- The startup searching for the key to living longer…
- Uber is bringing scale to its freight division…
- Going to the grocery store could look a lot different in the future…
This time of the year, I always get excited about what’s to come…
Yes, I always look forward to the Christmas and New Year’s holidays, as well as the accompanying break at the end of the year. But those aren’t the “things” that I’m looking forward to.
As I spend weeks thinking about the year to come and which events, trends, developments, and happenings will affect the markets and our investment opportunities, I inevitably look forward to a bunch of things that I know will bring excitement.
And after the absolute lunacy of the last two years – which, depending on where you live, might actually be getting worse – it’s a lot more fun to look forward. So that’s what we’ll do.
SpaceX is preparing to kick off the new year with a boom in what hopefully will be a successful launch of its Starship into orbit.
Starship SN20 Test Fire, November 2021
We all watched in amazement this year as SpaceX successfully launched prototypes high into the atmosphere and then safely returned the massive Starship to a perfect vertical landing.
In one beautiful bellyflop maneuver, Musk and his team accomplished something that no other aerospace firm or powerful government has ever been able to accomplish. Many even thought it would never work.
They were wrong.
The launch date isn’t set yet, but it could happen in January. To me, it doesn’t matter if the first launch is a success or not.
What matters is that SpaceX keeps moving forward. Develop, test, launch, iterate, improve, test, and launch again. Each time, SpaceX gets better.
SpaceX will be attempting to launch both the Super Heavy first stage booster and the giant 165-foot tall Starship to orbit on the back of 35 next-generation Raptor rocket engines – six on the Starship and 25 on the Super Heavy.
Now a lot could go wrong. And no matter what happens, it won’t be a perfect flight.
But no matter what happens, it will be progress. SpaceX will take one step forward. And over the course of 2022, the company is planning about a dozen launches of the Starship to get ready for operational missions in 2023.
No other aerospace company in history has worked at this incredible pace of improvement.
And the world has never seen a launch vehicle and spacecraft at this scale capable of our planet’s next adventures to the Moon, Mars, and beyond.
And that is something to be excited about.
This early stage company seeks to reverse aging…
A brand-new company called NewLimit just launched with a war chest of $105 million contributed by its founders – most notably, Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong. Not too long ago, this kind of first-round funding was unheard of.
The company will focus on something that’s become very trendy among ridiculously wealthy people today. It will seek to extend human longevity.
Specifically, NewLimit will focus on the epigenetic drivers of the aging process. While this isn’t a new topic, there has been a resurgence of investment in this area due to recent advancements in biotechnology.
We know that human cells have strong regenerative properties when they are young. That’s why young people heal faster and have stronger immune systems compared to the elderly.
What we don’t know is why our cells lose this regenerative power and become weaker over time. This is something that scientists have not been able to explain conclusively.
And that’s what the study of epigenetics is about when it comes to aging. Can we take the massive gains in artificial intelligence (AI) and computational biology this year and use them to gain insight into why our cells age?
This convergence of biotech and AI has been one of the biggest trends we’ve followed over the past year. (You can learn more right here.) And I must say, this will be one of the most exciting developments in biotech going forward.
NewLimit’s premise is that we now have the technology necessary to reprogram human cells to reverse the aging process. That’s where the company will start. And the ultimate goal is to reverse aging entirely.
I know this sounds like science fiction. But theoretically, it can be done – it’s just a matter of figuring out how. That, of course, takes time, resources, expertise, and technology.
And that’s where NewLimit comes in.
Brian Armstrong built one of the most successful digital asset businesses on the planet. And he is putting a portion of his wealth to good use, in my opinion. He doesn’t need to have a PhD in molecular biology to have great ideas about human longevity.
In fact, the breakthrough ideas often come from something I refer to as unconstrained thinking, which is far more effective when we’re not anchored to known limitations or the way things are done today.
NewLimit is looking to do for aging what SpaceX has already done for the aerospace industry. NewLimit intends to break all the rules and redefine the aging process entirely.
Either way, I hope you’ll agree, we want Armstrong and his team at NewLimit to be successful. We want them to attempt to do things that haven’t been done before.
For most of us, there comes a time in our lives when we will hope for just a few more years. Who knows? NewLimit might just be that company, and I hope we’re all still around to find out.
We are seeing a fundamental shift in Uber’s business…
Uber just made a telling acquisition. It just bought a company called Transplace for $2.25 billion in an all-cash deal. Uber is back in growth mode…
As we discussed last year, Uber has been systematically focused on cleaning up its balance sheet over the past 18–24 months.
The company has been spinning off divisions that were resource-intensive and a drag on the company’s free cash flow. It accomplished this by literally paying other companies to take the assets off its balance sheet in exchange for some equity ownership.
That process has largely been completed, and now Uber is building on its core businesses. The Transplace acquisition will fall into a division of Uber that most have never heard of… Uber Freight.
Uber Freight is exactly what it sounds like. It is Uber for logistics. Uber leveraged the same marketplace software that it built for ride sharing and applied it to trucking and logistics. It matches carriers (drivers) with freight that needs to move between point A and point B.
This is why the Transplace acquisition makes sense. Transplace provides a platform for cross-border logistics solutions. It assists companies needing to move freight from one location to another. This includes a truck brokerage service that connects companies to independent truck drivers capable of shipping freight across North America.
Transplace now has roughly 62,000 users on its platform. And it handles 530 million transactions per year. This opens the door to about $16 billion of “Freight Under Management” (FUM) to Uber Freight, which is a tremendous supplement to its existing business.
In fact, this acquisition brings scale to the Uber Freight business.
Bigger picture, this deal shows that Uber has finally turned the corner. This is a major inflection point for the company.
Uber is going to see a significant expansion in its gross margins as we head into the new year. And I believe the company will swing from negative $1 billion to positive $1 billion in free cash flow in 2022.
That’s a huge jump for the company. And it’s going to send Uber’s stock on a run in the new year.
Amazon’s “Grab and Go” technology is about to proliferate…
Amazon just announced that it is licensing its “grab and go” technology to the Sainsbury’s grocery chain in London. This is the first international deployment of this technology to a third party following an earlier deal this year in the U.S. with Starbucks.
To bring new readers up to speed, this is the technology that powers Amazon Go’s automated convenience and grocery stores. These are stores where shoppers scan an app on their smartphone when they enter. This links consumers with their Amazon account. They can then walk in, grab any items they want, and walk right out.
Meanwhile, cameras on the ceiling equipped with a form of artificial intelligence (AI) called computer vision (CV) keep track of what products shoppers put in their bags. Then the consumer’s Amazon account is charged for the correct amount as soon as they exit the store.
So here we have Amazon licensing this incredible technology out to its competitors. Why in the world would it do that?
Well, regular readers won’t be surprised by the answer. It is all about the data.
By licensing its grab and go technology to other stores, Amazon will gain tremendous insight into consumer shopping patterns in those stores. It will see what consumers are purchasing and how often they come back to the store.
And that data will likely inform Amazon’s future acquisitions.
If we remember, Amazon bought Whole Foods to serve as the cornerstone of its grocery business. Amazon likely plans to expand around the world by acquiring other grocers, and perhaps other kinds of fast-moving consumer goods stores.
And if it can get its grab and go technology into potential acquisition targets, Amazon will deeply understand the business before even making an offer.
Talk about a competitive advantage. We’re already up nearly 94% on Amazon (AMZN) in my Near Future Report research service, and this is our second successful time around with this company.
And with moves like these, I believe we could see much more going forward. (To learn how to join, simply go right here for more information.)
This grab and go technology is quickly becoming a competitive space. The productivity benefits are simply too great for this not to be attractive to employ. And labor shortages in the U.S. are accelerating adoption.
For other grocery stores, this technology will become necessary to stay relevant. Once consumers get a taste of the convenience, most will favor stores with grab and go technology.
There is a strong consumer preference for a disintermediated shopping experience, and this is the technology to make that happen.
Editor, The Bleeding Edge
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