You called us dumb
2+ years ago, on February 7, 2017, we wrote that Uber might be a ponzi scheme of ambition. You can read it here.
This was at the time of Uber’s ascendance. Peak Uber.
And so the general reaction to the post ranged from polite disagreement to scorn by those who thought this type of talk about the fastest-growing startup ever was blasphemous. Many also said we were stupid.
In their view, Uber was going to
- change motor vehicle ownership forever
- own last-mile delivery for food and more
- deploy a fleet of autonomous vehicles and have no drivers
- own autonomous trucking
What we’ve seen subsequently is that Uber’s 2-sided marketplace has been an insufficient barrier to entry in certain markets (aka China, Brazil, India) and that the unbundling of Uber — especially Uber Eats — continues.
We’ve seen that its once seemingly inevitable (or at least much hyped) rise to the top of the autonomous vehicle heap has been challenged by 40+ large corporations actively investing and building autonomous vehicles (and growing daily). Let’s also put aside that initial estimates for full-scale autonomy were wildly overoptimistic.
Of course, in addition to the large incumbents jumping into autonomy, there are 70+ startups working on AI in the automobile to make vehicles safer, smarter, and more efficient.
As we said last week, all the drama about Uber a few days after its IPO is silly. This is still a hugely valuable company that has been built in under 10 years.
However, the near limitless total addressable market it was attacking was an illusion. It worked cuz as the famous philosopher Tyrion once said, “People love stories.”
Take a look at our newsletter from February 2017 to see what we wrote about the ponzi scheme of ambition and tell us what you think.
Tech, but make it fashion
The ~$2.4T fashion sector is one of the largest industries in the global economy, and technology is transforming it faster than ever.
From sewing robots to trend-predicting algorithms to VR mirrors in dressing rooms, we dive deep into how tech is automating, personalizing, and speeding up every aspect of fashion. Read all about it here.
Startups on your radar
We’re excited to put 25+ high-quality early-stage startups on your radar at the Future of Fintech (June 11-13, NYC).
On our Financial Inclusion Stage, you’ll hear from startups helping with everything from paying off debt to early paychecks to payments via blockchain.
On our AI stage, you’ll hear from startups that are tapping machine learning and automation for things like: credit risk/assessment, life insurance, wealth management, customer banking fees, and personalized banking.
Only registered attendees get the full list of presenting companies, so make sure to get your ticket ASAP. Save $500 with code iwantthelist.
In 2015, we picked 50 future unicorns for The New York Times, and 48% (24 of 50) went onto become unicorns.
That’s pretty darn good.
See how we did it here, and check out all 50 of our picks to find out which ones hit the mark.
There are currently 50 fintech unicorns across 5 different continents, including Stripe, Robinhood, and Affirm.
But who's backing these $1B+ companies?
We take a look at which investors have backed the most fintech unicorns, and which are in the best position to see big returns. Check it out here.
Welcome to my lab
Insurance may be one of the most traditional industries out there, but corporates in the space are looking to move into the 21st century with digital innovation labs.
From Anthem to Metlife to Swiss RE, we take a look at the insurance innovation labs created by some of the biggest names in the industry. Clients can see them all here.
The sweet spot
This is a good Venn diagram.
Let's face it
Most people today associate facial recognition with security and identification, like unlocking a phone or a laptop — or with dystopian applications like surveillance.
But the technology also has potential for more creative applications, and many companies — including Amazon — are banking on it disrupting a wide range of markets.
From hospitality to marketing to entertainment, we take a look at 16 industries that facial recognition could transform.
It’s all in the cashmere
ICYMI, Glamour put out an interesting piece earlier this month about how author Danielle Steele has managed to write 179 books — with no ghostwriter — over the course of her career. (You can find it in The Blurb below.)
Essentially, it comes down to discipline...and cashmere.