Bret Taylor is on a roll: On Monday he became chairman of Twitter’s board of directors, and a day later Salesforce made him co-CEO and co-chairman.
Corporate journalist Ron Miller digs into Taylor’s career to better understand how a former Google product manager ended up co-leading one of the world’s most valuable companies.
To get a fuller perspective, Ron interviewed four analysts:
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- Liz Herbert, Vice President and Principal Analyst, Forrester Research
- Holger Mueller, Analyst, Constellation Research
- Brent Leary, Founder and Principal Analyst, CRM Essentials
- Jason Wong, Analyst, Gartner
Leary said Taylor’s elevation likely signals that Salesforce founder Marc Benioff is preparing to move into “the next phase of his life, whatever that may be.”
Mueller, however, said power-sharing only succeeds “when the senior partner walks away from responsibilities. This will be a first for Benioff, and we’ll see how it plays out.”
Thanks for reading and have a nice weekend.
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Let’s talk about SaaS liquidation
Software-as-a-service companies have written their own ticket in recent years, but are we entering a bear market?
Last month, the WisdomTree Cloud Computing Fund was at a 52-week high of $65.51, but this week that figure had fallen to $53.
“That’s a 19.1% drop,” writes Alex Wilhelm in The Exchange. “Or, 90 basis points below the 20% required for a particular asset … to reach bear market technical territory.”
With $3 billion expected in 2021, Singapore is becoming a fintech capital
Singapore’s population is less than 5 million, but according to KPMG, fintech investment in the nation-state will reach $3 billion this year, a significant chunk of the $42 billion global total.
By comparison, investors poured $4.8 billion into Canadian fintech startups in the first half of the year.
One of the success factors for fintech in Singapore is its high consumer adoption rate, but its government is also directly supporting related initiatives through its Green Finance Action Plan.
Grab super app starts trading on oversized SPAC suit
Singapore-based Grab started out as a carpooling service, but has since grown into a “super app” that offers everything from food delivery to online payments.
The company went public via a SPAC on Thursday in the biggest U.S. debut for a Southeast Asia-based company. But when the market closes, shares had fallen 21% to $8.75.
With hindsight, a question Alex Wilhelm asked before the start of the negotiation seems quite prescient:
“What do investors see in the company to make them confident enough to deposit billions into its accounts and bid its stock higher?
The separation of professional learning and entrepreneurship education
Workers who want to accelerate their professional development no longer need to take on tens of thousands of debts.
Online training options are inexpensive and endless, and “access to coaching and mentoring at individual and group levels is improving,” writes Rhys Spence, head of research at European fund Brighteye Ventures, focused on educational technologies.
To get an overall idea of the opportunities for investors and entrepreneurs, he put together a market map that lists professional learning startups.
“These companies focus on a combination of B2C and B2B models and have had substantial success on the B2B front,” Spence says.
“It’s a convenient way for employers to provide their teams with opportunities for continuous personal development, tailored to some extent to their interests and priorities.”
China banning foreign IPOs wouldn’t be surprising
Tencent, Didi and other China-based startups were able to go public in the United States through a complex loophole known as VIE, or Variable Interest Entity.
A VIE creates an offshore company that allows non-Chinese citizens to bypass restrictions on foreign ownership.
“The model has always been very risky,” reported Alex Wilhelm, “but now the Chinese Communist Party is considering getting rid of its own rules,” which could have a devastating impact on the domestic venture capital market.