Silicon Valley Funding News - Week of January 15, 2024. Luma AI Raised $43M Series B

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Hello from the rainy San Francisco!  

Here are a few great things to read/watch this week:

  • πŸ€–πŸ€–πŸ€– CES is Back!  - I didn't go this year.  But I can feel the excitement from afar. Rabbit sold 10000 units of its R1 AI pocket companions in 24 hours while X1 raised $100M to build its Neo Humanoid Robot. 
  • πŸ’‰ πŸ’Š πŸ’‰ πŸ’Š JPM  Learning - Instead of CES, I attended JP Morgan Healthcare conference. The intersection of AI and healthcare data represents fascinating possibilities in medicine. This convergence is not just intriguing, it's revolutionizing the way we approach healthcare. AI's ability to analyze and interpret large volumes of data is opening doors to deeper insights into diseases, treatment outcomes, and patient care. It's a journey where technology meets biology, and the potential for improving human health is enormous. Here are a few things I learned from the JPM conference this week: 
    • The Rise of Digital Pathology During COVID-19 speeds up AI for health. Read more
    • American cancer deaths have declined by 33%, not due to drug, but attributed largely to better early detection, lower rates of smoking, and improvements in treatment. Read more
    • Data + AI - On average, an approved drug today costs $2–3 billion and takes over ten years to develop. In part, this is due to expensive and time-consuming wet-lab experiments, poor initial hit compounds, and the high attrition rates in the (pre-)clinical phases. Structure-based virtual screening (SBVS) has the potential to mitigate these problems. VirtualFlow can dock one billion compounds in approximately two weeks by leveraging 10,000 CPU cores simultaneously. Read more
    • NVIDIA Demoed BioNeMoβ„’ at JPM - BioNeMo is generative AI platform for drug discovery that simplifies and accelerates the training of models using your own data and scaling the deployment of models for drug discovery applications. Read more
    • Unified Patent Court (UPC) is Great News for Pharma - UPC is a new court in Europe whose decisions are supported simultaneously in 17 European countries (including France, Germany, Italy and the Netherlands). These decision-making powers include the enforcement and revocation of unitary patents and European patents. By 1 September 2023, the three-month anniversary of the opening of the new system, over 7,400 unitary patents were recorded and 25% were healthcare
  • πŸ’°πŸ’°πŸ’° The Rule of X - For a public cloud business in today’s market, this means that a 1% increase in growth rate has 2.3x the positive impact on valuation multiple versus a 1% increase in FCF margin. In periods with lower cost of capital, the math holds even at earlier stages. Snowflake famously burned $1+ billion ahead of becoming FCF profitable in FY 2022.  The moral of the story? Burning $1+ billion yielded a ~$60 -70 billion business which is still compounding at 30%+. Read more
  • 🀯🀯🀯 Bitcoin ETF is here for real - 15 years after Bitcoin was created, the US SEC approved 11 BTC ETFs. Large institutions have now entered the arena- with Blackrock, Fidelity, VanEck, Invesco and Valkyrie, etc. In true cryptocurrency fashion, this launch did not go without controversy - the SEC's X (Twitter) account on January 9 tweeted that the BTC ETFs were approved. Within the next 15 minutes, Gary Gensler (SEC Chair) said that the SEC account had been hacked and the tweet was "unauthorized" - and that the ETFs had not been approved "yet". The SEC's erroneous tweet caused over $90M in liquidations in minutes. However, given the amount of deliberations and S-1 amendments over the past month, the approval was inevitably approved the next day. Read more on Bloomberg
  • πŸ“šπŸ“šπŸ“š Elon Musk - Even if you are not a fan of Elon, Tesla, SpaceX, Neuralink, Twitter or Paypal, this is a must-read book to learn about the history of Silicon Valley. Click here    
This week a total of 10 startups raised $123.1M in funding, 1 M&As:
  • $94.9M goes to 4 Enterprise startups
  • $2.4M goes to 1 FinTech startup
  • $12M goes to 1 InsurTech startup
  • $1.2M goes to 1 Energy startup
  • $6.4M goes to 1 Environmental startup
  • $4M goes to 1 E-Commerce startup
  • $2.2M goes to 1 Wellness startup
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