WeWork loves the community. China's big tech in AI. Canadian venture capital.

I smell a rat


Google has a reputation for far-flung experiments or “moonshots” in areas including self-driving cars, balloon-powered internet, and curing cancer.

But it's still surprising how weird things get at the Googleplex. For example, our Google Healthcare Strategy teardown unearthed a research paper by subsidiary Calico Life Sciences. 

According to this paper, Calico has been researching naked mole rats for clues to extending human life. Naked mole rats are apparently not just the ugliest rodents, they also are the longest-living — often scurrying on for more than 30 years. Yes, longer than dogs.

Other than anti-aging, the teardown also digs into Google’s activities in eye health, cloud services for medical applications, and insurance.

A new flavor of EBITDA

WeWork is reportedly losing $933M annually as it expands its office-sharing and rental empire. But in offering documents for a new loan this week, WeWork announced a new type of earnings measure: “community-adjusted EBITDA.” 

Apparently this hand-wavy accounting measure means it can deduct basic costs like marketing, foosball tables, and cubicles from its cost structure. By that measure, WeWork’s not losing nearly $1B — it’s actually making a $233M profit! Three cheers for community. 

In our recent WeWork Strategy teardown, we dug into how WeWork might actually justify its rich $20B valuation.

China at BAT

The Chinese government knows that Baidu, Alibaba, and Tencent (BAT) are crucial to achieving AI world leader status, and plans to rely heavily on the tech giants for its open AI platforms.

This has international players thinking about how their own AI strategies will intersect — or clash — with BAT.

We dig into BAT's AI patents, investments, and earnings transcripts to map out their AI strategy in part 2 of our China in AI series.

O Canada!

In Q1'18, total funding to Canadian companies increased 52% over last quarter as $1B was invested across 105 deals. This is a 30% increase in deal activity since Q4'17.

PwC and CB Insights' new Canada Venture Capital Report covers this and more. Download the full report here.

Take this swag off our hands

Besides our fast-growing team, we're sharing office space with pallets of stickers, crates of mugs, and towering piles of "Data > Opinion" T-shirts. We don't want them.

Claim them for yourself by referring new subscribers to our newsletter: join our CB Insiders rewards program to get started. 

Already an Insider? Check your progress here and keep on referring new people to win more prizes! Glory awaits.


Have a great rest of the week.


P.S. Did you miss last week's Cyber Defenders webinar? No worries — you can get the slides and recording here

This week in data:

  • 5: Through its Amazon Key app, Amazon can now leave packages in your trunk. The company can unlock and deliver packages to 2015 model-year or newer cars from 5 brands: Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, GMC, and Volvo. Delivery drivers will be able to unlock cars through connected service plans like On Call or OnStar. We cover Amazon's key initiatives going forward in our Amazon Strategy Teardown.

  • $11.32M: The amount raised by Indian e-commerce beauty company Nykaa in Series E financing. The startup, which is backed by a number of angel investors, has raised $38M in total disclosed funding. From online beauty to high-tech makeup aisles, we looked at 13 Trends Shaping the Face of Beauty in 2018. Get the report

  • $8.1B: The amount of debt big-box retailer PetSmart has incurred, propelled by its 2015 buyout and the acquisition of online pet merchant Chewy.com last year. While the traditional pet retailer is facing a number of troubles beyond debt — from leadership changes to defending itself against Amazon — other big-box retailers are finding ways to fight the competition and remain relevant in their niche spaces. From Ikea to Best Buy, see how major companies are avoiding death and surviving the retail apocalypse.  

  • 14 million: This week, Dubai-based ride-hailing company Careem announced it was a victim of a cyber breach that took place earlier this year. Data stolen from the app includes names, email addresses, phone numbers, and trip data. The breach involved access to Careem’s database, which reportedly has 14 million riders and 558,800 drivers.
  • $150: The cost of Snap’s latest Spectacles — the company’s camera-laden sunglasses. The second version has new features and is slimmer, water resistant, and comes in three colors. We analyzed Snap’s patent activity in wearables, computer vision, video streaming, and more.

  • $74M: Telemedicine company Doctor on Demand raised $74M in Series C financing from investors including Princeville Global, Goldman Sachs Principal Strategic Investments, Lerer Hippeau Ventures, and Qualcomm Ventures, among others. We dive into the benefits and obstacles of telemedicine in our analysis on how the healthcare industry is becoming increasingly consumer-centric. Download the presentation here.
  • 60%: According to Alphabet’s most recent earnings call, home automation solution Nest generated $726M in revenue for the company in 2017. This accounts for about 60% of the total sales in the company’s “Other Bets” segment — meaning that the firm brought in almost $500M on the rest of its other bets, including mobility initiative Waymo and life sciences research arm Verily. We dive into Alphabet’s structure and the healthcare projects it’s pursuing through these “other bets” in our Google in Healthcare report. Check it out.

One more thing...


Bayou is a computer program that writes computer programs. More specifically, it’s an AI that has ingested millions of lines of Java extracted from GitHub, a repository where coders store their work and often make it publicly available. By learning from this data, it's become a bot programmer.

Bayou, backed by DARPA, can take a few vague prompts from a software developer and turn them into a full-fledged program, according to an article in Futurity

The AI uses a technique called neural sketch learning, which involves building a sort of library of “sketches” of different programs and then mapping these to an intended use case for each of them.

In turn, when a programmer uses Bayou, the program presents the user with various possible sketches for what they want to get done, and the user’s selections help Bayou refine its algorithm further. It's especially good at helping programmers write code for APIs.

Bayou is part of a trend toward Expert Augmentation and Automation software (EaaS), in which software is replacing humans for more complex tasks and decision-making.

If you loved this newsletter, send it to a friend.
If you hated it, send it to an enemy.
Copyright © 2018 CB Information Services, All rights reserved.
498 7th ave, 17th floor, New York, NY 10018
About UsUnsubscribe | Update Preferences | Blog | Newsletter | Privacy Policy