Startups in ag tech. Smart money drone investments. Trucking tech financing trends.

Hunting elephants

Hi there,

While we lionize successful college dropouts (Gates, Zuckerberg, etc), how successful are dropouts, really? Here's some data.

Betting on farms

Indoor farming startup Plenty raised $200M in a funding round led by The SoftBank Vision fund. We put together a market map of over 100 other startups in ag tech working on agricultural software, services, farming techniques, and more.

Lots o' emails

Based on yesterday's announcement that our research will be going behind the paywall, I got a lot of very nice emails from individuals saying they'd pay to subscribe to the research. I heard numbers ranging from $100 per year to $480 to $1000.

There's many reasons we're not doing this.

On our path to world domination, one of the milestones along the way will be CB Insights getting to $100M in revenue. To think about how to do that, I like a simple framework by Christoph Janz which the graphic below details (see The Blurb for his post).

We've chosen to hunt elephants. And so our goal is to get 1000 customers paying us $100k per year. 

The reality is that charging $1000 per year for a newsletter subscription just won't get us there. Yes, we have 300k on this newsletter but assuming a generous 1% (3000) conversion, we'd get to $3M per year. That's not bad but we'd need 97,000 more to get to $100M. Assuming a 1% conversion rate for the rest, that means a market of 9.7M people.

The number of people interested in what we do is just not that big. And getting into something which has an upper bound of $10M isn't that interesting to us today. Especially something that requires new infrastructure, effort, etc, and which is speculative at best.

So ultimately and unfortunately, the lower price tier is just not a good strategic or economic fit for where we are and our goals.

Now, if you're with one of those 1000 enterprises who want to know what's now, new, and next and don't want to miss out on our research, we should talk. Pricing is here.

Note: It is also by no means a foregone conclusion we will hit the $100M number. We have a long way to go, a lot of work to do, and a long history of screwing up a lot. The above was just to give some insight into the why behind the decision not to offer a lower tier option.


For this headline, we bow down to you Juliana.

Smart money drone bets

We look at smart money investment into the drone space since 2012. Andreessen Horowitz has been the most active smart money VC across the time period, backing 5 drone tech startups over 10 rounds.

We've run out

All the startup names have been taken based on this find by Sarah Buhr.

Truck bucks

We examined investment activity since 2013 in the trucking tech space. In 2017 year-to-date, the space has seen $583M invested across 33 deals.

Industry Standard

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

Quartz. Karen Hao (@_karenhao) writes about the obstacles that are keeping cars from being fully autonomous and references CB Insights research on corporations working on autonomous vehicles.

CNBC. A look at China's rise in technology with a mention of CB Insights unicorn data.

Bloomberg Quint. A report on Google's acquisition of India-based AI startup Halli Labs with a reference to CB Insights acquisition data.

VentureBeat. Lucas Geiger says ICOs won't replace venture, they'll benefit from it.

I love you.


P.S. Don't forget to join us for a discussion on the state of drone technology tomorrow. Sign up for the briefing.

The ag tech market map

Corporate investors such as Mitsui, Monsanto, and Syngenta have backed startups improving irrigation, crop spraying, harvesting, and more. See the market map.
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Smart money VCs bet on drone startups

Andreessen Horowitz has been the most active smart money VC in the drone space since 2012. Check it out.
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Trucking tech investment on pace for record highs in 2017

Trucking tech startups are on track for their first billion-dollar year in cumulative funding. See the data.
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The Blurb

A curated mix of articles worth sharing.

$100M. Christoph Janz (@chrija) on five ways to build a $100M business.
The Angel VC

Addiction vs popularity. When does popularity, or good product design, cross over from desire and engagement to addiction?

Creation and consumption. Ben Evans (@benedictevans) shares his thoughts on the idea that smartphones are only used for consumption while PCs are used for creation.
Ben Evans

Smart VCs invest in cross industry clones. Enis Hulli (@enishulli) says smart investors spot the disruptions in the key components of the value chain that re-define customer expectations and capitalize on it across industries.

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