April 21, 2020
Image: Original photograph by Huawei
Good morning, and welcome to Protocol Index, your daily pop-up report about the financial movements that matter to tech during the COVID-19 crisis. Want Index in your inbox each morning? Subscribe here.
Today: Coronavirus is worsening companies' existing problems, digital life insurance is having its moment, and Adam Neumann is planning to sue SoftBank. Oh, and with earnings seasons now entering full swing, be sure to check out our rolling analysis of what all the numbers mean for the wider tech industry.
As of 4 a.m. PDT: Nasdaq Futures: -0.65% | Euro 600: -2.06% | Nikkei: -1.97% | Hang Seng: -2.20%
Tech companies have started reporting earnings, and some trends are already becoming clear.
Coronavirus has exacerbated companies' problems. This morning, Huawei reported a 1.4% year-on-year revenue increase, a stunning drop from the 39% growth it posted this time last year. The U.S. blacklist is partly to blame, but coronavirus undoubtedly worsened an already bad situation.
Some companies don't want to predict the future: Both IBM and Infosys withdrew their annual guidance due to the huge uncertainty surrounding how, and when, things go back to normal.
Locked in our homes amid a global pandemic, we're all thinking about our mortality. That's no bad thing if you're a life insurance startup like Ethos.
Ethos's success isn't totally guaranteed though, because of its position as a broker and underwriter, selling policies backed by the established insurer Banner Life.
Still, Ethos "raised a ton of capital last year," Colis said, and still has "pretty much all of it, and so we'll be fine." But he plans to be prudent, saying he doesn't want to "be forced to raise money in a contracted environment."
A couple weeks ago, the hot thing in music was Instagram Live. But artists couldn't monetize that, and they're in need of cash now more than ever. So, Bloomberg reports, they've moved on to Stageit, which charges fans an average of $15 for live streamed concerts.
This kind of thing could stick around: Why spend money exhausting yourself on world tours when you can reach the entire world from a single venue? Twitch, for one, thinks that's a real possibility: It's just appointed a former Spotify exec as its Head of Product and Engineering for Music.