🚀 Pivots and departures
Plus, where would you start a new community?
🛑 Celsius takes a pause. Lending network Celsius, which allows users to earn up to 18% interest on crypto, paused withdrawals, swaps, and transfers. The company announced that it was focused on “stabilizing our liquidity and operations” in a time of significant crypto volatility. Celsius had $12B in AUM as of May, and most recently raised a $750M Series B in November 2021. Important context: a few other crypto companies / firms are facing liquidity pressure as a result of the recent price volatility, including Babel Finance (another lender) and Three Arrows Capital (a hedge fund).
👋 JOKR leaves U.S. market. Quick commerce company JOKR, which offers grocery delivery in “minutes,” is exiting the U.S. market - at least for now! JOKR was live in New York and Boston, and reported that the U.S. comprised 5% of the company’s total revenue. CEO Ralf Wenzel said JOKR will now focus on its “core business” in Latin America. JOKR was founded in New York, but expanded to LatAm and Europe in 2021 - the company has also since closed its European operations.
↩️ Brex pivots from SMBs. Corporate spend management company Brex is moving away from SMBs, notifying “tens of thousands” of customers last week that their accounts will be closed in August. CEO Henrique Dubugras told TechCrunch that the company will continue to serve venture-backed startups, and most of the customers impacted are brick-and-mortar businesses. Brex instead plans to focus on global expansion, as well as building more enterprise and software products.
💸 Telegram goes premium. Encrypted messaging app Telegram is making a push towards monetization - the company launched a premium tier (priced at $5-6 / month). This tier will give users access to additional features like faster downloads, exclusive stickers, and animated profile photos. Premium users will also be able to join 2x as many channels, and won’t see ads in public channels. Telegram also announced that it reached 700M MAUs, up from 500M in January 2021.
what we’re following 👀
Behind Amazon’s strategy to woo influencers with fancy trips & free clothes.
Snap is testing a paid subscription for early access to new features.
Next up for eBay? Live shopping, starting with trading cards.
A startup publisher is trying to reinvent how books are distributed.
Slack. iMessage. Gmail. Telegram. Discord. WhatsApp. Twitter. Instagram. TikTok.
These are a few of the many messaging apps you’re likely using to send and receive content every day. If you’re like us, you find it all a bit overwhelming - and may even occasionally wake up in a cold sweat when your subconscious brain realizes that you’ve accidentally ghosted someone.
It’s hard enough to stay up-to-date on all of the messages from friends, family, and co-workers across these apps. Where does that leave online communities? They’re often aligned around interests (personal or professional), but typically aren’t “mission critical” to your daily life - you use them for entertainment and enrichment. But how often do you remember to open the community’s Slack or Discord?
In the halycon days of the early 2010s, there was a simple solution: Facebook Groups. Believe it or not, Facebook wasn’t always for old people - it felt like everyone was on it, often for hours a day. This made it a great place to host an online community. All of a user’s groups were helpfully displayed in the left sidebar (see the red rectangle!), making it easy to see where there was new activity to check out.
Now that many of us are no longer Facebook DAUs, it’s not the default platform to host a group. Where do you go instead? There are issues with every alternative:
Instagram, TikTok, Snap - primarily built for sharing photo and video. They have individual and group DMs, but aren’t optimized for text and don’t have the features we expect (e.g. threading, channels, advanced search)
Slack - too expensive for most free communities & even some paid ones
Discord - doesn’t yet have the widespread adoption to work for most groups
Telegram & WhatsApp - works for “one channel” conversations, but don’t have channels so they can quickly get overwhelming
We’ve tested a few next-gen community chat platforms, but none have stuck (yet - we’re always on the hunt for new leads 👀). It’s hard to convince people to download a new app or make an account on a new website just to join your community. And it may be even harder to convince them to revisit it regularly when they aren’t already on the platform to do other things.
We’d love to hear from you. If you were going to start a new community today (let’s say it’s ~100 people), where would you host it?
Deciens - Associate / Senior Associate (Remote)
CB Insights - Research Analyst, Emerging Tech (Remote)
Haul - Associate Product Manager (Remote)
Splash Financial - Associate Product Manager (Remote)
Patch - Strategy Intelligence Associate (SF, Remote)
Vestwell - Associate Product Manager (NYC, Remote)
Parallel - Chief of Staff* (NYC, Remote)
Human Capital - Chief of Staff (SF)
Next Insurance - Biz Ops Associate* (SF)
Techstars - Investment Associate (LA)
Savano Capital Partners - Associate (DC, Baltimore)
*Expects 3+ years of experience.
Moonshot Brands - MBA Intern (Remote)
Main Street - Incentives Specialist Intern (Remote)
OnDeck - Angel Fellow Intern (Remote)
Zscaler - Partner Engagement Intern (Remote)
Atom Finance - Customer Experience Intern (Remote, NYC)
Fandom - Communications Intern (Remote, NYC)
Oncue - Strategy & Ops Intern (Remote, Oakland)
App Annie - Mobile Marketing Intern (Remote, SF)
Small Door - Digital Marketing Intern (NYC)
puppy of the week 🐶
Meet Piper (aka Pipperoni, Pipes, or Piper Pie), a one year-old goldendoodle.
Her hobbies include extreme frolicking, aggressive high fives, playing in the mud, and cuddling with mom. She loves meeting new friends and is excited to work on her doggie paddle this summer!
All views are our own. None of the above should be taken as investment advice. See this page for important information.