In an article today, Jeffrey Funk and Gary Smith puzzle over the way investors have “rained cash” on unprofitable companies like Uber, Airbnb, DoorDash, etc. Yes, they are icons of popular culture. No, unlike Apple and Google, they do not make money: Here are their stats from the table the authors offer: Company Founded Funds Raised Cumulative LossesUber Technologies 2009 $25.2 billion $31.7 billionAirbnb 2008 $6.0 billion $6.0 billionDoor Dash 2013 $2.5 billion $4.6 billion Only one of the 15 companies they list — including some other culture icons — has ever had a profitable quarter: Any hopeful arguments that profitability is just around the corner ring hollow when every company is at least nine years old and two are Read More ›
The problem is, WeWork is not a technology company. Neither is Airbnb or Uber. They all use software via the internet to leverage surplus physical space, whether the space is in an office building, a private home, or a privately owned car.
The slowing Funk refers to is in fundamental innovations like transistors and lasers. The apparent progress often turns out to be in patent applications for a bewildering array of comparatively insignificant mobile phone apps.