Jul 22, 2019

The coming mass extinction of Fortune 500 companies

The American Motors AMX, 1966. Photo: Pat Brollier, Darryl Norenberg/Enthusiast Network/Getty

Just 60 of the Fortune 500 of 1955 remain in the hallowed group. The rest (like American Motors, above, subsumed by Chrysler in 1987) have been largely the victims of changing times, tough competition or their own missteps.

What's happening: Tom Siebel, founder of C3.ai, an artificial intelligence firm that serves big corporations and the Army, says that this is an existential moment for current Fortune 500 companies that don't move quickly to adapt to the new age of AI and robotics.

"We are in a mass extinction event," says Siebel, who stopped by the office last week to talk about his new book, "Digital Transformation."

Westinghouse, Sears, and Toys "R" Us are among the slain former giants, Siebel notes. "You have companies with new DNA filling the voids in the ecosystem. You have Amazon rolling everyone. If you are Walmart, you are looking down that barrel of a gun. You are in a world of hurt," he said.

Siebel is describing one of the current megatrends:

  • Last month, we reported that the day of the conglomerate is over: From globe-spanning companies, they are being forced by political and economic circumstance into regional operations.
  • The FT's Rana Faroohar says companies are adapting to "the age of deglobalization."

"It's either you're on the train or you're on the track," says Siebel.

Go deeper

Study: Immigrants and their kids founded 45% of U.S. Fortune 500 companies

Data: New American Economy Research Fund; Chart: Chris Canipe/Axios

Immigrants and their children have founded 45% of the U.S.' Fortune 500 companies, according to a new study by New American Economy, a bipartisan pro-immigration group.

Why it matters: The share of the most successful and globally recognized U.S. companies that have immigrant founders is growing, according to NAE's Hanna Siegel and Andrew Lim, while the Trump administration has tried to make it more difficult for immigrants to come to the U.S., often claiming that they take American jobs and lower wages.

Go deeperArrowJul 22, 2019

The world is catching up on AI

Data: CB Insights; Chart: Axios Visuals

Last year for the first time ever, the U.S. share of global artificial intelligence startup funding deals fell to less than half the world's total.

By the numbers: The U.S. was home to nearly 75% of all deals in 2013, data shows, but is fast losing share in the startup market — a key driver of innovation.

Go deeperArrowJul 29, 2019

What Corporate America is doing about guns

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

As the nation debates the best ways to curb mass shootings, America’s biggest companies are reconsidering their relationships with the gun industry.

Why it matters: The manufacturing, selling and transportation of guns is a complicated supply chain that touches much of corporate America, including retailers, banks and shippers. These corporations don't face partisan gridlock and can take action on guns swiftly, but the moves of a few companies won’t have the effect that new laws would.

Go deeperArrowAug 8, 2019