Deliveroo shares fail to rebound after disastrous first day – live updates

 Deliveroo rider wears a surgical face mask in Cardiff city centre on March 8, 2020 in Cardiff, United Kingdom
Deliveroo rider wears a surgical face mask in Cardiff city centre on March 8, 2020 in Cardiff, United Kingdom

Shares in Deliveroo have opened with a wobble as the loss-making food delivery company failed to rebound after losing nearly 30pc of their value in one day.

The food delivery company saw £2bn wiped off its value yesterday as investors sold out after its initial public offering. Shares started trading on Thursday up slightly before dropping as low as 280p, down from its 390p pricing ahead of yesterday’s debut.

Retail investors, who were allocated £50m in shares through Deliveroo’s takeaway app, were unable to trade on the first day and have been nursing losses.

Richard Windsor, an independent analyst, said: “This is a major black eye for the London Stock Exchange and may make other companies… think twice about where they intend to go public.”

Elsewhere today, Google has dismissed the prospect of permanent working from home in a memo to staff that says it hopes to have the majority back in the office by September 1.Meanwhile, Microsoft has won a $21.9bn contract with US army to supply augmented reality headsets.

Closing time

That’s all from us today. We’ll hope to see you back here tomorrow from 7am, and until then wish you a very good night.

Android apps to be blocked from seeing your other apps

Did you know that Android apps are allowed to see all the other apps that are installed on your phone? No longer in future, says Google.

As spotted by 9to5Goggle, the search giant has updated the rules of its Play Store to forbid this behaviour except for specific purposes such as device search, file managers and antivirus scanners.

Here’s what it says:

“Play regards the device inventory of installed apps queried from a user’s device as personal and sensitive information, and use of the permission is only permitted when your app’s core user facing functionality or purpose, requires broad visibility into installed apps on the user’s device.”Visibility to the inventory of installed apps on a device must be directly related to the core purpose or core functionality that users access within your app. ”

The policy comes into effect on May 5.

Facebook argues Giphy deal is ‘good for competition’

Social media firm Facebook has responded to the news that the CMA is kicking off an in-depth probe into its takeover of image sharing site Giphy.

The company, which decided against suggesting ways it could appease competition concerns, said: “We will continue to fully cooperate with the CMA’s investigation.

“This merger is good for competition and in the interests of everyone in the UK who uses Giphy and our services – from developers to service providers to content creators.”

The CMA had last week said Facebook had five days to provide remedies to its concerns the deal would harm competition, or it would start a Phase 2 probe. Facebook told the CMA it would not be offering undertakings.

British start-up that can turn cameras into Covid-19 monitors received US clearance

Oxehealth, the British start-up which can turn video cameras into health monitors, has received clearance from the US Food and Drug Administration for its patient observation software.

The news means Oxehealth can sell its software on the market in all US states, where it said it plans to “focus on deployment into skilled nursing facilities”.

Its technology works by using computer vision and signal processing to spot activity in a room, and uses sensors to monitor pulse and breathing rates from a distance without having to put in place things such as finger pulse oximeters, or wired clips attached to patient’s fingers, that may prove uncomfortable to older people or those with mental illnesses.

Chief executive Hugh Lloyd-Jukes said: “Oxehealth secured a world first accreditation for its technology when it obtained European medical device certification two years ago.

“It is a tribute to the hard work of our development teams and our clinical research partners that our Vital Signs technology has now been cleared by the FDA in another world-first that has created an entirely new category of medical solution: vision-based patient monitoring and management.”

The Telegraph reported the company was raising cash thanks to surging demand among care homes and mental health trusts. Its technology allows more distancing between patients and staff, something which has come to the fore during the coronavirus pandemic.

Which vaccine passport schemes has the Government funded?

As Boris Johnson today suggests a vaccine passport scheme remains on the cards, which companies could the Government work with?

The Telegraph revealed earlier this year that the Government had funded a number of schemes under its Innovate UK arm.

Electric car targets at risk as UK falls behind in global race for key battery metals

Electric car targets are at risk of being missed because Britain is being left behind in the global race to buy components for batteries, Olivia Rudgard writes.

A policy commission chaired by former government chief scientific adviser Sir John Beddington and commissioned by academics at the University of Birmingham found that the UK lacks a cohesive strategy for obtaining and processing “technology-critical metals” that are used to make batteries and other parts of electric cars.

An ambitious goal to ban the sale of new petrol and diesel cars from 2030 may be unattainable unless the UK prioritises access to key battery materials such as lithium, nickel and cobalt in trade deals, and improves recycling practices, the authors warned.

Amazon joins Google in sending staff back to the office

Amazon’s spheres are part of its offices in Seattle

Daniel Berman/Bloomberg

Amazon has told staff it expects many of them to return to the office later on this year, in the latest move by a tech giant to shift away from remote working.

Amazon wrote to its workers to say its plan “is to return to an office-centric culture as our baseline”.

“We believe it enables us to invent, collaborate, and learn together most effectively.”

It comes after Google yesterday said it would be allowing staff to return to its offices on a voluntary basis from next month. It said employees would only be able to work from home for more than 14 days every year if they applied to do so.

Fiona Cicconi, Google’s head of people operations, wrote to staff to say: “It’s now been a year since many of us have been working from home, and the thought of returning to the office might inspire different emotions.”

From September, the company is planning for its staff to be in the office at least three days a week.

Johnson defends vaccine passport schemes

Boris Johnson has issued a defence of vaccine passport schemes, saying they “will be useful for us as we go forward” in response to comments made by the Labour leader in an interview with the Telegraph.

Sir Kier Starmer had told the Telegraph: “My instinct is that, as the vaccine is rolled out, as the number of hospital admissions and deaths go down, there will be a British sense that we don’t actually want to go down this road.”

Johnson said: “I think when it comes to trying to make sure that we give maximum confidence to business and to customers here in the UK, there are three things – there’s your immunity, whether you have had it before, so you have got natural antibodies; whether you have been vaccinated; and then, of course, whether you have had a test.

“Those three things working together will be useful for us as we go forward.”

Reaction: Regulatory hurdles could make it tougher for Deliveroo ‘to reach sustainable profitability’

Will Chignell, from financial services provider Apex, has weighed into the Deliveroo share price slump, saying the company’s “current employment practices expose it to significant regulatory and legislative risk”.

“Ultimately, actions by regulators could adversely impact any plans to reach sustainable profitability. Employment rights, living wages and demonstrating a duty-of-care to key stakeholders are indispensable ESG (Environmental, Social, and Corporate Governance) metrics.

“Whether a company is public or private, these metrics are intrinsically linked to a business’ risk, profitability and valuation. With regulators, investors and wider society scrutinizing companies and their ESG practices in increasing detail, these links to financial performance will only become clearer and better defined for all to see.

“It is essential that we see rigorous, independent, data driven ESG assessments and benchmarking implemented by a business’ management team, board, private equity owners or advisors and book-runners pre-IPO.”

Competition watchdog kicks off in-depth probe into Facebook’s Giphy deal

The UK’s Competition & Markets Authority has today kicked off an in-depth investigation into Facebook’s $400m (£292m) takeover of image-sharing library Giphy.

The watchdog had last week given Facebook the opportunity to suggest remedies that would alleviate its competition concerns over the deal, but the social media company had decided against offering any such solutions.

As such, it will now face a Phase 2 investigation.

The CMA had last week issued a warning that the planned deal could hamper rival social media firms from gaining access to GIFs, saying Giphy could either stop supplying the images to sites such as Twitter, or could “do so on worse terms – for example, requiring rivals to provide more user data to the merged entity to access Giphy GIFs”.

Andrea Gomes da Silva, the CMA’s executive director of Markets and Mergers, had said: “As the UK’s competition authority, it is our responsibility to make sure that markets remain competitive.

“It is vital we ensure that Facebook, as a large and powerful Big Tech firm, isn’t using its strong market position to stifle competition.”

Facebook removes ‘voice of Donald Trump’ from its platform

Facebook has removed a video of Donald Trump from his daughter-in-law’s page.

Mr Trump was banned from the social media platform in the wake of the riots at the US Capitol in January.

An interview with the former president by Lara Trump, a new Fox News contributor, had been posted to her Facebook page, but later disappeared.

Ms Trump then posted a screenshot of two emails she had received from Facebook – one warning that content “in the voice of Donald Trump” is currently not allowed on the platform, and another later confirming that the video had been removed “in line with the block we placed on Donald Trump’s Facebook and Instagram accounts”.

The social network has not commented further on the decision.

Ms Trump, who is married to Mr Trump’s son, Eric, has since posted a link to the interview on another website.

Facebook, along with a number of other social media platforms, banned Mr Trump from their sites in the wake of the violence at the US Capitol on January 6 as politicians certified Joe Biden’s election victory, and after Mr Trump called those who stormed the Capitol “patriots”, adding “We love you”.

At the time, Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg said the social media giant had taken the decision because Mr Trump had used the platform to “incite violent insurrection against a democratically elected government”.

He added that the risk of allowing the then-president to continue using Facebook at that time was “too great”.

The decision to remove Mr Trump remains under review by Facebook’s independent oversight board, which was set up to rule on controversial content moderation decisions.

Apple to build ‘grid-scale’ energy storage in California

Apple has revealed that its building a battery-based ‘grid-scale’ energy storage facility in Central California near a solar energy installation that already provides energy for all of its facilities in the state.

Apple said the project will store 240 megawatt-hours of energy, or enough to power more than 7,000 homes for one day. It is located next to the California Flats solar installation in southeastern Monterey County, about 100 miles southeast of Apple’s Cupertino, California headquarters.

The site sends 130-megawatts of electricity directly to Apple’s California facilities during daylight hours but does not provide power during dark hours. Lisa Jackson, Apple’s vice president of environment, policy and social initiatives, told Reuters in an interview the company intends to develop what it believes will be one of the largest battery-based storage systems in the United States.

“The challenge with clean energy – solar and wind – is that it’s by definition intermittent,” Jackson told Reuters. “If we can do it, and we can show that it works for us, it takes away the concerns about intermittency and it helps the grid in terms of stabilization. It’s something that can be imitated or built upon by other companies.”

Robinhood removes its confetti celebrations amid accusation that it ‘gamifies’ trading

Robinhood is removing confetti animation from its stock trading app in a bid to dampen accusations that its platform “gamifies” investing.

“The confetti is getting really misconstrued, and I think it’s actually doing the opposite of what we want,” Madhu Muthukumar, senior director of product management at Robinhood, commented to TheWall Street Journal. It “seems to have distracted from the goal of the app, which is to make regular people, everyday folks who have been kept out of the market, feel like they can participate and feel like they are being positively reinforced for taking steps in their financial life.”

Last year, Robinhood was accused of using video game tactics to draw young people into investing more money on the app in a lawsuit filed by a securities regulator.

The popular app exposed users to “unnecessary trading risks” by “falling far short of the fiduciary standard”, according to a lawsuit filed by the Massachusetts Securities Division in December.

The suit alleged that Robinhood encouraged users to invest higher sums using “gamification”, a tactic employed by Facebook and Snapchat to keep people engaging with their products.

At the time, a spokesman said: “Robinhood is a self-directed broker-dealer and we do not make investment recommendations adding that it had made “significant improvements to our options offering, adding safeguards and enhanced educational materials”.

Russia now requires all smart devices to come pre-installed with domestic software

Smartphones, computers and other gadgets purchased in Russia must come pre-installed with Russian software as of today.

It comes as Moscow attempts to strengthen its control of the internet and reduce its dependence on foreign companies and countries.

A number of additional proposals are in the works, ranging from compelling foreign firms to open offices on Russian territory, to tax breaks for Russian IT companies.

One potential stumbling block for the law’s introduction was the reaction of US tech giant Apple, which dragged its feet before agreeing last month to offer a way for users to install Russian software during iPhone setups.

The legislation has become known colloquially in Russia as ‘the law against Apple.’

Apple said it would offer a selection of apps from Russian developers as part of activation screens for new devices. It said it intended to comply with the new Russian law, but noted that all apps are reviewed to ensure they comply with Apple’s standards for privacy, security and content.

TSMC to spend $100bn over three years to grow chip capacity

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. plans to spend $100bn over the next three years to expand its chip fabrication capacity, a staggering financial commitment to address booming demand for new technologies.

TSMC, the world’s leading manufacturer of advanced semiconductors, already planned a record capital expenditure of as much as $28bn this year, but recent trends and developments have pushed for even more capacity.

Now at the center of a global chip supply crunch, Taiwan’s biggest company has pledged to work with customers across industries to overcome a deluge of demand.

It’s unclear how TSMC intends to finance that record outlay, which underscores the enormous capital required to stay at the forefront of the industry.

Relied on by everyone from Apple and Qualcomm to Nvidia and Advanced Micro Devices, TSMC is the world’s go-to semiconductor foundry, or producer of chips designed by others. The silicon it churns out goes into practically every modern piece of electronics, from smartphones and smart fridges to connected cars.

Rival Intel in March announced plans to directly compete with TSMC for the business of manufacturing chips for other companies, with a $20 billion investment in two new factories in Arizona.

Read more about the chip shortage here.

Microsoft to sell augmented reality glasses to the US army

Microsoft has won a lucrative deal to supply augmented reality headsets based on its HoloLens product to the US army.

The contract could be worth up to $21.88bn over 10 years – and it’s been a while in the making.

Over the past two years, Microsoft has worked with the Army to on the prototyping phase of what is called the Integrated Visual Augmentation System, or IVAS. The company said Wednesday that the Army had moved into the production phase of the project.

The headsets are based on Microsoft’s HoloLens product

Angel Garcia/Bloomberg

Microsoft Technical Fellow Alex Kipman said the headsets are designed to deliver “enhanced situational awareness, enabling information sharing and decision-making in a variety of scenarios.”

The US isn’t the only one to make use of augmented reality technology for its military.

In December, the Telegraph revealed that the British Army is developing a series of communication devices to ensure troops have the best medical capabilities wherever they are based

In the trial, codenamed Project Lara, some of the telemedicine capabilities are already being used in the field.

It includes an augmented reality kit which allows specialists to direct operations from thousands of miles of way, a secure messaging system so that medical information can be shared and assessed from anywhere in the world and a system that remotely monitors and stream to an expert a patient’s vital signs.

Deliveroo rival Glovo raises $528m for food delivery

As if Deliveroo didn’t have enough headaches..

Glovo, the Spanish delivery app, has raised 450 million euros ($528m) in a fundraising round that will help it expand its quick-delivery service and grocery operations in Europe.

Investors Lugard Road Capital and Luxor Capital Group led the round, which also included investments from German delivery app Delivery Hero, Drake Enterprises and GP Bullhound, the company said.

Glovo will use the funds to expand its Q-Commerce unit, which is responsible for grocery and retail deliveries as well as “dark stores,” which are small warehouses that let Glovo quickly fill orders for goods from particular retailers.

It’s a similar strategy to dark kitchens, which can produce food for take-out in neighborhoods where a restaurant wouldn’t be viable. In the biggest cities where Glovo operates, the company said it can make deliveries within 10 minutes using the Q-Commerce network.

The deal comes at a challenging time for delivery apps as investors begin to question whether they can sustain growth rates that surged during Covid-19 lockdowns when shops and restaurants were closed.

Forget Deliveroo – this former Woodford pick is the real gem

Deliveroo’s float has left a nasty mess in the lap of founder Will Shu and an army of City advisers on the Deliveroo gravy train.

The disastrous float favours for Rishi Sunak’s ambition to build a thriving home-grown tech sector and steal some of the action from Wall Street for the London Stock Exchange.

That seems a shame, especially as a far more appetising meal is now looming up on the horizon in the form of Oxford Nanopore, the genome sequencing firm spun out from Oxford University that unveiled plans for its own UK float later this year on Tuesday.

As Robin Pagnamenta writes today:

Its decision to list in London is great news for the life sciences sector and a real opportunity to build a domestic technology champion.

Founded by Dr Gordon Sanghera in 2005, Oxford Nanopore is in many ways the perfect business for our times.A manufacturer of miniaturised equipment used to decode the DNA of any organism – from humans to viruses.

Over the past 12 months Oxford Nanopore has surfed a wave of new business linked to the pandemic. From Brazil to China, scientists have turned to the group’s devices to trace mutations in coronavirus – a process made possible by their speed, portability and low cost.

Oxford Nanopore’s decision to plump for a UK listing rather than following the likes of WeJo and Cazoo in a convoy of deals to head across the Atlantic is encouraging news for the UK technology sector.

Deliveroo share price opens with a wobble

Shares in Deliveroo opened up slightly on their second day of trading after falls of as much as 30pc in early trading yesterday saw more than £2bn wiped off its market value and amateur investors left nursing their losses.

Today they opened up around 2pc, before dipping back to trade down around 1pc.

The lack of a rebound means that retail investors, who were allocated £50m of shares, are still down by just over a quarter. They are currently unable to freely trade their shares until April 7.

The weak opening to Deliveroo’s float follows complaints about workers rights and pay for its riders which hammered the food delivery company before it hit the market.

Several major institutional investors said they would decline to take part in the float. Meanwhile, Deliveroo has declined to name its three “anchor investors” who were said to have bought shares as part of the float.

Analysts have warned that the poor first day could put off future approaches to the London Stock Exchange from high growth, but loss-making, technology companies.

Richard Windsor, an independent analyst, said: “This is a major black eye for the London Stock Exchange and may make other companies… think twice about where they intend to go public.”

Google snubs the work from home revolution

Google is accelerating its return to the office, with some staff expected to begin returning in April and a more permanent return to office life from September 1.

In memo to Google staff, Fiona Cicconi, Google’s head of people operations, said: “It’s now been a year since many of us have been working from home, and the thought of returning to the office might inspire different emotions.”

Staff would be allowed to work from home 14 days per year.

But in a follow up note, Google told staff that additional working from home would only be allowed in “the most exceptional circumstances”.

It strikes a different tone to some other tech giants. Twitter made working from home permanent for thousands of its staff, as did payments company Square. Facebook has said it expects half of its staff to work from home going forward.

Google was one of the first companies to send staff home during the crisis, but now appears to be the first to want a return to normal.

Five things to start your day

1) Five things missing from Nick Clegg’s defence of Facebook The former deputy prime minister has come out swinging against Facebook’s critics. There are just a few things he leaves out…

2) Apple to make users pick between male and female Siri iPhone maker says no longer defaulting to male or female voices shows “commitment to diversity and inclusion”

3) The multi-billion dollar quest to get flying cars off the ground Lilium this week became the third flying car maker in two months to announce that it was going public via a Spac

4) Microsoft wins US Army contract for augmented reality headsetsThe deal, which could be worth as much as $212bn over 10 years, follows a contract Microsoft received to build prototype headsets for the Army

5) Robin Pagnamenta: Forget Deliveroo – this former Woodfordpick is the real gem Genome sequencing firm Oxford Nanopore looks to be a far more appetising meal and will float in London later this year