Solar-Powered Carmaker Lightyear, Announces $81M Investment As It Gears Up For Production
Solar powered cars have come to the fore, as the future of the automotive industry gradually drifts from the production of cars that use fuel to solar-powered cars
With the increased interest in renewable and sustainable energy systems across the globe, Solar powered cars have come to the fore, as the future of the automotive industry gradually drifts from the production of cars that use fuel to solar-powered cars.
Lightyear, a Dutch startup developing a long-range hybrid solar-powered car, recently announced that it has raised the sum of $81 million as it prepares to commence production of its first vehicle in the coming months.
While recent history is littered with examples of prototype solar-powered vehicles, the burgeoning electric car movement has so far been mostly limited to automobiles that need to be plugged into the grid to charge, or hybrid electric vehicles (HEV) that self-charge while driving.
As automotive makers are venturing into the manufacturing of electric cars, they discovered that recharging of batteries, among a range of other issues has been the Achilles heel of electric cars.
A large majority of them believe that Solar powered cars are the ideal solution, as these cars can run smoothly at night even without the presence of sunlight.
It is interesting to note that Lightyear is not the only automotive company that has begun the production of solar-powered cars, as several other companies are pushing to make solar-powered cars a mass-market reality.
Several automotive companies, such as Aptera Motors, Atlis Motor Vehicles, Fisker Inc., and Sono Motors, as well as established OEMs like Hyundai, Tesla, and Toyota, are developing solar cars or hybrid versions of them.
Introducing solar charging to the electric vehicle fray essentially solves two problems in one. Drivers don’t have to worry so much about where the nearest charging station is, as the car can top itself up while moving or when parked.
And cars can travel farther without having to look for a place to plug in. With Lightyear promising a range of more than 600 miles on a single full charge.
This is, of course, hugely dependent on individual driving habits, as well as the time of year, given that sunlight is pivotal.
In perfect, optimal conditions, Lightyear said that the vehicle can potentially power itself for up to 40 miles each day, in addition to whatever power it garners from being plugged into the grid.
Lightyear is scheduled to begin production of its Lightyear 0 (formerly called Lightyear One) car this coming fall, costing prospective buyers a cool €250,000.
MasterCard Partners Stables to Launch Stablecoin Wallet
MasterCard has announced a partnership with an Australian stablecoin platform, Stables to launch a stablecoin wallet for customers in the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region.
The payment giant noted that the stablecoin wallet will only support deposits and withdrawals via the Australian Dollar at launch.
Speaking on the development, Stables co-founder and CEO Daniel Li stated that Mastercard’s stablecoin wallet will be available for users in the second quarter of 2023. He added that the stablecoin wallet will later support the United States Dollar, British Pounds, and Euro as well as currencies in Latin America and Africa.
While anticipating the launch, Li disclosed that stablecoin has the potential to improve the financial system. “Stablecoins will play a pivotal role in the new financial system and will be core to bridging the worlds of traditional and decentralized finance,” he said.
Li further added that users will be able to top up their balance using bank transfer, direct debit and other modes of payment.
Meanwhile Mastercard Australia’s head of fintech, Kallan Hogan said that the company is committed to providing innovative payment solutions that will give users the freedom to spend their assets when, how, and where they want.
Investors King understands that a partnership involving a reputable payment company such as MasterCard will be a positive sentiment, especially after the debacle that befell USDC. Recall that USDC fell below the $1 mark after one of its banking partners, Silvergate ran out of liquidity.
No doubt, this collaboration is expected to strengthen stablecoin and by extension, the crypto industry as a whole.
Benefits of Mastercard’s Stablecoin Wallet
The partnership involves the stablecoin-only wallet built by Stables, coming with a payment card supported by Mastercard. The payment card allows users to spend and save the USDC stablecoin by converting the digital currency into fiat and settling in the MasterCard network.
In addition, users can also top up their balance using bank transactions, direct debits, and other methods of payment.
TikTok Records Increase of Monthly Users in The U.S, Amid Pressure on App Ban
Chinese short-form video TikTok has recorded an increase in monthly active users in the U.S. amid the ongoing pressure to ban the app in the country.
The social media giant on Monday disclosed that it now has 150 million monthly active users in the United States, up from 100 million that was recorded in 2020, which saw a 50 million additional increase of users.
TikTok is set to continue growing rapidly in users’ numbers and time spent on the app, as analysts predict that the number of U.S TikTok users is expected to grow to 88.7 million by 2024.
Meanwhile, the app has undergone a yearslong review by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, which could result in a ban of the app or a forced sale of the company’s U.S. operation.
It would be recalled that Investors King on the 17th of March 2023, had reported that the United States government has taken a hard stance towards TikTok, ordering the app to be sold or risk a ban as it seeks to resolve national security concerns.
The U.S. government demand is a significant move in President Biden’s administration towards TikTok, which has been under scrutiny for years over concerns that China could request vital users’ data from the app.
TikTok, however, expressed dissatisfaction at the U.S. government’s decision, which it claimed that its security proposal which involves storing American data in the United States offered the best protection for users without any breach of private information.
The social media platform further added that it has spent more than $1.5 billion on rigorous data security efforts, rejected spying allegations, and stated that if protecting national security is the objective, divestment doesn’t solve the problem and a change of ownership would not impose any new restrictions on data flows or access.
Meanwhile, U.S Senate Intelligence Committee chair Mark Warner who is a corresponding legislation to give the administration more powers to ban TikTok, stated that he did not think TikTok U.S data was safe despite the app’s claims. “This notional idea that the date can be made safe under (Chinese Communist Party) law, just doesn’t pass the smell test”, he added.
Concerns around TikTok heightened last year in December, when the social media platform’s parent company ByteDance, disclosed that it fired four employees who accessed data on two journalists from BuzzFeed News and the Financial Times while attempting to track down the source of a leaked report about the company.
TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew will testify next week before the House energy and commerce committee about the company’s privacy and data security practices, as well as its relationship with the Chinese government.
If eventually TikTok is banned in the U.S., it would no doubt affect certain significant groups in the country, owing to the fact that the app is a major social influence. It is used broadly by students, content creators, journalists, etc.
It is also interesting to note that if the U.S. government moves to completely block the app, there is a possibility that the use of a VPN (a virtual private network) could provide access to the app. Still, the government could target VPN access to make the ban effective. Officials could “ban VPN use or compel VPN companies to have a blacklist of sites that they will not permit the flow of traffic to.
TLG Capital Partners One Pipe, Provides N2.25 billion Collateralized Credit Facility to Expand Operations
Private investment firm which invests in small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) across sub-Saharan Africa TLG Capital has closed a N2.25 billion deal with One Capital, a startup that powers digital financial services, to expand its operations.
The deal which had reportedly been in the works since the third quarter of last year will power One capital’s inventory finance solution for small businesses.
Speaking on the investment made to One Pipe, investment professional at TLG Isaac Marshall said, “Despite contributing $220 billion per year in economic activity, micro-enterprises that deal in cash are Nigeria’s most neglected business segment. Fintechs tend to prefer more digitally integrated clients and traditional financiers tend to prefer bigger clients.
“With a clever product to help these small shops to obtain both credit and better purchasing terms on their goods, OnePipe has pioneered a model that can provide sustainable income growth to tens of millions of micro-enterprises.”
This investment will enable OnePipe to grow its business and work towards its goal of being Nigeria’s top supplier of financial services to small businesses. Its partnership with several banks and fintech has provided the startup with the underlying infrastructure.
OnePipe helps organizations integrate financial services within their value chains to create customer loyalty & improve overall business operations. Since its launch in 2018, OnePipe has raised at least $9.2 million.
Investors King understands that the Techstars-backed company is one of the African companies that has also garnered the support and partnerships of several banks and businesses. This includes, Flutterwave, Quickteller, Fidelity Bank, Migo, Polaris Bank, SunTrust Bank, Providus Bank, Paystack, and Quickteller.
The startup was also exposed to the fall of Silicon Valley Bank; with about $829,000 in the bank which represented 70% of their cash position. Onepipe’s funding announcement also comes as the company has laid off about 20% of its employees, as it seeks to navigate the current economic downturn and adjust to the macroeconomic headwinds.
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