You're invited. Uber Teardown. Blockchain beyond banking. 

Outrage fatigue

Hi there,

There is so much outrage about tech these days.

About. Every. Single. Thing.

A lot of it is very well-deserved, but some of it...not so sure.

For example, if you read the excellent article in The NYT about unicorn fintech company SoFi by Katie Benner and Nathaniel Popper, the isht that went on at the company is abhorrent and the Board's lack of action for a long while is pretty perplexing. (see The Blurb for the article)

But then there are some other things which are certainly dumb but for which the outrage seems wholly disproportionate. 

More on these below.

But first, some Next Big Things and whether we are trying to raise a VC fund or compete with Y Combinator.

The Next Big Thing
A look at the research coming out of universities, corporate R&D teams, and government research labs that CB Insights thinks you should know about.
Invasive bone grafts may be on the way out: A new gene therapy procedure using gas-filled microbubbles healed fractures in just 8 weeks.
A new innovation from MIT helps robots understand and respond to voice commands – putting us one step closer to an Alexa with arms.

ChubbyBrain Ventures

A couple of years ago, we did an April Fool's joke announcing our venture fund, ChubbyBrain Ventures.

The joke worked. 

  • We had partners at VC funds applying for jobs
  • Had other investors trying to syndicate deals with us
  • And also had some startups reach out to pitch us
When we announced plans for a CB Insights Demo Day 2 days ago, I got some questions about whether we are actually raising a fund or starting an accelerator.

The answer is no.

We have had 1000+ startups apply in < 2 days though so yeah, we would have plenty of dealflow :)

If you're a startup who wants to pitch hundreds of VCs and corporations for free and give up zero equity, sign up here

If you think you're the next Steve Jobs, don't apply.

Uber strategy teardown

We dug into Uber's strategy, from the company's background & new CEO, to its job listing trends, to its financials & valuation, and beyond. 

Notably, Uber is hiring aggressively in its division that includes autonomous driving efforts (Advanced Technologies Group or ATG). The unit comprises 6% of Uber’s total job listings, with the company seeking talent in the white-hot field of autonomous vehicle engineering. 

Outrage part II

Yesterday, a vending machine startup got folks riled up. It was covered by Elizabeth Segran of Fast Company (see The Blurb below). 

The PR launch was clumsy and the name equally so. But somehow, this launch became everything wrong about tech, and the outrage machine did its thing.

Amidst all the tweets, this point by Nabeel Hyatt of Spark Capital was quite good IMO.

Fridge tech 

Amazon’s and Walmart’s patents show the retail giants are seeking ways to infiltrate shoppers’ homes and kitchens in order potentially replenish products automatically. A newly published patent application from Amazon highlights a fridge that can "smell" spoiling food to alert shoppers that it's time to restock. 

Beyond banking 

Banking and payments aren't the only industries affected by blockchain tech. We highlighted 30 industries that blockchain could transform, from voting, to sports management, to music rights, and more. 

Outrage part III

Andrew Ng, a co-founder of Coursera and former head of Baidu AI, posted a job on Twitter yesterday. In the culture section, it had the following:

The 70 – 90 hours per week got people upset.

Whether you believe working 70 – 90 hours per week is smart or dumb, a company should be able to say that this is an expectation, no? 

AI strategy 

Rita Waite (@ritacwaite) of Juniper Networks writes about how AI works, the importance of machine learning, top AI innovators, and the need for companies to have an AI strategy today

The Industry Standard

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

Reuters. Heather Somerville (@heathersomervil) writes about the failure of valet parking startup Luxe and cites CB Insights data on investment into the on-demand space.

CNN Tech. Sara Ashley O'Brien (@sarahashleyo) reports on 23andMe's latest investment and quotes CB Insights analyst Nikhil Krishnan (@nikillinit) on the subject.

MUSE. A look at the mobile ecosystem in Latin America with a reference to CB Insights funding data.

I love you.


P.S. Join us for a discussion on the state of regtech next Tuesday. Sign up for the briefing, where we'll dive into startups, investors, and trends in the space.

Uber Strategy Teardown: The Giant Looks To An Autonomous Future, Food Delivery, And Tighter Financial Discipline

The $68B gorilla continues to expand globally in places like India and Brazil and is still chasing autonomous driving. However, it will have to stem its losses ahead of an eventual IPO, which may lead to rollbacks in contested regions like Southeast Asia. See the teardown
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Sniffing Fridges & Smart Trash Cans? Amazon & Walmart Look To Connected Appliances To Track Shoppers

Recent patent applications show Amazon and Walmart looking into connected refrigerators and trash cans that can sense spoiled food or discarded products, which could help the retailers automatically ship new products to shoppers. Take a look
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Banking Is Only The Beginning: 30 Big Industries Blockchain Could Transform

Banking and payments aren't the only industries that could be affected by blockchain tech. Law enforcement, ride hailing, and many other sectors could also have blockchain in their future. Check it out.
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This Is Why All Companies Need An AI Strategy Today

Any AI effort will rely on three main building blocks: data, infrastructure, and talent. Check it out.
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The Blurb

A curated mix of articles worth sharing.

SoFi frat house. Nathaniel Popper (@nathanielpopper) and Katie Benner (ktbenner) on the scandal that toppled SoFi's CEO. 
New York Times

Bodega downfall. Elizabeth Segran (@LizSegran) on the former Google employees who want to make bodegas and mom-and-pop corner stores obsolete. 
Fast Company

AI: Scary for the right reasons. Vinod Khosla (@vkhosla) says the most immediate threat when it comes to AI is AI in the hands of governments and/or bad actors that use it to push self-interested agendas against the greater good.

Has Apple changed the world? Tim Cook on how Apple champions the environment, education, and health care.

The future of retail is tiny stores. Mike Murphy (@mcwm) writes about startup Bodega and the rise of the micro-shop.

Churn. A look at why you should track customer churn and revenue churn.
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