40%: The percentage of patients reported to have responded to one of the most advanced CRISPR cancer therapy studies to be tested in China. China is far ahead of the US in CRISPR cancer studies due to its less stringent approval requirements, but the US and Europe are set to see their first human trials of the gene-editing technique this year. With potentially transformative implications across medicine, agriculture, and even chemical products, our new 5,200-word CRISPR deep dive unpacks the science behind the technology, its applications, controversies it’s stirred up, and where CRISPR may take us next. Check it out.
4,900: Grocery chain Albertsons announced plans to acquire the portion of Rite Aid that isn’t being sold to Walgreens. The combined company will be valued at roughly $24B and will have about 4,900 locations. The acquisition is said to be Albertsons’ latest defensive strike against Amazon. The grocery chain has already started to offer same-day delivery and recently acquired meal kit startup Plated in order to appeal to tech-savvy consumers accustomed to rapid delivery.
53%: We’re down to the final 2 contenders in our newest bracket, which asks you what city will be the home of Amazon’s HQ2. The final showdown: Atlanta, GA vs. Raleigh, NC. So far the cities are neck and neck, with Atlanta taking a slight lead with 53% of the current vote. It’s anyone’s game. Polls close Sunday — so cast your ballot now.
$750M: Direct-to-consumer shaving startup Harry’s Razor Company raised $112M in Series D funding earlier this week. While total funding is now more than $460M, the company’s valuation, which reached $750M in July 2015, held steady. We recently dove deep into Harry’s strategy to see how it, along with 8 other direct-to-consumer brands, got so big, so fast.
$1.01B: Israel-based computer vision startup OrCam Technologies became the latest company to make it onto our unicorn tracker, raising a $30.4M Series B to reach a $1.01B valuation earlier this week. OrCam’s device, aimed at the blind or those with partial sight, includes a miniature video camera and processor that can be attached to eyeglasses. The device uses computer vision to vocalize texts, identify products, and distinguish denominations of currency, then verbally communicates that information to the user.
$349: Music streaming provider Spotify is working on a hardware product, according to a job ad unearthed earlier this week. While Spotify has yet to confirm its strategy, the company is rumored to be working on a speaker to compete with Apple’s HomePod, which has been criticized for its $349 price tag and sub-par personal assistant experience. We discuss other challenges the HomePod has faced in our Apple Strategy Teardown.
13,000%: Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro launched Venezuela’s new cryptocurrency, the Petro, on February 20th — despite lawmakers saying that the oil-backed cryptocurrency was not a good idea. The move comes at a time when Venezuela’s financial situation is particularly fraught: the country’s economy has halved since 2013, unemployment is set to reach 30%, and prices on all types of goods in the country will rise 13,000% this year, according to figures published earlier this week by the IMF. Now, the Venezuelan President has announced he will be launching a second cryptocurrency next week: the Petro Gold, which will be backed by Venezuela’s gold supply. For a quick refresher on all things cryptocurrency, check out our bitcoin/blockchain explainer.
23%: Walmart reported Tuesday that earnings fell short of analysts’ expectations for the holiday season as sales on Walmart.com slowed significantly, falling to 23% growth year-over-year (less than half of the prior quarter’s 50% growth rate). One reason for the slowdown in online shopping? Fierce competition from Amazon. Walmart already acquired Jet.com for $3.3B in a bid to transform its e-commerce operations. As it looks to stay competitive, we rounded up 11 potential acquisition targets that Walmart might set its sights on next.
22nd: If Zamboni drivers were their own country, they would make up the 22nd-largest team at the Olympics. The 37 drivers at the Pyeongchang games hail from the US, Canada, South Korea, and Japan, and manage the ice at four competition venues: two hockey arenas, one arena for long-track speedskating, and one arena for both figure skating and short-track speedskating.