CPG funding and deals. Mega-rounds decline. AR/VR funding trends.
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Hi there,

The VC power law is well documented, but a similar phenomena is observable across many asset classes. Here are the public markets where a fat tail distribution of extreme winners and losers is visible.

A look at CPG

We look at deals and dollars into CPG companies. After two consecutive years of 400+ deals, consumer packaged goods continues its spree with 101 deals in Q1’16However, dollar funding is behind the pace of the previous two years.


We look at the decline in mega-rounds from 2015 to 2016. As the creation of new private unicorn companies valued at $1B or more has slowed down, the frequency of $100M rounds (aka "private IPOs") into VC-backed tech companies has also fallen.

Not this again

We hear lots of complaints about advertising yet we're not willing to pay the creators. Guess that means more ads.

AR/VR gains

We look at funding trends to private companies in virtual and augmented reality. Investment has poured into the category, with $1.1B in funding to startups in this space in Q1’16, across 41 deals. 

Early detection of cancer

In the blurb below, we highlight the commencement address given at the University of Illinois by Jeff Huber, an ex-Googler and current CEO of Grail. It's a powerful speech where Huber discusses losing his wife to cancer and what graduates can do to help solve some of our biggest problems. 

You should read it.

Huber's company Grail, a spin-off of Illumina, is working on the early detection of cancer through a blood screen. Grail has also received investment from Bill Gates, Bezos Expeditions (the family office of Amazon's Jeff Bezos), and Google Ventures, among others.

After reading and being inspired by Huber's speech, I dug into Grail on CB Insights to see what other companies are working on the detection of cancers and other diseases, and many came to light.

If it's an area of interest to you, here are a few of the companies in addition to Grail that I quickly discovered in 5 minutes on CB Insights. They range in maturity with some early stage ones who've raised a few hundred thousand in funding to much more mature, later-stage private companies. There are also a few that have exited via IPO or M&A.

There's a lot more going on to battle cancer and this will likely intensify after Stemcentrx's $10.2B acquisition, which was the 2nd largest VC-backed M&A exit ever.

A quick search on CB Insights since Jan 2014 for deals with the word "cancer" or "oncology" in their description turns up 1064 results. You can run that search and see all the deals here.

The CB Insights research team has also dug into the cancer therapeutics market which is hitting record highs for deal activity (as shown below).

Some of the most active corporate investors in the cancer therapeutics area include Novartis, Lilly Ventures, Pfizer, Amgen Ventures, and J&J.

The Industry Standard

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

CCTV. Citing CB Insights data on venture funding to China, Xia Cheng (@CharlesXiaCheng) reports on the unique culture inside Chinese startups.

Reuters. VC firms are raising more and investing less, reports Heather Somerville (@heathersomervil), referring to CB Insights analysis on venture fundraising and hedge fund activity.

CSC. The largest global insurers are intensely focused on digital innovation. Phil Ratcliff (@CSC) reviews some strategic moves, citing CB Insights investment data.

Have a great week.


P.S. We're looking for a Research Editor to help us manage and edit the research that our increasingly large and prolific tech industry analyst team is churning out.


CPG is still hot: 100+ deals in Q1'16, corporates participate more

Deals into consumer packaged goods had another strong quarter of deal activity, while funding slumped. AccelFoods and Highland Capital Partners led in investments to the space. See the data.
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Tech startups are seeing significantly less $100M+ deals

2015 saw a peak of 183 mega-rounds into VC-backed tech companies, but this year has started slow. Read about it.
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AR/VR funding spikes thanks to Magic Leap's mega-deals

Notable AR/VR deals in Q1'16 went to MindMaze, mobile-based AR app Blippar, and VR headset maker Baofeng Mojing. Switzerland-based MindMaze also saw a $100M deal. See the data.
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The Blurb

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

Find a Better Way. Jeff Huber (@jhuber) of Grail delivered a commencement address at the University of Illinois sharing some poignant and wise words with graduates on the opportunities before them to find solutions to some of our hardest problems.

Raising capital. Walker Fuller (@walker_fuller) answers the question of how much money a SaaS company should raise and when.
River Cities Capital Funds

Crucial founder skill. Albert Wenger (@albertwenger) speaks about clear communication and the key role it plays.

Angel investment or VC? Jason Lemkin (@jasonlk) answers which career path is generally more profitable, and says leverage is the biggest advantage to venture capital over traditional angel investing.

Dynamic pricing. Alexander Rink (@alexrink) discusses dynamic pricing
the act of making multiple price changes from day-to-day and even intra-day and whether it can work for your organization.
LinkedIn Pulse

The business move that cost CVS $2B. Zoe Henry (@zoelahenry) reports on the challenges CVS faced when transforming from a chain of drug stores to a "health care" company.

Messaging is eating the world. Tim Chang (@timechange), managing director at Mayfield Fund, shares his investment thesis for reinventing the interface for everything from offline services, shopping, healthcare, banking, education, and more via messaging and chat.
Products that Count

Answers to your tough questions about growth. Brian Rothenberg (@bmrothenberg) of Eventbrite speaks about growth, driving conversions, product instrumentation, and more.
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