🚀 Is Salesforce buying Slack?
Plus, Snap drops major $ to beat TikTok!
Even though it may not have been a typical Thanksgiving this year, we hope all of you were able to enjoy a peaceful day off and some good food!
As we reflect back on the past three years writing Accelerated, we’re so grateful to everyone who has helped this community grow. Thanks for reading the newsletter, giving us feedback, and sending it to your friends! We’re hopeful that we can see more of you in-person next year 😊
💻 Salesforce ponders Slack acquisition. In the biggest news of the week, Salesforce is reportedly in talks to acquire Slack. It’s been a somewhat disappointing year for Slack investors - the company hasn’t performed as well as other remote work winners like Zoom, and it’s facing heavy competition from Microsoft Teams. However, things may be turning around! Slack’s stock soared on the news of a potential acquisition, from $29 on Monday to $41 when the market closed on Friday. The company now has a $23B market cap - an acquisition at this price would be Salesforce’s largest to date.
🗓️ Pinterest tests online events. Zoom classes are all the rage this year, and Pinterest is getting in on the trend! The platform is testing creator-led online courses. Each course will have a dedicated class board, where the creator shares materials and attendees can chat. No word on when this feature might publicly launch, but we’d be curious to see it “in the wild” - no platform has done a particularly good job of curating Zoom events or providing a search layer (even Zoom itself just has a messy beta!).
🛑 AWS outage cripples the Internet. We were reminded yet again of how many websites and apps rely on Amazon Web Services (AWS) when a prolonged outage wreaked havoc on Wednesday. You may have noticed that you were unable to stream content from the Roku app, your connected doorbell or vacuum stopped working, or your grocery delivery wasn’t processed (a tough problem the day before Thanksgiving!). Amazon later explained via blog post that the outage was started by an issue in its real-time data processing engine, and spiraled to envelop other AWS services.
🦄 Rumors swirl on mega deals. The growth financing and IPO markets aren’t slowing down during the holidays, with details leaked this week on several deals:
Payment processor Stripe is reportedly in talks to raise at a $70-100B valuation, which would make it the most valuable private startup in the U.S.
Discord is close to finalizing a round at a $7B valuation, a 2x markup from its last round in June. The company now has 120M MAUs - you may have used it to chat while playing Among Us, but it’s now trying to promote non-gaming use cases!
Real estate brokerage Compass has hired bankers to prepare for an IPO next year. The startup has raised a total of $1.6B (SoftBank is a major investor), but had to lay off a significant portion of its staff earlier this year due to COVID.
Snap has officially entered the race to build the best TikTok competitor! The company launched Spotlight, a new tab that features short videos submitted by users.
Spotlight looks very much like TikTok - videos are limited to 60 seconds, and you scroll vertically to see the next one. However, there are a few key differences:
Snap hides the creator’s handle on almost all videos, so you don’t know who made the video and can’t follow them. This makes it almost impossible to build a following on the platform, even if you have a viral video.
You can like a video, but you can’t see the total like or view count, and there’s no comment section (which is one of our favorite parts of TikTok!).
While you can put sounds on top of your video, there’s no way to see all the videos made with a given sound or easily use another creator’s sound.
All of these things seem to stifle new content on the platform. Using other creators’ sounds make it easy to participate in viral trends, while racking up likes, follows, and comments provides an incentive for creators to post their content publicly.
However, Snap may be offering a more powerful motivator - money. The company announced it will give away $1M every day to Spotlight creators, at least through the end of 2020. Creators of top videos earn a share of the daily pool based on views.
Have you posted a Spotlight video, or would you make one? Comment below!
what we’re following 👀
Will Spotify get a boost when Joe Rogan’s podcast goes exclusive in December?
Check out Shopify’s live Black Friday and Cyber Monday order map.
Tech Crunch profiles Womxn Ignite, a “hacker house” for women taking a gap year!
The NYT looks into alleged discrimination at Coinbase (+ the company’s pre-emptive response).
Remember Instagram Threads? The app initially focused on letting users send photos and videos to a select group of “close friends” - it launched last October to little fanfare. This week, Threads skyrocketed, hitting #1 in the U.S. App Store on Monday and holding on to a top ten spot since then.
Why? This may be a rare case of a social app redesign being immediately celebrated by users (sorry, Facebook and Snapchat!). Threads had already expanded to allow users to send content to any friends, as well as open and send Instagram DMs within the app. The recent spike in popularity came from a seemingly minor tweak - Threads now auto-transcribes what you say in videos and displays the text on-screen.
Users are downloading these auto-captioned videos and taking them to another platform: TikTok! Threads videos are particularly popular because the Threads AI automatically (and somewhat hilariously) censors bad words, which TikTok users are referring to as the “bleep filter.” It’s clear that traffic to Threads is coming from this trend, as 90%+ of the app’s recent reviews mention TikTok - including many users in other countries complaining that the cursing “effect” only works in the U.S.
TikTok trends have driven users to other social apps before. For example, the “I Am Lost” videos, where you add your eyes and mouth to an inanimate object, came from a special effect on Snap. We expect to see TikTok build out more internal filters and effects over time to keep all video creation in-app. But in the meantime, we’re curious to see what app gets a boost next from enabling easier TikTok creation!
FWIW, we make all our TikTok videos on Kapwing, the CRV portfolio company that made the helpful video above.
Side - Business Strategist (SF)
Ethos - Partnership Ops Associate (SF)
Substack - Data Analyst (SF)
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Koch Disruptive Technologies - Growth Equity Analyst (Wichita)
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10X Capital - SPAC Associate (NYC)
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*Requires 3+ years of experience.
Cloudflare - Summer PM Intern (Remote)
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puppy of the week 🐶
Meet Willis, a one-year-old sheepadoodle that lives in Illinois.
Willis enjoys playing in the snow, water, and dirt, growing really fast, and supporting his favorite collegiate teams (he’s a big Butler University fan).
Follow him on Instagram at @whatchubarkinatwillis!
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.