IIoT business social graph. Companies to watch at Shoptalk 2016. Largest VC-backed M&A deals.
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Here comes the Austerity Panda

Hi there,

Today's newsletter is one of contrasts  austerity and excess.

Let's start with excess.

If you've not read The Guardian piece on the Further Future festival, check it out in the blurb below. It's Burning Man for the 1%.

Here is my favorite picture from it featuring entrepreneurs Loic Le Meur and Gary Mueller festooned in some sort of ritualistic tech garb.

If you're not sure what Burning Man for the 1% looks like, here is a description of the aesthetic of the conference which should clarify.

That was the excess.

Read on for the austerity.

But first, some data.

IIoT takes over

The industrial IoT (IIoT) accounted for more than one-third of all IoT investment last quarter. We look at the connections between key players in IIoT to visualize how top investors and target companies are related. 

Shoptalk 2016

To prepare for next-gen commerce conference Shoptalk on May 15-18, we put together a list of 12 high-momentum companies in attendance. You can access the full, publicly available company list on our platform by searching "Shoptalk 2016."

we're safe (for now)

Automation and artificial intelligence haven't hurt knowledge workers yet.

16 tickets left... the Future of FinTech Conference. That's it.  

The last 10 will be $3,995. If you were going to attend, now would be a good time to get your ticket.

We have an absolutely amazing speaker lineup of 42 folks. Here's just a few.

Sizing up Stemcentrx

In one of the largest-ever VC-backed sales for a private company, cancer therapeutics startup Stemcentrx announced it will be acquired by pharmaceutical giant AbbVie.

We look at the largest mergers and acquisitions of VC-backed companies from 1999 to present in order to see how Stemcentrx stacks up. 

Unicorn just met the Austerity Panda

Business Insider has an article on Dropbox's perk cuts (Industry Standard below). Included in the article is the story of a 5-foot Panda made of chrome that cost $100,000 and sits in the Dropbox office.

While it seemed perfectly reasonable and prudent when initially purchased, it now serves as a cautionary example of excess to Dropbox employees.

Gabe Rivera of Techmeme dubbed it the Austerity Panda. Here it is in all its glory.

The article also highlights the cost of Dropbox's perks, and they are eye-popping.

Of course, in a slower financing environment, these cuts make sense especially given Dropbox's relative overvaluation vs peers

The cuts also underly one of the challenges with perks.

They quickly become expectations or entitlements and so when they're cut, they become a bitter pill to swallow for the team. I remember in a former job where they got rid of the coffee stations and there were several meetings cuz people were so upset. 

But maybe it's a good way to weed out the worst folks as VC Bryce Roberts of OATV suggests.

Expect the Austerity Panda to visit many other unicorns in the coming months.

The Industry Standard

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

Bloomberg. Didi Kuaidi is close to raising a new round that would move the company up to fourth on the CB Insights Unicorn Tracker, report Shai Oster (@beijingscribe) and Lulu Yilun Chen (@luluyilun).

Business Insider. Eugene Kim (@eugenekim222) of Business Insider digs into perk reductions at Dropbox and references the CB Insights downround tracker and downround data (graphic below). Beyond Dropbox, he details cost reductions at Anaplan and a sinister and subtle snack reduction at Kabam.

Conde Nast Traveler. Caitlin Moscatello (@caitmosc) cites CB Insights data on the 30 corporates working on driverless cars in her report on a pilot program by Lyft and General Motors.

Springfield Business Journal. There’s a two-horse race for on-demand food delivery services in Springfield, Missouri. Eric Olson (@EricOlsonSBJ)  profiles one of the local leaders, citing CB Insights data on food tech funding.

Reuters. Point72 Asset Management has made its first VC investment into a Fintech company, reports Elzio Barreto (@ReutersLZO), citing the Pulse of Fintech report from CB Insights and KPMG.

I love you.


P.S. Where are the top real estate VCs investing? Join us on May 24th to find out.


Where GE, Cisco, and Intel are making bets: a visual guide to IIoT investment

We used CB Insights’ database in order to visualize the connections between the most active investors in the industrial internet of things. See the data.
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12 high-flying startups to watch at the Shoptalk 2016 conference

These are some of the companies you should be watching at Shoptalk based on CB Insights' predictive Mosaic scores. See the list.
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The 20 largest VC-backed M&A deals

The massive $10.2B acquisition of cancer startup Stemcentrx ranked it in the top five of M&A deals for VC-backed companies. See the data.
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The Blurb

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

Teach your users. Josh Breinlinger (@jbreinlinger) provides a guideline on how to enable consumer learning in an online marketplace that will lead to the establishment of the right policies and transactional workflow.
A Crowded Space

Overcoming fintech distribution challenges. Angela Strange (@astrange) and Alex Rampell (@arampell) advise fintech startups to target customers at inflection points
milestones such as graduating or buying a new house in order to be more successful at acquiring customers.

Demystifying churn. Anoushka Vaswani (@anoushkavaswani) addresses the questions around calculating churn metrics on user data and the benchmarks behind these rates. 

Your users deserve better. In this interview, Brett Kopf (@brettkopf) unpacks what customer obsession involves, and although difficult to scale at times, he provides tips on how to help you better absorb, amplify, and adapt to their feedback.
First Round Review

Fundraising is a numbers game. Nic Brisbourne (@brisbourne) dives into the numbers and says you need four second meetings and as many as twenty-four first meetings to have a good chance of a deal.
The Equity Kicker

How it feels to sell your startup. Robbie Friedman (robbie_friedman) of recently exited Viewabill speaks about the acquisition process.
LinkedIn Pulse

What comes after the Era of Unicorns. Eight VCs weigh in about what the tech landscape looks like from their point of view.

Lessons learned. Dinushi Dias writes about Aussie entrepreneur and founder of Corilla, David Ryan (@davedri), and the lessons he has learned from immersing himself in startup ecosystems around the world.
Startup Smart

Burning man for the 1%. Nellie Bowles (@nelliebowles) dives into Further Future, the desert party for the tech elite.
The Guardian

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