🚀 Trump gets deplatformed
Plus, Roblox shakes up its plans for going public!
Not everyone had a terrible 2020! Cameo, a marketplace for fans to buy personalized shoutouts from celebrities, published some of its metrics this week. The company did 1.3M bookings totaling $100M in GMV, up 4.5x YoY. 10k new creators joined Cameo in 2020, and the customer base grew 250% over last year.
Cameo is particularly interesting because the company’s value prop was fairly non-obvious early on, with questions on the fan side (who will pay for that?) and the celebrity side (no famous people will do that!). Cameo has now proven consumer willingness to pay (AOV last year was $70), as well as the ability to generate serious money for creators - 150 people earned $100k+ on Cameo in 2020.
This may not be significant to A-list celebrities, but it’s meaningful to the long tail of actors, musicians, athletes, and other types of creators. One great example - The Office actor Brian Baumgartner (who played Kevin) made $1M on Cameo last year!
🛑 Trump gets deplatformed. After the events that unfolded at the U.S. Capitol, most social networks suspended President Trump’s accounts and cracked down on pro-Trump conspiracy theories. Facebook (and Instagram) will not allow Trump to post for two weeks, while Twitter permanently banned him “due to risk of further incitement of violence,” particularly before Biden’s inauguration. Unsurprisingly, this was a controversial decision - some claim this amounts to censorship, while others argue Trump has consistently violated policies and deserves to be deplatformed.
Trump was banned from other platforms including Reddit, Shopify, Twitch, and Snapchat. Meanwhile, both the Google Play Store and Apple’s App Store took down right-wing social app Parler for refusing to moderate content that incited violence.
📱 Roku buys Quibi’s catalog. In a rare bit of good news for Quibi fans, Roku has acquired the rights to the startup’s content library. This includes episodes for 75+ shows, some of which hadn’t been released yet on Quibi. The content will stream for free (with ads) on the Roku Channel, which you can access even if you don’t have a Roku device. The acquisition price wasn’t announced, but was reportedly <$100M. Check out our list of some of the craziest content produced by Quibi here!
📊 Affirm and Poshmark prep for IPOs. Affirm, which provides point-of-sale installment loans for e-commerce, announced terms for its upcoming IPO. The initial price range suggests it will trade at a market cap of $10B+. P2P marketplace Poshmark, also announced terms - it expects to trade in the $2.6-$2.9B range. Both companies are expected to IPO next week, along with Petco (we’ll be watching closely 🐶).
💸 SoFi to go public. Fintech company SoFi has finalized plans to go public by merging with a SPAC formed by Chamath Palihapitiya (founder of Social Capital). The deal will value SoFi at $8.7B. According to its investor presentation, SoFi expected to do $621M in adjusted net revenue in 2020, the majority of which came from lending. The company focuses on acquiring HENWS (high earners not well served) and getting them to use multiple products - though SoFi started in student loans, it now offers a range of financial products, from an investing app to car insurance.
After three years, Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway, and JP Morgan have decided to shut down Haven, their joint effort to disrupt healthcare. Haven was a non-profit aimed at helping families access more transparent and affordable healthcare, while also combatting the rising cost of insurance premiums for employers.
It may be early for a postmortem, but some have suggested that Haven didn’t have enough leverage to force providers to lower prices despite a combined 1.2M employees. And with the COVID outbreak, all attention shifted to managing the pandemic, leaving little time for providers to experiment with new programs or ideas.
Haven also struggled with a revolving door of talent (most of its executive team departed in the last year) and competitive efforts that emerged from Amazon, including Amazon Care. Regardless of the cause, Haven’s failure provides yet another example of how hard it is to enact meaningful change in the healthcare industry!
what we’re following 👀
Justin Kan shares lessons learned from shutting down Atrium after raising $75M.
The CIA’s rebrand is drawing comparisons to millennial D2C brands.
Why Dr. Michael Burry (who predicted the housing market crash) is short Tesla.
Tod Sacerdoti’s seven tips after making 100+ angel investments.
CNBC @CNBCRoblox raises $520 million ahead of planned stock market direct listing https://t.co/1FR5UpL7Ia
One of the most anticipated IPOs of 2021 will now be a direct listing! Gaming platform Roblox was initially planning to IPO in December 2020, but decided to delay after seeing Airbnb and DoorDash’s dramatic first day price pops. Why is it a bad thing to have a stock price jump on the first day? It leaves significant money on the table, as the company is issuing new shares below their market value.
Direct listings allow a company to go public without raising any additional capital - investors can sell with no lockup and the market sets the price, not underwriters. Spotify, Slack, Palantir, and Asana all went public via direct listing, and prominent investors like Bill Gurley have encouraged teams to consider this option.
Roblox also announced that it raised a $520M Series H at a $29.5B valuation, a 7x increase from its last round less than a year ago. The company’s usage and revenue have been up substantially during COVID - in November, Roblox reported 36M DAUs, up from 18M in 2019. We’re excited to see the company’s public debut in February!
🚀 Wealthfront published its annual list of career-launching companies!
On Deck - Head of Special Projects (Remote)
Akkadian Ventures - Analyst (Remote)
Pipe - Chief of Staff (Remote)*
Obvious Ventures - Chief of Staff (SF)
One Way Ventures - Analyst/Associate (SF, Boston, NYC)
Goodwater Capital - Consumer Investors (Burlingame)
Emerson Collective - Senior Associate, Venture Investing (Palo Alto)
Greenspring Associates - VC Portfolio Impact Analyst (Owings Mills)
Glia - Analyst, Office of the CEO (NYC)
Samsung Catalyst Fund - Senior Associate (NYC)*
*Requires 3+ years of experience.
Cider - Social Media and Content Manager Intern (Remote)
Business Insider - Summer Venture Capital/Tech Fellows (SF)
Kyte - Communication Ops Intern (SF)
Reddit - Summer Product Interns (SF)
Cruise - MBA Go-to-Market Operations Intern (SF)
Village Global - Data Science Intern (SF)
OneSignal - Revenue Ops Intern (San Mateo)
Smartcar - Social Media Intern (Mountain View, Remote)
Heroes Jobs - Content and Community Manager Intern (LA, Remote)
Daily Harvest - Brand Intern (NYC)
Nate - Finance & Strategy Intern (NYC)
puppy of the week 🐶
Meet siblings Boo and Roka - Boo is an eight-year-old Yorkie, and Roka is an eight-month-old Australian Shepherd.
Boo’s hobbies including sleeping, avoiding human contact, and chasing Roka around the house while barking incessantly. Roka enjoys playing outside for hours on end, counter surfing when no one is watching, and eating treats.
Boo and Roka don’t have an Instagram, but you may see occasional glimpses of them on their sister Caitlin’s Twitter account. Caitlin is also our newest colleague at CRV - we’d recommend giving her a follow!
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.