Health insurer bets. VC vs ICO blockchain. AR/VR financing.
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The 2x2 matrix overextended

Hi there,

So I got questions about the whole Gartner magic quadrant racket but first, let's start today off with a pop quiz.

Assuming you'd like to be rich, why? (choose one)

A) It would give me freedom to travel & buy isht
B) It would ensure my family is taken care of
C) It would let me give back to society
D) It would let me dress however the F I want (like Oculus founder, Palmer Luckey)

Health insurer bets

We mapped out the private market activity of the largest insurers by US health insurance market share. Blue Cross Blue Shield Ventures had the most activity with 42 deals.


Excited to announce that the opening reception for The Future of Fintech is going to be at the iconic Central Park Zoo. 

We're opening up the zoo after hours and have the exhibits, a sea lion feeding, a unicorn exhibit, and more planned.

Plus the 1000 people in fintech you should know.

If you're involved in fintech, a quick recap.

  • Amazing venues - Lincoln Center + Central Park Zoo
  • Unicorns - Founders/CEOs of Palantir, Robinhood, CreditKarma, Paytm, Kabbage, & more
  • 49 killer speakers - Including Nassim Taleb (The Black Swan), Robert Rubin (former Treasury Secretary), Harit Talwar (CEO, Goldman Sachs' Marcus)
  • Exclusive CBI research - We'll dig into the fintech trends to watch, AI in fintech, where blockchain is working, and we'll unveil our Goldman Sachs teardown, plus a whole lot more
  • No sponsors - Killer content & nobody trying to sell you isht

Use the code zootopia to get $1500 off today.  

Prices go up to $3995/ticket once we are down to the last 100 tickets.

Block it out

We dug into blockchain funding trends and compared venture funding to initial coin offerings (ICO). Both ICO and VC funding popped in Q1’17, with token offerings hitting their highest funding point.

Magic Quadrant or Magic 8-ball?

Can someone explain to me how Gartner's Magic Quadrants, despite being insanely incomplete, are so frequently used?

Let me provide an example.

Their Identity & Access Management magic quadrant has 14 players as of June 2016, i.e. Okta, Centrify, OneLogin, etc.

We thought that # seemed really low so we built a Collection around Identity & Access Management and identified 150 players in the space.

So 90% of the market is missing.

Gartner readily admits these are not exhaustive analyses.

And folks have told me that they don't include early-stage companies and look for those with traction in the enterprise (revenues, market share, etc.) That's sorta fair. Although in nascent markets with emerging players, I'm not sure how one assesses market share with any accuracy.

Also, among the 90% of the market they missed (136 companies), there are several well-funded companies that have enterprise traction. So while the market of credible players is not 150, it's way more than 14.

Some folks have said their analysts "curate" but that's a fancy word for miss in this case if you see the aforementioned note re: companies with traction.

So what gives?  

The criteria around completeness of vision and ability to execute which are the 2 axes of the quadrant try to look rigorous and scientific, but they're so nebulous as to be worth little. 

Their model is scale-challenged (analysts can't really analyze 50-75 vendors ) so I appreciate that their quadrants will not be 100% complete. But the magnitude of the incompleteness struck me.

If anyone has insights to share, please send them on.

BTW, I'm sure I'll get lots of emails saying Gartner is pay-to-play. That seems to be a common knock but not all that helpful to the question-at-hand. I'm trying to understand why customers, beyond the cover-your-a__ value these MQs might provide, trust something that is so incomplete.

New reality

We looked at financing trends to AR/VR startups since 2013. Deals exploded up to 80 in Q1’17, which translates to a 60% increase quarter-over-quarter, while funding fell by 47% down to $196M.


Explore the new Quartz Index. Swipe and tap your way through stories about the latest changes in the global economy, including stats on the world's longest flight, the one job destroyed by automation, and why Domino's was actually a better stock market pick than Google.

Cali is yuge

Countries with economies greater than California are shown in red below.

(h/t Max Galka)

Kingdom of tech

We mapped out a network of Saudi Arabian investors (public and private) as well as their private market investments between January 2012 and January 2017. Saudi Aramco Energy Ventures (SAEV) is one of the most active Saudi investors, with a total of 20 investments since 2012.

Industry Standard

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

Business Insider. Kevin Tran (@ktran223) reports on Samsung's moves in the VR space and cites CB Insights investment data.

CNBC. Uptin Saiidi (@uptin) on why some startups are leaving Silicon Valley with a reference to CB Insights funding data.

Financial Times. A look at Improbable's $502M round raised from SoftBank and others with a mention of CB Insights funding data.


Happy Monday.

I love you.


P.S. Use the code zootopia to get $1500 off today for The Future of Fintech Conference.  

Prices go up to $3995/ticket once we are down to the last 100 tickets.

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