Futuristic car interiors. Fitness unicorn goes public. An expensive, face-scanning airport.
That was fast
This week, researchers at Google said that they had achieved the milestone of using a quantum computer to outpace the world’s fastest traditional computer (see TWID below). For many observers, it was surprising how fast we got here.
Quantum might be a tech trend on a slow boil, but it’s worth watching given its potential to fundamentally disrupt how we do computing.
We are also here to help with an explainer if entanglement and qubits are new to you.
$2.2B: Checkr, a startup that offers background checks for companies hiring gig economy workers, became a unicorn after raising $160M at a $2.2B valuation. The startup joins the 404-strong global unicorn herd and was featured on our 2019 future unicorn list, made in partnership with The New York Times. See the rest of our predictions here.
4 IPOs: After Peloton’s IPO this week, our analysis shows that Fidelity Investments has come up as a top stakeholder in 4 recent major IPOs: cybersecurity unicorn Cloudflare, life sciences unicorn 10x Genomics, social media platform Pinterest, and Peloton.
1.5Bx: Researchers from Google have reportedly demonstrated “quantum supremacy” — using a quantum computer to complete a task quicker than our fastest classical computers. The team solved a complex computation problem in just 3 minutes and 20 seconds, about 1.5Bx quicker than a state-of-the-art classical supercomputer would take for the same task. Google isn’t the only company making quantum computing strides — check out 19 others in our report.
$10B: Cloud-based data analytics platform Datadog went public last week at 10x its previous valuation, hitting a $10B market cap in its first day of trading. We analyzed the company’s top stakeholders — including VCs Index Ventures and Open View — and how much their shares were worth at time of IPO. See which 3 stakeholders emerged with a $1B+ stake here.
178 years: UK-based travel company Thomas Cook collapsed after being in operation for 178 years. The firm’s closure left over half a million tourists in a state of uncertainty about how to get home and could see the loss of around 21,000 jobs.
$35B: Payments startup Stripe announced it raised $250M at a valuation of $35B — a 56% increase since its prior valuation at the beginning of the year. Check out the trends driving fintech forward in our latest global fintech report.
12 weeks: McDonald’s is partnering with plant-based protein startup Beyond Meat to test adding an alternative protein burger to its menu. The limited 12-week pilot will run in 28 of its restaurants in Canada. For more on how the rising alternative protein trend is disrupting the global meat market, take a look at our Meatless Future report.
$63B: A $63B airport has opened in Beijing. It is reportedly expected to handle 100M travelers a year by 2040, which would make it one of the world’s busiest travel hubs, and has been designed in coordination with Huawei to include high levels of facial recognition tech. Facial recognition is quickly becoming more common in everyday life — see 10 areas besides travel where the tech is already being applied here.
1 per year: A new UN report says that sea levels are expected to rise steeply in the coming decades, with “extreme sea level events” projected to increase in frequency from once per century to once per year by 2050. The fallout from rising sea levels may prompt more calls for geoengineering. Find out how the tech works — and why it can be controversial — in our explainer.
Some folks see it as a common interest that’s fun to talk about with their coworkers in zodiac-themed Slack channels.
But some managers and execs are consulting tarot cards to keep conversations flowing during meetings, or to consider other angles when making corporate decisions, or even as an alternative to the Myers-Briggs personality test.