Grab your trunks
Warren Buffett famously said, “you only find out who is swimming naked when the tide goes out.”
In the case of blockchains and cryptocurrencies, the tide went out over the course of 2018, after Bitcoin’s price peak of nearly $20K in December 2017.
As Bitcoin crashed to a low of $3,200 in December 2018, hyped blockchain and crypto projects evaporated into thin air.
Interestingly, smart money VCs — names like Union Square Ventures, Andreessen Horowitz, and General Catalyst — were participating in 18 deals to the category totaling around $648M in the second half of 2018, even as the sky fell.
Let’s assume Buffett’s right: these VCs were investing in crypto/blockchain at a perfect time, able to see who had their swimsuits on. Then the deals made in those 6 months could hold the seeds of wider commercial applications and wider adoption for blockchain.
We analyze those deals and spotlight some of the companies involved here.
Sea to shining sea
The US tech boom is no longer limited to the usual hotbeds of California, New York, and Massachusetts — it's spreading all over the country.
We mapped out the most well-funded VC-backed tech startup in each state, including Magic Leap in Florida, Avant in Illinois, and Kabbage in Georgia.
See the full map here.
Computing gets edgy
The average person is projected to generate 1.5 GB of data per day by next year. Cloud computing might not be able to keep up.
That's where edge computing comes in. We break down how the technology works and how it's being used across multiple industries. Check it out here.
I'm not a regular pharma company
D2C pharmaceutical company Hims sells health products for men and women by connecting customers with prescribing physicians on its platform.
We break down Hims' unique business model, funding activity, market size, and more. Clients can read all about it here.
Droning on and on
Drone technology has been used by defense organizations and tech-loving consumers for quite a while, but its potential extends far beyond just these sectors.
From construction to emergency response to healthcare, we take a look at 38 ways drones could impact society.
Break it down for me
Thanks to a surge in B2B infrastructure development, launching a fintech startup is simpler than ever before.
From KYC to cross-border payments to API search, we mapped out 60+ fintech infrastructure companies breaking down barriers to entry for fintech startups. Expert Intelligence clients can see them all here.
Have a great rest of the week.
P.S. We’ve been asking folks about their job interviewing and resume reading tips. Here’s a pointer for candidates: think carefully about your wording when submitting a CV. We received this earlier this week:
This week in data:
- 9x: Pinterest and Zoom began publicly trading today, the latest in a flurry of tech IPOs. Pinterest priced its shares at $19 a piece, giving the visual sharing platform a valuation of around $12.7B. Meanwhile, video communications company Zoom priced itself at $36 per share at a valuation of over $9B, approximately 9x more than its valuation at its last private funding round in 2017. Check out our 2019 tech IPO pipeline report for more companies likely to go public soon.
- 2: Another two privately held companies reached $1B+ valuations to become unicorns this week. Portable energy storage co Sila Nanotechnologies raised $170M in Series E funding at a valuation of $1B, while sales engagement platform Outreach raised $114M in Series E funding at a $1.1B valuation. Outreach was featured in our 2019 future unicorn list, made in partnership with the New York Times. See our other predictions here. You can keep an eye on all 342 current $1B+ companies using our unicorn tracker.
- -13%: Goldman Sachs reported a decline in revenue of 13% for Q1’19, dropping to $8.81B. Despite profits for the first quarter of $2.25B, the bank’s share price saw an initial drop of around 3%. Find out more about the changing banking landscape in our Killing the I-Bank: The Disruption of Investment Banking report.
- $10B: Amazon and Microsoft are the last companies standing in the competition for the Pentagon’s $10B Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure cloud computing contract, commonly known as JEDI, beating out companies including IBM and Oracle. The high-profile contract aims to build out the defense department's cloud computing capabilities. We discuss Amazon and Microsoft’s interest in JEDI in our brief on how FAMGA is tackling cybersecurity.
- 0.55 inches: Researchers from Tel Aviv University have 3D-printed a heart, complete with blood vessels, using human tissue. The method creates the printing material from a biopsy taken from patients, which could limit the risk of the body rejecting a transplant. At 0.55 inches in diameter, the 3D-printed hearts are comparable in size to that of a rabbit, but the researchers hope that the technique could be used to help treat cardiovascular disease in humans in the future. Expert Intelligence clients can get up to speed on the state of industrial 3D printing here.
- 2,750: The New York Times set up a legal 3-camera facial recognition system in Manhattan's Bryant Park for less than $100. The newspaper stated that it detected over 2,750 faces over a 9-hour period and was able to use publicly available employee information from local businesses to identify people in the park. We discussed the growing ubiquity of facial recognition tech, and the industries most affected, in a recent research brief. Check it out here.
- 385 feet: The world’s largest airplane, when measured by its 385 feet wingspan, has completed its first flight. The aircraft belongs to Stratolaunch, a satellite launching company founded by Microsoft’s late co-founder Paul Allen. The company’s ultimate aim is to use the vehicle to carry satellite-bearing rockets to a height of 35,000 feet, giving them a shorter jump into space and avoiding certain weather limitations. From SpaceX to OneWeb, space tech is heating up across the board. Here are 5 trends to watch in 2019.
- 4 hours: Researchers from Yale University partially revived the brains of pigs 4 hours after their death. They attached the brains to a system that used a blood substitute to restore certain functions to brain cells, allowing maintenance of basic metabolic processes for up to 36 hours. We recently took a deep dive into cutting edge brain research, including startups working in the space and the role “mini-brains” could play in developing new treatments. Check it out here.