theinformationsuperhighway is looking for bright spots in the startup world because we are all dealing with the pandemic – especially where checks are actually issued despite everything.
D2C is back in the future
First, we interviewed top direct investors this week, and they seemed pretty optimistic despite the struggles of some industry leaders. Here is Lightspeed Venture Partners Nicole Quinn, for example on investing compared to the current opportunity:
I would argue that it is too weak given that investors are looking at the single economy of some of the recent IPOs and believe that this applies to all D2Cs. In reality, there are industries like Beauty, where many companies achieve> 90% product margins, or real brands like Rothy & # 39; s, which have such a strong word of mouth effect, and this gives them an unfair advantage with a far better single economy than the average.
Other respondents include: Ben Lerer and Caitlin Strandberg from Lerer Hippeau, Gareth Jefferies from Northzone, Matthew Hartman from Betaworks Ventures, Alexis Ohanian from Initialized Capital and Luca Bocchio from Accel.
Arman Tabatabai has the full Extra Crunch investor survey, while Connie Loizos conducts a separate interview with Ohanian about theinformationsuperhighway.
Proptech will be (more) removed
Arman also conducted a popular investor survey on real estate and proptech a few months ago, so a virus update edition was required given the existential questions about the future of physical space. Here's a clarifying statement from Andrew Ackerman of Dreamit Ventures:
Startups targeting landlords and property managers could be big winners. Everything that makes tenants more comfortable, such as B. Platforms for the equipment of tenants in residential areas (e.g. Amenify) or automated maintenance requests (e.g. Travtus, Aptly), the maintenance itself simplified (e.g. NestEgg) or processes such as receiving parcels simplified ( e.g. Luxer One) is suddenly in the foreground.
VC investors have a saying: "Don't let me think," and at the moment we're thinking hard about what COVID-19 means for our portfolio. So don't be surprised if we issue checks a little slower than normal. However, we are aware of the fact that some of our best returns come from investing in difficult times. Fortunately, we think quickly.
Read the whole thing on Extra Crunch.
A new era for consumer tech
It's no surprise that SaaS companies are seeing new growth of millions staying at home. But what's going on besides work? Josh Constine summarizes the rebirth of Houseparty, the integration of Zoom into popular social networks and other trends to explain the big picture elegantly: Social tools are actually used as everyone hoped (!).
What is social media when there is nothing to brag about? Many of us discover that it is much more fun. We had made social media a sport, but stared at the scoreboard all the time instead of accepting the joy of the game. Fortunately, Zoom doesn't have any like counts. There is nothing left. This freed us from external validation, which too often regulates our decision making. It is no longer about what it looks like, but how it feels. Does it bring me to peace, does it make me laugh or does it relieve loneliness? Do it then. There is no FOMO anymore because there is nothing to be missed if you stay at home to read, take a bath or play board games. You do you
Check it out on theinformationsuperhighway and then read our ongoing coverage of where this should lead: virtual worlds (!?). Eric Peckham analyzed the widespread topic in an eight-part series last month and held an internal theinformationsuperhighway interview this week to explain how the pandemic is affecting existing trends.
More than two billion people play video games in one year. In this sense, there is incredible market penetration. But at least for the data I've seen for the U.S., the percentage of people playing games on a given day is still much lower than the percentage of people using social media on a given day.
The more games become virtual worlds to socialize and hang over the gameplay's mission, the more virtual worlds will turn to social and entertainment opportunities if you have five minutes to do something on your phone. Social media fills these little moments in life. MMO games do not currently do this because they are geared towards gameplay, which takes time and uninterrupted focus. Roblox-style virtual worlds, where you just hang out and explore with friends, are competing more directly with Instagram at this time.
Some SEM prices are falling due to the pandemic
Danny Crichton put on his hat as a data scientist for extra crunch and analyzed more than 100 unicorns in different technology areas. He examined how their keyword pricing changed due to the pandemic / recession.
The results are not surprising – prices have dropped for almost all advertisements (with a few very interesting exceptions, which we will discuss in a moment). However, the differences between startups in the performance of their online ads say a lot about industries such as grocery delivery and business software, as well as the long-term sales performance of Google, Facebook and other digital advertising networks.
Big Tech should do more now to help startups
I mean, besides offering clever developer platforms. Josh argued on theinformationsuperhighway Hosting costs and related costs should be spared or delayed by the dominant companies to be nice and to avoid destroying their own ecosystems.
Google, Amazon and Microsoft are the landlords. In the midst of the corona virus economic crisis, startups need a break from renting. You are in a money crisis. Revenue no longer flows in, capital markets such as risk indebtedness hesitate and startups and small to medium-sized companies run the risk of either firing and / or closing a large number of employees. The technology giants are now rich in cash. Their success in this decade means that they can weather the storm for a few months. Your customers can't.
On the other hand, now is also a good time for medium-sized startups to try and gain market share from established companies that are not friendly enough with the rest of the startup world.
bits and pieces
- Eliot Peper, author of a variety of popular science fiction and tech fiction stories (and an occasional theinformationsuperhighway author), has released a new book called "Uncommon Stock: Version 1.0" about a small startup that accidentally hit a drug cartel crosses. Current subscribers to this newsletter will find that the link above leads them to a free download (which ends on Sunday).
- I was planning to host a panel at SXSW on teleworking, but other events have turned it upside down. The panel with Katrina Wong, Vice President Marketing at Hired, Darren Murph, Head of Remote at Gitlab, and Nate McGuire, Founder of Buildstack, were at Zoom. And now the video is available Here – Ask these experts about important tips for remote first.
In the course of the week
Perhaps now is the perfect time to rethink your fundraising approach
How startups in childcare facilities in the US help families overcome the COVID-19 crisis
Mobilize private technology companies to address the shortage of medical supplies, masks and disinfectants
A nice plug-in to join a zoom call from your browser
When is it time to stop collecting donations?
Slack's slower growth turns when remote work is booming
A look into a start-up's work-from-home playbook
Valuation of lime, variable costs and different categories of on-demand companies
The three of us were back today – Natasha, Danny and Alex – digging through a variety of startup themes. Sure, the world is crammed with COVID-19 news – and to be clear, the issue has surfaced a few – but Equity has decided to go back to its roots and talk about startups and accelerators, and how much luggage a city has Has. really need living person?
The answer, as far as we can find out, is either a piece or seven. Regardless, we went through the following this week:
- Good news from 500 startups and our favorite companies from the latest demo day of the accelerator. Y Combinator isn't the only game in town, so theinformationsuperhighway spent part of the day looking at 500 and its latest companies. We came across some of the startups that caught the eye and addressed issues in the influencer market, garbage disposal, and sports.
- Plastiq raised $ 75 million to help people and businesses use their credit cards wherever they want. And no, it wasn't closed after the pandemic.
- We also talked about Fast's last $ 20 million round led by Stripe. Stripe was, as everyone remembers, the last topic on the show, thanks to a Venture Whoopsie in the form of a check from Sequoia to Finix.1 But all of that is behind us. Fast is building a new login and checkout service for the Internet, which should be both fast and independent.
- The whole stripe conversation reminded us of one of the startups that was started to beat it: Brex. The startup, which has accumulated over $ 300 million in known venture capital to date, has recently acquired three companies.
- We talked about the highlights of our D2C venture survey, which focused on rising CAC costs in selected channels, the importance of solid gross margins, and why Casper wasn't really an exchange for his industry.