Beauty queen brands. Robots that collaborate. Canadian AI.
Real disruptive innovation is actually a much rarer phenomenon than startup pitches and demo days would have you believe.
But real disruption is happening right now in the robotics market.
Robotics for manufacturing, warehouses, maintenance, etc. is estimated to be a $105B market by 2025, according to CB Insights’ market sizings data.
Much of the growth is being driven by ”cobots,” or collaborative robots that can work alongside humans. These are smaller and cheaper, too — think a small robot arm vs. huge robotic machinery, which is what we often imagine when we think of robots “on the job.”
One company riding this trend is Teradyne, which acquired early cobot maker Universal Robotics in 2015 (Universal Robotics, which reports results separately, saw revenue growth of 72% in 2017).
Of course, as recently as 5 years ago, cobots were often viewed skeptically. They would not be precise enough, they would require too much on-site programming, or they would not be fast/powerful enough.
Now all the large industrial robotics incumbents are racing to make and market cobots.
They may have waited too long.
(Canadian) dolla dolla bills
Investment in Canadian AI companies jumped to $169M in Q2’18 — a 104% increase over Q1’18. The sector had 13 deals last quarter.
P.S. On July 31, we’ll be diving into AI in financial services. Sign up for the briefing here.
This week in data:
-$120B: Facebook’s stock is taking a beating. After yesterday’s earnings call, which revealed lowest daily active user growth since at least early 2011, Facebook stock has dropped 19%, losing $120B in value. The drop marks the worst one-day slump for a public company in stock market history. We recently analyzed 40 quarters of earnings calls by Facebook and other tech giants (Amazon, Microsoft, Google, Apple). What companies talk most about the competition? Who’s focusing the most on tech like AI, machine learning, and voice? We answer these questions and more in the full report here.
$12B: The Trump administration wants to distribute up to $12B in emergency aid to farmers who have been hurt by the ongoing trade war. The “temporary relief” will come in the form of direct assistance (for soybean, cotton, dairy, corn, and hog farmers), a food purchase program where the government will buy surpluses, and a trade promotion program. We recently dug into the winners and losers of tit-for-tat tariffs, looking at which CEOs were discussing tariffs most on earnings calls. Check it out.
1 day old: There’s now a baby on the blockchain. Irish medical aid project AID:Tech recently partnered with Dutch PharmAccess to accurately track vulnerable women’s medical information. The collaboration uses blockchain technology to deliver aid and share data. Yesterday, a baby born in Tanzania was added to the ledger — a first for the blockchain. With blockchain technology creeping into more and more facets of our lives, we rounded up 42 non-banking industries — from 3D printing, to libraries, to fishing — being shaken up by the technology. See them all here.
$35M: Fintech startup Divvy raised its second round of funding in 3 months, a $35M Series B from Insight Venture Partners. The startup provides a B2B payments & expense platform and issues virtual & physical corporate credit cards via Mastercard. Employers can then “divvy” up allocations to the cards. We highlighted Divvy, among other startups, in our recent Q2 2018 Global Fintech Report.
1 million percent: According to the International Monetary Fund, inflation in Venezuela could reach a whopping 1,000,000% by the end of the year — a figure drawing comparisons to Germany after WWI and Zimbabwe at the beginning of the last decade. If the prediction comes true, Venezuela’s economy will have shrunk 50% over the last five years.
12.5 miles: A lake of liquid water has been detected on Mars, according to research published by the Italian Space Agency earlier this week. The lake is located beneath the planet’s southern polar ice cap. It is 12.5 miles across and looks similar to underwater lakes in Greenland and the Antarctic. Wondering if this lake will be a sightseeing location of the future? Check out our briefing on the current state of space tech, from on-the-ground VR experiences to space tourism. Read more.
275 books: The 13 novels on the Man Booker Prize 2018 longlist were announced this week, including the first graphic novel to make it onto the list. IBM recently used AI technology to dig into the 275 works shortlisted over the history of the prize, specifically looking at gender bias. The analysis found that the top occupations for men in shortlisted books were (in order) doctor, professor/scientist, business, and clergy, while the top occupations for female characters were teacher, nurse, prostitute, and child bride.