🚀 Neobanks cash in on Gen Z
Plus, special access to a new app for Accelerated readers!
If you follow funding news closely, you’ve probably noticed hedge fund Tiger Global popping up frequently as the lead investor in early stage startups. Tiger isn’t alone in this! New Crunchbase data confirmed a sneaking suspicion among VCs - they’re competing with firms that used to focus on growth stage companies.
In Q1 2021, a record 24% of Series A & B rounds were led by PE firms or hedge funds. Another record? Round size. 54% of rounds at this stage were $50M+, compared to an average of 38% in 2020. Q1’s top Series A & B investor was Insight Partners, which was historically known as a growth firm.
There’s always a lag in funding data, so we expect the Q1 numbers to shift over time - but this represents an interesting trend we’ll be keeping an eye on.
📊 Tech earnings impress. Earnings season is in full swing! This week’s updates:
Alphabet beat expectations for revenue and EPS. YouTube was a particularly bright spot - revenue grew 49% YoY, 81% of US adults now use it (up from 73% pre-pandemic), and its TikTok competitor hit 6.5B daily views (up from 3.5B in Jan).
Apple reported record revenue for a non-holiday quarter, with impressive growth in its services segment. The company authorized $90B in share repurchases, a meaningful increase over previous years - more here on why Apple is doing this.
Shopify continues to surge, with 110% YoY growth in revenue and over $7B in GMV. Another fun fact - Shopify is sitting on an impressive $1.3B gain (still unrealized!) on its investment in BNPL company Affirm.
Twitter had a tougher outing - its stock plunged 11%. Despite recording over $1B in revenue for the quarter (up 28% YoY), the company missed expectations for monetizable daily users and set relatively low guidance for Q2 revenue.
💉 Uber adds new services. Your Uber app may look different in the coming weeks! The company is rolling out a number of new features, including vaccine booking at Walgreens (with transportation to the appointment), rental cars that can be delivered to your door, and even the ability to pick up food during your ride. While Uber hasn’t yet released Q1 earnings, March’s monthly gross bookings was the highest in company history, largely thanks to continued growth in food delivery.
🎶 EU charges Apple. Apple is facing new antitrust charges from the European Union this week. The EU claims Apple unfairly dominates music streaming, as other developers are required to use Apple’s in-app payment system and therefore pay a 30% “tax.” Most end up passing this along to consumers via higher prices, giving Apple a pricing advantage. In other Apple news, the company’s battle with Epic Games (also about the App Store tax) is headed to court on Monday.
🛑 Basecamp bans politics. Few topics seem to be as controversial for startups as whether or not political discussions belong at work! Basecamp is the latest to ban these conversations on its official communication platform - you may remember that Coinbase did the same last year. At both companies, employees could take a buyout if they disagreed with the decision. While only 5% of Coinbase’s employees did so, some are reporting that nearly 1/3rd of Basecamp’s ~60 team members have elected to leave.
We’re curious to get your thoughts - would you work at a company that didn’t allow political discussions?
Gen Z neobanks are having a moment! Current, Greenlight Financial, and Step all announced major funding rounds. Current and Greenlight both reported ~3M users and raised at $2B+, while Step has 1.5M users and didn’t disclose its valuation.
We’re not surprised to see the interest in this space - it’s hard to imagine Gen Zers wanting to go to a physical bank to open their first account! Smart marketing moves (like Step’s partnership with Charli D’Amelio) could allow these companies to cheaply acquire the next generation of consumers with a bank account or debit card, and eventually convert them to a broader range of products.
what we’re following 👀
The rise of OnlyFans as a platform for brands to reach their most devoted fans.
How Pfizer became the “status vaccine” (and why not everyone sees it as a joke!).
Mark Zuckerberg finally speaks out on that sunscreen meme.
Sarah McBride of Zenly on how to best use TikTok for marketing.
Ever wonder what it would look like if TikTok and Twitter had a baby? Enter Faves, a new app focused on content curators (like us!). The Faves app is a vertical feed where users can view, consume, and save content curated by experts.
Compared to other apps that help users discover and save content, Faves is unique in being friendly to all kinds of media. It takes one click to paste a link to a TikTok video, tweet, IG post, YouTube video, or podcast (to name a few!), and they all render beautifully in the app. Similar to an IG story, curators can then add text around the piece of media, or even record a short audio commentary clip.
Faves is in its early days, but the team has already recruited an impressive group of curators, including Marissa Mayer, Nir Eyal, and Sean Kim (head of product @TikTok). The app gives curators an incentive to post beyond the normal social validation - they also get promo slots in the Faves feed (ours is a link to Accelerated!). The more views and likes your content gets, the more often the algorithm serves up your ad.
We love that the platform celebrates curators. In an increasingly noisy world, there’s value in being able to identify interesting content across social apps. The real test will be whether consumers stick on the app over time - is the browsing experience interesting enough to retain users? We’re excited to see the team continue to build ways for non-curators to “participate” in the experience beyond passive consumption.
Faves is still in private beta, but Accelerated readers can get early access (and skip the waitlist) here! If you sign up, follow us @Olivia and @Justine.
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puppy of the week 🐶
Meet Fred, a one-year-old English Springer Spaniel who lives in Brooklyn.
His hobbies include napping, playing at the beach with friends, and going to the park.
Check him out on Instagram @fred.the.3rd!
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.