Unicorn Awareness 16 of 155: Lufax Peering into Finance

This is a series of articles aimed at making people aware of the endangered Unicorns that exist among us.

It is not their fault that they are endangered. It’s the price and pride of ownership. So where along the way the decision was made to feed them more than they can consume and that lean was not as import as means.

Some of the unicorns have done well on this diet. Others have not. We don’t pass judgement on the individual unicorns. We just highlight the herd for your awareness.

Currently we have gained a new Unicorn and the count is 155. In other words we are one short. (Which I would make a case should be more than one ;<) ).

Lufax

Lufax is short for Shanghai Lujiazui International Financial Asset Exchange Co. and according to the WSJ they have “7 million registered users [and have] arranged more than 200,000 loans worth $2.5 billion.”

The idea of  peer-to-peer [P2P] lending is to bypass the bankers so that the lenders can recoup principal and interest directly. This increases the chance of individual defaults and makes risk unmitigated.  In China, the banking industry has not matched the need of small firms and consumers so LuFax is a well known alternative.  However, it is not the only alternative.

Unicorn Awareness 15 of 155: Palantir Finds Fraud

This is a series of articles aimed at making people aware of the endangered Unicorns that exist among us.

It is not their fault that they are endangered. It’s the price and pride of ownership. So where along the way the decision was made to feed them more than they can consume and that lean was not as import as means.

Some of the unicorns have done well on this diet. Others have not. We don’t pass judgement on the individual unicorns. We just highlight the herd for your awareness.

Currently we have gained a new Unicorn and the count is 155. In other words we lost one.

Palantir

At $20B the Palantir is one of the largest unicorn’s in the herd.  The P A L in Palantir maybe a reference to it’s origins in PayPal, where the focus was on using link analysis to find fraud.  Since then it has been a darling of the government agencies with contracts for $215M for helping them to do everything from finding Bin Laden to prosecuting Bernie Madoff.

They are looking to be used for energy, entertainment, finance, healthcare, insurance and retailing.

Unicorn Awareness 14 of 156: Xiaomi Zowie

This is a series of articles aimed at making people aware of the endangered Unicorns that exist among us.

It is not their fault that they are endangered. It’s the price and pride of ownership. So where along the way the decision was made to feed them more than they can consume and that lean was not as import as means.

Some of the unicorns have done well on this diet. Others have not. We don’t pass judgement on the individual unicorns. We just highlight the herd for your awareness.

Currently we have gained a new Unicorn and the count is 156.

Xiaomi

It might be the great firewall of China is an aid to Xiaomi growth, but certainly it’s vision is international.  The company’s name means “little rice” in Chinese, but within China the social aspects of the Xiaomi product line is apparent.  The founder Lei Jun is like the Mark Zuckerberg of China and the product launches rival the Steve Jobs grandeur.   Combined with their social media prowess, moderate pricing strategy and frequent software releases the company has a market valuation of 46B.

Of note is the fact that Qualcomm is an investor.  The WSJ lists Huawei and Lenovo as its competitors but Apple and Google come to mind first internationally.

The Bright Shiny Object Syndrome

A friend once commented on a specific country, that it was the best place to go if you wanted to see a smile while being told to go jump in a lake.  “They are very good at telling you to F*#k-off politely”

I have similar feelings about the “spirit of collaboration” in California.  I contend that the openness is a false trust factor.

I am not saying I am not interested in open solutions, I am saying that some business ideas are corrupted by the bright shiny object syndrome.

While I am impressed with all the activity, sometimes it feels like some stronger discipline is needed.  A good example is ride sharing and the offshoots.  Does Apple really have any business going into the Auto industry?   If so, what is their competitive advantage?  Are they going to be able to charge a premium for a mid market car?  Go on the high end?  The auto industry was very sick just about a decade ago.  Consolidation occurred for brands and companies.  Does this look like a ripe market?

Yes, Tesla has brought game changing technology to market, but it’s still not clear if they are not going to be an enabler for others more than a competitor.

Uber and others have indicated they are going to use autonomous vehicles to ride share. Does a driver less car change the cost factors to the point where the BOM is significantly impacted?  And does the lack of a steering wheel have other human factors that impact comfort and buying decisions.

The fact that Google left the board of Uber indicates the issue I have.  Google wants to be in the ride sharing business in San Fransisco.  Google waited until it was ready before resigning from the board.  I am not sure that follows the “do no evil’ goal, but even so, I still have to ask why?  The fact that Uber has taken a real debt with bonds and merged it’s china operation suggest that things are tougher.  Does the use of Google for maps equate to a google cab?

I would love to see the rotary guidance applied to opportunity.

Does it have to be built?

Does it have to be built now?

And does it have to be built by us?

I think a lot of projects would be abandoned once these questions asked.

The Nightly Unblackening of Comedy Central

I am disappointed that Larry Wilmore will no longer be guiding me through the subtlety of White and Black experiences.

He has managed to take hard discussions and make them palatable to a tree hugging liberal like myself with few black friends.

larrywilmore

I am not sure what Comedy Central has in mind for the future of the Nightly Show, but I think anyone competing with Stephen Colbert’s migration to CBS would have had a problem.

I am hoping that Larry and the entourage find a way to reminding us to “keep it 100”. And to call things out when they are “weak tea”.

Like Stephen, Larry added to my vocabulary with phrases that I now understand and can use in a sentence to help me speak to other people beyond my tree hugging liberal friends.

I will not claim I am blackened, but at least I am more aware thanks to Larry and the team.

Michel Martin Steve Voss/NPR

Michel Martin
Steve Voss/NPR

However, adding to the post, I want to point out the Michel Martin at NPR had similar problems connecting to more listeners with her show “Tell Me More”.

There I got to hear a barbershop filled with a diverse set of political views.

It maybe that white america is only ready for weak tea.

So while I am sad these shows are off the air, I feel they kept it 100.

Unicorn Awareness 13 of 150: Uber Alles

This is a series of articles aimed at making people aware of the endangered Unicorns that exist among us.

It is not their fault that they are endangered. It’s the price and pride of ownership. So where along the way the decision was made to feed them more than they can consume and that lean was not as import as means.

Some of the unicorns have done well on this diet. Others have not. We don’t pass judgement on the individual unicorns. We just highlight the herd for your awareness.

Currently we have gained a new Unicorn and the count is 150.

Uber

My tendency with Uber is to defer to Velveteen Rabbit as analogous to Uber’s becoming a real company. Already it has done things that stand out from the rest of the unicorns. The first is that it went to the debt market which it did not publicize, the second is that it admitted that it could not beat them, so it merged its Uber China LoB with Didi Chuxing.

With an evaluation of 68B and another 15B in available through debt, the question has to be can Uber possibly pay off in the long run.

Unicorn Awareness 12 of 149 (again)

This is a series of articles aimed at making people aware of the endangered Unicorns that exist among us.

It is not their fault that they are endangered. It’s the price and pride of ownership. So where along the way the decision was made to feed them more than they can consume and that lean was not as import as means.

Some of the unicorns have done well on this diet. Others have not. We don’t pass judgement on the individual unicorns. We just highlight the herd for your awareness.

Currently we have gained back a Unicorn and the count is 149.

Mode Media

Mode Media, formerly called Glam Media, owns hundreds of lifestyle sites that connect brand advertisers with targeted audiences such as men with Brash, Foodie, Glam, Tend (for moms) and other channels online.

Advertisers can access Mode’s audience directly through Mode in North America (US and Canada), Asia (including Japan, and South Korea) and Europe (including Germany, the United Kingdom and France) as well as through our sales and marketing partners in Australia, China, Singapore, Italy, Spain, the Middle East, South Africa, and Russia. In fact, we have the capability to aggregate viewers from almost anywhere in the world. We focus on local creators and brands, creating original, local and highly engaging in-market experiences.

Unicorn Awareness 11 of 148: WiFiMaster

This is a series of articles aimed at making people aware of the endangered Unicorns that exist among us.

It is not their fault that they are endangered. It’s the price and pride of ownership. So where along the way the decision was made to feed them more than they can consume and that lean was not as import as means.

Some of the unicorns have done well on this diet. Others have not. We don’t pass judgement on the individual unicorns. We just highlight the herd for your awareness.

Currently we lost one of your Unicorns since the count was 149 until last week.

WiFiMaster

Wifimaster WiFiMaster biggest asset might be that the own the domain wifi.com. However, it probably helps that they are in China, but 52M investment has yielded a Billion dollar evaluation. Wifimaster provides an app called Wifi Master Key for connecting to Wi-Fi hotspots without a password or sign-in.

Unicorn Awareness 10 of 149: Kuaidi Dache

This is a series of articles aimed at making people aware of the endangered Unicorns that exist among us.

It is not their fault that they are endangered. It’s the price and pride of ownership. So where along the way the decision was made to feed them more than they can consume and that lean was not as import as means.

Some of the unicorns have done well on this diet. Others have not. We don’t pass judgement on the individual unicorns. We just highlight the herd for your awareness.

We will ignore the fact that there were 147 about a month ago and now we are at 149 again so the venture capitalists are clearly back into their optimism or flush with cash.

Kuaidi Dache

Kuaidi Dache, is backed by Alibaba and was merged with Didi Dache in April this year. It is a taxi-hailing app and probably was forced to merge by the VCs lead by U.S. hedge fund Coatue Management, Alibaba and Tencent Holdings who normally are rivals.

Didi Dache brand is maintained as separated entity so all that was done was to risk mitigate for the investors. a Kuaudi’s service is integrated in Alipay’s mobile app that has over 190 million active users in China. Didi Dache has over 300 million users.

Given this was a country of bicycles before Nixon’s visit we can say that ride sharing is a growing business.

Unicorn Awareness 9 of 149: Getting A Face Lyft

This is a series of articles aimed at making people aware of the endangered Unicorns that exist among us.

It is not their fault that they are endangered. It’s the price and pride of ownership. So where along the way the decision was made to feed them more than they can consume and that lean was not as import as means.

Some of the unicorns have done well on this diet. Others have not. We don’t pass judgement on the individual unicorns. We just highlight the herd for your awareness.

We will ignore the fact that there were 147 about a month ago and now we are at 149 again so the venture capitalists are clearly back into their optimism or flush with cash.

Lyft

Perhaps the oxygen is being sucked out of the room. At 5.5 B Lyft is in the upper third of billion dollar start up club. However, at $ 68 B Uber it’s competitor looks more substantial.

The Wall Street Journal reported today that Lyft is working with Frank Quattrone of Qatalyst Partners to determine its future investors. Already the company has General Motors as an investor, but it now has the task of finding a path to the sea. The red ocean of Ride Sharing services and (blue ocean?) Autonomous cars IMHO will converge at some point. I think that is the reason for the GM investment.

Left maybe the 29th Billion Dollar Start up to exit. Regardless it’s clear its looking to find a clear path.