P.S. In our September 19, 2019 newsletter, “VC-funded helium balloons,” we asked readers to count the # of mixed metaphors and said we’d send free swag to anyone who guessed correctly. Unfortunately, out of all the wide-ranging & thoughtful replies, no one nailed it. Our editors counted 9.
If we missed your correct guess, pls FWD and we’ll send you the swag.
P.P.S. A new contest: send us your favorite business quote. Our editors will decide the winner based on originality and usefulness. Mine currently is, “Culture eats strategy for breakfast” — of debated coinage, attributed to Peter Drucker, and popularized by Ford CEO Mark Fields.
411: Another 4 companies raised funding at $1B+ valuations. Enterprise app platform Instabase, user engagement service Pendo, China-based online-to-offline sales platform KK Group, and home-decoration platform Kujiale all entered the now 411-strong unicorn club. See them all using our unicorn tracker.
-$39B: WeWork agreed on a deal with SoftBank to secure additional financing to keep the office-rental company afloat. The injection of funding — which gives SoftBank a majority stake — values WeWork at $8B, a decrease of $39B compared to the $47B valuation it received in January. Want to know how WeWork makes — and loses — money? Take a look at our deep dive.
$400M: Data analytics platform Databricks raised $400M at a $6.2B valuation — a more than 2x increase compared to its prior valuation just 8 months ago. The San Francisco-based startup has now raised almost $900M in disclosed equity funding.
$55M: Quantum computer startup IonQ raised $55M in a round backed by Samsung. The startup, which is also backed by Amazon and Google Ventures, uses “trapped ion” tech to develop its computers. Find out why the space is potentially highly disruptive in our explainer, What Is Quantum Computing?
90%: Researchers from Harvard have developed an improved version of gene-editing tool CRISPR, dubbed “prime editing.” The new technique is said to be more precise than other approaches and avoids the need to physically cut out strands of DNA. The researchers stated that prime editing could potentially treat nearly 90% of the 75,000 known inherited gene diseases. Learn more about CRISPR — and its wide-ranging potential — in our explainer.
1.9 mph: Researchers have observed a species of ant, found in the Sahara, that is thought to be the fastest in the world. The ants were measured to travel at speeds of up to 1.9 mph, covering about 108x their body length in 1 second — 5x more than cheetahs, which can only travel around 20x their body length per second at top speed.
The process replaces bitumen, a byproduct of oil refining that holds asphalt together, with recycled PET plastic. Ultimately, it will allow existing asphalt to be ground up, mixed with liquid plastic, and used for repaving.
TechniSoil, the company that created the process, claims that its road “can last eight to 13 times longer than a standard road.”