Private Markets Express Update: October 26

Welcome to the Private Markets Express, a digest of small pieces of private equity knowledge gathered for your reading pleasure.

Lyft is becoming a master of strategic partnerships.  Earlier this year, the ride-sharing service made headlines when it partnered with Ola in India, and Didi in China.  Now, Lyft is focusing its partnership prowess on its home turf… By partnering with Budweiser to offer free rides to the intoxicated.  Revelers claim their free ride worth up to $10 by redeeming a promo code shared via Lyft and Budweiser social media accounts.  The promotion is expected to give away approximately 80,000 Lyft rides in total.

Speaking of ride-sharing, Uber made a splash when it debuted self-driving cars in Pittsburgh in August.  Now, people have spotted self-driving Ubers in San Francisco – fueling speculation that the Bay Area may soon see autonomous ride services too.  The cars are said to look like the same ones that are operating in Pittsburgh – Ford Fusions decked out with radar, cameras, and enough sensing equipment to (hopefully) not get confused by hipster bikes.

Don’t think you’re safe from self-driving technology just because you’re using the sidewalk.  If you live in San Francisco, your packages could soon be delivered – and feet run over – by little robots that look like, according to Business Insider, “The love child of an icebox and R2-D2“.  Starship Technologies, a European-based company with offices in London and Estonia, is experimenting with a novel approach to last-mile delivery: robotic couriers that deliver packages right to customers’ doorsteps.  The company plans to charge delivery fees in the $1 to $3 range.

The concept of a fully-connected “internet of things” is becoming all but a certainty.  With this future will come mountains of data that has the capacity to overwhelm conventional database solutions like Oracle and SQL – for example, an eight-hour road trip in a self-driving car could generate 32 terabytes of data!  InfluxData is a startup that’s thinking ahead, and has created a system to efficiently monitor traditional SQL databases without overwhelming them.  InfluxData raised a $16M Series B round in early September, to help the company expand and acquire new customers.  The company’s database solutions have already been implemented across over 40,000 unique sites.

Feature image courtesy of: Starship Technologies