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What to expect for cybersecurity investment as we emerge from the pandemic – VentureBeat

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As we emerge from the global pandemic and return to robust economic growth, the cybersecurity industry is on fire and venture capitalists are taking notice. While the industry has seen steady growth over the past decade, since 2019, industry expansion has accelerated at a breakneck pace. This is particularly true when you look at industry growth and investment in 2020 and in the first quarter of 2021. We look at what’s driving demand, dive into the life of a cybersecurity startup, examine target markets, and scan the horizon for signs of what’s in store for the future.

What’s driving interest?

Major breaches are continually making headlines, and the security risks created by an increasingly remote workforce are leading companies and individuals to rapidly increase their spending on cybersecurity protections. In fact, research firm Gartner forecasts that spending on cybersecurity will surpass $150 billion in 2021, an increase of 12.4% over last year.

Where is innovation happening?

This surge in interest in cybersecurity has led to a wave of startups popping up in this space, looking to take advantage of this incredible opportunity. According to a Crunchbase report, 2020 was a record-breaking year for the cybersecurity industry with six new cybersecurity unicorns. Just a few months into 2021, we have surpassed that record with nine new cybersecurity unicorns already.

That same Crunchbase report also noted a record year for investment in the cybersecurity space in 2020 with $7.8 billion invested globally, nine times greater than what the industry saw just 10 years ago. This year is already on pace to smash the record-breaking industry investment of 2020.

Case study: Dover Microsystems

Dover Microsystems is a case in point, a cybersecurity startup based in Waltham, Massachusetts, led by co-founder Jothy Rosenberg.

With cybercrime estimated to cost $6 trillion in 2021, a business will likely fall victim to ransomware every 11 seconds. A global car manufacturer recently spent a reported $2.1 billion on responding to the hack that occurred during the demonstration of a new vehicle. Customers don’t know what to do, so they keep adding layers of defensive software, cluttering up their software stack and slowing down their products. This makes the problem worse: software has up to 50 bugs per 1,000 lines of source code.

Dover believes that the only way to stop 95% of attacks that come over the network is in silicon, where it cannot be subverted over the network. The result is CoreGuard, a unique, disruptive solution to the failure of cybersecurity defense across all our computing systems in all vertical market segments. It integrates with leading processor architectures to monitor every instruction executed to ensure that it complies with a defined set of security, safety, and privacy rules. If an instruction violates a rule, CoreGuard stops it from executing and notifies the host processor in real-time of the exact offending line in the source code that was exploited.

While formed more than five years ago, Dover leveraged lean capital to develop a minimum viable product, sell multiple proofs of concept, and then begin commercial shipment. Looking forward, Dover intends to sell into the B2B as well as the B2G spaces, which are markets that are forecasted to see significant growth in the coming years.

Demand triggers for the cybersecurity market

What is leading investors to pour money into the cybersecurity industry? There is an increase in demand for cybersecurity products driven by several factors.

One of the major factors is today’s remote workforce. The pandemic forced companies to pivot as employees worked from home, a trend that does not look to be going away anytime soon. With a remote workforce and sensitive data moving through the cloud, there are serious security concerns. This has led to more cloud security startups looking to provide solutions to companies seeking ways to protect their data. Gartner research showed 41% growth in end user spending on cloud security between 2020 and 2021.

Companies are also handling more data than ever before, making them more attractive to hackers looking to steal that data or hold it for ransom. We are seeing an alarming number of data breaches and ransomware attacks facing U.S. companies. According to Risk Based Security, “the total number of records compromised in 2020 exceeded 37 billion, a 141% increase compared to 2019 and by far the most records exposed in a single year since we have been reporting on data breach activity.” Already in 2021, we have seen high-profile breaches and ransomware attacks impacting the D.C. police department, the Colonial Pipeline, and meat producer JBS, and there are surely many more to come in the second half of the year.

Scanning the cybersecurity horizon

These factors have created an ideal environment for cybersecurity startups looking to offer their products, services and solutions to companies and individuals demanding greater protection. Because the demand is only increasing, investment in this area is also on the rise. The Crunchbase report highlighted the increase in deal value in just the past three years. In 2017, the average deal value was around $6.9 million. In 2020, that number jumped 73% to an average of $11.9 million per deal. This shows a greater appetite for investment in this sector that is sure to keep growing.

With 2021 already poised to outpace record-breaking 2020 in cybersecurity spending and investment, this industry will be one to continue to watch long-term.

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Emerging Markets Offer Big Investment Opps for ESG-Focused Investors, Report Says – Environment + Energy Leader

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(Credit: Pexels)

A new report touting the importance of ESG factors and their impact on investments and investment decisions has found that better environmental stewardship can unlock significant value in private equity. Another key finding is that emerging markets offer some of the world’s most consequential investment opportunities for investors focused on mitigating global climate and social risks.

The semiannual Global Intelligence report from Manulife Investment Management highlights the fact that “sustainable investing is no longer an option. It is a necessity…,” says Christopher P. Donkey, CFA, global head of public markets at Manulife Investment Management.

Emerging Markets

When it comes to emerging markets (EMs), the report finds that emerging market companies currently rival their developed-market counterparts in terms of the sophistication of sustainability practice and growth potential.

The IEA stated in 2019 that, “There is a new reality in clean energy.” The world’s major emerging economies — including China, India, and several others — are moving to the center stage of the clean energy transition, it said, adding, “In fact, taken as a whole, Asia — which dominates the MSCI Emerging Markets Index — is the world’s largest investor in low-carbon energy sources.”

The significant stake in green energy capacity couldn’t have arrived too soon for emerging markets — or the world — as Asia is expected to drive more than two-thirds of new global energy demand over the next 20 years, per the report. However, the report prevaricates that, “…if we see a collective failure to coordinate climate policy, practice, and investment, then EM growth itself is more likely to precipitate a disappointing and painful future of ongoing structural dislocations.”

Businesses Must Heed the Call

Businesses that are inattentive to growing calls for responsible stewardship of environmental and social capital are likely to lose competitive advantages and find themselves spurned by consumers and investors alike, the report warns.

“Whether coming from customers, employees, suppliers, or communities more broadly, the call for sustainable practices has only increased since the start of the pandemic,” it says.

Consumers say their spending is migrating toward companies conducting operations sustainably, and investors have been taking notice. In fact, sustainability has become an imperative since so many investors now demand it. While they still require strong investment returns, sustainability has risen to a commensurate level for many investors.

The reasons aren’t purely altruistic, according to the report. In fact, 66% of limited partners say that value creation is a leading driver of their ESG initiatives (per PwC).

Three-quarters expect sustainability to influence their investment decisions over the next five years, according to Coller Capital; additionally, says Ceres, 86% expect ESG investment opportunities to increase, and 93% agree that focusing on ESG themes will generate attractive investment opportunities.

Another recent indication of how ESG investing is on the rise was the announcement earlier this week that more than 20 leading companies — including 3M, ADM, Apple, Bank of America, FedEx, General Motors, Honeywell, Nike, Smithfield Foods and TD Bank Group — have invested in TPG Rise Climate, the climate investing strategy of TPG’s global impact investing platform. TPG Rise Climate announced its first-close of $5.4 billion in subscriptions to its inaugural fund, Environment + Energy Leader reported.

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Former Tesla CTO's battery materials recycling company announces US$700 million+ investment – Energy Storage News

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Published: 30 Jul 2021, 07:13

A lithium-ion battery pack specially designed to be easily recycled, made by a UK startup called Aceleron. Image: Aceleron.

Former Tesla battery guru JB Straubel’s materials recycling company Redwood Materials has attracted more than US$700 million in investment.

Redwood, which is currently developing processes to produce battery materials that can be resold into the supply chain, has partnerships in place with the likes of Panasonic, Envision AESC and Amazon. The company pledges to recycle any device with a lithium-ion battery including phones, laptops and power tools, although a major focus is being placed on electric vehicle (EV) batteries.

The new investment will enable the company to significantly expand its capabilities and create new battery materials within the US, it announced on 28 July. In June, Redwood said it plans to increase the size of its facilities in Carson City, Nevada, to 550,000 square feet, and to build at another large site in Nevada at the Tahoe-Reno Industrial Center. It also wants to recruit 500 more employees in the next couple of years.

A “carefully selected group of strategic investors” took part, including Goldman Sachs Asset Management, Baillie Gifford, Canada Pension Plan Investment Board and Fidelity, in a round led by investment management group T. Rowe Price Associates. Investors that also participated in a previous Series B round also invested again, including Bill Gates’ Breakthrough Energy Ventures and Amazon’s Climate Pledge Fund.

“We are excited to begin this investment in the talented and accomplished team at Redwood as they expand their pursuit of building a world-class sustainable, closed-loop battery supply chain for electric vehicles,” T. Rowe Price Growth Stock Fund portfolio manager Joe Fath said.

“In our view, the need for these materials will grow exponentially over time as we enter the era of decarbonisation. We believe Redwood is well-positioned to be at the forefront of tackling this emerging and critically important problem.”

Redwood CEO Straubel was one of Tesla’s co-founders and was chief technical officer at the company before founding his recycling venture in 2017. Straubel had hinted at the scale of the recent investment at an online event hosted by the US Department of Energy in June, telling Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm and viewers that recycling can enable very high utilisation of materials, helping to solve a “pretty challenging supply chain problem” that lies ahead.

At that event, which was focused on the challenges and opportunities of creating an advanced battery manufacturing value chain within the US, Secretary Granholm asked Straubel what the investment — which at the time he said would be in the order of “hundreds of millions of dollars” — said about the recycling space today.

Straubel replied that it showed that recycling is already very economically competitive, with recycled materials actually able to compete on price with mined materials. He added that Redwood is finding feedstock from the EV and consumer electronics sectors to be abundant. However, he noted that the market for recycled materials is currently in China, where they are sent to be reused in new products, rather than in North America. This highlighted gaps in refining and synthesis value creation in the US, the CEO said.

What role will stationary storage systems have in the recycling landscape?

Energy-Storage.news has recently heard from two different companies involved in battery recycling in North America and Europe that stationary storage systems will play a significant role in the coming years.

Finnish state-owned energy company Fortum announced its own US$30 million investment into a battery materials recycling plant in June which it hopes to open fully in 2023, capable of recovering lithium-ion, nickel, manganese and cobalt through a hydrometallurgical process, adding to existing facilities the company has in its home country.

Fortum’s head of its battery business line Tero Holländer told Energy-Storage.news that while the largest volumes of batteries for recycling will come from the EV segment, the share of batteries from energy storage systems (ESS) will also be significant.

Similarly, Canada-headquartered startup Li-Cycle, which has facilities in Canada and the US, recently formed a partnership with battery life cycle management company Renewance aimed at cost-effectively and sustainably processing ESS batteries.

Li-Cycle chief commercial officer Kunal Phalpher told the site that the ESS segment has a “crucial role” to play, with EVs “far from being the exclusive point of focus for the industry”.

“Stationary energy storage is playing a crucial role in the big picture of battery recycling, especially in the United States which is experiencing rapid growth and is in need of finding efficient methods to recycle all of the batteries stemming from facilities being decommissioned and/or upgraded,” Phalpher said.

In September last year, analysts from IHS Markit told the audience at an event hosted by our publisher Solar Media that more or less every stakeholder in the lithium-ion battery supply chain will see it as being in their interests to establish an effective recycling industry.

Stay up to date with the latest news, analysis and opinions. Sign up here to the Energy-Storage.news Newsletter.

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Investing For Beginners: Financial Tips To Get Started – NPR

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Illustration of a person standing in front of a life-sized chart showing different colors in waves and lines representing them balancing their stock portfolio.

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Millions of Americans have started investing during the pandemic. And while the market has started to get a bit wobbly lately, stocks are still near all-time highs. So now is actually a really good time for people new to the world of investing to figure out how to get their ducks in a row and their investments set up in a smart way for whatever the future may bring.

If you’re an everyday investor drying to sift through Reddit threads and YouTube tutorials, this is for you. Here are a few common mistakes to avoid and some actionable tips to get you on your own investing path.

Betting on a hot stock isn’t worth it.

Despite news headlines on life-changing investments on one stock item like GameStop, it is too risky to make short-term bets with sizable sums of money on what a stock is going to do next. Instead, some of the most respected investors in the world have long said the best way for everyday investors like you and me to make money is to invest in index funds and hold those investments over long periods of time.

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Most index funds offer low fees and will allow you to essentially buy the entire stock market. That way, if any one stock crashes it won’t affect your portfolio. And if you really want to bet on individual stocks, the best advice is to do that with a very small part of your portfolio — and only with an amount of money you can afford to lose.

Build a diverse portfolio.

The key to everyday investing is diversification, which means owning different types of investments to spread out the risk. According to investment manager Paula Volent, you definitely want to own stock index funds because stocks over time have always offered the best return. She suggests owning a broad U.S. stock market index fund, a foreign developed markets index fund and an emerging markets index fund.

Volent also says you need investments that can do well when stocks are doing poorly. These include Treasury bonds and real estate funds. As far as how to know how much of each of these components is the right mix for you, there are different ways to figure that out. Age-based, or so-called “target-date,” index funds put together a mix of many of these components for you with a risk profile based on how many years you are away from retirement.

For more guidance, read David Swensen’s Unconventional Success.

Want to learn more? If you’re going to read one book, check out economist David Swensen’s Unconventional Success. It’s the ultimate introduction to everyday investing from a world famous investor who set out to tell the rest of us how to do this right. Jack Bogle’s book Common Sense On Mutual Funds is another classic.

Working with a financial adviser? Make sure they’re fee-only.

Checking in with a financial adviser is strongly recommended by experienced investors, but make sure you’re speaking with a fee-only expert, who isn’t receiving commissions for steering you into one investment over another. Once you find someone acting in your best interest, try to meet with them once a year or every two to three years. Find someone you can pay a flat fee for each visit. This will save you money in the long term

Rebalance your investments for stability and to maximize your return on your investments.

There is no need to panic, even in times of big corrections in the market. With a diverse investment portfolio, you actually have an opportunity to make some extra money off of big swings in the markets by selling what has gone up in value and buying more of what’s gone down.

Let’s say you’ve decided you should have 50% of your portfolio in a mix of stock index funds. If stocks crash and bonds rise in value, then the stock portion of your portfolio might only be worth 45% of your overall portfolio. You can sell some bonds and buy more stocks to get back to the target in your investment plan. Buying low and selling high is the right way to make money investing. But you’re not doing this randomly. You are sticking with your plan for your target allocation in your core portfolio.

Bottom line — please don’t panic and sell everything just because the stock market crashes and you see other people panicking and getting rid of their stocks. That can do irreparable harm to your portfolio. Buying high and selling low is not a good way to make money.


The audio portion of this episode was produced by Janet W. Lee.

We’d love to hear from you. If you have a good life hack, leave us a voicemail at 202-216-9823, or email us at LifeKit@npr.org. Your tip could appear in an upcoming episode.

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