Startup pivots. AI 100. Google in healthcare.

You're making a spectacle


What we've got here is a failure to influence.

Snapchat’s PR agency is suing 20-year-old Instagram influencer Luka Sabbat. 

The agency, called PRC, paid Luka $45K upfront to wear Snapchat’s Spectacles smart glasses 4 times on his Insta (see This Week in Data, below).


I’m scratching my head here. The bad press already generated by this ridiculous suit dwarfs the $45K they're trying to claw back as well as damages.

Is this the worst PR company ever? And doesn't it know the first commandment of #influencermarketing — pics first or you don’t get paid?

Scrub in

Google has always seen itself as more than a search and advertising company. To prove it, the company is turning its focus to healthcare — and betting that its AI prowess is going to be a huge advantage.

From disease detection to diagnostics to treatments, we examine how Google is using data and AI to push healthcare forward.

Pivot! Pivot!

Platforms like Instagram, Netflix, and Slack have become so integral to people's daily lives that it's hard to believe they started out as very different products.

From Twitter (which used to be Odeo) to YouTube to PayPal, we take a look at some of the world's most successful startup pivots.

 No one van should have all that power

The rising popularity of electric vehicles represents a major opportunity for utilities, but it can also mean added stress for the electric grid if not managed properly.

We take a look at how startups are using vehicle-to-grid technology and recycled batteries to help grids adapt to EV demand. Expert Intelligence clients can read about it here.

That's why they give you the big bucks

Bytedance has reportedly closed $3B in funding from SoftBank and others at a record $75B valuation.

We featured Bytedance in our list of the top 100 AI startups around the world. Check them out here.

 Cough it up

Payment startups are hitting their stride as online shopping continues to boom and more businesses are using online payments.

Private payments tech companies have raised a whopping $17B this year alone.

We mapped out 125+ private tech companies disrupting the payments space. Expert Intelligence clients can see them all here.

Are we not merciful?

We received several requests asking if we could extend our October pricing for TRANSFORM one more day.

Good news — we are. Purchase before EOD Friday and get your ticket at our October prices. Save $500 off a single ticket with code thatislove.

Have a great rest of the week.


P.S. We'll be discussing Apple's strategy in healthcare on November 13. Register for the briefing here.

This week in data:

  • $1.28B: London-based mobile-only bank Monzo became the newest inductee into the unicorn club this week. The company reached a $1.28B valuation following a $109M Series E backed by Accel and General Catalyst, among others. Monzo was one of our picks for the 2018 Fintech 250, a list of 250 high-momentum startups transforming the financial services industry. Last year, 22 of our Fintech 250 picks exited, including 10 unicorn exits, and 8 more went on to become unicorns. (Clients can see those companies here.) Check out the rest of this year’s list here.
  • 65 mph: Google self-driving car spinoff Waymo received new DMV approval to begin testing driverless cars on public roads without a human driver backup. The company will begin testing on streets near its Silicon Valley headquarters, and will be allowed to test on rural roads and highways with posted speed limits of up to 65 mph, during day or night, and in fog and light rain. As autonomous vehicles gain traction, check out the companies unbundling the AV.

  • 10: Blockchain-based voting software developer Voatz is in talks to bring its technology to 10 new states, according to The Information. The company’s pilot program is currently being used by West Virginia to make blockchain-secured voting available to overseas voters for all 55 counties for next week’s midterms. We recently dove into vulnerabilities in the election cycle — and how blockchain technology, including Voatz's software, could help. Check out the full report on How Blockchain Could Secure Elections here.

  • 3.25 liters: Russians are drinking less vodka. A new World Health Organization study finds that annual per capita consumption of spirits has fallen to 3.25 liters of pure spirits in 2016 (compared to a 1994 peak of nearly 9). In the last 25 years, wine and beer have been slightly on the rise, hitting 1.08 and 3.29 liters per capita, respectively, in 2016. For more data on how alcohol preferences are changing, check out our market map of 55+ startups disrupting happy hour.

  • 1/2: New data released by the MPAA reveals that more than half of movies since the MPAA’s founding in 1968 have been rated R. Of almost 30,000 movies released since then, 17,202 have received an R rating. The least common ratings are G (1,574 films) and X/NC-17 (524). 1.4% of ratings have been appealed, while 0.6% (165 films) have been overturned. Last weekend, 4 of the top 10 highest-grossing films were rated R — Halloween ($31.4M weekend gross) A Star is Born ($14M), Hunter Killer ($6.7M), and Mid90s ($3M).
  • $45K: Snap’s PR firm, PRC, is suing an influencer for failing to properly market Snap’s Spectacles camera sunglasses on his social media. TechCrunch reports that Grown-ish actor Luka Sabbat was paid $45K upfront to post approved Instagram content of himself wearing the glasses, then send PRC analytics metrics for the posts. PRC says he did not fulfill his contract, and is seeking to recoup the $45K, plus another $45K in damages. Clients can check out our influencer market map here.

  • 4th: New Zealander Nigel Richards won his fourth world Scrabble championship this week, scoring 68 points with the winning word “groutier.” Richards has won 2,758 of the 3,602 competitive Scrabble games he’s played (a 77% win rate). In addition to his 4 World Champion Scrabble wins, he’s won French Scrabble twice — despite not speaking the language.
One more thing...

John Durham

The Tucson Cactus and Succulent Society rescues desert plants from construction. It's expected to celebrate its 100,000th rescue in 2019.

The society was founded in 1960, but it only began rescuing cacti in 1999, when Tuscon's development boom was wreaking havoc on them.

Most of the rescued cacti are brought to Pima Prickly Park, the society's gravel field. The plants spend a few months there regrowing their roots before finding permanent homes.
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