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News & Analysis

Your 90-second guide to the day in tech

- March 15, 2021 3 MIN READ
The DroneShield DroneGun Tactical

Welcome to #March4JusticeAU Monday.

We’re hearing Helen Reddy’s “I am woman hear me roar”, but also thinking Sam Cooke: “A Change Is Gonna Come”.

 

Microsoft v Google

Microsoft might be in a world of pain right now over the Exchange hack that’s left thousands of companies and other institutions vulnerable, but that didn’t stop the company’s president Brad Smith from rocking up before the US House of Representatives on Friday to discuss tech and the media as part of an ongoing stoush with Google et al.

*Narrator’s voice* Previously on Clash of the Tech Giants: it’s worth remember that Smith was vocal in backing Australia’s news media bargaining code as Google and Facebook fought against it.

Smith told the Congressional hearing in Microsoft’s written submission that a lack of competition in the search and ad tech markets, which are controlled by Google, are partly to blame for journalism’s woes – an argument the major media companies themselves have been pushing.

At the same time Smith was having his say, Google’s VP of Global Affairs Kent Walker took an almighty swing at Microsoft in a blog post, accusing the company trying to distract people from its hacking problems, including the SolarWinds and Exchange hacks.

 

Kiwi unicorn sale

New Zealand software company Seequent (formerly ARANZ Geo), now a global venture producing 3D models for the mining, civil engineering and other geoscience sectors, has hit unicorn status in the sweetest way, being acquired by US engineering software venture Bentley Systems for $US1.05 billion (A$1.4 n). The deal combines US$900 million in cash, subject to adjustment, plus 3,141,361 Class B shares in Nasdaq-listed $BSY.

Goldman Sachs was reportedly also considering an ASX listing for Seequent before landing the Bentley deal.

The Christchurch-headquartered company, which operates in 16 locations and has more than 430 staff, will continue to operate as a standalone business.

Seequent CEO Shaun Maloney said: “By ‘leapfrogging ahead’ with Bentley to align geosciences with infrastructure engineering through deeper digital twins, Seequent underscores our conviction that better understanding of the earth creates a better world for all”.

 

Musk-child

We’ll just leave this here.

Stripe raise

Jack Dorsey’s Square rival, Stripe announced a US$600 million (A$775m) raise today to deliver a US$95 billion (A$123bn) valuation. Primary investors include Allianz X, Axa, Baillie Gifford, Fidelity Management & Research Company, Sequoia Capital, and Ireland’s National Treasury Management Agency.

The company says the funds will be used to accelerate momentum in Europe – 31 of the 42 countries it operates in are there – alongside plans to expand in Brazil, India, Indonesia, Thailand and the UAE.

President and co-founder John Collison said: “We’re investing a ton more in Europe this year, particularly in Ireland. Whether in fintech, mobility, retail or SaaS, the growth opportunity for the European digital economy is immense.”

 

DroneShield’s 5 Eyes deal

ASX-listed drone tech venture DroneShield (ASX:DRO) says it’s booked a repeat $1 million contract from a “high profile” government that’s part of the  Five Eyes alliance – an intelligence sharing network comprising of Australia, Canada, NZ, the UK, and US.

The deal is double the size of last year’s trial contract and will be paid this financial year.

The Five Eyes alliance is an intelligence alliance comprising, sharing information on security matters such as terrorism.

DroneShield CEO Oleg Vornik said the order was “a testament to both the industry leading capabilities of DroneShield products and an example of a common procurement pattern in our industry, where an initial order and evaluation might take some time, but once the solution has been validated and thoroughly vetted by the end user, larger follow-on orders result.”

 

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