Big Tech plays games. Watch it grow. A new planet?

Stranger things


We see a lot of strange patents at CB Insights (hello, Amazon's flying death star of a distribution center).

But this one is even stranger:

Microsoft has applied to patent tech for data centers or office buildings that grow continuously like organisms. 

Does this mean our office building could grow a new set of conference rooms spontaneously? That would be nice.

Note: We covered the weird science of industrial synthetic biology in a recent market map. Yes, we are engineering microbes to do our work for us.

Brace yourselves — the stablecoins are coming

Investors in bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies have become overnight millionaires — only to lose much of their fortune weeks later.

Enter stablecoins. They're much more fixed than normal cryptocurrencies because their values are pegged to other assets, like the US dollar or gold. And they're quickly gaining traction.

We dive deep into what stablecoins are and how they could disrupt the crypto space. Read all about it here.


We asked 15 top executives and investors one question: What technology or business model innovation will have the greatest impact on healthcare in the next 5 to 10 years?

Download our new Smart People In Healthcare Report to see what all 15 participants had to say.

Amazon explained

I’m excited to announce that Brad Stone, the author of the book on Amazon (“The Everything Store”) is joining us at TRANSFORM.

We’ll be talking about how Amazon outflanks its competitors, how its culture drives its performance, its now-famous customer-centric culture, where it's headed next, and even what some of its weaknesses are.

Get $500 off today with the code hq2 to hear Brad and get an inside view on Bezos and the Amazon empire from the person who knows it best. Go here to sign up.

 Ready player 1

The gaming industry generated over $120B in revenue last year, and it's expected to bring in more than $180B in 2021.

So it's no surprise that the world's biggest tech companies are getting involved.

We take a look at how Facebook, Amazon, Microsoft, Google, and Apple are acquiring, investing, and partnering in the gaming industry and what they have planned for the future. Expert Intelligence clients can read it here.

Feeling good about it

US small business optimism hit an all-time high this year, with the number of small businesses estimated to grow to 42M+ by 2020.

A number of fintech startups are looking to build solutions directly aimed at the SMB segment.

We dig into where the money is going, how startups are attracting SMBs, and what's next. Download the report here.

 Loyalty, loyalty, loyalty

Loyalty & rewards is much bigger than your favorite local coffee shop's punch card. Top US airlines are generating billions from their loyalty programs, and ride-hailing giants Uber and Lyft recently unveiled their own.

We mapped out 55+ startups making it easier for mom-and-pop shops to get in on the loyalty & rewards game, from AI-powered programs to payment solutions and more.

Expert Intelligence clients can see them all here.

Have a great rest of the week.


P.S. On November 29, we'll be discussing what's next for blockchain technology. Sign up for the briefing here.

This week in data:

  • 10 minutes: Alibaba’s Singles Day took place on 11/11, and the Chinese e-commerce giant surpassed Amazon’s estimated Prime Day sales in less than 10 minutes. Alibaba reached $4.68B in sales by the 10-minute mark (more than Amazon’s estimated $4.2B+ sales from Prime Day) and surpassed $6.5B in 20 minutes, to reach a record-breaking $30.8B for the day. Check out our Alibaba vs. Amazon report to see how the e-commerce giants stack up.

  • $45B: WeWork raised yet another enormous round from SoftBank Group this week, this time in the form of a $3B warrant that gives SoftBank the opportunity to buy shares before September 2019 at a price of $110+. The deal values WeWork at an eye-popping $45B (more than 2x its $20B valuation in July 2017). The company reported that it plans to offer 100,000+ new office desks for rent this quarter (the same number of desks it opened in all of 2017). You can get our WeWork Strategy Teardown here.

  • 2: Two new companies hit unicorn status this week. Salad-focused fast food chain Sweetgreen reached a $1B valuation following a $200M Series H from Fidelity Investments, while cloud security platform Netskope was valued at $1B after a $169M Series F from Accel, Base Partners, and Lightspeed, among others. We looked at all the new unicorns minted from mega-deals over the past two weeks in a recent client note.
  • $8B: SAP announced an $8B deal to acquire cloud software company Qualtrics this week, just as Qualtrics was about to go public. The company had planned to raise up to $495M and would have been valued around $4.8B if the IPO had taken place. The deal is the largest enterprise software M&A exit in history, outranking Microsoft’s $7.5B acquisition of GitHub just last month. See all the top VC-backed enterprise software exits here.

  • $4/month: Netflix recently announced it would test out a low-price mobile-only subscription as it aims to expand in Asia and other markets. This week, the company began experimenting in Malaysia, where it offered a mobile-only package priced at RM17 (about $4.00) per month. The next-cheapest package is the Basic deal, priced at RM33 ($7.90 USD) monthly.
  • $299: Coffee machine maker Keurig and brewer Anheuser-Busch have launched the Drinkworks Home Bar, an appliance to make cocktails out of pods. The machine comes with a hefty price tag of $299 for the machine, $3.99 per pod, and $14.99 for every CO2 tank refill. Available to order on November 19th, there will be 15 available cocktails at launch, including a Moscow mule, margarita, and Long Island iced tea. The machine will also be able to brew beer, with plans to later launch pods for Beck’s, Bass, and Stella Artois Cidre. See more of our alcohol tech research here, and check out our analysis of why hardware is so hard here.
One more thing...

Astronomers believe they have found a new planet orbiting Barnard's Star, the closest star to our sun.

Data collected over 20 years suggests that the planet exists, but astronomers still have to rule out that what appear to be planetary signals are not actually being caused by red dwarf stars.

If the planet is really there, it's estimated to be at least 3x as massive as Earth, but don't get too excited. Its surface temperature is likely around -270 degrees Fahrenheit — too cold to support life as we know it.
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