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Volkswagen boosts investment in electric and autonomous car technology to $86 billon – TheChronicleHerald.ca

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BERLIN (Reuters) – Volkswagen has raised its planned investment on digital and electric vehicle technologies to 73 billion euros ($86 billion) over the next five years as it seeks to hold onto its crown as the world’s largest carmaker in a new green era.

Under a plan presented on Friday, Volkswagen said it would allocate nearly half its investment budget of 150 billion euros on e-mobility, hybrid cars, a seamless, software-based vehicle operating system and self-driving technologies.

In last year’s plan, the German car and truck maker, which owns brands including VW, Audi, Porsche, Seat and Skoda, had earmarked 60 billion euros for electric and self-driving vehicles out of the 150 billion budget.

A global clampdown on emissions, partly triggered by VW’s diesel pollution scandal in 2015, has forced carmakers to accelerate the development of low-emission technology, even for their low-margin mainstream models.

“The transformation of the company and its brands as well as the strategic focus on the core mobility areas will be consistently implemented,” Volkswagen’s supervisory board Chairman Hans Dieter Poetsch said.

Jefferies analyst Philippe Houchois said while the overall investment budget had remained unchanged, VW’s priorities had seen a “meaningful re-allocation to software and digitisation and a continued priority on Germany”.

Volkswagen has said the European Union’s more stringent emissions targets will force it to boost the proportion of hybrid and electric vehicles in its European car sales to 60% by 2030, up from a previous target of 40%.

Pressure to retool factories to build electric cars has also increased after California, which accounts for 11% of U.S. car sales, said in September that it plans to ban the sale of new gasoline-powered cars and trucks from 2035.

The emissions clampdown has already led Volkswagen to review the future of its Lamborghini, Bugatti and Ducati brands as it seeks to increase economies of scale for the shift to mass producing electric cars.

In its new plan, Volkswagen is doubling its spending on digitalisation to 27 billion euros, to develop its new vehicle operating system and self-driving technologies.

About 35 billion euros of the spending budget money will be invested in e-mobility and 11 billion euros has been earmarked for the development of new hybrid cars, it said.

(Reporting by Kirsti Knolle and Edward Taylor; Editing by Maria Sheahan, Edward Taylor and David Clarke)

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Q3 2020 venture capital investment in Canadian tech lowest in two years, CVCA finds – BetaKit

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Venture capital investment in Canada took a major dip in the third quarter (Q3) of 2020, according to the Canadian Venture Capital and Private Equity Association (CVCA).

Investment in Q3 dropped by 63 percent year-over-year, with just $891 million across 126 deals (all dollar figures are in CAD). This is also 47 percent less than the total investments made in the second quarter (Q2) of 2020.

“The realities of COVID and the continued strength of valuations is apparent in the deal flow.”

CVCA CEO Kim Furlong attributed the decreased venture capital investment to the COVID-19 pandemic. “The realities of COVID and the continued strength of valuations is apparent in the deal flow,” she said, noting that Q3’s results are more aligned with the deal flow challenges created by the pandemic than those from Q2.

“The strength of Q2 was in many ways a combination of GPs further capitalizing their portfolio and the added capital injections of BDC and EDC matching programs,” said Furlong.

The second quarter of 2020, which was the first quarter that reflected the effect of the COVID-19 on the market, saw Canadian venture capital investment reach a record high – much to the surprise of industry leaders. In the quarter, $1.66 billion was invested across 145 deals, a 23 percent year-over-year increase and more than double the amount invested in the first quarter of 2020.

At the time, Furlong attributed the deal flow to stimulus and incentives from the federal government, as well as VC firms “doubling down” on investing in the “leading stars” in their portfolios.

Last quarter was also the second-biggest quarter for Canadian venture capital investment over the last number of years, only beat out by Q3 2019, which marked the highest dollar amount ever invested in Canadian companies ($2.48 billion).

RELATED: Late-stage AI deals push Waterloo Region’s venture funding to five-quarter high in Q2 2020

A direct correlation can be made between Q3 2020 and Q3 2019, as both quarters saw 126 deals, though with notably different dollar amounts invested.

While Q3 2019 saw 12 mega deals, this latest quarter only saw three such deals reported: Vancouver-based Chinook Therapeutics’ $140 million pre-IPO round; Kitchener-based ApplyBoard’s $70 million Series C extension; and Calgary-based Attabotics’ $66 million Series C round.

Much like Q2 2020, the third quarter continued to see the largest amount of capital going towards later-stage deals. Later stage represented 45 percent of the total investment with $1.6 billion over 57 deals. Early-stage received 42 percent of investment, while eight percent went to the seed stage.

The data shows a noticeable change in early-stage venture capital investment in Canada, when compared to Q3 2019. Despite the large number of later stage mega-deals last year, early-stage companies still received the largest portion of investments, with later-stage pulling in just 23 percent.

This reflects trends that have been seen throughout 2020 where investors are looking to bolster their portfolio companies, with limited investment in new and earlier stage companies.

Investment by sector, region, private equity

Investment in the information, communication and technology sector remained strong, as did the regions that receive the most amount of capital. Ontario led the way, followed by Quebec and British Columbia.

An interesting juxtaposition to CVCA’s national report is the recent data from Hockeystick. Disclosure: BetaKit is a Hockeystick Tech Report media partner. In two reports published Wednesday, Hockeystick found that the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) and British Columbia (BC) had positive quarters for venture capital investments.

Following two disappointing quarters for venture funding of startups in the GTA, the region reached a yearly high. In BC, the tech ecosystem saw “robust venture capital deal activity” in Q3. Hockeystick’s report stated, “COVID-19 has not slowed down deal activity in the [BC] region, but its impact can be seen in the types of companies raising funds.”

Notably, Hockeystick’s data is sourced through exclusive partnerships with organizations like the CVCA and the National Angel Capital Organization, as well as data from startups using its platform and public data sources.

The CVCA also reported that private equity investment was down in Q3 2020, with $1.4 billion invested over 155 deals compared to $1.9 billion over 177 deals last year. The report stated that year-to-date private equity activity is tracking 25 percent below the four-year average in both dollars invested and deals.

Photo by Adeolu Eletu via Unsplash

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New investment in Waterloo Region soared in 2020 despite pandemic – TheRecord.com

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WATERLOO REGION — At the start of 2020, back before most of us had even heard of COVID-19, Tony LaMantia had delivered a fairly standard economic forecast to his board of directors at the Waterloo Region Economic Development Corporation (EDC).

The Waterloo EDC is often the first point of contact for companies looking to locate, relocate or expand in Waterloo Region, and its president and chief executive had forecast they would help close about a dozen new investment deals and attract about $150 million worth of new investment to Waterloo Region in 2020.

The numbers were certainly attainable — after all, between 2016 when Waterloo EDC launched and the end of 2019, the group had helped deliver more than 40 deals and $800 million worth of investment. The forecast was also a little lower than 2019, which saw about $201 million and 15 deals.

Then COVID-19 hit, shocking the global economy. LaMantia was forced to revise and lower his projection to about five or six deals worth about $90 million, and there were several board meetings between March and May to discuss how the agency should respond.

“Unlike other organizations across the country, we didn’t retrench,” said LaMantia in an interview with The Record. “My board said … don’t worry about this year, just do what we need to do.”

When the dust settles on 2020, the Waterloo EDC will have fallen short of its early target for deals — it closed 11 by the end of October — but the agency blew past its initial investment goal of $150 million by helping to bring in more than $221 million, along with 416 new jobs to the region.

“We actually did better than 2019. That’s one hell of a story,” LaMantia said ahead of the annual Waterloo EDC public information meeting Thursday morning when the numbers were officially announced.

The final numbers for 2020 also don’t include the expansion of Amazon into Cambridge and Kitchener, and the announced expansion of Google in Kitchener — deals that were made without the direct aid of Waterloo EDC, LaMantia said, and should create hundreds of more jobs.

When the pandemic first struck, LaMantia — along with local political and business leaders — got right to work and developed a Business and Economic Support Team to help ensure two-way communication was strengthened between politicians at all levels and the business community to help both groups respond quickly to the ever-changing pandemic landscape.

One of the biggest success stories in this region in 2020 has been its ability to pivot and retool to meet the increased need for personal protective equipment (PPE). Waterloo Region went from almost no local suppliers at the start of the year to more than 90, bringing in approximately $80 million of new investment in just a few months.

LaMantia can remember calling PPE manufacturers around the world trying to secure more equipment for Waterloo Region in the earliest days of the pandemic.

“I never want to go through that again,” he said.

How did Waterloo Region respond so quickly to the need for PPE?

“The short answer is because we could,” said LaMantia. “We had the ingredients, we had the manufacturing base, we had the know-how, but more importantly there was the underlying attitude of ‘this is the need so let’s just do it.’”

In 2019, the non-profit Waterloo EDC received roughly $3 million in funding from federal, provincial and municipal governments, according to the group’s 2019 annual report. The bulk ($2 million) came from municipalities.

Including the recent 2020 numbers, the Waterloo EDC has helped close 56 deals that have brought in more than $1 billion in new investment to this community, and creating approximately 3,500 new jobs since 2016.

About 39 per cent of that investment has been in Kitchener, followed by Cambridge (37.5 per cent), Waterloo (11.9 per cent) and the Townships (11.5 per cent).

Looking ahead to 2021, it’s tough to say if Waterloo Region will continue to see strong investment as the pandemic continues. LaMantia couldn’t say for certain if there would be a lag on new investment that could spill over to next year as companies rein in spending while the pandemic drags on.

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LaMantia is hopeful that news of numerous promising vaccines are in development, along with a new administration in the White House, could go a long way in easing global uncertainty.

“Q1 will be really, really important,” for understanding how the rest of the year will go, he said.

Waterloo EDC has forecast about six deals and about $57.5 million worth of investment in this region should close in the first few months of 2021, and even more deals worth an estimated $108 million look very promising and could close by the end of the year.

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More investment in non-profit, affordable housing is needed : Adsum for Women and Children – HalifaxToday.ca

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With the help of federal funding, Adsum for Women and Children will be building affordable and accessible housing for up to 60 people.

Adsum, along with the North End Community Health Association and the Mi’kmaq Friendship Centre, are on the receiving end of $8.7 million through Ottawa’s Rapid Housing Initiative.

The program aims to help cities and housing providers buy properties and turn them quickly into affordable units.

Sheri Lecker is the Executive Director of Adsum for Women and Children, and says the $4 million it has been allocated will go towards 25 new apartments – nine of which will be accessible. 

“We are really committed to developing truly affordable housing for women, families, for trans, and gender non-conforming persons,” she says. “We want to build homes that people can live in for the long-term, in a neighbourhood and community that they are proud of, included and a part of.”

She says the units being creating through the rapid housing initiative are only a small amount of what is needed. 

“It’s not a secret to anyone in Nova Scotia that we are in crisis, with a lack of truly affordable housing,” she says. “What we are proposing is just a drop in the bucket of what’s needed.”

Lecker says it is inspiring one dozen non-profit housing groups submitted proposals for the funding within about a month. 

“Now we know there are lots of projects that partners can be working on to realize housing,” she says. “We need to see really deep investment, in non-profit owned affordable housing.”
 

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