Protecting personal data. VC grand slams. Little renegade satellites.


Over the last few years, sriracha has become as common a condiment in many American homes as mustard, ketchup, and mayo.  

Large companies have begun to catch on to this trend

Around 15 publicly-traded food companies have mentioned sriracha 35 times during earnings calls since 2013, according to our earnings call transcript search engine.

These include fast food chains McDonald's, Buffalo Wild Wings, and Jack in the Box, which all have launched sriracha-flavored menu items in recent years.

Buffalo Wild Wings even had a spicy strawberry sriracha sauce.

I have a feeling those will end up on our list of product innovation flops along with watermelon-flavored Oreos and Trump Steaks (yes, that Trump).

Misguided flavor and food innovations aside, the sriracha mentions are a fun example that reveals the power of mining earnings call transcripts for 6,500+ public companies.

For example, McDonald's was relatively late to sriracha, but digging into its sriracha mentions, you can see its Sriracha Mac sauce is part of its new push into fancier burgers and toppings as it tries to compete with new, more upscale fast-casual chains.

And you might ask, why is Clorox Corporation mentioning Sriracha? Find out in the post.

Have a great weekend.


P.S. Amazon has passed Alphabet to become the world's second most valuable company. Guess what its closing price will be on March 31 for a chance to win a free t-shirt! Submit your prediction by March 30 here.

This week in data:

  • 880,000: The potential breach at travel booking website Orbitz earlier this week may have given hackers access to 880,000 credit cards. The company was acquired by Expedia back in 2015. We discuss identity technologies, protecting personal data, and more in our 2018 Cybersecurity Trends To Watch report. Get the slides

  • 28: We analyzed 28 of the biggest VC hits of all time — from Alibaba to Zynga — to learn more about how they happened. For example, Zynga made social gaming history with a $7B IPO and generated huge returns for early investors like USV by building on top of existing social networks. Check them out.

  • $6.5B: Salesforce is set to acquire cloud software company MuleSoft for $6.5B. The company has raised $258M from investors including Hummer Winblad Venture Partners, Lightspeed Venture Partners, and Bay Partners. With this deal, Salesforce will fold MuleSoft’s 1,200+ customers — which include Coca-Cola, Barclays, and Unilever — into its user base.
  • $21: File-sharing and storage unicorn Dropbox is reportedly pricing its IPO at $21 per share. This is higher than the expected $18-$20 range disclosed in the company’s S1 from earlier this week. The pricing also gives Dropbox a valuation above $8.2B, which is lower than the ~$10B valuation it saw during its Series C round in 2014. We previously looked at Dropbox’s valuation in comparison to publicly-traded cloud storage and file-sharing company Box to see how they stack up.

  • $40M: AI chip startup Mythic raised $40M in a second tranche of Series B financing led by SoftBank Ventures Korea. Join us next week as we dive into which major telecommunications companies, including SoftBank, are capitalizing on new trends across AI and other industries. Sign up here.
  • 4: In January 2018, satellite manufacturer Swarm Technologies launched 4 small satellites into space without any government authorization, according to Quartz. These “SpaceBee” satellites — which the FCC had deemed "too small" — traveled on an Indian rocket. While the outcome of the unregulated launch is still unclear, the event has led to greater concerns about space satellite safety. We dug into 7 other startups working on small satellites here.
  • $200M: This week, Google acquired camera company Lytro. The company had previously raised $200M in total disclosed funding from investors including K9 Ventures, a16z, and Greylock Partners. For real-time updates, check out our Google Acquisition tracker

  • $12M: The amount raised by virtual cat breeding game Cryptokitties in a Series A funding round led by a16z and USV. Cryptokitties uses the Ethereum blockchain to create unique digital cats, each with their own defining characteristics. Read about this and more in our What is Ethereum explainer.

  • $6M: Kuvée, the startup that makes Wi-Fi connected wine bottles, sent an email to customers on Wednesday to announce that it is shutting down. The company had raised $6M from investors, including General Catalyst and Founder Collective, and its preorder products sold out on Indiegogo in 3 hours. The touch-screen-equipped wine bottle is only compatible with wine-filled cartridges sold by Kuvée — and the company won’t be making new ones once the current stock sells out. We looked into why hardware startups are so hard here.
  • 10 cents: At the IBM Think 2018 conference, the company introduced what it claims is the world’s smallest computer. The device, which is smaller than a grain of salt, will cost less than 10 cents to manufacture. In addition to monitoring and analyzing data, the computer will reportedly be a data source for blockchain applications.
  • Millions: Netflix has unveiled a new custom typeface known as Netflix Sans, developed in partnership with font foundry Dalton Maag. The new font will be used across the streaming platform. According to brand design lead Noah Nathan, the custom font will save the company “millions of dollars a year as foundries move towards impression-based licensing for their typefaces in many digital advertising spaces.”
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