Fast Five from the Valley: Edition 35

 In Fast Five from the Valley

Giant earning reports are in – The tech giants report on their gigantic earnings

The key giants have delivered their earnings reports to the market:

  • Amazon is up 6% following its earnings report where it doubled if YoY quarterly profits to $1.6bn. Underlying this is strong fundamentals: it commands 43c of each dollar spent online, it has 5x more web traffic than Walmart, and it has100m prime subscribers. In Bezos’ annual letter to shareholders, he highlighted some of the concepts which have enabled its success. One that caught our eye was the 6-page memo – At Amazon, they don’t do any PowerPoint – all key concepts are captured in 6-page memos forcing focus and discipline in capturing the concept.
  • In the other tech corner, Facebook was enjoying talking about something positive – its earnings. It seems like Mark Zuckerberg has managed to survive both Congress and Wall Street reasonably unscathed. Facebook’s quarterly revenue rose nearly 50% to $11.97 billion, adding 70m during Q1. This topped analyst expectations with the stock rising 7%.
  • Coming out of nowhere though, it’s worth noting that Microsoft became the second most valuable company for the first time since 2015 briefly. Although market commentary indicates that this was driven more by depressed prices for other stocks while investors were waiting for earnings announcements, rather than any significant uptick in Microsoft’s performance
  • We will wait for Apple’s earnings announcement on May 1, which will be interesting considering its lackluster iPhoneX performance.

Smarthome is becoming a harder market for carriers

Amazon is walking its smart home products right up the garden path and into your home. While Telcos have historically been the focal point for their customers, connecting a range of devices to a central gateway as an upsell to their other offerings or just reselling devices, they are no longer the default provider of the smart home. With Amazon refreshing all its echo dot range, Google and (to a lesser extent Siri) pushing their smart speakers, and Sonos planning to IPO, the smart speaker is becoming a focal point of the smart home ecosystem rather than the traditional hub and spoke router model that telcos have advocated for. The new winning telco strategy will be to integrate or play with over the top with services – let’s see which model the telcos adopt.

Call the Doctor – Doctors on Demand has raised $74m in Series C

Telemedicine is becoming the new hot sauce in medtech – easy for investors to grasp, B2B SaaS ready and with short return cycles compared to other medtech which requires regulatory testing. One startup which is catching the attention of the market is Doctors on Demand which operates a video conferencing platform where customers can talk to a doctor and get assistance remotely. The round was led Goldman Sachs and Princeville Global and supported by Venrock Shasta Ventures and Tenaya Capital. Expect us to be writing more about this space, especially given that Andreessen Horowitz set up a second $450m bio fund focused on engineered biology in Dec 2017 which is now being deployed. Its first fund invested in companies ranging from liquid biopsy analytics to drug development companies which are trying to find drugs which extend human life through using machine learning techniques. Expect more checks from AH and also from DCVC which just raised a $250m fund focused on life sciences (its fund includes leadership from Monsanto in an interesting twist).

May is the month for May Mobility which is making inroads on its autonomous mobility ops

This Wednesday, Steven from the Detecon Inc office met with the founders of May Mobility, one of the hottest autonomous mobility startups. May Mobility’s COO Alisyn Malek was one of the panelists at the Urban Innovation Fund’s “Autonomous Mobility & the Future of Cities” event hosted in San Francisco. Besides its advanced technology, here is what sets May Mobility apart from most contestants – and why it matters:

•    They are already doing actual deployments with real, paying customers (not just plain R&D)

•    May envisions a sustainable transportation service embedded into a city ecosystem

•    They own and control the full stack (inc. the vehicle, related hardware, software, customer relationships and end user-passenger interfaces)

Building IKEA is never a good IDEA – luckily there is a robot ready to help out

Ever got frustrated at having to put your IKEA furniture together? We have too. However, autonomous robots may be the solution to your problem. Amazon announced that it has been developing a home robot to assist with tasks, rumored for release early 2019 and researchers have demonstrated that robots can put together IKEA furniture without the robot getting frustrated. While the current robot which has been developed required considerable programming, the researchers believe that it is likely that more advances in autonomous mean that many of these steps could end up being determined by the robot rather than pre-programmed rules. Watch its success (and mistakes) here!

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