Betterment vs Wealthfront. Amazon's latest patent.
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Four P.S.'s

Hi there,

2000+ startups.

That's how many applied to present at CB Insights Demo Day on Dec 12th.

Here's a view into the demo day applicants by industry.

Only 60 of the 2000+ will be selected to present. 

Yes, we're more selective than Y Combinator and Harvard.

Demo Day will be amazing.

Tickets are available here. Use code "unicorn" to get $500 off.


For our first six years as a company, I never thought about CB Insights' valuation.

And then we raised $10M.

And all of a sudden, right after raising, I found my mind wandering.

On my own, I started to occasionally think about our valuation and SaaS multiples. This never happened before we raised.

[insert amazing clip art]

We never thought of these things before because:

  1. we have zero control over them
  2. our customers don't care about them
Luckily, my mind didn't wander for too long.

And it went back to what we like.
Price/revenue multiples in SaaS - yawn.

Perhaps we're dumb and myopic? Could be.

When we said we don't have an exit plan, many folks on Reddit certainly seemed to think so. 

Or perhaps, startup land has become corroded by this finance'y mindset. 

More below.


Betterment vs Wealthfront

Betterment and Wealthfront - how do they stack up?

  • Across AUM and client accounts?
  • Across hiring growth and web traffic?
  • Do they share any investors? (answer: yes)

We pulled registered investment advisor data and mashed it up with CB Insights data to deliver this pretty epic comparison of two of the most well-known robo-advisors to see who is winning.

The $400M failure?

When Trello sold for $400M, a blog post highlighted why they failed to build a $1B business (see The Blurb).

Jon Westenberg penned an amazing post (also see The Blurb) discussing the absolute absurdity of this premise and our current collective b0ner for unicorns and billion dollar valuations.

Read Jon's post.  It's great.

Here's an excerpt.

Mark Suster, a VC, offered a similar critique (also see The Blurb).

Yes - in our altered reality right now, we have defined startup success according to two things:

  • How much you've raised.  For example, there is a SaaS company that has raised almost $200M, is valued on paper at $600M, is burning gobs of money and is doing $50M in ARR.  This company is a "hot company" in startup land that folks talk up regularly despite dumpster fire fundamentals.  And yet, Trello could have done better after exiting for $400M after only raising $10M.
  • What's good for the financiers.  Success is often talked about in the media by whether the company is a 10-bagger (an investment that has appreciated 10x from initial investment) or whether it returned the whole fund?  Or did it hit the arbitrary $1B valuation mark? If it does any of those, success.  If not, well...that's ok.  Nice "lifestyle business" you have there or why didn't you build a billion dollar company.
Oddly, success is often framed relative to what is good for the financiers - not the startup employees, founders, customers, etc. 

The "venture industrial complex" as Devin Matthews of ParkerGale Capital has described it is incredibly strong. (see The Blurb as well for his article).


Amazon's newly granted patent for on-demand apparel panel cutting would enable the company to manufacture custom-measured clothing on-demand.

The innovation creates a system for robo-cutting fabrics into any shape, form, or pattern specified in customer orders.


The Industry Standard 

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

Reuters. Heather Somerville (@heathersomervil) on how Magic Leap is looking to raise up to $1B in new funding, per a regulatory filing unearthed by CB Insights.

Financial Times. A look at SoftBank's investments and where the VC ranks with a reference to data found in the CB Insights and PwC Q3'17 MoneyTree Report.

Business Insider. Kif Leswing (@kifleswingreports on Magic Leap's goal of raising up to $1B in financing and references a CB Insights regulatory filing

Happy Monday.

I love you.


P.S. We'll be diving into Q3'17 fintech trends this Thursday. Join us for the discussion.

P.P.S. We now have 3000+ followers on Instagram. We share bad pie charts, stats for tech geeks and we also curse. Follow us.

P.P.P.S.  Want to work for a tech company that may or may not be worth $1B, check us out.

P.P.P.P.S. If you are a fintech company or investor, this breakdown of how to build an insanely fast growing fintech company is a must read.

The Blurb

A curated mix of articles worth sharing.

$400M is actually pretty good. Why Trello is a success story despite not building a $1B business.

Unicorn hangover. Too many people in the tech/startup world want to build a $1B company but don't want to do the hard work.
Both Sides Of The Table

Real talk. What the Venture Industrial Complex doesn't tell you.

Drop out. Why Trello had to sell to Atlassian instead of building a $1B business.
Product Habits

China's content king. Using machine and deep learning to create and serve content, China’s Toutiao created a product with engagement similar to that of social networks.
Y Combinator

What founders really want from VCs. Fred Destin (@fdestin) shares a list of 4 things founders want from an engaged investor.

Machine learning. 3 ways machine learning is revolutionizing IoT.

Network World

How did Q1 go? Reid Christian (@reidrmc) shares a guide on SaaS metrics.
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