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  • Jack Lau

About 30 Startups Each Worth More than US$5 Billion

Hello, everyone.

Hot hot hot is the word we hear most on the street these days. I think some part of Hong Kong must have broken 35 degrees Celsius. And, only a few weeks ago, we were still complaining how cold it was.

Yesterday, we got a newsletter talking about the billion dollar companies which are not yet public. Yes, these days, it seems not enough to be an unicorn. You would literally need to be Multi-unicorn. (Actually that sounds silly, Multiple horns? Ha ha.)

At one end of the extremes, there are:

Uber @ US$69 Billion

Didi @ US$56 Billion (Didi is reportedly going to go public in Hong Kong at a valuation of US$70 to 80 billion in Hong Kong)

Airbnb @ US$31 Billion



Ubtech @ US $5 Billion

Altogether, there are 30 companies which are worth more than US$5 Billion.

What we found interesting is that, to the best of our knowledge, most are service type companies --- ride sharing, food delivery… And, a few are in the software businesses. Only a handful of these companies make physical products as their core business.

Exceptions are:

Space X (@ US$25 Billion) , of course, makes rockets. DJI (@US$8 Billion) makes drones. Samuemed (@ US$12 Billion ) makes drugs. Moderna (@ US $7 Billion) makes vaccines, Ubtech makes toy robots. (We have the Stormtrooper version at home :).

And, amongst these companies, 10 out of the 30 are based in China. And, only 1 of them has primary market outside of China. Most from China are domestic play.

We are really happy to see all these fantastic valuation. Imagine if you were an early investor in any one of them and just own 1% of it. Yes, I am talking about you met the team members when they were still zipping Diet Coke, having pizza and mostly feeling chill. (Yes, that is the most favorite word my 25 year old nephew likes to say. "Let's go chill sometime…." And, no, I still don't know what that means.. :( (Actually, my late father did tell us that "chill" is what you would to a chicken thigh when you are not sure whether you would eat it later for dinner tonight or not until later this month. Ha ha. Because if you will have it for dinner tonight, you don't chill. And, if you will only have it later the month, you will freeze it. Chill ,,,, is what you do when you cannot decide how to go forward in a "relationship", Just a bad joke, we know.)

But, seriously, sometimes we wonder if we don't pour money into the more boring science, how do we have true leapfrog? We are talking about those kind of companies hat think quantum physics or DNA sequencing is important is important. We are talking about those kind of companies founded by boring PhDs who are fresh out of school at 32 (?maybe). Without these kind of startups, are we able to have true scientific breakthrough? Sorry, we are being really old fashioned here. We are thinking of the kind like Intel (valuation at US$250 Billion) that has been dominating the processor market for as long as we can remember. We are talking about our hero at Hewlett Packard (lab) back in the 50's.

OK. We will stop rumbling. We just want to say we have should some diversity. While it is great to have startups which revolutionize our lifestyles, we should have startups which will fundamentally change us 25 years from now.

For those who want to know whom we really admire and if you have some spare time, please watch this really entertaining episode of Albert Einstein produced by the National Geographic. And, pay attention to not just Eienstein's brilliant mind but also his tenacity.

Genius - Extended Trailer | National Geographic

On most of our recent flights, we have seen this episode being shown. Enjoy.

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