Blockchain in real estate. A bunch of new galaxies. Do you want to live forever?

Faster, faster!


President Trump tweeted this morning that he wants to see 6G technology in the United States ASAP.

As far as we know, there's no such thing? 

While you wait anxiously for the 6G revolution — and the farty thought leadership and army of consultants that would have to come with it — check out our no-nonsense What Is 5G? explainer.

And now, on to today's research.

Open concept

Real estate has historically been a low-tech industry, but its digital transformation has begun — and blockchain technology could help.

From decentralized recordkeeping to property management to financing and payment systems, we take a look at how blockchain technology could transform the global real estate market.

Digitize your IPA

Brewers sold 0.3% less beer in US stores last year than they sold in 2017. The dip is likely caused by challengers like hard seltzer and non-alcoholic drink options.

Now startups are looking to reverse that trend. From self-pouring beer machines to connected kegs to at-home brewing devices, we take a look at 65+ companies transforming the beer industry

 I believe in unicorns

Facebook, Amazon, Microsoft, Google, and Apple have invested in a wide variety of unicorn companies, from diagnostics to ride-hailing to VR.

We take a closer look at where the largest US tech companies are placing their bets. Clients can check it out here.

Forever young

This week, the FDA issued a safety alert about infusing plasma from young donors into older people. The treatments — rumored to be popular with billionaire Peter Thiel — reportedly have no clinical benefits, and most have not gone through sufficient FDA tests.

But the quest to extend the human lifespan is still on. From senolytics to stem cells to caloric restriction, we explore the new drugs and technology working to change the future of aging.

 Fingerprints found at the scene

Online "card-not-present" fraud is expected to hit a record $7.2B by 2020. Banks, merchants, and payments cos are fighting back with biometric authentication, or verifying payer identity with fingerprints, voices, and faces.

We dig into how biometric authentication works, which countries are already using it, and where it stands in the US. Expert Intelligence clients can read about it here.

A well-oiled machine

A well-managed workforce is essential to any developing company's success. This is why a growing number of investment firms in the US are carving out a new role: the human capital partner.

Our partners at Radford explain how human capital partners manage all things HR for portfolio companies and how investment firms can make them a competitive advantage. Check it out here.

Is it me you're looking for?

Some of our friends are hiring:

Lions and Tigers and Bair, oh my!

Former FDIC Chair, Sheila Bair, will return to the stage for Future of Fintech (June 11-13, NYC).

Bair is known for expressing concern about the subprime mortgage market, sounding the alarm prior to the 2008 financial crisis.

At Future of Fintech, she’ll discuss:

  • The health of today’s economy

  • How to avoid another financial crisis

  • Her take on the current regulation of financial services

Register today and save $500 with code FDICHeads up that prices go up one week from tomorrow (March 1).

Have a great rest of the week.


P.S. On February 26, we'll be discussing insurance trends to watch in 2019. Sign up for the briefing here.

This week in data:

  • $3B: Freight-forwarding startup Flexport just became the newest unicorn. The company reached a reported $3.2B valuation this morning, following a $1B funding round led by SoftBank’s Vision Fund. The round was also backed by previous investors Founders Fund and DST Global, among others. We highlighted Flexport in our supply chain market map, in the digital freight shipping category. Check out the entire landscape here.

  • $340: An Australian state is going to allow car owners to personalise their license plates with emojis. Queensland’s license plate provider is offering 5 emoji options, including the heart-shaped eyes and winky faces — though it has clarified that the emojis will not be an official part of a car’s registration. Obtaining a new emoji-adorned plate isn’t cheap, coming in at ~$340. 🤑
  • 95%: Global shipments of smart speakers grew 95% in Q4’18, according to a new study from Strategy Analytics. Shipments reached 38.5M units last quarter — more than the total number of smart speakers sold in 2017. Amazon’s Echo Dot and Google’s Home Mini both increased smart speaker market share quarter-over-quarter. Meanwhile Apple’s market share slipped, even as its sales rose. You can read about how FAMGA is battling it out in the $49B voice market here.

  • 40%: Electric scooters are causing serious injuries. A UCLA study found that 40% of electric scooter-related emergency room visits involved bone fractures, with 32% of patients showing signs of head trauma. Only 4% of the riders included in the year-long study reported wearing a helmet. Here’s how e-scooters are playing into the future of transportation.
  • 54 years: Haute couture fashion icon Karl Lagerfeld passed away this week, following a record-breaking 54-year tenure at fashion house Fendi and another 36 years concurrently at Chanel. We mentioned Lagerfeld in our new Luxury Trends 2019 report, which dives into the necessary and experimental trends shaping the luxury tech landscape. One trend to watch is AI designers, which are allowing retailers to use a data-driven approach to create new apparel and accessories. Read more about this and other luxury trends here.

  • 800 miles: The Netherlands-based LOFAR telescope array has detected 300,000 previously unseen galaxies. The innovative telescope detects low-frequency radio waves using dispersed antenna, providing a receiver equivalent to an 800-mile-wide satellite dish. The international study, which has so far only charted 2% of the sky, could shed new light on how galaxies evolve.
One more thing...

Cara Strickland via Atlas Obscura

A dying 110-year-old black cottonwood tree in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho has been repurposed into a Little Free Library.

Sharalee Armitage Howard had the idea after discovering the tree on her family's property was rotting inside. Rather than removing it entirely, she decided to give it new life.

The cottonwood library features a row of decorative books along the top, which include Call of the Wild, Nancy Drew, and The Grapes of Wrath.
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