AI hype will fade. Fintech startups come for retirement. Tech in fitness.
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Lake Wobegon for startups

Hi there,

After we received funding from the National Science Foundation and got some press, the cold emails from salespeople started flooding in.

They were from salespeople of all types.

In fact, we analyzed the cold emails and found that 93.9% were isht.

It was also apparent that recruiters send the absolute most hot-garbage cold emails of anyone. Here's one I got last week from a headhunter:

This dude has been recruiting for big data & cloud since 1988.



Also, look at that list of CB Insights competitors that he is knee-deep with. Not one is even in the right solar system.

I hope some smart VC out there will fund a MOOC to help recruiters learn how to research and properly mail merge. Thanks.

Nothing hype can stay

Investors poured more than $15.2B into AI startups in 2017, a 141% jump from 2016. But as machine learning becomes the new norm, investors will become more selective about the AI companies they fund. 

We discuss this and more in our Top AI Trends Report. Read the complete report here.

Success theater

Last year at SaaStr I gave a presentation entitled "Don't do these 68 things in your SaaS company," which chronicled all the mistakes we've made at CB Insights. One of the points was about failure.

Acknowledging and being ok with failure is one of the best things about the startup community. We now celebrate the act of writing a startup failure post-mortem as courageous.

But it seems like we've gone too far.

Yes we celebrate failure way too much. 

"You gave it your best shot. I admired your goal. You guys killed it."

No, you didn't.  

Take the failure post-mortems. Sure, some of them are "brave." The ones that candidly:

  • talk about where the company vision was wrong
  • detail how the product got beat by a competitor
  • convey where the founders made bad decisions
The ones that do the above do require some amount of self-reflection.

But those are the exceptions. 

Most are vapid puff-piece post-mortems that talk about being too early to market or suggest investors weren't committed or offer up trite discussion of why they've joined a "larger platform" whose vision aligns with theirs. 


You can see this delusion in the reasons founders give for their failures in our Top 20 Reasons Startups Fail

The next time a startup fails and the founder writes a post or tweets some self-m^sturb^tory gibberish, watch how quickly the ircle'cay erk'jay of congratulatory comments or tweets starts.

Now, even when you fail, you are a success.

Yup — in Startupland, everyone is a winner.

Retirement goes robo

Robo-retirement fintech startups are taking on the wealth management industry and the $27.3T of assets held in retirement accounts.

We take a look at where investors are betting on early-stage retirement-focused startups.

Fitness unlimited

Being fit is no longer confined to a gym, thanks to tech developments like connected hardware, streaming services for workout classes, and the merging of travel and fitness.

For more industries being revolutionized by tech, check out our Top Tech Trends Report.

The ripple effect

Chances are you know Ripple’s XRP digital currency, but the company is also partnering with AmEx, Bank Santander, and others to shake up how money is transferred globally.

Excited to welcome Ripple CEO Brad Garlinghouse to Future of Fintech, June 19 - 21. We expect to hear about Ripple’s plans to expand its nearly instant crypto transaction platform.

With Robinhood and Ethereum co-founders also confirmed for Future of Fintech, you’re sure to get a nice dose of blockchain and crypto talk. 

Save $500 off your ticket before prices go up on March 1. Sorry, we don’t accept any digital currency, yet.

The Industry Standard

CB Insights data is the most trusted by those in the industry and the media. A few recent hits.

New York Times. Nick Wingfield (@nickwingfield) and Matt Phillips (@matthewphillips) report that Dropbox is filing for an IPO and refer to CB Insights' unicorn tracker.

Nikkei Asian Review. The publication writes about China surging ahead of the US in AI startup funding and references CB Insights' AI Trends Report.

AmericanInno. Ryan Ferguson writes about Atlanta's VC and angel investment ecosystem and cites CB Insights research.

Happy Monday.

I love you.


P.S. Curious  what do you think the most annoying tech jargon/buzzwords of the last 10 years have been? Hyperlocal, big data, freemium, blockchain, democratize, disrupt, or something else? What's the most annoying one?

The Blurb

A curated mix of articles worth sharing.

Walking the line. Microsoft president Brad Smith tries to find middle ground for the tech industry in politically divided times.
Amazon goes further. Amazon reportedly plans to open as many as 6 more cashierless Amazon Go stores this year.
Still love you tho. Shares of Snap fell as much as 7% after Kylie Jenner tweeted that she no longer opens the Snapchat app.
It’s electric. UPS is partnering with Workhorse Group Inc to build its own electric delivery trucks from scratch.
The Verge
Let’s make a deal. The island nation Seychelles is striking a unique deal allowing it to swap some of its debt to protect its oceans.
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