Your 90-second guide to the day in tech

- March 19, 2021 2 MIN READ
An artist's impression of NASA's Artemis 1 rocket, due to make a test flight around the Moon in late 2021.

Yay! Made it to Friday. Here’s what we spotted in big news to end the week.

Don’t forget to tune in for the Startup Daily show on Ausbiz.com.au  every weekday, 2-2.45pm. Watch online, download the ausbiz app or via 7Plus.


One small step to the Moon

Elon Musk’s SpaceX may be powering up to get to Mars (except the rockets keep exploding), but NASA remains the market leader and is currently putting together the most powerful rocket stage, the Space Launch System (SLS), as part of the Artemis program to put people (including the first woman) on the Moon once again after more then 50 years.

The 64.62-metres-high core stage – the grunt for a rocket, Artemis 1, that will be 111 meters tall, had a hot fire test at the Stennis Space Center in Mississippi on Thursday, US time. All four RS-25 engines were fired for eight minutes

It was the eighth and final step in NASA’s Green Run program, ahead of a test flight around the moon, without a crew, as soon as November this year.


Crypto Fireblocks’ $172m raise

US crypto infrastructure fintech Fireblocks, which acts as a go-between for banks and other fintechs with crypto capital markets, has raised US$133 million in Series C funding led by Coatue, Ribbit, and Stripes with strategic investment from The Bank of New York Mellon and SVB. Previous investors Paradigm, Galaxy Digital, Swisscom Ventures, Tenaya Capital and Cyberstarts Ventures also chipped in. Fireblocks has now raised US$179 million.

Fireblocks plans to offer banks and other financial institutions the ability to plug into the broader decentralised finance ecosystem and its market participants, via its platform, which let  banks and fintechs rapidly deploy custody, tokenisation, asset management, trading, lending and payment solutions across public and private blockchain networks.


Telstra takes on Spacetalk

ASX-list communications wearables venture Spacetalk has signed a deal with Telstra to distribute its products through Telstra’s retail stores and online shop.

In January Spacetalk launched the $350 Adventurer kid’s smartwatch, which has GPS tracking capabilities among a bunch of other things.

Telstra retail and regional executive, Fiona Hayes, said: “Spacetalk is a market leader in Australia in connected smartwatches for children and seniors, providing a practical solution for families to stay connected.”

The company was founded 20 years ago, listed in 2003 as MGM Wireless and changed its name to Spacetalk (ASX:SPA) in November 2020.


Investor incentive

As finder fees go, we reckon Californian investor Jason Calacanis is offering some serious motivation for others to give his deal flow a hand. We started wondering if this idea could take off in Australia and then remembered we’re a nation who barely manages to tip waiters.




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