The Daily Ten – Bill Gates drops $1 billion in clean tech, Medical tourism during the pandemic, $1 billion tower set to soar on Park Avenue…
The Daily Ten
1. Bill Gates-Led Fund Raises Another $1 Billion to Invest in Clean Tech | Bloomberg
Breakthrough Energy Ventures is doubling the size of its fund and investing in at least another 40 startups
Here’s more evidence the clean-tech boom is only getting bigger. Breakthrough Energy Ventures, the clean-tech venture capital fund led by Bill Gates, has raised $1 billion for a second round of investments after backing 45 startups with its first billion.
Created in 2016, BEV began funding startups just as the second wave of clean-tech investments was gaining momentum. Since then, interest in the sector has exploded. VC money flowing into startups that can help cut emissions has soared to $16 billion in 2019 from $400 million in 2013, a 40-times increase, according to a PwC report published last year.
The first clean-tech boom was a disappointment. VCs lost more than half the $25 billion invested between 2006 and 2011. The financial crisis compounded the losses, but experts believe there were bigger problems with the underlying investment philosophy. First, VCs were looking to replicate the success they had seen in internet startups, expecting returns from clean-tech investments in less than five years. Second, the types of technologies they invested in were mostly limited to renewable electricity, biofuels and electric vehicles—all of which depended heavily on government regulations to grow.
2. Pizza Hut Hopes Drop Zones Can Help Bring Drone Delivery to Fruition | WSJ
Drivers, not hungry customers, will collect pies from the sky in an Israeli trial
Pizza Hut Israel is trying a new approach to make pie deliveries by drone a reality at last, but it means customers won’t get the thrill of accepting their orders from futuristic flying machines themselves.
Instead of flying pizzas directly to customers’ homes, the company this June plans to test sending drones to drop multiple orders at government-approved landing zones, such as designated spaces in parking lots. Delivery drivers will collect orders from these makeshift drone ports and take them on the final leg to customers.
“Drone delivery is a sexy thing to talk about, but it’s not realistic to think we’re going to see drones flying all over the sky dropping pizzas into everyone’s backyards anytime soon,” said Ido Levanon, the managing director of Dragontail Systems Ltd., the technology firm coordinating Pizza Hut’s drone trial.
3. Why Medical Tourism Is Drawing Patients, Even in a Pandemic | The New York Times
The coronavirus pandemic has devastated medical tourism, but pent-up demand remains for affordable treatment in foreign lands.
On a cold February morning last year, as she lay curled up in a fetal position on her kitchen floor, Melissa Jackson called her manager at a New Jersey beauty salon to ask for some unpaid time off.
It was the sixth consecutive week that the 39-year-old beauty technician was unable to work full time because of the debilitating pain in her pelvis caused by endometriosis, a chronic condition triggered by the growth of uterine tissue outside of the uterus.
As her symptoms worsened, she started exploring options to get less costly medical care abroad.
In recent years, while still on her ex- husband’s health insurance policy, she had received hormonal treatments to ease the pain so she could go about her daily life. But since her divorce last year and the coronavirus restrictions placed on the beauty industry in March, those treatment costs have become prohibitive, especially with no insurance.
“There is no real cure for endometriosis, but if I want to free myself from this pain then I need to get a hysterectomy,” Ms. Jackson said, her voice shaking as she described the procedure to remove her uterus. “As if the surgery isn’t bad enough, I need to find 20,000 bucks to pay for it, which is just crazy so I’m going to have to find a way to go to Mexico.”
4. Spain’s Home Buying Love Affair to Fade, Aedas Says | Bloomberg
Spain’s love affair with home ownership may fade even more as young workers’ ability to get on the housing ladder is further dented by the pandemic, according to one of the country’s largest property developers.
With young people increasingly unable to save enough to make down-payments on homes, a trend toward increased home rentals may accelerate, David Martinez, chief executive officer of Aedas Homes SA, said in an interview.
Aedas last week signed a deal with Grupo Lar Inversiones Inmobiliarias SA and Groupe Primonial SAS to build 655 apartments for the Spanish rental market.
That’s part of the firm’s bet that a generational change is underway in housing that will see Spain slowly pivoting closer to the situation in Germany where only about half of people own their own homes. At 76%, Spain has the highest ratio of home-ownership in Western Europe after Malta.
5. Spain’s Glovo inks real-estate tie-up to add more dark stores for speedy urban delivery | TechCrunch
Spain’s Glovo, an on-demand delivery app, has announced a strategic partnership with Swiss-based real estate firm, Stoneweg.
The deal will see the latter invest €100M in building and refurbishing “prime city real estate” in some of Glovo’s key markets as the delivery app works to build out its network of dark stores and sign up more retail partners for its urban delivery service, it said today.
The initial focus for the partnership will be on growing its dark stores network in Spain, Italy, Portugal, Romania, with additional countries slated as under review in Europe.
“These are the countries in which both Glovo and Stoneweg have a major presence, and therefore are able to move much quicker when it comes to setting up,” a Glovo spokeswoman told us. “However, the deal is not limited to these countries. Glovo’s aim is to grow and strengthen their Q-Commerce and dark kitchens infrastructure across Eastern Europe too.”
6. On Park Avenue, a $1 billion tower is set to soar | New York Post
It’s stepping-out time for 425 Park Ave., the 47-story, Norman Foster-designed office tower crowned by a trident of sky-piercing, 136-feet-tall illuminated fins.
More than five years since the groundbreaking, L&L Holding Co.’s $1 billion gamble on Park Avenue’s future just received its temporary certificate of occupancy from the Department of Buildings. It allows Ken Griffin’s Citadel Enterprises to start moving in as soon as it completes its high-tech build-out.
The hedge fund has leased 331,800 square feet of the tower’s 690,000 square feet of offices, at some of the highest office rent ever recorded.
Of course, 2022 is not 2016, when Citadel signed the lease. As the property world anxiously watches the project for signs of which way the pandemic-crippled leasing market’s headed, developer David W. Levinson revealed that:
7. Top US banks’ tax bill could surge $11B under Biden administration | Fox Business Network
Top American banks could see their tax bill rise surge if President-elect Joe Biden forges ahead with his campaign pledge to increase the corporate rate.
A new analysis published by Bloomberg found that the nation’s six biggest banks — JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, Citigroup, Wells Fargo, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley — could owe as much as $11 billion more in taxes if Biden increases the corporate rate from 21% to 28%.
That would follow $42 billion of savings by those same banks, which boosted their bottom lines by more than 10% over the past three years after President Trump’s 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act slashed the corporate rate from 35% to 21%.
Biden has indicated that he won’t increase corporate taxes until at least 2022 as the U.S. economy recovers from the coronavirus pandemic, which triggered the most severe downturn since the Great Depression.
The corporate tax increase would generate about $740 billion in new revenue over the next decade, according to a recent analysis published by the Tax Policy Center.
8. German real estate financing platform Exporo raises €16 million | tech.eu
Hamburg-based Exporo, a platform connecting real estate developers with investors, has secured €16 million in funding, says a curt announcement on the company’s website. The new growth capital, which comes from existing investors, will fund the launch of a new digital real estate product at the beginning of Q2 this year.
9. Proptech firm LeadPro buys rival ProVal for undisclosed sum| The Negotiator
Leading estate agency marketing platform LeadPro has bought rival ProVal in a sign that consolidation within the crowded online valuation proptech sector is beginning take hold.
LeadPro, which has bought its rival for an undisclosed sum, says the acquisition will bring it a ‘substantial’ number of new clients including Gascoign Halman and Martin & Co plus a new set of products.
10. Former Canadian Prime Minister Lists Bitcoin as Possible Future Reserve Currency | CoinDesk
Stephen Harper said “the number of things that people use as reserves will expand,” but the U.S. dollar will still retain its dominant role.
Stephen Harper, an economist and the former prime minister of Canada, said bitcoin could potentially see use as a reserve currency, but it isn’t going to supplant the U.S. dollar’s international role.
In an interview with Cambridge House’s Jay Martin on Sunday, Harper acknowledged that the dollar had been on a downtrend, but said there were few viable international alternatives, even when looking at the euro and the yuan.
“Unless the U.S. becomes a catastrophe, it’s hard to see what the alternative is to the U.S. dollar as the world’s major reserve currency. Other than you know gold, bitcoin, … a whole basket of things, right?” said Harper. “I think you’ll see that the number of things that people use as reserves will expand, but the U.S. dollar will still be the bulk of it.”