🚀 Bitcoin blows past $20K
Plus, Twitter is now testing a competitor to Clubhouse!
Contrary Capital published its annual University Report on the state of student entrepreneurship. Unsurprisingly, COVID had a significant impact this year, as almost 80% of students noticed an increase in startup activity among their peers!
Stanford remains the #1 school for entrepreneurship - Contrary found 327 student startups at Stanford alone. The rest of the top five? MIT, UPenn (+1 versus last year), Harvard (+1), and USC (+4). Berkeley fell out of the top five to #9, while Columbia, UIUC, and UT Austin were all new additions to the top 10.
Check out the report for more stats, as well as spotlights on some of the most exciting student startups!
As the year comes to a close, we’re thinking about a potential redesign of Accelerated! We’d love your feedback, and would really appreciate if you take this three-question survey that asks about your favorite and least favorite sections of the newsletter. It’s multiple choice (no writing required!) and should take <30 seconds. Thank you!
📈 Bitcoin crosses $20K. It was a big week for Bitcoin, which hit an all-time price high. The cryptocurrency crossed $20K on Wednesday, up nearly 2x in the last two months. The last time BTC reached these highs was December 2017, when it peaked just under $20K and then crashed 80% in the following months. Investors argue this bull run is different from 2017, as it’s largely driven by demand from institutional investors instead of retail investors making speculative bets.
🛑 Facebook targets Apple. Facebook took out several full-page newspaper ads to criticize an iOS change intended to protect user privacy. Starting in early 2021, app developers will need to ask permission before collecting your data across other apps and websites. Facebook claims this will be “devastating for small businesses” that rely on this data to serve ads to users. Apple CEO Tim Cook doesn’t intend to back down - he responded that users should have control over how data is collected and used.
🛍️ Wish dips in IPO. Online marketplace Wish had a disappointing public debut, with a 16% decline in stock price on its first day of trading. The stock bounced back during the week to close at $23.55 per share (a $13.8B market cap), slightly below its opening price of $24. The company targets value-conscious consumers worldwide, with merchants that primarily offer unbranded, discounted products. Wish has 100M+ MAUs and recorded 32% YoY revenue growth, but is still unprofitable.
🎧 Twitter tests audio rooms. Twitter’s product team has been busy - after releasing Fleets in mid-November, the company is now testing another major feature. Spaces are audio chat rooms that a limited number of beta testers can create (you can see what they look like here) and invite their followers to join. Many users are comparing Spaces to Clubhouse, the audio social app that is now broadly accessible after an extended private beta. In related news, Clubhouse has been climbing up the App Store - it’s now in the top 10 social networking apps and top 50 overall 👀.
📱 Reddit acquires Dubsmash. Remember Dubsmash? The app launched in 2014, and went viral via lip-sync videos on top of popular sounds and songs. The app re-launched in 2018 as a TikTok competitor, with its own content feed. This week, Reddit acquired Dubmash (acquisition terms weren’t disclosed). In the announcement, Reddit CEO Steve Huffman noted that Dubsmash elevates “under-represented creators,” as 25% of Black teens in the U.S. are on the app, and 70% of users are female. Dubsmash will remain a separate app, but its video editing tools will be added to Reddit.
Mega-round alert! StockX announced a $275M Series E this week led by Tiger Global at a $2.8B valuation. The company was founded in 2015 in Detroit with the aim of being the best place to buy and sell sneakers - StockX authenticates every item to prevent fraud (a major issue on other platforms).
StockX has grown substantially, in terms of both breadth of inventory (it now covers streetwear, watches, electronics, and more) and scale (with 25M monthly visitors). The company recorded 75% YoY growth in revenue in Q3 and reached profitability.
What’s next for StockX? Rumors are swirling about an IPO in mid-2021!
what we’re following 👀
What it takes to make a living selling clothes on apps like Poshmark.
Thingtesting highlights the brands that “defined” 2020.
Is surveillance software to prevent cheating an invasion of student privacy?
Robinhood paid a $65M fine for misleading consumers about how the company makes money, as well as failing to execute trades on the best possible terms.
🚨 New investment alert! Our team at CRV led a $4.5M seed round in Storyboard, an enterprise podcasting platform. It isn’t our first foray into podcasting - CRV was an early investor in Odeo (which pivoted into Twitter!).
Storyboard helps more than 1,700 companies make internal podcasts for their teams. Customers are using Storyboard for training, town halls/exec updates, special sessions, and more. Employees operating across time zones and locations can come together via Storyboard through the platform’s audio and text comments - mimicking the kind of synchronous events that have been tough to replicate for distributed workforces.
We’ve written extensively in the past about where we think podcasting is headed next on the consumer side (we’re three-time attendees of Podcast Movement, and are huge listeners ourselves). Enterprise represents an enormous opportunity for podcasting to overcome the huge gap that exists between listenership and revenue in the industry. We couldn’t be more excited to see how Storyboard continues to grow!
Check out our partner Anna Khan’s blog post about the investment to learn more - and you can sign up for a free plan on Storyboard (for up to 50 listeners) here.
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puppy of the week 🐶
Meet Kiba, a three-year-old mini aussiedoodle who lives in Seattle.
He enjoys running around on the beach, learning new tricks, and cuddling with his toys (he never bites them!) .
Follow him on Instagram @kiba.aussie!
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 email@example.com.