3-in-1: 3 digital news in 1 minute. On Monday. Episode 195
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News 1: Google needs help and money! for Waymo
Waymo, the autonomous vehicle (AV) arm from Alphabet (Google) opens its capital to external investment, for 2.2 billion USD. A major news: Alphabet will not support AV alone, the strategy of linking Google products to AV usage is a fail, the tech development is very expensive and returns are long, long term. Investors come from very different origins — Canadian pension funds, US and Indian private equity. All of it a sign of weakness. Opinion: The link between Google core business and AV, so often praised is far from obvious. It’s not that obvious. AV on the road… that will take more than 10 years and the idea of watching YouTube while sitting in an AV is an illusion. B2B Takeout: Alphabet will concentrate its businesses on short-term profitable ventures like Google and leave experimental area. First sign of it: place Mr Pichai at the head of both, Alphabet and Google. Second sign: the opening of Waymo to external investors.
News 2: Japan money into Grab, adding up to 10 billions!
Grab, the phenomenon app in S-E. Asia (Indonesia) started with bike rentals, then cars, then delivery, then payments. Japan bank Mitsubishi MUFG is investing 700m USD to grow the Grab financial services. Second investor is Japan data centre specialist TIS INTEC that will support on infrastructure. All in all Grab raised nearly 10 billion USD (remember Sofbank Vision Fund put 1,5 billion in March 2019. Opinion: Grab and its regional rival Gojek succeeded with a concept of super app. All services in one app. No equivalent in the West, although Google Assistant goes into this direction. B2B Takeout: Japan role in the world economy is still strong and the country is a rich one. We tend to forget it in Europe with less spetacular companies (Nikon of the 70ies, Sony of the 80ies, Toyota of the 90ies) and a focus on China. But Japan still is the 3rd largest economy in the world. And a lot of sleeping money from Japanese pensionists.
News 3: N26 brexits itself, really?
N26, the German challenger bank withdrew from the UK in February. Blaming it on Brexit. Strong with 683 million USD invests — UK seems easy. But the results are very bad: low-key campaign with low-key arguments, unexperienced UK team, no differentiation to local challenger banks like Monzo, struggle with regulators. Brexit — a pretexte no-one bought in. Opinion: Difficult for the German bank to break its storyline of success — success on all fronts. They tell, tell the story but it is very difficult to grasp the reality: active accounts, breakdown by country, revenues, local strategies, burn-rate? Is the story not as shiny as it seems? B2B Takeout: Challenger banks… there is not room for so many of them in a market. In the UK Monzo reigns with Starling and Revolut. N26 successful in Germany but really nowhere else.
Authors are the 10 trend scouters at Space and Lemon, always on the hunt for the newest trends in tech and digital. Gathered here in original weekly news since 2016 — no re-write of TechCrunch, always with an opinion and B2B takeout. Come back next Monday and share your opinion.