Gawker vs Hulk Hogan. Investment activity of fitness brands. How Zenefits compares.
CB Insights celebration
Kleiner Perkins vs Lowercase Capital

Hello there,

SoFi is the 2nd most highly valued fintech unicorn ($4B as of its last financing round) in the US, putting it right behind Stripe.

They're aggressive and doing things that are against the grain. Within the last few months, SoFi has advertised during the SuperBowl, started a hedge fund to buy its loans and that of competitors, stopped using FICO in underwriting decisions, and has built a variety of services that essentially "rebundle" the bank (versus the unbundling we speak so much of).

In short, they're doing lots of interesting and somewhat contrarian things.

And so I'm really excited to announce that Mike Cagney (@mcagney), the founder and CEO of SoFi, will be joining us at the Future of Fintech Conference.

The lineup is absolutely bananas and tickets will go up by another $1k at the end of this month.

Register here.

An old lady, the one, and your best friend

In our class on Quantitative VC, one of the things we emphasized was the idea of lateral thinking. We discuss why it's important in VC and why the best VCs use it in our lesson on how to scalably build your network with data.

In that lesson, we offered up this lateral thinking puzzle.  

If you have a solution, respond here on Twitter. Or go read the answer at the end of this post here.

March Madness VC Style
  • Google Ventures vs Salesforce Ventures
  • Kleiner Perkins vs Lowercase Capital
  • Spark Capital vs SV Angel
These are some of the most intriguing 1st round matchups in our new VC bracket.

The question to founders and others in the ecosystem is simple: 

Which firm do you want in your Series A?

Our previous bracket on the most undervalued unicorn was a hit. The folks at Domo aka the funky Domosapiens won that one.

Vote for the top Series A investor here. Round 1 ends on March 27th.

Pot meet kettle

So Uber is suing Ola for some "skullduggery" that sounds eerily reminiscent of some chicanery that Uber also engaged in.

Whatcha gonna do when Hulkamania destroys you?

This week’s big news in media was a Florida jury awarding Hulk Hogan $115M and an additional $25M in punitive damages due to the 2012 publication of his, ahem, "private video" on

So, we took a new look at the recent M&A valuations of old-guard news and media companies alongside those of digital media upstarts to see where Gawker stands.

Breathing not optional

Got an unsolicited email from a recruiter today with the below profile of a candidate.

Let me be clear on this. And I realize this might be controversial view, but it's an important issue that I want to get ahead of.

We have a zero tolerance policy at CB Insights for people who cannot breathe. Let me say it again. We will not hire you at CB Insights unless you can breathe.

If you are into breathing and are an amazing marketer, engineer, salesperson, or writer, we're hiring, so please reach out.


Health is wealth

We identified the most active private market corporate investors among major fitness brands over the last five years. We mapped their activity and look at companies including Nike, Under Armour, and Adidas.

Industry standard

CB Insights is the authority on emerging tech, venture capital, and startups. Here are some of the latest media articles featuring CB Insights data.

Bloomberg TV. Emily Chang (@emilychangtv) of Bloomberg and Matt Wong (@mlcwong) from team CB Insights discuss the slowing pace of mutual fund investments into startups.

Financial Times. Israeli investors are bucking the global trend in venture funding, as detailed in the latest CB Insights & KPMG Venture Pulse Report. Murad Ahmed (@muradahmed) has an insider’s view on what is contributing to the resilience there.

Betakit. Jessica Galang (@jessicagalangg) explores the reasons why Canada is lacking in companies with valuations above $1B, according to a University of Toronto study based on CB Insights unicorn data.

Atomico. There's no shortage of skilled tech talent in Europe, writes Dan Hynes (@dmhynes). He dispels this myth with data from Stack Overflow and CB Insights, then outlines tactics for building a better recruiting machine. Take notes. 

Fortune. The latest industry target for disruption is insurance, writes Jennifer Alsever (@JenAlsever). She spoke with CB Insights analyst Matt Wong about the challenges facing upstarts.

Indy Star. Don’t tell the Midwest that the on-demand boom has passed. Liz Biro (@lizbiro) profiles Clustertruck, set to launch its food delivery service in Indianapolis this week.

Zenefits vs the competition

We compare Zenefits' funding figures to those of Gusto, Justworks, Lumity, EaseCental, Maxwell Health, Flock, and Namely. Despite the company's recent issues, Zenefits still leads the way in total funding.

I love you.


P.S. If you have a venue in NYC that could accommodate 50-100 folks for a 2-hour event that you'd be willing to co-host a briefing at, definitely let me know.

This is how Gawker stacks up against digital and old-guard media for valuations and multiples

With Hulk Hogan winning his suit against Gawker, we look at where Gawker stands among competitors that have recently enjoyed a spike in valuations. See the data.
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Big fitness brands' bets: where they're investing across wearables, mobile, and e-commerce

We used CB Insights’ Business Social Graph to analyze where some of the top fitness brands, including Under Armour and Nike, are striking deals. See the data.
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Will the funding gap help Zenefits weather the storm?

Zenefits has raised $217M more in total funding when compared to the aggregate funding of its competitors. Will the sizable funding advantage help them get through their current woes? Read about it.
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The Blurb

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

Kraft mac and cheese goes viral. Justin Bariso (@justinjbariso) discusses the changes Kraft made to its mac and cheese and how the company did it without causing an uproar.


Trading virtual reality. Jeffrey Carter (@pointsnfigures) talks about the combination of virtual reality and trading, or the "virtual pit."
Point and Figures

Selling SaaS. Coby Berman (@cobyberman) shares the ten things he's learned from selling SaaS into the enterprise.

How the cloud simplifies compliance. Fred Pinkett (@fpinkett) says adopting cloud storage can make it easier to implement and maintain strong security and compliance practices.

You really don't know if your market is too small for quite a while. Jason Lemkin (@jasonlk) says SaaS is confusing because you don't always know your market size due to the fact that you're doing something new, or you're attacking a large, existing market.

Trusting AI. Angela Tran Kingyens (@atkingyens) believes that within AI, earning user trust is crucial to learning and building a better product.
Version One

Reasons tech workers are fleeing Silicon Valley. John Boitnott (@jboitnott) says the search for affordable housing, better family life, and less competition for jobs are reasons why people are leaving the area.

What follows the unicorn carnage? Sramana Mitra (@sramana) says that although the industry seems like it is in bad shape, it's not, and new and exciting technologies will create a variety of companies across different sectors.
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