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5 things you need to know today

Switzer Daily
17 December 2021

1. Spotify acquires Sydney-based podcast tech company Whooshkaa

Spotify is continuing its investments in podcasts the acquisition of another podcast technology company, Whooshkaa, an Australia-based all-in-one platform for hosting, managing, distributing, promoting, monetizing and measuring podcasts. The music giant shifts its focus on being more than just a music streaming platform. “We believe the worldwide growth potential for digital audio is still largely untapped. Through the addition of these new tools as well as the innovative team behind them, we are reinforcing our commitment to helping creators, publishers, and advertisers realize the value of this opportunity,” said Spotify’s Chief Content & Advertising Business Officer, Dawn Ostroff.

2. Leave balances have increased more than 30% over last year

Payroll data from Australian accounting software firm Reckon shows a 32 per cent increase in annual leave balances compared to 2020 — and 2021 balances at more than double 2019 levels. In addition, new figures from Roy Morgan show that, in the year to September, the number of annual leave days owing hit a record high of 185 million — an increase of more than 35 million days from a year earlier.

3. ROKT seen as Australia’s next big tech giant

Ex-Jetstar boss Bruce Buchanan’s ecommerce marketing technology company ROKT has been regarded as Australia’s next tech giant. Rokt sets venture capital record in Australian history, banking $458m at a $2.75 billion valuation. “We have very strong investors in the APAC region... but we don’t have a lot of big investors based in the US. One of the big requirements of this round is to set ourselves up with investors in the US who can bridge us from private to public company,” Buchanan said. ROKT has plans to be listed on ASX, or a US exchange in mid-2023.

4. Antiviral drugs are currently under provisional determination by the medicines watchdog

As COVID-19 surges with NSW recorded at record level of 1742 cases yesterdayeyes are turning to drugs that are being tested to treat COVID-19 and could soon be administered in Australia. It comes as Pfizer announced on Tuesday its antiviral drug named plaxovid is 89 per cent effective in protecting people who have tested positive to COVID-19 from serious illness or death. "This [result] underscores the treatment candidate’s potential to save the lives of patients around the world,” Pfizer's CEO and chairman, Albert Bourla, said. 

5. ASX futures up this morning

ASX futures up 3 points to 7199 near 7.10am AEDT, with AUD +0.1% to 71.73 US cents. On Wall St near 3.20pm: Dow -0.1% S&P 500 -1% Nasdaq -2.5%


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