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From What I've Read This Week...

Weekly Newsletter of what I've read and thought was interesting. I am a Venture Partner at Contrary Capital. Read more at

Issue #8 - June 10, 2018

Uber and Lyft are trying to become on-stop-shop's for transportation. Both companies are trying to create a way for users to solely use their app to get to their destination. This includes using cars, bikes, and/or trains in conjunction during one ride. So when users want to travel to another city for example, they can use ride-sharing to get them close to a destination, hop on a bike (like Jump which Uber just bought), or get on the next available train. By creating this multi-modal transportation, customers will spend more time on the app and therefore more time using the service and so on and so forth.

Siri is getting an upgrade. Apple is planning on making Siri a whole lot more powerful. With the number of voice applications rising, it's time Apple made Siri a lot more useful and they are starting to do so by adding predictive ML abilities.

Mary Meeker's Internet Trends Report. Mary Meeker, from KPCB, presented her internet trends report last week. Great powerpoint with copious amounts of data to back her points.

The electric scooter wars still continue. Uber and Lyft are both trying to buy Motivate, the bike sharing company that makes the Ford GoBike and Citi Bikes.

Internet usage is predicted to (finally) eclipse TV viewing in 2019. The important takeaway is that cheap cell phones have significantly contributed to this by bringing developing countries to the internet. Mobile usage, especially in media consumption, has continued to grow and is expected to overtake time spent on a laptop/desktop.

Microsoft is putting some of its servers on the ocean floor as a means of cooling them. They have been testing the idea for some time now, but this is the first large-scale attempt at it. By letting the ocean naturally cool the servers, they will save a lot of money on current practices designed to cool these data centers.

Great article that summarizes why meal-kit delivery companies are not great ventures. Basically the target market for these companies are millennials who don't know how to cook or have no time to cook. Blue Apron and other such companies don't really provide a solution to the first type of customer and for the second type, there is no incentive for the customer to continue using a meal-kit delivery service once they realize they can cook for cheaper by buying ingredients at the store or they still aren't able to cook at all. This means that the recurring business for these companies are going to rapidly decline and now after about a year, the data shows just that (one of the main reasons why Blue Apron's stock price was slashed so low right before its IPO).

Taking a look at the Big 5's M&A since 2007. Interesting article that summarizes all of the biggest Mergers & Acquisitions of the 5 big tech giants (Alphabet/Google, Facebook, Amazon, Apple, and Microsoft). 

Great article that summarizes the piggyback effect. There are typically 3 stages of a startup: Using existing infrastructure (Airbnb-houses, Uber-Cars, etc.), creating own infrastructure (Amazon-warehouses/delivery system), and finally making the old infrastructure obsolete by way of the new mechanism/creation of the startup. The piggyback effect occurs when startups have no way to create their own infrastructure and instead have to rely on existing technologies (Airbnb-houses).

Startup Ritual raised $70M in its Series C and is trying to optimize office lunches. Extremely excited about this idea, but the difficulty lies in the execution.

TraceLink just raised $60M in its Series D. TraceLink helps pharma companies comply with regulations and aims to reduce counterfeit or fraudulent drugs through its tracking and tracing software.
Cool Video of the week:
Casey Neistat and the first flying car.
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From what I've read this week... · 110 8th St · Troy, NY 12180 · USA

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