YikYak is back! In case you were living under a rock from 2014-2015, YikYak was an anonymous messaging app that blew up on high school & college campuses. YikYak message boards were viewable by anyone in a 5-mile radius, and users could upvote/downvote posts. It was kind of like a hyper-local Reddit, with no usernames.
The company was founded by two college students in 2013, and quickly expanded nationwide. It raised $75M and climbed to the top of the App Store before shutting down in 2017. What happened? The team struggled to control hate speech and bullying that erupted on the platform, which created legal issues.
In response, YikYak implemented geo-fences to prevent the app from being used at middle & high schools, and asked users to create handles to curb anonymous abuse. Downloads declined rapidly in 2016 (down 76% YoY), and the team was acqui-hired by Square in early 2017 for $1M.
The app is now back with new owners committed to “making Yik Yak a fun place free of bullying, threats, and all sort of negativity.” Is it possible to moderate content this closely, especially on an anonymous app? We’ll see!
📈 Robinhood reports earnings. Robinhood’s revenue more than doubled in Q2, largely thanks to crypto. The company’s share of revenue from crypto climbed from 17% to 51% in just one quarter! A whopping 25% of revenue was from Dogecoin alone - Robinhood noted this concentration as a risk factor moving forward.
🛑 CA challenges gig law. A California judge ruled that Proposition 22, which allows gig economy companies (e.g. Uber, DoorDash, Instacart) to treat workers as independent contractors, is unconstitutional. This ruling comes less than a year after voters approved the law in the most expensive ballot measure in California history. This isn’t the end of this battle - expect to see appeals!
👩🏽⚖️ FTC targets Facebook. After a judge dismissed the FTC’s first case against Facebook, the agency is back with another argument for why the company is an illegal monopoly. The FTC is now claiming that Facebook illegally squashes its competitors by either acquiring or burying them - FB believes the lawsuit is “meritless.”
In other news…
Amazon is planning to open brick-and-mortar department stores.
In other Amazon news, the company has surpassed Walmart as the world’s largest retail seller (outside of China).
Elon Musk announced that Tesla is building humanoid robots to automate repetitive or unsafe tasks.
A man threatening to blow up the Library of Congress livestreamed on Facebook for hours before his account was taken down.
what i’m following 👀
A look at the unique ways startups are competing for talent.
The new summer job for Gen Z? Minting NFTs.
How #dormtok is taking the world of interior design by storm.
OnlyFans made headlines after announcing it will ban sexually explicit content starting in October. As a reminder, the platform is primarily known for NSFW content, though it has recently made efforts to expand its brand - including launching a SFW video app in January called OFTV and recruiting celebrities to post more PG content.
According to Axios, OnlyFans has struggled to raise money at a $1B valuation - even though it expects to generate $6B in gross purchase volume this year. A few metrics from the company’s pitch deck (as of Q1):
$2.2B in GMV, $375M in net revenue, and $150M in free cash flow in 2020.
$3.2B paid out to creators since inception. More than 300 creators earn $1M on OnlyFans annually.
7M consumers pay for OnlyFans monthly (this doesn’t include free users).
This is a large and growing business - why is it making such a drastic policy change? Even if VCs didn’t want to invest due to the NSFW content, OnlyFans is generating enough FCF to sustain itself.
According to OnlyFans, the real problem is payment processors. MasterCard, Visa, and others have removed payment support for other NSFW content businesses in the past year. And as of this October, MasterCard will now require that adult content sites review all content before it is posted, and verify every poster and participant in photos and videos. This is arguably impossible at OnlyFans’s scale!
OnlyFans has become a massive part of the creator economy, as more than 16,000 people make $50k+ on the platform annually. While building its own payment processor is much easier said than done, the company has a few months to come up with a solution - it seems unlikely they give this up without a fight.
Coinbase - Associate Product Manager (Remote)
On Deck - Chief of Staff (Remote)
MasterClass - Biz Ops & Strategy Analyst (SF)
BlueVine - Strategic Partnerships & BD Manager (Redwood City)*
a16z - Deal Analyst, Crypto (Menlo Park)
Hyphen - Ops Manager (San Jose)
PayPal Ventures - Investment Analyst (San Jose)*
TikTok - Product Specialist, Creator Monetization (LA)
Disney - Corporate Innovation Associate (Glendale)
Endeavor - Entrepreneur Search & Selection Associate (NYC)
D1 Brands - M&A Associate (NYC)
Ribbon - Financial Products Manager (NYC)*
*Requires 3+ years of experience.
Greycroft - Fellows (Remote)
Envision Accelerator - Team Members (Remote)
BBG Ventures - MBA Associate (Remote)
Goop - Digital Marketing Intern (Remote)
Weee! - Biz Ops Intern (Fremont)
Snap - Yellow MBA Community Program Associate (LA)
Eight Sleep - Graphic Design Intern (NYC, Remote)
Prose - Social Impact Intern (NYC)
Choco - Global Ops Intern (NYC)
puppy of the week 🐶
Meet Junee and Lenny, two fox red labs (yes, “red labs” exist!) who live in Orange County, CA. Junee is 2.5 years old, and Lenny is six months old.
They enjoy going camping, playing with their baby brother, and riding in the car.
Follow them on Instagram @junee_and_leny!