5 things you should know about tech today

- February 7, 2020 3 MIN READ
Does it come with $300 stuffed in the mattress? Photo: Casper
It’s Friday!

Let it rain.

1. Casper loses its alicorn*

Mattress e-commerce startup Casper – think of it as the US Koala – was meant to be a unicorn following its final funding round ahead of its Wall Street listing this week. But when the venture priced its shares at US$12 ahead of its IPO on Wednesday – expectations were for $17-19 (although that price gave the business a market cap of $800m) – it suddenly had a market cap of US$490 million – less than half the 2019 valuation. The upside is it debuted on the NYSE at $14.50, a 20% jump, before ending the day 12.5% up at $13.50.

Could it be that investors are now looking for innovations in startups such as blank ink? Casper is has yet to post a profit, having posted a $92 million loss in 2018 on revenue of $358 million.

Prof Scott Galloway takes a dim view on the business, as this pre-IPO post sums up, saying of long-term viability of the business: “the economics work better if Casper sent you a mattress for free, stuffed with $300”.


2. Uber eats itself

Anyone looking at fare prices to catch an Uber in Sydney’s rain this morning would have no doubt the company is highly profitable, for a few hours at least, however the company is still posting massive losses, and it seems Uber Eats isn’t just unprofitable for restaurants.

Reuters reports that Uber’s 4th quarter revenue rose 37% to $4.07 billion on a yearly basis, beating analyst expectations, but total costs for the quarter were also up 25.2% to $5.04 billion, for a loss of $1.1 billion, or 64 cents per share. On the upside, that’s less than analysts expected.

Ride-sharing brought in around 75% of the company’s revenue – around 111 million users globally, each month – and is believed to be in the black, but the company keeps betting on Uber Eats side of the business, although flogging its Indian business to rival Zomato accounted for a quarter of the company’s adjusted operating losses. Eats revenue is up 14% on a quarterly basis.

The most important detail is that the business promised to be profitable by 2021.


3. Samsung leaks its own Galaxy

Samsung inadvertently published details of the S20 phone on its website for long enough that a German tech site noticed ahead of the phone’s release on February 11, and grabbed some screen shots before the details were removed. WinFuture believes the S20 will feature  “hole-punch selfie camera and an updated rear camera arrangement” as well as LED case. There’s also talk a triple-fold for the Galaxy Z.


4. Antler plays startup

You can forget sometimes that Antler, the global startup creator, which is currently running its second cohort of its Sydney program, is a startup itself, founded Singapore by Magnus Grimeland in 2017, and expanding rapidly globally. That means it’s also on the hunt for money while investing in the businesses it helps develop – around 120 globally so far. It now has bases in Sydney, Singapore, London, New York, Amsterdam, Olso, Stockholm, and Nairobi.

Techcrunch reports that the company has raised US$75 million in the past six months from the likes of from UK asset manager Schroders, Norwegian investment firm Ferd, FinTech Collective, and others. Previous investors include Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin.

Schroders CEO Peter Harrison is joining the Antler advisory board.


5. Open banking rules released

The ACCC released the Competition and Consumer (Consumer Data Right) Rules yesterday as part of the kick off for open banking in Australia.

We confess it’s a bit like reading Jame Joyce’s Ulysses, but with more punctuation, but the important detail is they contain the legal requirements for the four major banks to share “product reference data” – think information such as interest rates, fees and charges, and eligibility criteria for banking products like credit cards and mortgages – with accredited data recipients, when it all becomes mandatory from 1 July 2020.


BONUS ITEM: Don’t say you weren’t warned in 1967 about how the world would turn out. Although to be fair, writer Tom Thomas was still about a decade ahead of the rest of us in predicting telecommuting, e-commerce and Google hangouts in the 25-min movie about the future.



  • An alicorn is the term for a unicorn’s horn. No we didn’t know that either until we googled it.