Roundup of news and ideas from the world of startups – Week ending 29th Sept 2019
News you can use
3 Ways Analyzing Patent Trends Pays – The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) issued its 10 millionth patent number in June 2018 and continues to go strong. In fact, according to a PatentlyO.com-published report, “We are about three-fourths of the way through fiscal year 2019 (ends September 30, 2019) and the USPTO is on-track to issue the most patents ever in a single year period,” with the author forecasting, “330,000 issued utility patents, which is up about five percent from the prior one-year high in 2017.” While these kinds of milestones have created much ado about patents that have changed the world, including a number of popular culture pieces, the unfortunate truth remains that a great number of organizations don’t really understand how powerfully advantageous a tool patents can be.
More WeWork Fallout: Unhappy Investors in Startups It Acquired – WeWork’s troubles are writing a cautionary tale that could fill a book on corporate finance and startup investing lessons. The latest chapter is on what happens when startup investors are paid in stock when their companies are acquired by other private companies. WeWork paid for some of its recent acquisitions partially in stock at a per-share price that assumed WeWork was worth $47 billion. Now that the valuation appears to be far short of that, investors in those acquired company aren’t pleased, according to the Wall Street Journal. The investors on the record include those in FieldLens, a construction software startup, and workplace management software startup SpaceIQ.
Startup Merger and Acquisitions
Facebook agrees to acquire brain-computing start-up CTRL-labs – Facebook on Monday announced the acquisition of CTRL-labs, a New York startup that specializes in allowing humans to control computers using their brains. The size of the deal was between $500 million and $1 billion, sources familiar with the matter told CNBC. A Facebook spokesperson said it was lower than $1 billion.
Nigeria’s CcHub acquires Kenya’s iHub to create mega Africa incubator – Two of Africa’s powerhouse tech incubators will join forces. Nigerian innovation center and seed-fund CcHub has acquired Nairobi based iHub, CcHub CEO Bosun Tijani confirmed to TechCrunch. The purchase amount is undisclosed, but Tijani said CcHub will finance the deal out of its real-estate project to build a new 10-story innovation center to replace its Herbert Macaulay Way building in Lagos.
Paris-based mobility startup BlaBlaCar to acquire bus ticket booking platform Busfor – The mobility revolution is reshaping the way people commute in Europe. There is a slew of new and innovative options for consumers and it creates numerous opportunities for many transportation companies. As a result, companies operating in the mobility industry in Europe are unleashing new ways to capture the market.
Amazon buys cloud startup INLT to help merchants import goods – Amazon.com Inc has bought technology startup INLT for an undisclosed amount, the company told Reuters on Tuesday, in a transaction that will help merchants on its online marketplace more easily import goods into the United States. The firm, with around a dozen employees based in Los Angeles and Philadelphia, makes software for sellers to manage costs and customs clearance of cross-border shipments. Seattle-based Amazon said it will offer INLT’s cloud-based computing technology to its merchants.
MoviePass Has Officially Shut Down – MoviePass announced on Friday it’s shutting down the discount ticketing service on Sept. 14. There was once a time when MoviePass subscribers could see a movie every single day for the cost of $9.95 a month. MoviePass has undergone several changes to its pricing scheme and business model. When the company was founded in 2011, a MoviePass subscription cost about $40 a month. Later MoviePass decided to attract a mass audience by slashing the monthly subscription rate by $30 and matching the price of streaming services like Netflix and Hulu. MoviePass typically paid theaters the full cost of tickets for its members, which in many places would have exceeded the monthly membership fee.
Rajan Anandan-Backed Lingerie Startup Buttercups Shuts Shop – Buttercups’ founder Arpita Ganesh took to LinkedIn to say that she is closing the Bengaluru-based online lingerie startup, a couple of months after the website was shuttered. Buttercups was founded in 2013 by Arpita Ganesh. In FY18, the company’s revenues fell 61.7% from INR 1.08 Cr in FY17. Ganesh with her friend has launched advertising startup The Voice Company
Kik shuts down messaging app as it battles the SEC over initial coin offering – Kik Interactive CEO Ted Livingston announced that the company is shutting down Kik Messenger to focus on its cryptocurrency Kin, the target of a lawsuit filed by the Securities and Exchange Commission. The company’s team will be reduced to 19 people, a reduction that will affect more than 100 employees, as it focuses on converting more Kin users into buyers.