Morning Brew - ☕️ Space swarm

SpaceX's first acquisition, one year later.
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Morning Brew September 12, 2022

Emerging Tech Brew

HSBC

Happy Monday. Last week we learned that even the Pope has an AI advisor—an engineer, ethicicist, and Franciscan monk named Paolo Benanti. The tendrils of digitization know no bounds, it seems.

In today’s edition:
🛰 SpaceX made its first-ever acquisition a year ago—here’s how it’s going
Venture funding hit a two-year low in August
Coworking

Jordan McDonald, Dan McCarthy, Hayden Field

SPACE

Swarming space

spaceX swarm satellite connectivity Swarm Technologies

About a year ago, the most prominent space company bought a startup making sandwich-shaped nanosatellites.

The year since has been eventful for Swarm Technologies as it has settled into its role as a subsidiary of SpaceX, which acquired the company in August 2021 for an undisclosed sum.

SpaceX doesn’t have a history of making acquisitions—in fact, Swarm was its first—so the company has spent the past year navigating its new position as an acquihire for the space-industry titan. Sara Spangelo, CEO and co-founder of Swarm Technologies, told Emerging Tech Brew that SpaceX and Starlink have opened new doors for Swarm.

In particular...Now that Swarm can tap into SpaceX’s existing relationships, Spangelo said the company has found it easier to navigate one of its biggest challenges: regulatory approvals.

  • She said SpaceX’s ownership has made it easier for Swarm to enter new markets—the company has added six new countries in the last year, she said, and in total has won approval to operate in 17.
  • Spangelo said Swarm’s goal is to more than double that figure to 40 countries by the end of 2023.

Spangelo called this “a pretty big unlock for us in some of these more complicated countries.”

Keep reading about Swarm’s first year under SpaceX ownership.JM

        

TOGETHER WITH HSBC

What’s next in tech?

HSBC

Are you staying on top of the constant changes in the world of enterprise software, or barely keeping up with your computer’s software updates? Help is on the way.

To thrive in this changing ecosystem, companies have to improve the way they do business and combat threats in real time. This means migrating away from the traditional legacy model and using SaaS instead. They’re also finding ways to reduce costs while providing more flexibility and network security (we love a win-win!).

Interested in getting ahead in the enterprise software space? Visit HSBC to learn about their dedicated technology team and international footprint that can help you stay on top of game-changing tech.

        

VENTURE CAPITAL

VC funding hits a two-year low

VC funding hits a two-year low Bobmadbob/Getty Images

Like everyone’s desire to work, venture funding sank to a new low during the dog days of summer.

In August, global venture funding fell to $25.2 billion, per Crunchbase, less than half of the ~$53 billion invested one year prior, and the lowest monthly venture-funding total in two years. It’s down ~10% from the previous month.

Even so…The ongoing pullback didn’t stop several companies—including Adam Neumann’s, uh, controversial, comeback project Flow—from locking down significant investment rounds in August.

Here are three rounds that stood out to us…all of which happen to play in the clean-energy space:

  • Terrapower, a nuclear tech developer founded by Bill Gates, raised $750 million. Gates co-led the round with SK Group, which plowed $250 million into the company. In addition to nuclear power generation, the company is also researching nuclear medicine techniques.
  • Longroad Energy, a renewable energy developer based in Boston, raised $500 million. The company said that the funding would catalyze a shift toward an owned-and-operated business model and enable it to grow the capacity of its wind, solar, and storage assets from 1.5 gigawatts (GW) to 8.5 GW in the next five years.
  • Lunar, a home-electrification startup founded by a former Tesla Energy exec, debuted with $300 million in funding, with residential solar bigwig Sunrun and SK Group (hello again) as investors. Later this year, Lunar plans to begin releasing hardware and software products that make it easier for homes to generate, use, and store carbon-free energy.

Zoom out: Monthly venture funding has been trending down since it hit a record high of $69.4 billion last November, as rising rates, inflation, and general economic uncertainty have turned the investing temperature from “deep summer” to “that first really cold day of winter where you neglect to wear a proper coat.”

But it’s time for two of our most common refrains on this subject: 1) $25 billion in monthly VC funding is still a lot of money 2) VCs are sitting on a record high of more than half a trillion dollars in dry powder. Those reserves are unlikely to be emptied in 2022, but there is a lot of committed capital on hand for startups to vie for.

Click here to read on-site.DM

        

READER SPOTLIGHT

Coworking with…Luke Fife

Coworking with…Luke Fife Luke Fife

Coworking is a weekly segment where we spotlight Emerging Tech Brew readers who work with emerging technologies. Click here if you’d like a chance to be featured.

How would you describe your job to someone who doesn’t work in tech?

Everyone wants data today to operate in their lives and business. The problem is that getting that data, putting it in a secure location, and preparing it for consumption is a time-consuming, technical process. My company offloads and automates this process for a non-technical user. That’s the company side—as for the business side, I am building the North American business for ClicData.

What’s your favorite emerging tech project you’ve worked on?

A current, really exciting project: When someone is building a new data product or a new ML model, there is one problem and one thing that would make things easier in the life cycle. The problem: You need data to train a model, and if you are starting out, you typically do not have the right scale of data needed to train the model. The potential solution: What if you could bring the data to be paired with your technology from day one? I believe this will unlock something huge in the ML world today.

Which emerging technology are you most optimistic about? Least? And why?

Anything around gaining insights from your data in real-time or in a predictive fashion.

Crypto is what I am least optimistic about. I still think there is a place for it, and I believe there is promise in the future of this technology. I am bearish because there is still so much regulatory scrutiny. It’s blockchain, the foundational side of crypto, that I am bullish about—it’s a major positive already.

        

FROM THE CREW

The Crew

The emerging tech world is a place with endless possibilities and destinations—but you need someone to steer the ship. So why not you? The Brew’s Leadership Accelerator equips you with the tools to become the leader your industry needs. Sign up for our September cohort now.

        

BITS AND BYTES

Tesla car going through manufacturing Francis Scialabba

Stat: Tesla delivered 77,000 vehicles from its Shanghai plant last month, up 74% from July 2021 and nearly triple the previous month.

Quote: “This is the right time, as it starts to get ramped up, to really help instill best practices with hydrogen.”—Scott Herndon, principal scientist at Aerodyne Research, to Emerging Tech Brew on addressing challenges in the rapidly growing clean-hydrogen sector

Read: Autonomous vessels are helping researchers harness DNA from the deep sea that could lead to new medications. Yes, that is a factual sentence.

WHAT ELSE IS BREWING

  • The EU is reportedly planning to introduce legislation that would require IoT device-makers to comply with cyber safety standards or potentially face significant fines.
  • CarbonCapture announced plans for the first at-scale direct air-capture plant in the US. The plant will be based in Wyoming and aims to capture 5 million metric tons of CO2 per year by 2030. We spoke with the company last fall about its tech—check it out.
  • Meta shut down its Responsible Innovation team.
  • Apple’s iPhone 14 will have satellite connectivity to enable messaging from remote locations. The company will shell out $450 million to help satellite company GlobalStar and others build out the infrastructure for the feature.
  • We’re convening thousands of business leaders and innovators virtually to discuss pressing technologies across food, energy, and health. Join the conversation and RSVP for free.

TRIVIA

Last week may have been a four-day workweek for much of the US, but that didn’t stop the tech news from flowing.

Click here to play this week’s tech trivia.

ICYMI

Catch up on the top Emerging Tech Brew stories from the past few editions:

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Written by Jordan McDonald, Dan McCarthy, and Hayden Field

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