Covered in this issue of our free newsletter: Q2'16 Venture Pulse Report. Number of new unicorns. Mega-rounds decline.

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The streak is broken

Hi there,

First newsletter in 5 days with no Pokemon Go news. Hallelujah.

We also just released our 103-page Venture Pulse Report, Q2 2016 with KPMG. The quarterly report highlights the latest trends in venture capital funding globally.

Check out a few highlights scattered below.

Master of Reality

We like us some natural-language processing here at CB Insights, so we found this analysis using NLP to identify the most heavy metal words in heavy metal songs quite interesting.

“Employees” is a very non-heavy metal word it seems.

The slowdown continues

Deal activity had already slowed noticeably in Q4’15 and Q1’16, but global financings dropped a further 6% in Q2’16, down to 1886. Deal count fell in both Asia and North America, though it rose slightly in Europe.

Going on vacation is stressful

Here are the things that stress people out. The top answers are expected. It’s the bottom of the graph that has some surprises (maybe).

Cooling off 

2015 saw investors write many $100M+ checks into VC-backed companies, but 2016 has seen that trend cool significantly. North America saw just 14 $100M+ rounds in Q2’16 compared to 37 in Q3’15. Asia outpaced North America in $100M deals for the second quarter in a row.

I screwed up. Sorry.

Yesterday, we A/B tested 3 newsletter headlines as we always do and one that we tried was “You’re fired.” It was a reference to a section in yesterday’s newsletter about a startup that takes pride in firing people and was also an allusion to the Republican National Convention featuring Donald Trump which began yesterday as well.

But I know it caused some stress for some of our readers, and I got a lot of feedback to this effect. So even though it won handily in the A/B test, we didn’t choose it as the winner.

Sorry if we increased anyone’s blood pressure.

Unicorn slump

At 7, the number of new VC-backed unicorn companies that were born in Q2’16 is up from the 5 born in the previous quarter, but still well below the Q3’15 peak when 25 unicorns were birthed.

The Industry Standard

New York Times. CB Insights data on increased funding to artificial intelligence startups sets the stage for John Markoff’s (@markoff) article on the Valley’s excitement over AI.

Silicon Valley Business Journal. Riley McDermid (@SBTrileymcd) writes about Magic Leap’s “secret” lab in San Francisco, referring to CB Insights analysis of augmented reality and Pokemon Go.

Property Casualty 360. Rachel Alt-Simmons (@raltsimmons) asks if insurers’ shift to customer experience will be enough of a tech transformation. She cites CB Insights data on funding to insurance tech companies.

Happy Tuesday.

I love you.



P.S. We’re going to go deep on auto tech on July 21st. You won’t want to miss out.

The Venture Pulse Report, Q2 2016

The second quarter of 2016 saw venture capital dollar funding rise slightly following 2 quarters of declines, while deal activity fell for the fourth consecutive quarter. See the data.

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The Blurb

A curated mix of articles on private companies, venture capital, emerging industries, and innovation.

Active vs passive investing. Fred Wilson (@fredwilson) says with investing, you have to either choose to be active and concentrated or passive and diversified.


The Goldilocks Effect. In this interview, Jonah Berger (@j1berger) deconstructs the drivers behind social influence in the startup world and offers why we should influence and are influenced by increment.

First Round Review

Virtual reality gave me my brain back. Mark Cuban (@mcuban) on how virtual reality helped treat a persistent medical condition and how it further led to his latest venture.

Blog Maverick

Baby boomers. John White (@juanblanco76), founder and CMO of Social Marketing Solutions, on why he hired a retired navy vet for his startup instead of a millennial.


Insider rounds. Amit Garg (@amgarg) highlights the good, the bad, and the ugly when it comes to insider rounds.


To bot or not to bot. Rick Collins (@NextITCollins) explores AI’s role in the enterprise.


Don’t replace people, augment them. Tim O’Reilly (@timoreilly) believes if we let machines put us out of work, it will be because of a failure of imagination and the will to make a better future.