business news in context, analysis with attitude

With brief, occasional, italicized and sometimes gratuitous commentary…

•  Reuters reports that "grocery delivery app Instacart raised its proposed price range for its initial public offering (IPO) on Friday, revising its terms to target a fully-diluted valuation of up to $10 billion following a stellar debut for Arm Holdings.

"The price hike signals robust investor demand for the San Francisco-based company, which is looking to list its shares this month after years of waiting in the wings."

However, the Wall Street Journal writes that "when Instacart lists in the coming week, it will leave many of its later investors with significant paper losses—a sign of the pain venture capitalists are facing after years of fast-and-loose spending.

"The grocery-delivery firm is targeting a valuation of as much as $10 billion—sharply lower than the $39 billion valuation it reached at the peak of the startup funding frenzy two years ago. Many of the investors who poured almost $1 billion into Instacart’s last three funding rounds will be underwater on those shares."

According to the story, "The outcomes underline a sobering new reality for venture capitalists: The billions of dollars they poured into late-stage startups during the era of cheap money could leave them with losses even as the most promising companies in their portfolios go public."

•  MNB has made the point frequently about the importance of creating differential points of difference - in other words, having stuff that nobody else has.  As Amazon has grown its Prime business, part of the goal has been to add value that will bring in new members;  this makes sense because Prime members can spend twice as much on the site as non-Prime members.

This strategy came into sharp relief late last week, as ESPN reports that "Amazon Prime Video's second season of 'Thursday Night Football' got off to a record start with the most-streamed NFL game in history.

"Philadelphia's 34-28 victory over Minnesota averaged 15.1 million viewers according to Nielsen's ratings, surpassing the 13 million from last year's first game between the Los Angeles Chargers and the Kansas City Chiefs.  Another metric, using Amazon's first-party data, put the average audience at 16.6 million, up from 15.3 million for last year's opener."

Expect more and more sports and events to find their way to streaming platforms such as Prime.  Not only are companies like Amazon willing to shell out billions for the rights, but the fact is that streaming platforms enable better and more actionable data capture.  That's gold to advertisers, and creates momentum that may be unstoppable.