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Bitcoin and Blockchain Startups



CB Insights:

We originally published this infographic 5/22/15 and updated it 3/2/16, as strategic investors across insurance (New York Life, Transamerica Ventures, AXA Strategic Ventures), telecom (Verizon Ventures, Orange Digital Ventures) and payments (Visa, MasterCard, American Express) among others dive into blockchain investing. As the chart below highlights, over 70 corporate and strategic investors are now invested in blockchain and/or bitcoin startups vs. fewer than 20 as of May 2015.

26 Largest FinTech Deals of 2015




new report from KPMG International and CB Insights shows that private funding flowed relatively freely into the fintech industry in 2015, feeding into an overall trend that has seen startups opt to stay private for longer.

 Investment in venture capital-backed fintech companies jumped more than 100 percent, hitting a record $13.8 billion in 2015. The number of deals also increased to 653 from 586 the year before.






56 Smart City Startups



CB Insights:

These are some of the segments that these startups are attacking:

  • Parking – Startups are improving the efficiency with which we park our cars, doing everything from booking (ParkWhiz), parking analytics (Parkifi), and smart metering (MeterFeeder).
  • Grid/Energy – These companies are using analytics, algorithms, and connectivity to keep supply and demand for electricity in balance.
  • Data-Driven Urban Planning – These companies are providing access to new, hyperlocal data about our cities and helping planners understand neighborhood needs better.
  • Smarter Transport – Startups that are making our existing transport smart (Zubie, Vinli), creating new smart vehicles (Ather Energy), new public transit options powered by data (Bridj, Shuttl), or smart bike-sharing programs (Zagster).
  • Environmental Sensors – Companies that are developing hardware to better understand our urban environment, from weather data, to pollution, to ambient sound.
  • Connectivity – Startups that are using different means to provide internet, connections, and infrastructure for new networks.
  • Waste Management – Using data and connected devices to optimize waste collection.
  • Traffic/Transit Data – Private companies that are using mobile and sensors to provide analytics around commutes and congestion.
  • Water Usage/Quality – Tools that help to analyze the traffic of water in our cities.


Every week, it seems, another city announces plans to become the next “smart city,” be greener than Kentucky bluegrass, and get hitched up to the Internet of Things. But what exactly makes a metropolis a truly intelligent and connected one? Is it employing a chief data officer? Installing sensors in every traffic light and parking space and adding a few more nodes to the Internet of Things? Building apps that make it easier for citizens to access public services?

This summer Google announced the launch of Sidewalk Labs, a venture with the nebulous mission of improving city living through technology. IBM, Cisco, and Intel have launched similar smart-city platforms—grids that will connect all of the data that municipalities generate from Internet-connected devices. With urban populations around the globe projected to double by 2050, new connected technologies promise to make cities more sustainable, cleaner, safer, and more vibrant.



125 HR Tech Startups and Market Landscape



CB Insights:

HR tech startups have seen considerable momentum, raising $2.4B in 2015.

The breakdown is as follows:

  • Recruiting Tools: This was the largest category in the market map. It includes company-information service GlassDoor as well as Hireology. This section includes Applicant Tracking as a sub category and countsGreenhouse Software in the section, among several others.   
  • Recruiting Marketplaces & Job Search Platform: Companies in this category include short-term job matching marketplace Jobbatical and job search engine Simply Hired. These startups are making it easier to find, post, and search for employment, among other things.
  • Recruiting: Contractors/Freelancers: Startups in this category are addressing on demand workers and part-time freelancers. Examples include HourlyNerd, which connects small- and mid-sized businesses to part-time consultants as well as HR software company, PeopleMatter.
  • Operations Management: HR outsourcing software OneSource Virtual is one of the more well-funded companies in the category, having raised $165M in funding to date. Companies here are addressing payroll, benefits, and other services.
  • HR Insurance/Benefits: Companies here are either brokering health insurance via HR and payroll software channels or helping insurance brokers modernize their operations. The category includes Gusto and Namely, which have raised $136M and $103M in funding to date, respectively.
  • Employee Perks: Startups here include employee reward software Bonusly, which counts FirstMark Capital and Bloomberg Beta as investors. This is the smallest category in the market map.
  • Culture & Productivity: Companies here measure, quantify, and improve employee culture and productivity through technology. The category includes company culture startup CultureIQ as well as Culture Amp, which uses analytics to provide insights on employee engagement and company culture.
  • Select HR Tech Exits: Notable exits in HR tech include Workday and job-search site Indeed, which exited for $4.4B and $1.4B, respectively.






The Robots Are Coming: Funding and Spending Doubling



CB Insights:

Funding to private robotics companies nearly doubled in 2015, reaching a record high in deals and dollars… Our robotics category excludes drones, but includes robotics companies focused on process and manufacturing automation, agricultural automation, surgical applications, and personal/social robots. Together, the companies have raised more than $1.4B in cumulative funding since 2011.

The highest funded round in 2015 was a $150M growth equity round raised by Auris Surgical Robotics, which is backed by investors including Lux Capital, Mithril Capital Management and NaviMed Capital.

Except for a 2013 slowdown in the rate of growth, robotics deals have been nearly doubling year-over-year.

Hizook (including drones):

2015 was an insane year for robotics companies; they raised $922.7M in VC funding — 170% more than in 2014. I’m almost certain that it exceeds $1 Billion, especially if you account for funding events in Asia (opaque to me) or if you take into account companies at the periphery of robotics (sensing, software, 3D printing, etc). Similar to previous years, a large portion of the funding went to medical companies and drone companies, but we also saw a lot of late-stage consumer robot financings this year (such as Jibo and Sphero) — but comparatively few agricultural or service robots. Still, I think it’s safe to say: 2015 was the year of the robotics startup!

[Funding in $Million]

Auris Surgical  $150   Drone Deploy $9  DJI $75  Wonder Workshop $6.9

3D Robotics  $64   Bionik Labs $6.2   Aeryon Labs $60

Squadrone Systems $5  Yuneec Electric $60  PetNet $4

Jibo  $52.3  Sky Futures  $3.8  Sphero $45   Gamma2 Robotics  $3.5

Zymergen  $44  RightHand Robotics  $3.3  EHANG  $42.0

Osaro  $3.3  Rethink Robotics  $40  Naio Technologies $3.3

GreyOrange Robotics  $30  Soft Robotics  $3  Medrobotics $25

RoboCV  $3  Xenex  $25  SkySpecs  $3

CyPhy Works  $22  Rapyuta Robotics $3  Fetch Robotics  $20

Harvest Automation $2.9  Blue River Tech.  $17  SynTouch $2.5

Peloton Technology $17  Flyability  $2.5  Lily Robotics $14

Dronomy $1.5  Cruise $12.5  Catalia Health  $1.5

Zimplistic $11.5  Mobile Indust. Robots  $1.4  Clearpath Robotics $11.2

Dash Robotics  $1.4 Virtual Incision Tech  $11.2


International Data Corporation (IDC) has identified robotics as one of six Innovation Accelerators that will drive digital transformation by opening new revenue streams and changing the way work is performed. In the new Worldwide Commercial Robotics Spending Guide, IDC forecasts global spending on robotics and related services to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 17% from more than $71 billion in 2015 to $135.4 billion in 2019. The new spending guide measures purchases of robotic systems, system hardware, software, robotics-related services, and after-market robotics hardware on a regional level across thirteen key industries and fifty-two use cases. …

Not surprisingly, worldwide robotics spending is dominated by the discrete and process manufacturing industries, which represented 33.2% and 30.2% of total spending in 2015, respectively. Resource, healthcare, and the transportation industries are the next three largest commercial industries in terms of overall robotics spending. Process manufacturing and healthcare are two of the fastest growing industries, with worldwide spending in each forecast to nearly double by 2019.

From a technology perspective, worldwide spending on robotics systems, which includes consumer, industrial, and service robots, is forecast to grow to nearly $32 billion in 2019. However, services-related spending, which encompasses applications management, education & training, hardware deployment, systems integration, and consulting, will grow to more than $32 billion in 2019, overtaking robotics systems and becoming both the largest and fastest-growing category of spending by the end of the forecast. Total spending on system hardware (servers and storage) and software (command & control, network infrastructure, and robotics-specific applications) will grow nearly as fast as services spending.

The Asia/Pacific region including Japan accounts for more than 65% of total robotics spending throughout the forecast. Europe, the Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) is the second largest region with expenditures of $14.6 billion in 2015, followed by the Americas with 2015 spending totals of $9.7 billion. Robotics spending will nearly double in Asia/Pacific over the 2015-2019 forecast period, making it the fastest growing region followed by the Americas.

64 Healthcare IoT Startups and Market Landscape



CB Insights:

Investor interest in IoT startups working in healthcare has grown hand-in-hand with the broader boom in digital health.

Increasingly, Internet of Things startups are finding new applications within healthcare and leveraging connected sensors to better diagnose, monitor, and manage patients and treatment. Many are focused on clinical-grade wearables to more robustly track patient data, while others see opportunity for sensor networks within hospitals and practices to optimize healthcare delivery and monitor patient adherence.

We broke down the healthcare IoT into the following categories:

Clinical efficiency

This category included startups that are using connected objects to improve the delivery of healthcare in hospitals and clinics, and also track treatments to boost the effectiveness of healthcare providers. Augmedix and Obaa, for example, enable smartglass wearables like Google Glass to be used for healthcare charting. And Simplifeye harnesses the Apple Watch for doctors to track patient visits and access EMRs. Others like Awarepoint use IoT sensors for location-tracking on patients and medical equipment in real-time, in what they call location-as-a-service. AdhereTech, another startup here, is a connected pill bottle that tracks medicine adherence.

Clinical-grade biometric sensors/wearables

Companies here were focused on connected biometric sensors for use in a clinical or hospital setting, and some companies in patient care (such asEarlySense and Monica Healthcare) have FDA approval. Quanttus, MC10, and others are developing clinical-grade wearables that are on the road to FDA approval. Other clinical IoT equipment included Eyenetra, a smart phone-enabled “auto-refractor” for vision testing.

Consumer/home monitoring

This group of companies develop technology marketed to consumers for the collection of biometric information. Startups in this space range from addiction cessation tracker Chrono Therapeutics to the smart thermometer made by Kinsa. Also included were monitoring systems like Qardio andAliveCor, which allow for ECG (electrocardiogram) testing to be done from home.

Brain sensors/neurotechnology

This was mostly comprised of startups trying to hack the brain with high-tech consumer-targeted cranial wearables. Ybrain and InteraXon (with its brain-sending headband, marketed as Muse) read brainwaves, and Thync transmits mood-elevating neurosignals.

Others, such as Neurovigil, are more clinical-grade projects focused on noninvasive neurotech (brain wave reading/recording) in order to analyze drug efficacy and track neuropathology. Neurovigil raised a Q2’15 Series A from Draper Fisher Jurvetson and entrepreneur Elon Musk, among other investors.

Fitness wearables

These were fitness tracking consumer wearables or smart apparel such as Lumo and OMsignal.

Sleep monitoring

Companies here were focused specifically on sleep tracking. Two examples in the space included Hello and Beddit.

Infant monitoring

Wearable technology that tracks infant movements and vitals. Companies here included Owlet and Sproutling, among others.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) Exits 2013-2016



CB Insights:

More than 20 private companies working to advance artificial intelligence technologies have been acquired in the last 3 years by corporate giants competing in the space, including Google, Amazon, Apple, IBM, Yahoo, Facebook, Intel, and, more recently, Salesforce. There have been 4 major acquisitions already in 2016.

Major Acquisitions In Artificial Intelligence Since 2013
Company Description Acquirer
DNNresearch Use of deep learning and neural networks for image search Google
Indisys Natural-language processing Intel
IQ Engines Image-recognition software Yahoo
LookFlow API for image recognition and categorization Yahoo
SkyPhrase Natural-language processing technology Yahoo
DeepMind Develops self-learning algorithms Google
Cogenea AI-based virtual assistant IBM
Madbits Deep learning-based visual intelligence platform to identify contents of images Twitter
Jetpac Aggregates social media pictures and analyzes their locations to provide a travel guide Google
Dark Blue Labs Deep learning-based technology for understanding natural language Google DeepMind
Vision Factory Object and text-recognition using deep learning Google DeepMind
Wit.ai Natural language API for developers in sectors including home automation and robotics Facebook
AlchemyAPI Cloud platform with natural-language capabilities including keyword extraction and categorization IBM
Whetlab The company claims to have developed a technology to make machine learning better and faster Twitter
Vocal IQ Speech-processing for improved human-machine interaction Apple
Orbeus Recognition API focused on visual recognition technology Amazon
Saffron Cognitive computing platform Intel
Emotient Emotion-detection technology to improve understanding of customer sentiment Apple
Nexidia Enables searching of unstructured audio, video, and text data NICE Systems
PredictionIO Open-source machine learning server Salesforce
MetaMind AI-based personalization and customer support solutions for companies Salesforce

Cannabis Startups and Market Landscape



Cannabis News:

Bang Holdings Corp. announced that it is aggressively targeting the enormous cannabis advertising void created by Google, whose restrictive advertising policies prohibit cannabis-related companies. After almost two years and more than a million dollars invested in building the first major digital advertising network to service the cannabis industry, Bang went public last month.

Second annual CannaTech conference brings hundreds of delegates from 15 countries to see what Israeli ‘cannapreneurs’ can offer them.

A new study published by the Journal of the American Medical Association indicates that in states with legalized marijuana, prescription painkiller deaths have reduced, on average, 20%.

12 celebrities in the marijuana business

The size of the market for legal marijuana in the United States is projected to grow to $7.1 billion in 2016, according to a report by New Frontier and ArcView Market Research. That represents 26% growth over the previous year, driven largely by adult recreational sales of marijuana, the researchers found.

CB Insights:

In April 2016, Pennsylvania became the 24th state to to legalize medical marijuana. With over 35 million Americans using medical marijuana each year, cannabis legalization is at the heart of a national debate — and a host of startups are looking to play a big part in its going mainstream.

Within the growing crop of cannabis startups, company formation and funding is happening across a number of categories, as highlighted below:

Delivery / Subscription eCommerce / Marketplace: Startups in this category include DCM-backed Eaze Solutions, which helps patients receive medical marijuana in California from dispensaries on-demand, as well as Meadow, which recently raised $2.1M for its delivery service and specialized cannabis sales software.

Compliance / Tracking: Startups in the area of cannabis compliance and seed-to-sale tracking software include FlowHub and MJ Freeway, which raised $8M from Tao Capital Partners and Roger McNamee in December 2015.

Transaction / Payments / Banking / Order Management: Companies helping facilitate ordering, payments, and banking of cannabis include Y Combinator-backed SericaPay and bank compliance platform Hypur.

Data / Analytics: Companies offering cannabis industry data as well as medical cannabis lab analytics include BDS Analytics and Steep Hill.

Social Networking: Social networking sites specified for the cannabis market include MassRoots, which recently filed to go public on the NASDAQ.

News / Discovery / Content: Companies helping to deliver news, content or ways to discover cannabis include marijuana dispensary and strain review site Leafly and cannabis lifestyle media site Merry Jane.

Investors / Accelerators / Holdings Cos: Cannabis-specific investors, accelerators and holding companies include Privateer Holdings, which itself has raised $82M from investors including Founders Fund as well as Casa Verde Capital, Snoop Dogg’s cannabis-focused fund.

Products: Startups offering consumer and enterprise cannabis-specific products include marijuana breathalyzer Hound Labs and marijuana packaging supply startup Kush Bottles.

Branding: Startups creating new cannabis brands or offering brand management include Strainz and Suncliff.


Consumer Goods Companies Disrupting P&G



CB Insights:

[The] companies attacking P&G’s brand portfolio, many of which are venture capital or investor-backed, ranging from cosmetics startup brands like Glossier, Stowaway and Julep Beauty, hair color firms like Madison Reed and eSalon and men’s razor and facial care providers such as Walker & Company, Harry’s and Dollar Shave Club (which recently announced its move into hair care with new brand Boogie’s). Many of these companies including Dollar Shave Club, Bevel, Julep and Madison Reed offer their products in subscription eCommerce models marketed directly at their target consumers online and so are innovating on both the product and distribution fronts versus incumbents like P&G or Unilever.


A Growing Share of IoT Investment Goes to Industrial IoT



CB Insights:

A growing slice of deals to Internet of Things startups are going to applications relevant to asset-heavy industries, including manufacturing, logistics, mining, oil, utilities and agriculture.

Q1’16, for example, saw financings to enterprise drone developer Airware and industrial augmented-reality headset maker Daqri.

We used CB Insights data to compare quarterly financing to the IoT and industrial IoT (IIoT), in order to visualize the industrial share of overall IoT funding,

IIoT companies have taken an increasingly larger piece of the overall IoT pie. In 2011, IIoT accounted for 17% of all funding dollars. Fast-forward to 2015, and IIoT accounted for 40% of investment in the year.

Most recently, Q1’16 saw more than one-third of IoT funding going to industrial-focused startups.


14 Downrounds, 5 New Unicorns: How The Mighty Have Fallen

106 Ed Tech Startups Disrupting Education



CB Insights:

Our map illustrates the following ed tech categories:

Broad Online Learning Platforms – Perhaps ed tech’s most visible segment, these platforms like Coursera, Udemy, and Khan Academy host educational content covering a wide variety of subjects, generally geared toward individuals.

Learning-Management Systems – Digital platforms that help classroom teachers communicate with students, track assignments, and share content, with features like online discussion boards, text notifications, and parent check-ins. LMS represents one of the largest categories within ed tech, and includes startups like HotChalk, Remind, and Nearpod.

Early Childhood Education – Educational toys and games for small children. Speakaboos, with $24M in disclosed funding, produces interactive, digital storybooks for children.

Language Learning – Digital platforms for English learning, like China’s51Talk and TutorGroup, and tools for learning numerous languages likeDuolingo.

Next-Gen Study Tools – Digitally-enhanced study tools, such as digital audiovisual flashcards (Picmonic), AI-based writing assistance (WriteLab), and gamified learning platforms (Kahoot!).

Enterprise Learning – Startups that help large organizations create and distribute business-learning content, such as EdCast and Inkling Systems.

Online-to-Offline – Digital platforms that connect students with live tutors or in-person programming. Beijing-based Gaosi Education, with $63M in disclosed funding, provides students with after-school tutoring.

School Administration – Tools for school administrators to support teachers, manage records, and implement school policy. Parchment, with $69M in disclosed funding, offers schools a software-as-a-service platform to manage electronic transcripts.

Next-Gen Schools – Startups aiming to reinvent the school experience. AltSchool, with $136M in disclosed funding, is building a network of K-8 schools. The Minerva Project and UniversityNow focus on new models for universities.

Curriculum Production – Digital platforms that produce and distribute educational content to schools, like Apex Learning.

Search – Helping students and parents research schools and their curricula. GreatSchools, with $27.5M in disclosed funding, offers information and parent ratings on public and private schools.

Tech Learning – Online tools that teach programming and other IT skills, including Pluralsight and Codecademy.

Test Prep – Digital-learning platforms focused on standardized testing, likeByju’s and Toppr in India, BenchPrep in the US, and Xiaozhan Jiaoyu in China.

The market map includes private, active ed tech companies that have raised money since 2011.


Top 5 Investors in the Industrial IoT



CB Insights:

The industrial IoT (IIoT) accounted for more than one-third of all IoT investment last quarter. But while the Industrial side of IoT is taking an increasing share of funding, the startup ecosystem in this category is still a nascent one. More than half of all deals in the past 5 quarters were seed or Series A stages.

Interestingly, 4 out of the 5 most active investors in Industrial IoT were industrial tech giants’ corporate venture arms. With their core businesses relying on digitizing industrial processes, investing in IIoT startups obviously offers them immense strategic value.

Q1 2016 VC investment in AR/VR 45% higher than previous quarter




Almost $1.2 billion was invested by VCs in AR/VR in the first quarter of 2016, with around $800 million going into Magic Leap. To put this in perspective, $1.2 billion dollars is 25x the level of AR/VR investment 2 years ago in Q2 2014.

Even without Magic Leap’s monster round, the remaining Q1 2016 investment was 45% higher than the previous quarter. The leading AR/VR investment sectors in the last year were AR/VR hardware, video, solutions/services, games, advertising/marketing, consumer apps, distribution, tech and peripherals.


Despite the early stage of the market, there are already 4 AR/VR unicorns including Magic Leap ($4.5 billion), Oculus ($2 billion), Blippar ($1.5 billion) and Mindmaze ($1 billion). VCs and corporates in both the US and China have developed a laser like focus on AR/VR, with investment now coming from both dedicated AR/VR funds and the cream of Sand Hill Road investors. Increased investor competition also means that AR/VR rounds are increasing in both size and valuation. Despite what is happening in the broader tech investment market, AR/VR investment just got real.

CB Insights:


With the public increasingly exposed to now-available consumer VR headsets like the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive, investment has poured into the category, with $1.1B in funding to startups in this space in Q1’16, across 41 deals.

Despite seeing deal activity jump 125% in the year, 2015 saw funding pull back 11%, down to $699M. (Funding totals in 2014 were buoyed by Magic Leap‘s $542M Series B mega-round.)

But 2015 still saw plenty of large deals including Jaunt ($65M Series C), ANTVR ($46M Series B), and Movidius ($40M Series E).

Update: ABC News 1991 report on virtual reality



Apple, Uber, and the Ride-Hailing Investment Landscape




Just last week, Apple made waves by investing $1 billion into Chinese ride-hailing giant Didi Chuxing, its first disclosed private investment in recent years. The deal was just the third $1B+ equity financing round of 2016 to-date.

The top ride-hailing companies have raised some of largest mega-deals that private markets have ever seen, in order to finance their fierce competition across the globe. We used the CB Insights Business Social Graph, which maps the relationships between investors and companies, to map out the investor networks of the 5 most well-capitalized ride-hailing companies, including Didi Chuxing as well as Uber, Lyft, Olacabs, and Grab.

We used this social graph and the CB Insights database to pull further insights on the data:

  • Uber remains the most well-capitalized: Despite Didi Chuxing’s recent windfall, Uber still sits atop the group of most well-financed ride-hailing companies, with $8.01B raised to date. Inclusive of the Apple investment, Didi Chuxing ranks second with $6.28B ($725M to Kuaidi Dache, $818M to Didi Dache, and $4.74B to the merged entity). Lyft comes in third, having raised $1.6B to date.
  • Didi itself is actively investing in Uber competitors: Interestingly, Didi Chuxing itself has invested directly in every top-5 ride-hailing startup besides Uber, including Lyft, Olacabs, and Grab. These companies have formed a loose coalition in the hopes of competing against Uber and its large war chest.
  • A variety of corporates are searching for opportunities: Speculation is that Apple may be seeking leverage its investment in Didi to advance self-driving vehicle development (among several other potential motivations). However, General Motors has already made such intentions clear, with a $500M corporate minority round to Lyft and a joint announcement with the Uber competitor to deploy self-driving taxis by 2017. Additionally, Chinese internet giants such as Tencent and Alibaba have invested in both Didi and Lyft. Other corporates such as Ping An Insurance and Microsoft have also invested in at least one of these companies.
  • Non-traditional investors active in this arena: Other investors that usually focus on other asset classes have made notable investments these private ride-hailing companies. Hedge funds (Tiger Global, Coatue), mutual funds, and sovereign wealth funds have all participated in a number of financing rounds.
  • Four investors have stakes in three different companies: Tiger Global Management and SoftBank have invested in each of the Asian ride-hailing giants (Didi Chuxing, Olacabs, and Grab). Hedge fund Coatue Management has a stake in Lyft, Didi, and Grab. Hillhouse Capital is an interesting case, having invested in Uber as well as Didi and Grab. These investors are highlighted as the smaller logos in our business social graph.

Forrester and IDC on Consumer Interest in IoT


Figure 5 - Forrester

IDC-IoTAPril2016 Key Takeaways from IDCs 2016 Consumer IoT Webinar_08


Consumer IoT is lagging behind industrial IoT in terms of interest, investments, and successful applications. CB Insights has found that in 2011, the industrial IoT accounted for 17% of all IoT funding dollars. In 2015, the share of industrial IoT investment rose to 40% of all IoT investment.

In a recent report citing the results of large surveys of consumers in the U.S. and other countries, Forrester observed that the IoT today “seems to open up more business opportunities in the industrial and B2B space than for consumer brands” (see also Forrester’s blog post). Similarly, in a recent report and webinar based on a large consumer survey in the U.S., IDC has concluded that “beyond security and point-solutions to specific problems, consumer IoT is still looking for a clear value proposition.”

Here are some interesting findings:

14% of U.S. online adults are currently using a wearable, and only 7% use any smart home device. Usage of connected devices in smart homes or cars is even lower in Europe. Smoke and home security monitoring are the two smart home services U.S. consumers are the most interested in, followed closely by water monitoring. (Forrester)

More than 8 million households in the U.S. already use some kind of home automation and control. The home IoT applications consumers are interested in are networked sensors monitoring for fire, smoke, water, or CO at home; seeing and recording who comes to the front door using a video camera; and networked sensors monitoring doors and windows. Consumers are least interested in networked kitchen appliances. (IDC)

Reasons for purchasing home control application: 30% cited solving a known problem, either recent or long-standing; 40% cited word-of- mouth, news about such devices; almost 20% said it seemed like “a neat solution to a problem I didn’t know I had” (!!!) and over 15% said that the device “was on sale.” (IDC)

Preferred installer for home automation and control systems in order of preference: Residential security company, myself, other professional installers, cable or telephone companies. (IDC)

Half of U.S. online adults are concerned that the monthly service cost of smart home technologies would be too high, and 38% fear the initial cost of setup would be too high. (Forrester)

36% of U.S. online adults fear using smart home services could compromise the privacy of their personal information. (Forrester)

Among those interested in home control IoT application but haven’t purchased one: High concern around cost (which is common for new applications) and unusually (for new applications) high concerns around reliability and user experience. (IDC)

31% are interested in access to the internet while using the car (i.e., on-board internet) and access to an interactive voice response system (i.e., a digital driving assistant). Telematics-enabled usage based insurance (UBI) is emerging and will disrupt the car insurance industry. (Forrester)

In 2016, 33% of U.S. online adults will use some form of IoT across home, wearables, and car. However, usage in the next two years will primarily be led by wearables and smartwatches. (Forrester)

IDC concludes that “the majority of consumers remain skeptical of the value proposition behind the home Internet of Things and are holding back for a higher overall value proposition.” In the IDC press release, Jonathan Gaw said:

“The long-run impact of the Internet of Things will be broader and deeper than we imagine right now, but the industry is still in the early stages of developing the vision and conveying it to consumers.”

IDC continues: “Winners will solve a problem the consumer didn’t know they had. Security and privacy – punished for a lack of it, probably not rewarded for having it. Voice interfaces have potential, but still need development for mainstream users.”

Forrester’s Thomas Husson and his colleagues cite a pioneering home-focused voice interface, Amazon Echo, as an example of successful consumer IoT device. “Combining the Dash Buttons’ big-data-meets-internet-of-things experiment with Amazon Echo and Alexa Voice Assistant will enable Amazon to aggregate multiple brands’ offering and anticipate consumers’ needs,” says Forrester.

The report continues: “Because consumers invest little in new experiences, they hurt little when abandoned. The consequence is that the vast majority of new IoT products will fail unless marketers develop a customer relationship that is frequent, emotionally engaging, and conveniently delivered.”

Both Forrester and IDC seems to understand what works and what doesn’t work with current IoT offerings and continue to advance their knowledge by surveying consumers and talking to enterprise decision-makers.

The U.S. government may want to pay closer attention to their (and other industry observers’) work. The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) recently issued a request for comments which included this gem:

Although a number of architectures describing different aspects or various applications of the IoT are being developed, there is no broad consensus on exactly how the concept should be defined or scoped. Consensus has emerged, however, that the number of connected devices is expected to grow exponentially, and the economic impact of those devices will increase dramatically.

To which James Connolly responded: “How can the public comment when even Commerce can’t really define the term?”

Originally published on Forbes.com

53 Startups Defining the Commercial Real Estate Landscape



CB Insights:

Listing & Search Services – This was the largest category in our market map, and includes startups that help users search for commercial real estate. This section includes 42Floors, which has raised from the likes of Bessemer Venture Partners and NEA, among others.

Marketplaces – This category helps match commercial real estate buyers with sellers, among other services, and includes startup VivaReal in the section. VivaReal focuses on Latin American markets, and has raised $61.7M to date.

Virtual Viewing – Startups that provide virtual property viewing, i.e. the opportunity to use cutting-edge tech such as 3D video to view properties remotely. Companies attacking this area include Matterport, which has raised over $58M to date. Some backers of theirs include Rothenberg Ventures, Greylock Partners, Felicis Ventures, and Qualcomm Ventures.

Tech-enabled Brokerage – One of the smaller categories in our map, startup here employ in-house brokers with their own listing services. This category includes TheSquareFoot, which raised $2.1M to date and counts RRE Ventures and Primary Venture Partners as backers.

Leasing-Management Software – Companies that provide tools to brokers and owners and streamline the leasing process, among other things. Companies in this space include the aforementioned VTS, which has raised over $85M to date.

Data, Valuation, and Analytics – This was one of the larger categories in our market map and includes Reonomy, which does commercial real estate analytics and has raised over $40M to date. The map also includes other well-known commercial real estate tech analytics startups likeCompstak and Honest Buildings.

O-2-O Services – Companies here are primarily Asia-based online-2-offline (O-2-O) businesses where users complete their real estate transactions online. China-based Haozu.com is the only startup in this category and has raised $39M in financing to date.

Mortgage Tech – this was a large category in our residential real estate tech market map and we suspect more companies will emerge in the commercial real estate mortgage space in the coming months. The category includes peer-to-peer commercial mortgage lender Fruitful Finance as the sole company in the section.

Property/Building Management  These startups offer tools for property managers, landlords and tenants. Startups here include ClickNotices which helps landlords manage late rent payments and has raised $2M of disclosed funding from Super G Funding, Sopris Capital Associates, and Westlake Ventures.

Investment – One of the largest sections on our market map, the category includes crowdfunding platforms that allow investors to participate in debt or equity financing for commercial real estate, or both. Cadre, which has raised over $67M to date, connects investors to commercial real estate opportunities.

Property Information – Startups providing information and data-driven insights about commercial properties; Real Matters has raised over $127M from various investors, including Whitecap Venture Partners.

Startups Mining New Data Sources for Investors



CB Insights:

The proliferation of mobile devices, low-cost sensors, and technologies like AI-assisted image-processing have led to an explosion of new and potential data sources. Hedge funds and other investors see value in these non-traditional datasets to mine predictive insights, which might put them ahead of the rest of the pack.

  • Satellite Data – These are companies that utilize image data from orbiting satellites to do things like measure the number of cars in Walmart parking lots or farm health based on the color of crops.
    Select Companies: Orbital Insight, Rezatec, Windward
  • Web/App/Social Media Data – These are companies which mine social media or use data firehoses from the web/mobile to understand what’s happening in the world or how people are interacting with their devices.
    Select Companies: Dataminr, App Annie, 7ParkData
  • Weather Data – These are companies which are developing weather models and utilizing more sensors to get better localized data or improve weather forecasting.
    Select Companies: Aclima, Understory
  • Location/Foot Traffic Data – Companies that use different means to understand where consumers are going by measuring foot traffic via check-ins, video analysis, etc.
    Select Companies:  Foursquare, Placemeter, Placed
  • Alternative Credit – Companies developing new credit models that utilize sources of alternative data (like mobile usage).
    Select Companies: Cignifi, First Access, FactorTrust
  • Credit Card Transactions – These are companies that use anonymous aggregate transaction data to understand trends in consumer purchasing habits.
    Select Companies: Earnest, Second Measure
  • Alternative Data Monetizers/Aggregators – These are companies who pay for access to individual data streams which become more valuable in a bundle, and then sell those packages to investors.
    Select Companies: Eagle Alpha, Quanton Data, Discern
  • Local Prices – These companies can see what’s happening to prices and inflation by aggregating data from ground-level sources.
    Select Companies: Premise

72 Startups Disrupting Retail



CB Insights:

Transforming bricks-and-mortar shopping is a high-stakes endeavor for retailers given Americans still do over 90% of our shopping in physical stores. In fact, one of the latest trends in retail is the launch of physical stores by online e-commerce companies, including Amazon, Warby Parker, and Birchbox.

Dozens of startups have taken on the challenge of helping retailers bridge the gap between digital and physical commerce through features ranging from shelf-stocking robots, to augmented reality displays, to Wi-Fi based beacons that collect data on shopper behavior.

  • Associate Tools – Mobile tools that improve store associate workflow. Theatro produces wi-fi based wearables for floor staff at stores like Cabela’s, while Tulip Retail offers tablet-based systems and QLess makes checkout notification software to eliminate lines.
  • Coupons & Rewards – Digital tools to manage coupons and rewards program. For example, brands like Victoria’s Secret use Koupon Media to push mobile coupons to shoppers’ phones while they are in store. Ibottaoffers digital cash back with brands like Target, Walmart, Aeropostale, Express and JCPenney.
  • Display Tech – Digital, interactive product display systems. Celect’ssoftware uses machine learning to optimize product arrangements, while PERCH produces interactive digital displays used by brands like Kiehl’s and Cole Haan. Blippar designs augmented reality displays for brands such as Maybelline, Pantene, and Porsche, and SpyderLynk – whose clients include EA, Lancome, and Kiehl’s – uses mobile barcodes to bring digital ad campaigns into the physical world. Aila manages interactive in-aisle tablets for stores like Foot Locker, and says it works with four of the US’s top 20 retailers.
  • Discounting Tools – Companies helping retailers unload excess inventory at discounted prices, including Inturn.
  • Inventory Management – Digital tools to track inventory and manage stockrooms. Fetch Robotics and Simbe Robotics offer robots that load products, and startups like SkuIQ and Orchestro offer software for real-time inventory analytics.
  • Loyalty – These companies drive loyalty programs for stores. For example, Belly powers digital loyalty programs for brands like 7-11 and Buffalo Wild Wings.
  • Omnichannel Engagement – Integrating in-store and e-commerce analytics for a more seamless shopper experience. For example OneView Commerce integrates in-store and e-commerce data for stores, while Wyzerr helps companies capture digital and in-person feedback.
  • Payments/POS – Software to manage point-of-sale systems and/or accept payments; some let stores accept payments from phones (like Cardfree), or bitcoin (like POSaBIT).
  • POS Financing – Helping retailers offer point-of-sale financing to shoppers in stores, like Blispay and Vyze, whose clients include Home Depot and Mattress Warehouse
  • Sensors & Beacons – Using in-store sensors to track foot traffic and shopper behavior. Startups like Nomi and Footmarks produce sensors that monitor foot traffic so associates can react to shoppers in real time. Swirl works with brands like Urban Outfitters, Lord & Taylor, and Timberland to monitor shopper behavior with beacons. Point Inside provides beacons to Target. Startups like Estimote, Shelfbucks, and Bfonics leverage beacons for in-store proximity marketing, such as sending mobile notifications to shoppers about the products they’re currently browsing.
  • Smart Dressing Rooms – New York-based Oak Labs has designed a smart fitting room, letting shoppers browse products and more on interactive, digital, touchscreen mirrors. Some retailers have developed comparable technologies in-house or through tech partnerships, such as Rebecca Minkoff with eBay.

Food Tech Market Landscape



CB Insights:

The food tech category encompasses everything from Grubhub-Seamless competitors to laboratories designing plant-based meat. The bulk of funding has gone to food delivery startups, which raised nearly $5.5 billion last year and include two of the most well-funded food startups, China’s Ele.me and Germany-based Delivery Hero.

However, startups are also tackling such unique categories as subscription services for international snacks, and neighborhood meal-sharing…

Next-Gen Food – Startups engineering new types of food products, with a focus on health and environmental sustainability. The most common focus here is creating plant-based proteins, a problem tackled by startups like Impossible Foods, Hampton Creek, and Beyond Meat. We also note several startups trying to make insect protein more palatable, such as Exo andAspire. There’s one — Unreal Brands — that’s designing a healthier candy.

Next-Gen Drinks – Startups engineering new types of beverages. On our table, Ripple focuses on plant-based milk, Soylent created a new type of liquid meal, and Juicero offers a smart juicer with farm-to-table juicing packs.

Restaurant Delivery – Startups offering middleman delivery services for restaurant meals. Generally, users can order meals from nearby restaurants on their phones and have them delivered right away. This category includes some of the most well-funded food tech startups, like China’s Ele.me ($2.3B in disclosed funding), Germany’s Delivery Hero ($1.3B), the UK’s Deliveroo ($200M), and DoorDash in the US ($187M).

Meals On-Demand – Startups that deliver pre-cooked meals to users. While the end result may be similar, these startups have a different business model than restaurant delivery startups, since they also manage the meal preparation themselves from a central kitchen and generally provide just a few meal options per day. Examples include Munchery ($117M in disclosed funding) and Sprig ($57M in funding), both based in California.

Office Catering – Online-based catering platforms for offices. For exampleZesty, with $20M in disclosed funding, works with restaurants to arrange meal plans for San Francisco-based companies.

Meal Kits – Startups that send recipes and pre-packaged ingredients to help users cook at home. The category includes well-funded startups like Germany’s HelloFresh ($278M in total disclosed funding) and Blue Apron ($193M). Some companies in this category focus on specific niches, such as The Purple Carrot ($10M) which is vegan.

Grocery Delivery – Online-based delivery services for groceries, such as Instacart, with $275M in disclosed funding, and India’s BigBasket, with $246M.

Specialty Foods – Online platforms to order pre-packaged, non-perishable foods. Beijing-based Womai, which sells directly imported foreign food items to Chinese consumers, has raised $320M.

Farm-to-Table – Startups that cut out the middleman and deliver food directly from farmers to consumers. They generally promote healthy or organic eating. Companies include Farmigo ($26M), FarmDrop, and The Food Assembly (known as La Ruche Qui Dit Oui in its home country, France).

Liquor On-Demand – Apps and websites for alcohol delivery, like on-demand deliverer Drizly ($18M in disclosed funding), or Winc, ($42M) which provides direct-to-consumer wines from wineries with a membership model.

Chefs On-Demand – A small category which has already seen multiple startup failures (including XXXX and XXX), these startups connect consumers directly to chefs. Homemade ($2M in disclosed funding) and Feastly ($1M) let chefs cook meals at home for users. Menu Next Door lets neighbors buy and sell meals.