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Lux Take on News: Weekly Round-Up September 13, 2019

Lux Research
September 13, 2019

Every day Lux Analysts curate recent news, giving their opinion and analysis on selected developments. Our analysts evaluate news based on potential importance ranking developments from Truly Disruptive to Ignore. This week has a been a big week in news as seen through new partnerships among major players in the tech space and investments in new technologies. Each Friday we will highlight our Lux Take on the news for the week.

Read our analyst's highlights from this week's news below:


Google Cloud will now store Mayo Clinic's patient data in a newly inked 10-year partnership

13275-thumb-square (1)Nardev Ramanathan, Ph.D. Analyst | @Nardev_R Ico twitter
Lux Take: Very Important

"The partnership is a testament to Google's expanding role in the U.S. health care system and Mayo's desire to expand its use of AI, in a cloud computing environment where data can be securely shared and manipulated by physicians and researchers. Data privacy and security will be areas of close scrutiny, although Mayo officials were quick to point out that it will have complete control and access. Companies should note the emerging trend of partnerships between hospitals and tech giants. We've highlighted Apple's recent efforts, and Amazon and Microsoft are also active here. Breaking data silos allows deeper analytics, which in turn can unlock new business opportunities in delivering patient-centric, decentralized health solutions."

Netherlands to spend €5 million on vehicle-to-grid infrastructure

10028-thumb-squareJessica Hernandez, Senior Research Associate | @JessHernandezLR Ico twitter
Lux Take: Very Important

"The Dutch government announced it will allocate €5 million to support 21 municipalities to install 472 smart bidirectional electric vehicle (EV) chargers. While vehicle-to-grid (V2G) projects are still in the pilot phase in multiple countries worldwide, the Netherlands is ready to take the next step. The country plans to be prepared to take full advantage of the V2G-ready vehicles that will hit the roads; however, to ensure the investment will pay off sooner rather than later, the government should also be looking at ways to incentivize drivers to purchase these V2G-ready vehicles instead of other models."

Shopify acquires 6 River Systems for an overpriced $450 million

13558-thumb-squareJosh Kern, Analyst | @josh_kern_ Ico twitter
Lux Take: Very Important

"Canadian e-commerce company Shopify announced today that it will acquire autonomous mobile robot (AMR) company 6 River Systems for an astounding $450 million. The robot company creates solutions that eliminate the need for workers to walk long distances in fulfillment centers. 6 River Systems expects to generate $30 million in 2020, meaning the e-commerce company valued 6 River at a 15× multiple of forward-looking revenue. Two of 6 River's founders were previously executives at Kiva Systems, which was sold to Amazon for $775 million in 2012, at a time when Kiva was already generating revenue over $100 million. The 6 River acquisition is overpriced, especially now that AMR startups are plentiful, giving e-commerce companies many options."

Is Amazon looking to Go-Jek as its solution in solving the Southeast Asia puzzle?

7505-thumb-squareYuan-Sheng Yu, Senior Analyst | @808sAndInnovate Ico twitter
Lux Take: Very Important

"After closing a $1 billion Series F, Go-Jek announced it is currently looking to close a $2 billion funding round by the end of 2019. Earlier this year, we predicted Go-Jek would aggressively grow its network of investors and partnerships. But the most interesting element is the increasing chatter that Amazon will join this round, which would not be surprising, as it plans to invest $1.3 billion in Indonesia. A formal partnership with Go-Jek could provide Amazon with much-needed help as it continues to struggle against local companies like Tokopedia and Lazada and Chinese companies like Alibaba. With Southeast Asia shaping up to be a major innovation hub, Amazon's investment in Go-Jek would greatly benefit the company in the coming years."

Nikola almost halfway to $1 billion Series D with investments from CNH, Bosch, and Hanwha

10178-thumb-squareChristopher Robinson, Senior Analyst | @CRobinsonLux Ico twitter
Lux Take: Very Important

"The Series D round pushes Nikola's valuation to $3 billion, adding mostly strategic investors. CNH's investment is most interesting, as the company will offer manufacturing and engineering services as the bulk of its $250 million investment. Bosch had already partnered with Nikola on powertrain development to integrate the batteries and fuel cells, while Hanwha provides the fuel cells to produce the hydrogen. Nikola's pursuit of strategic investors is a positive indicator for the company, and Lux continues to view hydrogen fuel cells as the most promising zero-emission technology for long-haul trucking."

Dow and SCG partner to develop a plastic circular economy in Thailand

11177-thumb-squareGihan Hewage, Analyst
Lux Take: Very Important

"While the partnership will have a broad focus – including mechanical recycling, recycling of industrial feedstock, and recycling technologies to produce petrochemical feedstock from plastic waste (likely pyrolysis) – this partnership takes a unique approach to the plastic waste challenge in Southeast Asia. As opposed to trying to develop a market for biodegradable plastics to overcome the lack of recycling infrastructure, Dow and SCG aim to create a recycling infrastructure. By developing new recycling infrastructure and technologies, the partners minimize the need to scale up a novel, biodegradable material while joining the expanding plastic waste conversion space."

Hyosung to scale carbon fiber production to 28,000 tons/year

8710-thumb-square Anthony Schiavo, Senior Analyst | @MobbDeepTech Ico twitter
Lux Take: Very Important

"Hyosung's capacity expansion is no surprise, as it is in line with both Hyosung's consistent efforts to expand capacity and global demand growth for carbon fiber. What’s more interesting is the price tag: Hyosung is investing $840 million for an additional 14,000 tons/year capacity, while in 2014, it invested $1.1 billion for a similarly sized expansion. This capex reduction could indicate the adoption of plasma oxidation (which requires smaller furnaces and thus lower capex), or Hyosung could have simply become better at building out capacity. There is now a three-way battle among Japan, Korea, and China for carbon fiber supremacy in Asia; companies with resin materials need to get involved now to benefit when this capacity comes online."

Terramera secures $45 million Series B for technology to reduce synthetic agrichemical application rates

12744-thumb-square Joshua Haslun, Ph.D., Analyst | @JHaslun Ico twitter
Lux Take: Very Important

"Led by Ospraie Ag Science and joined by S2G Ventures, the equity round allows Terramera to expand its opportunities to apply its Actigate technology, which improves biopesticide efficacy and reduces application rates, to a broader range of conventional and natural active ingredients. Terramera continues to generate funding and strengthen its IP portfolio through acquisitions. Expect Actigate and incumbent solutions like that of Vive Crop Protection to make a mark. This marks the second investment by Ospraie Ag Science and S2G this year into innovations reducing crop inputs or improving input efficacy and is a leading indicator of the rapid growth of the adjuvant industry as ingredient compatibility improves through informatics.."

TIPA raises $25 million Series C to grow its compostable flexible packaging business

12599-thumb-square Kristin Marshall, Senior Research Associate | @KMarsh4Bio Ico twitter
Lux Take: Average Importance

"TIPA blends commercially availible polymers, resulting in blends that are 30% to 60% bio-based and fulfill the ASTM D6400 standard for compostability. While its materials can help meet the growing demand for alternatives to conventional plastic, especially flexible packaging that has a difficult time being recycled, it is not a guarantee that its materials will be accepted at current composting facilities. Moreover, the higher costs of its materials are another barrier for adoption. While the $25 million may help TIPA grow its production and expand into new territories, it does not address these challenges or assure the company's success."

DNV unveils "Probabilistic Digital Twin" for oil and gas industry, combining risk analysis within twins

11111 thumb square Harshit Sharma, Analyst
Lux Take: Average Importance

"Unveiled at SPE Offshore Europe 2019, DNV's Probabilistic Digital Twin (PDT) allows operators to perform risk analysis for assets using real-world information. DNV claims that most oil and gas operators don't perform risk analysis once the asset is commissioned; with the PDT, live risk analysis will be possible. The PDT includes a probabilistic degradation model of the asset that indicates its remaining life and its potential performance in the future based on ongoing events and failures in the asset. DNV has doubled down in recent months around digital twins for offshore oil and gas, and the new capabilities in the PDT offer utility beyond operational cost reduction, further growing twins as a one-stop solution for asset management."

Aural Analytics receives $4.3 million in seed round for speech analytics for detecting brain health through speech analytics

13261-thumb-square Danielle Bradnan, Research Associate | @DBradnan Ico twitter
Lux Take: Average Importance

"The platform that Aural Analytics has developed is important because it offers the ability to detect changes in brain health that affect long-term care, such as the onset of dementia and other cognitive impairment. Early detection of cognitive impairment can lead to better outcomes, as treatments can be started early and may limit severity. With a worldwide aging population, it is important that these conditions are identified early so as to maximize treatment effectiveness and develop social safeguards for the population. Companies looking to engage with aging markets should consider investing in tools like this one to help with early detection of brain health problems in order to access an elderly healthcare vertical."

WaveOptics raises additional funding in oversubscribed Series C totaling $39 million


Vladimir Roznyatovskiy, Ph.D., Senior Analyst
Lux Take: Ignore


"The certain thing about AR technology is that the winning approach is still uncertain. There are a wide range of waveguides, each with pros and cons; each developer is claiming leadership in the field, and every investor wants to jump on the train with the farthest destination. This news is another example of such behavior. Diffractive waveguides like the ones from WaveOptics can be thin and relatively cheap to manufacture but suffer from drawbacks like limited field of view and light aberrations. With the exception of HoloLens and Magic Leap, produced in limited quantities, there are no widely sold AR glasses yet or announced scalable releases. Similar to Magic Leap, overfinancing is a sign of marketing hype rather than technology value."




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