Fintech innovation labs. Securing the future. Cutting healthcare costs.

Walk the plank


At CB Insights, we have the best analyst team in tech. But sometimes, some analysts need a bit of extra training. 

So we make them walk the plank. 

If they can walk a 4-inch wide plank across two skyscrapers 50 stories high, then — and only then — do we really know they can hack it on this team. 

If they lose their nerve and fall, they simply don’t have what it takes to bring a fearless, critical eye to our research on emerging tech & innovation trends. 

Here is one of our healthcare analysts just cruising down the plank.

(Yes, we do this at team happy hours and in VR to avoid legal liability.)

But seriously, these folks — and our editors — are great people IRL, too. We’re an eclectic bunch.

We’ve successfully recruited from (and in competition with) McKinsey, Goldman Sachs, VC firms, media, startups, and strategy teams at Fortune 500 companies across industries. 

We’re looking for humble, smart, driven people to join the Intelligence Unit

Quick Insights

Which cloud provider has the largest global footprint? (Hint: it’s not AWS.) Find out here.

You don't own me

Blockchain is shaking up traditional corporate structures. Tech giants and startups alike are exploring ways to use the technology to reinvent themselves.

Now, blockchain could let companies fundraise without stocks, operate without banks, or pay employees without even knowing their names? Could we see companies completely without owners?

We examine what a decentralized, all-code company might look like.

Finance gets creative

With recent advances in blockchain, contactless payments, and more, the world of finance is primed for disruption.

From Fidelity to JP Morgan Chase to PayPal, we take a look at how some of the biggest names in the industry are using in-house innovation labs to solve problems and find new opportunities. 

 It's all so fleeting

Managing a fleet of vehicles is a complex task. Fleet telematics tech aims to make it easier by connecting every vehicle in a fleet to a wireless network so that they can communicate with each other and with the manager.

Funding to fleet telematics hit a record high this year. We take a look at some notable startups in the space, co-investments, and more. Expert Intelligence clients can check it out here.

Lock it down

From finance to healthcare and beyond, cyber breaches are top of mind for corporations. Cybersecurity mentions on earnings calls have nearly tripled since 2014.

We put together a series on what the future hold for data security, including emerging technologies, startups to watch, patent applications, and more. Check it out here.

 Snip snip

Around 25% of American hospitals' budgets go towards administrative expenses.

To cut costs, healthcare companies are increasingly working with startups that help automate scheduling, submit claims, manage billing processes, and more.

We've highlighted 20 of these startups. Expert Intelligence clients can see them all here.

 Baller alert  

When Softbank’s Masayoshi Son entered the US market, he combined his first acquisitions into one company under the Ziff Davis name. He installed Eric Hippeau (Lerer Hippeau) as CEO.

Since then, Eric has been CEO of Huffington Post, co-founded Now This, and was an early investor in Buzzfeed.

At TRANSFORM (Dec 4- 5, NYC), Eric and others will give their perspectives on how to be a more effective growth-focused executive. Register ASAP and save $500 with the code digitalworld.

Have a great rest of the week.


P.S. Next Thursday, October 25, we'll discuss AI trends in healthcare. Sign up for the briefing here.

This week in data:

  • 30 grams: Yesterday, Canada became the second nation in the world to legalize recreational marijuana use (the other is Uruguay). The new policy requires users to be 18 or 19 (depending on their province) to purchase marijuana. It allows recreational users to carry up to 30 grams at a time, while medical users can possess 150 grams. From beauty to banking to biodiesel, here are 18 industries legal cannabis could disrupt.

  • 698: The number of “robotics” mentions on publicly traded company earnings calls in Q1’18. Execs have been increasingly talking about robots and automation, reaching the new peak in the first quarter of this year, when mentions were up 250% from 2014. Read more.

  • 188: 132-year-old retailer Sears is filing for bankruptcy after it couldn’t afford a $134M debt payment due earlier this week. The company has about 700 stores remaining, down from 1,000 stores in February, and plans to close at least 188 more stores by the end of this year. From Sears to Claire's to Toys "R" Us, we take a look at 57 recent bankruptcies and the reasons behind them.

  • -18%: Fertility rates in the US are declining, according to new statistics from the CDC. From 2007 to 2017, fertility rates fell 12% in rural counties, 16% in suburban counties, and 18% in large urban counties. The average age of new mothers also increased over the same time period. We recently discussed tech’s impact on the future of women’s health. Check it out here.
  • 2x: A new study finds that climate change could cause beer prices to double, as heat and drought trends affect the price of barley. One researcher on the study tweeted that if barley yields decrease by an average of 17% due to weather, that would mean a price hike on a 6 pack in the US by $1-8. Notably, major brewers are already expanding beyond beer, investing in cannabis, kombucha, and more. Read about it here.

  • 2,010,059: William Shakespeare is the most instagrammed writer of all time, per a new study from McGowan Transcriptions. The transcription company crunched the numbers to see which authors were most popular on the social media site, and Shakespeare emerged victorious, with 2,010,059 name hashtags and 1,516,950 title hashtags. Romeo & Juliet was his most referenced title. Other top writers include JRR Tolkien, Edgar Allan Poe, and Maya Angelou.
  • 0: For the first time in 25 years, New York City had a weekend with no shootings. Last month, the number of shootings in the city was down 11.4% compared to September of last year. Chief Terence Monahan credits the NYPD’s focus on preventing retaliatory violence as part of the reason shootings have decreased.
One more thing...

More than 300M people around the world suffer from depression. In Zimbabwe, people have limited options for treatment due to a lack of mental health professionals. 

Dixon Chibanda, one of only 12 practicing psychiatrists in Zimbabwe and director of the African Mental Health Research Initiative, launched the Friendship Bench program to help address this problem.

Chibanda and his team have trained 400+ grandmothers across more than 70 communities in Zimbabwe in "evidence-based talk therapy," which they provide for free.

The program has been so successful that other cities around the world have launched their own branches. New York currently has three permanent benches in Brooklyn, the Bronx, and Harlem.
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