on July 10, 2019
The first article stays on the theme of autonomous cars that we have been writing about in the last few editions. Our main take here is that we can get autonomous vehicles today, but they will not be safe. In order to have safe AVs, we need at least 10 years of data gathering. AVs use a type of intelligence algorithm called neural networks, and the main characteristic you have to know about neural networks is that they are the most data demanding algorithm out there. The second article is our commentary on the IPO market. We believe there is a perfect confluence of events underlying this strong IPO market. The key question as we enter the second half of 2019 is whether the IPO juggernaut will continue to power ahead? We believe all key indicators suggest the second half will be equally strong compared to the first half of 2019, with enterprise software/cloud companies leading the charge.Read More
on June 20, 2019
Reaching profitability is the Holy Grail for the ride hailing companies. The narrative today is that autonomous vehicles (AV) will eliminate the biggest cost component (driver commissions), thereby increasing the take rates and moving the companies closer to profitability. While we believe AVs will accelerate the timeline to reaching profitability, a lot more expenses need to be factored in before we get there. The second article looks at the micromobility business in the face of large investments in this business by the participants. We believe this business in the long run will be net additive to the overall ride hailing business, given its compelling economics and growing demand.Read More
on June 20, 2019
The two lead articles are titled ‘Lyft Has AV Mapped Out’ and ‘Digital Ads Surpass Traditional Ads’. Both the articles are topical given the recent IPOs of Lyft and Pinterest. The race to introduce the first commercially viable autonomous vehicle (AV) is on. A number of companies are jockeying to be the leader given the high stakes, particularly for Uber and Lyft, the incumbent leaders in the current ride-hailing market. Handicapping the winner in this race is not easy but early indications suggest that Lyft is ahead of the pack. The second article is highly supportive of Pinterest given its mobile-native platform and digital ad-based revenue model. The digital ad market is on a strong growth trajectory, essentially insulated from the challenges facing the traditional ad market.Read More
on June 20, 2019
The two lead articles in this edition are very topical. The first one, ‘Lyft to Lift the Hood’, is our take on the ride-hailing market and Lyft’s strong competitive position in it, which is essentially a duopoly. The second article, ‘A Hardware Speed Bump for Neural Networks’, highlights the limitations of harnessing the full potential of artificial intelligence.Read More
on March 4, 2019
The first lead article ‘Are We There Yet?’ is our take on the timeline for commercially viable autonomous vehicles. There is no doubt that autonomous cars will one day replace the need for human-driven cars given the safety factor. Until then, which could be anywhere from 5 to 25 years depending on whom you ask, all the pieces of the puzzle still need to come together. The second article ‘AI, ML and the Ripple Effect’ highlights the flip side of artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies in our lives, particularly its potential to widen the divide between the haves and have nots.Read More
on January 7, 2019
The two lead articles are ‘Onwards to 2019 with Strong Tailwind’ and ‘Let the Race Begin – And the Speculation’.
To say 2018 was a remarkable year for IPOs is an understatement. With favorable market conditions during the first three quarters of the year, nearly 200 public offerings were completed rivaling, after a long lull, the strong activity levels in 2014 and early 2000s. More important, of all the companies going public in 2018, 38 were valued at $1 billion or more at the time of their IPO. This made 2018 the year with the highest number of unicorn public offerings since the 2000 dot-com bubble. Looking ahead, 2019 is shaping up to be another remarkable year for technology unicorns.
Lyft and Uber have already announced their plans to IPO in 2019 and a number of others are teeing up for their own IPOs. Whether the rush to the exits is due to tightening market conditions or some other reason, the 2019 IPO pipeline is promising to be remarkable in terms of numbers and size.Read More
on November 20, 2018
Online food-delivery platforms have hit their stride if recent funding rounds are any indication. Instacart raised $600 million in early October at a $7 billion valuation. DoorDash raised $250 million last August at a $4 billion valuation, topping its own earlier round of $535 million in March at a $1.4 billion valuation. Postmates raised $300 million in September at a $1.1 billion valuation. UberEats, an emerging leader in the delivery business, should be valued at $20 billion according to Goldman Sachs. To say the online food delivery business is hot will be an understatement.
The second article highlights the key takeaways from the spate of IPOs since the beginning of 2017 to September 2018. We highlighted a number of trends and patterns that we believe are noteworthy.Read More
on November 20, 2018
‘Trade Ware Redux but This Time It’s Different’. If the ongoing US-China trade war reminds you of the trade war with Japan in the 1980s, you are not mistaken. However the stakes are higher this time, particularly relating to VC investments that have been mutually beneficial over the last 10 years but could get negatively impacted if the rhetoric heats up further.
‘Cashierless Checkouts – Another Shot Across the Bow of Middle Class Jobs’. The cashierless checkout technology is no longer just a possibility. It’s a reality and it’s happening now. While this technology provides business efficiency for Amazon, it comes with major socioeconomic consequences – not all beneficial.Read More
on August 27, 2018
The first lead article is titled ‘NYC Slams the Brakes on New Registrations’. The New York City council ruled to place a year-long cap on registration of new vehicles for ride-hailing businesses. This comes against the backdrop of worsening congestion, low driver wages, and the decimation of the once-thriving taxi industry, all of which, the pro-ban lobby believes has been caused by the explosive growth of for-hire vehicles. Leaving the political and socio-economic arguments of this new law aside, if the cap goes into effect, which is likely, we believe the revenue impact to the overall ride hailing market and Uber in particular in NYC will be minimal – roughly 6% of Uber’s total consolidated revenue base.
The second article is titled ‘Going from Copycats to Innovators, Chinese Startups are Turning the Tables’. China is accused of shamelessly cloning U.S. tech firms and business models. According to the New York Times, intellectual-property theft accounts for over $600 billion in losses per year in the U.S. Copy to China (C2C) is a term commonly used to describe Chinese companies copying the business model of successful foreign businesses. But some experts are saying that U.S. companies are now ‘borrowing’ from China more than ever before. Copy to America (C2A) could very likely become the next wave.Read More
on August 27, 2018
The two lead articles are Space – Ripe for Disruptive Technologies and Walmart India – Second Time’s a Charm? The space industry is a $350 billion market currently, according to estimates, centered primarily on satellites. Bank of America Merrill Lynch predicts the size of the space industry to reach $2.7 trillion in three decades. A vibrant ecosystem is expected to develop in the space as it increasingly becomes a hotbed of disruptive technologies and services. Besides the high marquee names, there are a number of innovative companies in the wings that are positioning themselves to introduce new technologies in the space.
Walmart is taking a second shot at entering the Indian retail market. The company agreed to take a 77% controlling stake in Flipkart for $16 billion. The jury is still out on the strategic value of the deal. Whether or not Walmart will succeed only time will tell. One thing is for sure: it was too compelling an opportunity to establish a foothold in a country that is expected to grow the fastest in the next few years.Read More
Venture Bytes is a monthly insight report highlighting topical ideas, current trends and emerging opportunities in the global technology landscape