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

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Our favorite on-demand grocery service Instacart has expanded its one-hour grocery delivery service in Hartford, Connecticut.

Residents in these areas can order from a wide array of food retailers like Big Y, BJ’s, Costco, Fairway Market, H-E-B, Natural Grocers, Price Rite, Publix, Super Market, Whole Foods Market, and Wholesale Club.

Instacart has a goal of launching in over 100 new markets in 2017. By solidifying official partnerships with the best retailers across America, Instacart plans to serve 80% of American households by 2018. Instacart’s latest foray into Hartford will bring in new jobs, with plans to bring on more than 100 new shoppers.

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The ride-sharing industry in the US consists mainly of two major competitors; Lyft and Uber. Here are some of the smart moves that Lyft has been making recently:

  1. Self-driving deals – Lyft has partnerships with some of the biggest names in autonomous vehicle technology, including Google sibling Waymo and General Motors.
  2. Delta SkyMiles – Lyft now offers Delta SkyMiles: each dollar of fare generates one sky mile. This deal leaves us asking what other cross-promotional deals will we see from the company in the future?
  3. Partnership with Blue Cross – Lyft offers rides to members of Blue Cross and Blue Shield at no charge in an effort to reduce the number of missed appointments. Lyft expands their brand recognition and get a new source of business.

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Another company we love is Spotify, the streaming music powerhouse. On Wednesday, Spotify announced that it acquired the team and technology behind Niland, a French AI start-up with a service for delivering music recommendations. The move signals Spotify’s strategy to fight off competition, like its biggest competitor Apple Music, by incorporating more artificial intelligence.

Spotify has also signed a deal with Universal Music Group Inc. and is working towards deals with Warner Music Group and Sony Music. According to Axios, Spotify is aiming to go public late 2017 or early 2018 via a direct listing on the New York Stock Exchange. To learn more about this check out our recent blog post: Spotify Going Public?

InvestX investors have invested in Spotify four times now over the past two years.

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This month, DocuSign had its Momentum 2017 conference where it highlighted some growth numbers:

  • Year-over-year user growth hits 135%
  • More than 300,000 customers
  • More than 200 million users across 188 countries
  • Average of more than 300,000 users added daily

DocuSign also announced a partnership with Microsoft Azure as its preferred cloud services platform to extend its reach in Canada. The partnership gives DocuSign the agility to quickly and efficiently meet varying demands as the company continues to scale internationally. Want to learn more about DocuSign and how you could become a shareholder? Check out our current offering here.

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