The IIoT stack. Top pharmacy retailers. Desert unicorn hunters.
View this email in your browser
Sign up for our newsletter

That made up founder narrative

Hi there,

Who wants to kick off the week inspired?

me too.

This week, go forth and light yourself on fire.

Google ain't a failure

Last week, we highlighted someone who thought Google was a failure.

Several people wrote saying they agree.

The view among this minority of folks was that Google still only has one main killer product. And that they've acquired innovation
not built it organically.

Mama, say what?

  1. It's one heck of a product.
  2. Not sure why it matters if you innovate via M&A. If you can innovate through acquisition, that's fine. They've picked up YouTube, Android, Waze, and Doubleclick, among others (here are Google's 12 best acquisitions of all time). In fact, given how frequently acquirers screw up acquisitions, it's even more impressive.
  3. Google is one of 5 companies that experiments regularly and religiously. And yes many things they try fail. But that is the nature of innovation. You gotta be in it to win it. 
BTW, one of the non-tech companies that we see innovating and experimenting is Goldman Sachs.

Some exciting news on that front below.

Whistle while you work

We mapped out the startup landscape within IIoT, with a new approach that categorizes companies by where they sit in the tech “stack,” starting from hardware all the way down to AI-powered analytics.

Ooooh...that founder narrative


The idea that tech startup founders take a bunch of financial risk when starting up is on average pretty BS. It's generally manufactured cuz it's great for PR.
Let's understand the risk.  
  1. Most are highly employable if their startup doesn't work out
  2. The reality is that many are middle-class or better
  3. If they raise money, they're taking a salary (even if modest) as well
  4. Many have families/spouses who bring insurance, paychecks, financial support, etc
This is not roughing it despite the stories they tell when trying to get press for their startup.

I'm not saying it's easy, but this whole "we burned the ships. There was no turning back" narrative is kinda horse-isht.

If you dig into the background of founders who say this, more often than not, they've got a safety net. 

Heck, a lot of them raise from friends & family so it's clear their families have some discretionary dinero lying around. (BTW, I'm not talking about the 0.1% of people whose parents take a 2nd mortgage out to pay for their kid's startup. That's just dumb.)

Again, I'm not saying the startup life is easy or some folks don't struggle significantly financially. I'm talking on average.

The problem with this "woe is me, I took all this risk" narrative besides it being false for the purposes of PR is it makes people think their success is due to them and doesn't give credit to luck or other advantages. It's tiresome and dangerous.

If you're truly living hand-to-mouth, a tech startup is prob the last thing you build. You'd want a cash flow generating business. Not on-demand laundry.

BTW, tech startups are socioeconomically, a middle, upper-middle, and upper-class game. This should not come as a surprise to anyone.


Top pharmacy retailers

We look at where the top 4 pharmacy retailers — Walgreens, CVS, Walmart, and Rite Aid — have made private market investments and acquisitions. Walmart is the most active of the 4 by far with 21 deals or acquisitions since 2012.

Goldman is coming for retail banking

Goldman revealed plans 2 years ago to launch an online lending platform directly targeting consumers and small businesses.

Goldman CEO Lloyd Blankfein told Bloomberg he sees it as an opportunity "
to capture this opportunity at accretive returns and without the burdens of legacy costs and fixed infrastructure.”

Shots fired.

The unit, since dubbed Marcus, saw an invite-only launch in October. The
platform provides $3,500 to $30,000 to help consumers pay off high-interest credit card debt.

I'm excited to announce that Harit Talwar, the head of Goldman's new lending platform Marcus, will be joining us at The Future of Fintech. We're looking forward to digging into Marcus' results and Goldman's longer-term retail and digital ambitions.

To get the scoop on Goldman's lending & digital strategy, use the code shotsfired to get $1500 off through May 8th (today).

Making things more interesting, we also have several execs from lending platforms joining us. We're excited to hear their perspectives on this new formidable competitor. Specifically, we have:
  • Kathryn Petralia, co-founder Kabbage
  • Hans Morris, Chairman of LendingClub (NYSE: LC)
  • Howard Katzenberg, CFO of OnDeck Capital (NYSE: ONDK)
  • Michael Tannenbaum, Chief Revenue Officer of SoFi
  • Sameer Gulati, COO of Lending Club (NYSE: LC)
Just use the code shotsfired until tomorrow and get $1500 off. Go here.

Desert unicorn hunters

We visualized the Middle East and North Africa's unicorn hunters and their unicorn investments over the last eight years.

Lean times

We examined funding trends to grocery and meal delivery startups between 2013 and 2017 year-to-date. While deal activity in the food delivery sector as a whole continues its downward trajectory, grocery delivery startups continue to pull ahead of meal delivery startups in both deals and dollars.

Industry Standard

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

Wall Street Journal. Sarah Nassauer (@sarahnassauer) writes about Walmart's potential use of sensor technologies, according to a patent application, and cites CB Insights research on the patent application discussed.

Quartz. Chase Purdy (@chasepurdy) digs into Walmart's patent application to track usage of consumer products and references CB Insights research on the patent.

Financial Times. Jane Croft (@janeecroft) writes about the impact of AI on junior lawyers and cites CB Insights investment data.

Happy Monday.

I love you.


P.S. Don't forget to use the code shotsfired to get $1500 off Future of Fintech tickets through May 8th (today).
New at CB Insights
Stay up-to-date on reports, webinars, events, and more.
  • Tomorrow, we'll be diving into investment in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). Join us for the briefing.
  • Walmart is building its own Amazon Dash button as we uncovered in this new patent filing. See what it's about.
  • Last week, we discussed financing trends, investors, and startups in the fintech space in our Fintech Trends briefing. In case you missed it, here's the presentation.

125+ startups transforming factory floors, oil fields, and supply chains

So far, the IIoT wave transforming asset-heavy industries has been led by the old guard of tech giants such as GE, IBM, and Cisco. Check it out.
Tweet this

Where pharmacy giants Walgreens, CVS, Walmart, and Rite Aid are placing private market bets

Among top pharmacy retailers, Walmart has made the most deals and acquisitions, but Walgreens has been the most active in healthcare specifically. See the data.
Tweet this

Visualizing MENA's investors with stakes in the global unicorn club

MENA investors hold stakes in 8 current global unicorns, including Careem Networks, Jetsmarter, Uber, and Apttus. See the data.
Tweet this

Amidst deal decline, grocery delivery pulls ahead of meal funding

Dollar funding to grocery delivery startups has risen annually, while meal delivery startup funding dipped substantially in 2016. See the data.
Tweet this

The Blurb

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

Hunting the four horsemen of tech. Lee Hower (@leehower) on what might disrupt these companies - Amazon, Apple, Google, and Facebook - in the next decade.

Embracing experimentation. Roger Ehrenberg (@infoarbitrage) says there aren't many firms that have the risk appetite, capital, time horizon, and bandwidth to help support companies during the risky and complicated experimentation phase, from birth to Series A.

Moving the needle. Derek Draper (@dbdraper) shares a multi-stage sales plan and the questions that should be asked during each phase of a deal.
First Round Review

An interview with Chris Sacca. Chris Sacca (@sacca) on his retirement from VC and Shark Tank, his plans for political activism, the tech sector's role when it comes to the world's problems, and more.
If you loved this newsletter, send it to a friend.
If you hated it, send it to an enemy.
All the data in this newsletter comes from CB Insights. Join NEA, Cisco & hundreds of other clients and get access to the industry's best private company data.

Sign up for access.
Copyright © 2017 CB Information Services, All rights reserved.
498 7th ave, 17th floor, New York, NY 10018