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Lux Take on News: Weekly Round-Up April 9, 2021

Lux Research
April 9, 2021

Every day our researchers read through the top innovation headlines and provide their expert opinions on important developments and industry news. Our analysts then evaluate news based on potential importance ranking the developments from Truly Disruptive to Ignore.

On Fridays we highlight our Lux Take on the top news for the week. Check out our thoughts on the latest emerging technology and innovation news for the past week below.

Grab goes public in largest SPAC deal as merger talks with Gojek fail

Robinson, ChristopherChristopher Robinson, Research Director | @CRobinsonLux Ico twitter
Lux Take: Very Important


"Several rounds of rumors had suggested Grab and Gojek were nearing a merger. In a turn of events, Grab, Southeast Asia's largest startup, will likely raise more than $2 billion in funding by going public via the SPAC model through Altimeter. Financing from Ant Financial fell through along with the latter's aborted IPO last year, but if Grab wanted to stay public, it likely would have found other deep-pocketed investors. Its pursuit of a public listing was likely due in part to pressure from existing investors to exit their investment and to avoid paying Uber $2 billion – which it would owe if it doesn't go public by 2023. Companies should expect Gojek to pursue a similar route, potentially involving a merger with Tokopedia."

Zymergen files for $100 million IPO

Kristin Marshall, Analyst at Lux Research

Kristin Marshall, Analyst | @KMarsh4Bio Ico twitter
Lux Take: Very Important


"This news comes after the company launched its first product in December 2020 – an optical film to help electronic companies make foldable touchscreens. Zymergen will most likely use the proceeds for commercializing existing products and furthering the development of its platform. The company did not disclose the number of shares it plans to offer or the pricing, which means the $100 million figure is a placeholder amount subject to change. The amount it ultimately raises will provide a benchmark for other widely anticipated synthetic biology IPOs, namely Ginkgo Bioworks."

Digital X-ray company Nanox receives FDA clearance

Ramanathan, Nardev-1

Nardev Ramanathan, Ph.D., Analyst
Lux Take: Very Important


"Digital advancements in X-ray imaging have occurred mostly in image processing and storage. The actual hardware (X-ray tube) has not changed significantly. X-ray machines today are typically bulky and expensive and require trained personnel and radiologists to run. Nanox has developed an innovative stable cold-cathode field emission MEMS silicon, making it significantly smaller and cheaper (one order of magnitude). It plans to include image repositories and radiologist matching to support diagnostic decision support and billing systems. This is a potentially disruptive technology that those with business interests in medical devices along the value chain, from supply chain and manufacturing all the way to patient care, must note."

Lux Research - Newsletter Research

DSM invests $100 million into launch of personalized nutrition company Hologram Sciences

10085-thumb-squareThomas Hayes, Analyst
Lux Take: Very Important


"This builds off DSM's series of previous moves in the personalized nutrition space, much of which occurred in 2018 and 2019. It appears the company will provide diagnostics, automated and dietitian-based recommendations, and personalized supplements, with current focus areas of immune, gut, and brain health. While it is exciting to see such a sizable investment from DSM, much has yet to be proven about Hologram's technology and business model. If DSM is able to equally cultivate the "4 Ps" of personalized nutrition, then it can avoid the type of failure that happened between Campbell's and Habit."

Ford partners with University of Michigan and opens robotics complex

Miraj

Miraj Mainali, Senior Research Associate
Lux Take: Average Importance


"
Through collaboration with Ford Motor, the university will build a $75 million,134,000 ft2 complex on its campus, which will house research on two-legged disaster response robots, lighter-weight and more efficient prosthetic legs, and collaborative robots. The campus will feature simulation environments and a playground for robots, where they will be given obstacle avoidance training. While the university will use this opportunity to develop better robotics research and curriculum on-campus, Ford is looking to leverage the research findings to improve its delivery robot, Digit, which it recently purchased. Companies should see this as an important step toward automating the last mile, which is still about 10 years from large deployments."

Hyundai Heavy Industries blueprints a vertically integrated hydrogen supply chain by 2030

Jinze Dai

Jinze Dai, Analyst
Lux Take: Average Importance

"Hyundai's shipbuilding holding subsidiary KSOE is tasked with building hydrogen-fueled vessels, hydrogen transport tankers, and offshore green hydrogen production plants, while Hyundai Oilbank will produce blue hydrogen from LNG supplied by Aramco. Downstream, Hyundai Electric & Energy Systems and Hyundai Construction Equipment will promote hydrogen fuel cells. Vertical integration will reduce transaction costs and expand the company's core competencies in hydrogen. Companies should explore vertical integration opportunities while also assessing potential external hydrogen suppliers, such as Chile and Saudi Arabia."

Japanese startup AmicaTerra begins scale-up of plant-based resin alternatives

Anthony Schiavo, Research Director

Anthony Schiavo, Research Director | @MobbDeepTech Ico twitter
Lux Take: Average Importance

"The company, founded in 2016, offers plant-based composite materials for single-use and durable applications. It is now scaling production of materials in Taiwan and plans to build factories in Japan. Companies should just monitor for now – like many plant-based materials, claims about sustainability and biodegradation need to be borne out in practice."

Making Sense of Sustainability

Canadian Gas Association launches $35 million venture arm targeting solutions along the natural gas value chain

Yuan-Sheng Yu_2014_150px

Yuan-Sheng Yu, Research Director | @808sAndInnovate Ico twitter
Lux Take: Average Importance


"The CGA formed the Natural Gas Innovation Fund (NGIF) in March and will start with an inaugural $35 million fund targeting startups developing solutions for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) along the natural gas value chain, renewable natural gas, and hydrogen. The fund will likely have a focus on Canadian startups, and given the momentum in cleantech, we expect it to make several investments before the end of the year. Canada's cleantech startup ecosystem has produced many of the high-profile companies today, including Enerkem, Carbon Engineering, and CarbonCure. A few startups to key an eye on that may receive funding from NGIF include Proton Technologies, Flyscan Systems, Toku Systems, and Crux OCM."

U.S. Air Force selects Black Swift to predict drone failures before they happen

Miraj

Miraj Mainali, Senior Research Associate
Lux Take: Average Importance


"
The U.S. Air Force was facing reliability issues and dozens of crashes on its Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS). To improve on identifying potential failures, the agency has awarded Black Swift Technologies an SBIR Grant to develop a solution for predicting UAS maintenance schedules. The system uses machine learning algorithms to detect anomalies, which will replace the incumbent practice of preventative maintenance based on the predetermined life of assets. Black Swift has heavily invested in developing its PdM solution for such a niche but growing market, making it a valuable partner for most drone manufacturers and operators because drone failures can result in the loss of assets and even human casualties when flying in urban areas."

Novozymes acquires data science platform of Biota to boost its probiotics product development

hariniHarini Venkataraman, Ph.D., Analyst
Lux Take: Average Importance


"Through this acquisition, Novozymes will add Biota’s microbiome R&D team and data science platform, aiming to strengthen its internal capability for the human health unit "OneHealth." This development comes on the heels of the company's other recent acquisition of Microbiome Labs and is also in line with its focus on expanding product offerings related to probiotics for plant, animal, and human health. With increasing interest around probiotics development for agrifood applications, companies should look to integrate the right bioinformatics tools to help expedite target identification and discovery."

Graphene masks dubbed health hazard by Health Canada

Anthony Schiavo, Research Director

Anthony Schiavo, Research Director | @MobbDeepTech Ico twitter
Lux Take: Low Importance

"Inhalation of nanomaterials is one of their biggest health risks, so putting them against your mouth is probably not a good idea. Lux was already skeptical about the utility of graphene masks, so this announcement simply creates further barriers to adoption." 

Did you miss last week's news round-up? Check out the blog here. Make sure you never miss a headline by subscribing to our newsletter.

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