Top tech startup news for Friday, February 3, 2023: Apple, DappRadar, Tesla, Upwardli, and Voyager Space
Good evening and happy Friday! Below are some of the top tech startup news stories for today, Friday, February 3, 2023.
Voyager Space raises $80M as it partners with Airbus to develop future Starlab Space Station for NASA
Voyager Space, a space tech startup company that accelerating the development of a sustainable space economy, has raised $80.2 million in new funding backed NewSpace Capital, Midway Venture Partners, and Industrious Ventures, according to U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filings. The news was first reported by TechCrunch.
The new funding comes on the same day Voyager Space announced an international partnership with Airbus to develop Starlab, a free-flying space station to serve the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and a global customer base of space agencies and researchers. Starlab is planned to be launched in 2028 to ensure a continued human presence in Low-Earth Orbit (LEO), the company said in a news release.
Founded in 2019 by Dylan Taylor and Matthew Kuta, Voyager Space designs and develops commercial space stations and innovative systems to revolutionize how humanity explores space. Its space infrastructure supports customer utilization needs.
With nearly 20 years of spaceflight heritage and over 1500 successful missions as of Fall 2022, Voyager delivers space station infrastructure and services and technology solutions to commercial users, civil and national security government agencies, academic and research institutions, and more, with the goal to accelerate a sustainable space economy.
Upwardli raises $2 million Seed to help new immigrants and the underserved population get access to credit
A study conducted by Consumer Financial Protection Bureau found that nearly 50 million Americans lack a credit score and have no history with national credit reporting agencies. This problem disproportionately impacts those newly arrived in the country and the emerging Gen Z. Without established credit, these consumers are often unable to access basic financial services, from credit cards to car loans. That’s the problem one fintech startup is aiming to solve.
Enter Upwardl, a fintech startup on a mission to help these underserved groups get access to credit. Knowing that building credit can be an uphill battle for the underserved population, Upwardli has created an inclusive credit builder product to accelerate millions of credit invisible consumers into the financial mainstream.
To further meet the increasing demand for its services, Upwardli announced it has secured a $2 million Series Seed funding round led by Dundee Venture Capital, with participation from Techstars, J4 Ventures, Cascade Seed Fund, Avesta Fund, Temerity Capital Partners, Service Provider Capital, and notable angel investors.
Upwardli will use the fresh cash infusion to hire additional staff, add features to boost credit scores faster and expand its partnerships with financial institutions to embed its credit builder solutions into their own product experiences.
NFT market shows signs of recovery as January trading volumes hit a 7-month high, DappRadar reports
It appears the NFT market is beginning to bounce back despite the crypto winter and the global economic slowdown. NFT trading volumes rose for two months straight, with January scoring the highest volumes since June last year, according to the DappRadar Industry Report for January 2023. The last time we featured the report, DappRadar revealed that the crypto market continues to grow with its market cap back at over $1 trillion.
DappRadar found that the most promising sector in January was the NFT market, which had a growth of 24.56% from the previous month, reaching 146,516 dUAW. Per the report, the NFT market seems to be recovering with the surge of NFT trading volumes and sales counts in January 2023. The NFT trading volume recorded a 38% increase from the previous month, reaching $946 million. This is the highest trading volume recorded since June 2022. The sales count of NFTs also increased by 42% from the previous month, reaching 9.2 million.
Without a doubt, Yuga Labs’ NFT Bored Ape collections have once again significantly contributed to the ecosystem’s growth, as $324.8 million were the trading volume of all collections this month, while Solana comes in second place, with a 23.7% increase in its trading volume, reaching $86 million, DappRadar said in the January 2023 Industry Report.
NFT is a type of cryptographic token on a blockchain that represents a unique digital asset that represents real-world objects — such as art, music, real estate, and beyond — and can’t be replicated.
Apple now has more than 935 million paid subscriptions and 2 billion installed active devices worldwide
Despite having the largest quarterly revenue decline since 2016, Apple still managed to amass more than 935 million paid subscriptions worldwide across its service business including Apple TV+, Apple Music, and more. It was the largest number ever recorded by the iPhone maker.
According to the report, the company set an all-time revenue record of $20.8 billion in its Services business. The announcements came after the iPhone giant missed revenue and profit expectations for several of its lines of business. During the fourth quarter. Apple reported an overall sale of $117.2, a drop of about 5% lower than last year. It was the first year-over-year sales decline since 2019.
In addition, Apple also reached a new milestone, crossing more than 2 billion active devices installed base.
“As we all continue to navigate a challenging environment, we are proud to have our best lineup of products and services ever, and as always, we remain focused on the long term and are leading with our values in everything we do,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “During the December quarter, we achieved a major milestone and are excited to report that we now have more than 2 billion active devices as part of our growing installed base,” Cook said during the earnings call.
During its quarterly earnings announcement on Thursday, Apple said that the number of subscriptions across its major platforms increased by about 35 million from 900 million to 935 million just in the fourth quarter of 2022. The figure also includes every subscription made through the App Store and its other services, including Apple TV+, Apple Music, Apple Arcade, Apple News+, AppleCare, iCloud+, and more.
Tesla lost $140 million on its Bitcoin investments in 2022
On February 8, 2021, Tesla announced it bought $1.5 billion worth of bitcoin. The world’s largest electric automaker said it bought bitcoin for “more flexibility to further diversify and maximize returns on our cash.” But since then Bitcoin has lost more than half of its value from its peak of $69,000 in Nov. 2021.
Fast forward almost two years since the company made the purchase. Tesla reported it lost $140 million loss on its Bitcoin investments in 2022, according to filings with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Overall, Tesla said it lost a total of $204 million on Bitcoin, though it gained back $64 million through trading.
Tesla’s chief executive Elon Musk once said bitcoin would be accepted as payment for its products as well. But the company changed course a few weeks later, and Tesla has since sold most of its Bitcoin holdings. Tesla revealed it now holds about $184m of Bitcoin, based on the price of bitcoin about two days ago.
Like gambling at casinos, Tesla made about $1 billion in profit two weeks after announcing its bitcoin investment, which many said was more profit than from selling EV cars in all of 2020. But Musk didn’t allow the short-term gain to distract him from Tesla. In a series of tweets, Musk said he recently said bitcoin “is simply a less dumb form of liquidity than cash.”
Musk also admitted that he’s an engineer and not an investor. He added that he doesn’t even own any publicly traded stock besides Tesla. He said, “Bitcoin is almost as bs as fiat money.”