Living drug battles cancer. Startup squeezed to death. Hyperloop's pusher pod.
If eSports boosters have their way, competitive video gaming is bound for the Olympics in 2024.
Thomas Bach, the head of the International Olympic Committee, said this week that he’s considering eSports as an event, but only games that are not about “violence, explosions, and killing.”
Hmmmm. That’s an interesting idea, but as many have pointed out, all the popular games played by the best eSports teams and players are … basically about battling and killing. This includes League of Legends, Dota 2 (Defense of the Ancients 2), Starcraft II, Counter-Strike, and others.
This week, we published a deep dive on eSports. It provides every stat you may want to know about why eSports is drawing the interest of established media and sports businesses, and dives into a stampede of new startups (see This Week in Data Below).
Just a couple of nuggets here: The winnings for the biggest eSports tournament already are close to those of traditional sports.
$475K: The FDA announced the first approval of a cell-based gene therapy drug known as Kymriah. Developed by Novartis, the “living drug” uses genetically modified immune cells from patients to fight a form of acute lymphoblastic leukemia. The cost of this one-time treatment is $475,000 for patients if they see a benefit within a month — otherwise, the patient isn’t charged. Novartis is one of the most active pharma investors since 2013, and has placed numerous bets on cancer therapy startups.
$100M: Today, Juicero — the highly-criticized maker of a $400 cold-press juicing system — announced that it will be shutting down. In the next 90 days, the company will offer refunds for the Juicero press, and will no longer manufacture the item or its Produce Packs. Juicero raised nearly $100M in total disclosed financing since its launch 16 months ago. Check out our list of 232 other startup failure post-mortems.
439: The number of corporations in the 2017 Fortune 500 that are “non-tech,” representing industries such as financial services, energy, retail, industrials, media, and healthcare. Already in 2017, non-tech Fortune 500 companies have participated in 155 deals to tech startups. Read about all this and more in our State of Tech Investment by the Fortune 500 briefing, released earlier this week.
85+: Zum, a provider of ride-sharing and care services for kids, raised $5.5M in Series A funding from Sequoia Capital earlier this week. Playbrush, which designs toothbrushes that act as gaming controllers for kids, raised $2M in a second tranche of a seed round. These companies are just 2 of over 85 startups featured on our baby & kids tech market map, available to our Expert Research clients.
$10M: Subscription disposable contact lenses company Hubble Contacts raised $10M in a second tranche of a Series A round, bringing its total disclosed funding to $34M. The round included FirstMark Capital, Founders Fund, and Greycroft Partners, among other investors. Hubble Contacts is one of over 140 companies in our Direct-to-Consumer Brands Collection.
220 mph: Last week, students from around the world participated in a SpaceX Hyperloop competition, where they competed against one another to see which team could build the fastest test pod for the next-gen transport tech. Students from Technical University Munich won, reaching a record-breaking 201 mph. But according to Elon Musk’s Instagram post earlier this week, the SpaceX/Tesla Hyperloop pusher pod reached 220 mph, surpassing all student pods and setting a new record. This also beats Hyperloop One’s earlier test run of 192 mph, and Musk believes a future version can surpass 310 mph (about half the speed of sound).
27: Tegile Systems, a flash-driven storage enterprise system, was acquired by data storage company Western Digital earlier this week. Tegile Systems has raised $175M in disclosed funding from investors including August Capital, SanDisk Ventures, and Meritech Capital Partners. The company is the 27th company on our 2017 Tech IPO Pipeline report to exit via M&A or IPO this year. The analysis looks at tech’s 369 most highly-valued and high-momentum private companies.
$2.58B: The Advisory Board Company, a global consulting and technology firm, announced its decision to split up and sell its business for a total deal value of $2.58B. The company will sell its education business to private equity firm Vista Equity Partners for $1.55B, and its healthcare business to UnitedHealth Group Inc’s Optum unit for $1.3B, including debt. CEO Robert Musslewhite says the separation will allow for “purity of focus in each industry” and is expected to close by the end of 2017 or early 2018.
1: The number of KFC locations in China using a new facial-recognition payments technology known as “Smile to Pay,” launched by Alipay. The technology debuted in Hangzhou in one of KFC’s new healthy-food concept restaurants known as KPRO. Smile to Pay allows users to authenticate payments through the use of facial scanning and via the input of phone numbers. According to Alibaba, the process uses a 3D camera.