Bucking trends
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Emerging Tech Brew // Morning Brew // Update
Plus, the long, slow timeline of a lithium mine.
February 27, 2023

Emerging Tech Brew


Happy Monday. It really does seem like everyone is going to space these days. Last week, yet another major company unveiled an out-of-this-world plan: Samsung announced a new satellite direct-to-device play, months after Apple made waves with its satellite iPhone announcement.

For more on the smartphone space race, check out our recent piece that digs into it.

In today’s edition:

Roblox rises above the struggling gaming market
The slow-motion timeline of a lithium mine

Jordan McDonald, Grace Donnelly, Dan McCarthy


Roblox’s revenue rise

Roblox logo Roblox

The metaverse might not be going great for everyone, but the concept continues to…have some legs…for Roblox.

The company released its Q4 and 2022 earnings earlier this month, and despite a slowdown in the overall tech and gaming markets, Roblox beat earnings estimates.

  • Revenue for 2022 was $2.2 billion, up 16% year over year, while bookings, which Roblox generates from sales of its virtual currency, increased 5% year over year to $2.9 billion for 2022.
  • The company also posted a record-high 65 million average daily active users in January, with users spending over 5 billion hours “engaged” with the platform that month—a 19% increase for both from the same time last year.

But despite the rising revenue, the company posted a nearly $1 billion loss in 2022, almost double its 2021 net loss of $504 million.

Big picture: Roblox’s increasing revenue and engagement come at a time when gaming companies are struggling to maintain the momentum they enjoyed at the peak of the pandemic.

Overall total consumer spending on video games in the US totaled nearly $57 billion in 2022, a 5% decline compared to the $60 billion spent in 2021, per the Entertainment Software Association and the NPD Group data. Read the full story on-site.JM



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Timing is everything

Timing is everything Illustration: Francis Scialabba, Photos: Morning Brew

With the EV revolution underway, pressure is building to kickstart domestic battery production in the US.

In particular...Rising EV battery demand will require some 50 new lithium projects globally by 2030, according to estimates from the International Energy Agency—a historic undertaking for the slow-moving mining industry, which often spends at least 15 years to develop a single project.

But even with these forceful tailwinds and experience in lithium mining, it could take at least another five years for the mining giant Albemarle to start extracting from its site in Kings Mountain, North Carolina.

  • The mine was previously one of the biggest lithium producers in the world, and it sits atop one of the most appealing deposits of the metal in the US.

Looking ahead...Exploratory drilling at the Kings Mountain site was approved in 2017. The company anticipates that the Kings Mountain mine will be online by 2027, according to executives on the company’s third quarter earnings call, which would put it at ~10 years from exploration to opening.

But other spodumene projects in the US and Canada have taken 15 years or more to begin producing, according to the company.

And ultimately, the permitting process in the US is “extremely slow and extremely expensive,” Caspar Rawles, chief data officer at Benchmark, told us. Read the full story on Albemarle’s bid to reopen the Kings Mountain mine.GD




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Coworking with…Courtney Bisciglia

Coworking with…Courtney Bisciglia Courtney Bisciglia

Coworking is a weekly segment where we spotlight Emerging Tech Brew readers who work with emerging technologies. Click here if you’d like a chance to be featured.

How would you describe your job to someone who doesn’t work in tech?

I work in customer success for an incredible AI company. That means every day I wake up thinking about our customers’ goals and how I can best support them in achieving those goals. I’m the tip of the spear and am lucky enough to get to pull together all of the amazing work from every team and department in the company and ultimately deliver a winning solution to the customer.

What’s your favorite emerging tech project you’ve worked on?

The Hayden AI mission, hands down. Our technology can be applied to an incredible number of scenarios and use cases, so things are always changing and evolving right in front of me. Right now, we’re focused on using our AI to clear illegally parked cars out of dedicated bus lanes, which in turn will speed up public transit in cities around the world.

What emerging tech are you most optimistic about?

I’m intrigued by AI, of course, because that’s part of my everyday and I can see in real time the power it holds. I’m also always thinking about mental health technology, especially after the fallout of a global pandemic and the way life changed so quickly. How can we get more resources into the hands of people who need support? How can our technology transcend socioeconomic and geographical challenges? I love checking out new companies to see their approach to these types of questions.

What’s the best piece of tech-related media you’ve read/watched/listened to?

I’m a big fan of How I Built This. I can’t get enough of those incredible stories! I’m also a huge proponent of Brené Brown; I think her work can be applied all over the tech industry, especially her Dare to Lead podcast. I’m always thinking about how we show up in the workplace and what it means to connect with our coworkers, so I’m constantly absorbing her content.



Lucid Air Lucid

Stat: Lucid, a buzzy EV startup, is aiming to nearly double vehicle production to 14,000 this year. That’s short of the 21,000 units analysts were hoping for, per the WSJ, a disconnect that Lucid execs blamed on—what else?—a combination of high interest rates and supply-chain difficulties.

Quote: “People walk around doing what? Looking down into phones. So when you have the sky as a canvas to celebrate, it’s a positive thing. We don’t look at this as bombarding people with ads.”—Jeff Kaplan, general manager of drone marketing company Pixis, to Marketing Brew

Read: Social media giants are beginning to shift away from an original tenant: free access.

Next-gen health: When it comes to prescriptions, one dose doesn’t fit all. LetsGetChecked’s pharmacogenomics solution, myPGx, is taking personalized healthcare to the next level. Here’s what we learned from the experts.*

*This is sponsored advertising content.


  • Google expanded its Magic Eraser photo editing feature beyond the Pixel, making it available to Google One subscribers.
  • Nvidia reported strong quarterly earnings last week, in stark contrast to much of the semiconductor industry.
  • Ericsson will lay off 8,500 employees worldwide, or about 8% of its staff.
  • The Biden administration announced some details around how CHIPS Act money will be invested. Among its plans? An $11 billion National Semiconductor Technology Center.
  • Some Fitbit users are frustrated with what they perceive as a recent dropoff in service quality.


News quiz branding Francis Scialabba

Up and at ’em, folks. It’s time to get top marks on our news quiz.

Click here to play.


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✳︎ A Note From Cytonics

*Disclosure: This is a paid advertisement for Cytonics’ Regulation A+ Offering. Please read the offering circular at invest.cytonics.com.


Written by Jordan McDonald, Grace Donnelly, and Dan McCarthy

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