To Infinity and Beyond!
Musk’s space baby just enjoyed yet another successful funding round, giving the eccentric CEO a fresh opportunity to stoke some IPO fires.
Watch this space
Elon Musk is everywhere we look, and soon he’ll even be in space. ‘Space Karen’s’ galactic venture raised a hefty $850 million in fresh capital this week, giving it a valuation of $74 billion and a price per share of — wait for it — $420… Ok, technically it’s $419.99, but it’s still typical of the man. The cash will fund the company’s $10 billion Starlink venture, which aims to provide high-speed internet to users around the globe via satellites. SpaceX now has around 1,000 Starlink satellites and its constellation-based approach sees them positioned much closer to Earth, which improves latency and provides more consistent coverage. Not one to just let things be, following the event, Must tweeted that: “Once we can predict cash flow reasonably well, Starlink will IPO.” This confirms previous statements that SpaceX will actually spin-off Starlink rather than go public itself.
Bet you didn't know
Musk has previously boasted that he could take human passengers to Mars for as little as $500,000. Better start saving.
Amazon announced on Tuesday that it had acquired Selz, a company that provides sellers with tools to help small businesses build their own digital stores.
Why are third-party sellers so important to Amazon?
The deal highlights Amazon’s ambitious plans to dominate the third-party seller market as Selz is a direct rival to Shopify, whom Amazon has cited as its greatest competitor in the space. The retail giant apparently went so far as creating a secret team of Amazon employees named “Project Santos”, tasked with the mission of replicating certain components of Shopify’s business. Very sneaky Jeff... Shopify’s success has caught the attention of the tech tycoon as more people turned to small business during the pandemic, causing the stock to increase more than 150% year-over-year. This has been attributed to possibly higher rates of unemployment forcing people to become more entrepreneurial, as well as others saving on pre-COVID luxuries having more disposable income to spend. Either way, Amazon wants in, and Selz will help it to grow its third-party marketplace, which already has 2.5 million sellers and accounts for 50% of Amazon’s total e-commerce sales.
Bet you didn't know
Every year, one million new sellers join Amazon, with more than 25,000 sellers on the platform that produce $100,000+ in sales.
For a company that has experienced a steady decline in recent years, perhaps a change in direction will do Ford and its multi-billion dollar empire a bit of good.
We’ve heard that one before…
… but it looks like Ford is actually gonna’ put its money where its mouth is and dive head-first into electric vehicle production. In a surprise announcement on Wednesday morning, Ford said that its entire passenger vehicle range in Europe would be “zero-emissions capable, all-electric or plug-in hybrid” by the middle of 2026, with a “completely all-electric” offering by 2030. To help with this bold mission, Ford is investing $1 billion into an EV production facility in Cologne, Germany — a mere 6-hour drive from Tesla’s future Gigafactory location. The move makes sense as several global governments, most notably the U.K., have pledged to completely remove gas-powered vehicles from their roads in the coming decades. By establishing an EV headquarters in Europe, Ford is laying down the groundwork for becoming a real EV powerhouse in the region, which will be required if it is to reclaim its glory days.
Bet you didn’t know
The very first Ford sold was to a Dr. Pfennig in 1903, for a grand total of $850. The “Model A” had a 2-cylinder engine and could reach a max speed of 30 mph.
You guessed it, more earnings are on the way, and boy, it was a tough choice for that top spot.
How did these companies get on in Q4?
For an example of blowout earnings, look no further than Twilio, which reported a beat across the board with adjusted EPS of $0.04 on revenue of $548 million — up 65% YoY. CEO Jeff Lawson attributed these smashing results to the pandemic’s acceleration of cloud infrastructure growth, as more and more companies opt to modernize their offerings, thus providing Twilio with more business opportunities.
The (Not So) Bad
Despite better-than-expected results and year-over-year revenue growth of 34%, the Israeli company still reported a loss per share of $0.03. CEO Avishai Abrahami was very optimistic about the future though, stating: “My goal and belief is that at this rate of growth, in the next 5-7 years, 50% of anything new built on the internet will be done on Wix.”
You didn’t need to be Nostradamus to predict that a gym chain would struggle during a pandemic, with Planet Fitness reporting a 30% YoY decline in revenue to $133.8 million and EPS of $0.17 — analysts expected $0.22 per share. Due to continued uncertainty surrounding COVID-19 the company did not provide any guidance for 2021, but it seems unlikely that it will be hitting all-time highs any time soon.
Bet you didn’t know
More than 350 million people are estimated to interact with Twilio products on a daily basis. That’s more than the population of the United States.
Sometimes it seems like Facebook actually likes being public enemy number one because there’s no way anyone could be accidentally this bad at PR. The latest in a long line of Zuckerberg no-nos comes from our friends in the land down under, where Facebook and Google have been embroiled in a dispute with news outlets. New media laws in the country that are being drafted require online platforms such as the two tech giants to pay news outlets for displaying and linking to their content. In retaliation on Wednesday, Zuckerberg threw his toys out of the pram and blocking hundreds of pages and sites from displaying posts on the platform. Unfortunately, Facebook also accidentally blocked a large swathe of non-news pages in Australia, including charities, small businesses, public services, and government sites. They’re just one step short of literally taking candy from babies...
It gets worse...
If you thought that was all bad, then prepare to laugh as karma receives its due. Much to everyone’s amusement, Facebook accidentally blocked its own page in Australia. Perhaps we’re being a little bit harsh with all this fun poking at Facebook, or perhaps it’s perfectly justified for a company that actually removed ‘Save the Children Australia’, the ‘Hobart Women’s Shelter’, and the ‘Kids Cancer Project’ from its platform, yet ‘struggles’ to combat online abuse...
Bet you didn’t know
It is estimated that roughly 5% of Facebook’s 2.8 billion users are actually fake accounts.