Canadian tech cos. CBI ladies nerd out. Amazon protects drones.

Thank you, Bruce

Hi there,

Sometimes, you get lucky.

And you catch a break.

This is a small story about luck and catching a break.

Last year, CB Insights was featured 3200+ times by the media.

But it wasn’t always like this, as the graph above illustrates. From 2010-2012, we had a grand total of 84 press citations.  

Basically, what we now do in a week took us 3 full years.

When you start a company and have no money, connections, or even a clue, you need to get lucky sometimes.

You need a break.

One of the first media outlets to give us a break was Xconomy.  

And at Xconomy, it was founder Bob Buderi and a journalist named Bruce Bigelow.

At the time, we competed against products from Dow Jones and Thomson. Both products are dead or on life support now btw. :)

But in 2010-2012, DJ and Thomson were the industry standard, and we were sputtering along. And Bruce put our data up against theirs in an article (below).

And I remember the 5 of us being super happy that day cuz it felt like we’d arrived just a little.

Bruce passed away this past Friday.

The team and I had worked with him many times over the last few years, but it was this early article that Bruce wrote that I remember most fondly and which was so key. It made us believe we might be on the right track.

Lucky breaks are so important.

Bruce gave us one.

Thank you Bruce. RIP.

Technology, eh

Overall funding to VC-backed Canadian companies increased to $2.7B in 2017, even as deal activity dropped 12% YoY. This year has been off to a strong start, with Q1’18 being Canada’s first $1B funding quarter.

We rounded up 150 notable tech companies, most active venture capital and corporate investors, and top exits of Canada’s private company tech scene into a periodic table. Check it out here.

Elon Musk, the 7th grader

When we released our automaker earnings transcripts analysis report analyzing 28 quarters of earnings transcripts for Tesla, Ford, GM, and Daimler, there was some chatter about our linguistic algorithms.

Specifically, that Elon Musk talks at a 7th grade level.

Some folks assumed that this was somehow a negative.

It is not.

In fact, speaking in an understandable, plain way might be considered a positive.

But when tracking grade level of speech using our linguistic algorithms, what you want to look for is variation in grade level over time.  

For example, if a CEO like Musk typically speaks at a 7th-grade level, but then it climbs to an 11th- or 12th-grade level in a string of quarters, this is noteworthy. Is this indicative of the CEO trying to hide something, or are they less sure, and thus relying on more complex language?

It’s the variability of speech as measured by these linguistic algorithms — whether it is grade level or sentiment or jargon or vagueness — that matters.

Get the full automaker earnings transcript report here to get the details on these linguistic algos, who is talking more about robotics, the competition, and more.

Own the future

Tech and data are transforming industries faster than ever, including financial services. Responding too slowly — or not responding at all — to new players in the space means almost certain death.

We discuss what fin services incumbents should have their eyes on and how they can stay relevant in a rapidly evolving industry. Download the report here.

Google’s confusing investments

Yesterday’s  client-only note covered a whole lot:

  • Why the dating app/website market size is not big enough
  • Why both Alphabet and Google Ventures invested in Lime
  • Which public co is most worried about the Pillpack-Amazon deal?
Clients should go here and read it.

What’s the value of my options?

Last week, we asked for your interest in a simple, free tool to assess if your startup options might ultimately be worth something.

Here are the results.

Interestingly, most of the interest by way of emails came from startup employees who are leaving and trying to figure out if they should exercise their options.

We’re talking to many folks over the next couple of weeks to see how valuable this might be to them to determine if there is something really here.

Thanks for the feedback and emails.

Stay tuned.

No need for hostility

Last week, a patent filed by Amazon to help protect its delivery drones from hostile takeovers was approved.

It proposes a communication system between UAVs and their control systems that would switch the drone from "mission mode" to "safety mode" in the event of a hacker attack. Check out our full analysis here.

Ladies who nerd

Every quarter, we hold a Ladies Lunch for the women of CB Insights to connect, discuss career goals, and learn from each other.

At our most recent lunch, CBI ladies talked about their passions outside of work. From ballroom dancing to vacation-planning spreadsheets, here's what they nerd out about.

The Industry Standard

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

Fortune. This article discusses the recent demise of several cryptocurrencies and refers to CB Insights data.

Entrepreneur. Paul Bryson (@dr_paul_bryson) writes about how startups can manage debt and cites CB Insights research.

CNBC. Kenneth Kiesnoski (@kkiesnoski) lists the 10 worst states for starting a business and references CB Insights research.

I love you.


P.S. On July 11, we'll be discussing Google's expansion in telecom. Sign up for the briefing here

The Blurb

A curated mix of articles worth sharing.

One does not simply create an emoji. Introducing new emojis is a complex process with many rules and steps that have to be followed.

Are you there, bot? Deciding whether or not robots could ever be conscious beings depends largely upon our definitions of consciousness and what it means to have a soul.

So many options. Citymapper is adding dockless bikes and scooters to its transportation app.

We love Big Brother. A new Russian law went into effect this weekend, requiring the country's telecom providers to store data on people’s texts, calls, and chats for the benefit of Russian intelligence services.

Oooh, ahh... Fifth-generation pyrotechnician Jim Souza talks about the art of creating a fireworks show.
FastCo Design

On a break? Activist investor Daniel Loeb wrote a letter to Nestle saying he wants to see the company broken up into three business units.
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