The chatbot redemption.
Facebook’s personal finance patent. Value-based healthcare.
Everything is awesome
Happy Halloween! I am a bit busy preparing for the evening, so let’s get straight to the Halloween-related data and the research — including a sweet market map.
Guess who I am dressing up as. Hint: his name rhymes with Reddit.
BTW, I’ve heard it said that Halloween is not the real thing when celebrated outside of the US and Canada, and that only these two countries know how to do it right (Day of the Dead in Mexico is a bit different).
I would love to hear any stories of global Halloween and trick-or-treating to poke holes in this.
No country for old chatbots
The promised chatbot-for-everything revolution never quite panned out.
-60%: Alphabet parent Google has offered to buy FitBit. The fitness tracker maker went public in 2015 at a $4.1B valuation, but has since seen its market cap reduced to about $1.5B — a decline of over 60%. Even at the reduced valuation, the potential purchase would still be a top 10 acquisition for Google. Take a look at Google’s biggest takeovers in our infographic.
+3: The unicorn club added 3 members this week. Rental management startup Vacasa, wholesale marketplace platform Faire, and mobile game developer Scopely all reached $1B+ valuations after their latest funding rounds. Faire was featured in our 2019 Future Unicorn list — made in collaboration with the New York Times. See the other predictions here.
40 lbs a day: Missouri man Richard Bottorf produced two enormous pumpkins at the Republic Pumpkin Daze, breaking his own record twice in one day. The jumbo gourds weighed in at 1,677 lbs and 1,798 lbs. For reference, the average cow weighs ~1,600 pounds. Bottorf has broken the Missouri state pumpkin record 6 times since 2005, and reports that in peak growing season, a record-breaking pumpkin can gain up to 40 lbs in a day.
4M drivers: Uber launched a new division for financial services called Uber Money. Products will include a bank account for its approximately 4M drivers that promises immediate access to earnings from rides and a relaunch of its consumer-facing credit card. We dig into how Uber makes — and loses — money here.
10 minutes: Researchers from Penn State have developed a technique to charge an EV battery in just 10 minutes. The device speeds up its charging process by raising its temperature to 140 degrees Fahrenheit, but cools itself down for actual use. See how cos are looking to overcome the challenges to EV adoption in our report on the race for the electric car.
$700M: Boutique fitness studio Barry’s Bootcamp, which offers $30+ HIIT classes, is reportedly considering a potential sale that would value the company at $700M. We wrote about Barry’s in our Expert Intelligence brief on 4 trends reshaping the fitness industry.
$8.8B: The more than 170M Americans celebrating Halloween today are expected to spend $8.8B on the holiday (a little shy of the 2017 record of $9.1B). Some 90% of Americans will buy candy, spending a total of $2.6B, while nearly 75% will spend money on spooky decor. See the treats threatening disruption in our candy market map.
$14.5B: Luxury group LVMH, the owner of Louis Vuitton, has made an offer to buy jewelry vendor Tiffany for $14.5B. See the emerging trends transforming the luxury world in our 2019 Luxury Trends NExTT report.
40M Ibs: The amount of uneaten bacon in the US is the highest it’s been in almost 50 years, according to US government data. Warehouses around the US are holding more than 40M pounds of pork bellies after a reported surge in production over the summer. More consumers are drifting to alternative-protein sources; find out more about the transformative trend in our Meatless Future report.
110,000 years: A recent genetic study suggested that all modern humans can trace their heritage back to what is now a desert area of northern Botswana that was once a vibrant wetland. The researchers, who used DNA analysis and climate models for the study, said that groups of early Homo sapiens left the area in distinct waves 130,000 years ago and 110,000 years ago.
45%: According to a recent YouGov survey, 45% of Americans believe in ghosts, with 20% saying that they “definitely exist.” Want more spooky data? Read about the most common reasons startups meet their end in our report on the top 20 reasons startups fail.
Guests have to sign a 40-page waiver, undergo a Facebook screening, and complete a physical before entering the house. The tours last 8-10 hours, and some of the risks listed in the waiver include having to pull out your own teeth, having your fingernails ripped off, getting a tattoo, and eating unknown substances.