Welcome, this industry newsletter shares key market changes, in a twice-monthly publication, curated by Jeremiah Owyang, Founder of Catalyst Companies™, you can subscribe to the email newsletter on the footer of the homepage.
Uber is profitable in the U.S. while bleeding billions in China
Uber CEO Travis Kalanick tells BetaKit that the company is officially profitable in the U.S., though it’s losing more than $1 billion per year in China. He’s further quoted, “We have a fierce competitor that’s unprofitable in every city they exist in, but they’re buying up market share. I prefer building rather than fundraising. But, if I don’t participate in the fundraising bonanza, I’ll get squeezed out by others buying market share.” The heavy competition in the ridesharing industry abroad signals that this global market still has room for growth, especially among country-specific companies with niche market expertise. Uber’s U.S. profitability announcement is especially interesting as Reuters predicts the company could go public as soon as 2016.
Retired GM exec warns insurance industry that driverless cars could be its demise
As autonomous vehicles become mainstream, human-error accidents will dissipate, and the insurance industry will feel the impact. This prediction comes from Lawrence Burns, a retired GM executive and professor who advises Allstate, Google, and other companies on mobility issues. There will be liability, he opines at the Chicago Booth School of Business, though most traffic safety issues will be resolved. Opportunities will be abound for insurance companies who wish to weather the disruption, from using connectivity to gather driver data to reconfiguring rate structures and coverage packages. Additional pivots will need consideration though as drivers are completely eliminated and insurance could rest with the vehicles and passengers instead.
Blockchain “smart contracts” will bypass the need for backchannel auditing
Although blockchain technology is in early development, experts say it’s poised to transform global commerce, reports Singularity Hub. This is in large part due to cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin that are built on the platform. Managing partner of Blockchain Capital Brock Pierce has reviewed hundreds of early stage companies in the space and has found the vision of “smart contracts” most promising and poised to disrupt many areas of financial and legal services. According to Singularity Hub, Smart contracts are built on the blockchain and are programmed to self-execute, allowing the rendering of static units of value (ie. dollar bills and physical contracts) into more autonomous systems. This would bypass the need for complicated ledgers, financial back offices, and expensive legal systems and auditors to ensure duplicate transactions and illegal retaining of funds doesn’t occur.
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