Growth equity slowdown. HR tech market map. Funding to private CPG companies.
CB Insights celebration
Kale...So yummy

Hello there,

Corporations are often quite good at incremental, flavor innovation. When they get it right, 1+1=3.

The below product is an example of things going just right.

Of course, it's the disruptive, discontinuous innovation that big corporations often struggle with, but that's a topic for another day.

Of course, incremental, flavor innovation doesn't always go perfectly. Exhibit #1 is this cookie. Are you serious with this?

Round 1 results are in - Series A VC bracket

Alright sports fans (aka VC / tech geeks), round 1 of our VC bracket has concluded with just over 67k votes. 

Round 2 features several battles between titans. A few that the CB Insights team is dialed into include:
  • Social Capital vs Lowercase Capital
  • Union Square Ventures vs Thrive Capital
  • Spark Capital vs Benchmark
  • First Round Capital vs Khosla Ventures
Expert analysis: We're expecting these VC firms to come out of their locker rooms fired up and to leave everything on the floor. The key to each game will come down to getting more votes than the other firm. 

Round 2 ends on April 3rd. Make your picks now.

Growth equity takes a hit

As funding and deals to venture capital-backed companies pulled back in Q4’15, we analyzed whether a similar trend was evident in the activity of 18 growth equity investors.

Peak entitlement

So when the bubble pops, will this nonsense end?

If you like wearing shoes, we're doubling the size of our engineering team and hiring full-stack developers and software engineers in test.

HR tech landscape

HR tech startups raised $2.4B in 2015. With funding and deal count reaching all-time highs, we mapped 125 startups in HR tech addressing productivity, recruiting tools, freelancer and contractor hiring, perks, job search, operations, payroll, and insurance.

Betterment in the house

If you're a fintech junkie (yes
that's a thing), you probably heard that Betterment raised a $100M Series E from Kinnevik earlier today.

It makes Betterment the most well-funded "robo-adviser" and with a valuation of $700M, one of fintech's most highly valued private companies. The graphic below from their CB Insights profile highlights them versus some similar companies for total funding.

I'm excited that Betterment's CEO, Jon Stein (@jonstein) will be joining us at The Future of Fintech Conference.

We're going to have a lot to talk about including:

  • The company's decision not to go for a unicorn valuation this round in favor of better terms
  • Their decision to launch a white-labeled institutional business
  • The growth in their just launched 401k business

Get your tickets before March 31st (when they go up by another $1k)

In addition to Jon, we have 41 other amazing speakers including:

  • Mike Cagney, CEO of SoFi
  • Fred Wilson, co-founder of Union Square Ventures
  • Joe Lonsdale, co-founder of Palantir
  • James Hobson, COO of OnDeck Capital
  • Jeff Glueck, CEO of Foursquare
  • Pat Grady, Partner at Sequoia Capital

The battle for consumer goods

Consumer packaged goods giants like Procter & Gamble are under attack from private companies addressing some of their largest product categories.

We look at the investment into private CPG companies globally and see that funding to private CPG companies overall has increased in every year since 2011.

Industry standard

CB Insights is the authority on emerging tech, venture capital, and startups. Here are some of the latest media articles featuring CB Insights data.

TwentyMinute VC. Harry Stebbings (@HarryStebbings) has a great interview on the podcast with Satya Patel (@satyap) of Homebrew, who names the CB Insights newsletter as one of his favorite things to read alongside the blogs of Fred Wilson and Brad Feld.

Fortune. In her interview with JetBlue CEO Robin Hayes, Leena Rao (@leenarao) cites CB Insights data on the rise of corporate venture.

FirstMark. VC Matt Turck (@mattturck) delivers the State of IoT in 2016, with CB Insights data on funding and the omnipresent corporate players.

Reuters. Japan’s big banks are hoping new regulations will allow them to invest more in fintech ventures. Thomas Wilson (@tomwilson1983) uses CB Insights data on the country’s dearth of VC-backed fintech upstarts compared with China and other markets.

Miami Herald. In a profile of Miami’s Home61, Nancy Dahlberg (@ndahlberg) uses CB Insights data on funding to real-estate tech to put things in perspective.

I love you.


P.S. Yesterday's newsletter which covered a diss of Airbnb by The Four Seasons and LinkedIn's UX critics got gobbled up by overzealous spam filters. It also had a picture of executive worshipping at the throne of Silicon Valley. Read it.

Top growth equity players slowed down their investments in tech startups

2015 overall still saw record totals for funding and deal activity, but in Q4'15 top growth equity investors put on the brakes. See the data.
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Startups transforming human resources across recruiting, benefits, payroll, and more

From unicorns like Gusto and Zenefits, to early-stage startups improving employee productivity and recruiting, HR tech is a hot category. See the list.
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Funding to private CPG companies increases 5x since 2011

Despite a notable deals slowdown in 2015, funding to consumer packaged goods companies was fueled by 8 mega-rounds of $100M+, pushing funding dollars to a new high. See the data.
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The Blurb

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

How else to get that next hire. Charlie O'Donnell (@ceonyc) provides advice on how to recruit the best-fitting people for your team.

This is Going to be Big

Half the battle is simply being observant. Jeffrey Carter (@pointsnfigures) says entrepreneurs suspend their confirmation bias and just observe, which is what makes some of them very successful.
Points and Figures

Blockchain technology and progress in science. Albert Wenger (@albertwenger) argues that the blockchain can be used to help store raw data, which would then allow people to test competing theories with the same, original data.

Thoughts on building weatherproof companies. Lars Dalgaard (@larsluv) shares some insights on how to build for the long term, as opposed to a quick exit.

Deep learning is going to teach us all the lesson of our lives. Scott Santens (@2noame) says computer technology is already eating jobs and has been since 1990.

How to invent a brand new business model. Peter Sena (@petesena) says connecting with consumers and understanding users are important when designing a business model of the future.

100-day social media cleanse. Jason Calacanis (@jason) shares his experience thus far of his 100-day retreat from social media.
LinkedIn Pulse

Behind the scenes of VC deal screening. Vitavin Itti addresses the question of what investors look at and what really impacts the chances of a deal passing through to the next step.
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