FAMGA talk China. Mega-rounds trump IPOs. Critical infrastructure security.
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Reversion to the mean

Hi there,

Last Thursday, the newsletter expressed how much Elizabeth Holmes of Theranos infamy inspires us. Many of you wrote saying you were puzzled or upset at the praise of fraudster Holmes.

To be clear, it was 100% sarcasm.

I will say that I'm perplexed as to why she is not in jail, but ah, well.

I'll leave you with another inspiring Holmes cover below.

Can't stop talking about you

Apple has been talking a lot about China over the years, and despite some challenges in the region, China has stayed a major focus in earnings calls.

Meanwhile, Apple and Amazon are both focused on India but there's been a decline in emphasis more recently. We break down what's going on in our earnings call analysis.

IPOs are out, mega-rounds are in

Asia now rivals the US for mega-rounds. In 2017, Asia and North America tied for the number of $100M+ financing rounds to private companies.

In our new report, we discuss today's global private tech investment landscape, Tencent and Alibaba as dealmakers, and more. Check it out here.

So like a less convenient TV dinner?

Subscription meal kit company Blue Apron, which has been decimated in the public markets since its IPO, is now going to sell meal kits in stores, per the WSJ. 

Its stock price chart is below.

(Note: public company data, financials, and ratios will be on the CB Insights platform in the next few weeks.)

it ain't been pretty.

But one thing I've not been able to get my head around is why this won't be the fate of many of these "tech-enabled" consumer packaged goods (CPG) companies that VCs are now very keen to fund?

(Note: it's such a hot area that we have a whole CPG newsletter.)

CPG, or what are also known as fast moving consumer goods (FMCG), cover a broad array of goods ranging from packaged foods to beverages to toiletries to OTC drugs and many other consumables.

It is a massive area where lots of dollars are spent.

But the reality is that the multiples for these companies are not the kinds of multiples tech investors want or expect.

And there is no reason to believe that these CPG upstarts won't revert to the mean eventually on valuations, right?  Or is there? 

Would love to hear your thoughts either way.

Power trip

Last week, the US government accused Russia of engineering a series of cyberattacks that could have sabotaged or shut off American and European power plants.

We discussed critical infrastructure security in detail in our Cybersecurity for the Connected Enterprise webinar. Download the slides and recording here.


How’s GM’s autonomous project going?

We asked Kyle Vogt, co-founder & CEO of Cruise Automation (bought by GM for $1B+), what’s up.

His answer includes when to expect autonomous cars on the market, how lidar has become a reality for autonomous vehicles, life inside GM and some things they weren’t clever enough to plan.

This week’s podcast is here. Or find us on iTunes (CB Insights).

The Industry Standard

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

Forbes. Yue Wang (@yueyueyuewang) writes about China's plans to "boost homegrown IPOs" and cites CB Insights research.
Medium. Blaise Zerega (@beezee) discusses Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google, and Microsoft’s mentions of “artificial intelligence” and “machine learning” on earnings transcript calls and cites CB Insights’ new analysis.
Geekwire. Taylor Soper (@taylor_soper) writes about the lack of venture capital in Seattle’s startup scene and references PwC and CB Insights’ MoneyTree Report.

Happy Monday.

I love you.


P.S. Join us tomorrow for a webinar on blockchain and identity. Save your spot here.

The Blurb

A curated mix of articles worth sharing.

Refined pet palates. Investors are betting that sales of packaged food and treats will be the next big thing for China’s pet supplies.
Wall Street Journal
Recharge. SIMEC Zen Energy is building the world’s biggest battery near Port Augusta in South Australia, overtaking Elon Musk’s facility.
Radio Australia
Test run. Lyft is trying out a monthly subscription plan for people who use the service frequently.
You guys are the worst. Fetch Robotics CEO Melonee Wise says “douchebaggery” is ruining engineering.

The fate of traditional controls. A new Senate bill is pitting some of the world’s biggest car and tech companies against safety advocates who say that driverless cars aren’t ready to go mainstream.
The Verge
Meat(less)balls. Ikea, the world’s largest meatball retailer, is developing a new recipe featuring mealworms.
FastCo Design

@Trees. The city of Melbourne assigned email addresses to trees so that citizens could report problems
instead, they wrote love letters to their favorite trees.
The Atlantic
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