New unicorns. Alibaba's quarterly results. Rogue drones.
Recently Uber got into trouble after installing software in its iPhone app for “fingerprinting,” or identifying individual iPhones, in violation of Apple’s rules. App developer Marco Arment recently pointed out it’s not surprising this rogue code was not found for so long, since Uber’s app is pretty humongous: it gobbles up 180MB of space.
That led us to wonder, do the other prominent consumer-facing unicorn startups in the US have giant apps? The answer is yes.
To put these numbers in perspective the original iPhone only had 128MB of capacity.
There are many factors affecting app size but it’s interesting to see which companies show up and that the two largest startups in terms of money raised and valuation also have the biggest apps. Why are they so big? Who knows, the companies certainly have mobile as a focus but so do companies with much smaller apps. Perhaps they’ve stuffed so much code in there in the form of analytics packages and odd-and-ends that they’ve ballooned, and they feel they have a big enough brand that users won’t worry about the extra fat.
Still, their size is nothing compared to the big blue app. Facebook is a Jabba the Hutt of apps at 234MB.
2: This week, two companies entered the unicorn club of private companies valued at $1B+. Symphony, a secure messaging and workflow software company, raised a $63M Series C round from Goldman Sachs, BNP Paribas, and Google, with the company’s valuation reaching $1B. Cybersecurity company CrowdStrike raised $100M in Series D funding from investors including Accel Partners, Telstra, and Warburg Pincus. The company’s valuation also reached $1B. See a full list of unicorn companies on our real-time Unicorn Tracker.
20 years: Jason Paul, general manager of virtual reality strategy at NVIDIA, estimates that for its graphic processing units (GPUs), which are already widely used in gaming and AI applications, it will take “about 20 years to achieve resolutions that can match the human eye.” The company’s most recent investment was to MapD Technologies, developers of a GPU-powered data analytics and visualization software platform, in a Series B this past March.
60%: Alibaba revenue grew 60% to $5.6B, according to its quarterly results released this week. The Chinese e-commerce company, which trades on the NYSE, saw sales in its cloud computing business (similar to Amazon’s AWS) and media/entertainment divisions grow even more quickly, in the triple digits.
30%: Speaking of China, app publishers in China are pushing back against Apple’s proposal to take a fee from “tips,” or small payments to content creators and internet personalities, which are common on Chinese social networks and messaging platforms like WeChat. Apple has said it will charge a 30% fee that it skims from app store paid downloads and in-app purchases, and according to a WSJ report, executives with the China-based companies are not happy.
$7B: Shopify, a publicly-traded Canadian company that sells software to power e-commerce sites, announced a 5.5 million share sale this week. Shopify’s share price has more than tripled over the last year and the company’s market cap has surpassed the $7B mark. The company went public at only a $1.27B valuation in May 2015 and is one of only two Canadian companies on our real-time tracker of VC-backed exits of $1B or more.
$12M: The amount raised by Karamba Security, provider of endpoint security to protect the connected car, in Series B funding. Investors in the round included Liberty Mutual Strategic Ventures, Paladin Capital Group, and YL Ventures, among others. Karamba Security is one of the 30 companies mentioned in our 2017 Cyber Defenders Report, highlighting the cybersecurity trends to watch and high-momentum startups with the potential to shape the future of digital resilience. Get the report here.
20: Speaking of cybersecurity, a cybersecurity firm this week sounded the alarm about a second global cyber attack similar to last week’s “WannaCry” ransomware attack. This attack hijacks Windows computers and installs cryptocurrency mining software known as Adylkuzz. Interestingly, the attackers don’t mine for bitcoin but instead another currency called Monero, which has enhanced anonymity features. According to Proofpoint, it took only 20 minutes for a vulnerable lab machine exposed to the open web to be enrolled in an Adylkuzz mining botnet. Check out our recent analysis of cybersecurity startup financing trends here.
$2.4M: On May 15th 1997, or 20 years ago this week, Amazon went public. An investment of $5,000 to purchase stock at its IPO twenty years ago would be worth at least $2.4M today, according to Fortune. The company was previously financed by investors Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and Madrona Venture Group, among others. We recently put together an Amazon Strategy Teardown covering the company’s strategy across patents, investments, M&A, and more. You can even download a PDF version.
$325,000: While drone technology continues to advance, “rogue drones” have become a concern, and a number of startups — including Airspace Systems and Skysafe — are targeting UAVs that attempt to fly into restricted areas such as prisons, airports, government buildings, and nuclear facilities. Recently, a British prison installed a 2000 ft. “drone shield” to “detect and block drones that fly close to its perimeter.” Depending on the size of the prison, this type of shield technology can cost anywhere from $130,000 to $325,000.
$8.1M: The amount raised by The Farmer’s Dog, a subscription-based pet food provider, in Series A funding. Investors in the round included Collaborative Fund, Forerunner Ventures, Shasta Ventures, and SV Angel. The company previously raised a $2M seed round last year, bringing its total funding to $10.1M. The Farmer’s Dog is one of 74 startups on our pet tech market map.
$699: Mayfield Robotics’ social robot companion Kuri is getting closer to production, according to an article posted earlier this week. Among the robot’s many capabilities, one of its more notable skills is its ability to “determine when it needs charging and find its pad.” The robot has a pricetag of $699. You can find a host of other social robot startups on our consumer robots market map.