Boost for cancer, haemophilia and arthritis treatments as University of Edinburgh takes lead on biotech project

The partnership involving FujiFilm Diosynth Biotechnologies (FDB) has secured funding from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), both of which are part of UK Research and Innovation. The £8.7 million, five-year research collaboration will use “state-of-the-art analytical tools” and engineering biology approaches to enable cost-effective manufacturing of biological drugs. These drugs are based on technology which brings together genetic material from different sources. They have transformed the treatment of life-limiting diseases including cancer, haemophilia and rheumatoid arthritis.


Bill Gates-Backed Startup Aims to Make Green Hydrogen Cheaper

An Israeli startup H2Pro has joined the race to make green hydrogen cheaper after securing investments from funds backed by Bill Gates and Hong Kong billionaire Li Ka-shing. The company raised USD$22 million to move its technology from the lab to the factory floor.

What is Happening?

  • Demand is growing for green hydrogen, which is produced by splitting water- using renewable electricity- as a potential carbon-free fuel to replace coal, oil and natural gas. 
  • Hydrogen has been tipped as the fuel to help decarbonise industries like steel and cement, and potentially shipping and aviation. However, until recently, hydrogen hasn’t been widely adopted because of its expense to produce.
  • H2Pro’s technology is similar to the alkaline electrolysers that are most commonly used today to make green hydrogen, but with an important twist. Typically, when water is split, the current process uses electrical energy not just to break the hydrogen and oxygen atoms apart, but also to pair two hydrogen atoms and two oxygen atoms, respectively, to make the separate gases. H2Pro reduces this energy use by splitting the step in two. First, it creates hydrogen at the electrolyser’s cathode. The chemical reaction also changes the composition of its nickel-based anode. The cell is then flooded with a hot liquid, which helps the anode release oxygen gas with the help of thermal energy instead of electrical power, before the first step can be performed again.
  • The startup hopes that using this technology will enable it to make green hydrogen for $1 per kilogram by the second half of this decade- far cheaper than Bloomberg analysis which doesn’t expect the price to go that low until 2050. In 2019, a kilogram of green hydrogen cost $2.50 to $6.80.

Waiting Lists: What to Expect

Many are convinced that next week, when Ivy League and other competitive colleges theoretically tell applicants if they were admitted, they actually won’t — for thousands of students. Those students will be placed on waiting lists. And while colleges are quick to say that any student placed on a waiting list could succeed at the college, many students find waiting lists particularly frustrating — arguably more frustrating than rejection. This year, waiting lists are expected to be the worst ever (meaning the longest ever). The pandemic has led to a surge in applications at the most competitive colleges — public and private. The new applications include minority and low-income applicants who in the past felt unwelcome or who are attracted by the fact that many of these colleges were test optional for the first time. (Colleges that cater to these students struggled for applications.) Many of the top colleges also admitted large early-decision/early-action classes.


How I got fully vaccinated in Florida before my age was eligible (and you can if you’re 18+)

Important update: Matrix appears to have changed its criteria between Saturday, March 20 and Sunday, March 21. At Sunday’s event, organizers turned away anyone who was not eligible under state criteria; only a small number of vaccine doses were administered.

I want my life back. Like many of you I’ve been mostly isolated for more than 12 months and there’s so much I want to change about that. Sure, I want to hear live music at concerts. But more than that I want to see my loved ones. I want to hang out with my daughter for the first time in 14 months. I want to hug my sisters. I’d like to stay a weekend with my (vaccinated) mom at her Volusia County beach house. I divorced during the pandemic — eventually I’d like to date.


Students who took a gap year plan their returns

Some students who decided to put their education on hold to skip the current virtual academic year are planning to return after Cal State Fullerton announced they anticipate a primarily in-person fall semester. Eric Medley, a sociology undergraduate student, transferred to Cal State Fullerton when the COVID-19 pandemic began and said he did not get to experience campus life because of classes moving online in March of 2020. He said he decided to take only one class for fall 2020 and spring 2021 semesters until in-person classes resumed.


The Briefing: Fanatics Scores $320M, Blockchain.com Lands $300M, Everlywell Buys Two Companies, And More

Here’s what you need to know today in startup and venture news, updated by the Crunchbase News staff throughout the day to keep you in the know.

Report: Fanatics scores $320M for sports merchandise e-commerce

Fanatics, the Jacksonville-based licensed sports merchandise retailer, has raised $320 million at a $12.8 billion valuation, Reuters reports, citing sources familiar with the matter. The round was led by existing investors Silver LakeBlackstoneFidelity InvestmentsNeuberger BermanThrive Capital and Major League Baseball, according to the report. The funding will be used in part to pursue mergers and acquisitions and for international expansion, sources told Reuters. Fanatics had previously raised $2 billion in funding, according to Crunchbase data. It has already made at least five known acquisitions, including most recently acquiring WinCraft and Top Of The World Headwear late last year.


Billionaire Mark Cuban is building a digital art gallery for NFTs

Quick Take

  • Billionaire entrepreneur Mark Cuban is building a new online gallery to display non-fungible tokens (NFTs) in any form, he told The Block. 
  • The platform will allow users to display their digital art and collectibles in one place as well as share their collection on social media platforms. 

Mark Cuban is widening the scope of his involvement at the intersection of digital art and non-fungible tokens (NFTs). 


Coatue Invests in Real Estate Startup Side at $1 Billion Valuation

Side, a startup that offers brokerage services and software to real estate agents, raised nearly $150 million at a valuation of $1 billion after the investment, according to a regulatory filing and two people familiar with the matter. It is the latest in a string of high-priced financings ignited by the home-buying boom.


The CEO of Mark Cuban-backed Mintable on the bull-case for NFTs, founding the business and how the market could evolve

Zach Burks, founder and CEO of Mintable.Courtesy of Zach Burks

Today, Zach Burks is the 28-year-old founder of Mintable, an NFT, or nonfungible token, marketplace that’s backed by billionaire Mark Cuban. But in 2012, Burks was a recent high school graduate heading off to serve in the U.S. Army. Before he left, he bought something called bitcoin at $5.50, and it defined the trajectory of his future. “I actually have the email confirming my first bitcoin buy. I printed it out and it’s framed, I bought bitcoin so early,” Burks tells CNBC Make It. After losing “a ton of money” trading bitcoin, but enamored by crypto, Burks found Ethereum and its currency ether in 2015.


From student to entrepreneur, local sneakerhead vies for $1.5 million startup prize

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) – Many of us know the college struggle of eating ramen for dinner, or rationing meal swipes for lunch. It was no different for Northern Kentucky University graduate and Oldham County native Isaiah Kelly. To make it through that college struggle, the 23-year-old Kelly went from being a student to an entrepreneur in three years. ”I’m frugal with my money,” Kelly said. “Shoes can get extremely expensive. So I figured if I could get a base shoe, I can just paint it the way I like it. I don’t have to pay $500 to $600 for a name brand stock.”


Meet the five student startups that could change the world

Five Imperial student startups will battle it out in the final of the College’s biggest entrepreneurial competition, the Venture Catalyst Challenge.

From growing plants without soil, to fintech and intelligent 3D printers, the teams represent some of the College’s most promising new businesses. The five teams will pitch their ground-breaking ideas to industry judges and the winner will take home a top prize of £20,000 to kickstart their business. The Venture Catalyst Challenge (VCC) is the College’s largest entrepreneurial competition for students and alumni, enabling them to develop an innovative idea for commercialisation. It challenges them to turn their ideas into new technologies, products and businesses based around five key tracks: Read more…


MBAs launch high-growth startups in deep tech through radical collaboration

When it comes to applying classroom learning to the real world, Johnson MBA students waste no time. Big Red Tech Strategy (BRTS), available to first-year students, is an intensive, 12-week collaboration that matches MBA teams with Cornell Engineering Commercialization Fellows who are developing cutting-edge technology while earning their doctoral degrees. BRTS offers ample opportunity for MBAs to gain practical experience launching a business, work with emerging technologies, and navigate team dynamics, all with the guidance of experienced mentors, according to 2021 BRTS co-presidents Angela Yllanes and Helen Delgerjav, both MBA ’22. Yllanes and Delgerjav recently assumed leadership of BRTS and are continuing the work of 2020 co-presidents Param Kandhari and Nafisa Poonawala, both MBA ’21.


WANT TO MAKE A QUICK BUCK? START A VIRTUAL RESTAURANT

Restaurants have never been a place where an investor could make a quick buck. You have to develop a concept and its recipes, get financing, design a location, build it out, hire a bunch of people, market the idea, start cooking and then hope people show up. The virtual restaurant has changed this. As we noted before, MrBeast Burger is the most important restaurant concept in the U.S. today largely because it turns the idea of starting a restaurant concept completely on its head, enabling a concept to open quickly in 300 locations with almost no traditional startup costs.


URocked

URocked aims to empower workers to increase their earnings, reward customers for their tips and reduce admin all around for businesses. URocked’s ethical service platform aims to change the tipping culture; which will allow cashless tipping to Workers from any industry, anywhere – even remotely.

Idea

URocked knows tips make a big difference in wages, especially in the hospitality and beauty sectors, but we want to make it so all Workers can be tipped, the drivers, the warehouse workers, everyone behind the scenes. Saying thanks, with URocked, can be the new normal in any market sector, not just the established ones where the value of tips there is est £5.2Bn in the UK alone. Our solution is to innovate the concept of tipping to suit the needs of the 21st century. We are developing a service platform where any worker in any industry, anywhere, can receive cashless gratuities into their account as a thank you for doing a great job! A tip can be sent via our app in 10 seconds, with confidence that 100% of it is reaching its intended recipient, at no cost to them.


The Market Minute: What You Need To Know About NFTs

If you’ve been online in the past few weeks, you may have heard about something called NFTs.  They seem to be everywhere — as both the topic of serious discussion and the subject of memes. I’ll be honest: I didn’t know what an NFT was when I saw people tweeting about it a few weeks ago. I was hastily Googling the term, trying to decipher jokes from various VC and finance meme accounts, and asking my colleagues about it during team meetings. So you don’t have to subject yourself to the same process, I thought I’d write an explainer for my column this week (better late than never, right?). In short, an NFT is a non-fungible token. Put more simply, it’s something like a digital collectible. “I think the simplest description of an NFT or a way to think about it is it’s the first time you can actually establish and enforce ownership of a digital asset,” said Zeeshan Feroz, chief growth officer of crypto payments infrastructure startup MoonPay.

NFTs are a way of enforcing property rights on digital properties, Feroz said. The content of the NFT is tied to a token, and that token represents the title of the item.  When you buy an NFT, that ownership is recorded on the blockchain.


Sports trading card platform Alt launches with $31 million in funding and plenty of market hype

The alternative asset market showed promise pre-pandemic but amid a broader rally among traditional asset classes, the number of investors searching for and promoting value in the space has exploded. That has, in turn, promoted a pretty major influx of VC dollars into startups building platforms that wrangle these buyers into specific communities.

Enter, Alt. The young startup has received more than $31 million from top investors intrigued by the particularly hot space it has bulked up its expertise in — physical sports trading cards. The company provides a GOAT-like marketplace for the cards, authenticating the transactions and providing buyers with the peace of mind that the slice of cardboard they’re dropping several thousands of dollars on is no fake. While entities like NBA Top Shot have rallied a new generation of buyers around blockchain-era digital trading cards, its success has been enabled by the excitement that traditional collectibles markets have been garnering recently.