Highlights of a decade

Distributed Ledger Technology, the most famous of which is blockchain. DLT/Blockchain is a method for recording and therefore transferring assets or …
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The break-neck pace of the 2010s was largely driven by technological and unexpected political shifts. We’ve consolidated a list of the highlights of the last decade which we believe had a real impact.

The mobile payments revolution

The smartphone is inextricably linked to most of the leaps forward in consumer payments, not least NFC technology that facilitated the huge growth enjoyed by Apple Pay, Samsung Pay and Android Pay. However, it was the humble QR code – a square barcode-like system that failed to catch on in the West – that revolutionised the Chinese payments landscape in the last decade thanks to mobile wallets such as Alipay. It signalled a new frontier of payment tech in China upon its launch in 2009 when it spun out of Taobao, the Alibaba P2P eCommerce site, to the point that it now owns over half of the Chinese domestic payments market and the former enjoys over 700m monthly active users. This ubiquity eventually resulted in Alipay becoming one of only a few so-called ‘Super Apps’, surpassing 230 million daily active users with 120,00 lite apps by Spring of 2019, hosting a range of other ‘mini-programs’ within its ecosystem covering ordering a taxi to wealth management, lots of which support Alipay payments in-app.

The evolution of payment of digital money

Distributed Ledger Technology, the most famous of which is blockchain. DLT/Blockchain is a method for recording and therefore transferring assets or contracts within the digital age. It facilitates the instant transfer of assets around the world and has been deployed by various financial houses and exchanges. The speculative bubble that surrounded Bitcoin largely put paid to it as a means of payment, meaning Ripple has probably become the most successful application f the technology within the payments space. To put the potential benefits of DLT in perspective, even the archaic institution that is SWIFT knows it is the future and is slowly adopting the technology.

Unbundling and ‘re-bundling’ Financial Services

Whilst integrating one API might seem pedestrian or the bare minimum in 2020, the rise of tech within finance upstarts heralded the start of a promise that will likely only be made good on over the next decade. At the start of the 2010s, we began to see the unbundling of financial services and banking into API-driven narrower ‘vertical slices’ such as PayTech, WealthTech, LendTech and InsureTech, for example. Towards the end of the ’10s, we saw a dramatic re-convergence of those narrow slices into ‘re-bundling’ of financial services, as each provider began to partner with other FinTech’s to incorporate supplementary services alongside their core offerings or offered an open ‘ecosystem’ for users and consumers to select a ‘pick n mix’ of their providers.

UK Bank of England in flux

Mark Carney was appointed the Governor of the Bank of England in 2011, amid the downturn following the banking crisis. Under Mervyn Kin’s tenure, Carney’s predecessor Mervyn had allowed inflation to spike to circa 5% which, at the time, was viewed as transitory. Against a backdrop of challenges with inflation, historic low-interest rates and a program of asset purchases already underway, Carney did not have many tools left at his disposal to effect change. Part of what Carney did was to introduce the concept of forward guidance to the market, giving clear indications on future policy directions to give the markets reassurance. The UK economy re-emerged as one of the fastest-growing countries in Europe and made a robust recovery from the financial crisis until the Brexit uncertainty hit.

Eurozone challenges

Mario Draghi (head of the European Central Bank) promises to do “whatever it take” to support the Euro. In the contagion that followed the 2007/2008 financial crisis, the sovereign debt crisis engulfed the Eurozone as a group of countries were bailed out to avoid a default on their debts – Portugal, Ireland, Greece and Spain were all forced to take funds from the ECB and to adopt austerity measures, causing deep political unrest and resentment of the Eurozone within these countries. The subsequent populist movement has pushed against the very notion of the EU and the political ramifications are still being felt today. EBPEUR finished the 2010’s at pretty much the same level it started at, which is remarkable given the events that unfolded and the periods of intense volatility along the way.

The US economy on the edge

The Federal Reserve Board (FED) continues Quantitative Easing (QE) with QE2 and QE3. Having deployed “extraordinary measures” in the wake of the 2007/2008 financial crisis, the FED decided to double down on this strategy in November 2010 by announcing a fresh US$600bn in purchases. In 2012, they announced QE3, an open-ended US$40bn per month of purchases. These purchases sparked the bull run in equities that drove the index to record highs. The FED tried to wean the US economy off stimulus by tapering the purchases of assets and raised interest rates briefly. Trump has introduced fiscal policies to support the economy and, in a largely unprecedented move in recent times, applied overt political pressure to the FED to reverse its rate hike.

Changing financial regulations

Over the last decade, we have seen increasing consumer protection via regulation in the shape of:

  • The Payment Services Directive (PSD2)
  • General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)
  • Markets in Financial Instruments Directive 2 (MIFID2)
  • The 4th EU AML Directive

All of these have required Payment Institutions (PIs) to adopt new measures and controls to keep our clients, their funds and the financial system itself safe.

Rise of the FinTech

In 2010, the Foreign Exchange (FX) market was still dominated by the banks and a few telephone-based brokers. Online dealing platforms were beginning to be launched by the early adopters, but most transactions were completed over the phone. After which, there was a steady increase of disruptive FX companies and wider payment solution-based start-ups reshaping the business landscape – ensuring the growth of FinTech companies.

What about pricing?

Aside from the advances in products and ecosystems we’ve covered above, the last ten years also marked a change in the wind when it came to pricing transparency and simplicity, of which FinTechs have been at the vanguard. In a bid to shake up the status quo of large, slow, opaque players charging unclear fees and trading on the promise of ‘service’, these nimble tech-first businesses ostensibly had either lower overheads by offering an intuitive simple product or proposition, or were content in loss-leading for the first few years to gain a foothold in the market. Thankfully, in some cases, it’s not a choice between a company with an innovative product or competitive pricing.

For example, at WorldFirst we launched a straightforward and transparent pricing structure last year, allowing businesses to access FX costs from as low as 0.15%.

Now that 2020 has begun, we’re keeping an eye on the following:

  • Digital technologies such as cloud computing
  • Machine learning and blockchain are set to have the biggest impact on regulation and competition trends
  • The same can be said for AI, particularly AI personalisation. This will allow industries to use real-time data to make dedicated customer recommendations backed by insights
  • Mobile P2P payments and digital remittance services will continue to drive the growth in smartphone payments which will be driven by customer buying behaviour and their consumption. The key term for 2020 is ‘customer-centricity’.

If you plan on trading in 2020, contact us today to find out how WorldFirst could help you. For up-to-date market news, you can subscribe to our economic updates written by our team of forex correspondents.

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VC-backed fintech firm Innoviti secures $5 mn

… secured $18 million in July 2017 in a Series B round from SBI-FMO Fund, Bessemer Venture Partners LP and existing investor Catamaran Ventures.

Innoviti Payment Solutions Pvt. Ltd has raised Rs 35.6 crore ($5 million) in debt funding from FMO, the Dutch development bank said in a disclosure.

FMO said in a disclosure that the Bengaluru-based firm’s payments solution is designed for small businesses in line with the bank’s strategy of catalysing economic growth and bridging the digital divide.

With around 63.4 million units throughout the country, MSMEs or micro, small and medium enterprises account for around 31% of the economy as well as 33.4% of India’s manufacturing output, the bank observed.

Innoviti was founded in 2002 by Rajeev Agrawal, who holds a B.Tech degree and PhD from IIT-Bombay. Before coming to be an entrepreneur, he had worked with technology firm Sasken Communications in Bengaluru.

Innoviti’s payments business, launched in 2008, helps merchants receive payments across channels, including online, mobile, in-store and at the time of delivery of a product. Through smelending.com, the company helps businesses get short-term loans of Rs 30,000 for 15 days or more.

Innoviti claims to process over Rs 20,000 crore of payment transactions annually including Rs 1,000 crore of credit across 50,000 point-of-sale terminals every year. Smelending.com has processed more than 150,000 loans annually for over 30,000 small businesses. It has so far disbursed $500 million loans.

Innoviti’s client base of merchants includes Reliance Retail, Titan, Landmark Group, INOX, Indigo and Walmart. Lenders such as HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank, Axis Bank, State Bank of India, Standard Chartered, Kotak Mahindra Bank and Citibank use the platform to process their customers’ payments and distribute loans.

Innoviti had raised Rs 80 crore in its previous round led by venture debt firm Trifecta Capital in March last year.

Prior to that, it secured $18 million in July 2017 in a Series B round from SBI-FMO Fund, Bessemer Venture Partners LP and existing investor Catamaran Ventures.

Peers

Innoviti competes with the likes of Pine Labs, BharatPe and Mswipe in the digital payments space in India.

Pine Labs Pvt. Ltd last month raised funding from Mastercard Inc., marking the second reported bet the global technology payments giant has made on an Indian firm within six months.

New York-based hedge fund Coatue Management is also reported to be leading a round of funding up to $100 million in BharatPe, which services offline retailers and businesses, at a valuation of $500 million. It also counts Ribbit Capital, Insight Partners and Steadview Capital among its backers.

Mumbai-based mobile point-of-sale services startup Mswipe Technologies Pvt. Ltd had raised $31.5 million from tech investment firm Epiq Capital and venture capital firm B Capital, managed by Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin early last year.

FMO’s India investments

The Dutch development bank finances projects through equity and debt instruments in sectors such as agri-business, food and water, energy and financial institutions in underserved regions. Along with Washington-headquartered International Finance Corporation, it is one of the most active global investment institutions in India.

In November last year, it invested about $30.27 million in CreditAccess Grameen Ltd, which operates a microlending business under the Grameen Koota brand name. At the end of October, it proposed a $40 million debt investment in non-banking finance company Ess Kay Fincorp Ltd.

In the same month, it proposed a 7.50 million euro ($8.29 million) investment in Sahyadri Farmers Producer Co. Ltd. FMO said the proposed investment will help Sahyadri finance the construction of collection centres for the warehousing and transport of produce.

Its other bets include a debt investment of $30 million in Kolkata-based Srei Equipment Finance Ltd, and Nomisma Mobile Solutions Pvt. Ltd, which owns digital payments and loans platform Ftcash.

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As Ebay (EBAY) Market Value Rose, Shareholder Baupost Group Has Decreased Its Stake …

Baupost Group Llc decreased its stake in Ebay Inc (EBAY) by 17.55% … Baupost Group Llc sold 5.14M shares as the company’s stock rose 8.97% .

eBay Inc. (NASDAQ:EBAY) Logo

Granite Investment Partners Llc increased its stake in Genmark Diagnostics Inc (GNMK) by 75.17% based on its latest 2019Q2 regulatory filing with the SEC. Granite Investment Partners Llc bought 131,857 shares as the company’s stock declined 19.33% . The institutional investor held 307,280 shares of the health care company at the end of 2019Q2, valued at $1.99 million, up from 175,423 at the end of the previous reported quarter. Granite Investment Partners Llc who had been investing in Genmark Diagnostics Inc for a number of months, seems to be bullish on the $345.21M market cap company. The stock increased 1.01% or $0.06 during the last trading session, reaching $6.01. About 114,466 shares traded. GenMark Diagnostics, Inc. (NASDAQ:GNMK) has risen 3.64% since September 14, 2018 and is uptrending. It has outperformed by 3.64% the S&P500. Some Historical GNMK News: 15/05/2018 – GenMark Diagnostics at Bank of America Conference Tomorrow; 24/04/2018 – Nidec To Acquire Genmark Automation, Inc., An US Semiconductor Wafer Handling Robot Manufacturer; 27/03/2018 – CASDIN CAPITAL REPORTS A 7 PCT STAKE IN GENMARK DIAGNOSTICS AS OF MARCH 20 – SEC FILING; 01/05/2018 – GenMark Backs FY18 Rev $68M-$72M; 24/04/2018 – GenMark Diagnostics Short-Interest Ratio Rises 48% to 41 Days; 30/04/2018 – Nidec Completes Acquisition Of Genmark Automation, Inc., A US Semiconductor Wafer Handling Robot Manufacturer; 03/05/2018 – GenMark Diagnostics at Bank of America Conference May 16; 01/05/2018 – GenMark 1Q Loss/Shr 21c; 21/04/2018 – DJ GenMark Diagnostics Inc, Inst Holders, 1Q 2018 (GNMK); 27/03/2018 Casdin Capital, LLC, Affiliates Report Stake In GenMark

Baupost Group Llc decreased its stake in Ebay Inc (EBAY) by 17.55% based on its latest 2019Q2 regulatory filing with the SEC. Baupost Group Llc sold 5.14M shares as the company’s stock rose 8.97% . The hedge fund held 24.15M shares of the business services company at the end of 2019Q2, valued at $953.77M, down from 29.29 million at the end of the previous reported quarter. Baupost Group Llc who had been investing in Ebay Inc for a number of months, seems to be less bullish one the $33.86 billion market cap company. The stock increased 0.20% or $0.08 during the last trading session, reaching $40.37. About 3.55M shares traded. eBay Inc. (NASDAQ:EBAY) has risen 22.33% since September 14, 2018 and is uptrending. It has outperformed by 22.33% the S&P500. Some Historical EBAY News: 21/05/2018 – Permira: Magento Commerce Was Acquired by Permira Funds From eBay Inc. in 2015; 24/04/2018 – FDA: EBay’s Removed JUUL Product Listings, Voluntarily Implemented Measures to Prevent New Listings; 17/05/2018 – EBay Launches Interests — a New Feature That Tailors Shopping Experience Based on a Person’s Passions, Hobbies, and Style; 14/04/2018 – Walmart is in advanced talks to acquire Amazon’s India rival Flipkart – but it may have to strike a deal with eBay first:; 10/05/2018 – EBay is changing its India strategy by selling its holdings in Flipkart; 06/03/2018 – CincinnatiBusCou: EXCLUSIVE: eBay logistics partner expands to massive building near CVG; 16/05/2018 – Australian Investors Buy Santander Mexico, Sell EBay: 13F; 09/05/2018 – EBay will relaunch its India business after selling its Flipkart stake to Walmart The company will gross more than $1 billion from exiting the relationship; 25/04/2018 – EBAY REAFFIRMS YR FORECAST; 25/04/2018 – EBay Gives Disappointing Outlook, Highlighting Threat of Amazon

Baupost Group Llc, which manages about $29.88B and $11.05 billion US Long portfolio, upped its stake in Atara Biotherapeutics Inc (NASDAQ:ATRA) by 619,481 shares to 7.00M shares, valued at $140.77 million in 2019Q2, according to the filing. It also increased its holding in Cbs Corp New (NYSE:CBS) by 1.46M shares in the quarter, for a total of 10.00 million shares, and has risen its stake in Liberty Global Plc (NASDAQ:LBTYK).

Analysts await eBay Inc. (NASDAQ:EBAY) to report earnings on October, 29. They expect $0.51 earnings per share, up 18.60% or $0.08 from last year’s $0.43 per share. EBAY’s profit will be $427.77M for 19.79 P/E if the $0.51 EPS becomes a reality. After $0.54 actual earnings per share reported by eBay Inc. for the previous quarter, Wall Street now forecasts -5.56% negative EPS growth.

More notable recent eBay Inc. (NASDAQ:EBAY) news were published by: Seekingalpha.com which released: “PayPal: Big Money Is Flowing In – Seeking Alpha” on September 13, 2019, also Investorplace.com with their article: “3 Big Stock Charts for Wednesday: eBay, UnitedHealth and Berkshire Hathaway – Investorplace.com” published on August 28, 2019, 247Wallst.com published: “Music Industry Calls Out Amazon, eBay for Selling Counterfeit CDs – 24/7 Wall St.” on August 22, 2019. More interesting news about eBay Inc. (NASDAQ:EBAY) were released by: 247Wallst.com and their article: “Top Analyst Upgrades and Downgrades: Apple, Caterpillar, Costco, Chipotle, eBay, Groupon, Honeywell, Mastercard, Newmont Goldcorp, Roku, Zoetis and More – 24/7 Wall St.” published on September 09, 2019 as well as Nasdaq.com‘s news article titled: “eBay Inc. (EBAY) Ex-Dividend Date Scheduled for August 30, 2019 – Nasdaq” with publication date: August 29, 2019.

Since August 5, 2019, it had 1 buy, and 0 insider sales for $232,736 activity.

Investors sentiment decreased to 0.96 in 2019 Q2. Its down 0.16, from 1.12 in 2019Q1. It worsened, as 39 investors sold EBAY shares while 252 reduced holdings. 79 funds opened positions while 200 raised stakes. 680.91 million shares or 4.31% less from 711.61 million shares in 2019Q1 were reported. Ledyard Commercial Bank reported 0.94% of its portfolio in eBay Inc. (NASDAQ:EBAY). Janney Montgomery Scott Ltd Limited Liability Company reported 0.02% stake. Comerica National Bank reported 180,411 shares. Whittier Trust Of Nevada Inc has invested 0.01% in eBay Inc. (NASDAQ:EBAY). Aimz Investment Ltd Liability Com has invested 0.28% in eBay Inc. (NASDAQ:EBAY). Cibc Asset Mngmt holds 0.04% or 150,338 shares in its portfolio. Scotia holds 31,090 shares. Commonwealth National Bank Of Aus holds 148,444 shares. Moreover, Investec Asset Mgmt has 0% invested in eBay Inc. (NASDAQ:EBAY). Meiji Yasuda Asset Mgmt holds 0.08% in eBay Inc. (NASDAQ:EBAY) or 25,243 shares. Hanson Mcclain holds 0% or 101 shares. 222,827 are held by Keybank Association Oh. Moreover, Ubs Oconnor Ltd Liability has 0% invested in eBay Inc. (NASDAQ:EBAY) for 470,000 shares. Prospector Prtn accumulated 0.96% or 176,400 shares. Gulf Int National Bank (Uk) Ltd holds 214,829 shares.

Granite Investment Partners Llc, which manages about $892.06M and $1.87 billion US Long portfolio, decreased its stake in United States Lime & Mineral (NASDAQ:USLM) by 4,143 shares to 4,716 shares, valued at $377,000 in 2019Q2, according to the filing. It also reduced its holding in Paylocity Hldg Corp (NASDAQ:PCTY) by 3,368 shares in the quarter, leaving it with 31,055 shares, and cut its stake in Chromadex Corp.

Investors sentiment increased to 2.12 in Q2 2019. Its up 0.80, from 1.32 in 2019Q1. It improved, as 10 investors sold GNMK shares while 16 reduced holdings. 19 funds opened positions while 36 raised stakes. 45.09 million shares or 0.94% more from 44.67 million shares in 2019Q1 were reported. Great West Life Assurance Can holds 7,315 shares or 0% of its portfolio. 6.59M were reported by Price T Rowe Assoc Md. Aqr Cap Limited Liability reported 42,210 shares. Moreover, Barclays Public Ltd has 0% invested in GenMark Diagnostics, Inc. (NASDAQ:GNMK). Panagora Asset Mgmt Incorporated reported 0% in GenMark Diagnostics, Inc. (NASDAQ:GNMK). Hightower Advisors Ltd Com holds 0.1% or 2.61M shares. Alliancebernstein LP owns 65,300 shares. Blackrock Incorporated reported 3.81M shares. Granite Ltd Liability reported 307,280 shares stake. Ameritas Investment Partners holds 3,729 shares. Credit Suisse Ag accumulated 38,940 shares. Ironwood Financial Limited Liability Corporation holds 0.01% or 3,554 shares. Paradigm Capital Management owns 19,700 shares. Royal Bancshares Of Canada stated it has 377 shares or 0% of all its holdings. Blair William & Communication Il reported 93,266 shares stake.

GenMark Diagnostics, Inc. (NASDAQ:GNMK) Institutional Positions Chart

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Meet the 8 Tech Titans Investing in Synthetic Biology

That’s why his VC fund, Khosla Ventures, has invested in Brooklyn-based Opentrons, a company that sells open-source, automatic pipetting robots …
These tech titans are investing big-time in synthetic biology.

These tech titans know a good thing when they see it, and they’re investing big-time in synthetic biology.

SynBioBeta

“DNA is like a computer program but far, far more advanced than any software ever created.” Bill Gates wrote this in 1995, long before synthetic biology – a scientific discipline focused on reading, writing, and editing DNA – was being harnessed to program living cells. Today, the cost to order a custom DNA sequence has fallen faster than Moore’s law; perhaps that’s why the Microsoft founder is turning a significant part of his attention, and wallet, towards this exciting field.

Carlson Curve

Known as the Carlson curve, the cost of reading and writing DNA — the machinery of life, the universe, and everything — is plummeting at a rate that makes Moore’s law blush. It’s a key factor catalyzing a new biomanufacturing revolution.

Image: SynBioBeta, Data: courtesy Rob Carlson / SynBioBeta.

Bill Gates is not the only tech founder billionaire that sees a parallel between bits and biology, either. Many other tech founders – the same people that made their money programming 1s and 0s – are now investing in biotech founders poised to make their own fortunes by programming A’s, T’s, G’s and C’s.

Funding for synthetic biology companies, 2009–2018

Funding for synthetic biology companies, 2009–2018. 98 synthetic biology companies raised almost USD$4 billion last year. Many of those investors are coming from the tech industry, which knows how to ride an exponential.

SynBioBeta.

The industry has raised more than $12.3B in the last 10 years and last year, 98 synthetic biology companies collectively raised $3.8 billion, compared to just under $400 million total invested less than a decade ago. Synthetic biology companies are disrupting nearly every industry, from agriculture to medicine to cell-based meats. Engineered microorganisms are even being used to produce more sustainable fabrics and manufacture biofuels from recycled carbon emissions.

The number of synthetic biology companies formed 2000-2018

The number of synthetic biology companies formed has increased greatly throughout the last 18 years with 620 new companies formed in 2018.

SynBioBeta.

This remarkable versatility, and the notion that biology can be programmed much like a computer, has attracted investors that want to “pay it forward” to the next generation of entrepreneurs. Data Collective, where I’m an Operating Partner, has made numerous investments in synthetic biology companies. Large investments have also come from tech titans like Eric Schmidt (Google), Peter Thiel (PayPal), Vinod Khosla (Sun Microsystems), Marc Andreessen (Netscape), Jerry Yang (Yahoo!), Bill Gates (Microsoft), Bryan Johnson (Venmo), and Max Levchin (PayPal), each of whom have made highly successful exits and are now fostering a golden new age in the engineering and programming of biology.

Former Google CEO Eric Schmidt is one of the world’s most successful business leaders and arguably one of the Internet’s most important people. In 2010 he co-founded Innovation Endeavors, an early-stage venture capital firm that believes that recent advances in science and technology will create exponential rates of change and emergent ecosystems in a new world. The firm has invested in synthetic biology-enabled companies including Zymergen, Bolt Threads, Ukko, and GRO Biosciences.

In articles and interviews over the years, Peter Thiel has repeatedly discussed the ‘Stagnation Hypothesis’, which suggests that breakthroughs have been lacking in a broad number of fields over the last 50 years, including biology. Despite this stagnation, he says, “computers have become the single great hope for the technological future.” It’s not surprising, then, that Thiel is leveraging software-based solutions to search for biological breakthroughs.

Founders Fund, where Thiel is a partner, has invested in some of the leading synthetic biology companies, especially those that are offering cloud-based platforms to perform experiments remotely. Consider Emerald Cloud Lab, a South San Francisco-based warehouse of sorts filled with a slew of million-dollar robots. Users can log on to their website from anywhere in the world, enter the experimental protocol that they’d like to perform, and the robots here take care of the rest. Entire experiments, which would normally take scientists weeks, are performed in hours with higher precision. And though the idea sounds crazy on paper, it’s exactly the sort of “internet-based solution” that Silicon Valley loves.

Some of the tech founders now investing in synthetic biology.

Some of the tech founders now investing in synthetic biology.

SynBioBeta

Vinod Khosla, co-founder of Sun Microsystems (which developed Java, among many other things), also sees promise in robot-aided experiments. But rather than outsource experiments to a warehouse in San Francisco, he wants to put robots directly into the hands of end-users. That’s why his VC fund, Khosla Ventures, has invested in Brooklyn-based Opentrons, a company that sells open-source, automatic pipetting robots that can run entire experimental workflows. It’s part of an ongoing trend in synthetic biology that aims to put automated solutions into the hands of scientists.

Rather than having robots perform tedious experiments in lieu of humans, other companies are empowering scientists directly by providing web-based solutions that make biology easier to engineer. Benchling, which recently raised a $34.5M series C, allows users to store, edit, catalog and analyze DNA sequences online. They also offer tools for users to engineer DNA digitally, so that scientists can plan their experiments and test them without ever picking up a pipette. The problem here is that DNA is tough to engineer, and the solution again comes in the form of software. Maybe that’s why Marc Andreessen, the pioneer behind the Netscape browser, is a backer via his fund Andreesen Horowitz.

Jerry Yang, the Yahoo! co-founder and Founding Partner at AME Cloud Ventures, also sees some obvious parallels between biology and bits – as in, what if DNA could literally store digital information. That’s why he invested in Catalog, a Boston-based company using synthetic biology to do exactly that. According to The Economist, Catalog’s method can store 20,000x more information than hard drives in the same amount of space – or, in other words, 600 billion gigabytes of data in one cubic meter. I previously wrote about the many recent, technological leaps that have enabled DNA to function as a viable medium for digital storage.

But not every tech founder is limiting their investments in synthetic biology to cases where software offers an obvious parallel. Bill Gates has repeatedly invested in the “food revolution”, backing both Impossible Foods and Memphis Meats, two companies offering meat replacements, but doing so in completely different ways. Impossible Foods makes their burgers from plant-based ingredients, while Memphis Meats uses biotechnology to literally grow meat from living cells, instead of butchering animals.

Max Levchin, another PayPal co-founder, is an investor in Emeryville-based Bolt Threads, a company wielding ‘designer’ microbes to produce synthetic silks and engineered mushrooms to mimic leather. These bio-crafted materials are not all hype, either. Bolt Threads has already manufactured and shipped products, including a men’s necktie and a commercially-available bag that originally launched on Kickstarter.

Bryan Johnson founded and successfully sold his online and mobile payments provider, Braintree (which created Venmo), to PayPal in 2013 for $800M. In 2014, Bryan invested $100M to start OS Fund to support inventors and scientists who aim to benefit humanity by rewriting the operating systems of life. His OS Fund investments include endeavors to cure age-related diseases and radically extend healthy human life beyond 100 years, make biology a predictable programming language, digitize analog businesses, and reimagine food using biology, among others. OS Fund’s portfolio includes Arzeda, Catalog, GRO Bioscience, Ginkgo Bioworks, HelixNano, Lygos, Pivot, Synthego, and Synthetic Genomics.

So, while we still have a long way to go before biology is easy to engineer or offers solutions to all the world’s problems, maybe the next breakthroughs will be inspired by the same people that made the internet and software booms a reality. In most cases, tech founders are investing in synthetic biology because they see a real opportunity to make an impact on the world by leveraging their expertise in software and customer-oriented businesses — they just want to apply their skills to harder problems.

And what problem is harder than synthetic biology, where atoms are programmed instead of bits?

Note: I am the founder of SynBioBeta, the innovation network for the synthetic biology industry. Some of the companies that I write about sponsor the SynBioBeta conference (click here for a full list of sponsors).

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Baupost Group Lowered Ebay (EBAY) Holding by $200.46 Million; Nli International Stake in …

Baupost Group Llc decreased its stake in Ebay Inc (EBAY) by 17.55% based on its latest 2019Q2 regulatory filing with the SEC. Baupost Group Llc …

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Baupost Group Llc decreased its stake in Ebay Inc (EBAY) by 17.55% based on its latest 2019Q2 regulatory filing with the SEC. Baupost Group Llc sold 5.14 million shares as the company’s stock rose 8.97% . The hedge fund held 24.15M shares of the business services company at the end of 2019Q2, valued at $953.77 million, down from 29.29 million at the end of the previous reported quarter. Baupost Group Llc who had been investing in Ebay Inc for a number of months, seems to be less bullish one the $33.86 billion market cap company. The stock increased 0.20% or $0.08 during the last trading session, reaching $40.37. About 3.55M shares traded. eBay Inc. (NASDAQ:EBAY) has risen 22.33% since September 13, 2018 and is uptrending. It has outperformed by 22.33% the S&P500. Some Historical EBAY News: 09/05/2018 – EBAY TO SELL HOLDINGS IN FLIPKART; 14/03/2018 – Google, Apple face EU law on business practices; 09/05/2018 – EBAY TO END ITS RELATIONSHIP WITH FLIPKART AFTER DEAL; 14/04/2018 – Walmart is in advanced talks to acquire Amazon’s India rival Flipkart – but it may have to strike a deal with eBay first:; 25/04/2018 – eBay Sees 2Q Adj EPS 50c-Adj EPS 52c; 20/04/2018 – eBay Inc. vs Global Equity Management (SA) Pty. Ltd. | FWD Entered | 04/19/2018; 23/04/2018 – eBay and PayPal Finalize New Payments Agreement; 17/05/2018 – EBay Launches Interests — a New Feature That Tailors Shopping Experience Based on a Person’s Passions, Hobbies, and Style; 25/04/2018 – EBay: StubHub Drove Rev of $232 M, Up 9% on Both an As-Reported Basis and FX-Neutral Basis; 03/05/2018 – Zurcher Kantonalbank Adds Aptiv, Cuts UBS, Buys More eBay: 13F

Nli International Inc decreased its stake in Constellation Brands Inc (STZ) by 27.96% based on its latest 2019Q2 regulatory filing with the SEC. Nli International Inc sold 6,050 shares as the company’s stock declined 7.20% . The institutional investor held 15,590 shares of the beverages (production and distribution) company at the end of 2019Q2, valued at $3.07M, down from 21,640 at the end of the previous reported quarter. Nli International Inc who had been investing in Constellation Brands Inc for a number of months, seems to be less bullish one the $38.65 billion market cap company. The stock increased 0.05% or $0.1 during the last trading session, reaching $204.07. About 563,442 shares traded. Constellation Brands, Inc. (NYSE:STZ) has declined 6.13% since September 13, 2018 and is downtrending. It has underperformed by 6.13% the S&P500. Some Historical STZ News: 30/05/2018 – Constellation Brands Closes Above 50-Day Moving Average; 29/03/2018 – STZ SEES FY COMPARABLE EPS $9.40 TO $9.70, EST. $9.59; 29/03/2018 – Constellation Counting on Lighter Corona to Maintain Beer Boom; 29/03/2018 – Constellation Brands Sees FY19 Operating Cash Flow About $2.45B; 29/03/2018 – CONSTELLATION BRANDS INC QTRLY REPORTED SALES $1,766 MLN, UP 8 PCT; 29/03/2018 – Constellation Brands 4Q Adjusted EBIT $546M; 15/05/2018 – Cloud Constellation Corporation and Assured Communications Advisors International Aim for DoD Cloud Services; 29/03/2018 – CONSTELLATION BRANDS INC – PROJECTS FISCAL 2019 OPERATING CASH FLOW TARGET OF APPROXIMATELY $2.45 BILLION; 25/04/2018 – CONSTELLATION SOFTWARE 1Q REV. $719M, EST. $687.6M; 27/04/2018 – S&PGR Upgrades Constellation Brands To ‘BBB/A-2’; Otlk Stable

Investors sentiment decreased to 1.35 in Q2 2019. Its down 0.38, from 1.73 in 2019Q1. It dived, as 44 investors sold STZ shares while 240 reduced holdings. 102 funds opened positions while 282 raised stakes. 132.14 million shares or 1.85% more from 129.74 million shares in 2019Q1 were reported. Evercore Wealth Ltd Co reported 0.01% of its portfolio in Constellation Brands, Inc. (NYSE:STZ). Advisory Ser Ltd Liability Corporation stated it has 0.15% of its portfolio in Constellation Brands, Inc. (NYSE:STZ). 12,348 are owned by Kings Point Capital. Davis R M has invested 0.67% of its portfolio in Constellation Brands, Inc. (NYSE:STZ). Klingenstein Fields & Lc has invested 1.11% in Constellation Brands, Inc. (NYSE:STZ). Da Davidson & accumulated 29,883 shares or 0.11% of the stock. Roffman Miller Associate Pa holds 0.58% or 27,369 shares in its portfolio. North Star Management holds 0.09% or 3,919 shares in its portfolio. 28,718 are owned by Girard Prns Limited. 2.35M are owned by Jackson Square Ptnrs Lc. Baystate Wealth Mngmt invested in 119 shares or 0% of the stock. Graham Cap Mngmt Limited Partnership stated it has 0.13% in Constellation Brands, Inc. (NYSE:STZ). Ibm Retirement Fund holds 0.11% in Constellation Brands, Inc. (NYSE:STZ) or 2,872 shares. Utah Retirement has 0.11% invested in Constellation Brands, Inc. (NYSE:STZ). Penobscot Management owns 9,860 shares.

Nli International Inc, which manages about $9.21 billion and $1.32B US Long portfolio, upped its stake in Biogen Inc (NASDAQ:BIIB) by 1,600 shares to 14,610 shares, valued at $3.42 million in 2019Q2, according to the filing. It also increased its holding in Bank Amer Corp (NYSE:BAC) by 120,240 shares in the quarter, for a total of 918,580 shares, and has risen its stake in Bank N S Halifax (NYSE:BNS).

Analysts await Constellation Brands, Inc. (NYSE:STZ) to report earnings on October, 3. They expect $2.62 EPS, down 8.71% or $0.25 from last year’s $2.87 per share. STZ’s profit will be $496.15M for 19.47 P/E if the $2.62 EPS becomes a reality. After $2.21 actual EPS reported by Constellation Brands, Inc. for the previous quarter, Wall Street now forecasts 18.55% EPS growth.

More notable recent Constellation Brands, Inc. (NYSE:STZ) news were published by: Fool.com which released: “Better Marijuana Stock: Aphria vs. Constellation Brands – Motley Fool” on September 12, 2019, also Investorplace.com with their article: “Constellation Brands Stock: What the Bulls are Smoking – Investorplace.com” published on August 29, 2019, Finance.Yahoo.com published: “Does Constellation Brands Have A Hard Seltzer Problem? – Yahoo Finance” on August 22, 2019. More interesting news about Constellation Brands, Inc. (NYSE:STZ) were released by: Finance.Yahoo.com and their article: “Did Hedge Funds Drop The Ball On Constellation Brands, Inc. (STZ) ? – Yahoo Finance” published on June 07, 2019 as well as Fool.com‘s news article titled: “Weekly Cannabis Stock News: Canopy Growth Gets a Recommendation Boost – The Motley Fool” with publication date: August 30, 2019.

Since August 5, 2019, it had 1 buying transaction, and 0 selling transactions for $232,736 activity.

Analysts await eBay Inc. (NASDAQ:EBAY) to report earnings on October, 29. They expect $0.51 EPS, up 18.60% or $0.08 from last year’s $0.43 per share. EBAY’s profit will be $427.77M for 19.79 P/E if the $0.51 EPS becomes a reality. After $0.54 actual EPS reported by eBay Inc. for the previous quarter, Wall Street now forecasts -5.56% negative EPS growth.

Investors sentiment decreased to 0.96 in 2019 Q2. Its down 0.16, from 1.12 in 2019Q1. It dived, as 39 investors sold EBAY shares while 252 reduced holdings. 79 funds opened positions while 200 raised stakes. 680.91 million shares or 4.31% less from 711.61 million shares in 2019Q1 were reported. 237,805 were reported by Mirae Asset Global Invests. Shelton Capital Management holds 0.42% or 186,342 shares. Meeder Asset Mgmt Inc owns 16,187 shares or 0.04% of their US portfolio. Bank & Trust Of America Corp De invested in 0.02% or 3.87 million shares. F&V Capital Mgmt Ltd Liability Company accumulated 142,995 shares or 3.36% of the stock. Dimensional Fund Lp, Texas-based fund reported 3.49M shares. Proshare Advsrs Ltd Llc has invested 0.16% in eBay Inc. (NASDAQ:EBAY). Envestnet Asset has invested 0.02% in eBay Inc. (NASDAQ:EBAY). Marble Harbor Inv Counsel Ltd Liability reported 2.2% stake. Ubs Oconnor Ltd Liability Corporation invested in 0% or 470,000 shares. Sequoia Fincl Advsr Lc reported 7,555 shares. Northern Corp accumulated 0.1% or 11.08 million shares. Cambiar Invsts Ltd Liability has 9,783 shares for 0.01% of their portfolio. Altrinsic Glob Advsr Ltd Company owns 615,105 shares. Parametric Associate Limited Liability stated it has 0.1% in eBay Inc. (NASDAQ:EBAY).

More notable recent eBay Inc. (NASDAQ:EBAY) news were published by: Nasdaq.com which released: “EBAY or AMZN: Which Is the Better Value Stock Right Now? – Nasdaq” on September 04, 2019, also Investorplace.com with their article: “3 Big Stock Charts for Wednesday: eBay, UnitedHealth and Berkshire Hathaway – Investorplace.com” published on August 28, 2019, Finance.Yahoo.com published: “George Soros’ Firm Buys Tech Stocks in 2nd Quarter – Yahoo Finance” on August 20, 2019. More interesting news about eBay Inc. (NASDAQ:EBAY) were released by: Nasdaq.com and their article: “E-Commerce Gathers Steam in India: AMZN, WMT, BABA in Focus – Nasdaq” published on August 22, 2019 as well as Nasdaq.com‘s news article titled: “Why Is eBay (EBAY) Down 0.8% Since Last Earnings Report? – Nasdaq” with publication date: August 16, 2019.

eBay Inc. (NASDAQ:EBAY) Institutional Positions Chart

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