ARK Disrupt Issue 98: Internet of Things, EVs, and Fintech

Please enjoy ARK Disrupt Issue 98. This blog series is based on ARK Brainstorming, a weekly discussion between our CEO, Director of Research, thematic analysts, ARK’s theme developers, thought leaders, and investors. It is designed to present you with the most recent innovation takeaways and to keep you engaged in an ongoing discussion on investing in disruptive innovation.

1. Amazon Key Lets Couriers Into Your Home When You Are Not There  

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AmazonAMZN  aims to delight the consumer, removing friction from every step of the retail purchasing process. One source of friction is the result of missed deliveries when no one is home. Repeat deliveries are costly and packages left unsigned are prone to theft.

Amazon Key aims to solve this problem through a combination of IoT (internet of things) and cloud technology.  It allows couriers to enter homes that are equipped with smart locks and connected cameras. Here’s how it works, according to The Verge:

When a courier arrives with a package for in-home delivery, she scans the barcode, sending a request to Amazon’s cloud. If everything checks out, Amazon grants permission by sending a message to a home camera, which starts recording. The courier then gets a prompt on her app, swipes the screen, and voilà, the door unlocks. She drops off the package, relocks the door with another swipe, and is on her way. The customer gets a notification that her delivery has arrived, along with a short video of the drop-off to confirm that everything was done properly.

Despite years of hype, IoT devices have not gained much traction in the home, until recently.  While connected lightbulbs and internet fridges just aren’t that compelling, two use cases have emerged that consumers actually like: smart speakers and connected cameras. Amazon Key is an example of how connected cameras can create new, compelling use cases. Not only will it remove the last source of friction in the purchasing process but it also will open up even more business opportunities in the home for Amazon, such as house cleaning.

2. One of China’s Big Four Automakers Has Committed to An Electric Future 

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China’s Chongqing Changan Automobile announced that starting in 2025 it will stop selling internal combustion engine cars. While a number of countries and cities have announced their intention to ban internal combustion engine vehicle sales, Chongqing Changan has made a concrete commitment to make it a reality and plans to invest $15 billion to achieve its goal.

Putting this commitment into perspective, Changan sold roughly 3 million cars, or more than 10% of all the cars sold in China, in 2016. Most electric vehicle (EV) forecasts for 2022 are in the range of 2 to 4 million units, not just in China but globally.  If successful in its all electric strategy, Changan could achieve the global forecast singlehandedly. ARK expects global EV forecasts to increase dramatically during the next three to five years.

3. Intuit Rolls Out a New Turbo App

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In January, IntuitINTU will launch a new application, Turbo, which will combine data from three of its software services:  TurboTax, Mint, and QuickBooks.  Unveiled at the Money 20/20 conference in Las Vegas this week, Turbo will provide consumers with a better understanding of their financial health by focusing not only on credit scores, but also on aggregate income and debt-to-income ratios.  According to Intuit, consumers will have to opt-in to the service, which will “benchmark [them] across categories including geography, age, and life stage so that they understand where they stand and can make decisions with more confidence.”

Turbo will enable Intuit to market “highly curated offers from its partners.” Currently, the providers on the platform are Discover, Honest Dollar (Goldman Sachs), Marcus (Goldman Sachs), Quicken Loans, SoFi, and TransUnion. Among other recommendations, it will provide customized advice on how a user might improve his or her financial score in order to obtain a loan or a credit card.  In our view, Turbo highlights the underappreciated value inherent in Intuit’s treasure trove of data.

ARK's statements are not an endorsement of any company or a recommendation to buy, sell or hold any security. For a list of all purchases and sales made by ARK for client accounts during the past year that could be considered by the SEC as recommendations, click here. It should not be assumed that recommendations made in the future will be profitable or will equal the performance of the securities in this list. For full disclosures, click here.