AI acquisition timeline. Major bank investments. Opportunity within cybersecurity.

An Indian who is not good with computers

Hi there,

If you're considering becoming a customer of the CB Insights platform, read the P.S. 


So if you're looking for an internship, finance still beats tech on compensation.

Also, Two Sigma — I'm looking for a summer internship. Please hire me.

BTW, a full-time job with Two Sigma was posted in yesterday's newsletter in case you missed it.

Race for AI

Nearly 140 private companies working to advance artificial intelligence technologies have been acquired since 2011, with over 40 acquisitions taking place in 2016 alone. We updated our timeline of AI acquisitions by corporate giants like Google, IBM, Yahoo, Intel, Apple, Salesforce, and GE.

Really, that many of you use Excel?


I learned an absolute cr@p-ton of you use Excel/Google docs to track dealflow. Got 200+ emails based on yesterday's note so as a heads up, we're just working with existing CB Insights clients on this for the time-being. 

We'll roll it out more broadly after we take care of existing clients.

Bank rank

We look at major bank investments to VC-backed fintech companies. Over the past 5 quarters, Citigroup, Banco Santander, and Goldman Sachs or their corporate venture units have each completed seven or more deals. Citi overtook Goldman for activity.

If you believe this, this and this, Uber's strategy makes total sense

So everyone keeps talking about Uber's desire to move to autonomous vehicles because when that happens, the company becomes this crazy cash and profit generating volcano.

And Uber has convinced folks of this narrative. They acquired an AI company this week called Geometric Intelligence which should help them advance these ambitions. And have generally been getting slightly more active doing acquisitions and investments.

But when (and if) this autonomous future happens, doesn't that break the two-sided network model that makes Uber so compelling? Uber, which has raised $12.5B+, is said to be "capital efficient" cuz it sits between drivers (who incur the costs for the cars, insurance, gas, parking, traffic tickets, etc) and passengers who just summon it on their mobile phone. They just make sure supply & demand are right and then bam - mo' money, mo' money, mo' money.

When autonomous happens, won't they have to buy and maintain a bunch of these autonomous vehicles (gas, insurance, cost of vehicle, etc) and also have real estate to park them? When I hear people talk about this future, it's generally a bunch of hand wavy nonsense built on a whole lot of assumptions:

  • car ownership in the future will look different
  • they'll be so efficient as a result of driverless that it offsets these costs
  • the marginal cost of a new rider will be blah blah blah
Then, of course, let's not forget that driverless vehicles in cities which is where Uber does a lot of biz are a big unknown.

So all of you smart folks on this newsletter — what am I missing? Why is autonomous so good for Uber?

Model minority

So I was at a coffee shop in LA last year and this elderly woman comes up to me and asks "Are you Indian?"

Me: "Yes I am"

She: "Oh good. Indians are good with computers. Can you help me with ______"

I didn't hear the end cuz I was laughing so hard. 


I was reminded of this story by the below graphic that looks at computer skills among different nations. Surprisingly, Japan has a lot of people who can't use computers. And The Netherlands and Scandinavia are clearly where there is some talent.

BTW, in case you are curious, I didn't help her cuz I'm that Indian who isn't good with computers.

But, I am decent at math so I got that going for me.

Rethinking the 'slowdown'

In this guest post, Rita C. Waite (@ritacwaite) of Juniper Networks dives into what's driving opportunity within the cybersecurity space.

The Industry Standard

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

Columbia Journalism Review. A look at how major media companies have invested in new technology with a reference to CB Insights data on digital media companies' investments.

Bloomberg. Lizette Champman (@lizette_chapman) reports on investment into insurance startup Clover Health and cites CB Insights investment data.

Business Insider. A report on Ubisoft's VR games that are cross-platform capable with a reference to CB Insights data on investment into AR and VR companies.

CNBC. Ari Levy (@levynews) writes about SoftBank's commitment to invest $50B in the US and refers to CB Insights data on the company's funding and deal activity.

I love you.


P.S. Join us December 15th for a deep-dive into cybersecurity investment trends. Sign up for the briefing.

P.P.S. Big news. Our subscription pricing is going up Dec 26, 2016. We've simplified pricing significantly, added a bunch of capabilities, etc but are getting rid of our lowest level subscription tier. Old pricing is here.

Geographic Spotlight

Silicon Valley doesn't have a monopoly on innovation. Here's a look at startups, emerging industries, and deals elsewhere in the US and the world.

Austin is home to unicorn Mozido, a fintech company that serves unbanked and under-banked consumers. Other companies to come out of the city include Luxe Energy, an oil and gas exploration company; RetailMeNot, a marketplace for online coupons and deals; and HelioVolt, a solar energy company. Austin has also produced HomeAway, an online vacation home rental site acquired by Expedia in 2015. There were over 120 deals to VC-backed companies in Austin in 2016 year-to-date. Here are 5 of the largest.
  • Able Lending, a collaborative lender that funds small businesses, raised $100M in debt.
  • PeopleAdmin, provider of cloud-based talent management solutions, raised $54.5M in equity.
  • Spredfast, a social media management software, raised a $50M Series F.
  • Pivot 3, developers of a dynamic hyperconverged infrastructure, raised a $43M Series H.
  • Xeris Pharmaceuticals, a specialty pharmaceutical company, raised a $41M Series C.

Google, Twitter, Intel, Apple in a rush to grab artificial intelligence startups

Nearly half of the AI companies acquired since 2011 have had VC backing. See the timeline.
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The largest global banks and how they rank for investments in fintech startups

Goldman Sachs, Citigroup, and Banco Santander lead all banks in fintech startup investing. See the data.
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The unseen opportunities in the cybersecurity market

Small companies can create specific security solutions including those for the IoT. With consolidation, these companies could see big exits. Read this guest post.
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The Blurb

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

'On demand' isn't always in demand. Ajay Prakash (@aprakash03) says "on demand" isn't the optimal solution for most customer needs.

Health data. Quantified self startup Q founder and CEO Jeffrey Kaditz (@jeffkaditz) and a16z bio fund general partner Vijay Pande (@vijaypande) argue that we need to borrow from other domains of science and data and apply that to our bodies.

The scientific method for startups. Michael Seibel (@mwseibel) says executing a startup is a balance between creativity, intuition, instinct, and the scientific method.
Y Combinator

Deal breakers. Jason Shuman (@boatshuman) shares a "red flag" list from top VCs.

Less work, more play. Yvonne Wassenaar (@ytechdata) outlines why simulations are invaluable, when they're most effective, and how to use them to help startups maneuver through difficult junctures.
First Round Review
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