Bankrupt startups. Meatless burgers get money. Li'l baby planets.

If you build it...


A good principle for corporate innovation might be called the Field of Dreams Rule. 

In this context, the famous movie catch-phrase becomes, "If you can build it, then it will come." 

Point being: If a technology has a feasible application in your industry, and you know this because your own corporate R&D, innovation lab, venture investing, etc. has shown this to be the case, odds are this tech will require a deliberate strategy. And sooner rather than later. 

Failure to innovate while challengers and competitors move faster is one of the cardinal sins of corporate innovation theater.

Take facial recognition technology. There are very real ethical and regulatory concerns surrounding it. On the other hand, this is hardly a sci-fi thing, or something just happening in China, as mainstream media coverage sometimes seems to imply.

As we describe in a new post, corporates from Walmart to Chevron to Coca Cola are already applying it quite widely across the world. 

The Field of Dreams Rule doesn't make life easy, since it requires constant vigilance and preparation. Sometimes the right decision regarding a specific tech might still be to dismiss it as hype or "too early." But at the least, the rule frames technology prospecting with a healthy dose of urgency.  

So what is your facial recognition strategy/how will you respond to this tech's proliferation?

Please turn to Chapter 11

Even though they know the odds are stacked against them, few startup founders expect to find themselves in bankruptcy court. But it happens, for a wide variety of reasons.

From Solyndra to Munchery to Nasty Gal, we break down what went wrong for 11 startups that filed for Chapter 11 and what we can learn from them.

Above and beyond

Plant-based burger company Beyond Meat went public at a price of $25 per share, the top of its expected range. A month later, the company is still going strong, with shares trading at $100+.

This is good news for Beyond Meat's top investors, whose shares have more than quadrupled in value. We take a look at the company's biggest IPO winners here.

 Not quite there yet

Corporate venture capital is getting bigger and growing faster. The number of CVCs investing for the first time tripled between 2013 and 2017.

But so far, nearly all of these CVCs have failed to get in early on highly valued unicorns.

We take a closer look at why CVCs still aren't picking the biggest startup winners. Clients can read about it here

Last call

And just like that, our networking tables are over 50% booked for the Future of Fintech (June 11-13, NYC).

  • Our top attendee already has 37 meetings booked
  • 86% of our app users have been active this week
  • CEOs, startups, banks, brokerages, investors, VCs, press, and CBI analysts are all on the app

Select CBI analysts are also available for meetings, but better move quickly. Today is the FINAL day to use a discount code. Save $500 with code finalday.

 Because you're worth it

Healthcare services have increasingly shifted away from fee-for-service to value-based care over the last few years.

We analyze 3 strategies hospitals are focusing on in response to the shift. Clients can read about them here.

Have a great rest of the week.


P.S. Want to build a product that uses data to see and make sense of the future? We're hiring a data scientist.

This week in data:
  • $2.6B: Google is set to acquire business intelligence platform Looker for $2.6B, with the aim of integrating the startup's services into Google’s cloud offerings. The deal would value Looker at almost 10x the startup’s disclosed funding of $280M, a $1B increase on its last valuation in December. Investors in that round included Goldman Sachs, Kleiner Perkins, and capitalG — Google’s growth equity fund.
  • $4.1B: Fitness startup Peloton said yesterday it had confidentially filed for its IPO. The New York-based company was reportedly valued at over $4.1B last August when it raised a $550M Series F. Peloton was ranked as one of our top 5 IPO prospects in our 2019 Tech IPO Pipeline report. See the other predictions here.

  • +2: Chinese edtech platform Knowbox and Brazil-based delivery startup Loggi both became unicorns after being valued at $1B in their latest funding rounds. Loggi raised $150M in Series D funding from investors including SoftBank. Knowbox also raised $150M, in its case from Chinese tech giant Alibaba. Keep tabs on the rest of the 358-strong unicorn herd using our tracker
  • 11.9M: Medical testing co Quest Diagnostics reported that around 11.9M patients' medical records — including patients’ SSNs and bank account information — had been exposed in a data breach at a third-party collections firm. Medical information is a high-value target for hackers — Expert Intelligence clients can see 40+ startups working to make healthcare more secure.

  • $4.6M: A charity auction for a private lunch with Warren Buffett ended with a winning bid of $4,567,888. If you’d like a cheaper way to tap into the prominent investor’s thinking, check out our list of 24 lessons from his annual letters to Berkshire Hathaway shareholders.

  • 100,000 faces: Microsoft has reportedly removed its MS Celeb database, which had been used to train facial recognition algorithms. The database had contained over 10M images of around 100,000 faces — ostensibly public figures — and was previously pitched as being the largest publicly available facial recognition dataset in the world. US-based companies are already using facial recognition in their day-to-day operations — we take a closer look here.

  • $254M: NASA has divvied out almost $254M between 3 startups — Astrobotic, Intuitive Machines, and Orbit Beyond — to create robotic landers for future moon missions. The effort is part of NASA’s Artemis program, which aims to send astronauts back to the moon by 2024.
  • 17x: Astronomers have directly imaged a pair of planets which are still forming. The planets are absorbing material from an enormous cloud of gas and dust surrounding a young star about 370 light-years away from Earth. The larger of the two planets is estimated to be up to 17x the weight of Jupiter, the biggest planet in our solar system.
One more thing...


Uber Eats published a collection of the most popular and most bizarre delivery requests it received this year.

Some of the weirdest include asking for all of the sandwich parts to be sent separately, for the driver to play Toto's "Africa" when delivering, and to include exactly 13 containers of ranch dressing.

(We feature Uber Eats in our report on How Uber Makes — And Loses — Money. Check it out here.)
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