🚀 Can Snap beat TikTok in short-form video?

Plus, announcing our latest investment!

🎉 This week, we announced our investment in Waitwhile! Founded by brothers Chris and Jonas Klemming, Waitwhile has helped thousands of businesses power better queue experiences for 80M+ guests. If you’ve visited an IKEA, Lululemon, or Patagonia store recently (among many other retailers!), you’ve experienced Waitwhile firsthand.

Line management is top of mind for every brick-and-mortar business during COVID, where proper protocols can literally be life-or-death. However, Waitwhile does much more than maintain social distancing! Curbside pickup, online appointments, digital queues, and event management are just some of the platform’s many other features. Waitwhile turns frustrating and low NPS customer experiences into positive ones, and has become a crucial part of the software stack for businesses of all sizes.

We couldn’t be more excited to partner with the Waitwhile team on their journey - read more from the founders here, and check out the product here!

news 📣

👋 Amazon gets a new CEO. It’s the end of an era for Amazon, as founder Jeff Bezos is stepping down as CEO after 27 years. Bezos told employees he feels Amazon is at its “most inventive ever,” making it a good time to transition. He will hand the reins to Andy Jassy, who has been at the company for 24 years and previously ran Amazon Web Services. Bezos will retain the executive chairman role, but will now have more time to devote to other initiatives like Blue Origin (his space company).

📈 Tech earnings bonanza. Earnings season has arrived! A quick recap:

  • Amazon - in other Amazon-related news, the company reported its first quarter of $100B+ revenue, with $125.6B in net sales (44% YoY growth). This growth didn’t come at the expense of profitability, as Amazon saw net income increase 118%.

  • Alphabet - Q4 revenue climbed to nearly $57B (23% YoY growth). Though the majority of revenue still comes from the company’s core Search product, YouTube and Google Cloud both showed strong growth (each grew ~46%).

  • Peloton - announced its first quarter of $1B+ in revenue, but continues to struggle with speed of deliveries. The company will be investing $100M in faster shipping over the next six months, hoping to narrow its inventory gap.

  • Pinterest - COVID continues to be a tailwind for Pinterest, which saw Q4 revenue climb 76% YoY. Pinterest now has nearly 460M MAUs, adding a record 100M users in 2020 - CEO Ben Silbermann noted “real strength” with Gen Z.

  • Spotify - missed analysts’ estimates for revenue growth and earnings (loss) per share. Total MAUs grew 27% YoY, but ARPU (average revenue per user) fell due to discounted plans and lower prices in international markets.

  • Snap - beat expectations for revenue (62% YoY growth) and DAUs (22% YoY growth), but disappointed investors with Q1 guidance. More on Snap below!

🧪 23andMe preps for public debut. Genetic testing company 23andMe announced plans to go public via SPAC. The company will do a reverse merger with VG Acquisition Corp, a blank check company formed by Richard Branson’s Virgin Group. The deal will value 23andMe, which was founded in 2006, at $3.5B. Competitor Ancestry.com was acquired last year by Blackstone for $4.7B - Ancestry reportedly has ~2x the revenue of 23andMe, but doesn’t have FDA approval for genetic health tests.

It’s been an acquisitive year for Uber! Two months after closing its acquisition of Postmates, Uber is buying alcohol delivery startup Drizly for $1.1B. Drizly works with local retailers to bring beer, wine, and liquor to your door in under 60 minutes.

The company was founded in 2012, and now serves 180+ markets across the U.S. and Canada. When the acquisition is complete, Drizly’s marketplace will be integrated within Uber Eats (but will also remain a standalone app!).

what we’re following 👀

Kristina Simmons on lessons learned from 3.5 years of working for Vinod Khosla.

A new newsletter from the NextView Ventures team on succeeding as a junior VC.

Eric Feng shares three ideas for new features to improve YouTube.

A review of Fake Famous, the HBO doc that tries to “manufacture” influencers.

As competition heats up in short-form video, TikTok is doubling down on its lead with new initiatives to support creators. The company’s Creator Fund, which launched in July, compensates eligible creators based on # of views and engagement on their videos (though it’s been criticized for an opaque payout structure). This week, TikTok added another monetization channel - a new ad partnership with WPP, which will enable creators to produce (paid) content for WPP clients like Adidas and Walmart.

Beyond helping creators make money, TikTok has invested in resources to improve their probability of going viral. Both the in-app Creator Portal and the “For You” podcast (hosted by “kombucha girl” Brittany Broski) give tactical advice to help creators make great videos and find an audience. The company also announced a three-month incubator in January, TikTok for Black Creatives, which promises to “open doors” for 100 black creative artists and musicians on the platform.

It’s particularly interesting to compare TikTok’s approach to Snap, which is essentially handing out cash via its “$1 million per day” program. Creators that upload videos to Snap’s in-app TikTok competitor, Spotlight, get paid automatically based on views. With only 175k Snap Spotlight uploads per day, this yields an average of $6 per upload. TikTokker @allytkirk posted a fascinating video this week about making $23K from a Snap Spotlight video that got ~500k views!

You can post (almost) anything on TikTok, but Snap Spotlight is much more restrictive - every video is evaluated to determine if it qualifies. We tested it with a video of ours that got 60K views on TikTok, and it was denied. Snap is likely trying to avoid an Instagram Reels-type experience (where much of the content is taken directly from TikTok), as the company prioritizes content made with Snap-native filters and effects.

Our take? We would bet on TikTok for short-form video. The “cash grab” on Snap may be compelling in the short term, but: (1) the company likely can’t do this forever; and (2) the value prop diminishes as the # of Spotlight users increases. Snap’s content restrictions also run counter to the “anything goes” atmosphere that has made TikTok so successful - the algorithm determines what gets views. It’s demoralizing to have a video rejected on Spotlight, and the black-box evaluation makes it more frustrating.

FWIW, we’re not bearish on Snap overall. Snap is still a core messaging app for Gen Z (driving daily and often hourly use), and seems to have found its footing with more professional content. A whopping 90% of the U.S. Gen Z population watched Snap Shows and publisher content in Q4, which drove significant revenue growth. Snap is quickly approaching a $100B market cap, and we’ll be cheering when it gets there!

jobs 🎓

First Round - Partnerships Analyst, Talent Analyst, Investment Insights & Ops Lead* (Various)

B Capital Group - Pre-MBA Associate (SF, NYC)

Tribe Capital - Senior Associate (SF)

Chime - Program Manager (SF)

Kapwing - Senior UX Designer, Full Stack Software Engineer (SF)

Opal - Chief of Staff (SF)*

Airvet - Revenue Ops and Finance Associate (LA)

Ritual - Associate Product Manager (LA

M13 - Events & Brand Coordinator (LA)

Forum Brands - Product Marketing Manager, Brand Manager (NYC)

Braze - Associate Product Manager (NYC)

Lerer Hippeau - Marketing Manager (NYC)*

The Engine - Investment Associate (Cambridge)

*Requires 3+ years of experience.

internships 📝

StealthCo - MBA CEO/Company Launcher (Remote)

Alumni Ventures Group - Winter Communications, Growth Mkting Interns (Remote)

BCG Digital Ventures - Social Media + Platform Growth Associate (Remote)

Pinterest - Sales Intern (SF), Engage Scholars Program (Remote)

Descript - MBA BD Intern (SF)

Reddit - Product Intern (SF)

Salesforce Ventures - Summer Ops Intern (SF)

Uber - Performance Marketing Associate Intern (SF)

Robinhood - Product Design Systems Intern (Menlo Park)

Snap - PM Intern (LA)

Spotify - Wearables BD Intern (NYC)

Curated - MBA Business Ops & Strategy Intern (NYC)

puppy of the week 🐶

It’s the most important sporting event of the year - Animal Planet’s Puppy Bowl! This year, it will be hosted by iconic friends Martha Stewart and Snoop Dogg.

You can check out a full rundown of Team Ruff and Team Fluff here. We wanted to highlight a few early picks for MVP (from left to right): 

  • Fletcher (Team Ruff) is a deaf and vision-impaired American Staffordshire Terrier/Beagle mix from Virginia. 

  • Theodore (Team Fluff) is a Great Pyrenees/McNab mix who is also deaf - but his other senses are extra sharp!

  • Chunky Monkey (Team Fluff) is a Chow Chow/Irish Red and White Setter mix. Her hometown paper confirmed she was named after the Ben & Jerry’s flavor. 

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 twins@crv.com.