Morning Brew - ☕️ Be mine

Inside the push to reopen a US lithium mine.
February 24, 2023

Emerging Tech Brew


Happy Friday. As much as we love newsletters here at the Brew, even we must admit that there’s more to this world than really, really good emails.

There are also really, really good podcasts. And we just dropped one.

Earlier this week, we unveiled Morning Brew Daily—essentially a podcast version of the daily Brew newsletter. Check out an episode on your preferred podcast platform, or watch the video version over on YouTube.

In today’s edition:

Inside the push to reopen a US lithium mine amid surging EV demand
🩺 Digital health investors are wary of these segments in 2023

—Grace Donnelly, Maia Anderson, Dan McCarthy


Lithium legacy

Lithium legacy Illustration: Francis Scialabba, Photos: Morning Brew

When Larry McDaniels began his lithium mining career in 1974, things were different.

The mine in Kings Mountain, North Carolina, was one of the biggest lithium producers in the world, and most of its output was going to industries like glass and ceramics.

Now, nearly half a century later, the Kings Mountain mine is dormant and filled with water, and one industry in particular—automakers—is clamoring for as much of the soft, white metal as lithium suppliers can sell them.

  • Barring a breakthrough in battery chemistry or the sudden embrace of public transit in the US, the transition away from fossil fuels will require lots of lithium-ion batteries.
  • With the EV revolution well underway, demand for lithium-ion batteries is already exceeding supply, and experts predict shortages will continue for the next few years.

Zoom in: Albemarle Corporation, which supplies lithium to Tesla and other automakers and operates the only active lithium mine in the US at the Silver Peak mine in Nevada, owns the ~1,100-acre site that includes the former mine in Kings Mountain.

And it aims to reopen the mine, which sits atop one of the most appealing lithium deposits in the US.

Zoom out: Even with skyrocketing demand from the influential US auto industry, federal support, and a site that previously provided lithium for decades, Albemarle could still be five to 10 years away from production in North Carolina—and that’s if things go smoothly for the company. Read our dispatch from North Carolina here.GD



Biotech to the rescue


You don’t need to be a doctor to see the investment potential behind Cytonics

Cytonics is leading the next generation of biotech with their patented drug that treats the root cause of osteoarthritis (OA). This degenerative condition causes joint pain, stiffness, and inflammation in 600m people. And the millions suffering from OA are stuck treating it with painkillers or steroids—or just enduring it. 

Cytonics’ patented treatment not only stops the degradation of cartilage from OA, it can also reverse it

Their first FDA-approved therapy has already treated over 8k patients. Now they’re bringing a scalable, synthetic version into phase 1 human clinical trials thanks to the support of Johnson & Johnson, the National Institutes of Health, and investors like you.

Invest in Cytonics before this opportunity ends on March 30. 


A healthy dose of skepticism

A yellow traffic light against an orange background

Venture capital funding in the digital health space cooled significantly in 2022 following a red-hot 2021.

  • Overall, digital health companies raised $15.3 billion last year, down substantially from the $29.1 billion raised in 2021—but still above the $14.1 billion raised in 2020, according to research from Rock Health, a seed fund that supports digital health startups.

Looking ahead...Analysts predict investors will still put a good amount of money into digital health in 2023, particularly in alternative care, drug development technology, and software that reduces physician workload. But investors will likely pull dollars away from a few specific sectors this year.

“There is definitely more diligence, a little bit more skepticism in the investments that are made. So you tend to see investments go slower because diligence is taking longer or investors are being a little bit more conservative,” Adriana Krasniansky, head of research at Rock Health, told Healthcare Brew.

Read the full story from Healthcare Brew here.MA



The Twitter logo under a microscope Francis Scialabba

Usually, we write about the business of tech. Here, we highlight the *tech* of tech.

Speakers for the house: Sonos is set to release two new smart speakers in a few weeks, and The Verge got the scoop on the new devices. The Era 300 will reportedly cost ~$450, while the Era 100 could be priced around ~$250. Unlike their predecessors, both speakers will reportedly feature both Bluetooth and USB-C line-in audio, including the ability to hook up a record player. As The Verge noted, there’s no physical input in most other smart speakers, like the Apple HomePod or Google Nest Audio.

A security tip, thanks to Twitter: Last week, Elon Musk’s microblogging site announced that users would have to pay for Twitter Blue in order to use two-factor authentication via SMS. But free users can still use authentication apps or security keys. As Engadget pointed out, this is a good *general* reminder to switch 2FA over to an auth app or security key anyway, as these methods tend to be more secure. Just remember to save backup keys from both, in case, ya know, you lose the authentication device.

A follow-up: Last week, we wrote about Ram’s forthcoming all-electric pickup. By the end of last week, reservations for the truck were already sold out.—DM


Intel chip Francis Scialabba

Stat: Intel cut its quarterly dividend by two-thirds in an attempt to conserve cash amid the “current period of economic uncertainty,” per the WSJ.

Quote: “I think it is the beginning of a paradigm shift…I think this technology is very suitable for the legal industry.”—David Wakeling, head of Allen & Overy’s markets innovation group, on the potential of text-generating AI in the legal world

Read: What it’s like to get waited on by a robotic server.

Personalizing care: LetsGetChecked’s pharmacogenomics solution, myPGx, rounds out their full life cycle of care from home. Learn more about how this game changer is making precision medicine accessible in our interview with their experts.*

*This is sponsored advertising content.


  • AWS announced an AI partnership with Hugging Face.
  • Automakers are still grappling with how fast they should accelerate toward EVs.
  • TSMC is reportedly facing some internal questions about its decision to build a $40 billion semiconductor factory in Arizona.
  • Google claimed that it has made major progress toward solving quantum computing’s error correction problem.


Three of the following news stories are true, and one...we made up. Can you spot the odd one out?

  • Google is reportedly asking some employees to share desks as the company downsizes.
  • Certain new Mercedes-Benz models will…have TikTok available via their in-car touchscreens.
  • Funding for space startups has surged in the US amid the potential presence of alien UFOs.
  • A sci-fi magazine had to shut down submissions after it was flooded with AI-generated stories.


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We haven’t seen reports of startups fundraising off of the potential alien invasion, but, tbh, someone has probably tried it.

✢ A Note From Cytonics

*Disclosure: This is a paid advertisement for Cytonics’ Regulation A+ Offering. Please read the offering circular at


Written by Grace Donnelly, Maia Anderson, and Dan McCarthy

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