Website builder Squarespace filed to go public this week - the company will pursue a direct listing on the NYSE. Squarespace was founded in 2003 in Baltimore, and didn’t raise external funding until 2010. The company has since raised a total of ~$1B, most recently at a $10B valuation.
One of Squarespace’s fastest-growing segments is Commerce, which are tools that help merchants design an online store to sell physical and digital goods & services. Think of it as a more lightweight version of Shopify! Squarespace charges a higher monthly subscription fee for websites that use Commerce, but doesn’t take a cut of the transaction (in most cases). It does, however, partner with payment processors and receives some of the revenue that Squarespace merchants generate.
As we’ve seen with Shopify’s extraordinary growth over the past year, e-commerce is white hot. Despite the fact that Squarespace Commerce launched in 2013, GMV is still almost doubling YoY - it hit $3.9B in 2020. The S-1 notes that the company will be investing in deeper e-commerce capabilities as a driver of long-term growth.
Huge congrats to Saar Gur, our consumer GP at CRV, for debuting on the Midas List this year! Saar is an amazing mentor and investor. He made the list for his investment in DoorDash, but he’s also led CRV’s investments in Ring, Patreon, ClassPass, and many others.
💻 Coinbase debuts on the Nasdaq. Crypto exchange Coinbase went public via direct listing, following the lead of companies like Slack and Roblox that eschewed the IPO process. As a reminder, direct listings allow employees and early investors to sell their shares immediately (no lockup period) and prevent an “IPO pop” that intermediaries profit from. However, direct listings can result in more volatility in early trading, which we saw with Coinbase. The stock opened at $381/share and climbed as high as $430, eventually ending the week at $342 (implying a $68B market cap).
🛑 SEC puts SPACs on pause. 2021 has been the year of the SPAC, with 308 outings YTD (compared to 248 for all of 2020!). This week, activity came to a halt after the SEC warned that some SPACs may not be properly accounting for warrants, and could have to restate financials. Warrants allow investors to buy shares at a pre-set price, and are often used by SPACs to raise money. These warrants have historically been classified as equity, but the SEC believes in some cases they should be liabilities. Accounting firms are now waiting for more guidance before signing off on SPAC financials.
💰 Massachusetts vs. Robinhood. The Massachusetts Securities Division took action against Robinhood, requesting that the company’s broker-dealer license be revoked. Regulators claim that Robinhood has been “aggressively inducing and enticing trading among its customers,” some of whom have little to no investment experience. In response, Robinhood accused regulators of “attempting to…reinstate the financial barriers that Robinhood was founded to break down,” and filed a complaint & motion for a preliminary injunction against the Massachusetts Securities Division.
🦄 Growth round updates. A few big fundraises of note this week:
Dapper Labs, the parent company of NBA Top Shot and CryptoKitties, is reportedly raising more capital at a $7.5B valuation. This is particularly notable given the company last raised less than three weeks ago at $2.6B 🤯.
Gaming platform Epic Games (creator of Fortnite) raised a $1B round at a $28.7B valuation. Epic is still embroiled in a lawsuit over the 30% fee Apple takes from purchases on the platform. The case is scheduled to appear in court on May 3rd.
Outschool, a marketplace for online classes and clubs, became a unicorn with a $75M Series C at a $1.3B valuation. The company has seen impressive growth during COVID, with $100M in bookings last year (compared to $6M in 2019).
Astrology app Co-Star announced a $15M Series A led by Spark Capital. The app has been downloaded by 25% of 18-25 year-old women in the U.S., with almost no marketing. Co-Star plans to launch paid subscriptions later this year.
It was a big week for Dogecoin, the meme cryptocurrency that started as a joke. Last Sunday, Dogecoin was worth just $0.06. It climbed to a peak of $0.44 on Friday (600% growth in just five days), reaching a market cap over $50B. Dogecoin has since come down to earth a bit, trading at $0.28 as of Saturday night.
What caused this sudden spike? Celebrities like Elon Musk and Guy Fieri (see above) have become vocal proponents of Dogecoin, sparking interest from their followers. Dogecoin has an active online community that likes to “pump” the coin when it starts gaining momentum - some of these investors have very quickly become millionaires.
what we’re following 👀
The Fyre Festival legal settlement is finally in - how much did attendees make?
Everett Randle of Founders Fund on how Tiger Global is eating VC.
Nike enters the circular economy with Refurbished, giving shoes a second life!
Seeing a bunch of beach-themed business cards on Twitter? Check out Poolside.fm.
A new app made a splash in social audio this week! Racket has been described as the “audio version of Twitter” - users record and share topic-based audio clips. Unlike Clubhouse, shows are not live, and are limited in length (nine minutes max).
Founder Austin Petersmith started dropping Racket invites on Twitter on April 7 - and collected 6,000 waitlist signups in seven days! In what seems to be the playbook for new consumer social products, the Racket team has onboarded a small group of beta users and given them a limited set of invite codes to start slowly scaling the user base.
Similar to the early days of Clubhouse, the initial user base is heavily tech and VC oriented - Jason Calacanis, Josh Constine, and Jeff Morris Jr. are among the beta creators. However, the content has diversified even over the last week. Along with interviews and stories from founders and investors, we’ve listened to shows about poetry, music, and neuroscience!
The Racket product is still very early - it’s desktop-only, the “art” for most episodes are Unsplash stock photos, and you can’t search for other users or shows. The site opens up to a feed of the top 20 trending episodes, though you can also toggle to see the newest episodes. There are also no truly social features beyond seeing the number of likes and plays for each episode. In our opinion - this makes the level of interest in the product even more exciting, as it will only get better over time!
We’re curious to see what the killer use cases look like for Racket - so far, it seems shorter and lower barrier-to-entry than a podcast, but they don’t (yet!) have the same excitement as a live Clubhouse room. If you’re on Racket, add us @oliviam! We’re hoping to be share more invites soon.
Know an incredible startup operator or advisor? Applications are open for the 2021 Anchor List, powered by Floodgate. Submit nominations here by June 14.
Omada Health - Associate Product Manager (SF, Remote)
Clubhouse - Biz Ops (SF, Remote)
Temasek - Investment Associate (SF, NYC)
Tinycare - Chief of Staff (SF)*
Obvious Ventures - Enterprise Investor (SF)
Lever - CX & Ops Specialist (SF)
OMERS Ventures - Investor (Palo Alto)
Italic - Chief of Staff (LA)
B Capital Group - Pre-MBA Associate (LA)
Primary Ventures - EIR (NYC)
Real - Growth Product Manager (NYC, Remote)
DataDog - Growth Strategy Associate (NYC)
ZocDoc - Commercial Ops & Strategy Associate (NYC)
Monument - Social Media Intern (Remote)
500 Startups - Research Intern (Remote)
Listen Ventures - MBA VC Intern (Remote, Chicago)
Necessary Ventures - Community Engagement Intern (Remote)
Zynga - Consumer Research Insights Intern (SF)
Gametime - Corporate Strategy Intern (NYC)
Twist Bioscience - Business Analyst Intern (South SF)
Box - MBA PM Intern (Redwood City)
Toyota AI Ventures - VC Intern (Los Altos)
Block Renovation - Intern (Brooklyn)
LogRocket - Content Marketing Intern (Boston)
Good Dog - Partner Strategy Intern (NYC)
Quarter Health - Strategic Partnerships Intern (NYC)
*Requires 3+ years of experience.
puppy of the week 🐶
Meet Nemo and Mei, two Old English Sheepdogs that live in Southern California. Nemo is almost two years old, and Mei is seven months old.
They enjoy chilling at the park with their squad, going to the beach and on hikes, and playing tug-of-war.
Follow them on Instagram @nemo.and.mei!
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.