Amazon vs Alibaba. US fintech could slow. Meat meets lab.

Future of Fintech deadline today

Hi there,

If you didn't read the great writeup on the fake follower economy in the NY Times from this past weekend, you should.

Another gem from some time ago was a writeup about the Freakin' Awesome Karaoke Express (FAKE) in which the author created this fake karaoke truck business and bought it an amazing online reputation.

(Both articles are in the Blurb.)

We've got the best customers

With the launch of CBI's market map maker (and then smart image positioning), we saw this funny tweet by Matt Turck, partner at FirstMark Capital (investor in Pinterest, Shopify, Invision).

We owe a big thanks to Caitlin Strandberg and Demi Obayomi over at FirstMark for their feedback and ideas as we were building the market map maker. It was super helpful.  

Hopefully we'll get rid of a bunch of logo chasing and repositioning work they had to do in the past. :)

See how FirstMark uses CB Insights to discover companies and track emerging trends.

Thriving, not just surviving

If this is the retail apocalypse, are Amazon and Alibaba...cockroaches? While many traditional retailers are closing down stores, these two e-commerce giants are pouring money into brick-and-mortar.

Amazon paid a cool $13.7B to acquire Whole Foods last summer and opened its Amazon Go grocery store last week. Alibaba has publicly announced a strategy to combine online and offline commerce, dubbed “new retail.”

TBD if their efforts in the physical retail space will be successful, but both stand to gain a lot if they can pull it off.


In our early days, one of the sources of inspiration for our data-driven research was...


Yup. Really.

Christian Rudder of OKC had a way of taking data and making it interesting and writing like a human. If you want to learn how to write about data in a way that people actually want to read, I recommend looking at the OKC archives.

One of my favorites from the company's blog entitled "We Experiment on Humans" is in the Blurb.

Meat cute

Top meat producer Tyson is aggressively going after the alternative protein space. Now the company is investing in food tech startup Memphis Meats, which creates real meats by farming animal cells.

We dug into some of the major trends in the growing meatless industry, from startups to watch, to key investors, to future trends and challenges.

Headed for the drop?

Despite a record $16.6B brought in by global VC-backed fintech companies in 2017, deal activity in the space ended on a downward trend, falling for the second straight quarter in Q4’17.

US fintech could be headed for a slowdown as investors are shifting away from early-stage bets and focusing on perceived winners at the growth stage. Check out our full fintech report for other trends to watch for in 2018.

With a little help from their peers

What do an SVP from a $90B global telecom co, a C-suite exec from a billion-dollar automotive supplier, and the head of a major automaker’s AI investment fund have in common?

They all worked together at the December CB Insights Council meeting to create a market map that revealed new sources of competition.

At Councils, senior executives from large companies find peer-level sounding boards to work through their toughest innovation challenges.

Interested in joining?

Councils is limited to SVP+ strategy, innovation, and corporate development leaders at $1B+ revenue companies. Learn more here.

Amazon has its reasons

Brandless Founder Tina Sharkey and Comcast Ventures’ Rick Prostko had an interesting exchange at the A-ha! conference.

Sharkey founded Brandless, an online retailer, to eliminate the “brand tax” from consumer products. Prostko led Comcast’s investments in big e-commerce deals like Dollar Shave Club (sold to Unilever for $1B) and Instacart (acquired by Target for $550M).

So it was a surprise when Prostko rang in with, “Only 10-15% of commerce is online, so 80-85% is offline. There’s a reason why Amazon is going to physical [brick-and-mortar stores].”

Sharkey then shared her views on personalization and the changing dynamic in direct-to-consumer relationships.

See the full video here.

The Industry Standard

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

CNBC. Catherine Clifford (@catclifford) reports on Daymond John’s Q&A session via Reddit and mentions Tim Ellis’ talk at CB Insights’ December A-ha! conference.
Reuters. Salvador Rodriguez (@sal19) writes about Slack Technologies’ new corporate clients and cites CB Insights funding and valuation data.
OZY. Chloe Cornish (@chloencornish) reports that investors poured more than $700M into agricultural tech companies last year and cites CB Insights’ ag tech research.

I love you.


P.S. Today is the last day to get your Future of Fintech ticket at early bird pricing. We're currently offering a killer group discount, too (21 of those tickets remaining). Save your spot here.

The Blurb

A curated mix of articles worth sharing.

Who even are you? A look into the worldwide market of fake social media followers.
New York Times

F.A.K.E. Kashmir Hill (@kashhill) made up the Freakin’ Awesome Karaoke Express to investigate the fake reputation economy.

Landscaping. Matt Turck’s (@mattturck) 2017 Big Data Landscape market map.
Matt Turck

Chemistry experiment. OKCupid breaks down some of the experiments it’s conducted on its users to gather data.

Hey, that’s my bike! Uber is partnering with San Francisco-based startup JUMP to launch a bike-sharing service next week.
Sticking it to the man. The California State Senate has approved a bill to enforce net neutrality restrictions on internet service providers.
Now hiring: public technology ethicist. A team of creatives at Davos illustrate their visions for jobs of the future.
FastCo Design
Looking into it. Apple is being investigated by the US Department of Justice and SEC to determine if the company’s iPhone-slowing software is in violation of securities laws.
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