🚀 Tech companies stand with Ukraine
Plus, who is mandating that employees return to office?
Hi, Accelerated readers 👋 ! You may have noticed there was no issue last week. In light of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, most tech & VC news felt unimportant.
I’m returning with a shortened version of the newsletter. Over the coming weeks, I’ll continue to cover how the tech community is rallying around Ukraine - from $50M in crypto donations to Elon Musk activating Starlink internet service.
If you are interested in supporting the people of Ukraine 🇺🇦, I’d also encourage you to check out this list of organizations accepting donations.
🛑 Tech companies take action against Russia. Many U.S. based tech giants have paused service or suspended sales in Russia:
Apple was the first to move, announcing that it would stop selling products and restrict Apple Pay usage in Russia.
Google suspended its ad business in Russia after the Russian government accused YouTube of sharing misinformation about Ukraine.
Reddit banned links to Russian state media outlets, is rejecting ads from Russian companies, and has “quarantined” r/Russia.
Snap stopped ads in Russia and Belarus.
Airbnb halted operations in Russia and Belarus - users from those countries won’t be allowed to accept new bookings or book their own trips.
Twitter and Meta, which both paused ads in Russia, are now blocked or heavily restricted by the Russian government.
TikTok, one of the few global social apps that hasn’t stopped selling ads in Russia, has blocked Russian state media accounts in the EU.
💰 Epic Games buys Bandcamp. In a move that surprised many, Epic Games announced its acquisition of Bandcamp, a platform for independent musicians to host and monetize their content. Bandcamp will continue operating as a standalone site, but plans to leverage Epic’s resources to launch new features like livestreaming. Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but Bandcamp’s CEO did note that the company has paid out nearly $1B to artists and labels.
🏘️ Nextdoor exceeds expectations. Local social app Nextdoor reported its first quarterly earnings as a public company this week. The company beat analysts’ revenue expectations, with nearly 50% YoY growth. User engagement continues to be a strength for the company - 52% of Nextdoor users globally used the platform on a weekly basis. Over the coming year, the company plans to focus on making it easier for users to connect with local small businesses.
TikTok announced this week that users will be able to post 10 minute videos, a challenge to YouTube’s dominance in the “longer” form video space.
Both apps have been infringing on each other’s territory over the past year. YouTube launched Shorts (a clear TikTok clone) last March, and established a $100M fund to incentivize creators to post content.
Meanwhile, TikTok expanded from one to three minute videos last July, and the move to 10 minutes makes the app more directly competitive with YouTube. Some creators have already started cross-posting their content on both apps - I’m curious to see where they get the most engagement!
what i’m following 👀
Hackers are threatening to release Nvidia’s source code unless the company allows its graphic cards to mine crypto faster.
The D’Amelio family launched a $25M VC fund.
Why seed firm Homebrew will no longer be raising external capital.
Tasha Kim on the unbundling of OpenSea - why verticalized NFT marketplaces will dominate the digital asset ecosystem.
This week, Apple CEO Tim Cook announced the company’s new “return to office” plan. Employees will be required to work in-office at least once a week starting April 11, and this will increase to three days a week in late May.
Apple isn’t alone. Google will also require employees to come in at least three days a week starting in April. Microsoft reopened its offices in late February, with a default expectation of in-person work - employees had to apply to work hybrid or remote. Meta is also planning to re-open offices by the end of March, and will similarly ask employees to apply for permission to continue working remotely.
Twitter, on the other hand, is taking a different approach. Back in May 2020, then-CEO Jack Dorsey told employees that they would be able to work from home forever. New CEO Parag Agrawal backed this up in an announcement this week. In October, Amazon also cancelled its return to office plan, which would have required most employees to return three days a week by January 2022.
What does this mean? The “Great Resignation” will likely continue as employers start to set firmer policies on in-office vs. remote work. I'm curious to see where the "net flow" of talent lands. Do more tech employees want to stay remote (and be able to live/work anywhere), or are people sick of isolation and gravitate to companies that force (or encourage) an office return?
I have a feeling that strict policies on either end of the spectrum could also result in more employee homogeneity within companies. I haven't seen studies on this yet, but it feels like there may be some personality differences between people who want to return to the office full time and those who want to WFH forever!
Do you want to return to work in-person?
✅ Yes, I'd like to be in the office full time
🚫 No, I want to work remotely for now
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puppy of the week 🐶
Meet Nox, a one-year-old Australian Shepherd who lives in Germany.
He enjoys playing in water, going on trips, and updating his website.
Follow him on Instagram @world_of_nox!
Hi! 👋 I’m Justine Moore, an early stage consumer & SMB investor. I’m currently a student at the Stanford GSB and Head of GTM at Canal. Thanks for reading Accelerated. I’d love your feedback - feel free to tweet me @venturetwins.