🎉 New investment alert! This week, we announced that CRV led the $50M Series B of Emotive, a platform that allows brands to build more meaningful relationships with customers via text. Emotive’s text campaigns have an 8-10% conversion rate, compared to 1-2% for standard SMS marketing. As CEO Brian Zatulove told TechCrunch, Emotive is much more of an “online sales associate” than a marketing blast.
Emotive grew 466% last year, and will use the funding to grow to 200 people, open up offices in Atlanta and Boston, and eventually expand to channels beyond texting. We couldn’t be more excited to partner with them!
🚨 We’re hosting a meetup! This Thursday, at 5:00 p.m. PT, join us for a half-hour hangout on Run the World. We’d love to answer any questions you have about startups, jobs/internships, and more. We’ll then match you for two-minute chats with other Accelerated community members. Sign up here, and email us with any questions!
📈 Earnings debuts. Two companies reported their first public earnings this week:
DoorDash - massively outperformed analysts’ revenue expectations, with 3x+ YoY growth, but also doubled its net loss compared to Q4 2019. The company didn’t provide Q1 revenue guidance, noting that 2021 growth is still “highly uncertain” given the vaccine rollout and a return to outdoor dining.
Airbnb - also beat revenue expectations, with only a 22% YoY drop. While this might not seem like a strong showing, it’s important to note that traditional hotel chains like Marriott and Hyatt saw a 60%+ YoY decline in revenue in Q4. Airbnb has benefitted from being less reliant on business travel, while also providing a better option for people who temporarily relocate while working from home.
💰 Coinbase S-1 released. As Coinbase preps for a direct listing, the company’s S-1 was publicly released. We did a tweetstorm with some of the highlights - to summarize, the company did $1.1B in net revenue last year (128% YoY growth), with $322M in net income. Coinbase is heavily dependent on transaction revenue from its trading business, and is increasingly looking to convert users to products that are less volatile. ~21% of Coinbase’s retail investors engaged with at least one of these products (e.g. debit card, savings account, borrowing) per quarter in 2020.
👩🦰 Madison Reed doubles revenue. Hair coloring startup Madison Reed announced a $52M round this week led by True Ventures. The company dealt with a number of pandemic-related challenges, including a disrupted supply chain and having to temporarily close 28 brick-and-mortar stores. However, Madison Reed still managed to exceed $100M in revenue last year, with 130% YoY growth. We’d recommend this great profile from Forbes to learn more - it covers a number of fascinating topics, including how the company managed to keep its 200 colorists employed during COVID!
🚁 Joby Aviation preps for SPAC. In SPAC news, eVTOL startup Joby Aviation is going public through a blank check company started by Reid Hoffman (co-founder of LinkedIn) and Mark Pincus (co-founder of Zynga). The deal will value Joby at $6.6B. The company was founded in 2009, and previously raised $820M (including $75M from Uber). Joby has completed more than 1,000 test flights, and plans to launch a consumer-facing air taxi service in 2024.
Big announcement from Twitter this week - the company is launching a new feature where users can charge for access to additional content (called “Super Follows”). This content could include exclusive tweets, a newsletter, or even access to a community.
Platforms that allow creators to monetize their followers have seen explosive growth recently - just look at Patreon, Cameo, Substack, and OnlyFans! There’s also a new class of startups tackling monetization for specific categories of creators, including Office Hours, Fanhouse, Superpeer, Combo, PearPop, and Jemi.
We don’t think this will be a “winner takes all” market - there’s room for several companies that target different types of content and use cases. We’ll be interested to see if Super Follows activates a new category of creators or overlaps with existing platforms (Substack might be the closest, with its focus on written content).
While Twitter benefits from being able to advertise Super Follows to existing users, it may be tough to convince them to adopt the feature. Because Twitter’s algorithm displays your tweets to users that don’t yet follow you, public tweets help you grow your audience over time. Creators who paywall their best tweets may limit their growth on the platform.
We expect to see Super Follows adopted by Twitter users who already have sizable audiences, and don’t prioritize growing their follower base. Would you consider monetizing your tweets? Comment below to let us know!
what we’re following 👀
An update on the battle between StockX and GOAT for sneaker resale dominance!
Forerunner invests $2M in ThingTesting, our favorite place to learn about new brands.
The New York Times investigates the rise of celebrity food franchises.
Loom co-founder Shahed Khan explains how the company reached its first 500k users.
After pressing pause on its direct listing twice (once in December, and once in January), Roblox is finally heading into the public market! This week, the company released an updated S-1 with new data through the end of 2020.
After restating some revenue related to the purchase of Robux (the in-game currency), Roblox’s financial metrics actually improved for 2020. The company reported almost a billion dollars in revenue (up 82% from 2019), with a net loss of $253M. Roblox’s largest cost center is its developer exchange program, where game developers who earn Robux can trade them in for real money. In 2020, more than 1,250 Roblox developers earned $10k in income, and 300 earned $100k+.
If you’re interested in the accounting side, Roblox has two types of goods - consumables (used right away), and durables (last for a longer period of time). The company previously recognized both purchases by amortizing them over a period of ~2 years (average paying user “life”). The SEC asked the company to recognize consumables revenue as the goods are used - this unsurprisingly boosts nearer-term revenue!
As we saw in Roblox’s initial filing, user engagement is off the charts. It’s become a place for Gen Zers (and even the subsequent alpha gen!) to hang out, with the average DAU spending 2.5 hours on Roblox every day. As of year-end 2020, 54% of Roblox users were under the age of 13 - we’re curious to see whether Roblox’s older users invest in the direct listing.
AngelList - Portfolio Ops Associate (Remote)
Rock Health - Research Associate (SF, Remote)
Better Place Forests - Strategy Associate (SF, Remote)
Pilot.com - Product Manager (SF)
a16z - Deal Partner, Consumer* (Menlo Park)
Airvet - Revenue Ops & Finance Associate (LA, Remote)
Darwin Homes - Biz Ops Associate (Austin)
Galaxy Digital - Business Analyst (NYC)
Magic Spoon - Logistics Associate (NYC)
TikTok - Monetization Strategy & Analytics Associate* (NYC)
*Requires 3+ years of work experience.
Reddit - Marketing Intern (Remote)
Coinbase - Research Intern (Remote)
Glynn Capital - Summer Analyst (Bay Area)
Harness - Marketing Intern (SF)
Zendesk - PM Intern (SF)
Salesforce Ventures - Impact Fund Intern (SF, NYC)
Impossible Foods - D2C + Retail Marketing Intern (Redwood City)
goPuff - Marketing Intern (Austin)
Foxtrot - Marketing Intern (Washington DC)
Snap - MBA Revenue Strategy Intern (NYC)
Two Sigma Ventures - Intern (NYC)
Maven Clinic - MBA Growth & Strategy Intern (NYC)
Petal - MBA Summer Intern (NYC)
Armory Square Ventures - Fellow (NYC) - application due today!
puppy of the week 🐶
Meet Knight and Aston, a brother and sister pitbull pair! Knight is almost five years old and Aston is six years old.
They enjoy playing in the snow and going on hikes, dressing up in fancy costumes, and having intense staredowns in hallways.
Follow them on Instagram @knight_thepit!
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.