Rocket Report: Billionaire backs Scottish spaceport, Relativity bags a bundle

Images of Electron rocket.
Enlarge / Rocket Lab’s Catch of the Day recovery vessel nears the Electron rocket’s first stage.

Welcome to Edition 3.24 of the Rocket Report! It’s December, and we could see a number of big smallsat launches this month, including from Virgin Orbit and Astra. But in the immediate future, our eyes are on South Texas, where a Starship prototype is due to make a high leap early next week.

As always, we welcome reader submissions, and if you don’t want to miss an issue, please subscribe using the box below (the form will not appear on AMP-enabled versions of the site). Each report will include information on small-, medium-, and heavy-lift rockets as well as a quick look ahead at the next three launches on the calendar.

Aevum unveils its Ravn X launch system. Until now, Aevum has largely operated in the background. But now, it’s ready to show off

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Let Salesforce Billionaire Benioff Land His Trendy Tech Whale

Benioff ended up abandoning the approach for Twitter as ongoing discussions dragged the shares even lower. Slack looks like a more natural fit for his company than the social media firm, but the CEO is still, characteristically, asking for a lot of faith from investors. If the latter can swallow a high-looking price, then maybe that faith would be justified over the longer term.

If Salesforce were to pay a premium to Slack’s undisturbed share price of 30% (a fairly typical amount in M&A), it would value the messaging software maker at some $21 billion, including net cash. The snag is that Slack is not expected to generate any meaningful operating profit for years. So judged through the prism of returns on invested capital, payback from a deal would be many years off.

Indeed, Slack’s stock is already trading above the 30% premium level, indicating that the market expects a

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Danish Nuclear Startup Taps Billionaire for Asian Reactor

(Bloomberg) — A Danish company planning to manufacture small modular reactors raised about 20 million euros ($24 million) to bring a floating nuclear-power station to southeast Asia.

Seaborg Technology AS raised the funds to bring nuclear power at sea to parts of southeast Asia which rely on fossil fuels and where renewables aren’t yet an option. Floating reactors are as old as the nuclear age, with units powering submarines and icebreakers for some seven decades. Last year, Russia deployed new reactors on barges to light up remote Arctic coastlines.

Seaborg envisions building its molten fluoride salt reactors in South Korean shipyards after developing the technology in Denmark in a bid to keep costs down. Completed barges will then be towed to where they’re needed. The plan is to connect the first unit to a grid by 2025.



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Seaborg is planning three variations of its molten fluoride

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Billionaire Bezos Backs Start-Up in Maiden Africa Investment

(Bloomberg) — Jeff Bezos agreed to back Africa-focused financial technology company, Chipper Cash, making it his first start-up investment on the continent.



Jeff Bezos wearing a suit and tie: Jeff Bezos, founder and chief executive officer of Amazon.com Inc., speaks during a discussion at the Air Force Association's Air, Space and Cyber Conference in National Harbor, Maryland, U.S., on Wednesday, Sept. 19, 2018. Amazon is considering a plan to open as many as 3,000 new AmazonGo cashierless stores in the next few years, according to people familiar with matter, an aggressive and costly expansion that would threaten convenience chains.


© Bloomberg
Jeff Bezos, founder and chief executive officer of Amazon.com Inc., speaks during a discussion at the Air Force Association’s Air, Space and Cyber Conference in National Harbor, Maryland, U.S., on Wednesday, Sept. 19, 2018. Amazon is considering a plan to open as many as 3,000 new AmazonGo cashierless stores in the next few years, according to people familiar with matter, an aggressive and costly expansion that would threaten convenience chains.

The world’s richest man’s personal venture capital fund, Bezos Expeditions, supported the Series B funding led by Ribbit Capital, which raised $30 million for the San Fransisco-based company.

“Jeff Bezo’s backing of Chipper Cash will widen the company’s product suite through inclusion of more business payment solutions, crypto-currency trading options, and investment services,” the company said

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Blockchain Bites: Bitcoin’s Latest Billionaire Bull, Zcash’s Upgrade, Grayscale’s $10B Breakthrough

BULL IN A CHINA SHOP: Ricardo Salinas Pliego became the latest billionaire to come out in support of bitcoin.

Bitcoin continues to rally, with one indicator suggesting the bulls have room to roam. Zcash, the privacy-minded blockchain network, had its first halving. And acting Comptroller of the Currency Brian Brooks may stay on for a five-year term.

Top shelf

Top or not?
At least one obscure indicator suggests bitcoin’s bulls have room to roam. Already notching 80% gains in the past six weeks and fast approaching an all-time high of $20,000 set in 2017, the cryptocurrency’s Mayer Multiple – the ratio of price to the 200-day moving average – is showing the current rally may be in early stages. Standing at a 16-month high of 1.67, this indicator is still well short of the 2.4 threshold that has historically signaled the final leg of the bull markets. It was this key metric that preceded the end of the 2019, 2017 and 2013 bull runs. Things are different this time

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Opinion | At-Home Covid Tests and Other Powers of a Tech Billionaire



Chamath Palihapitiya is one of Silicon Valley’s most successful tech investors. He’s also among the most candid. “I aspire to be a Koch brother before I aspire to be an under secretary,” he tells Kara Swisher on this episode of “Sway.” His definition of power has little to do with politics — it’s profits, he says, that empower you to “control the resources.”

Mr. Palihapitiya made his first fortune as an early executive at Facebook. He has since multiplied his wealth as an investor, with big bets and bold forecasts about the future. These days, he’s behind one of the most lucrative and controversial trends — SPACs, the acronym for blank check or special purpose acquisition companies, which some call the next bubble.

On this episode of “Sway,” Mr. Palihapitiya shares his predictions for American economic recovery

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Billionaire Zuo Hui Dominates China’s Property Transactions Market

This story is part of Forbes’ coverage of China’s Richest 2020. See the full list here.

Mainland China didn’t yet have a billionaire back in 2000 when Beijing entrepreneur Zuo Hui struck upon the then-novel idea of selling homes to individual buyers. It was a bold move, as the average GDP per capita was around $1,000 and a government policy that allowed private property ownership had been launched only two years earlier. “At the time, there weren’t many people buying their own homes,” says Zuo, 49.

Today, China is the world’s largest residential property market, as measured by gross transaction value (GTV). Despite the pandemic, total sales of both new and existing homes in China are forecast this year to be $3.5 trillion, up 3% from last year, according to research consultancy CIC in Hong Kong.

Zuo’s KE Holdings is sitting smack in the

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Billionaire investor Mike Novogratz won half a bitcoin in an election bet, then gave it away through a self-hosted lottery | Currency News | Financial and Business News


  • Billionaire investor Mike Novogratz won half a Bitcoin in an election bet over the weekend, but then hosted a lottery to hand it out to “new Bitcoiners.” 
  • Novogratz, the CEO and founder of crypto-focused merchant bank Galaxy Digital, was expecting Democrats to secure both the White House and the Congress.
  • A Twitter user @Adelgary won the lottery, but others contested the outcome by claiming he already owns Bitcoin and isn’t new to the crypto world.
  • Half a Bitcoin is currently worth $7,726.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Billionaire investor Mike Novogratz said he won half a Bitcoin in an election bet on Saturday, and gave it up in a self-hosted lottery to a Twitter user.

Half a Bitcoin is currently worth $7,726. Bitcoin has risen 10% in the past week, hitting $15,453 as of 10:20 am GMT on Monday. The price has gained almost 60%

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Billionaire Bumble Seller Plans Global Launch of Talk Show App

(Bloomberg) — Andrey Andreev pocketed at least $1.5 billion from Blackstone Group Inc. after agreeing last year to sell his stake in the firm behind some of the world’s most popular dating apps, including Bumble.



Andrey Andreev sitting on a sofa


© Photographer: Levon Biss/MagicLab/Getty Images
Andrey Andreev

He’s already moved on to his next act: Stereo, an audio-centric app that allows people to host, listen to and participate in live talk shows from their phones. Andreev and his team in London and Los Angeles plan on rolling out a full version globally this week after recently launching it in the U.S.

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“99% of the vision behind the app is now there,” Andreev, 46, said in a telephone interview.

Andreev is betting he can shift the social media landscape with his latest venture. His audio-focused form of social media won’t contain real-life images. Instead, users create personalized avatars for their Stereo profiles. Those who

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Chinese billionaire Jack Ma and AMD CEO Lisa Su have a new tech strategy: shoot the moon

Hello, and welcome to this Wednesday’s edition of the Insider Tech newsletter, where we break down the biggest news in tech.

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This week: Jack Ma and AMD CEO Lisa Su are shooting for the moon



a close up of Jack Ma looking at the camera: Jack Ma Stephane Mahe/Reuters


© Stephane Mahe/Reuters
Jack Ma Stephane Mahe/Reuters

Good news, there’s water on the moon, and soon, there will even be WiFi on the moon.

Netflix has a new animated movie out called “Over the Moon.”

And Elon Musk unlocked another multi-billion dollar tranche in his so-called moonshot award compensation package.

Clearly, the moon is having a moment.

Back on planet Earth, it’s tech dealmakers that are shooting for the moon.

Ant Group, the Chinese fintech giant controlled by Jack Ma, wants to raise $34.5 billion in the biggest IPO ever in a dual Hong Kong-Shanghai listing.

AMD announced

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