Tech’s $1 billion unicorn startups are ready to party

Hello, and welcome to this week’s edition of the Insider Tech newsletter, where we break down the biggest news in tech, including:

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This week: The hot unicorn summer is here

Once upon a time a startup that attained a $1 billion valuation was a rare feat – rare enough that those that achieved it were called unicorns. Today, unicorns are seemingly everywhere and new ones are being created all the time.

In the second quarter of 2021, there were 136 new unicorns created. That’s more than all the unicorns created in 2020. Is it the pent-up enthusiasm for re-opening? The ongoing result of low interest rates? A sign of trouble ahead? Check out the list of the 136 new unicorns and see if you can discern any pattern.

Unicorn

In other startup and VC news:

Garrett Camp’s VC fund is breaking all the rules with a new accelerator for fledging founders. Here’s how it’s different.

Tech startups can’t hire fast enough. Here are 25 important people to know if you want to land one of those jobs.

Meet Shift5, the 50-person security startup quietly hiring execs away from hot startups like Tanium and Armis and landing millions in military contracts

Money app Revolut’s valuation has jumped 500% to $33 billion after raising $800 million from SoftBank and Tiger Global


Deal Watch…

Here’s a wild deal to ponder: Amazon Web Services buys Salesforce.

Impossible, right? After all, Amazon is currently facing the most intense antitrust scrutiny in its nearly three decades of existence. And the FTC’s new chairwoman, Lina Khan, is an avowed Amazon skeptic (so much so that Amazon is trying to force her to sit out any proceedings involving the company).

But… If Amazon were to spin off its AWS cloud computing business, the latter could potentially acquire Salesforce, some analysts reckon.

Spinoffs and acquisitions are all just hypotheticals of course. Far less speculative is a stronger alliance between AWS and Salesforce, building on their 2016 partnership. That’s because each party provides something the other doesn’t currently have in their product offerings. Together (particularly once Salesforce’s acquisition of Slack closes) they can offer a more well-rounded alternative to their mutual enemy: Microsoft.

Read the full story here:

Why Salesforce and Amazon are becoming each other’s best allies in the battle against Microsoft – and how they could become even closer

Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff and Amazon Web Services CEO Adam Selipsky
(L to R) Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff, Amazon Web Services CEO Adam Selipsky

In other Big Tech news:

Confessions of Google employees: the company is too big and needs to be broken up

Oracle insiders say a key cloud VP is out after about a year. Here are the details on the big changes at Oracle’s important cloud security business.

Facebook’s chief diversity officer reveals how she’s increasing BIPOC leadership at the tech giant

TikTok’s search algorithm has been auto-suggesting potentially harmful eating disorder content when users type the first few letters of banned keywords


The Big Read

Fort Lauderdale asked Elon Musk to build a commuter train tunnel. So how did it end up with a plan for a $30 million beach tunnel for Teslas instead?

Tesla CEO Elon Musk with a hardhat.JPG
Elon Musk

Insider obtained emails and other documents through freedom of information requests to piece together the makings of a curious deal that raised eyebrows when it was hastily announced this month.

The documents show how starstruck city officials turned to a tech-industry celebrity to solve a difficult problem and – for the moment at least – ended up instead agreeing to buy something they hadn’t been looking for, and may not really need.

Click here to read the full story


Snapshot: Ukraine Crypto Bust!

You might think that shelves crammed with PlayStation consoles belong to an electronics retailer.

According to the Ukraine police however, the picture below is an underground cryptocurrency mining operation.

Metal racks with Sony Playstation consoles in a Ukraine crypto mine
Gaming consoles in Ukraine.

Some 3,800 Sony PlayStations were discovered in the facility, located in a town about three hours outside the capital of Kyiv, along with 5,000 computers, 50 processors and an assortment of notebooks, phones and flash drives.

“Such illegal activity could lead to power surges and left people without electricity,” the Security Service of Ukraine declaimed in a press release announcing the big bust.

For their alleged theft of electricity, water and thermal energy, the crypto miners now face criminal proceedings. And investigations are underway to identify other conspirators.


Quote of the week:

Kelsey Hightower, principle engineer at Google and self-taught developer. His arms are crossed and he's wearing a grey shirt in front of a textured brown background.
Kelsey Hightower, principle engineer at Google and self-taught developer.

“There’s this idea that you need to be passionate about technology to be successful: That’s actually not true. It helps, but it is not a requirement.”

– Google cloud expert Kelsey Hightower, who taught himself computer science and has become one of the most sought-after speakers in the enterprise tech field. According to Hightower, the key is optimizing your skills for the jobs that people are hiring for.


Not necessarily in tech:

We found Jeffrey Epstein’s other little black book from 1997. Search all 349 names in our exclusive database.


Thanks for reading, and if you like this newsletter, tell your friends and colleagues they can sign up here to receive it.

– Alexei

Read the original article on Business Insider

Fintech startups in Europe raised $17 billion in 2021. See 14 of the pitch decks they used to land millions from VCs.

alexander and oliver kent braham
Marshmallow founders Alexander and Oliver Kent Braham raised $30 million earlier this year.

  • Fintech and insurance startups in Europe have raised $17 billion in a record year for investment.
  • Insider has reported extensively on both sectors as investor appetite soared.
  • These pitch decks reveal how 14 different startups pitched their visions and products to investors.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Financial services and insurance startups are the crown jewels of European tech right now.

A host of regulatory and market changes have meant that the sector in Europe has grown rapidly in recent years, bringing in higher round sizes, valuations, and bigger investors than ever. 2021 has already been a record year for the industries with a combined $17 billion being poured in by investors already.

Beyond the initial wave of payments disruptors and challenger banks, a set of nuanced solutions to complex consumer and business issues are emerging across the continent.

Both insurance tech and fintech have seen mega deals this year. Swedish buy now, pay later giant Klarna raised from SoftBank at a $45.6 billion valuation, cementing its status as Europe’s most valuable private company. Similarly, Germany’s Wefox hit a $3 billion valuation after raising the continent’s largest ever insurance tech round at $650 million.

Below are 14 pitch decks from fast-growing European tech startups in the fintech and insurance spaces.

Insurance tech

Jean Charles Samuelian Werve   Voyez Vous (Vinciane Lebrun)  0639
Jean Charles Samuelian Werve, Alan CEO, landed $223 million.

Insurance is having a real moment in Europe. In 2021, European insurance tech startups have already raised more than in the entirety of 2020 with $1.9 billion invested over 52 deals, per Pitchbook. Here are six notable raises from the past 12 months:

Fintech

Adriaan Ken 1
Mollie cofounder Adriaan Mol and CCO Ken Serdons raised $106 million this year.

Fintech has been on a growth tear in Europe for a number of years and has shown few signs of slowing down. Everything from anti-money laundering to cloud infrastructure for banking is covered below with a number of unicorn businesses sharing their secrets to investment success.

Like insurance, fintech funding in 2021 has broken past 2020’s total and has already surpassed 2019 – a record year for the sector in Europe – this year, per Dealroom data. Fintech startups drew €8.6 billion ($10.2 billion) last year but have already topped €12.7 billion in 2021.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Europe’s hottest fintech startups raised $17 billion in 2021. See 14 of the pitch decks they used to land millions from VCs

alexander and oliver kent braham
Marshmallow founders Alexander and Oliver Kent Braham raised $30 million earlier this year.

  • Fintech and insurance startups in Europe have raised $17 billion in a record year for investment.
  • Insider has reported extensively on both sectors as investor appetite soared.
  • These pitch decks reveal how 14 different startups pitched their visions and products to investors.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Financial services and insurance startups are the crown jewels of European tech right now.

A host of regulatory and market changes have meant that the sector in Europe has grown rapidly in recent years, bringing in higher round sizes, valuations, and bigger investors than ever. 2021 has already been a record year for the industries with a combined $17 billion being poured in by investors already.

Beyond the initial wave of payments disruptors and challenger banks, a set of nuanced solutions to complex consumer and business issues are emerging across the continent.

Both insurance tech and fintech have seen mega deals this year. Swedish buy now, pay later giant Klarna raised from SoftBank at a $45.6 billion valuation, cementing its status as Europe’s most valuable private company. Similarly, Germany’s Wefox hit a $3 billion valuation after raising the continent’s largest ever insurance tech round at $650 million.

Below are 14 pitch decks from fast-growing European tech startups in the fintech and insurance spaces.

Insurance tech

Jean Charles Samuelian Werve   Voyez Vous (Vinciane Lebrun)  0639
Jean Charles Samuelian Werve, Alan CEO, landed $223 million.

Insurance is having a real moment in Europe. In 2021, European insurance tech startups have already raised more than in the entirety of 2020 with $1.9 billion invested over 52 deals, per Pitchbook. Here are six notable raises from the past 12 months:

Fintech

Adriaan Ken 1
Mollie cofounder Adriaan Mol and CCO Ken Serdons raised $106 million this year.

Fintech has been on a growth tear in Europe for a number of years and has shown few signs of slowing down. Everything from anti-money laundering to cloud infrastructure for banking is covered below with a number of unicorn businesses sharing their secrets to investment success.

Like insurance, fintech funding in 2021 has broken past 2020’s total and has already surpassed 2019 – a record year for the sector in Europe – this year, per Dealroom data. Fintech startups drew €8.6 billion ($10.2 billion) last year but have already topped €12.7 billion in 2021.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Nextdoor raises $686 million at an implied valuation of $4.3 billion and says it will go public via a SPAC

Nextdoor CEO Sarah Friar sits on stage in front of a blue background smiling.
Nextdoor CEO Sarah Friar

  • Nextdoor, the social network for neighbors, plans to go public at a valuation of $4.3 billion.
  • It aims to list on Nasdaq by merging with a blank-check company owned by Khosla Ventures.
  • The merger will generate $686 million for Nextdoor.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Nextdoor, the social network for neighbors, is to go public via a blank-check merger at an expected valuation of $4.3 billion.

The company plans to list on the Nasdaq exchange through a reverse merger with a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) operated by Khosla Ventures, and will raise $686 million in doing so, it said Tuesday.

Nextdoor, founded in 2011, allows neighbors to plan events and discuss local issues, among other things. The Nextdoor network operates in 275,000 neighborhoods, the company says.

Nextdoor said Tuesday that it hopes to use the proceeds of the deal to grow its user base and ramp up monetization of its platform for small businesses.

Investors in Nextdoor’s latest fundraising include T. Rowe Price, Soroban Capital, and Baron Capital Group. Axel Springer, Insider’s parent company, is also an investor in Nextdoor.

Nextdoor had been considering going public either through a direct listing or a SPAC – also known as a blank-check company – since last year, Bloomberg first reported, citing unnamed sources close to the matter.

The deal announced Tuesday is subject to approval by Khosla shareholders and is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2021.

Nextdoor raised $393 million in venture capital funding, according to data from Crunchbase.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Silicon Valley is falling in love with ads again and tech CEOs are acting weirdly

Hello, and welcome to this week’s edition of the Insider Tech newsletter, where we break down the biggest news in tech, including:

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This week: Silicon Valley is falling in love with ads … again

Tobias Lütke shopify

The great reopening is here, and with it, the opening of the purse strings for corporate marketing dollars.

That’s good news for tech companies whose business models rely on digital advertising, like Google and Facebook. But there’s a growing number of other tech companies you might not think of as advertising businesses who are looking to get in on the action.

Shopify, the $182 billion Canadian ecommerce powerhouse, is readying a new tool to let merchants tap into its data so they can target ads to potential customers on Facebook and Google, Insider reported.

  • The tool, called Shopify Audiences, could be a first step in a broader push into advertising by Shopify that could ultimately involve selling ads on its own platform.

And Instacart, the grocery delivery startup poised for an IPO, has been quietly building an ad business that Insider’s Tom Dotan reported is on track to generate $1 billion by 2022.

The rush to bolt on advertising business may seem counterintuitive given the well-publicized privacy changes on iPhones that make it tougher for app makers to track users and target ads at them. But those restrictions apply to the data that apps collect by tracking users on iPhones. Platforms with their own audiences can treat their data however they want. In fact, with Apple’s clampdown, the demand for data from the likes of Shopify seems likely to only become more valuable.

If you’re into ads, make sure to sign up for Insider Advertising, the newsletter that brings together our best scoops and reporting on the media and advertising industry.


The summer of tech mogul weirdness

mark zuckerberg facebook

It’s tough to say exactly what’s driving the trend, but the captains of the tech industry have been acting … differently, of late. Maybe it’s the result of 16 months in lockdown, or maybe it’s something in the Silicon Valley water. Whatever the cause, consider these recent incidents:

Who knows what to expect next as the summer heats up.


Snapshot: The $28 million chair

It looks like the kind of thing a sadistic dentist might try to strap you into, but this curious reclining chair and wraparound headrest is actually a coveted seat on Jeff Bezos’ spacecraft – the Blue Origin New Shepard – scheduled for takeoff in T minus 24 days.

blue origin new shepard crew capsule seat

There are six of these seats in the rocket’s capsule, but only four will be filled on the first ride: One for Bezos, one for his brother Mark, and two for a pair of unidentified passengers, one of whom ponied up $28 million for the privilege of the ride.

The seats are positioned next to giant windows so the passengers can relax and enjoy the celestial views. But the ride will be bumpy – the seats are designed to absorb some of the impact as the capsule soars more than 62 miles above sea level, with a force three times stronger than gravity that will pin the passengers to their chairs, and then plummets back down to Earth for a landing in the Texas desert.

One thing missing from the picture is a bucket, which might come in handy since first-time fliers apparently often throw-up during launch or landing.


Quote of the week:

Ashish Toshniwal is the founder and CEO of Y Media Labs, a global digital product and design agency.
Ashish Toshniwal is the founder and CEO of Y Media Labs.

“Almost no company has the resources to combat every social issue, and while making firm stances on social issues is great, creating real change requires diving deeply into a single issue, becoming educated, and taking concrete steps to combat the problem.”

– Ashish Toshniwal, Founder and CEO of Y Media Labs, describing how his company approached the challenge of effectively using its resources to drive social change.


You’re invited: Join us Tuesday at 12 p.m ET for a virtual event presented by PwC, spotlighting the biggest trends CEOs will focus on in the next 12 months. Register here.


Recommended readings:

Amazon pays struggling employees as much as $30,000 to leave and never work at the company again, leaked documents show

Augmented reality is waiting for its 2007 iPhone moment, according to the lead investor in the AR startup bought by Snap for $500 million

Leaked memo: Google is spinning up a new internal group focused on machine learning in a push to make ‘substantial gains’ in AI

We read all 323 pages of 23andMe’s SPAC filing. Here are the 5 biggest obstacles it faces after its public debut.

These 10 AI startups raised the biggest Series A and B rounds of the last 2 years and are poised to boom

Andreessen Horowitz partner Martin Casado says the cost of cloud computing is a $100 billion drag on the biggest software companies, sparking a huge debate across the industry

The head of Toyota’s VC arm has $300 million to spend on startups. Here’s what he’s looking for before he offers terms.


Not necessarily in tech:

Insider investigation reveals officials helped sell access to California public schools to Chinese elite


Thanks for reading, and if you like this newsletter, tell your friends and colleagues they can sign up here to receive it.

– Alexei

Read the original article on Business Insider

Andreessen Horowitz raises $2.2 billion for its largest ever cryptocurrency fund

Marc Andreessen Ben Horowtiz Andreessen Horowitz

Andreessen Horowitz (a16z) announced Thursday it is launching a $2.2 billion crypto fund to deploy more capital across blockchain and digital asset projects.

The fund, called “Crypto Fund III,” is a16z’s third and largest crypto venture fund.

“The size of this fund speaks to the size of the opportunity before us: crypto is not only the future of finance but, as with the internet in the early days, is poised to transform all aspects of our lives,” Katie Haun and Chris Dixon, partners who will co-lead the fund, said in a blog post.

The Financial Times reported in April that the venture capital firm would be raising $1 billion for a crypto fund. After that news, several VCs told Insider that firms have been scrambling to get into crypto deals.

A16z’s first crypto-focused fund in 2018 ushered in $300 million of LP commitments. Its second fund, which closed in April 2020, brought in about $515 million.

One of the firm’s first forays into crypto was a 2013 investment in Coinbase. This April, A16z exited Coinbase upon the cryptocurrency exchange’s public debut. According to estimates, the venture capital fund made so much money on Coinbase it may have banked enough to repay its last two funds totaling $4.5 billion.

A16z is also adding a swath of new hires to the crypto team. Among them is Bill Hinman, former director of the SEC division of corporation finance, and Brent McIntosh, former Under Secretary of the Treasury for International Affairs.

Read the original article on Business Insider

MAKING BIG MONEY: The ultimate guides to breaking into careers with 6-figure salaries

Caroline Stokes
Caroline Stokes is the CEO of talent agency and executive search firm FORWARD, and an expert on growing your career in management consulting.

  • You want to increase your salary but don’t know how to get that promotion or land that job.
  • These guides will point you in the right direction by shifting to freelance or learning new skills.
  • Insider regularly interviews experts about making more money. You can read them all by subscribing to Insider.

Looking for a career move that can boost cash flow? These professions and positions help add the good kind of zeros to your salary. Read these articles to help you combine a career you love with a paycheck you want – and for advice on how to get there.

Full-time gigs

IT professional: 3 IT professionals who didn’t get a college degree and are now making 6 figures reveal how to succeed in their field

Management consultant: How to get onto the partner track at McKinsey and make millions, according to 3 management-consulting headhunters and a former McKinsey HR manager

Engineer: The best way to teach yourself to code and land a six-figure job, from 5 people who’ve done it

Marketing consultant: The ultimate guide to breaking into marketing consulting and making 6 figures, from people who did it

VC: How to break into venture capital and land a job at a top firm, according to recruiters, managing partners, and executive coaches in the VC space

Crisis manager: Crisis managers are taking center stage during the pandemic – and can make a lucrative living. Here’s how to break into the in-demand role, according to 5 veterans in the industry.

Software engineer: 3 software engineers reveal the steps they took to move up in their careers to make 6-figure salaries

Executive in gaming or esports: The non-engineer’s guide to landing a 6-figure job in online gaming or esports, according to senior executives and CEOs in the space

Freelance or independent gigs

General freelancer: The ultimate guide to going freelance – and making more than you did at a full-time gig

Software engineer: Freelance software engineers making over $100,000 a year reveal how they got started, find clients, and set their rates

Ghostwriter: How to become a freelance ghostwriter, according to someone who left her $50,000-a-year banking job and now makes $80,000 a year on her own time

Graphic designer: The best way to build a client base and make 6 figures as a freelance graphic designer, according to 6 people who are currently doing it

Web designer: How to find clients and market your business as an independent web designer, according to 6-figure freelancers who did it

Presentation designer: The exact email one freelance presentation designer uses to increase her rates – and how she plans to make $400,000 this year

Independent consultant: How 5 executives who left their jobs to become independent consultants now make 6 figures on their own time – and how you could do the same

Real estate agent: How to make 6 figures as an independent real estate agent, according to someone who did it

Dietitian: How to earn a 6-figure salary as a dietitian or nutritionist, according to 4 renowned entrepreneurs in the industry

Personal trainer: How to earn a 6-figure salary as a personal trainer, according to 3 people who are doing it

Online tutor: How to become a highly successful online tutor and make a lucrative living as virtual learning becomes the norm

Poshmark seller: The ultimate guide to earning 6 figures on Poshmark, according to star sellers who’ve done it and gained boatloads of customers

Ecommerce seller: The ultimate guides to using popular platforms like Amazon, Depop, and eBay to start your own online business, sell to a massive audience, and make big money

Massage therapist and birth coach: A New-York-based doula and massage therapist reveals the exact formula that’s helped her build an almost 6-figure business solely by word-of-mouth referrals

Upwork freelancer: Self-employed professionals who’ve made over $100,000 on Upwork reveal how they built lucrative businesses in just a few years on the freelancing platform

Freelancer.com freelancer: How to land gigs and build a 6-figure career on Freelancer.com, according to the CEO and freelancers who’ve done it

Fiverr freelancer: 6-figure sellers on the freelancing platform Fiverr share how they landed clients and built successful businesses online

Read the original article on Business Insider

See the pitch decks that buzzy real estate and construction tech startups used to raise millions from top VCs

Cove.tool founders (from left) Sandeep Ahuja, Patrick Chopson and Daniel Chopson. They're smiling and wearing Cove.tool shirts and blazers.
Cove.tool cofounders (from left) Daniel Chopson, Sandeep Ahuja, and Patrick Chopson built a platform that drastically cuts down the amount of time it takes to analyze a building’s energy efficiency. They raised $5.7 million.

  • Proptech firms were already hot, but the pandemic lured more VCs to invest in them than ever before.
  • Real estate and construction tech tools became essential to many businesses once they went remote.
  • These pitch decks reveal how 16 different startups pitched their visions and products to investors.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

The real estate and construction industries are undergoing a major tech transformation, as startups touting everything from online home-buying to interactive office management software attract millions of dollars in venture funding.

While the property technology space, known as proptech, grew in size and dollars raised year over year, it has exploded during the pandemic. Stragglers who hadn’t yet adopted digital workflows were forced to, and venture capitalists have been pouring money into the firms offering compelling new products in residential real estate, commercial real estate, construction tech, and short-term rentals and hospitality.

Insider has collected 16 pitch decks that the most successful firms have used to raise funding from VCs and private equity firms.

Check out the full collection below. And bookmark this page, because we will continue to update it with new pitch decks.

Residential real estate

Doorvest Co Founder Image
Andrew Luong (left) and Justin Kasad, who raised $2.5 million for their single-family rental startup Doorvest.

Residential real estate, more than any other segment of the market, has been on fire during the pandemic, with home prices and rents in almost every corner of the country skyrocketing. Venture investment into the tech that powers the industry – and helps take it online and streamline formerly tedious processes – has followed. Startups that help investors purchase and manage homes from afar, tools for residential brokers and leasing agents, and digital closing companies that digitize paper-heavy real estate transactions have all raised impressive sums.

Commercial real estate

Nick Gayeski, cofounder and CEO of Clockwork Analytics
Nick Gayeski, cofounder and CEO of Clockwork Analytics, which raised $8 million for its platform that monitors building ventilation.

Even though COVID-19 has left many offices partially filled and retail stores vacant, startups that help companies make their spaces virus-safe – by, say, keeping track of social distancing or monitoring building ventilation – became extremely important. Firms that promised to reduce friction (and costs) in day-to-day operations by digitizing them also attracted venture investment.

Construction tech

Mosaic cofounder and CEO Salman Ahmad
Mosaic cofounder and CEO Salman Ahmad works on ways to build homes faster and cheaper. He raised $14 million last year.

The pandemic boosted traditional construction companies’ interest in the high-tech corner of the sector. Startups that make digital tools to manage worksites from afar suddenly became indispensable, while the current housing shortage brought even more attention to companies that are developing ways to build faster and more cheaply.

Short-term rentals and hospitality

Roman Pedan, Kasa Founder and CEO
Founder and CEO Roman Pedan raised $30 million for his short-term rental startup Kasa.

Early in the pandemic, hospitality businesses stalled as travel halted across the globe. Once things opened back up, short-term rental companies with rural locations or a presence in smaller cities started to see the reservations – and funding – pour in. As a vaccinated travel boom looms, the tech-enabled companies rivaling Airbnb that enable flexible tourism, digital nomadism, and remote work are poised to benefit.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Miami and Space – the new battlegrounds for tech’s top egos

Hello, and welcome to this week’s edition of the Insider Tech newsletter, where we break down the biggest news in tech, including:

Did someone forward this newsletter to you? Sign up here.

Soundtrack: This week’s newsletter has been specially designed to be consumed while listening to David Bowie’s “Starman.”


This week: Tech egos are clashing, from the shores of Miami to the depths of space

Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, Richard Branson
Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, Richard Branson

For more than a year, Silicon Valley techies have abandoned their homeland and poured into Miami in search of startup El Dorado. As Candy Cheng reports, the influx of newcomers is causing friction with the locals.

If not Miami, then space. There’s another group of brash Silicon Valley adventurers setting off for new horizons, and lucky for them, where they’re going there are no locals to clash with (we think).

Meanwhile, rival space entrepreneur Sir Richard Branson may try to beat Bezos to orbit by blasting off in a Virgin Galactic spaceship on July 4.

Elon Musk, the other space race billionaire, has yet to announce plans for his own imminent trip. But chatter has centered on a prediction from a 1953 book that describes a leader called “Elon” leading humans to Mars– seriously.

And a former Blue Origin employee has just raised $650 million to build 3D-printed rockets.

Even Palantir, the data analysis company, has a spacebound employee. Kelli Gerardi 32-year old Tik Tok star and logistics expert at Palantir, will be aboard a separate Virgin Galactic flight expected to launch in 2022.

“Less than a thousand humans have ever been to space – fewer than 100 women, only a handful of moms – and my 3-year-old is going to watch her mommy become one of them,” Gerardi told Insider.


Startups to watch

Li Jin, Hans Tung, Gabby Cazeau, and Mike Duboe on a purple background.
Li Jin, Hans Tung, Gabby Cazeau, and Mike Duboe.

Insider asked dozens of top VCs to name the most promising Startups of 2021. They were asked to nominate startups they had invested in as well as ones where they had no financial ties. And they delivered an exciting list of companies, across all stages from newly launched to unicorns, each thriving for different reasons.

In our first on a series of stories of the Most Promising Startups of 2021, we present a list of 46, many of whom were named by multiple VCs as being companies to watch this year.

Read the full story:

46 of the most promising startups of 2021, according to top VCs


Snaphot: Polaroid’s life lesson

Yesterday’s innovative breakthrough is today’s retro tchotchke, and the miniaturized version of Polaroid’s classic instant camera is a fun, and instructive, reminder of the olden times.

The tiny plastic Polaroid Go spits out photos that gradually, over a period of 10 to 15 minutes, develop all by themselves. Once upon a time, that was a big deal – it meant you didn’t have to take your film to be developed at a shop and then wait a couple of days to get prints of your photos.

The Polaroid Go

For today’s digital generation, there’s nothing special about being able to view pictures right away, of course.

But perhaps the Polaroid has something better than mere nostalgia to offer Gen Z.

Scarcity is an increasingly foreign concept to those living in a time of super-low interest rates, bottomless social media feeds, on-demand streaming movies, and smartphone cameras that take infinite selfies. With a film camera – even a toy-like instant camera – you only get a finite number of pictures. Each shot needs to count. Imagine that.


Recommended readings:

‘I was pregnant and then I wasn’t.’ How a miscarriage led a startup employee to build a company that’s now funded by Alexis Ohanian’s Seven Seven Six.

VMware is in an all-out sprint to grow its $1 billion security business, doubling its engineering staff to compete with cyber giants like Microsoft and Cisco

Travis Kalanick’s CloudKitchens loses second exec in a month

This pitch deck persuaded Softbank to make its first banking tech investment, sending Zeta’s valuation rocking to $1.45 billion

IBM salaries revealed: How much the $132 billion tech giant paid software engineers, business analysts, and more in 2021

Top executives at Magic Leap are leaving the company in the biggest leadership shakeup under CEO Peggy Johnson


Not necessarily in tech:

Subway cofounder Fred DeLuca ruled the company like a demigod and pursued wives of franchisees. How one man sent the world’s biggest fast-food chain into a tailspin.


Thanks for reading, and if you like this newsletter, tell your friends and colleagues they can sign up here to receive it.

– Alexei

Read the original article on Business Insider

A ‘bulldog’ who ‘cuts through the bulls—‘: Here’s how insiders describe early Robinhood investor Jason Calacanis

Jason Calacanis
Jason Calacanis

Jason Calacanis has had several incarnations during his more than two decades in tech, making waves as a publisher, a blogger and an entrepreneur.

Today, he’s living his latest, and seemingly most successful, life as a startup investor. He was among the first VC investors in Uber, Calm and Robinhood, among others, and he runs the boot-camp-like Launch “accelerator” to help startups founders make it to the big leagues.

And, almost every day, he’s preaching his philosophy and broadcasting his opinions through various podcasts and newsletters.

If there’s one thing the peers, portfolio company founders, friends and frenemies of Calacanis all agree on, it’s his default setting as a polarizing lightning rod. People close to Calacanis describe him as impulsive, brilliant, opinionated, and brash – sometimes all in the same conversation.

Calacanis doesn’t disagree. “Most folks think I’m lucky, some say I’m a complete fraud, and a handful think I’m a brilliant hype man, and I don’t agree with any of them – I agree with all of them,” he wrote in his 2017 book, “Angel: How to Invest in Technology Startups.”

To chart Calacanis’s rise up Silicon Valley’s clubby investor ranks, Insider spoke with more than 50 people close to him for the most in-depth profile of the investor to date.

Here are a few excerpts from those conversations that show just how polarizing of a figure Calacanis has become in Silicon Valley’s venture capital and startup scene.

  • “There is nobody out there that has not gone to war with Jason at some point. But the funny thing is, then, a year later, they are back on his podcast or back asking him for a job.” Brian Alvey, a former business partner and childhood friend.
  • “Would I want him on my side? Absolutely. He’s a bulldog.” – Launch alum Jeremy Redman
  • “He’s the type of person who will give you blunt feedback and advice. It’s going to hurt – a lot.” – Launch alum Sheri Atwood
  • “He cuts through the bull– and gets right to the point. It was not like he needed to see a business plan, projections, all the paperwork.”Christy Liu, cofounder of Wanderfly, a travel recommendation startup that was acquired by TripAdvisor.
  • “He’s kind of earned the right” to make bold claims on Twitter and “his track record speaks for itself.” – Launch alum George Charkviani

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