What is CRISPR? Top fintech trends. The future of fashion.

A quick experiment


No matter how littered the ground is with dead or dying digital media startups, there’s always someone willing to step up and bet a bill on a new media idea. Like $1B. 

Investors including big corporates — everyone from NBC Universal to Disney to Alibaba — have plowed that much into the holding company behind Quibi. Here's a look at just some of its big media investors from the CB Insights platform:

Quibi is a startup that is planning to upend the video space with short-form serialized content. Think 10-minute TV shows. 

Quibi has big names behind it. It is the brainchild of former Disney Chairman Jeffrey Katzenberg and is being led by former HP CEO Meg Whitman. Another board member is Sujay Jaswa, former CFO of Dropbox. 

Whitman has described Quibi as a kind of Netflix for short-form content: “During the day, you have these in-between moments. Ten minutes here, 15 minutes there, where you want to see something great.”

Of course the “in-between moments” are exactly where the competition is most fierce for consumer attention. You go head-to-head with Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, WhatsApp, Spotify, news, and podcasts (we recently covered the podcast space and Spotify’s acqs there in a brief for clients).

To mix metaphors, it’s like jumping naked into a piranha tank. Here’s my message for Quibi and the corporate investors bankrolling it: 

Send it to editing

Picture a future where parents can customize their unborn babies' height and eye color. Or pet owners can create bespoke pets. Or plants can be edited to live longer.

This may sound like dystopian sci-fi, but some of it is already happening thanks to the gene-editing technology CRISPR.

We examine how CRISPR works, its applications and limitations, and what lies ahead. Check it out here.

Crushing it

Fintech had a stellar 2018, with 1,700+ deals worth nearly $40B — and it's expected to continue its tear in 2019.

From blockchain and crypto to wealth management, we take a look at the top 10 fintech trends to watch this year. Download the report here.

 Get the picture?

Lidar's depth and dimension perception capabilities surpass radars and cameras, but its high costs have made it difficult to scale.

The automotive lidar ecosystem has become more competitive as startups work to find ways to build the technology in a way that's affordable and reliable enough for mass-market production.

We examine how lidar works, the current state of the market, and what lies ahead. Clients can read all about it here.

The future, but make it fashion

New York Fashion Week is officially upon us, which means top designers are revealing their collections for next season.

Can't make it to the shows? Check out our Future of Fashion report to see how tech is transforming the ~$2.4T industry. It's basically the same thing.

 Debit cards, debit cards everywhere

Fintech companies from Square to Venmo are launching products that let customers spend money directly out of digital accounts using physical debit cards.

We dig into why debit cards are so hot right now. Expert Intelligence clients can read about it here.

Have a great rest of the week.


P.S. On February 21, we'll be discussing AI trends to watch in 2019. Sign up here to join us at the briefing.

This week in data:

  • 3: Three more companies joined the global unicorn club this week. Salt Lake City-based health analytics company Health Catalyst raised $100M to reach the $1B valuation mark, up from a $640M valuation in early 2016. Meditation and sleep app Calm became the first mental health and wellness unicorn, raising an $88M Series B to reach a $1B valuation. Finally, self-driving car developer Aurora raised a $530M Series B from Sequoia Capital, Amazon, and Lightspeed, among others, to reach a $2B valuation. Read about wellness trends to watch in 2019 here, and check out which companies are unbundling the autonomous vehicle here.

  • $1B: Bristol Myers Squibb and Celgene will pay out about $1B in fees following their merger earlier this month, including $300M to their financial advisers — one of the most lucrative advisory deals ever. Some $304M will be divvied up among 5 investment banks working on the case, including Morgan Stanley, JPMorgan Chase, and Citigroup.
  • 1,545: Electric scooters have caused 1,545 injuries in the US since late 2017, according to new findings by Consumer Reports. The report collected data from hospitals and public agencies in 47 different cities where leading scooter-sharing platforms Bird and Lime operate. This may not put a wrench in scooter cos’ plans though: just yesterday, Lime raised a fresh $310M Series D from Alphabet, Andreessen Horowitz, and Google Ventures, among others. Clients can view the full landscape in our bike and scooter tech market map here.

  • $100M: P&G acquired natural period care brand This Is L this week, at a rumored price point of $100M. This Is L manufactures organic cotton pads and tampons, as well as period wipes and natural latex condoms. We included This Is L in our women’s health market map, which appears in our report on how technology is transforming women’s healthcare. Read about it here.

  • 4th: Last year was the 4th-hottest year on record, according to a new study by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and NASA. This means 18 of the hottest 19 years have occurred since 2001. Since the 1880s, the average global temperature has risen about 2 degrees Fahrenheit, driven largely by carbon dioxide and greenhouse gas emissions. Could carbon capture help offset emissions? Clients can read about the industry in our recent client note.
  • $5B: Next week is Valentine’s Day, with lovers everywhere planning romantic getaways. New York City and Cancun reign supreme as the most popular domestic and international destinations for Valentine’s vacationers, according to a study by Allianz Global Assistance. (NYC is in the top spot 3 years running; Cancun has been #1 for 5.) Meanwhile, 52% of young romantics age 13-36 plan to give a Valentine’s gift, with an average price point of $88, or $5B in total.
  • 100 years old: Hawaii state representative Richard Creagan has introduced a bill to raise the smoking age on the islands to 100 by 2024. (Currently, Hawaii requires buyers to be 21 to purchase cigarettes.) Creagan hopes the bill will help curb the negative health effects of tobacco, which kills over 1,100 Hawaiians annually.
One more thing...

Bronx Zoo

Valentine’s Day is coming up. If you’re looking for a way to ditch the flowers, candy, and large stuffed animals for something that will last forever (or at least through a nuclear disaster), you’re in luck.

The Hemsley Conservation Centre in London and the Bronx Zoo in New York will let you name a cockroach in honor of your significant other (or your ex, if you’d prefer). Proceeds will go to zoo projects and wildlife conservation.

The zoo in El Paso, Texas takes it to the next level by letting you name a roach after your ex and then feeding it to a meerkat.
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