Pre-Money: Jan 22nd, 2024

IPO alternatives, diversification perks, from petrol to bits

This issue brought to you by Xembly, your AI Chief of Staff.

The Vibe

The week’s most important happenings

The year is fully and unabashedly in gear, the global elite schmoozed in Davos, and here’s what’s up:

  • With few IPOs in sight, alternatives emerge

  • Perks of founder diversification

  • AI is everywhere

  • From Petrol to Bits

  • and more


The week’s top performance indicators


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Dots & Lines

The week’s top takeaways

IPOs have been few and far between

  • AI is everywhere: Venture funding news aside, lately it’s been hard to find a place where AI isn’t being talked about. The imminent shipping of Apple’s Vision pro headset comes amidst a a wave of AI-powered devices showcased at CES, all of which offer a move forward from the current handheld phone paradigm. Mark Zuckerberg announced Meta’s focus is now on building an Artificial General Intelligence (AGI) - a machine on par with human intellect. International Monetary Fund Head Kristalina Georgieva wrote that AI is likely to impact at least 40% of global jobs, and that countries need a policy response. And the media and tech industries braced for unprecedented disinformation campaigns leveraging AI in a year where 50% of the world’s population will vote. Stay tuned to see where AI shows up next.

  • Diversification has its perks: In the classic investment model, founder portfolios are concentrated, with much of their future prospects depending on the outcome of a single big business bet. Investors, on the other hand, are diversified, giving them significant leverage. But in the case of Elon Musk, the tables are turned. Elon’s demands for more control at Tesla are buoyed by his considerable portfolio of other promising startup companies. Put aside for a minute that Elon’s control was diminished by his own sale of Tesla stock to buy one of those businesses, Twitter. As Matt Levine points out, Elon’s threat to cast his innovation focus on another business if his demands aren’t met is highly credible. In fact, the tactic can be used repeatedly to justify anything he wants at any of his companies in the future, illuminating a path for founders to increase their leverage. A word to the wise: don’t try this at home unless properly equipped.

  • From petrol to bits: Among the various trends noted at Davos was Saudi Arabia’s evolution into a true force in technology. The Kingdom had a significant presence at the elite gathering in the Swiss Alps promoting its emergence as a tech hub. It also increased its venture commitment, more than doubling Aramco ventures to $7B as it takes the mantle from the mega-funds currently pulling back from the market. Look for the migration from real to digital to continue for the world’s biggest oil producer as climate concerns continue to grow.


Smart Humans explores alternative investments

In this episode, Slava Rubin talks with Betterment’s Eli Broverman about building a billion-dollar FinTech unicorn and investing in the future.

Deal Points

A few items of interest

** Sponsored Link

A growing proportion of investment into AI comes from big tech

The Forecast

Looking ahead to this week

During the week of January 22nd, look out for:

  • Earnings from Tesla ($TSLA), Netflix ($NFLX), Intel ($INTC), IBM ($IBM) and Visa ($V)

  • Election season continuing with Tuesday’s New Hampshire Primaries

  • Jobless claims on Thursday

  • Estimates of Q4 GDP on Thursday

Sick of laundry? Be careful what you wish for…

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