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55 game changers. Unicorn birth rates decline. Driverless vehicles.
CB Insights celebration
Unicorns be hurtin'

Hi there,

Let me start by saying I'm sorry.

Earlier this week, we highlighted CB Insights data showing the end of the acquihire and then the increase of companies selling for less than they raised.

Today, the news is uglier.

As you will see below.


But first, don't forget our broker fee

Here's some news from DraftKings.

The part about "recently built out installation & furniture may be available" makes it pretty clear this wasn't a planned sublet.




So, who is not getting into driverless vehicles?

GM, Ford, Baidu, and now even Blackberry are working on autonomous vehicles. We dig into what 25 players in technology, telecom, and the incumbent automotive companies are doing within the driverless car space.



Speaking of driverless cars, The New Yorker nailed it with this one. 


I'm not the market

Part of the reason I love working at CB Insights is that I have a bird's eye-view into the next big thing.

We covered a lot of those in our game changers report which detailed amazing companies like Planetary Resources (asteroid mining), Gamma2 Robotics (robots for commercial security), Transatomic (nuclear waste to carbon-free energy), and Modern Meadow (growing meat and leather from skin/muscle cells) to name a few. See all 55 game changers here.

But sometimes, I'll see technologies and scratch my head and wonder is this a bad idea or maybe I'm just not the market?

Here's a few from the last week with CES going on that had me wondering. 
  • Babypod which is a speaker inserted into the vagina that stimulates fetal development as reported by Hannah Jane Parkinson in The Guardian. I'm obviously not the market for this but an unscientific poll of 5 moms yielded responses of disgust or WTF. Next big thing?
  • Marathon Laundry which is "a new washer-dryer combination appliance that figures out your habits and sends you notifications over the Internet" as reported by Dean Takahashi of VentureBeat. Next big thing?
  • Smart fridges which were launched by LG, Samsung, Whirlpool, etc this week and have been talked about for ages. "It'll tell you when milk is running low and send a msg to you or your car." I just don't get it. If 2016 is the year of the smart fridge, I'm gonna feel pretty stupid.

I did see this which caught my eye.

An organic burial pod that will turn you into a tree when you die. If I wasn't getting cremated, this would be how I'd roll.

BTW, here is our CES Cheatsheet with the breakout companies to watch and a list of 497 investor-backed exhibitors in Excel.


Unicorn birth rates decline

Our 2015 Venture Pulse Report with KPMG International will be coming out later this month, but this morning we issued a preview based on a pretty significant pull back we saw in Q4.

A summary is below but you should check out all the data on the pullback here.

RIP good times?

  • Sentiment got very negative towards the latter part of Q3 2015 (which was the highest funding level since the dot com bust). And while we expected that would manifest in the funding stats, we were surprised to see the hit come so quickly in just the next quarter.
  • The funding drop was driven by a significant reduction in mega-financings as you'll see
  • The number of new unicorns also dipped significantly after two back-to-back record quarters.
  • While the funding dip is big, the more alarming stat is the drop in deals as this suggests a broad pullback in activity across stages (early stage to late stage deals all took a hit). So this pullback doesn't just impact the unicorns. It also will be felt at the early stages.



BTW, this is not due to seasonality. If you'd like to pretend the quarter was not bad by blaming it on that, you are, of course, welcome to. 

Even if technology and VC take a big dive in 2016, I still love you.

Anand
@asanwal

P.S. Keith Rabois of Khosla Ventures for CEO of Twitter in 2016. "Make Twitter great again."

41 auto tech startups disrupting the car industry

As auto tech remains a big focus of CES this year, see how software companies are working to reinvent the future of driving. Check out the list of auto tech startups reinventing the wheel.
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CB Insights Top Deal Searches

CB Insights users can query our database in powerful ways. See a few below or sign up:

 

CB Insights Gamechangers

We identified 55 companies poised to change the world. See the list.
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Venture capital funding, unicorn births, and mega-deals plummet in Q4'15

Check out our early snapshot of the KPMG International & CB Insights 2015 Venture Pulse report, which highlights the drastic funding and deal shift we saw in Q4.
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The Blurb

A curated mix of articles on private companies, venture capital, emerging industries, and innovation.

3 years as a one man startup. Steve Ridout (@steve_ridout), creator of language learning web-app Readlang, discusses the struggles behind starting his own company. 
Medium

Startup finance for founders. From accounting to strategic financing, Peter Reinhardt (@reinpk), co-founder and CEO of Segment, outlines what he's learned about startup finance from a practical perspective.

Rein.pk

How Vox Media grew into on of the internet's biggest publishers. In this interview, Vox Media founder Tyler Bleszinski (@papiblez) talks about his work, the company's growth, and the state of digital media in general.
 
Nieman Lab


Artificial Intelligence: can Watson save IBM? Financial Times editor Richard Waters (@richardwaters) writes about developing the system into a powerful and profitable set of services.
Financial Times
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