Twitter’s new “Stories” feature, called fleets, rolled out globally this week. Fleets were first tested in Brazil back in March. Like Instagram Stories, they disappear in 24 hours - and like normal tweets, you are limited to 280 characters (or can add a photo/video).
The fleets launch comes at an interesting time. Users are frustrated with the reigning “Stories” platform (Instagram) after a confusing shopping-oriented redesign. It’s unclear if Twitter and Instagram’s social graphs are similar enough for users to migrate IG content to Twitter, though we have started seeing a lot of dog & food pics!
After LinkedIn launched Stories in September, it seems like every major platform is doing disappearing content! (Is Pinterest next? 👀) Users seem to approve, though - fleets had to be rolled back when overwhelming demand caused performance issues.
📈 S-1 season continues. Four unicorns joined the 2020 IPO pipeline this week - it’s shaping up to be a busy December! Here’s what we learned about each:
Airbnb saw a significant decline in demand due to COVID, with gross bookings down 39% YoY. Bright spots include long-term bookings and shorter distance travel. Check out our thoughts on Airbnb’s marketplace metrics here!
Affirm, on the other hand, doubled revenue YoY, with a 50% drop in net loss. However, the company has heavy customer concentration - though Affirm works with 6.5k merchants, Peloton represents 33% of revenue.
Roblox has benefitted from kids spending more time on screens during quarantine, with a 70% YoY increase in revenue YTD. Daily active users have also doubled to 31.1M - DAUs spend an average of 2.7 hours a day on Roblox!
Wish (a CRV seed investment!) has more than 100M monthly active users, and made $1.75B in revenue YTD in 2020 (up 32% YoY), with a net loss of $176M. Perhaps unsurprisingly, more than 90% of Wish purchases take place on mobile.
💊 Amazon launches Pharmacy. After acquiring PillPack (a CRV portfolio company) in 2018, Amazon took the next step into consumer healthcare - launching a pharmacy! Amazon Pharmacy should be particularly compelling for Prime members, who get free two-day shipping and meaningful discounts if they pay without insurance. The offering is competitive with savings programs (e.g. GoodRx) and retail pharmacies (CVS, Walgreens, RiteAid) - which all saw stock prices decline post-announcement.
🚀 SpaceX deploys its first commercial flight. SpaceX launched four astronauts to the International Space Station on the Crew Dragon, the first-ever commercial spacecraft system to be NASA-certified for human flights! The launch represents progress towards SpaceX’s eventual paid passenger flights, which are projected to debut in late 2021 or early 2022. SpaceX and Boeing were awarded contracts of $3.1B and $4.8B, respectively, by NASA to develop the Commercial Crew program.
📰 Buzzfeed acquires HuffPost. Buzzfeed is expanding its empire with the purchase of HuffPost from Verizon. It was an all-stock deal, but other terms were not disclosed. HuffPost was first acquired by AOL for $315 million in 2011, and later merged with Yahoo under Verizon Media. Buzzfeed expects to make an operating profit in 2020 for the first time in years, but traffic is down 23% YoY as of October. HuffPost and Buzzfeed plan to syndicate content from each other in hopes of boosting traffic.
Even if you aren’t trying to strategically dodge every meeting request you receive, scheduling can be a challenge! Calendly, one of the market leaders in the scheduling space, is reportedly raising a venture round at a $3 billion valuation.
If you haven’t used the product yet, we’d recommend checking it out - it’s a super easy way to generate a calendar pre-populated with your availability. Others can use this to book time with you, or reschedule their meeting with zero human involvement!
Calendly has raised only $550K so far, and is on track to do $70M in ARR this year (2x YoY), with 5M monthly active users. Founder Tope Awotona is an immigrant from Nigeria, and will become one of the few black founders at the helm of a unicorn. Check out Fortune’s fascinating recent profile on him!
what we’re following 👀
Investors, founders, and operators share their book recommendations in All Raise’s Fall 2020 reading list.
Why are people spending so much time surfing Zillow listings?
In a strange turn of events, a collection of TikTok houses have been acquired by a publicly-traded company.
Want to learn more about all the tech companies filing to go public? Check out the S-1 Club, a newsletter that breaks down everything you need know.
As holiday gifting season approaches, we’re making an early call - wearables are back in! Gen 1 wearables (Apple Watches, breathing trackers) were cool but not incredibly useful to most people. Gen 2 wearables are smarter devices that (1) provide deep insights into health metrics, and (2) make custom suggestions to improve well-being.
Levels (pictured above), which is still in beta, announced a $12M seed round from a16z this week. The company makes a device that attaches to your arm and monitors your blood glucose throughout the day. You can see how your body reacts to different foods at different times, and you get a daily “metabolic score.” More than 50K users are on the waitlist, and the company plans to launch the product publicly in 2021. Beta testers on Twitter have fueled the hype by sharing the lessons they’ve learned so far!
Whoop also announced a fundraise recently, a $100M Series E (at a $1.2B valuation) in October. The company’s wearable tracks sleep, heart rate/variability, and respiratory rate to optimize training - professional athletes are some of Whoop’s most high-profile customers (and now investors!). Whoop claims that after four months of use, users experience 60% fewer injuries and reduce their resting heart rate by 4bpm.
Oura Ring was featured as one of Time’s “Best Inventions of 2020”, and some researchers claim they’ve successfully used Oura data to predict COVID cases before a person becomes symptomatic. The ring generates “readiness,” “sleep,” and “activity” scores to give users insights each morning to start their day. Oura has partnerships with the NBA, WNBA, UFC, and some MLB teams, though the company says 90% of revenue still comes from individual sales (the ring is priced at $299).
Are you a wearables fan, or have you tried any of the products we’ve featured above? Let us know in the comments!
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puppy of the week 🐶
Meet Ernie, a six-month-old Newfoundland who lives in Chicago.
He enjoys exploring the city, running around in his adorable raincoat, and snuggling with his stuffed animals.
Check him out on Instagram @ernie_the_newf!
Hi! 👋 We’re Justine and Olivia Moore, identical twins and venture investors at CRV. Thanks for reading Accelerated. We’d love your feedback - feel free to tweet us @venturetwins or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.