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Weekly News of 30th of May

Rocket propulsion startup to offer new, bigger rocket engine in 2025


U.S. rocket engine maker Ursa Major is developing a new medium to heavy-lift rocket engine to serve a growing field of potential customers, jumping into territory dominated by a handful of heavyweights, reports Reuters.

Ursa Major Technologies founded in 2015 by a veteran of Elon Musk’s SpaceX expects to launch the Arroway engine in 2025 as a rival offering to those sold now by Aerojet Rocketdyne and Jeff Bezos’ space company Blue Origin.

The reusable Arroway will be the third and most powerful engine offered by Ursa Major, and the company is aiming to be the low-cost option in the market.

Small rocket companies have shifted focus in recent years to building bigger rockets, responding to increased demand for heavier and shared launch services and less interest in smaller, dedicated rides to space.

Arroway, fueled by methane and liquid oxygen and capable of 200,000 pounds of thrust, is in part a response to that shift, and when clustered together could also serve as a potential replacement to Russian rocket engines recently cut off from U.S. companies by trade sanction following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.


Mideast streaming service Starzplay eyes going public in 2-3 years


Starzplay Arabia, an Abu Dhabi-based streaming platform, expects to go public in the next two or three years, reports Reuters.

Starzplay is among the global and regional streaming players vying for a share of the burgeoning Middle East market, hoping to tap into the region’s large youth population and take advantage of low penetration.

Netflix leads in the region, having had a head start of more than six years. Starzplay takes the second spot ahead of Amazon and Saudi Arabia-based MBC Group’s Shahid, according to Digital TV Research.

Abu Dhabi state investor ADQ said in March it would acquire around 57% of Starzplay, which already has content partnerships with Abu Dhabi Media. ADQ is the owner of Abu Dhabi Media, as well as Abu Dhabi conglomerate e&, which owns telecom company Etisalat.

Regulatory approvals for that deal, which would value Starzplay at $420 million when completed, were expected to take three to four months from the March announcement.


India’s top e-recycler Attero to spend $1 bln to expand as EVs take off


India’s largest electronics recycling firm Attero Recycling will spend $1 billion in the next five years and add plants in Poland, Ohio and Indonesia starting this year, reports Reuters.

The World Bank-backed company, whose clients include Samsung and Hyundai, also plans to prepare for an initial public offering in about a year and list in India or the United States in the next three years.

Attero’s goal is to raise its annual lithium-ion battery waste processing capacity to 300,000 tonnes by 2027 from 11,000 tonnes now, he said, meeting 15% of the world’s demand for lithium, cobalt and graphite, from less than 0.1% today. Half the cost of an electric vehicle is the lithium-ion batteries, at least 35% of whose cost then comes from cobalt, nickel, lithium, graphite and manganese.

Attero’s extraction rate is about 98% and it uses chemical methods instead of the more expensive smelting process that melts certain metals beyond recovery. Some of the materials it extracts go to Tesla.


Google backs India’s ShareChat in $300 mln funding round at $5 bln valuation


The parent company of India’s ShareChat has raised nearly $300 million in fresh funding from Alphabet Inc’s Google, media giant Times Group and Singapore’s Temasek Holdings, valuing the social media firm at nearly $5 billion, reports Reuters.

ShareChat’s parent company, Mohalla Tech, did not respond to a request for comment.

Google’s investment in a bearish market for Indian start-ups shows the appetite for the short video sector and the start-up’s investment thesis. India’s tech startups, which raised a record $35 billion in new funds in 2021, have been struggling to raise funds as corporate governance concerns loom large for investors facing a new uncertainty in global markets.

ShareChat was last valued at $3.7 billion in a $266 million funding round from investors including Alkeon Capital and Temasek.