In the lab. Oscar strategy teardown. A coal-free week.

Employee No. 1 


What does it take to become a tech billionaire?

In one case, it started with tremendous luck, initiative … and a Twitter account. 

In 2010, a junior IT worker at GE responded to a tweet by the founder of a stealthy startup. 

“Looking 4 entrepreneurial product mgr/biz-dev killer 4 a location based service… pre-launch, BIG equity, big peeps involved, ANY TIPS?” Travis Kalanick tweeted. 

In his mid-twenties at the time, Ryan Graves replied: 


The startup, of course, was Uber. Graves was hired as employee #1 and today his stake of 2.4% means his net worth will be in the $1.5B range when Uber IPOs tomorrow (see below for more analysis and data).  

BTW, for all aspirants to the "3-comma club," note that Graves did way more than just stick around. He was the company's early CEO, then the operations head, and helped set/lead Uber's global expansion strategy. So don't forget that part.  

For a full look at the data behind this year's record-breaking tech IPOs, see our analysis here.

'Twas the night before IPO 

Ride-hailing unicorn Uber goes public tomorrow, at a price of $45 per share. Using the company's S-1 filing, we dug into Uber's top investors — and how much their stakes will be worth. Check it out


Innovation labs are designed to be nimble, startup-like environments that whip up creative new ideas.

They've produced a lot of failures — but every once in a while, a development comes out of one of these labs that pushes innovation forward and raises the bar for other players in the industry.

From Watson to the Kindle to the smartphone, we take a look at 14 of the most influential corporate innovation lab products.

 Finding your way

Oscar has raised over $1.25B to fund its goal to shake up health insurance by building a direct relationship with its members, but it's had trouble finding its market.

We take a deep dive into how Oscar's strategy is starting to take shape as the company matures, challenges the startup has faced, and what its future might hold. Read all about it here

It is (under)written

The latest report from CBI and Willis Towers Watson highlights global insurance trends with a focus on pricing and underwriting.

Download the complete report here.

 Lock it down

Banks and their venture arms are increasingly backing cybersecurity startups.

Last year, firms including JP Morgan, Citigroup, Barclays, and Goldman Sachs participated in 13 deals to cybersecurity companies, setting a record high for the space.

We take a closer look at 10 top banks' investment activity. Expert Intelligence clients can read it here.

Have a great rest of the week.


P.S. Do you want to help drive CB Insights' growth as part of our business development team? We're hiring sales development representatives.

P.P.S. If you're inspired and looking for a social media post that might change the course of your career, look no further.

This week in data:
  • $1.4B: Razor startup Harry’s is set to be acquired by Schick owner Edgewell Personal Care in a deal worth almost $1.4B. Harry’s previous disclosed valuation was $750M at its Series C in 2015. We spoke about Harry’s in our run down of the top D2C success stories — take a look at all 12 here.


  • 348: An additional 4 companies joined the global unicorn club this week, bringing the total to 348. Grocery delivery service BigBasket, real estate platform VTS, cloud computing company Sumo Logic, and equity management startup Carta all received $1B+ valuations in their latest funding rounds. Carta was part of our 2019 Future Unicorn list, made in collaboration with the New York Times. Check out the rest of our predictions here.      
  • $353M more: Disney stated it had written off $353M more from its investment in Vice Media. Along with the $157M which Disney wrote off last year, the media giant has now lost $510M on what was initially a $400M investment.
  • 45%: SoftBank Corp, a subsidiary of SoftBank Group, is set to increase its stake in Yahoo Japan to 45%, buying an additional third of the company for around $4B. Clients can learn more about SoftBank Group’s investment strategy in our Future According To SoftBank brief.

  • $4B: China-based AI co Face++, which specializes in facial recognition tech, raised $750M at a valuation of $4B. The funding is expected to help the company expand as it reportedly prepares for an IPO later this year. Here are the industries set to be transformed by the rise of facial recognition tech.
  • 1M: A UN study has estimated that 1M of Earth’s animal and plant species are at risk of extinction from a number of rising threats, including climate change, pollution, and habitat loss. The report states that only “transformative change” can reverse the trend. The study reviewed around 15,000 sources over the course of 3 years.    
  • 7 days: For the first time since 1882, the UK has gone a full week without using coal. National Grid, which operates the UK’s power network, expects coal-free runs to become common as it works towards its stated aim of meeting all of the country’s electricity needs with “zero carbon” by 2025.  
One more thing...

Getty Images

A man in Connecticut won a court case last month after proving that his cell phone was actually a hash brown.

You read that right.

The man received a $300 distracted driving citation for allegedly using his cellphone behind the wheel last year, but he maintained that he had been holding a hash brown instead.

His legal fees total roughly double the amount of the citation, but you can't put a price on victory.
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