Hello, unicorns. New cancer treatment. A great big cow. 

Trends on trends


The price of bitcoin may be way down, but the underlying blockchain technology continues to be important.

It's used for applications like tracing the origin of tainted food (hello, romaine!), or creating marketplaces for digital assets.

We’ve just released our report on trends to watch in blockchain. As of now, we’re tracking 18 trends using our NExTT framework.

NExTT stands for the four stages of a trend as it surfaces and moves through an industry: there are Necessary, Experimental, Threatening, and Transitory trends.

We’re also applying it to advanced manufacturing, and released our trends report for advanced manufacturing today.

What advanced manufacturing or blockchain trends do you need to know about, or risk having your head in the sand? Which trends are nascent now, but have the potential to upend your industry in 5 years?

These frameworks, which incorporate signals such as market sizings and partnerships, can be your compass.

This is it

The speakers are confirmed. The badges are printed. The food is ordered.

We’re officially sold out for TRANSFORM.

Lucky for you, we spoke to the venue and they agreed to let us add 11 more seats.

We can’t add any more after this. Click here and register to be one of the lucky final attendees.

A healthy dose of blockchain

The healthcare industry is bogged down with inefficiencies and high administrative costs.

Blockchain might be the cure.

From the drug supply chain to patient health records to payments, we explore how the technology could help solve some of the industry's compliance, interoperability, and data security issues.

 Try something new

Many cancer treatments target proteins called antigens to attack cancerous cells. But this process isn't always reliable, because antigens are also found in normal cells.

Now scientists are working with neoantigens, found specifically on cancer cells, to develop personalized vaccines that would make cancer treatment more targeted and consistent. 

We take a look how the vaccine process works, companies working with the technology, and more. Expert Intelligence clients can read it here.

Why did it have to be this way?

The harsh reality is most startups don't make it. We sifted through over 100 post-mortems to find out why that is.

From no market need to running out of cash to losing to the competition, we list the top 20 reasons why startups fail.

 I want my money

Venture-backed companies are taking on every part of the payments value chain, from the point-of-sale to bank APIs to cross-border payments.

We mapped out 125+ startups transforming how we pay. Expert Intelligence clients can see them all here.

Have a great rest of the week.


P.S. On December 11, we'll be discussing wellness trends to watch in 2019. Sign up for the briefing here.

This week in data:

  • 2: Amazon is launching 2 new blockchain initiatives, AWS CEO Andy Jassy announced Wednesday. The Amazon Quantum Ledger Database (QLDB) is essentially a private blockchain, which will offer companies an immutable ledger to store and track data cryptographically. The Amazon Managed Blockchain platform will help clients create and scale their own blockchain networks. To see where the blockchain industry is headed next, check out our new Blockchain Trends in 2019 report.

  • $1B+: Two new private companies joined the $1B+ unicorn club this week. San Francisco-based workflow management app Asana reached a $1.5B valuation following a $50M Series E backed by 8VC, Benchmark, and Founders Fund, among others. The company was previously on the cusp of unicorn status, valued at $900M in January. Meanwhile Beijing robotics company Horizon Robotics hit an eye-popping valuation of up to $4B, after raising a $100M tranche of Series A funding from investors including Hillhouse Capital Management, Intel Capital, and Morningside Group.
  • 35.5%: This year, more than a third of Black Friday purchases happened through smartphones. 33.5% of purchases totaling $2.1B were made on mobile devices, a jump up from last year’s 29.1% and $1.4B. Not to be outdone, Cyber Monday became the biggest US online shopping day in history, generating $7.9B in sales — up more than 20% from last year, though still trailing Alibaba’s $30.8B Singles Day from last month.
  • 78.6: Per a new report by the CDC, US life expectancy has declined for the third year in a row, a trend last seen in 1915 to 1918 — a period that included WWI and a flu pandemic that killed 675K people. Americans could expect to live to 78.6 years in 2017 (averaging 76.1 for men and 81.1 for women), down from 78.9 in 2014. The CDC attributed the downtick in part to a rise in drug overdose deaths (particularly opioid-related deaths). We recently dug into the new drugs and technology working to extend life and wellness. Read our full Future of Aging Report here.

  • $1.7M: New York City’s highest-earning government official is a debt collector, according to a report by Bloomberg released earlier this week. Last year, city marshal Vadim Barbarovich earned $1,723,308 — more than 7x the roughly $233K earned by Mayor Bill de Blasio. Barbarovich takes home a cut of all debts he recovers. We recently rounded up 20+ fintech startups modernizing the lucrative but outdated debt collection space. Expert Intelligence clients can see them all here.

  • 90,000: Enterprise cloud storage company Box released its Q3 earnings this week, reporting smaller-than-expected losses and a quarterly increase in customers to 90,000 (up from 87,000). The California-based company beat expectations on revenue as well, reporting $155.9M. While the company’s stock has fallen about 14% this year (a trend seen by many tech companies), its recent earnings gave it a 5% boost.
  • 296,485,284: The Human Genome Project’s human reference genome, long considered a successful attempt to map out our species’ DNA, may in fact be missing nearly 300M base pairs of DNA, according to two researchers at Johns Hopkins University. The issue is that the reference genome is based largely on one person, and differs substantially from some populations. Studying the DNA of 910 individuals of pan-African descent, the researchers found 296,485,284 pieces of common DNA that don’t exist in the reference genome.
  • 100,000 sq ft: The largest esports stadium in North America opened in Arlington, TX this week, selling out its inaugural event, the semifinals of first-person shooter Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. The $10M Esports Stadium Arlington spans 100,000 square feet and can accommodate up to 2,500 spectators. In addition to the audience at the stadium, tens of thousands of fans live-streamed the event, which offered a prize of $750,000. We discussed the potential of the esports industry in a client note earlier this week. Clients can read about it here.

  • 8th: After a 7-month trip of over 300M miles, NASA’s InSight spacecraft successfully touched down on Mars on Monday. The lander will study the planet’s interior with self-hammering probes and monitor for “Marsquakes.” InSight marks the 8th successful landing on our neighboring red planet, and is the first spacecraft to touch down on Mars since the Curiosity rover in 2012.
  • 6’4”: Holstein steer Knickers grabbed headlines this week as the biggest cow in Australia. At 6 feet 4 inches and 3,000 pounds, he stands head and shoulders above his fellow cattle. “You’ll put him in a paddock and all the other cattle seem to get attracted to him,” owner Geoff Pearson told ABC News. “Whenever he wants to get up and start walking there’s a trail of hundreds of cattle following him. We all know when Knickers is on the move.”
One more thing...

Photo by Janneke van der Pol, flower design by Matilde Boelhouwer

Dutch designer Matilde Boelhouwer has created artificial flowers to help feed insect pollinators and save exhausted bees in cities.

The flowers are made of screen-printed polyester petals and 3D-printed plastic. Rather than replicate actual flowers, Boelhouwer used her own designs inspired by those found in nature.

Boelhouwer launched the project, known as Food for Buzz, after reading a study that found the entire flying insect population has dropped by 75% over the last 27 years in some parts of Germany (and elsewhere).

The project's long-term effects on the insect population are TBD, but the flowers' efforts to provide food and respite do appear to be working.
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