Daily Crunch: Stimulus bill includes money for broadband and energy

We look at the tech implications of the new stimulus bill, Lockheed Martin makes a big rocket engine acquisition and Google Cloud expands. This is your Daily Crunch for December 21, 2020.

The big story: Stimulus bill includes money for broadband and energy

The $900 billion pandemic relief bill that lawmakers agreed on over the weekend includes a number of provisions that could have a significant impact on the tech industry. For one thing, it commits $7 billion to increase broadband access, including $50 monthly payments to help qualifying families pay for broadband.

The bill also includes $1.9 billion to “rip and replace” equipment from Chinese companies ZTE and Huawei. And there’s $35.2 billion for energy initiatives, with photovoltaics, new transportation technologies and energy efficiency technologies looking like the big winners.

Lawmakers from both parties have reached an agreement in principle on the stimulus, but it still needs final approval from Congress and President Donald Trump.

The tech giants

Lockheed Martin acquires rocket engine maker Aerojet Rocketdyne for $4.4B as space heats up — Aerojet Rocketdyne is headquartered in El Segundo, California and has nearly 5,000 employees.

Google expands its cloud with new regions in Chile, Germany and Saudi Arabia — In total, Google Cloud currently operates 24 regions with 73 availability zones.

IBM snags Nordcloud to add multi-cloud consulting expertise — Nordcloud has 500 consultants certified in AWS, Azure and Google Cloud Platform.

Startups, funding and venture capital

Bolt adds $75M to its Series C, as the battle to rule online checkout continues — Bolt offers four connected services: checkout, payments, user accounts and fraud protection.

OneTrust nabs $300M Series C on $5.1B valuation to expand privacy platform — The company has raised $710 million in a mere 18 months, some of it during a pandemic.

After lockdowns boost gaming marketplace Eneba, it raises $8M from Practica and InReach — Launched in 2018 by two Lithuanian school friends, Eneba says it has attracted 26 million unique users.

Advice and analysis from Extra Crunch

Three VCs discuss space junk and what else they’re betting on right now — VCs discuss the dangers of orbital debris, the merits of space manufacturing and how they’d rate the U.S. government when it comes to fostering space-related innovations.

Fintech startups are increasingly focusing on profitability — Some companies tore up their 2020 roadmap to build lasting businesses.

Despite economic downturn, space startup funding defies gravity — More from TC Sessions: Space 2020.

(Extra Crunch is our membership program, which aims to democratize information about startups. You can sign up here.)

Everything else

Dozens of journalists’ iPhones hacked with NSO ‘zero-click’ spyware, says Citizen Lab — Targeted journalists include London-based Rania Dridi and at least 36 journalists, producers and executives working for the Al Jazeera news agency.

Dedicated commercial human in-space operations are coming sooner than you may realize — Darrell Etherington writes that the number of humans actively working beyond Earth’s atmosphere is about to start growing at a potentially exponential rate.

Original Content podcast: The pandemic thriller ‘Songbird’ could have been a lot worse — It’s not good, though!

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