Yes, but does it make money?
The recent and impending IPOs from loss-making Silicon Valley firms — Lyft, Uber, and WeWork — are refocusing attention on tech business models.
WeWork is arguably the company that has triggered the most skepticism.
The We Company, as it now wants to be known, has certainly drawn its share of negative media sentiment, as this chart built with our sentiment analysis data shows.
And some skepticism is warranted.
- It has raised a gargantuan $12.8B in total funding ($8B from SoftBank alone)
- It deals in the most physical of assets (office space), yet has no obvious software-based differentiator
- Meanwhile, it has earned scorn for its “creative” accounting practices like community-adjusted EBITDA
This last metric presumably shows WeWork would make money — instead of posting a $1.9B operating loss last year — if it didn’t offer free coffee (including baristas), IPA on tap, and dog treats.
Not to mention generous overstaffing with 5,000+ young T-shirt-clad WeWork employees as well as the standard issue “hello-we-are-a-cool-startup-space, yes?” design elements.
Every WeWork I've seen has the neon signage, colorful upholstery, stacks of Phaidon coffee-table books, and glass-walled conference rooms.
But of course these are the same touches that make it not just another office leasing company.
As the public markets wait for a We IPO, we take a deep dive into the company's biz model, with a special focus on its attempt to generate revenue (and presumably fatter margins) through services and data analytics.
Take a big bite
Beyond Meat shares surged 135% in the company's market debut today, valuing the plant-based meat company at $3.52B.
We feature Beyond Meat in our report on how the $90B global meat market is being disrupted. Check it out here.
Artificial intelligence is reshaping the automotive industry. From HD mapping to cybersecurity to fleet management, we take a look at 70+ startups working to make transporation safer, smarter, and more efficient.
Expert Intelligence clients can see them all here.
Ooh la la
Funding to French tech startups is on pace to grow $1B+ beyond 2018 totals by the end of this year. 7 deals in Q1'19 were over $50M.
For more tech funding trends in France, download the latest report from La French Tech and CB Insights.
Fertility — for women and men — is becoming a more mainstream topic, thanks in large part to a surge of early-stage funding in the first months of 2019.
We analyze the fertility market opportunity, patents in the space, startups working to democratize fertility services, and more. Clients can read all about it here.
Have a great rest of the week.
P.S. We're hiring a digital marketing manager. If you love data and conversions, we'd love to chat.
This week in data:
- $47B: WeWork has confidentially filed for an IPO. The office space giant was last valued at $47B in January when it raised a $1B Series H from SoftBank. Ahead of going public, we take a look at how WeWork actually makes money.
- 2: Coursera and Poizon have joined the growing herd of unicorns. Coursera raised $103M in Series E funding to become a rare US-based edtech unicorn. Meanwhile, China-based sneaker trading platform Poizon secured funding from VC DST Global at a $1B valuation. Take a look at all 344 $1B+ private companies using our real-time unicorn tracker.
- 100M: Music streaming app Spotify announced that it had passed 100M subscribers. This keeps it well ahead of rival Apple Music, which said it had accumulated 50M subscribers by the end of 2018. But that was enough users to help the iPhone maker bring in over $11B in revenue from its services alone in the last quarter.
- $200M: Financial news streaming service Cheddar was acquired for $200M by cable provider Altice USA. Altice USA had invested in two of Cheddar’s funding rounds, helping the streaming service to raise $57M before being bought.
- -29%: Google reported a 29% drop in profits and slowing revenue growth in its quarterly earnings. The tech giant’s share price dropped 7% following the news. Here we tear down Google’s overall strategy and why it's prioritizing AI.
- 1/2: SpaceX is planning to halve the altitude for around 1,500 of its satellites for the company’s Starlink project, which aims to provide high-speed internet from space. SpaceX claims that the lower altitude will help to avoid space debris, which can cause serious damage to orbiting equipment, and improve the provided internet connection. We take a look at 9 startups using satellites and more to help bring rural areas online.
- $3,000: A Deloitte survey found that financial institutions spent up to $3,000 per employee on cybersecurity. Financial institutions are high profile targets for cyber criminals. Our 2019 Cyber Defenders report examines the companies that are combating the rising threat.
- 1.2B light years: Astronomers may have observed a black hole devouring a star for the first time. Researchers detected unusual gravitational wave bursts, i.e. ripples in spacetime, which appear to be consistent with the dramatic event of a neutron star merging with a black hole — cosmic objects so dense that not even light can escape their gravitational pulls. Estimated to have taken place 1.2B light years away, data from additional telescopes is currently being analyzed to confirm the observation.