Happy February 16th, 2023! Let's check out some of the coolest news around.
Our coverage is not exhaustive, so please don't hesitate to share any interesting stories that caught your attention in the comments below! We're always eager to learn about the latest happenings that matter to you.
- UK government unveils space tech initiative
The UK government is investing millions in 18 regional space tech projects aimed at boosting local economies and addressing local priorities. The funding, which is part of the government's levelling-up programme, will be used to expand the UK's space market, support young engineering companies and enhance public services with Earth imagery. The initiative will be administered by locally-led space clusters across the country.
2. VC funding in January was down year over year, but up from December
The first month of 2023 saw $31 billion invested globally into startups, down 50% YoY but up 27% from the previous month's total. Although late-stage and seed-stage funding increased MoM, early-stage funding dropped in both measures. Climate tech, generative AI, and public markets are expected to be top areas to watch in 2023, with climate tech predicted to have a stronger performance than average, generative AI receiving significant funding, and the second half of the year offering relief for public offerings.
3. This Downturn Will Show Us Which LPs Actually Believe In Diversity
The market downturn is causing some LPs to shift their focus towards safer investments, potentially at the expense of diverse and emerging managers. However, investing in diverse partnerships has been shown to bring unique value to venture investing and has historically been more lucrative. LPs need to decide if they are willing to continue supporting diversity in their investments, even in uncertain times.
4. Is Daniel Ek’s new body scanner worth the hype?
Spotify founder Daniel Ek's new healthtech venture, Neko Health, has launched a full-body scanner to revolutionize preventative care. The company has received 5,000 applications and is now fully booked for the next two years. Sifted was given the opportunity to try out the scanner, which generates 2,000 pictures of the body in both 2D and 3D, including thermal images, and carries out an ECG, laser beams scan, and blood test to detect any health issues. Doctors at Neko use the data to consult with patients and offer referrals to specialists if required.
5. The entire fintech industry is not in distress
Despite the ongoing layoffs in the fintech industry, some companies are finding opportunities and thriving. Cambrian Ventures' Rex Salisbury believes that early-stage fintech founders are the big winners in the current job market, while NextView Ventures' Lee Hower says that the brightest stars in fintech today are solving real problems.
6. Stripe is on track to turn a profit with US$1 trillion in payment volume
Stripe, the payments giant, is set to turn a profit this year and aims to process $1 trillion in payments. The company has been in talks with investors and plans to raise funds to cash out veteran employees’ restricted stock units. Despite a slowdown in growth, Stripe's latest forecast shows just how rapidly the 13-year-old company has grown, outpacing even PayPal, which took 23 years to reach $1 trillion in payments volume. Stripe has discussed terms that would value the company at $55 billion, far from the $95 billion valuation it received in 2021.
7. Crypto Is Tired, AI Is Wired. Just Ask Startups
Bloomberg's Crypto newsletter explores the role of artificial intelligence (AI) in the cryptocurrency industry as a new way for digital asset players to stay relevant in the wake of the crypto slowdown. Some startups are incorporating AI terms into their press releases and pitch decks, while others are creating "AI tokens" to benefit from the buzz. The article also highlights some use cases of AI in blockchain gaming, the metaverse, and blockchain data searches. As the industry continues to evolve, the combination of AI and digital assets may bring further clarity to the best use cases for blockchain.
8. Europe considers a digital currency as it strives to counter U.S. and China’s tech dominance
The European Central Bank is considering the development of a digital euro to protect the euro zone from dependence on US and Chinese tech companies. The ECB fears that without a digital euro, the region will become vulnerable to foreign payment technologies, and will lack strategic autonomy. The digital euro would also serve wider public policy objectives and could help maintain Europe's relevance in the changing geopolitical context.