US VC down rounds pull back to pre-pandemic levels

The proportion of down rounds across US venture deals rose to 13.6% in the second quarter, as the sudden and sweeping effects of the pandemic squeezed the economy. That was the highest percentage of deals done at lowered valuations since late 2017. Many felt that the pressure on founders to acquiesce on deal terms might be sustained—if not increase—throughout 2020.

The data shows that hasn’t been the case. This Q3 US VC Valuations Report examines the return of founder-friendly terms and the measures that startups have taken to extend their capital runways. Other highlights from the report include:

  • Nontraditional investors continue to drive huge late-stage valuations
  • Median IPO valuations have flourished, while acquisition valuations were mixed
  • A spotlight on trends within enterprise tech, consumer tech, biotech and more.

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Will ‘Vision AI’ Be The Next Frontier for Developers?

A partner at an early-stage investment firm argues that “in the 2000s everyone was learning HTML and making a website. In the 2010s everyone was learning to develop mobile apps. In the 2020s all the developers are going to build Vision AI.” Where the web had its impact was by digitizing manual paper-based processes… I believe the next big wave is Vision AI, and for the same reason: It offers the opportunity to digitize the next massive trove of information in the world, that which is not on paper but which can be seen through a camera… Why use a temperature sensor when a camera can see reflected light frequencies and determine the temperature? The latest cellphones are integrating LIDAR sensors into their cameras, and I believe the camera sensing suite will become even more sophisticated. Combine this with emerging computer vision technology powered by AI, and together you have Vision AI. Vision AI has the power to unlock the future of automation in a way not seen since the Web Revolution where every form and phone call was turned into a site, and we unlocked all the resulting searches, analytics, and automated processing that is now commonplace. Just like there are web boot camps, there will soon be computer vision boot camps to enlarge the circle of access to this new technology. Anything you want to count, record, analyze, or store can be obtained by teaching Vision AI to look for it. And that’s just capturing the data, the way web forms did. After that unfolds everything we can do with that data. Provide reports, comparisons, and analysis. Make predictions. Profile and advertise. Learn and educate… The real changes come when computers start measuring and counting things that are either too vast for humans to count — every dead oak tree in California — or too expensive for humans to count — every yeast cell in a culture — or too difficult for humans to perceive — the change in gait that suggests a medical condition. During this decade we will see boot camps teaching hundreds of thousands of developers to utilize Vision AI tools, just the way we taught millions to code the web. After that, we will see our world for the next level of data that it presents and be able to act on that. A disclaimer at the end of the article acknowledges that “I currently have a vested interest in eight Vision AI companies.”

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Scared by innovation? You should be!

It’s natural to avoid risk, especially in the corporate world. But not acting in order to survive is tantamount to giving away your business, as competitors experiment with doing things differently, and better. In this video with SVIC COO Vlas Lezin, find out how your organization can equip itself with the tools, knowledge, and confidence to overcome fear and embrace innovation.

Thanks Vlas Lezin for sharing your thoughts and insights on this.

Influencer Marketing Trends in 2021

Influencer marketing has proven to be an effective tactic for brands. With many brands integrating it into their core digital marketing strategy, it shows no signs of slowing down. In fact, according to a Business Insider Intelligence report, brands will spend up to $15 billion on influencer marketing by 2022.

In the article below, TopRank Marketing is sharing 12 of the most important influencer marketing trends to watch in 2021!

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Grayscale has Acquired Over 100,000 Bitcoin (BTC) Since June 2020

Kevin Rooke, a digital asset analyst who’s well-known for his insightful tweets, recently noted that Grayscale, one of the largest institutional investors in the crypto space, is “on fire.”

Rooke revealed that Grayscale’s Bitcoin (BTC) Investment Trust now holds around 506,000 BTC, which is about 2.73% of “all liquid BTC supply.”

He also mentioned that since Q3 2019, Grayscale’s BTC holdings are up over 2x, and their assets under management (AUM) are up over 4x. He adds that these numbers continue to rise and Q4 2020 isn’t even halfway done yet.

Going on to share the companies, individuals and organizations that hold most of the remaining (approximately) 18 million Bitcoins, Rooke notes that Block.one, the developer of EOS and other blockchain solutions, holds about 140,000 BTC valued at around $2.3 billion or 0.667% of Bitcoin’s liquid supply.

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5 lessons from Silicon Valley about 2020 and beyond

2020 brought a lot of disruption to our lives and our businesses.

Here in Silicon Valley, many companies have anticipated and prepared for this disruption long before it actually unleashed on the global level. We have many of our clients who are trying to understand what is next and what can be learned from Silicon Valley.

Thanks Andrey Kunov for putting together 5 lessons that will shape the business today and tomorrow.

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Media Bias Chart

The AllSides Media Bias Chart helps you to easily identify different perspectives so you can get the full picture and think for yourself. Knowing the political bias of media outlets allows you to consume a balanced news diet and avoid manipulation and fake news. Everyone is biased, but hidden bias misleads and divides us.

Due to the fact that other media bias charts show you the subjective opinion of the one person who made it, AllSides emphasizes that this rating is based on multipartisan, scientific analysis.

RITOSSA SUMMITS – WORLD’S NO.1 FAMILY OFFICE CONFERENCES.

The largest and most influential gathering of family wealth, representing US$4.5 trillion.

Conference Dates 2020:

11th Global Family Office Investment Summit, Monte Carlo July 28-30, Fairmont Monte Carlo – Under the High Patronage of His Serene Highness Prince Albert II of Monaco

12th Global Family Office Investment Summit, Riyadh October 5-7, Fairmont Riyadh Hotel – Under the High Patronage of His Royal Highness Prince Abdullah Bin Musa’ad Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud

13th Global Family Office Investment Summit, Dubai December 7-9, Dubai – Under the High Patronage of His Highness Sheikh Ahmed Al Maktoum

Thank you so much for the invite, Sir Anthony Ritossa.

Defining DTC: What’s a direct-to-consumer brand?

Thanks to brands like Casper and Warby Parker, the direct-to-consumer (DTC) business model has taken off. You only have to look as far as LUMA Partners’ direct-to-consumer LUMAscape to see that the model is booming. eMarketer estimates that 400+ DTC brands exist today, and traffic to their websites has almost doubled in the past two years.

Spanning categories like apparel, beauty, personal care, baby, pets, travel and financial services, they’re growing at an exponential clip, and established consumer brands are taking note. The findings show that B2Cs are very concerned about DTCs impacting their marketshare, and that DTCs are concerned about the next steps for their business.

As DTCs gain authority in their respective industries, they pose a threat to established brands. According to Euromonitor, Gillette controlled ~70% of the U.S. market a decade ago, but their marketshare dropped below 50% last year, due to disruptive brands like Harry’s and Dollar Shave Club. With DTCs’ emergence comes an opportunity to adapt and adjust—for both kinds of brands.

By digging into how these businesses changed the game, marketers of all stripes can stand a fighting chance at sustainable growth in the new DTC world.

Thanks to their various and evolving business models, DTCs can be tricky to pin down. But these characteristics can help you spot most of them:

  • Digitally native
  • Innovative, disruptive brand storytelling
  • Bypassing traditional supply chains
  • Customization in product and experience
  • Upending established products and
  • services in their category
  • Minimal offerings (intent that the same
  • few products work for all)
  • Centered on convenience (e.g., delivery,
  • online sales, recurring payments)

As DTCs look to improve customer experiences and engage in all relevant channels, our research finds that more will consider moving away from a pure DTC approach. One of the ways this will manifest is by more DTCs moving toward a non-DTC model, and established brands attempting a DTC model.

Source: THE-CMO-CLUB/Epsilon