicated to driving the transition to net zero.

🇸🇪 Lifesum Acquires LYKON to Enhance Personalized Wellness: Stockholm-based nutrition app Lifesum has acquired German biomarker-based nutrition company LYKON. This acquisition integrates LYKON’s at-home biomarker testing with Lifesum’s nutritional expertise, providing comprehensive, scientifically validated health insights and personalized recommendations. The move solidifies Lifesum’s position as a leader in the European wellness market, aiming to deliver advanced, personalized wellness experiences.

Baltic Public Markets Update

Week 25 in the Baltic financial markets includes Nordic Fibreboard’s annual general meeting and the extraordinary general meetings of Integre Trans and Amber Grid. Silvano Fashion Group and J.Molner hold their annual general meetings. LHV Group and Enefit Green announce sales figures and dividend payments. Companies such as Tallink Grupp, Tallinna Vesi, and Latvijas Gāze declare dividend ex-dates and record dates. Additionally, Summus Capital and Šiaulių bankas make coupon payments.

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Important global news this week in economy, finance & tech

📉 Nvidia's Decline Viewed as 'Overblown' Amid $5 Billion Short Seller Profits: Nvidia (NVDA) short sellers have gained nearly $5 billion in paper profits from the AI chip designer's recent sharp selloff, according to Ortex Technologies. Despite a 3% rise on Tuesday, Nvidia's stock has slumped 13% since June 18, losing $430 billion in market capitalization. This decline, driven by investor rotation out of high-flying AI stocks, contrasts with Nvidia's 145% rise this year, making it the second-best performer on the S&P 500. Kenny Polcari argues the fall is 'way overblown,' highlighting continued optimism around Nvidia's role in the AI boom.

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🤖 Amazon Developing AI Chatbot 'Metis' to Compete with ChatGPT: Amazon is creating a new AI chatbot named Metis, aimed at challenging OpenAI’s ChatGPT. Powered by the advanced Olympus AI model, Metis will provide smart, conversational answers, generate images, and offer up-to-date information using retrieval-augmented generation (RAG). It will also automate tasks like booking flights. CEO Andy Jassy expects Amazon’s AI projects to generate substantial revenue growth.

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🌍 BlackRock Launches Climate Transition ETFs: BlackRock has introduced five new climate transition ETFs on Euronext Amsterdam. These ETFs focus on companies leading the shift to a low-carbon economy, tracking MSCI indices that prioritize firms with strong greenhouse gas reduction targets or significant green revenues. They exclude companies with severe ESG controversies and those in controversial sectors.

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🔋 Rivian Cuts Costs to Boost Profitability: Rivian has streamlined its manufacturing, cutting over 100 steps in battery production and eliminating 500+ parts from vehicle designs, resulting in a 35% material cost reduction. CEO RJ Scaringe highlighted these improvements during a factory tour. Aiming for its first profit since 2009, Rivian targets 57,000 vehicle productions this year and plans to launch the R2 SUV in 2026. The changes are critical for Rivian's financial stability and future growth.

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🚫 Apple Delays AI Features in EU Due to DMA Regulations: Apple is postponing the launch of key AI-powered features in the EU, including iPhone mirroring, SharePlay, and Apple Intelligence tools, due to the Digital Markets Act (DMA). The DMA requires interoperability with other products, which Apple argues compromises user privacy and security. These features, initially set for release with iOS 18, will now be available in the EU in 2025. Apple's decision highlights the challenges tech companies face under new EU regulations.

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Weekly News 20.06.24

Private & public markets in the Baltics & Nordics

🇪🇪 Startup Wise Guys Invests Up to €100K in 15 Startups: Estonian accelerator Startup Wise Guys has invested up to €100K in 15 startups focusing on SaaS, sustainability, and cybersecurity. The three-month program, held in Bilbao, Spain, supports startups like Birl, Esgrid, Zerow, and Foodobox. Startups can receive follow-up investments within 6-8 months. This initiative continues Startup Wise Guys’ mission to foster early-stage innovation.

🇪🇪 Bisly Raises €6.2M for IoT Sensors: Tallinn-based Bisly secured €6.2M to advance its IoT sensor technology for energy-efficient buildings. The round included existing investors Aconterra, SmartCap Green Fund, and Pinorena Capital, with new participation from Foxway founders. Bisly’s sensors, which require no coding, integrate HVAC, lighting, and security systems on a single platform, aiming to cut energy use by up to 50%. Funds will support expansion into Germany and the UK, and product innovation.

🇪🇪 Sunly Future Ventures Launches €50M Fund for Cleantech Startups: Estonian fund Sunly Future Ventures (SFV), co-founded by Erki Ani and Rasmus Udde, will invest €50M in pre-seed cleantech startups. SFV’s initial ticket size is €500K per startup, with follow-on investments up to €3M. Anchor investor SmartCap Green Fund committed €20M, with contributions from Sunly and SFV totaling €5M. The fund focuses on energy, mobility, new materials, agtech, and foodtech sectors.

🇱🇹 Construction Begins on Tech Zity Vilnius: Vilnius has started building Tech Zity Vilnius, Europe's largest tech and creative industries hub, spanning 55,000 square meters. The first phase, 16,500 square meters, will open in 2025, with full completion in 2027. The €100M project aims to boost the regional startup ecosystem, offering modern offices, a conference center, coworking spaces, and more, set to accommodate up to 5,000 workers.

🇱🇹 Raft Capital Management Launches €50M Fund: Vilnius-based Raft Capital Management launched a €50M fund to invest in Baltic companies, targeting growth and expansion-stage firms with sales between €3M and €50M. The fund will also consider acquisitions in the Nordics and Poland, focusing on manufacturing, innovation, and service industries. Investments will range from €2M to €10M per company, aiming to boost economic growth and attract strategic investors.

🇫🇮 ConfidentialMind Raises €1.5M Pre-Seed: Espoo-based ConfidentialMind secured €1.5M to advance its generative AI software for enterprise and government applications. The round, led by Failup Ventures and supported by Innovestor’s Angel CoFund and Founder’s Edge, along with notable industry angels, will help ConfidentialMind expand beyond the cloud and into on-premises deployments. Founded in 2023, the startup addresses complexities in managing large language models on-site.

🇫🇮 Wolt Launches Wolt Capital for Merchant Financing: Helsinki-based Wolt introduced Wolt Capital, a financing service for merchants in the Nordics and Poland, in partnership with German fintech finmid. This service provides easy access to funds, supporting small businesses using Wolt’s platform. Initially launched in Finland, Wolt Capital has expanded to Denmark, Sweden, and Poland to help merchants overcome financial challenges and grow sustainably.

🇫🇮 Profilence Secures Investment for Expansion: Oulu-based Profilence, specializing in optimizing Android device performance, secured an undisclosed investment from Nordic Option. This funding will drive Profilence's international expansion, particularly targeting the automotive and smart devices sectors. The investment allows early-stage investors to exit, supporting Profilence’s growth in optimizing stability and energy consumption for Android-based devices.

🇫🇮 Distance Technologies Raises $2.7M Pre-Seed: Helsinki-based Distance Technologies secured $2.7M in pre-seed funding co-led by Maki.vc and FOV Ventures, with participation from Business Finland and Foobar.vc. Founded by Urho Konttori and Jussi Makinen, Distance develops glasses-free mixed reality solutions using 3D light fields for immersive experiences. The investment will advance their XR technology for mainstream use.

🇸🇪 Atium Raises €593.8K for Mercury Removal: Göteborg-based Atium secured €593.8K to advance its electrochemical filters for mercury removal from water. Led by Chalmers Ventures and Gladium, with new investors Butterfly Ventures, NextSTEP, GOKAP Invest, and 5J Holding, the funding will support product launch in 2025, initially targeting dental clinics. Atium's technology, developed at Chalmers University of Technology, offers a cost-effective, eco-friendly solution for heavy metal pollution.

🇸🇪 RemotiveLabs Secures €900K to Revolutionize Automotive Software: Malmö-based RemotiveLabs raised €900K to advance its software development tools for the automotive industry. Led by previous investors Volvo Cars Tech Fund, Almi Invest, and Truckdoktorn AB, with new backers Sandberg Development and S-E-Bankens Utvecklingsstiftelse, the funds will enhance their vehicle virtualization and containerization technology, enabling early integration testing and continuous development.

Baltic Public Markets Update

Week 24 in the Baltic financial markets highlights Nordic Fibreboard’s ongoing takeover offer and the annual general meetings of Amber Beverage Holding and Rīgas kuģu būvētava. TextMagic and Novaturas will release their financial results, while Coop Pank and Enefit Green will announce dividend ex-dates. DelfinGroup, Ignitis grupė, and Rokiskio suris plan coupon payments, and Latvijas Gāze and Linas Agro Group will publish interim reports. Šiaulių bankas and Harju Elekter Group provide operational updates.

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Important global news this week in economy, finance & tech

🇬🇧 UK Leads Europe in Generative AI Startups, Study Finds: The United Kingdom has emerged as the leading hub for generative AI (GenAI) startups in Europe, hosting 30% of these companies according to a study by Accel. The UK's prominence is attributed to its top-tier universities, the success of AI firm DeepMind, and substantial investments from U.S. tech giants. While France tops in funding with $2.29 billion raised, the UK follows with $1.15 billion. Germany and Israel are also notable contenders, contributing 14% and 13% of GenAI startups, respectively. This highlights the UK's pivotal role in the burgeoning GenAI landscape across Europe.

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📊 Nvidia’s Ascent to Most Valuable Company Echoes Dot-Com Boom: Nvidia has become the most valuable U.S. company, surpassing Microsoft, with its market cap reaching $3.34 trillion. This marks a significant milestone driven by Nvidia’s dominance in AI technology and a 174% stock surge this year. Nvidia’s rapid rise reflects parallels to the dot-com boom, where rapid advancements and speculative growth were hallmarks. As Nvidia outpaces Microsoft and Apple in valuation, this shift underscores the market's confidence in Nvidia's AI capabilities and potential long-term impact on technology and investment trends.

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📈 M&A-Focused Hedge Funds Lead with 7.7% Returns in Early 2024, Goldman Sachs Reports: Hedge funds specializing in mergers and acquisitions (M&A) outperformed other strategies, achieving a 7.7% return in the first five months of 2024. This resurgence in deal-making follows declining interest rates and a stabilizing economic environment, although global M&A activity remains below 2021's record levels. U.S.-targeted M&A dominated the market, accounting for 56% of deals, including notable transactions like Capital One’s $35.3 billion bid for Discover Financial Services and ConocoPhillips’ $22.5 billion offer for Marathon Oil. Other hedge fund strategies averaged around a 7% return, with stock trading hedge funds close behind at 7.4%.

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🔄 OpenAI Considers Shifting to For-Profit Structure Amid Governance Discussions: OpenAI CEO Sam Altman has indicated that the AI developer is exploring a change in its governance structure, potentially transitioning to a for-profit benefit corporation. This move could pave the way for an initial public offering (IPO) and offer Altman an equity stake. Currently valued at $86 billion, OpenAI aims to maintain its mission of advancing AI for public benefit while addressing investor interests. The restructuring discussions follow internal tensions and emphasize balancing nonprofit goals with financial growth. Microsoft's significant investment and ongoing relationship highlight the complexities in navigating this transition.

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Weekly News 13.06.24

News (economy, finance & tech) and indicators this week by fff.vc team 🟠:

🇪🇪 Thormi Raising €250K: Estonian foodtech Thormi, specializing in plant-based proteins, is raising €250K led by angel investor Jaak Ennuste. Founded in 2021, Thormi develops meat substitutes using pea and oat proteins, offering products like patties and sausages. The startup plans to expand by selling its production technology and equipment to factories, enabling them to produce plant-based meats.

🇪🇪 SensusQ Raises €3.8M: Estonian startup SensusQ secured €3.8M to advance its AI-based defense intelligence platform. The funds will enhance its capabilities in military situational awareness and operational efficiency.

🇪🇪 ExpressionEdits Raises €13M: Estonian co-founded biotech ExpressionEdits secured €12M in seed funding led by Octopus Ventures and Redalpine. Based in Cambridge, the company uses AI and intronization technology to enhance gene therapy by improving protein production. The funds will support the development of protein-based therapeutics and preclinical testing.

🇱🇻 4PM Ventures Launches Future Health Lab: Riga-based 4PM Ventures launched the Future Health Lab for health startups, running from June to December 2024. The lab has selected 21 startups, offering participation for free or for a €25K fee/1% equity. It focuses on digital therapy, medical devices, and diagnostic solutions, with potential investments ranging from €50K to €500K.

🇱🇻 Gene Therapy Enhancement Platform Secures €3M: A Riga-based startup developing a platform for enhancing gene therapy treatments raised €3M. This funding will accelerate R&D efforts and support the platform’s market introduction in the biotech sector.

🇱🇻 Medon Raises €320K: Latvian telemedicine platform Medon secured €320K to expand its services in online medical consultations across 27 specialties. The funding will support its growth in existing and new markets.

🇱🇹 Broswarm Wins NATO Innovation Challenge: Vilnius-based Broswarm won the 15th NATO Innovation Challenge for its landmine clearance solution. Broswarm uses multisensor fusion technology with drones to improve mine detection and clearance. Founded in 2023, the startup plans to test its technology in Ukraine and is preparing for market launch and further funding.

🇱🇹 Paysera Acquires Virtualikasa: Lithuanian fintech Paysera acquired Virtualikasa.lt, a virtual cash register system for businesses, from Brand Lions. Founded in 2020, Virtualikasa provides solutions for receipts, invoices, and balance management. Paysera will integrate Virtualikasa’s IP and team to enhance its financial services.

🇱🇹 Spike Raises €3.2M Seed: Lithuanian startup Spike secured €3.2M in seed funding to enhance its GenAI-powered platform for healthcare enterprises, focusing on automating patient interactions and administrative tasks.

🇸🇪 Fenix Solar Acquired by Ecokraft: Swedish company Fenix Solar, specializing in solar panel installations, was acquired by Ecokraft to expand its renewable energy offerings and strengthen its market presence in the solar energy sector.

🇸🇪 Moleculent Raises $26M Series A: Stockholm-based Moleculent secured $26M in Series A funding co-led by ARCH Venture Partners and Eir Ventures. The funds will advance their platform for mapping cell-cell communication within tissue environments, aiding in understanding drug responses and disease mechanisms. Key appointments include Patrick Weiss as Chairman and Sean Kendall from ARCH and Magnus Persson from Eir Ventures to the board.

🇫🇮 Minnalearn Partners with INCO and Google: Finnish edtech company Minnalearn partnered with INCO and Google to enhance digital skills training across Europe. The collaboration aims to deliver online courses and certifications through the "Grow with Google" initiative.

🇫🇮 Cellife Technologies Raises €2M Seed: Finnish healthtech Cellife Technologies raised €2M in seed funding to advance its AI-based fertility tracking platform, aiming to improve reproductive health through personalized insights.

🇫🇮 Equilibrium Ventures Launches Crypto-Focused VC Fund: Finnish venture firm Equilibrium Ventures launched a €50M VC fund targeting early-stage blockchain and cryptocurrency startups, aiming to boost innovation in the digital finance sector.

🇫🇮 Flow Computing Emerges with €4M Pre-Seed Funding: Helsinki-based Flow Computing, a VTT spinoff, raised €4M in pre-seed funding led by Butterfly Ventures. The startup develops a Parallel Processing Unit (PPU) technology, promising a 100-fold increase in CPU performance without GPU acceleration. The funds will advance PPU development, secure patents, and expand discussions with semiconductor vendors.

Baltic Public Markets Update

Week 23 in the Baltic financial markets includes Nordic Fibreboard's continued takeover offer period, Rīgas kuģu būvētava's 12-month interim report, and the annual general meetings of Amber Beverage Holding and CrossChem. Interim reports are presented by Rokiskio suris and Latvijas Gāze. Several companies, such as Linas Agro Group and Tallink Grupp, announce coupon payments, while Enefit Green and Merko Ehitus release operational updates. Dividend dates are also noted for Novaturas and Grigeo.

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Important global news this week in economy, finance & tech

📈 CrowdStrike, KKR, and GoDaddy to Join S&P 500: Cybersecurity firm CrowdStrike, private equity giant KKR, and web hosting company GoDaddy are set to be added to the S&P 500 index. This inclusion reflects the companies' growth and increasing market capitalization, marking a significant milestone that can enhance their visibility and attract a broader investor base. The move is part of the S&P Dow Jones Indices' regular adjustments to the index, aiming to represent the performance of leading companies across key industries.

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🤖 Apple Partners with OpenAI to Launch 'Apple Intelligence' at WWDC 2024: Apple has introduced "Apple Intelligence," a new AI system aiming to provide more personalized experiences to its 2.2 billion device users. Partnering with OpenAI, Apple will integrate ChatGPT to enhance capabilities like answering complex queries and composing messages. The system, showcased at the Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC), emphasizes user privacy with most processing done on-device, and larger AI models running on Apple’s Private Cloud Compute. Despite criticism and competitive pressure from rivals, Apple’s initiative marks a significant step in AI integration, aiming to boost its market presence and device functionality amidst recent market challenges.

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🔍 Singapore Tightens Oversight on Family Offices and Hedge Funds: Singapore is enhancing its regulatory scrutiny over family offices and hedge funds amid rising concerns about financial transparency and compliance. The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) plans to implement stricter guidelines and reporting requirements to ensure these entities adhere to robust governance and risk management practices. This move aims to maintain Singapore’s reputation as a trusted financial hub while addressing potential vulnerabilities in its rapidly growing wealth management sector. The enhanced oversight reflects a broader global trend towards increased regulation of private investment vehicles.

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💬 Nvidia's Stock Split Fuels Speculation of Dow Jones Inclusion: Nvidia’s recent 10-for-1 stock split has sparked discussions about its potential inclusion in the Dow Jones Industrial Average. The split lowers the per-share price, making Nvidia stock more accessible to retail investors, while increasing its outstanding shares without affecting market valuation. Analysts suggest this move positions Nvidia as a strong contender to join the blue-chip index, potentially replacing Intel. Despite some expected short-term volatility, the stock split aligns Nvidia with the criteria for Dow inclusion, reflecting its significant market influence and recent achievements in AI technology.

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🚀 Apple Surpasses Microsoft as World's Most Valuable Company Amid AI Advancements: Apple has reclaimed its position as the world's most valuable company, surpassing Microsoft. This shift follows a 4% surge in Apple’s stock, pushing its market value to $3.29 trillion, compared to Microsoft’s $3.24 trillion. The increase in valuation aligns with the Nasdaq hitting a record high amid cooling inflation. The boost in Apple's stock is attributed to the unveiling of AI-powered features and software enhancements at its recent developer conference, which analysts predict will drive iPhone sales and solidify Apple’s dominance in AI technology.

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📊 AI's Growing Role in Investment Decisions: Asset managers are increasingly leveraging artificial intelligence (AI) to enhance investment decisions and identify profitable opportunities. Companies like JPMorgan are expanding AI tools such as "Moneyball" to help portfolio managers avoid biases and improve performance. Voya Investment Management uses AI to flag potential risks in stock investments, complementing human analysts. Additionally, Legalist employs AI to spot promising litigation finance cases. Despite these advancements, some skeptics argue that AI's focus remains on short-term gains rather than long-term earnings potential, raising questions about its overall impact on investment strategies.

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🔄 Elon Musk Redirects Nvidia AI Chips from Tesla to X: Elon Musk directed Nvidia to ship thousands of AI chips, initially reserved for Tesla, to his social media platform X (formerly Twitter) and his AI startup xAI. This decision delayed Tesla's receipt of over $500 million worth of GPUs, potentially impacting Tesla's plans to advance its autonomous vehicle technology and robotics. The move has raised concerns among Tesla shareholders about Musk's commitment to Tesla, as he juggles multiple ventures, including SpaceX and Neuralink. Critics highlight potential conflicts of interest and question whether Musk's allocation of resources among his companies is in the best interest of Tesla.

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🔝 Nvidia Set to Overtake Apple as Second Most Valuable Company: Nvidia is on the verge of surpassing Apple to become the world’s second most valuable company, driven by its dominant position in the AI chip market. Nvidia's stock surged by 3.9%, raising its market value to $2.88 trillion, just behind Apple’s $2.92 trillion. This leap comes after Nvidia's impressive earnings report, highlighting its strong performance and growing demand for its AI hardware and software solutions. The company’s success underscores the increasing importance of AI technology and its impact on the tech industry's competitive landscape.

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📈 Eurozone Business Activity Hits Year-High Expansion: Business activity in the Eurozone surged in May, achieving its fastest growth rate in over a year. The HCOB flash composite PMI rose to 54.4 from April's 53.3, driven by a robust services sector and steady manufacturing output. This expansion indicates a strong economic performance across the region, buoyed by a recovery in consumer demand and increased spending in sectors like travel and leisure. However, challenges persist, with inflationary pressures and potential interest rate hikes posing risks to sustained growth. Despite these hurdles, the Eurozone economy shows resilience, maintaining a positive outlook amid global uncertainties.

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Weekly News 06.06.24

Private & public markets in the Baltics & Nordics

VC news

🇪🇪 Eleport and Carrefour Polska Partner: Estonian electric vehicle charging company Eleport has partnered with Carrefour Polska to install EV chargers at Carrefour stores in Poland. This collaboration aims to support sustainable mobility and enhance customer convenience.

🇪🇪 SensusQ Secures €4.7M for Defense Solutions: Estonian startup SensusQ raised €4.7M in funding led by New North Ventures to enhance its AI-powered defense intelligence platform. The investment will support the development and deployment of advanced situational awareness and decision-making tools for military and defense applications, aiming to improve operational efficiency and security measures.

🇪🇪 Helmes Acquires Trinidad Wiseman: Estonian IT firm Helmes has acquired Trinidad Wiseman, a digital transformation and UX/UI design company, to strengthen its service offerings. This acquisition will enable Helmes to enhance its capabilities in digital innovation and user experience, expanding its reach in the Baltic and Nordic markets.

🇱🇻 Mapon Acquires Trackon: Latvian fleet management company Mapon has acquired Trackon to expand its service offerings. This acquisition will strengthen Mapon’s market position in fleet management and telematics solutions across Europe.

🇱🇻 RivalSense Raises Funding: Riga-based startup RivalSense secured funding to develop its competitive intelligence platform. This investment will enhance their AI capabilities, allowing businesses to gain deeper insights into market trends and competitor strategies, and will support expansion into new markets.

🇱🇹 Spike Raises €3.2M: Lithuanian startup Spike secured €3.2M to enhance its GenAI-powered platform designed for healthcare enterprises. This funding round, led by Practica Capital, will support Spike in scaling its operations and expanding its solutions for automating patient interactions and streamlining administrative tasks, helping healthcare providers improve efficiency and patient care.

🇱🇹 Joiner App Raises Funding for Expansion: Lithuanian startup Joiner App has secured €750K to fuel its growth and expand its smart property management platform. This funding will support product development and help the company scale its operations in the real estate sector, providing advanced tools for property management and enhancing user experience.

🇫🇮 Realm Raises €1.7M: Finnish startup Realm raised €1.7M to expand its platform for managing digital assets in the metaverse. The funds will be used to enhance its technology and scale operations in new markets.

🇫🇮 Audicin Raises €520K Pre-Seed: Finnish startup Audicin secured €520K in pre-seed funding to develop its AI-driven platform for diagnosing and managing hearing disorders. Led by Estonian and Finnish investors, the funding will accelerate product development and support the company's entry into the market, focusing on innovative solutions for hearing healthcare.

🇸🇪 Doconomy Raises €34M: Swedish impact tech company Doconomy raised €34M in a Series B round to expand its digital tools for carbon tracking and environmental impact measurement. The funding will help scale its global operations and enhance its platform's capabilities.

🇸🇪 CheckProof Raises Funding: Swedish startup CheckProof received undisclosed funding to enhance its digital platform for quality and safety management in industrial operations. The investment will support product development and international expansion.

🇸🇪 Natural Cycles Raises $50.8M Series C: Stockholm-based Natural Cycles raised $50.8M in Series C funding to make hormone-free birth control more accessible. The round will support the global expansion of its app, which helps women track fertility cycles.

🇸🇪 Syre Raises €100M Series A: Stockholm-based Syre secured €100M in Series A funding to advance its green hydrogen production technology. This substantial investment will help scale their electrolysis technology, supporting sustainable hydrogen production and enabling entry into new markets.

Baltic Public Markets Update

Week 22 in the Baltic financial markets sees Nordic Fibreboard continuing its takeover offer period. Admiral Markets and LHV Group hold their annual general meetings. Amber Beverage Holding releases a 3-month interim report, while TextMagic and Hepsor disclose sales figures. Šiaulių bankas, DelfinGroup, and Linas Agro Group announce coupon payments. Dividend ex-dates and record dates occur for companies like Latvijas Gāze and LHV Group. Additionally, Merko Ehitus and Enefit Green provide operational updates.

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Important global news this week in economy, finance & tech

📊 AI's Growing Role in Investment Decisions: Asset managers are increasingly leveraging artificial intelligence (AI) to enhance investment decisions and identify profitable opportunities. Companies like JPMorgan are expanding AI tools such as "Moneyball" to help portfolio managers avoid biases and improve performance. Voya Investment Management uses AI to flag potential risks in stock investments, complementing human analysts. Additionally, Legalist employs AI to spot promising litigation finance cases. Despite these advancements, some skeptics argue that AI's focus remains on short-term gains rather than long-term earnings potential, raising questions about its overall impact on investment strategies.

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🔄 Elon Musk Redirects Nvidia AI Chips from Tesla to X: Elon Musk directed Nvidia to ship thousands of AI chips, initially reserved for Tesla, to his social media platform X (formerly Twitter) and his AI startup xAI. This decision delayed Tesla's receipt of over $500 million worth of GPUs, potentially impacting Tesla's plans to advance its autonomous vehicle technology and robotics. The move has raised concerns among Tesla shareholders about Musk's commitment to Tesla, as he juggles multiple ventures, including SpaceX and Neuralink. Critics highlight potential conflicts of interest and question whether Musk's allocation of resources among his companies is in the best interest of Tesla.

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🔝 Nvidia Set to Overtake Apple as Second Most Valuable Company: Nvidia is on the verge of surpassing Apple to become the world’s second most valuable company, driven by its dominant position in the AI chip market. Nvidia's stock surged by 3.9%, raising its market value to $2.88 trillion, just behind Apple’s $2.92 trillion. This leap comes after Nvidia's impressive earnings report, highlighting its strong performance and growing demand for its AI hardware and software solutions. The company’s success underscores the increasing importance of AI technology and its impact on the tech industry's competitive landscape.

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📈 Eurozone Business Activity Hits Year-High Expansion: Business activity in the Eurozone surged in May, achieving its fastest growth rate in over a year. The HCOB flash composite PMI rose to 54.4 from April's 53.3, driven by a robust services sector and steady manufacturing output. This expansion indicates a strong economic performance across the region, buoyed by a recovery in consumer demand and increased spending in sectors like travel and leisure. However, challenges persist, with inflationary pressures and potential interest rate hikes posing risks to sustained growth. Despite these hurdles, the Eurozone economy shows resilience, maintaining a positive outlook amid global uncertainties.

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Weekly News 30.05.2024

News (economy, finance & tech) and indicators this week by fff.vc team 🟠:

🚨 Nordic Insider Trading Probe Involves Private Equity Employees: A Nordic insider trading investigation has implicated several private equity employees. Authorities are scrutinizing alleged illegal trades and possible breaches of financial regulations within the sector. This probe highlights ongoing concerns about insider trading and compliance in the private equity industry, emphasizing the need for stringent regulatory oversight and ethical standards to maintain market integrity. The investigation could lead to significant legal consequences and reforms aimed at preventing future misconduct.

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💵 Robinhood Announces $1 Billion Stock Buyback Plan: Trading app Robinhood has unveiled its first-ever stock buyback program, committing $1 billion to repurchase shares. This move aims to enhance shareholder value and demonstrates the company's confidence in its long-term growth prospects. The buyback plan comes amid market volatility and reflects Robinhood's strategy to optimize its capital structure and support its stock price.

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💼 AuditBoard Achieves Largest VC-Backed Exit of 2024: AuditBoard, a leading governance, risk, and compliance software provider, has secured the largest venture capital-backed exit of 2024. The company's successful exit underscores the growing importance of risk management and compliance solutions in the corporate sector. This milestone highlights the significant returns for investors and reflects the robust market demand for innovative enterprise software solutions. The exit sets a new benchmark in the VC landscape, showcasing the potential for substantial growth and profitability in this sector.

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🤖 OpenAI Begins Training New Flagship AI Model: OpenAI has announced the commencement of training for its new flagship artificial intelligence model, set to succeed its previous iterations. This next-generation model aims to enhance AI capabilities, promising advancements in natural language understanding, contextual awareness, and overall performance. The development reflects OpenAI's commitment to pushing the boundaries of AI technology and maintaining its leadership in the field. As the training progresses, the new model is expected to bring significant improvements and innovative applications across various domains.

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Private & public markets in the Baltics & Nordics

VC news

🇪🇪 Esgrid Secures €500K Pre-Seed: Estonian startup Esgrid raised €500K to develop its sustainability management platform, helping companies track and improve their environmental impact.

🇪🇪 Beholder Wins €600K: Estonian AI startup Beholder won €600K at the Latitude59 pitch competition for its AI-driven video analysis technology.

🇱🇻 Medon Raises €325K: Latvian telemedicine platform Medon secured €325K from local investors, including business angel Martins Singers. Founded in 2021, Medon offers online medical consultations in 27 specialties and plans to expand services in India, the UAE, and Saudi Arabia.

🇱🇹 iDenfy Partners with Henoscene: Lithuanian regtech iDenfy has partnered with Henoscene to integrate its KYC software into Henoscene’s blockchain platform. This collaboration enhances data protection and user verification, promoting secure and transparent blockchain campaigns.

🇱🇹 AMLYZE Partners with Aura Cloud: Lithuanian regtech AMLYZE has teamed up with Swedish fintech Aura Cloud to improve financial crime prevention solutions, enhancing their joint capabilities in the fintech sector.

🇱🇹 Unmanned Defense Systems Raises €3.2M: Lithuanian company Unmanned Defense Systems secured €3.2M to advance its UAV technology, focusing on enhancing its capabilities in defense applications.

🇱🇹 Livonia Partners Invests in Telema: Baltic private equity firm Livonia Partners invested in Estonian EDI service provider Telema to support its growth and market expansion.

🇫🇮 Fiberwood Raises €7.7M: Finnish startup Fiberwood has raised €7.7M to scale up its production of sustainable insulation materials made from wood fibers, supporting the growth of eco-friendly construction solutions.

🇫🇮 RoadCloud Acquired by Goodyear: Finnish startup RoadCloud, specializing in road condition data, has been acquired by The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company. This acquisition aims to enhance Goodyear's tire intelligence capabilities.

📈Baltic Public Markets Update:

Week 21 in the Baltic financial markets features Nordic Fibreboard continuing its takeover offer, and Rīgas kuģu būvētava presenting its 12-month interim report. Amber Beverage Holding, TextMagic, and Marijas 2 hold extraordinary general meetings. Lietuvos Jūras medicīnas centrs, Latvijas Gāze, and Grigeo release interim reports. Companies such as Linda Nektar, Harju Elekter Group, and Siguldas ciltslietu un mākslīgās apsēklošanas stacija have dividend dates. Additionally, Ignitis grupė, Citadele banka, and DelfinGroup make coupon payments.

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Weekly News 23.05.2024

News (economy, finance & tech) and indicators this week by fff.vc team 🟠:

🏢 London Retains Top Spot for European Financial Investors; Paris Ranks Second: London continues to be the preferred destination for financial investors in Europe, maintaining its position as the primary hub for investment activities. Despite Brexit uncertainties, the city's robust financial infrastructure and global connectivity bolster its appeal. Paris follows closely, emerging as the second-choice destination for investors, driven by efforts to enhance its attractiveness through regulatory reforms and infrastructure development. This ranking underscores the enduring significance of London and the growing competitiveness of Paris in the European financial landscape.

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💻 Microsoft Introduces AMD as Alternative to Nvidia for AI Processors in Cloud Services: Microsoft announces the integration of AMD processors as an alternative to Nvidia for its cloud customers' AI computing needs. This move offers customers greater flexibility and choice in selecting hardware for their AI workloads, potentially fostering competition and innovation in the cloud computing market. Microsoft's decision reflects a strategic effort to diversify its offerings and cater to the evolving demands of AI-driven applications, expanding the options available to cloud users for optimized performance and cost efficiency.

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🗣️ Scarlett Johansson Alleges OpenAI Used Her Voice Without Consent: Scarlett Johansson accuses OpenAI of using her voice without permission. The actor raises concerns about the unauthorized utilization of her voice for AI-generated content, highlighting potential legal and ethical implications. Johansson's statement brings attention to the complexities surrounding intellectual property rights in AI development and the need for transparent practices in utilizing celebrity voices for synthetic media.

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🏈 Private Equity Groups Push for Stake in College Sports Amid Critical Juncture: As college sports face pivotal challenges, private equity groups are actively pursuing investment opportunities in this sector. With shifting dynamics and financial strains exacerbated by the pandemic, private equity firms see potential for lucrative returns by acquiring stakes in collegiate athletics programs. This trend reflects broader industry changes and raises questions about the long-term implications of commercialization on the integrity and governance of college sports.

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📊 European Private Equity Groups Extend Asset Holding Periods: European private equity firms are facing pressure to prolong the duration of their asset holdings. This shift reflects challenges in the investment landscape, potentially influenced by factors such as market volatility, regulatory changes, and economic uncertainties. As private equity groups adapt their strategies to navigate these conditions, longer asset holding periods could become a prevalent trend in the European market, impacting investment dynamics and portfolio management approaches.

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Private & public markets in the Baltics & Nordics

VC news

🇪🇪 Nanordica Medical Raises €1.75M: Estonian startup Nanordica Medical, which develops antibacterial wound care products, raised €1.75M led by Specialist VC, with Superangel and Amalfi participating. Founded in 2019, they created a wound dressing using copper and silver nanoparticles. It heals wounds faster than current silver-based dressings. Plans include a larger trial in 2024 and launching a human product in 2025.

🇪🇪 CARÁ Health Raises €620K: Estonian startup CARÁ Health secured €620K to enhance maternity support services and expand into the DACH region. The round was led by Tera Ventures with participation from StartupIst Ventures.

🇪🇪 Zero Terrain Granted €1.98M: Estonian company Zero Terrain received a €1.98M grant for its pumped-hydro energy storage project in Paldiski. This initiative, supported by the Estonian government, will develop the country's first long-duration energy storage plant, significantly enhancing Estonia's renewable energy capabilities.

🇪🇪 Plural Raises Additional €100M: Estonian venture capital firm Plural, founded by Sten Tamkivi and Taavet Hinrikus, has raised an additional €100M for its fund, bringing the total to €500M. This extra capital will be used to support existing portfolio companies. Plural focuses on early-stage European startups in AI, frontier tech, consumer, climate, and energy sectors.

🇱🇹 Pixevia Raises €1.5M: Lithuanian startup Pixevia secured €1.5M to expand its AI-powered, cashier-less stores in the US and Europe. The funds will support new stores in high-traffic areas like sports arenas and airports.

🇱🇹 Evergrowth Merges with Apolo: Lithuanian startup Evergrowth has merged with Apolo to combine their expertise in SaaS and AI technologies. This merger aims to enhance their market presence and service offerings.

🇫🇮 Enifer Raises €36M: Finnish biotech Enifer secured €36M to build a factory in Kirkkonummi for producing PEKILO fungi-based protein. Investors include Taaleri Bioindustry Fund I, Nordic Foodtech VC, Voima Ventures, Valio, and Laine Holding, along with loans from the Finnish Climate Fund and Finnvera. The factory will produce 3,000 tons of protein annually.

🇫🇮/🇬🇧 Reactive Technologies Raises $25M: UK-Finnish company Reactive Technologies raised $25M in a Series D round to expand its grid stability solutions globally. Investors include Breakthrough Energy Ventures, Eaton, and the European Investment Bank.

🇫🇮 QA Tech Raises €3M: Finnish QA Tech raised €3M in seed funding to develop its software quality assurance solutions. The round was led by Nordic VC firms.

🇫🇮 Nosto Secures Over €7M: Finnish company Nosto received over €7M from Nordic Secondary Fund to enhance its AI-powered Commerce Experience Platform (CXP). This platform helps brands and retailers improve online revenue through personalized customer experiences, supporting over 1,500 brands globally.

🇸🇪 Leya Raises $10.5M: Swedish startup Leya secured $10.5M to advance its AI technology for legal work. The funding will help expand their services, aiming to streamline legal processes with AI integration.

📈Baltic Public Markets Update:

Week 20 in the Baltic financial markets includes Nordic Fibreboard continuing its takeover offer period, and Rīgas kuģu būvētava presenting its 12-month interim report. Amber Beverage Holding and Storent Holding release their audited annual and 3-month interim reports respectively. TextMagic and Rīgas kuģu būvētava hold Extraordinary General Meetings. LHV Group, Enefit Green, Novaturas, and others announce sales figures, annual meetings, and interim reports. Multiple companies, including EfTEN United Property Fund and KN Energies, declare dividend dates and ex-dates.

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Weekly News 16.05.2024

News (economy, finance & tech) and indicators this week by fff.vc team 🟠:

🔍 Google Unveils AI-Enhanced Search Experience at Google I/O 2024: During Google I/O 2024, Google showcased its revamped search experience, infused with artificial intelligence (AI). The upgraded search engine aims to deliver more personalized and contextually relevant results to users. By leveraging AI algorithms, Google intends to enhance user satisfaction and engagement with its search platform. Additionally, Google introduced new features such as improved voice search capabilities and enhanced visual search, signaling its commitment to innovation in the search space and its ongoing efforts to maintain its position as a leader in the industry.

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💻 OpenAI Launches New AI Model and Desktop Version of ChatGPT: OpenAI has introduced a new AI model and desktop version of its popular language model, ChatGPT. This latest release aims to bring the power of AI-driven conversational agents directly to users' desktops, enabling seamless interaction with AI assistants for various tasks. The new model incorporates advancements in natural language processing and understanding, enhancing its ability to generate coherent and contextually relevant responses. By making ChatGPT more accessible through a desktop version, OpenAI seeks to empower users with AI-driven capabilities for productivity, creativity, and entertainment.

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📊 Global Investment Trends Reflect Confidence Amid Rate Cut Speculations: In the week ending, investors displayed confidence in global equity funds, driven by expectations of Federal Reserve interest rate cuts following a softer U.S. employment report. European equity funds led the surge with consecutive weeks of net buying, while sectoral equity funds experienced outflows. Concurrently, debt funds and money market funds attracted significant inflows, signaling a cautious yet optimistic sentiment. In commodities, precious metal funds saw withdrawals, contrasting with a slight uptick in emerging market equity fund purchases, indicating a nuanced investment landscape amidst evolving economic uncertainties.

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Private & public markets in the Baltics & Nordics

VC news

🇪🇪 Vool Raises €300K for EV Charging Solutions: Estonian startup Vool has raised €300K to advance its electric vehicle charging solutions. The investment will help Vool expand its product offerings and support its growth in the EV charging market.

🇪🇪 Skeleton Technologies to Build Factory in France: Estonian company Skeleton Technologies will invest €600 million over five years to build a supercapacitor plant in Toulouse, France. Production is expected to start in 2027, enhancing their battery technology capabilities and expanding their European presence.

🇱🇹 Liledu Secures €500K in Funding: Lithuanian toy subscription service Liledu has raised €500K to expand its operations. The company offers a subscription service for educational toys, aiming to enhance children's learning experiences through play.

🇸🇪 ArgusEye Raises €2.8M: Stockholm’s ArgusEye secured €2.8 million to enhance its Auga sensor system, which uses LSPR technology to improve bioprocessing. This investment will help expand their platform into upstream bioprocessing, transforming biotherapeutic development.

🇸🇪 Grasp Raises €1.7 Million: Stockholm-based Grasp secured €1.7 million to enhance its AI assistant platform for investment banks and consultants. Launched in December 2023, Grasp’s platform automates complex tasks and has quickly gained traction in 15 countries.

🇫🇮 Gorilla Capital Invests in BeiZ Oy (Lola Panda): Helsinki-based Gorilla Capital has invested in BeiZ Oy, the developer of the Lola Panda educational games. With over 40 million downloads in 12 languages, these apps make learning fun for children. The funding will support the new Lola World app to expand their educational reach.

🇫🇮 Voima Ventures Co-Leads €2.8M Investment in ArgusEye: Nordic early-stage investor Voima Ventures and Eir Ventures co-led a €2.8 million investment in Stockholm-based ArgusEye. The funding will support the development of ArgusEye's nanoplasmonic detection sensor systems for real-time monitoring of biological processes, aiding in the creation of new biomedicines.

🇱🇻 AM Craft Secures €600K Pre-Seed Funding: Riga-based AM Craft raised €600K to launch a 3D printing hub in Dubai for aerospace-certified parts. Led by Change Ventures, this hub is part of their plan to create a global network for rapid, sustainable part sourcing.

🇱🇻 Cellbox Labs Raises €935K: Latvian biotech startup Cellbox Labs has raised €935K in a pre-seed round to develop its cell-based assays for drug testing and research. The funding will accelerate product development and support the company's growth in the biotech sector.

🇱🇻 LongeVC Joins $2.35M Round for CatenaBio: Latvian venture capital firm LongeVC has joined a $2.35M seed round for CatenaBio, a startup focused on developing AI-driven drug discovery technologies. The investment will help CatenaBio advance its research and development efforts.

📈Baltic Public Markets Update:

Week 19 in the Baltic financial markets features numerous financial activities. Nordic Fibreboard continues its takeover offer period, while Lietuvos Respublikos Vyriausybė proceeds with a government securities auction. Amber Beverage Holding releases its audited annual report. CrossChem, Baltic Horizon Fund, UAB Legal Balance, and Banga Ltd make coupon payments. Various companies, including Tallink Grupp, Coop Pank, and Merko Ehitus, hold annual general meetings. Interim reports will be released by companies such as Infortar, DelfinGroup, and Tallinna Sadam, with several companies also announcing dividend ex-dates.

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Weekly News 09.05.2024

News (economy, finance & tech) and indicators this week by fff.vc team 🟠:

🛴 Bolt Expands U.S. Scooter Operations Amid IPO Preparations: Estonian company Bolt Technology OU, known for its ride-hailing and delivery services, is preparing to launch scooter rentals in major U.S. cities like Los Angeles, Seattle, and Austin. As part of its expansion, Bolt is hiring general managers to oversee these operations and foster relationships with city officials, aiming to enhance e-scooter rider experiences. This move sets Bolt up against competitors like Lime, which is also expanding its fleet with a $55 million investment this year. Both companies are gearing up for potential public offerings, navigating a challenging landscape marked by regulatory hurdles and competitive pressures.

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📉 Sweden's Riksbank Cuts Rates to Spur Economy: Sweden's Riksbank has reduced its key interest rate to 3.75% from 4.00%, marking its first rate cut since 2016 and planning two more later in the year if inflation remains mild. This cautious approach aims to stimulate Sweden's economy, which has been under pressure, with a particular concern about a weaker crown impacting inflation. The Riksbank is moving carefully, with broader economic challenges and the potential risks of a devalued currency guiding its policy decisions.

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🔍 OpenAI Develops Web-Searching ChatGPT Feature: OpenAI is working on a new feature for ChatGPT that allows it to search the web and provide sourced answers, potentially setting it up as a direct competitor to Google and AI search startup Perplexity. This development would enable ChatGPT to answer queries with web-sourced information, complete with citations to reliable sources like Wikipedia and relevant blogs. An interesting aspect of this feature includes the integration of images that correspond to user queries, such as diagrams for instructional responses. This move is part of OpenAI's broader strategy to enhance ChatGPT’s functionality amidst increasing competition from other tech firms and AI-driven search initiatives.

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🌍 Global Clean Energy Milestone Achieved: Last year marked a significant achievement in global clean energy as wind and solar energy production propelled renewable sources to account for 30% of the world’s electricity. This surge, detailed in Ember's Global Electricity Review, indicates a pivotal shift towards clean energy, with a predicted decline in fossil fuel generation starting in 2024. The transition is supported by robust growth in solar energy, which has been the fastest-growing electricity source for 19 consecutive years. Despite high global emissions, the boom in renewables has brought the electric sector's carbon intensity to an all-time low. As renewables push fossil fuel use into decline, the report anticipates even more substantial decreases in fossil fuel reliance, coupled with an increasing role for solar in the global energy mix.

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Private & public markets in the Baltics & Nordics

VC news

🇪🇪 Bolt Secures €220M Credit Facility: Estonia's mobility unicorn, Bolt, has secured a €220M revolving credit facility to expand its sustainable transportation solutions, aiming to reduce car dependency and foster more eco-friendly urban mobility options.

🇪🇪 Stargate Hydrogen Raises €42M for Green Hydrogen: Stargate Hydrogen, from Tallinn, secures €42 million to advance its ceramic-based electrolyser technology, aiming to reduce the cost of green hydrogen production significantly.

🇱🇹 TransferGo Gains $10M for Asia-Pacific Expansion: Vilnius-based TransferGo has raised $10 million from Taiwania Capital to expand its money transfer services into the Asia-Pacific region, following a year of significant growth and profitability.

🇱🇹 Contrarian Ventures Invests in Ember: Vilnius-based Contrarian Ventures has joined a $14 million Series A round for Ember, a Scottish startup building an all-electric intercity bus network, aiming to expand sustainable transportation across Scotland and the UK.

🇸🇪 Stilfold Receives €429.3K for MetaFold Academy: Stockholm-based Stilfold has launched MetaFold Academy with a €429.3K grant from the EIT, aiming to boost green manufacturing in the automotive sector across Sweden, Greece, Italy, and Hungary.

🇫🇮 Vexlum Secures €2.4M Grant for Quantum Tech: Tampere-based Vexlum has received a €2.4 million grant from the EIC to enhance its semiconductor laser platform for advancing quantum computing and ultra-precision optical atomic clocks.

🇫🇮 Maire Secures €450K for Demand Analytics: Helsinki's Maire has raised €450K for its predictive analytics platform, providing online demand insights to help businesses optimize their product strategies. The funding supports further development and international expansion.

🇫🇮 Kvanted Leads €2.65M Round for Resoniks: Helsinki-based Kvanted leads a €2.65M investment in Resoniks, a The Hague-based startup using AI and acoustics for quality control in manufacturing. The funding will accelerate growth, enhance product offerings, and expand the team.

📈Baltic Public Markets Update:

Week 18 in the Baltic financial markets features a host of significant events, with many companies presenting their financial results and holding key meetings. Rīgas kuģu būvētava and AgroCredit Latvia continue to make their audited annual reports available. Nordic Fibreboard has announced a takeover offer period. A flurry of annual general meetings will take place, notably for Airobot Technologies, Kauno energija, Ekspress Grupp, and a substantial number of other companies like Šiaulių bankas, Utenos trikotažas, and INVL Technology. Additionally, Šiaulių bankas, Eleving Group, and Grenardi Group are involved in various financial transactions including coupon payments and interim reports. The week will conclude with further coupon payments by Eco Baltia and Integre Trans, and interim reports from companies like Tallinna Vesi and Tallink Grupp, along with the continued government securities auction by Lietuvos Respublikos Vyriausybė.

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Weekly News 02.05.2024

News (economy, finance & tech) and indicators this week by fff.vc team 🟠:

💼 U.S. IPO Market Surges, PE Firms Lag Behind: The U.S. IPO market has experienced a significant rebound, with the total volume of listings hitting $13.7 billion, more than tripling the amount from the same period last year. However, private equity (PE) firms have missed out on this boom, with only two major PE-backed IPOs raising about $1 billion. This marks a decline from 110 PE-backed IPOs in 2021, reflecting a slow recovery for PE exit strategies in a fluctuating market. Despite the overall market resurgence, PE firms remain cautious, potentially missing opportunities in a strengthening public market environment.

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📊 VCs Add Portfolio Sale Clause to Adapt to Market Conditions: As the startup exit landscape tightens, venture capitalists are increasingly incorporating a "portfolio sale clause" in funding round documents. This clause allows VCs to sell their shares without other investors blocking the sale or exercising co-sale rights, particularly useful for liquidating entire portfolios or specific stakes. Initially rare, this clause is gaining traction among funds needing to wind up or shift assets, as seen in Europe’s growing interest in continuation funds. While offering flexibility to VCs, it poses considerations for startups, who must ensure it doesn't lead to unfavorable changes in shareholder composition.

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🌐 AI Boosts Cloud Computing Growth for Tech Giants: Recent reports from major technology firms on Wall Street, including Amazon, Microsoft, and Alphabet, reveal better-than-expected sales in their cloud computing divisions, driven largely by burgeoning interest in artificial intelligence (AI). This surge reflects a robust rebound in corporate spending on cloud services, with the market valued at approximately $270 billion. Notably, Amazon's AWS reported a 17% growth rate, surpassing Wall Street's expectations and achieving a $100 billion annual run-rate for the first time. Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud also experienced significant growth, with increases of 31% and 28% respectively. This trend underscores AI's pivotal role in accelerating not only technological advancements but also the broader cloud spending, marking a shift from last year's cost-cutting measures.

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🌱 Microsoft and Brookfield's Major Renewable Energy Initiative: Microsoft has partnered with Brookfield Asset Management to develop over 10.5 gigawatts of renewable energy capacity, investing more than $10 billion. This project, set to unfold between 2026 and 2030 in the U.S. and Europe, is described as the largest single electricity purchase agreement between two corporate entities. The initiative, which may expand to Asia, Latin America, and India, will focus on wind, solar, and new carbon-free technologies. This massive renewable energy drive aims to support the increasing electricity demands fueled by AI development, semiconductor manufacturing, and the electrification of transport. Microsoft's goal is to match 100% of its electricity use with zero-carbon energy purchases by 2030.

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Private & public markets in the Baltics & Nordics

VC news

🇪🇪 Stargate Hydrogen Secures €42M: Tallinn's Stargate Hydrogen raises €42 million for advancing its ceramic-based electrolysers, aiming to reduce green hydrogen production costs. The round includes notable investors and grants from the IPCEI framework. Taavi Madiberk, founder of Skeleton Technologies, joins as Non-Executive Chairman.

🇱🇻 Orbit8 Raises €155K for AI Career Assistance: Riga's Orbit8 secures €155K towards a €200K goal to develop its AI-powered career guidance platform. Supported by BuilditAcc and local business angels, the startup aims to enhance career decision-making for parents, universities, and companies.

🇸🇪 X Shore Secures €8.5M for Electric Boat Innovation: Stockholm-based X Shore, a pioneer in electric maritime mobility, has raised €8.5 million to advance its sustainable electric boats. The funding will accelerate product development and expansion into new markets, particularly focusing on North America.

🇸🇪 Silo Team Raises $1.16M for Developer Turnover Solutions: Stockholm and UK-based Silo Team has secured $1.16 million in pre-seed funding to address challenges in developer turnover with advanced onboarding tools and AI-driven knowledge management, aiming to enhance productivity and collaboration within development teams.

🇸🇪 NOQX Secures Funding for Goal Management SaaS: Stockholm-based NOQX has raised an undisclosed amount in its first funding round, aiming to expand its goal management and OKR platform globally. The funding will support international sales and the development of its platform, particularly focusing on North America.

🇸🇪 Blykalla Raises €6.8M for SMR Industrialization: Stockholm-based Blykalla has secured €6.8 million to support the industrialization of its lead-cooled small modular reactors (SMRs), specifically the SEALER reactor, which offers a more sustainable and cost-effective alternative to traditional nuclear power for industrial decarbonization.

🇸🇪 Stilfold Launches MetaFold Academy with €5M: Stockholm-based Stilfold has launched the MetaFold Academy, backed by a nearly €5 million grant from the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) Manufacturing. The academy aims to advance green manufacturing practices in the automotive sector across Sweden, Greece, Italy, and Hungary, enhancing skills in eco-innovation, energy efficiency, and resource management.

🇫🇮 Kuva Space Wins €1.8M ESA Contract: Espoo-based Kuva Space has been awarded a €1.8 million contract from the European Space Agency to enhance border surveillance and crisis management capabilities across the Baltic region, using its advanced hyperspectral satellite technology and AI-driven insights.

🇫🇮 One Click LCA Acquires Buildrz: Helsinki-based One Click LCA, specializing in life-cycle assessment software, has acquired Paris-based Buildrz, known for its generative AI platform for real estate development. This acquisition strengthens One Click LCA’s comprehensive sustainability software platform, enhancing its AI capabilities and expanding its reach in the real estate development sector.

🇫🇮 One Click LCA Acquires Buildrz: Helsinki-based One Click LCA has acquired Paris-based Buildrz, a provider of generative AI software for real estate analysis. This acquisition is part of One Click LCA's strategy to become a comprehensive sustainability software platform for the construction sector, integrating Buildrz's AI capabilities to optimize building designs and enhance sustainability assessments.

📈Baltic Public Markets Update:

Week 17 in the Baltic financial markets is characterized by a variety of significant financial activities. Lietuvos Respublikos Vyriausybė maintains its presence with multiple government securities auctions. Several companies including LHV Group, Harju Elekter Group, and Telia Lietuva are set to release their interim reports for the first three months, providing current performance indicators. Rīgas kuģu būvētava and AgroCredit Latvia will be sharing their audited annual reports, offering a deeper insight into their fiscal standings. Dividend activities are noted for INVL Baltic Farmland and EfTEN Real Estate Fund, marking important dates for investors. Annual General Meetings are scheduled for Tallinna Sadam, Linda Nektar, and several other companies, which may indicate upcoming strategic decisions. The week also includes several coupon payment dates, impacting stakeholders in companies like DelfinGroup and Partnerystės Projektai Keturi UAB.

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Weekly News 25.04.2024

News (economy, finance & tech) and indicators this week by fff.vc team 🟠:

🚗 Tesla Initiates Price Cuts Amid Intense Market Competition: Tesla has aggressively cut prices across its models in the US, China, and Germany to counteract falling sales and heightened competition in the electric vehicle (EV) market. After reducing US prices, Tesla slashed prices in China by up to 14,000 yuan and in Germany by 2,000 euros. This strategic move aims to boost demand but has impacted Tesla's profit margins and stock value. The price cuts are part of a broader industry trend, with Chinese EV maker Li Auto and others also lowering prices, signaling a fierce price war in the world's largest EV market. Tesla's adjustments reflect challenges from competitors like BYD, which offers more affordable options, and new entrants like Xiaomi.

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🥇 Chinese Speculators Drive Gold Rally to Record Highs: Chinese traders have significantly influenced the gold market, propelling prices to unprecedented levels. The rally, particularly robust on the Shanghai Futures Exchange, saw gold futures soar, with one firm, Zhongcai Futures, holding a position worth nearly $4 billion. This surge, driven by geopolitical tensions and a shift from the US dollar among emerging market central banks, saw gold peak at $2,431 per troy ounce. The movement reflects a growing influence of speculative capital from emerging markets in global pricing, overshadowing traditional flows from Western exchange-traded funds.

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📈 Eurozone Business Activity Accelerates: Business activity in the Eurozone reached its fastest growth rate in nearly a year this April, with the HCOB flash composite PMI rising to 51.4 from March's 50.3, indicating expansion. This growth, driven primarily by the services sector, suggests steady economic momentum with forecasts pointing to a continued 0.3% GDP growth in Q2, matching Q1's performance. Despite potential challenges from rising input costs and external demand pressures, there is optimism about a possible ECB rate cut in June, albeit with a cautious approach anticipated due to ongoing inflation concerns.

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🚀 Microsoft Launches Phi-3-mini AI Model: Microsoft has introduced Phi-3-mini, a new cost-effective and lightweight AI model, as part of its initiative to develop small language models (SLMs) that are more accessible to businesses with limited resources. This model, which is the first in a series that includes Phi-3 Small and Phi-3 Medium, boasts 3.8 billion parameters and is designed for simpler tasks. Aimed at democratizing AI technology, Phi-3-mini is now available on Microsoft's cloud service Azure and other platforms. It's optimized for use with Nvidia's GPUs and integrated with Nvidia Inference Microservices for enhanced performance. This release reflects Microsoft's strategic shift towards providing scalable AI solutions that cater to a broader market, including enterprises facing technological and budget constraints.

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Private & public markets in the Baltics & Nordics

VC news

🇪🇪 10Lines Secures €1.5M for AI-Driven Line Marking: Tallinn-based 10Lines has raised €1.5 million to automate line marking operations using AI and robotics. This round, led by Tera Ventures and Karista, will support the company's expansion in the US market, enhancing the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of line marking with its innovative technology.

🇪🇪 Salesforge Raises €470K Pre-Seed for AI Sales Co-pilot: Salesforge, based in Tallinn, has secured €470,000 in pre-seed funding to develop an AI co-pilot for B2B sales. The investment will help build a platform that makes sales processes more efficient by personalizing and automating interactions, aiming to reshape the future of sales.

🇫🇮 HappySignals Raises €12M to Enhance IT Decision-Making: Helsinki's HappySignals has secured €12 million to expand its human-centric IT experience management platform. The funding, led by Mandatum Asset Management, will boost global expansion, empowering organizations to leverage employee experience data and AI to improve IT services and decision-making.

🇫🇮 Daze Raises Pre-Seed Funding: Helsinki-based e-commerce startup Daze has secured an undisclosed pre-seed investment from Antler and Wave Ventures. The funding will aid in team expansion and accelerate product development for Daze's innovative no-packaging, direct pickup return service for online shopping.

🇫🇮 ICEYE Raises $93M in Growth Funding: Finnish SAR satellite company ICEYE has secured $93 million in an oversubscribed growth funding round led by Solidium Oy. The investment will enhance ICEYE's SAR satellite constellation and expand its data products globally. ICEYE, having surpassed $100 million in revenue in 2023, aims to lead globally in SAR technology applications.

🇫🇮🇸🇪 Profilence and RemotiveLabs Partner for Automotive Quality: Finnish company Profilence and Sweden's RemotiveLabs have partnered to create advanced automotive infotainment quality testing solutions. The collaboration combines Profilence's stability analysis and RemotiveLabs' vehicle signal integration to streamline quality assurance processes in automotive infotainment systems.

🇸🇪 Gridly Secures $2.6M for Content Management: Swedish startup Gridly has raised $2.6 million in seed funding to refine its content management platform. This investment will support the enhancement of digital content management, making it faster, cheaper, and more scalable, addressing the increasing complexity brought about by AI advancements.

📈Baltic Public Markets Update:

Week 16 in the Baltic financial markets is marked by a variety of significant corporate events that demonstrate the region's financial dynamics. Lietuvos Respublikos Vyriausybė continues its government securities auctions, highlighting its ongoing fiscal initiatives. Nordecon and Novaturas are set to release their audited annual reports and sales figures respectively, providing insights into their operational success. An Extraordinary General Meeting for Snaigė suggests upcoming strategic developments. Dividend activities are notable this week with Šiaulių bankas and DelfinGroup reaching important dates in their dividend schedules. Other key financial events include coupon payments by Civinity, UPP & CO Kauno 53, and Eleving Group, as well as an annual general meeting for Coop Pank. The week wraps up with additional annual reports from Hepsor and Latvijas Gāze, and another annual meeting by NEO Finance.

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Weekly News 21.04.2024

Private & public markets in the Baltics & Nordics

VC news

🇪🇪 Outl1ne Acquired by Net Group: Tallinn-based Outl1ne has been acquired by Net Group to strengthen its capabilities in AI and large language models. Outl1ne will operate as a subsidiary, enhancing its innovative digital service offerings with greater resources.

🇱🇹 CTO2B Secures €1 Million Pre-Seed: Vilnius-based CTO2B raises €1 million pre-seed to automate DevOps on cloud infrastructure, facilitating easier management and operation of cloud resources for businesses, particularly in the fintech and SaaS sectors.

🇱🇹 BlackSwan Space Raises €760K Pre-Seed: Vilnius-based BlackSwan Space has secured €760K in pre-seed funding to pioneer satellite autonomy technologies. The investment will accelerate the development of their Mission Design Simulator and Vision Based Navigation hardware, enhancing autonomous space operations.

🇱🇹 Softloans Secures €1M Pre-seed: Vilnius's Softloans raises €1 million to expand its revenue-based lending solutions for SMEs, particularly those in e-commerce, enabling easier access to working capital.

🇱🇻 InGain Receives €650K Funding: Riga-based fintech InGain raises €650K to finalize its no-code SaaS platform for lending, aiming to make credit more accessible for SMEs across various industries.

🇸🇪 Saveggy Raises €1.76M to Combat Food Waste: Saveggy, a Lund-based startup, secures €1.76 million to advance its edible coating technology for fruits and vegetables, significantly extending their shelf life and reducing food waste.

🇸🇪 OlsAro Secures €2.5M Seed Funding: Gothenburg's OlsAro raises €2.5 million in seed funding to expand its AI-enabled crop breeding platform, focusing on developing climate-smart crops like salt-tolerant wheat to enhance food security and resilience in agriculture.

🇸🇪 Mimo Raises €18 Million: Mimo, a Swedish financial management platform, secures €18 million to simplify global payments and financial operations for SMBs, aiming to streamline financial management with its innovative B2B payments solution.

🇫🇮 NPHarvest Gains €2.2M for Nutrient Recycling: Finnish spin-off NPHarvest secures €2.2 million to deploy its technology for capturing and recycling nutrients from wastewater, promoting sustainability in agriculture and wastewater management.

🇱🇻 🇪🇪 🇸🇪 Baltic Startups Triumph at TechChill: Startups from Latvia, Estonia, and Sweden clinched the top prizes at TechChill. SUBmerge Baltic from Latvia won €10,000, Estonian Salesforge secured €250,000 in total funding, FleetFox from Estonia got €75,000, and Sweden's Silo Team won a €250,000 investment opportunity.

📈Baltic Public Markets Update:

This week, the Baltic financial markets showcase a series of key corporate events, reflecting the region's robust economic landscape. Government securities auctions by Lietuvos Respublikos Vyriausybė continue, underscoring the state's active role in the financial markets. Corporate governance developments are prominent with the scheduling of Extraordinary General Meetings for Silvano Fashion Group, indicating potential strategic changes. Investment opportunities are broadened with a public offering by Grenardi Group. Meanwhile, several companies, including TextMagic and Tallinna Sadam, are set to release their audited annual reports, providing valuable insights into their fiscal health and performance. This calendar of events highlights the dynamic nature and investment potential within the Baltic financial markets

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Important global news this week in economy, finance & tech


🚀 Top Countries for Startups Revealed: Finland, Estonia, and Lithuania lead as top havens for startups in 2024, according to Business Name Generator's study of 52 countries. These nations excel due to their high quality of life, advanced digital infrastructure, and supportive business environments, despite challenges like high living costs and regulatory complexities. Globally, Hungary, the Netherlands, and the UAE are highlighted as the best places to launch a startup, combining low business taxes, high GDP growth, and favorable living costs. These findings underscore the importance of strategic location choices for startup success, balancing economic opportunities with potential challenges.

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📊 Pension Funds Shift from Stocks to Bonds and Private Markets: Amid significant stock market gains, major pension funds are strategically reallocating billions from stocks to bonds and private markets. Following the S&P 500's 10% rise in the first quarter, Goldman Sachs estimates pensions will sell $325 billion in stocks this year, up from $191 billion in 2023. Notably, the California Public Employees' Retirement System (CalPERS) has reduced its stock target from 42% to 37%, opting instead to enhance investments in private equity and private debt. The New York State Common Retirement Fund is also adjusting its portfolio, reducing its stock allocation from 47% to 39%. These shifts aim to secure gains and mitigate risks amid rising interest rates, reflecting a broader trend towards diversification and stability in pension fund management.

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✈️ Telegram Set to Reach One Billion Users: Pavel Durov, founder of Telegram, predicts that the messaging app will surpass one billion monthly active users within the next year, describing its growth as "spreading like a forest fire." Currently at 900 million users, Telegram is a major player in the social media space, particularly influential in former Soviet states. Despite pressures from governments, Durov emphasizes Telegram’s commitment to neutrality, refusing to let the platform become a pawn in geopolitics. This stance, combined with robust security features and strategic management, positions Telegram for continued global expansion and influence.

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AI Surge Challenges Electricity Supply: The energy market is grappling with a significant increase in electricity demand due to the rapid expansion of data centers driven by booming artificial intelligence applications. In Sydney’s western suburbs, Endeavour Energy has received numerous connection requests that could potentially triple the power demand in the area. This spike is largely attributed to the escalating requirements for computing power necessary to support AI developments, presenting a critical challenge for both the energy market operator and electricity suppliers to accommodate within their demand projections.

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💼 Blackstone's Earnings Rise Slightly in First Quarter: Blackstone Inc, the world's largest private equity firm, reported a 1% increase in first-quarter distributable earnings, reaching $1.27 billion up from $1.25 billion the previous year. This rise was slightly above Wall Street's expectation, with distributable earnings per share at 98 cents versus the anticipated 96 cents. The increase was supported by a 12% rise in fee-related earnings to $1.2 billion, driven by strong fundraising activities. However, the firm saw a 25% drop in net profit from asset sales, totaling $293.3 million, as it cashed out fewer assets from its private equity and credit portfolios.

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Weekly News 14.04.2024

Private & public markets in the Baltics & Nordics

VC news

🇪🇪 SmartCap Revises Investment Strategy for Green Fund: Estonian fund management company SmartCap announces strategic changes to its Green Fund, increasing investment amounts and focusing on later-stage green technology startups. With a fund volume of €100 million, SmartCap aims to foster significant advancements in sustainable technologies, ensuring access to crucial capital for growth and expansion.

🇱🇹 TransferGo Receives $10M for APAC Expansion: Lithuanian-founded, UK-based fintech TransferGo secures $10 million from Taiwania Capital to expand its services in the Asia-Pacific region. Known for enabling easier cross-border payments, TransferGo aims to accelerate its growth and tackle the large remittance market dominated by traditional players like Western Union.

🇱🇹 BlackSwan Space Gains €760K for Satellite Autonomy: Vilnius's BlackSwan Space secures €760K in pre-seed funding to advance its autonomous satellite technology for complex space missions, enhancing in-orbit servicing and real-time satellite constellation simulations.

🇸🇪 Gilion Secures €10M for Growth Platform: Stockholm's Gilion raises €10 million in equity to expand its innovative growth analytics platform. This funding supports Gilion’s mission to provide startups with advanced tools for performance analysis and non-dilutive financing options, promoting sustainable business growth.

🇸🇪 Scayl Raises €100M for Fintech Lending: Stockholm-based Scayl has secured €100 million to revolutionize fintech lending across Europe. By providing a platform that connects fintech lenders with banks and credit institutions, Scayl facilitates faster and more efficient funding for SME and consumer loans.

🇸🇪 Alrik Secures €1M Seed Funding: Stockholm’s Alrik, specializing in fleet management software for the construction industry, raises €1 million from Pi Labs. The funding will enhance Alrik's software solutions, helping to reduce emissions and costs in construction logistics across Europe.

🇫🇮 Basemark Raises €22M for AR Driving Tech: Helsinki-based Basemark clinches €22 million in Series B funding to advance its automotive AR software, aiming to enhance safety in driving with augmented reality applications, gearing up for expansion in Europe, the US, and Asia.

🇫🇮 Alvar Pet Acquires Verkkokauppa Kivuton: Helsinki's Alvar Pet enhances its footprint in the Nordic pet health market by acquiring online retailer Verkkokauppa Kivuton. This acquisition, paired with a partnership with Juuri Partners, establishes the largest online store for pet health products in the Nordics, focusing on sustainable and tailor-made pet diets.

Baltic Public Markets Update

This week, the Baltic financial landscape is vibrant with significant activities across multiple sectors. The series of government securities auctions orchestrated by Lietuvos Respublikos Vyriausybė are a prominent feature, illustrating solid state-backed financial initiatives. Noteworthy corporate events include the Extraordinary General Meeting for Silvano Fashion Group, highlighting key strategic developments within these corporations. Additionally, the investment scene is enriched by public offerings from Grenardi Group, opening new channels for investor participation. Furthermore, critical financial disclosures are anticipated, with firms such as INVL Technology, Invalda INVL, and Rokiškio sūris expected to release their audited annual reports, providing essential insights into their operational performance and strategic planning.

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Important global news this week in economy, finance & tech

💼 Big Tech's Cash Dilemma Amid Regulatory Scrutiny: Leading tech giants—Apple, Amazon, Microsoft, Google, and Facebook—boast a collective $570 billion in cash and investments, dwarfing other nonfinancial S&P 500 companies. Despite their wealth, leveraging these funds proves tough due to intense regulatory oversight, which has thwarted acquisitions like Amazon's and Intel's recent attempts. Google, holding the largest reserve at $98 billion, contemplates a bold $40 billion bid for HubSpot, risking further regulatory backlash given its dominant market position.

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🌐 Global Equity Funds See Outflows Amid Economic Speculation: Global equity funds experienced $2.08 billion in outflows for the week ending April 3 due to uncertainties about potential Federal Reserve rate cuts. U.S. and European funds saw significant withdrawals, while Asian funds drew $2.02 billion. In contrast, bond funds garnered $14.71 billion in inflows, the most in four weeks, reflecting investor caution and a preference for bonds. Money market funds also saw significant interest, attracting $104.32 billion, the largest intake since January.

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🌍 Global Food Inflation Dips to Pre-War Levels: Food inflation in the OECD's 38 member countries fell to 5.3% in February, continuing a 15-month trend of declines from 6.3% in January. This decrease signals easing inflationary pressures, with food prices in the UK notably rising by only 5% over the past year, the lowest since early 2022. While food inflation cools, core inflation remains high at 6.4%, reflecting ongoing price stickiness in the services sector.

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🤖 Elon Musk Foresees AI Surpassing Human Intelligence by 2026: Elon Musk predicts that artificial intelligence (AI) could exceed human intelligence as early as 2026, sparking widespread debate among experts. In a recent interview, he suggested that the rapid advancement in AI might lead to machines that are smarter than any human within a few years. This prediction raises significant ethical and safety concerns, including fears about AI-generated misinformation and the potential existential risks posed by superintelligent AI systems. Skeptics argue that true intelligence requires consciousness, something AI has not yet achieved, and believe Musk’s timeline may be overly optimistic.

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🔌 Intel Introduces Gaudi 3 AI Chip to Challenge Nvidia: Intel has unveiled its new AI chip, Gaudi 3, which claims to be over twice as power-efficient and 1.5 times faster than Nvidia’s H100 GPU. Set for a Q3 release, Gaudi 3 is part of Intel’s push to capture a larger share of the AI chip market, currently dominated by Nvidia. The chip supports various configurations and is designed to train and deploy AI models more effectively. Intel is also fostering collaboration with tech giants like Google to develop non-proprietary software solutions, enhancing flexibility for AI developers.

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Weekly News 07.04.2024

Private & public markets in the Baltics & Nordics

🇪🇪 Elcogen Secures Over €140M for Clean Energy Expansion: Tallinn's Elcogen raises more than €140 million to boost its green hydrogen and electricity production capabilities. The funding, from investors including Hydrogen One Capital Growth, HD Hyundai, and strategic investor Baker Hughes, aims to scale up manufacturing in Tallinn and propel its innovative solid oxide technology, supporting the global transition to cleaner energy.

🇪🇪 SuperSimple Raises $2.2M for No-Code Data Platform: Tallinn-based SuperSimple has garnered $2.2 million from investors like Tera Ventures and Specialist VC. The startup's platform allows users to interact with data through a no-code UI or plain English, aiming to become the operating system for data integration and insights across companies.

🇪🇪 Flowstep Granted €1M by Enterprise Estonia: Tallinn-based Flowstep receives a €1 million grant from Enterprise Estonia to boost its UX copilot tool, aiding users in creating superior designs. This funding will accelerate their AI and Design research, supporting Flowstep's mission to enhance design processes with innovative technology.

🇸🇪 Gaia Biomaterials Attracts $5M for Eco-Friendly Alternatives: Helsingborg's Gaia Biomaterials secures $5 million in a rights issue led by Almi Invest Greentech, focusing on Biodolomer, a compostable material made from limestone, to replace fossil-based plastics globally.

🇸🇪 Skåne Ventures Collects €2.9M for Startup Ecosystem: A collaborative initiative by Minc, Ideon Science Park, Hetch, and Krinova, Skåne Ventures has raised €2.9 million to support early-stage startups in Sweden, aiming for innovation and societal impact.

🇸🇪 Ironic Biotech Secures €1M to Combat Iron Deficiency: Lund-based Ironic Biotech raises €1 million in pre-seed funding from Nordic Foodtech VC. The startup develops plant-derived proteins for high iron bioavailability, targeting global iron deficiency and anemia with a scalable, side-effect-free solution.

🇸🇪 Telness Tech Raises €5M for US Expansion: Stockholm's Telness Tech secures €5 million to expand its digital solutions for mobile operators into the US, funded by Industrifonden and Viltor (JCE Group). This investment fuels their mission to revolutionize telecom with full automation platforms, now serving 18 operators globally.

🇸🇪 Scayl's €100M for European Fintech Lenders: Emerging from stealth, Stockholm-based Scayl announces a massive €100 million funding to empower European fintech lenders with efficient, transparent financing. Founded by seasoned fintech veterans, Scayl aims to bridge the lending gap and foster financial innovation across the continent.

🇫🇮 Onego Bio's €37M Series A for Egg-free Protein: Helsinki's Onego Bio, advancing sustainable food solutions, secures a €37 million Series A led by NordicNinja VC. Their Bioalbumen, an animal-free egg white alternative, promises significant environmental benefits and aims to revolutionize the food industry with scalable production.

🇫🇮 Polar Night Energy's €7.6M Seed for Sand Battery Tech: Tampere's Polar Night Energy raises €7.6 million in seed funding, led by Jonathan Oppenheimer, for its innovative Sand Battery technology aimed at boosting renewable energy usage and reducing reliance on fossil fuels. This marks a major step towards their global expansion and tech enhancement.

🇫🇮 Klu Wins €200K at Arctic15 Helsinki: In an impressive win at Arctic15 Helsinki, Finnish data management startup Klu secures €200K, spotlighting their revolutionary approach to data accessibility. Their aim to streamline business data handling is poised for significant growth and enterprise adaptation.

📈Baltic Public Markets Update:

This week in the Baltic financial markets sees a flurry of corporate and governmental activity, underlining the region's vibrant economic landscape. Government securities auctions by Lietuvos Respublikos Vyriausybė demonstrate ongoing efforts in state financial stewardship. Notably, the Silvano Fashion Group and Grab2Go convene Extraordinary General Meetings, signifying pivotal moments for corporate governance and strategic direction. The financial markets are also attentive to public offerings from Grenardi Group and Citadele banka, introducing fresh opportunities for investors. Amidst these developments, a series of annual general meetings, dividend announcements, and the release of audited annual reports from key players such as TextMagic, EfTEN Real Estate Fund, and Tallinna Sadam provide comprehensive insights into the fiscal health and future prospects of Baltic enterprises.

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Important global news this week in economy, finance & tech

📈 Historic Quarter for US Equity Funds: In a record-breaking quarter since 2007, 64% of actively managed U.S. equity funds surpassed their Russell 1000 benchmarks, significantly up from 38% last year. This performance coincides with the S&P 500's remarkable 10.2% rise, its best start since 2019. The shift from megacap tech to broader stock gains was a key factor, with notable underperformance from Apple and Tesla benefiting funds underweight in these stocks. BofA highlights the potential for further market expansion and suggests leaning into value stocks.

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🌐 Eurozone Economic Recovery Gains Momentum: The Eurozone's economic recovery is gaining pace with the private sector experiencing a ten-month high in growth, thanks largely to a surge in the services sector. While optimism in business reaches a pre-pandemic high with Spain and Italy leading in service sector growth, rising oil prices present a potential challenge to future ECB rate decisions and inflationary pressures.

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🇬🇧 UK's Private Equity Sector Faces Potential Tax Hike: In 2022, UK private equity dealmakers earned £5bn in carried interest, spotlighting the debate over the taxation of such payouts. With the Labour party proposing an increase in the tax rate from 28% to 45%, there's concern over the potential impact on the industry and the risk of professionals moving abroad. The plan aims to raise an additional £400mn for the Treasury but could lead to significant financial implications.

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💼 Intel Faces $7 Billion Operating Loss in Foundry Business: Intel revealed a $7 billion operating loss in its foundry business for 2023, a stark increase from the previous year's $5.2 billion loss. This announcement marks a pivotal moment as Intel continues to advance its strategy under CEO Patrick Gelsinger, aiming for a turnaround by the mid-2030s, supported by significant funding from the CHIPS and Science Act and commitments from major companies.

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🔍 Google to Introduce Paid AI Search Features: Google is set to revamp its business model by offering paid "premium" AI enhancements to its search engine. Targeting subscribers of Google One and Workspace, this move is part of Google's strategy to integrate AI into its services without compromising its ad-supported search engine. The initiative aims to maintain Google's competitive edge in the AI landscape while safeguarding its substantial search advertising business. This move reflects Google's efforts to balance the adoption of AI innovations with the preservation of its $175 billion search advertising business amidst the growing competition from AI technologies like OpenAI's ChatGPT.

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Weekly News 24.03.2024

Private & public markets in the Baltics & Nordics

🇸🇪/🇪🇪 Crypto Rogue Games Gathers $1.5M for Web3 Gaming: Umeå and Tallinn-based Crypto Rogue Games secures $1.5M in seed funding to forge the future of web3 gaming. With a focus on developing immersive blockchain-powered games, their first title, "Crystals of Naramunz," promises a unique gaming experience combining action RPG elements with blockchain technology.

🇸🇪 BLIXT Sparks €5M Seed Investment: Stockholm's BLIXT electrifies the market with a €5M seed investment for its groundbreaking software-controlled electricity technology. Their innovations aim to enhance the efficiency and reliability of power systems, enabling smarter energy use and integration of renewable resources.

🇸🇪 CemVision Secures €10 Million for Green Cement: Stockholm-based CemVision bags €10M to lead innovation in the net-zero cement game. Their technology focuses on reducing the carbon footprint of cement production, a significant source of global CO2 emissions, aiming to transform the construction industry towards greater sustainability.

🇸🇪 Candela Charges Ahead with €25 Million: Candela, the Stockholm-based electric vessel maker, accelerates production with a €25M funding round. Their cutting-edge electric boats combine speed, range, and sustainability, setting a new standard for maritime transport and underscoring Sweden's leadership in clean energy solutions.

🇸🇪 Ingrid Secures €21M for E-commerce Innovation: Stockholm's Ingrid raises €21M to revolutionize e-commerce deliveries, led by Verdane with Schibsted Ventures participating. The funding will boost Ingrid's expansion across Europe, optimizing the retail and delivery experience.

🇫🇮 Perfat Technologies Innovates with €1M Seed: Helsinki-based Perfat Technologies secures a €1M seed round to revolutionize the food industry with its health-focused fat alternatives. Their innovative approach aims to create fats that not only taste good but also contribute to consumer health, marking a significant step forward in food science and nutrition.

🇫🇮 Steady Energy Warms Up with €10M: Steady Energy, based in Helsinki, raises €10M to develop nuclear-based carbon-neutral heating solutions. This funding will enable them to bring sustainable heating technologies to homes and offices, promising a greener future by reducing reliance on fossil fuels for heating.

Baltic Public Markets Update

This week, the Baltic financial markets are buzzing with key events, including government securities auctions by Lietuvos Respublikos Vyriausybė and a public offering from Storent Holding across Tallinn, Riga, and Vilnius. Important corporate gatherings are on the agenda, with Tallinna Kaubamaja Grupp holding its Annual General Meeting and INVL Baltic Real Estate, Coop Pank, and LHV Group presenting their audited annual reports. Meanwhile, Summus Capital and REFI Energy are set for coupon payments, and Tallinna Vesi is preparing for an Extraordinary General Meeting. These activities highlight a week filled with significant financial disclosures and meetings in the Baltic states. Nasdaq Baltic investor calendar - week 12/2024 →

Important global news this week in economy, finance & tech

🛍️ Investors Rally Behind European Consumer Stocks as Economic Optimism Surges: With growing confidence in the European economy, investors are flocking to European travel, retail, and luxury goods shares, anticipating a consumer spending spree on holidays and high-end items. Major companies like Renault and Stellantis have seen their stocks soar over 25% since early February, with Eventim and Pandora also enjoying significant gains. This investment trend is buoyed by the belief that central banks have managed to curb inflation without inducing a downturn, alongside expectations for the European Central Bank to cut rates soon. The Stoxx indices for European consumer discretionary shares and carmakers have risen notably, broadening the rally of the Stoxx Europe 600 index. Fund managers favor retailers and luxury groups, anticipating a brighter economic future for Europe, supported by a drop in natural gas prices and a reservoir of excess savings.

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🍏 Apple Considers Google's Gemini for iPhone AI: Apple Inc. is in discussions to integrate Google's Gemini, a set of generative AI models, into the iPhone's software to enhance new AI-driven features. Besides Google, Apple has also engaged with OpenAI as a potential AI model provider. This collaboration could extend the longstanding search partnership between Apple and Google, blending Gemini's capabilities with the billions of devices under Apple's ecosystem. While the specifics of the deal are still under negotiation, this move signals Apple's search for robust cloud-based generative AI functionalities, including image creation and text generation, to complement its own AI models focused on device-based operations.

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📊 Buyout Firms Seek Private Credit Solutions for Asset Liquidity: In the face of challenges offloading companies due to higher interest rates and valuation disputes, buyout firms are turning to the $1.7 trillion private credit market for solutions. Firms like Blackstone Inc., Goldman Sachs Group Inc., and Neuberger Berman Group are offering a lifeline through preferred equity investments, enabling private equity firms to return cash to investors during a period marked by slow asset sales and IPOs. This approach not only provides necessary liquidity but also allows private equity to bypass valuations that might not reflect their assets' perceived worth. With preferred equity investments yielding returns of 13% to 15% for credit firms, this strategy is emerging as a mutually beneficial solution amidst the current exit environment.

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🤖 AI Funding Soars but M&A Activity Lags: While venture funding for AI startups surpassed $50 billion in 2023, M&A activity in the sector has slowed, showing a 31% decline from the previous year. Despite high valuations and significant public market interest, with companies like Nvidia gaining prominence, most AI startups are seeing mergers and acquisitions as a more likely exit strategy than public offerings. However, this anticipated route has been quieter than expected, with fewer deals closing than in past years. This trend suggests a cautious market, where potential buyers may be waiting for valuations to adjust. The current environment poses challenges for startups seeking exits at peak valuations, indicating a potential reevaluation of investment strategies in the AI space.

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Weekly News 17.03.2024

Private & public markets in the Baltics & Nordics

🇪🇪 BotGuard OÜ Raises €12M for Cybersecurity: Tallinn-based BotGuard secures a €12M Series A investment led by MMC Ventures to protect SMEs from malicious bots. The funding will drive technology development, team expansion, and global scaling efforts.

🇪🇪 Latitude59 Announces Pitch Competition 2024: Estonia's premier tech conference, Latitude59, sets a €1M prize for its 2024 Pitch Competition, inviting entrepreneurs from Ukraine. It stands as the largest competition of its kind in the Nordic countries and Baltics, fostering innovation and collaboration.

🇪🇪 GScan's €3M Seed for Advanced Scanning: Estonian deep tech GScan garners €3M in seed funding for its cosmic ray muon tomography technology. Supported by notable investors, the company seeks to offer non-intrusive scanning solutions across various sectors, including defense, healthcare, and national security.

🇪🇪 Themo Secures €1.3M for Smart Energy Solutions: Estonian startup Themo, specializing in smart thermostats, raises €1.3 million in funding, led by renewable energy investor Sunly. Successful testing with Finland's Fingrid ensures Themo strengthens its market position, focusing on intelligent energy solutions that optimize electric heating based on market prices and allow participation in energy reserve markets.

🇱🇹 HeavyFinance Partners with EIF and InvestEU: Lithuanian fintech HeavyFinance teams up with the European Investment Fund and the InvestEU program, securing €50M to support agricultural SMEs' transition to greener farming practices in multiple European countries.

🇱🇹 Broswarm Raises $100K for Mine-Detecting Drones: Lithuanian startup Broswarm secures $100K to develop drones for landmine detection. The investment, led by ScaleWolf, aims to enhance demining operations worldwide, with a focus on saving lives and restoring land safety.

🇱🇻 Mapon's €3M Bond Issue for Fleet Management Growth: Riga-based Mapon raises €3M through a bond issue, aiming to finance acquisitions and bolster its European expansion. The fleet management solution provider plans to strengthen its market position and explore new territories.

🇸🇪 Younium's €2.7M Boost: Stockholm's Younium clinches €2.7M to enhance its SaaS platform for subscription management. Backed by Partinc Capital, Younium aims to solidify its European presence, supported by a strong performance with €4.8M in recurring revenue and 60% growth.

🇸🇪 Voi Accelerates with $25M Funding: Stockholm-based micromobility provider Voi raises $25M to expand its e-scooter and e-bike fleet across Europe. This round, participated by existing shareholders, fuels the company's fleet growth and sustainability goals, following a year of over 68 million rides and significant tenders in key cities.

🇸🇪 Legitify Raises €1.5M for Online Notarization: Stockholm and Dublin-based Legitify closes a €1.5M seed round to redefine the online notarization process. Verb Ventures leads the investment, aiming to streamline cross-jurisdictional certification and notarization for businesses and individuals with AI enhancements.

🇫🇮 Teamspective Secures €900K for Employee Engagement: Helsinki's Teamspective raises €900K in pre-seed funding to revolutionize employee engagement with its network-aware solutions. Backed by angel investors and Business Finland, the startup aims to enhance organizational health and performance through AI-powered insights.

🇫🇮 Sooma's €5M Funding for Depression Treatment: Helsinki-based Sooma secures €5M to expand its at-home depression treatment solutions. The investment, led by Voima Ventures and Verge HealthTech Fund, supports the development of Sooma’s neuromodulation devices for accessible mental health care.

🇫🇮 Tesi Exits Ultimate: Finnish Industry Investment Ltd (Tesi) exits Ultimate, an AI company acquired by Zendesk. This move integrates Ultimate's AI solutions into Zendesk's customer experience offerings, marking a successful journey of Finnish expertise in AI reaching global markets.

🇫🇮 Infinited Fiber Company Gathers €27M: Finnish Infinited Fiber secures €27M to advance its technology that transforms textile waste into sustainable fibers. Backed by prominent investors including Inditex Group, this funding propels the company towards launching its first commercial-scale fiber production facility.

🇫🇮 NordicNinja Leads $24M Round in Griffin: Finnish VC firm NordicNinja spearheads a $24M investment in Griffin, a UK-based Banking as a Service platform. This investment will scale Griffin's operations and enhance its banking infrastructure.

Baltic Public Markets Update

This week's financial agenda in the Baltic region is bustling with activities, ranging from government securities auctions by Lietuvos Respublikos Vyriausybė to sales figures announcements from Enefit Green, Coop Pank, and LHV Group. Noteworthy events include the initial listing of Sun Finance Treasury Limited and an investors event by Storent Holdings. Additionally, Storent Holdings is engaging in a public offering, and K2 LT is set to disclose its audited annual report, alongside scheduling a general meeting. A dividend payment date for Arco Vara and sales figures from Novaturas round off a week full of diverse financial events across the Baltic states. Nasdaq Baltic investor calendar - week 11/2024 →

Important global news this week in economy, finance & tech

📈 VCs Turn to Secondary Markets in 2024 for Liquidity: Amid a quiet IPO scene in Q1 2024, VCs are increasingly leveraging secondary markets for liquidity, sidestepping traditional public offerings. With major IPOs scarce and market conditions less than ideal, the secondary market's growth offers a compelling alternative. Companies like Stripe highlight this trend, opting for secondary sales over IPOs, while VCs and LPs find flexibility in managing their investments. This shift underscores a strategic pivot towards alternative liquidity avenues in the face of ongoing market challenges.

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🏘️ Real Estate Investment Alert from Blackstone's President: Blackstone Group President Jon Gray advises that now is the prime time to invest in real estate, suggesting the market has reached its lowest point and is on the brink of recovery. With interest rate cuts on the horizon, Gray sees current negativity as an opportunity for savvy investors. He notes the slump was driven by remote work impacts and rising interest rates but believes central bank rate cuts will soon boost the property market. Gray emphasizes seizing the moment in sectors like logistics, digital infrastructure, and student housing to capitalize on the coming uplift.

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📉 Global Corporate Defaults at a Peak Since the Financial Crisis: S&P Global Ratings reports an alarming increase in corporate defaults worldwide, reaching the highest pace since the global financial crisis, fueled by high interest rates and stubborn inflation. With 29 defaults recorded since the year's start, surpassing the early-year numbers since 2009, the crisis touches various sectors, notably health care and media. European companies are defaulting at a notably high rate, with eight defaults already, indicating a troubling trend. This surge in defaults, including notable names like AMC Entertainment, signals a challenging economic landscape ahead, with expectations for defaults to remain high, especially in Europe.

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📅 Fed Meeting March 2024: Holding Steady on Rates: The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) is set to meet on March 19-20, 2024, with expectations to maintain the current interest rate at 5.25%-5.50%. Despite previous aggressive rate hikes aimed at curbing inflation, the Fed signaled a potential for future rate cuts, depending on inflation's trajectory and economic conditions. This meeting follows a pause in rate changes since July 2023, reflecting a careful approach amid concerns about the banking sector, stock market stability, and global economic uncertainty. Investors and economists are keenly watching for any shifts in policy that could influence market dynamics and economic growth.

Read here →

🚗 Breakthrough in EV Battery Technology with Microsoft's Help: Microsoft and the U.S. Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory have made a significant leap in electric vehicle (EV) battery tech, potentially reducing lithium usage by up to 70%. By harnessing AI, researchers sifted through 32 million materials to find a solid-state electrolyte named N2116, marking a major step toward more sustainable EV batteries. This innovation addresses the environmental concerns associated with lithium mining and could lead to batteries with longer ranges, faster charging, and safer usage. The discovery of N2116 could pave the way for future batteries that eliminate the need for lithium, aligning with global efforts to find more eco-friendly power sources for EVs.

Read here →

Weekly News 10.03.2024

Private & public markets in the Baltics & Nordics

🇪🇪 Beast Powers Through to Poland: Estonian eco-friendly Tesla rental Beast zips into the Polish market, aiming to electrify with its sustainable mobility charm. Already cruising in 7 European territories, Beast is accelerating the green revolution, one Tesla at a time.

🇪🇪 Estonia Supports UK Startups Facing Regulatory Challenges: Estonia's Accelerate Estonia program offers a lifeline to UK startups struggling with regulatory and legal changes. It fosters experimental collaborations between businesses and one of the world's most digitally advanced governments, promising a sandbox for innovation and a potential route to EU scalability.

🇱🇹 Vinted's Fashionable Expansion: From Vilnius to Copenhagen, Vinted acquires Trendsales, Denmark's largest second-hand fashion marketplace. It's a stylish stride towards Nordic dominance, further weaving Vinted's mission to make second-hand the first choice across Europe.

🇱🇹 Argyle Nets $30M Series C: The US-Lithuanian Argyle secures a hefty $30M, led by Rockefeller Asset Management, turbocharging its automated income and employment verification platform. It's a data-driven dash towards operational efficiency, with Argyle's sights set on financial fluidity by 2026.

🇸🇪 eComID's AI-Driven €2.75M Debut: Stockholm's eComID lands a hefty €2.75M in pre-seed funding. This AI maven is on a mission to slash e-commerce returns, sweetening the deal for retailers and planet alike with smarter, sustainable shopping decisions.

🇸🇪 Rescue for Cake by CEO Espen Digernes: In the wake of bankruptcy, Cake, a Swedish electric motorbike manufacturer, has been acquired by Espen Digernes. The acquisition's impact on the company's future and its previous employees remains to be seen as it navigates through bankruptcy proceedings and aims to sustain its innovative electric motorcycles.

🇸🇪 Cellcolabs Raises $8.7M for Stem Cell Innovation: Swedish biotech startup Cellcolabs secures $8.7M to make high-quality stem cells accessible and affordable. Aiming to revolutionize healthcare with stem cells known for their regenerative properties, the company is backed by significant investment to scale up its operations and development.

🇫🇮 Kvanted Ignites €2M in SynergyXR: Finnish fintech Kvanted spearheads a €2M investment into Danish SynergyXR, powering up the future of XR-driven industrial transformation. It's a blend of virtual, augmented, and mixed reality, reimagining workplace training and collaboration.

🇫🇮 Nordic Science Investments Unveils €60M Fund: Finland's NSI opens the lab doors with a €60M fund, aiming to transform Nordic university spin-outs from scientific sketches to market stars. It's a bet on deep tech's brightest minds, turning revolutionary research into commercial triumphs.

🇫🇮 SpinDrive's Magnetic €2.5M Lift: Lappeenranta's SpinDrive attracts a €2.5M grant from the EIC Accelerator. Their goal? Spinning the industry on its head with advanced magnetic bearings, promising frictionless futures and eco-efficient revolutions.

Baltic Public Markets Update

This week in the Baltic financial markets is packed with pivotal events across Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania. Highlights include Ekspress Grupp's extraordinary general meeting, a series of government securities auctions by Lietuvos Respublikos Vyriausybė, and additional listings by Saunum Group. Investors should also watch out for Tallink Grupp's sales figures, AUGA group and MADARA Cosmetics' investor events, and a range of dividend dates and coupon payments from companies like Arco Vara and Attīstības finanšu institūcija Altum. This week exemplifies the vibrant activity and diverse opportunities within the Baltic financial markets.

Nasdaq Baltic investor calendar - week 10/2024 →

Important global news this week in economy, finance & tech

💪 In February, the U.S. economy boasted the addition of 275,000 jobs, nudging the unemployment rate to 3.9%. The surge in employment was led by health care and government sectors, adding 67,000 and 52,000 jobs, respectively. Remarkably, the job market for teenagers and adult women showed a noticeable shift, with their unemployment rates climbing to 12.5% and 3.5%. This period also highlighted the stability of long-term unemployment, representing 18.7% of the total unemployed, pointing to enduring challenges in the job market.

Read here →

📈 Global equity funds witnessed inflows of $6.5 billion in a week, spurred by hopes of interest rate cuts, influenced by weak U.S. manufacturing data and Federal Reserve policymakers' comments. This enthusiasm drove the MSCI World Stock Index to a record peak. Asian, European, and U.S. funds enjoyed substantial inflows, with the tech sector leading at $1.45 billion. In contrast, the financial sector saw withdrawals. Bond funds experienced their largest weekly influx since April 2021, with a notable $18.04 billion, while precious metals and energy funds faced outflows. Emerging market debts continued to see a sell-off, marking a cautious stance among investors.

Read here →

💻 Tech stocks experienced their largest weekly outflow on record, with investors withdrawing $4.4 billion, as per Bank of America's analysis using EPFR data. This historic sell-off occurred in the same week that U.S. tech shares, including Apple, plummeted after reports of declining iPhone sales in China. Despite this, tech shares have somewhat recovered, with the S&P 500 reaching new highs, largely driven by major tech firms. Meanwhile, investment grade bonds and cash saw significant inflows, $13.3 billion and $32 billion respectively, marking a shift towards more secure assets. This move reflects a broader trend of investors seeking safety in cash equivalents, bolstered by attractive yields. Additionally, real estate and crypto funds saw notable inflows, highlighting diverse investment strategies amid fluctuating market sentiments.

Read here →

Weekly News 03.03.2024

Private & public markets in the Baltics & Nordics

🇪🇪 Roofit.Solar Wins iF Design Award: Estonian startup Roofit.Solar, known for its solar roofs, has won the prestigious iF Design Award. The award recognizes the company's innovative combination of steel roofing and solar technology, marking a significant achievement in sustainable building products. Congratulations @⁨Raimond Russak⁩

🇪🇪 Rendin Secures €1.8M: Operating in Estonia and Poland, Rendin has raised nearly €2M in preparation for its Series A funding round and expansion into current and new markets. The funding round was led by Tera Ventures and included contributions from approximately 100 landlords through the Startup Wise Guys fund.

🇱🇹 EF EVE Acquired by Djinn Technologies: Lithuania & UK-based volumetric capture pioneer EF EVE has been acquired by Djinn Technologies and rebranded as SpatialScan3D. This move enhances Djinn's 3D scanning and streaming capabilities, promising advanced solutions in volumetric video technology.

🇱🇹 Walk15 Secures €1 Million: Vilnius-based Walk15 raises €1M for its sustainable mobility app, planning to expand into the German market. With over 640,000 users, Walk15 aims to promote health and sustainability globally.

🇸🇪 Bionamic Raises €350K: Lund's Bionamic secures €350K to fuel its AI-driven biopharma solutions, aiming to revolutionize antibody research with its platform. The funding will support European expansion and enhance research efficiency.

🇫🇮 Boksi Acquires The Influencer GmbH: Helsinki's Boksi enhances its European reach by acquiring German influencer marketing agency The Influencer GmbH. This strategic move strengthens Boksi’s presence in Central Europe, leveraging advanced software solutions for improved campaign efficiency.

🇪🇺 EIC Accelerator Fuels Finnish Innovation: The European Innovation Council (EIC) Accelerator's latest funding round pours €285M into deeptech ventures across Europe, spotlighting Finnish startups at the cutting edge of technology. With grants and equity investments, the EIC propels these pioneers towards global impact: 🇫🇮 IQM Finland, 🇫🇮 SpinDrive Oy, 🇫🇮 Basemark Oy, 🇫🇮 VEXLUM Oy.

Baltic Public Markets Update

Week 09 of 2024 at Nasdaq Baltic is packed with significant events, featuring government securities auctions, a wide array of financial reports, and numerous investor activities. Highlights include government securities auctions by Lietuvos Respublikos Vyriausybė, annual and interim reports from companies like Infortar, LHV Group, INDEXO, and Ignitis grupė, alongside multiple investor events for Infortar, INDEXO, and Tallinna Sadam. The week also sees an extraordinary general meeting by Ekspress Grupp and numerous coupon payment dates, showcasing a diverse and active week in the Baltic financial markets: Nasdaq Baltic investor calendar - week 09/2024 →

Important global news this week in economy, finance & tech

🌍 Immigration Fuels Economic Comeback: The U.S. economy is bouncing back with a vengeance, and immigrants are at the heart of this revival. Between January 2023 and January 2024, they've been pivotal, accounting for half of the labor market's expansion. Immigrant workers are quickly filling the voids left by the pandemic, securing jobs faster and enjoying substantial wage increases. While the topic of immigration often sparks debate, its boon to the economy is unmistakable. Projections are optimistic, anticipating a 5.2 million increase in the labor force by 2033 through net immigration, potentially adding an astonishing $7 trillion to the economy over the next decade.

Read here →

🤖 Microsoft's AI Game-Changer for Finance Folks: Meet Copilot, Microsoft's latest AI marvel designed for the finance sector. Embedded in Excel and Outlook, Copilot is here to simplify everything from variance analysis to data reconciliation, and it's friendly with SAP and Microsoft Dynamics 365 too. While we're still waiting on the price tag, the promise is clear: less time on mundane tasks, more on strategic decisions. Dentsu, the Japanese ad agency, is among the early adopters, highlighting the tool's potential to free up employee time for more strategic work.

Read here →

🔬 Hong Kong's Tech Ambitions Skyrocket with HK$24B Investment: Hong Kong's not just dipping its toes but plunging into the tech pool with a HK$24 billion investment aimed at the 2024-25 innovation sector. This hefty sum will kickstart various schemes, including a HK$10 billion New Industrialisation Acceleration Scheme and a HK$3 billion AI Subsidy Scheme, focusing on health tech, AI, and new energy. It's a clear signal that Hong Kong is serious about becoming a leading global tech hub and fostering high-quality economic growth through innovation.

Read here →

Weekly News 25.02.2024

A lot of speculation around recession, overheated markets, Bitcoin halving, Google pausing Gemini and Reddit IPO. 





This week, we decided to take a different approach and share the most interesting independent analysis we read:





🥵 Overheated markets: the article provides a comprehensive analysis of current market conditions and financial trends. Key insights include:

•⁠ ⁠Investment-grade and high-yield credit default swaps reaching lows not seen since early 2022, indicating market optimism or potential underestimation of risk.
•⁠ ⁠Significant capitalization gains in tech giants like Nvidia, pointing towards a surge in market valuation amid speculative trends.
•⁠ ⁠De-risking and deleveraging activities impacting the Chinese stock market, highlighting concerns about sustainability and stability.
•⁠ ⁠Analysis of global and US monetary policy directions, suggesting potential long-term debates on the effectiveness and timing of these policies.
•⁠ ⁠Observations on the state of financial markets, including stock, credit, and commodity markets, suggesting a broad range of overheating signals across asset classes.

Link here



🇺🇸 US dominance: the article outlines the increasing dominance of US equities in the global market. Key points include:



•⁠ ⁠US stocks make up about 70% of the MSCI global stocks index, with major US tech companies leading.
•⁠ ⁠The S&P 500 has surpassed the 5000 level, emphasizing the value concentration in US markets.
•⁠ ⁠Challenges in the Chinese and European markets have indirectly bolstered the relative strength of US equities.
•⁠ ⁠The rise of technology as an economic force and innovations, including AI, further cement US dominance.
•⁠ ⁠The liquidity and prestige of US markets attract international companies to list in the US, reinforcing this trend.

Link here

Weekly News 24.02.2024

Private & public markets in the Baltics & Nordics by fff.vc team 🟠:

🇪🇪 Cognitiwe's €1M Funding: Estonian AI startup Cognitiwe raises €1M for its Vision AI to help retailers reduce food waste, enhancing efficiency and sustainability in daily operations.

🇱🇹 Evergrowth's €2M Pre-seed: Vilnius-based Evergrowth secures a €2M pre-seed investment for its AI-powered B2B sales platform, aiming to eliminate spam in sales and expand across the US and Europe.

🇫🇮 Desentum Raises €12M: Espoo-based Desentum secures €12M from Springvest Oyj for advancing allergy vaccine development, targeting improved treatments for various allergies with its innovative hypoallergens.

🇫🇮 TILT Biotherapeutics' $2M Grant: Helsinki's TILT Biotherapeutics receives a $2M grant from the US Department of Defense for ovarian cancer immunotherapy research, marking significant progress in their clinical trials for TILT-123.

🇸🇪 Dealguru's €900K Funding: Lund's Dealguru attracts €900K from Finnish VCs Gorilla Capital and Innovestor, aiming to become Sweden's largest community for shopping deals, with plans for an app to simplify offer navigation.

🇸🇪 Serverpod's €1.7M Pre-seed: Stockholm's Serverpod, enhancing the Flutter framework for app development, lands €1.7M in pre-seed funding from PSV Tech01, aiming to simplify and accelerate app development processes.

🇸🇪 Digmi's €0.5M Round: Swedish SaaS company Digmi raises €500k, revolutionizing the beauty industry with digital solutions for hairdressers, planning for national and international growth.

🇸🇪 Codicent's Investment: Gothenburg-based AI startup Codicent secures its first funding round to develop AI-driven logbooks for effective knowledge management and sharing within organizations.

📈 Baltic public markets update:

Week 08 of 2024 at Nasdaq Baltic features a diverse array of financial events, including government securities auctions and a series of notable corporate activities. Key events encompass coupon payments by Eco Baltia and Latvenergo, comprehensive annual and interim reports from companies like Bigbank, Tallinna Kaubamaja Grupp, and Harju Elekter Group, alongside extraordinary general meetings by Snaigė and Latvijas Gāze. Additionally, several investor events by companies such as Akola Group, Tallink Grupp, and Baltic Horizon Fund are scheduled, highlighting a week rich in investor communications and corporate disclosures.

Weekly News 18.02.2024

📈 January wholesale prices rise more than expected, another sign of persistent inflation: the producer price index, a measure of prices received by producers of domestic goods and services, rose 0.3% for the month, the biggest move since August. Excluding food and energy, core PPI increased 0.5%, also against expectations for a 0.1% gain. PPI excluding food, energy and trade services jumped 0.6%, its biggest one-month advance since January 2023

🇪🇺 European regulators step up scrutiny of consumer companies over price rises: European competition authorities are focusing more on companies in the consumer sector as inflation heightens the risk of uncompetitive behaviour. Globally, the value of retail sales in the consumer products sector rose by an average of 10 per cent year on year in 2023, but three-quarters of the growth was a result of price increases, according to a report by management consultant Bain. Read here.

🏘 US homebuilding sees biggest drop since April 2020: housing starts, a measure of new home construction, fell by 14.8%, compared with the previous month, according to data released Friday by the Census Bureau. Read here.

👶 Birth rates are dropping to record lows in Europe: the average age of Europeans is 44 years and 6 months old. The population is not growing due to a decline in births and the closure of borders to immigrants. Read here.

📹 Open AI announced Sora, a text-to-video AI model: Sora is a new AI model that can create videos of up to 1 minute featuring highly realistic and imaginative detailed scenes, complex camera motion, and multiple characters with vibrant emotions from simple text instruction

🏆 How AI will transform consumer technology by a16z: overview here.

🛸 Counter-unmanned aerial systems by PitchBook: nets, lasers, GPS spoofers - VC opportunities in neutralizing drones. Startups are muscling into this dilemma with solutions that are more cost-effective than those developed by established defense contractors, while governments have earmarked significant funding for research and development. Read here.

Weekly News 11.02.2024

🆙 201 billion was added to the US national debt in just one month. In addition, household debt reached a new high of $17.5 trillion in the fourth quarter of 2023, with credit card debt and mortgages contributing the most to the increase. Read about consequences here, here and here.

💬 Inflation, retail sales, and corporate earnings: what to know this week.

🇪🇺 EU member states and MEPs struck a preliminary deal on Saturday to ease the bloc's stringent fiscal rules giving governments more time to reduce debt as well as incentives to boost public investments in climate, industrial policy and security. Read about next steps.

🇪🇺 Probability of recession this year is high in EU - check the results of a survey of experts that showed elevated recession risks due to geopolitical conflicts and heightened energy costs in Europe.

📈 Bitcoin climbs above $47K for first time since spot ETF approvals. The nine newborn U.S. spot bitcoin ETFs, excluding Grayscale’s converted fund, now hold over 200,000 BTC in assets under management. IBIT and FBTC’s holdings lead the top 25 newborn ETFs overall after one month of trading

😎 The Frame glasses offer AI visual analysis, translation, and web search right before your eyes. Check here.

🚀 OpenAI CEO Sam Altman seeks as much as $7 trillion for new AI chip project.

Weekly News 8.02.2024

Private & public markets in the Baltics & Nordics by fff.vc team 🟠:

🇪🇪 SensusQ's Defense Tech Advancement: Estonian SensusQ secures a pivotal investment from Specialist VC, embarking on a mission to refine military intelligence through AI. This move signals the expanding interest of VCs in defense technology, with SensusQ at the forefront of this transformative trend.

🇪🇪 Tuum's Banking Breakthrough: With a €25M Series B round, Estonian fintech Tuum is set to globally transform banking. Its modular platform promises rapid and smooth rollouts of financial services, signaling a new era in banking efficiency and innovation.

🇪🇪 Starship Technologies' Delivery Revolution: Originating from Estonia, Starship Technologies secures €83.6M to expand its fleet of autonomous delivery robots, targeting a major shift in last-mile logistics with an eye on reducing carbon emissions.

🇱🇹 Leya AI's Edtech Evolution: Vilnius's Leya AI receives €1M in pre-seed funding for its AI Tutor, aiming to revolutionize language learning worldwide by making it more accessible, engaging, and effective.

🇱🇹 Axiology's Fintech Innovation: Lithuanian startup Axiology lands €2M to lead the charge in tokenized securities trading within the EU, leveraging advanced DLT technology to open up capital markets like never before.

🇸🇪 Xensam's €37M Revolution: Stockholm-based Xensam, leveraging AI for software asset management, lands a €37M investment from Expedition Growth Capital. This infusion is aimed at global transformation, offering unparalleled savings and efficiency in software management.

🇸🇪 Myrspoven's €5.4M Green Mission: From Stockholm, Myrspoven secures €5.4M to lead the real estate sector into a new era of energy efficiency. With a focus on reducing carbon emissions, this AI startup is managing vast spaces across Europe, pioneering sustainability in property management.

🇸🇪 Froda & Ageras Expand to Germany: Swedish SME financing specialist Froda collaborates with Ageras to offer 50,000 entrepreneurs in Germany easy financing solutions through Visa Business cards, marking a significant step in their expansion strategy.

🇸🇪 Northe & Brite Payments Innovate EV Charging: In a move to streamline EV charging payments, Sweden's Northe and Brite Payments unite, aiming to improve the charging experience for fleet operators and advance greener transportation solutions.

🇫🇮 Reveel's Digital Exploration Leap: Helsinki's Reveel secures €650K in pre-seed funding from Inventure VC, ready to redefine tourism with innovative digital guidebooks. Powered by AI, Reveel aims to revolutionize the way we discover the world, offering smart, immersive travel experiences.

🇫🇮 3TS Capital's €111M Tech Boost: Split between Helsinki and Vienna, 3TS Capital Partners closes Fund IV at €111M, setting sights on nurturing Europe's next tech giants. With a history of over 50 investments, 3TS Capital is poised to reshape the TMT sector, driving innovation and growth.

📈 Baltic public markets update:

Nasdaq Baltic is bustling with activity, featuring government securities auctions, coupon payments, and a range of financial reports. Highlights include coupon payments from CrossChem and Admirals Group AS, sales figures from Tallink Grupp, and interim reports from LHV Group, SAF Tehnika, Nordecon, and more. Snaigė's takeover offer period, along with Merko Ehitus and Coop Pank's annual reports, underline a week rich in investment moves and market dynamics.

Weekly News 3.02.2024

⬇️ ⁠The Euro Area Inflation Rate for January 2024 is 2.8%. This is according to a flash estimate released by Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union. It represents a slight decrease from the 2.9% inflation rate observed in December 2023.

👩‍🌾 Farmers’ protests have erupted across Europe. Farmers across the bloc say that the costs of energy, fertilizer and transport have risen, particularly in light of Russia’s war in Ukraine. On top of this, governments have been trying to reduce rising food prices amid inflation. Farmers, particularly in Eastern Europe, continue to voice grievances over the cheap agricultural imports from Ukraine, including grain, sugar and meat. The EU has waived quotas and duties on Ukrainian imports in light of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. In France, a government plan to phase out a tax break for farmers on diesel fuel, as part of a wider energy transition policy, has also sparked anger. What’s being done to calm the protests? Read here.

📈 S&P 500 hits record high after jobs report, tech earnings thrill investors. Read here.

✂️ Fed rate cut not likely in March, Powell says at press conference. The Fed is waiting for greater confidence in sustainable inflation before considering rate cuts. Overview here.

🇨🇳 China faces severe real estate woes, deflation, and an exodus of global investors. The Chinese stock market, for one, has shed roughly $6 trillion in value since peaking in 2021. Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index is still in the red this year to date, trading 9% lower so far this year and down 4% from a week ago. Meanwhile, the CSI 300 — which tracks 300 Shanghai and Shenzhen-listed stocks with the largest market capitalizations — is about 6% lower so far this year and 4% lower from a week ago. Foreign investors are so unenthusiastic about China that they have pulled out nearly 90% of the money they put into Chinese stocks in 2023, according to a Financial Times analysis of data from Hong Kong's Stock Connect last month. A record downturn in its dominant real estate market, high youth unemployment, deflation, and a rapidly falling birthrate are just some of the issues ailing the world’s second-largest economy.

♊ Google is reportedly rebranding Bard to Gemini and plans to launch a dedicated app. Per the leaked document on X, Gemini Advanced will give users access to the Ultra 1.0 model of Gemini, which is “far more capable at highly complex tasks like coding, logical reasoning, following nuanced instructions, and creative collaboration.” It’ll be available in over 150 countries and optimized for the English language at the start.

😎 The first Reddit reviews of the Vision Pro are in. Check here.

Weekly News 2.02.2024

Private & public markets in the Baltics & Nordics by fff.vc team 🟠:

🇱🇹 Practica Capital's €80M Milestone: Setting a new standard, Practica Capital unveils the Baltics' largest-ever seed fund at €80M, targeting SaaS, marketplace, and Deep/Industrial tech sectors, aiming to elevate the Baltic startup ecosystem.

🇸🇪 Cake's End of Road: Sweden's electric motorcycle innovator Cake declares bankruptcy after raising $74.4M, showcasing the challenges of ambitious tech ventures.

🇸🇪 Heart Aerospace's $107M Leap: Securing a massive $107M Series B, Heart Aerospace is pushing its hybrid-electric ES-30 plane towards eco-friendly regional aviation, marking a significant stride in sustainable air travel.

🇸🇪 Roro's Gaming Universe: With €1.5M in funding, Roro, born from Toca Boca and Mojang veterans, is crafting a unique, non-toxic mobile gaming space, promising a creative and liberating 3D digital experience.

🇸🇪 Version Lens Innovates Product Management: With a €1.5M pre-seed from People Ventures, Version Lens introduces a pioneering co-pilot tool for product managers, aiming to transform Product Operations through automation and insight.

🇫🇮 Dagsmark Joins Forces with VAFO: In a move to dominate the Nordic pet food scene, Finland's Dagsmark Petfood merges with the VAFO Group, focusing on sustainable, locally sourced premium products.

🇫🇮 Paptic's Sustainable Packaging Push: Paptic raises €27.5 million to disrupt the packaging industry with sustainable wood fiber solutions, targeting a significant global market expansion.

🇫🇮 Order of Meta's Gaming Venture: Helsinki-based Order of Meta garners $3.3M for Cargo Hunters, introducing a novel mobile PvPvE shooter concept, backed by GEM Capital for a pioneering venture into the extraction shooter genre.

📈 Baltic public markets update:

In the fifth week of 2024, the Nasdaq Baltic saw government securities auctions, numerous coupon payments from companies like Eleving Group and mogo, and interim reports from EfTEN Real Estate Fund and Storent Holdings. Tallinna Vesi shared their annual report and hosted an investor event, marking a week full of financial activities. Check here.

🎧 Featured talks:

A catchy episode of The Knowledge Project, where Shane Parrish and Tom Gayner, a good friend of Charlie Munger, discuss life lessons, long-term game strategies, and the value of simplicity in management.

📆 Upcoming events:

March 15-16, CEE VC Summit - The premier gathering in Central and Eastern Europe for VCs, angel investors, startups, and entrepreneurs to connect, share insights, and explore investment opportunities.

Weekly News 9.01.2024

🆙 201 billion was added to the US national debt in just one month. In addition, household debt reached a new high of $17.5 trillion in the fourth quarter of 2023, with credit card debt and mortgages contributing the most to the increase. Read about consequences here, here and here.

💬 Inflation, retail sales, and corporate earnings: what to know this week.

🇪🇺 EU member states and MEPs struck a preliminary deal on Saturday to ease the bloc's stringent fiscal rules giving governments more time to reduce debt as well as incentives to boost public investments in climate, industrial policy and security. Read about next steps.

🇪🇺 Probability of recession this year is high in EU - check the results of a survey of experts that showed elevated recession risks due to geopolitical conflicts and heightened energy costs in Europe.

📈 Bitcoin climbs above $47K for first time since spot ETF approvals. The nine newborn U.S. spot bitcoin ETFs, excluding Grayscale’s converted fund, now hold over 200,000 BTC in assets under management. IBIT and FBTC’s holdings lead the top 25 newborn ETFs overall after one month of trading

😎 The Frame glasses offer AI visual analysis, translation, and web search right before your eyes. Check here.

🚀 OpenAI CEO Sam Altman seeks as much as $7 trillion for new AI chip project.

Weekly News 28.01.2024

Private & public markets in the Baltics & Nordics by fff.vc team 🟠:

🇪🇺 Plural's Tech Revolution: Plural launches a €400M fund, targeting trailblazing tech startups. Spearheaded by industry giants, it's a game-changer for European innovation.

🇪🇪 Cleantech Fund Ignites Estonia's Green Future: 2C Ventures unveils a €50M fund, laser-focused on boosting early-stage cleantech heroes in Estonia and beyond.

🇪🇪 ESGrid Wins at sTARTUp Day: Estonian ESG data startup ESGrid clinches the sTARTUp Day pitch contest's top prize - up to €200,000 syndicate investment from EstBAN. With an exceptional team and an innovative concept that aligns with EstBAN's mission to support fledgling startups, ESGrid is poised to disrupt the market.

🇱🇹 AskToSell's €100K Pre-Seed Triumph: Vilnius-based AI innovator AskToSell secures €100,000 in pre-seed funding. Their autonomous AI sales agents aim to revolutionize SMB sales, a venture backed by Startup Wise Guys and Specialist VC, marking another successful collaboration with founders Laimonas Noreika and Karolis Januškas.

🇫🇮 The closing of a CardioSignal's Series A: With a robust $10M Series A funding, Finnish CardioSignal is set to revolutionize heart disease detection using smartphones. Backed by DigiTx and others, their game-changing tech promises a new era in cardiovascular healthcare.

🇫🇮 Vegemi's Healthy Boost: Helsinki's Vegemi snags €500k from angels! It's revolutionizing kids' health education through XR tech – fun, engaging, and oh-so-nutritious!

🇫🇮 Chipmetrics' Growth Investment: Chipmetrics lands a whopping €2.4M! This Joensuu-based ALD tech star is set to skyrocket in the semiconductor galaxy with its cutting-edge metrology solutions.

🇸🇪 The Biggest Amount This Week: H2 Green Steel secures 48 billion SEK in loans and 3.4 billion SEK in new investments, including Microsoft, for its green steel project in Boden.

📈 Baltic public markets update:

During the fourth week of 2024, the following events occurred in the Nasdaq Baltic market. Check here for more details.

🎧 Featured talks:

Join seasoned venture capitalists Jeff Rinvelt and Martin Tobias as they reveal their insider knowledge and strategies for navigating the VC world.

📆 Upcoming events:

February 12-16, Stockholm FinTech Week 2024 - Meet startup founders, industry experts and investors. Thanks to ⁨Armando Coppola⁩ - we have a discount of 20% to get tickets: https://ti.to/sfw/stockholm-fintech-week-2024/discount/WELLSTREET2024

Weekly News 21.01.2024

Private & public markets in the Baltics & Nordics by fff.vc team 🟠:

🇪🇪Bilance App Raises €300K: Estonian app secures €300,000 funding to improve financial literacy and user experience.

🇫🇮DelSiTech's €10M Financing Round: Finnish pharma innovator DelSiTech lands a €10 million investment to advance their biodegradable drug delivery technology.

🇫🇮Paptic's €27.5M Funding Success: Papticc, from Finland, raises €27.5 million to expand its sustainable, wood fibre-based packaging materials.

🇸🇪Northvolt's Green Milestone: Northvoltt secures a record $5B green loan, powering up its expansion and marking a major leap in Europe's sustainable energy journey.

🇸🇪TrusTrace's €22M Growth Investment: Stockholm's TrusTrace secures €22 million led by Circularity Capital, gearing up to revolutionize global product traceability and support sustainable supply chains.

🇸🇪Aira's Clean Energy Surge: Aira raises a whopping €145M in Series B, gearing up to transform Europe's home heating with clean, efficient technology.

📈 Baltic public markets update:

During the fourth week of 2024, the following events occurred in the Nasdaq Baltic market. Check here for more details.

🎧 Featured talks:

Explore the dynamic world of venture capital in 'Liquidity', where industry experts Michael Kim, Jason Calacanis, and David Weisburd delve into the intricacies of fund valuations, leadership shifts, and ethical investing.

📆 Upcoming events:

February 5-8, EDTECH Week Lithuania 2024 brings together the country's education, science and innovation community, foreign guests, experts, solution developers.

Weekly News 20.01.2024

🌎 The World Economic Forum's Annual Meeting took place in Davos from 15-19 January 2024. Check takeaways from prominent sources: •⁠ ⁠10 takeaways from McKinsey •⁠ Takeaways from CNBC •⁠ Takeaways from New York Times

⬆️ ⁠Euro Area Inflation Rate: increased to 2.90% in December from 2.40% in November of 2023, meets market consensus. The core inflation rate, excluding volatile food and energy prices, cooled to 3.4% in December 2023, the lowest since March 2022.

⬇️ ZEW Economic Sentiment Index in the Euro Area decreased to 22.70 points in January from 23 points in December of 2023. The ZEW Economic Sentiment Index is a survey-based indicator used to measure the economic outlook of financial experts for the Euro Area over the next six months. A less optimistic economic outlook could affect stock markets, bond yields, and investment in certain sectors. Companies might become more cautious in their investments, expansion plans, or hiring if they anticipate a slower economic growth. A less optimistic economic outlook might weaken the Euro against other currencies.

🏦 UBS argued Friday that equities and bonds have more room to rally in 2024, with the investment bank tilting towards the AI and the semiconductor areas of the market.

👓 Apple's Vision Pro saw demand popping when it allowed pre-orders to begin Friday morning. Starting at $3,499 a pop, if Apple produces 1M units in 2024, which is in the estimate range, it could result in $3.5B in sales this year for the tech giant. Evercore believes this could reach as high as $19B within five years, especially as Apple lowers the price to appeal to a wider consumer base.

🗣 FED meeting in January: 2 different forecasts: •⁠ ⁠Forecast #1 •⁠ ⁠Forecast #2