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Friends! Hello and thank you for stopping by. Today, we have a lot of our usual rate: round tables to digest, some data on the startup market (thanks, DocSend), etc. But we start with one of my passions: running.
The Stock Exchange has made various jokes about tech money making its way into the world of Formula 1 this year. Companies like Splunk and Webex and Microsoft and Zoom and Oracle and others sponsor teams, races and the league itself.
One particular F1 partner is Amazon. Its public cloud project, AWS, for example optimized on-screen graphics for sports. Of course, sometimes fans wonder precisely how the group’s compute clusters provide certain metrics, but AWS tire wear notes are useful and timely.
It turns out, however, that behind the scenes Amazon has been more active in the world of F1 than I previously believed. In short, the history of F1 technology and money we discussed was just one piece of a bigger puzzle. How? ‘Or’ What? It turns out that AWS was key to the design process for F1’s new 2022 car.
It looks like this:
Pretty neat, eh?
I bet you are wondering why this is so swoopy. The answer to this is that the car is designed with very specific aerodynamic goals in mind. Like reducing what is called “dirty air”, a phenomenon when the wind blowing at the back of an F1 car makes the car behind it struggle to stay on the track.
F1 cars today – we are in the middle of last season with the current generation of Formula 1 equipment; let’s go Lando! – generates a lot of dirty air. Which makes the races a little tricky because the cars on the track cannot get too close to each other for fear of losing their very important downforce. You know, the thing that keeps cars on the tarmac and not in the wall.
To design a base car that will do what F1 wanted for its next era of competition – cut dirty air and allow for closer races – a lot of IT effort had to be put into computational fluid dynamics, or CFD. And it turns out that AWS handled the computing needs of the racing group.
The Exchange went to Amazon Chime – our first time on the platform, we might add – to chat with F1’s Rob Smedley, their chief data systems officer, to discuss how it all turned out. . According to the former Ferrari and Williams engineer, the racing organization and Amazon have been working on the new car project since 2018. F1 has a lot of brains in-house to handle its own side of the business, while Amazon has provided thousands of hearts to do all the tricky math.
According to Smedley, if his team had used the same computing power that individual F1 teams are allowed – the sport of Formula 1 is full of regulations designed to help keep teams on a level playing field, or to hold Mercedes back, from your perspective – it would have taken four days per calculation cycle to model two of the new cars driving behind each other.
But with Amazon providing 2,500 compute cores, Smedley and F1’s data boffins could do the same job in six or eight hours. This means the group could run more simulations and design a better car. Sometimes they absorbed even more computation, with the data manager telling The Exchange that at one point last year his team was running simulations on more than a dozen iterations simultaneously. This was made possible by around 7,500 cores powering the data work. The simulations lasted 30 hours.
All of that to say that yes, there is a lot of tech money in Formula 1 that helps teams do their jobs and stay financially solvent. But there’s also a load of tech that also goes into the real guts and bolts of F1. And as an F1 dweeb, it brings me great joy to see one of my passions intersect with work.
Now back to our more regular rate.
The Last Unicorn of the Midwest
M1 Finance is a business that keeps popping up in my life as a reporter. Mainly because it continues to fundraise and announce new performance measures. This week, the company landed a round of $ 150 million at a valuation of $ 1.45 billion. The latest funding for the consumer fintech superapplication was led by SoftBank’s Vision Fund 2.
So why bother? Well, what’s super fun about M1 is that the company told us how to track its revenue growth over time. At the start of my coverage of the startup, its CEO said he expected to generate around 1% of his assets under management (AUM) as income. So we can sort of go up the slope of the company’s revenue growth by tracking how quickly it is increasing AUMs.
And the company continues to publish issues of AUM. (PR folks, providing longitudinal data is a great way to get interested in a startup!)
Here’s a look at M1’s assets under management over time:
At its target of 1%, they set target completion rates of $ 14.5 million, $ 20 million, $ 35 million and $ 45 million. Or the company has effectively tripled its revenues since last June. That’s pretty good and that’s the kind of growth investors want to support. Hence today’s turn. And M1’s new unicorn price tag.
Remember Truveta? We talked about it before, when he was unveiling his plans. Former Microsoft chief executive Terry Myerson is part of the team, and since I was covering Microsoft for a living, I paid attention to the early days of the startup. Truveta, as a reminder, wants to “collect tons of data from healthcare providers, anonymize it, aggregate it and make it available to third parties for research,” as we said last time.
Well this week the startup announced new partnerships and $ 95 million in funding. It’s a big check! The startup now has 17 partner health groups to start.
By bringing together much more data in one place, the startup hopes to help make the medical world a better and fairer world. And now he has a million dollars to reach that goal. Let’s see what he can do.
Other important things
To modestly save on word count and avoid dragging down copy editing here at TechCrunch [ed. note: done broke], here’s the rest of the important stuff that we haven’t been able to access in other songs:
Cambridge Savings Bank (CSB) embarks on fintech: Remember how Goldman started Marcus, a digital bank for ordinary people? He is not alone in the effort. CSB now has built and launched its own digital bank called Ivy. Frankly, I like this idea: take a bank that has a long history of operation and a suite of classic technology services and stacks. Then build something next door that is more modern. This is probably a better solution than trying to force an old bank to learn new tricks. Also, if more banks do it, that undermines neobanks to some extent, doesn’t it?
Code-X Raises $ 5 Million, Proves You Can Share Your Review, And Not Get All Alone: A little note that Manuscript, a Florida-based startup that has built a “network-based data protection platform,” is now worth $ 40 million thanks to its latest capital raise. No, I don’t know what a “network-based data protection platform” is. But I know Code-X announced its Evaluation as part of a early stage round. It is worth applauding. Good on Code-X.
Finally, the data from DocSend: The document sending company with a somewhat literal name has dropped a few new data this week that I bit. Here’s the gist:
[N]New second quarter 2021 data from DocSend’s startup index shows a 41% year-over-year (YOY) increase in investor interest and engagement (an indicator of demand) with the starter pitch decks. Links created by actively fundraising founders with their pitch decks (an indicator of supply) grew 36% year-over-year in the second quarter of 2021.
Why is this fun? The demand has increased more than the supply! Ha! That says it all.
We’ve been digging into the second quarter results of the venture capital world for weeks now, and somehow we haven’t been able to summarize succinctly. Why are the valuations of startups increasing? Why are startups raising more and faster? Because among companies funded by venture capital, the demand from investors is much higher than the supply from startups.
2021 in a nutshell.
You are amazing and lovely and you look great today!
Next week we’ll have notes on two battery-focused SPACs namely Evonix and SES. Lots to talk about there regarding battery technology, energy density and the future of the well, everything. And money.