Fintech trends forecast. French tech en vogue. Life beyond beer.

Heads I win, tails I win

Hi there,

Some days when I write the newsletter, I know I'm gonna get a lot of mail saying that I don't get it, or I'm being naive, or I'm stupid.

This is one of those newsletters.

Sometimes, things in tech/venture-land that don't make sense get rationalized with statements like:

  • "that's the way venture works"
  • "that's industry standard"
  • "show me a deal where this didn't happen"

That was the general feedback to some conversations I had recently about an article about Practice Fusion written by Christina Farr (see The Blurb).

For those unfamiliar, here is the basic rundown of events.

  1. Practice Fusion raised $150M+ from the likes of Kleiner Perkins, Founders Fund, Battery Ventures, and Felicis Ventures
  2. It was talked about as an IPO candidate seeking a $1B to $1.5B+ valuation
  3. The business fundamentals were actually hot garbage
  4. It ultimately sold to AllScripts for $100M
  5. Common shareholders basically got the below

So what's so unique about this?

Startups fail all the time. Sure. Agreed.

Keep reading, but first, some data.

Where are we going?

With an unprecedented amount of funding in fintech, 2018 could be the year that the era of fintech unbundling heads for rebundling.

To find out where fintech is headed in the new year, download our 118-page fintech trends report.

Practice Fusion II

Yes, companies fail all the time. 

But check out the bonuses the senior team got below (per CNBC).

In this case, the CEO, head of strategy, general counsel, and other senior folks got pretty large bonuses. Let's remember that the company raised $150M and sold for $100M. Clearly, the strategy wasn't so hot. What are these bonuses for?

This is where folks say "that's industry standard" or "these are retention bonuses and common practices." What exactly are we retaining here?

Good for them for negotiating for their benefit, I guess. It is every man for himself when the ship is sinking.
Nevertheless, here is what I've learned: r
aise $150M and exit for billions and you're rich. Raise $150M and exit for less than you raise and you're still rich.

What a great gig.

People love unicorns

There are 25 fintech unicorns on planet Earth right now. Learn about them and more in CB Insights' fintech trends report.

AI is en vogue

The AI/France romance is heating up, with Google launching an AI research center and expanding its office in Paris. Facebook also plans to double its Paris AI team by 2022. Ooh la la!

According to La French Tech and CB Insights' new French tech report, Paris saw 342 deals in 2017, nearly 100 more than 2016 deals. 

Check out the full report for everything you need to know about emerging trends, investments, and active investors in France. 

Practice Fusion III

BTW, this is a good reminder that if you're an employee of a startup that is good at hype and raising money but not actually building a real business, your common stock prob won't be worth much. You should think about looking for a new gig. 

There are lots of startups that are building real companies.

Be careful out there.


Belgium-based AB InBev is pouring itself a pint of something that isn't beer. With nearly 30% of the global beer market, the beverage giant has made 43 acquisitions and investments since 2013.

Recently, the company has acquired startups focused on ciders, pre-mixed alcohol brands, and soft drinks. 

All hail the nematode worm

Congratulations to Demo Day Health category winner, NemaMetrix.

The company’s drug discovery platform genetically alters Nematode worms using human DNA to assess the effectiveness (or possible dire side effects) of drugs in development.

NemaMetrix estimates the real cost of developing a drug is closer to $3B than the commonly-reported $1B cost. They say its platform dramatically reduces that cost.

See the winning pitch (and the Health finalist pitches) here.

Warning: future of fintech prices increase next week

At Future of Fintech, we feature some of the hottest unicorns. Like this fireside chat in 2017 featuring The New York Times’ Nathaniel Popper and Credit Karma ($3.17B valuation) founder & CEO Kenneth Lin.

Ticket prices will go up next Thursday. This is your 7 day warning.

Don’t miss the 2018 running of the unicorns at this year's Future of Fintech conference, June 19-21. Buy your tickets here.

The Industry Standard

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

Bloomberg. Julie Verhage (@julieverhage) reports that Amazon is offering unique payments services in places like India and Mexico, referencing CB Insights’ fintech trends report.

CNBC. Catherine Clifford (@catclifford) profiles Blue Origin engineer Tim Ellis and highlights his talk at CB Insights’ A-ha! conference in December.

GeekWire. Taylor Soper (@taylor_soper) writes about Pittsburgh’s tech-driven growth and cites PwC and CB Insights’ MoneyTree Report.

I love you.


We've added the CEOs/founders of 5 new fintech unicorns to the roster for The Future of Fintech.

The Blurb

A curated mix of articles worth sharing.

Mad and disappointed. Christina Farr (@chrissyfarr) reports that Practice Fusion employees and shareholders were left high and dry when the company sold for $100M after 2016 reports said it might go public at a $1.5B valuation.
Politechal. Former Uber CEO Brian McClendon has plans to run for Kansas Secretary of State and make the state’s voter registration site more user-friendly.
Good intentions. The majority of CEOs want to use their business to help achieve the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals by 2030, but only a small percentage of them currently believe they can pull it off.
Fast Company
Fly, my pretties, fly! Rhett Allain (@rjallain) explains why larger drones have much longer flight times.
Tfw you realize you’re a millionaire. 50 Cent recently rediscovered his Bitcoin sales for his 2014 album. It was a pleasant surprise.
Chi-town. Chicago’s gotten some good news lately: it’s in the running for Amazon’s HQ2, and Foursquare is building its engineering team there. Here's what the city needs to do to reach the next level.

Points and Figures
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