A double deca-corn. Snap's earnings. Flying cars in 2020.


The numbers behind the meat industry are mind-blowing. 

For example, some 9 billion animals are raised for food every year in the US alone. That’s more animals than there are people on the planet. 

Given their dependence on animals, it’s interesting to see big food as one of the voices talking about a meatless future

For example, Tom Hayes, CEO of the $26B company Tyson Foods, has said plant-based proteins might be the future. Through its venture arm Tyson has itself invested in Beyond Meat, a startup developing plant-based meat.

And there are many more startups that would like to compete with the product lines of Tyson and other food giants. 

We did a 3300-word deep dive into the future of meat and big food, from cricket farms to lab-grown meat (no cow, hen, or hog required). 

TIL, protein comes from many weird sources I had never thought of before.

Have a great weekend.


This week in data:
  • 17%: The percentage of Airbnb’s open job listings that are in Beijing, China, showing how the company is focused on growing what it hopes will one day be its largest market. It is the second most valuable private company in the US — after Uber. This week, we released our Airbnb strategy teardown, covering the company’s funding, investments, acquisitions, partnerships, and patents. Get the PDF here, and join us for a discussion on the company’s strategy and innovation next week. Sign up here.

  • 73%: China-based electric vehicle startup NIO raised $1B in Series F financing led by Tencent Holdings and with participation from Baillie Gifford & Co., China Asset Management Co., CITIC Capital Private Equity, and Lone Pine Capital. The round raised the unicorn’s valuation to $5B, a 73% increase from the $2.89B seen this past March. In addition to Tencent, NIO is also backed by Chinese internet giants Baidu and

  • $1.8B: Another existing unicorn saw its valuation rise this week: real estate tech platform Compass raised $100M in Series E financing from Fidelity Investments, Institutional Venture Partners, and Wellington Management. The round raised the unicorn’s valuation to $1.8B, up from the $1B seen in 2016. Compass is one of the top 10 VC-backed real estate tech startups, with $293M in total disclosed funding.
  • $1B: This week, Bytedance acquired lip-syncing app in a deal that could reach $1B. The company also acquired news aggregator News Republic for $86.6M from Cheetah Mobile (a Chinese internet company), and invested an additional $50M in Cheetah’s subsidiary, a social networking app.
  • -15%Snap reported its Q3’17 financial results earlier this week. The company reported nearly $208M in revenue, up 62% from the year prior, but also saw $443M in net loss — more than triple what was seen a year ago. In its report, Snap recorded a loss of $40M due to Spectacles alone, resulting primarily from excess inventory and returned glasses. Additionally, the company saw its stock fall nearly 15% after it released its earnings. We previously dug into Snap’s valuation at time of exit to see how it compared to other social and messaging exits.

  • 12%: Speaking of Snap, Tencent Holdings purchased a roughly 12% stake in the company, according to an SEC filing. The Chinese internet giant purchased 145.8 million shares of Class A common stock, giving the firm no voting rights. Tencent had also previously participated in the company’s $60M Series B round back in 2013. We looked at where Tencent and other China-based investors have placed their bets across US tech startups since 2012, as well as which technologies these investors have been most interested in over the last five years.
  • 80%: Using gene therapy, doctors in Europe were able to regenerate a new layer of skin for a young boy afflicted with junctional epidermolysis bullosa (JEB) — a genetic disease that leads to “extremely fragile skin that blisters and tears, and is prone to infections and skin cancer.” The stem cell therapy was able to replace 80% of the child’s skin, two-thirds of which was lost due to bacterial infections caused by the disease. We recently looked at startups working to transform research, cancer treatments, and diagnostics, among other healthcare fields, in our market map of over 80 private genomics companies.

  • 2020: Earlier this week, Uber’s head of product Jeff Holden announced that Los Angeles will be added to the list of locations where the company hopes to pilot its “aerial taxi service by 2020,” in addition to Dallas and Dubai. The company has also signed a Space Act Agreement with NASA to develop traffic control systems for the use of these potential autonomous aircrafts. This flying car project, known as Elevate, is discussed in our Uber Strategy Teardown, along with the company’s other autonomous initiatives.

  • $1.25M: Used car marketplace startup Hellocar shut down this week, stating its “model proved too complex to scale.” The London-based company, founded in 2016, previously raised $1.25M from angel investors. Earlier this year and in similar fashion, used car marketplace Beepi shut down, followed by AI in auto company Pearl Automation. For more on startup deaths, check out our list of 242 startup failure post-mortems.
  • 20: According to Nature, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has approved the release of bacteria-infected mosquitoes in 20 states by biotech startup MosquitoMate, all in the hopes of destroying mosquitoes transmitting viruses such as dengue, yellow fever, and Zika. The news follows an experiment conducted by Verily — one of Google’s subsidiaries dedicated to life sciences research — which previously released bacteria-infected male mosquitoes in Fresno, California in the hopes of spreading the bacteria to reduce mosquito populations. Verily, which we dive into in our Google Strategy Teardown, reported on the study’s success earlier this week, claiming an “average 68% reduction” in the targeted population.
  • 23 minutes: Researchers at Dartmouth College have discovered a way to improve wireless signal strength and security across designated offices and/or homes. Using 3D printing, the team is able to print customizable reflectors that can direct wireless signals to areas where users need them the most. In 23 minutes and at a price of $35, an algorithm is used to optimize a reflector's 3D shape. Per the findings, researchers can increase and decrease strength by up to 6 dB. Check out our 3D printing market map for a look at 64 startups working across the space.

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