If you enjoyed the newsletter, please share it with a friend who’d find it useful.
SpaceX Launches its Crew Dragon Spacecraft on First Private Mission
On September 15, SpaceX successfully launched a Crew Dragon spacecraft carrying an all-civilian crew on its first private mission.
This Inspiration4 mission is the first private crew mission launched into orbit by Elon Musk’s company SpaceX, and it will be the first time that a crew includes nonprofessional astronauts.
The mission is the fourth crewed flight by SpaceX; however, it is the first flight that does not involve NASA.
Inspiration4 is commanded by Jared Isaacman, founder and CEO of Shift4 Payments, and includes medical officer Hayley Arceneaux, pilot Sian Proctor, and mission specialist Chris Sembroski. These people will spend three days in space at an altitude of approximately 575 kilometers.
The main goal of this mission is to raise $200 million for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital with an aim to give hope to all kids with cancer and other life-threatening diseases.
Of this fundraising amount, $100 million is donated by Issacman, while the remaining will be raised through ticket sales and other activities.
WhatsApp Begins Testing In-App Business Directory
Facebook-owned popular messaging service platform WhatsApp is testing a new feature that will allow its users to search for businesses within the app for the first time.
This feature allows WhatsApp users in Sao Paulo, Brazil, to find shops and services through an app directory. It is the latest feature the company plans to add to boost its push into the eCommerce space.
In a Twitter post, WhatsApp Head Will Cathcart said, “I’m excited we’re starting to pilot a local business directory within @WhatsApp. This will help you find and contact local businesses, like your neighborhood coffee shop, florist, clothing store, and more.”
Although WhatsApp is best known for its person-to-person messaging, e-commerce has become a more important part of its offering in recent years.
The WhatsApp business directory is currently being tested and is open to a selection of businesses in São Paulo that sell goods and some local services including, food, retail, and education.
Based on the feedback from people who try the test feature over the next few months, WhatsApp will look at expanding the service to other cities and other types of businesses.
EV Battery-Swapping Network Gogoro is Going Public
Gogoro, a Taiwan-based startup specializing in battery-swapping technology, announced that it will go public through a merger with Poema Global Holdings Corp., a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC).
This transaction will set Gogoro’s enterprise values at $2.35 billion, and the combined entity will list on NASDAQ.
Gogoro expects to receive roughly $500 million in proceeds including, $345 million held by Poema and $250 million from private investment in public equity, or PIPE financing.
The PIPE investors in Gogoro include Taiwan-based Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. and an Indonesian internet giant GoTo which is formed from the combination of ride-hailing giant Gojek and e-commerce provider PT Tokopedia.
The deal is scheduled to be completed in the first quarter of 2022 and will help fund Gogoro’s plans for international growth.
Although Gogoro builds its own highly acclaimed electric scooters in Taiwan, the startup’s biggest opportunity for growth is the growth of its battery-swapping networks.
With Gogoro going public and receiving a huge boost to its cash piles, the future looks good for the company as the leading standard in swappable batteries.
OpenSea Product Chief Accused of Flipping NFTs
OpenSea, the biggest NFT trading marketplace, said that one of its employees used internal information to buy NFTs that were supposed to be featured on its website and its value skyrocketed.
In a Tweet, OpenSea CEO Devin Finzer said, “Yesterday we learned that one of our employees purchased items that they knew were set to display on our front page before they appeared there publicly.”
“This is incredibly disappointing.” The site explicitly prohibits “deceptive or manipulative trading activities” in its Terms of Service,” he added.
The announcement was prompted by a community-led investigation of Chastain’s trades (Chastain is the Product Chief at OpenSea). A Twitter user named ZuwuTV posted a thread claiming Chastain had a few secret wallets that bought the site front page NFTs before they were featured, and later sold them for a profit after the price increased due to their exposure.
In the wake of the investigation, OpenSea has implemented a new policy regarding team members under which they can’t buy or sell from a collection or creator while introducing or promoting the collection or creator.
Moreover, team members are also restricted from buying or selling NFTs using sensitive information, whether or not it is available on the OpenSea platform.
Around The Web
🛻 Volta Trucks raises €37 million: Volta Trucks, a Swedish automotive company specializing in the manufacturing of electric trucks, has raised €37 million ($43.7 million) in its latest funding round. The funding was led by hedge fund Luxor Capital and returning investor Byggmästare Anders J Ahlström Holding of Stockholm and included participation from new investors Proterra and Agility.
💰 AOC to introduce a bill extending unemployment aid: During a virtual town hall, U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez announced that she will introduce new legislation to reinstate unemployment benefits for millions of Americans after it expired over the labor day.