🚀 Inside Shopify's master plan
Plus, shared Ubers are back!
🚘 Shared Ubers return. Uber Pool fans, rejoice! Uber is restarting shared rides in select U.S. cities for the first time since the pandemic. The service has been rebranded as UberX Share, with a few changes - you’ll be matched to only one other rider at a time, with a max trip extension of eight minutes. You can expect to receive up to 20% off the cost of your fare (and maybe a life partner? You never know…).
💨 FDA bans Juul. The FDA has ordered e-cigarette company Juul to stop selling and distributing products in the U.S.. In a statement, the FDA Commissioner said that Juuls have “played a disproportionate role in the rise of youth vaping.” The FDA also noted that there was “insufficient and conflicting data” on potential health impacts. The order does not prohibit consumers from possessing or using Juul products.
💰 eBay buys NFT marketplace. eBay is doubling down on web3, acquiring UK-based NFT marketplace KnownOrigin for an undisclosed amount. KnownOrigin, which was founded in 2018, has processed a total of $7.8M in transactions (according to DappRadar). eBay launched NFT trading last May, but there are some restrictions - the listing price can’t exceed $10k and they can’t be sold via auctions.
🤝 Zendesk goes private. Customer experience company Zendesk accepted a take-private offer for $10.2B, a 34% premium to the company’s stock price the day prior to the announcement. Zendesk went public in 2014, and for the past few months has been fending off activist investors. The company turned down a $17B bid in February from some of the same investors that led the new bid, including Hellman & Friedman.
📷 IG tests new age verification. Instagram is exploring new methods to verify your age. Previously, when a user tried to edit his or her birthdate to switch from under to over 18 years old, Instagram required them to upload various forms of ID. Now, IG is testing two additional methods of verification in the U.S. - (1) social vouching (mutual adult followers confirm the user’s age), and (2) AI age estimation via video selfie. The second option is powered by UK-based startup Yoti, and you can test it out here 👀.
what we’re following 👀
TikTok has a new #1 creator - Khaby Lame, who unseated Charli D’Amelio.
Creepy or touching? Amazon Alexa may soon be able to mimic anyone’s voice.
How Mark Cuban’s new drug company is disrupting the pharmaceutical industry with more transparency and lower prices.
Have you taken a 0.5 selfie?
You probably know Shopify as an e-commerce platform that powers millions of online stores, from Allbirds to Staples. Shopify, which was founded in 2006, has always been a B2B software company. It provides the “pipes” that brands and retailers use to sell their products to consumers, but operates in the background.
Over the five years, Shopify has been gradually inching towards a monumental change: becoming a consumer-facing shopping destination. In 2017, the company’s experimental “Garage” program launched a new app called Arrive, which helped consumers track packages across all merchants. The app took off, racking up 16M+ downloads before it was rebranded in 2020 as Shop.
With the rebrand came a new feature - shoppers would be able to discover and buy new products from brands they already purchased from (or followed in the app). Over the past two years, Shop has evolved significantly, and it’s now undeniably a product discovery platform. The app curates collections of products and makes customized recommendations of brands they think you’ll love based on your purchase history.
Last week, Shopify took it to the next level: shoppers now earn 1% cashback on eligible purchases made via Shop Pay (Shopify’s payment processing system), but this cash is only redeemable in the Shop app. Shopify is funding this cashback, which means that it’s essentially giving away millions of dollars to shoppers to spend on Shop. Why would the company want to do this?
It’s a bet on Shopify’s vision of a fully integrated commerce ecosystem. Merchants are more likely to adopt Shop Pay if shoppers want it (for the cashback) - and Shopify makes money processing these transactions. These shoppers then go to the Shop app to redeem the cashback, and spend this money (and more) at Shopify brands. Shopify takes a cut of these transactions as the hosting platform. It’s a virtuous cycle.
An added benefit: brands can “boost” the cashback offer within the Shop app to acquire new customers. Imagine you have $2 in cashback to spend on the app, and find a sweatshirt brand that’s offering to 10x this (a discount of $20 to you) on your first purchase. You’re much more likely to convert, and the brand gets a new customer. The $20 “CAC” is probably significantly lower than they’d pay to acquire you on a traditional digital channel like Facebook or Instagram.
It’s a win-win-win for you, the brand, and Shopify. We’re embarrassingly excited to watch this roll out on Shop over the coming months - keep an eye out for more here.
Shopify is asking brands interested in using Shop Cash Boost to sign up for an early access program via Google Form! Even multi-billion $ public companies use it 😂
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Culdesac - Investor Relations Analyst (Remote)
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Gradient Ventures - Investor (Palo Alto)*
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Fanhouse - Product Design Lead (LA)*
nok - Associate Product Manager (Austin, Remote)
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*Expects 3+ years of experience!
Abnormal Security - MBA Product Marketing Intern (Remote)
Intuitive - AR/VR Software Intern (Remote)
Starface - Marketing Intern (Remote)
Oncue - Strategy & Ops Intern (Oakland, Remote)
Volley - Game Design Intern (SF)
SIMULATE - Research Intern (SF)
Turo - Grassroots Intern (SF)
Tencent - Investment Analyst Intern (Palo Alto)
Techstars - MBA Accelerator Intern (Denver)
puppy of the week 🐶
Meet Tatum (aka Tater Tot), a 4 month-old Havapoo from Austin, TX.
Her hobbies include chasing empty Gatorade bottles around the house, playing air piano, eating Cheese Whiz, and walking across the keyboard while mom is working. She loves to travel and is a fan favorite in the office.
Follow her on Instagram @tatumthehavapoo!
All views are our own. None of the above should be taken as investment advice. See this page for important information.