🚀 Airbnb presses pause on D.C.
Plus, apps to level up your life in 2021!
SensorTower’s mobile trends review tells the story of 2020 in one graph! Almost all app categories saw downloads increase (we spent lots of time on our phones), but business apps performed particularly well. Unsurprisingly, Zoom was the biggest winner, with 681M downloads. To put this in context, that’s 2x the population of the U.S.!
The travel category saw the largest drop in downloads, but there was one bright spot - VRBO, which saw nearly 100% YoY growth in Q3 and Q4 (vs. -4% and -8% for Airbnb). Airbnb was more renter-friendly this year, asking hosts to give full refunds at the start of COVID versus 50% refunds on VRBO. VRBO, however, is better known for longer-term stays - this likely gave the company an edge during COVID, as stay lengths have increased by an average of 60%.
If you’ve stayed in a rental home during COVID, how did you think about choosing Airbnb vs. VRBO vs. another platform? Let us know in the comments below!
🛑 Plaid calls off Visa acquisition. Visa has officially terminated its plans to purchase fintech startup Plaid, a year after announcing the $5.3B deal. The U.S. Department of Justice filed suit in November to block the acquisition for antitrust reasons, and the case was set to go to trial this year. Sources within Plaid told reporters that the lawsuit provided a convenient reason to call off the transaction - company execs got “cold feet,” as they (and others!) believe the startup is now worth far more than $5B.
📈 Affirm pops in public debut. In other fintech news, point-of-sale lender Affirm IPOed this week. The company’s stock price nearly doubled on the first day of trading, despite pausing its planned IPO late last year and raising the price range. Affirm did $510M in net revenue in FY2020 (ended in June), a 93% YoY increase. Interestingly, nearly a third of the company’s net revenue comes from one customer - Peloton! Shopify was also a big winner in this IPO, as it owns 8% of the company after striking a deal last year to make Affirm the exclusive provider of Shop Pay installments.
📦 Poshmark IPOs. P2P clothing marketplace Poshmark also had a successful IPO, with a 142% pop on its first day of trading. The company has 32M active users, and impressive engagement metrics - in 2019, these users spent an average of 27 minutes a day on the product. Poshmark’s annual GMV growth slowed to 30% as of September, partially due to a COVID-induced slump in March. However, the company became profitable for the first time through the first nine months of 2020 (no results yet for Q4!).
🏠 Tech giants prep for inauguration. Airbnb made the call to cancel all bookings in the DC metro area during inauguration week, citing pleas from local and federal officials to not travel to the area. All guests will receive refunds, while hosts will be reimbursed (at Airbnb’s expense) for lost bookings. VRBO isn’t following Airbnb’s lead, but encouraged hosts to cancel bookings if they believe guests are violating the company’s policies. Meanwhile, Facebook decided to block new events in DC and state capitols, and will review pre-existing events related to the inauguration.
Big news for fans of alternative meat - Taco Bell announced that it will be partnering with Beyond Meat to test new menu items this year! This will be Taco Bell’s first foray into plant-based meat substitutes, following the lead of other fast food chains like Burger King, Carl’s Jr, Del Taco, and Dunkin.
Beyond Meat’s stock jumped ~15% on the news, and the company closed the week with a $8.7B market cap. The plant-based market continues to gain steam - competitor Impossible Foods and alternative dairy company Oatly are both 2021 IPO candidates!
what we’re following 👀
A guide on breaking into VC from Thea Knobel (GSV Ventures).
Wikipedia turned 20 years old this week! Editors share lessons learned on maintaining reliable (and unbiased) information on a crowdsourced site.
A look at Snap’s latest strategy to lure creators from TikTok - pay them millions!
Behind the scenes at Twitter as execs debated banning President Trump.
With the start of a new year, we’re looking to optimize our personal workflows! We’ve been excited to see new products that focus on simplifying (or automating) mundane tasks that suck up time and create mental “switching costs.” Superhuman was one early player here - command line interfaces, shortcuts, and Chrome extensions are a few ways we’re seeing this type of functionality in other products.
Some startups we’re excited about in this space:
CommandDot - finds your availabilities for any meeting (in the same window as your inbox) and generates event invites. Superhuman has tried to get into calendaring, but this is much more functional. We’ve also heard great things about SavvyCal and Vimcal.
Motion - a smarter browser that manages tabs, docs, meetings, and more. One of our favorite features is a button that pops up right before a meeting starts - you can join via Zoom, or email attendees to let them know you’re running late.
Texts - it’s tough to manage so many message inboxes (iMessage, WhatsApp, Messenger, IG, Twitter, etc.) - things often fall through the cracks. Texts puts everything in one place and lets you respond through one universal desktop app.
Reclaim - if you have 2+ calendars, you’ve probably been booked for a time you’re actually busy. Reclaim blocks off time across cals (with privacy settings), and also intelligently schedules work sessions for everyday tasks or longer term projects.
Scribe and Minerva - Loom has made screen recording easier, but sometimes you still need to generate a written walkthrough for a workflow. Scribe and Minerva watch your process, and put it into words/screenshots for you.
What are we missing? Comment below or tweet us with suggestions!
GreyNoise - Technical PM, Community Manager, Software Engineer*, Sales Manager* (Remote)
Mucker Capital - Associate/Principal (Remote)
Foundation Capital - Associate Partner (Bay Area)
Unusual Ventures - Consumer Investor (SF)
X - Strategic Finance Project Lead (Mountain View)*
TCG - Investment Associates (SF, LA)
Flexport - Ops Specialist (LA)
Wheel - Growth Marketer (Austin)
AngelList - Venture Relations Associate (NYC)
AlleyCorp - Associate (NYC)*
Juno - CS Associate, Product Manager* (Boston, NYC)
*Requires 3+ years of experience.
Greycroft - Spring Fellows (Remote)
DocuSign - Digital Growth Intern (SF)
Plastiq - MBA Partnerships and Strategy Intern (SF)
Unbabel - Graphic Design Intern (SF)
Samsung Catalyst Fund - MBA VC Intern (Menlo Park)
Airtime - Community Development Intern (LA)
Eaze - Marketing Strategy Intern (LA, SF)
Clearcover - Sales Ops Intern (Chicago)
Mailchimp - Partnership Ops Intern (Atlanta)
Duolingo - Associate PM Intern (Pittsburgh)
Lerer Hippeau - MBA Summer Associates (NYC)
LDV Capital - MBA Summer Associates (NYC)
puppy of the week 🐶
Meet Toast, a nine-month-old Saint Berdoodle (Saint Bernard / Poodle mix) who lives in Phoenix.
Toast enjoys sitting on the couch in creative positions, going on road trips, and trying to find the largest stick he can - it’s a never-ending quest!
Follow him on Instagram @toast_the_stberdoodle.
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.