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Lux Take on News: Weekly Round-Up March 26, 2021

Lux Research
March 26, 2021

Every day our researchers comb 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 last full week of March below.

Data privacy management startup DataGrail raises $30 million from VC investors, including Siemens-backed Next47

Miraj

Miraj Mainali, Research Associate | @roberts_lewie Ico twitter
Lux Take: Very Important


"
Adhering to compliance with privacy regulations like GDPR and CCPA is becoming cumbersome and expensive for companies. This has created a demand for data management tools like DataGrail's integrated solution, which has more than 900 integrations into different apps and infrastructure platforms. Riding this trend, the startup has raised $40 million in funding from strategic investors like American Express Ventures, HubSpot, and Next47. Companies should note that proper data privacy measures are useful not only for regulations but also for maintaining competitive barriers. Read "Big data: The many paths to privacy" and "How to win a losing battle against data privacy" to stay ahead of the changing dynamics and avoid a privacy disaster.

National Grid moves to decarbonize its portfolio and acquires WPD in the process

Hernandez, JessicaJessica Hernandez, Analyst
Lux Take: Very Important


"National Grid announced three strategic transactions as part of its portfolio repositioning efforts. First, National Grid is buying British distribution system operator Western Power Distribution (WPD) from PPL for £7.8 ($10.8) billion. Second, National Grid is selling Narragansett Electric Company, an electricity and gas distribution company in the U.S., for £2.7 ($3.8) billion to PPL. Third, National Grid will start the process of selling a majority stake in its gas transmission and metering business. The company is making a smart move by shifting away from gas and strengthening its focus on its core power business in the U.K., where decarbonization targets promote electrification and seek to leverage distributed energy resources." 

SAIC Motor, Toyota, and Bosch lead $500 million round for automated vehicle developer Momenta

Lewie Roberts Lux Research

Lewie Roberts, Senior Research Associate | @roberts_lewie Ico twitter
Lux Take: Very Important


"
This new round brings Momenta's total funding to roughly $700 million, and the company plans to use this influx to expand its international presence. In the coming months, Momenta will open a European office in Stuttgart, placing it in close proximity to Daimler (another of Momenta's strategic investors). While the company is working toward Level 4 autonomy in the future, it focuses on developing ADAS features – like highway automation and valet parking – for its customers in the near term. This puts it in competition with other companies like Mobileye, which is deploying its own set of automated features with Geely later this year."

Lux Research - Newsletter Research

Genomic testing being piloted for precision medicine and preventive health in U.K.

Ramanathan, Nardev-1

Nardev Ramanathan, Ph.D., Analyst
Lux Take: Average Importance


"The U.K. is widely regarded as a pioneer in human genomics, embarking on the first publicly funded whole-genome sequencing (WGS) project a few years ago. However, there have been few practical applications in healthcare delivery to date. This could change, as the NHS announced a pilot project with Genomics PLC to identify those who present high risks of cardiovascular disease (CVD) from genetic data. Patients can be identified and guided on making lifestyle changes or be given medical interventions early on. It remains to be seen if this approach can improve health outcomes and reduce healthcare costs. Companies should monitor the outcome of this pilot. If successful, it could open up more opportunities in preventive health and wellness." 

Meatable's $47 million Series A indicates growing momentum in the cell-based meat space

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


"In line with our 2021 predictions, cell-based meat continues to attract more corporate strategic investors. Meatable's Series A funding round brought in corporate investors like DSM Venturing. With about $60 million in funding raised to date, Meatable looks to advance small-scale production at the Biotech Campus Delft, an important milestone for the company. Additionally, it will also use this funding to expand its product portfolio by adding cell-based beef products to its existing focus on cell-based pork. As Lux pointed out, commercializing cell-based meat at cost parity will require an interplay of multiple industries. As this space continues to evolve, look for opportunities along the value chain to engage."

Port of Amsterdam forms alliance to transport up to 1 million tonnes of hydrogen

Runeel DaliahRuneel Daliah, Analyst
Lux Take: Average Importance


"The Port will work together with Hydrogenious, HySiLabs, and Electriq Global to explore the feasibility of transporting and storing up to 1 million tonnes of hydrogen per year. While all three companies use liquid hydrogen carriers, it is interesting to see that the Port is spreading its bets across three different types: benzyltoluene (Hydrogenious), silicon-based (HySiLabs), and borohydrides (Electriq Global). We are strongly wary of Electriq Global as a company, but Hydrogenious and HySiLabs offer promising solutions. The international supply chain for hydrogen is slowly starting to take shape, and liquid hydrogen carriers will play an important role."

Bio-on's PHA assets up for auction on May 5th

Kristin Marshall, Analyst at Lux Research

Kristin Marshall, Analyst | @KMarsh4Bio Ico twitter
Lux Take: Average Importance


"Once heralded as a leader in the biopolymer space, Bio-on's assets are now up for auction. The minimum bid: $114.5 million. The company filed for bankruptcy in 2019 after controversy emerged surrounding its business dealings. Before that, Bio-on worked to commercialize PHAs for more than 10 years, collaborating with over 20 research institutions and partnering with companies like AkzoNobel and Unilever on applications development. Those interested in PHA should evaluate the business potential here, as Bio-on was likely sitting on a legitimate – yet at times overhyped – technology. One advantage of the technology is that it can use waste feedstocks, which is important not only for cost but also for recently drafted regulation in Europe."

The Chemical and Materials Company of 2040

Kawasaki's $388 million liquefied hydrogen project begins production in Australia with local coal

Jinze Dai

Jinze Dai, Analyst
Lux Take: Average Importance

"The Hydrogen Energy Supply Chain (HESC) pilot project led by Kawasaki and J-Power aims to produce liquefied hydrogen in Australia and transport it to Japan. The pilot coal gasifier and gas refining facility can convert 160 MT of local brown coal to 3 MT of hydrogen annually. The ultimate goal is to scale up the pilot to produce 225,000 MT hydrogen per year with offshore CCS supported by the CarbonNet project. Kawasaki is well-positioned for the project with its liquefied hydrogen carrier launched in 2019. Brown coal is the ideal type of coal for hydrogen production, with low cost, high reactivity, and a high H/C ratio. Companies should monitor this project while recognizing that the cost of brown hydrogen is very sensitive to the cost of CCS."

P&G pledges virgin plastic reduction – a more constructive approach to packaging sustainability

Mike Holman Lux Research

Michael Holman, Ph.D., VP, Research | @MichaelHolmanLR Ico twitter
Lux Take: Average Importance

"The consumer products giant has declared a variety of sustainability goals for its laundry products, notably including "reducing use of virgin plastic in packaging by half (vs. 2020 baseline)." While brands' pledges have often focused on increasing recycled content, or simply making packaging "recyclable" (a term without any clear teeth), P&G's target also covers solutions like lightweighting or shifting to alternatives like its cardboard e-commerice oriented Eco-Box. Other brands like Unilever and Nestle have also targeted virgin plastic reduction, and while there are pitfalls to watch for here – plastic alternatives are not necessarily better for the environment – firms broadening their focus beyond just recycling can be beneficial."

 
 

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