2021 marked a major milestone in the mobile app ecosystem: for the first time ever, more than 200 apps surpassed $100M in annual consumer spend.
The above chart comes from data.ai (formerly known as AppAnnie), which just released this year’s “State of Mobile” report. A few other fun facts:
🇨🇳 China was #1 in global app downloads, with nearly 100B in 2021. This dwarfed India at 27B and the U.S. at 12B (slightly down YoY).
📷 In the U.S., the top app among Gen Z was Instagram, followed by TikTok. For millennials, it was Facebook. For Gen X and Boomers? The Weather Channel.
🤑 3 of the 5 fastest-growing finance apps were crypto exchanges: Coinbase, Crypto.com, and Binance.
🤳 TikTok dominates social apps by time spent - the average user spends 26 hours per month in the app, compared to just 8 hours for Instagram.
❤️🔥 Dating is one of the few categories where a single app rules worldwide: Tinder dominates every market!
📺 YouTube adds free TV. A new player has entered the streaming wars! YouTube added 4,000 episodes across 100 TV shows, including classics like Iron Chef, Unsolved Mysteries, and Scream Queens. These shows join YouTube’s library of free movies - all of which are monetized via ads. It’s interesting to see YouTube, which has long focused on being the premier destination for user-generated videos, double down on professional content (especially after axing Originals earlier this year).
💰 Haun Ventures breaks records. Katie Haun announced this week that her new firm, Haun Ventures, raised $1.5B to back web3 startups. According to the WSJ, this is the largest debut fundraise for a firm with exclusively female founders. Haun, who is currently the firm’s sole GP, formerly co-led a16z’s crypto practice. She also spent a decade as a federal prosecutor - more here on her fascinating background.
🐵 a16z goes to the apes. In other crypto-related news, Yuga Labs raised a $450M round led by a16z at a $4B valuation. The company is perhaps best known for creating Bored Ape Yacht Club, but also recently acquired CryptoPunks and Meebits. The team plans to use this funding to build its own metaverse, called “Otherside,” which is expected to launch in April. It will be powered by ApeCoin, a new token that debuted earlier this month and is now trading at a $3.7B market cap.
The link-in-bio space is 🔥 right now! Market leader Linktree announced a round last week at a $1.3B valuation. This week, Shopify entered the race with Linkpop, which incorporates native shopping. Linkpop allows consumers to buy products directly on a creator’s link-in-bio page, instead of clicking out to a separate storefront.
The catch? You have to have a Shopify store to enable this shopping feature (though any creator can use Linkpop). For this reason, I expect Linkpop to become particularly popular among all of the D2C brands already using other link-in-bio tools - though Linktree also has a Shopify integration, which launched late last year 👀.
what i’m following 👀
Thingtesting explores the true cost of free shipping.
A breakdown of how the top online marketplaces monetize.
Why is Uber offering rides in NYC taxis?
You can now use your iPhone as ID in Arizona.
How to switch your Instagram back to a chronological feed.
Netflix made moves in gaming this week, acquiring independent game developer Boss Fight Entertainment and launching two new titles. The company debuted its mobile gaming arm in late 2021, with a slate of Stranger Things-themed games. Since then, it has acquired three studios and launched 16 games, which are “discoverable” in the Netflix app but downloaded separately.
Games might seem like an unusual expansion for a company that always been focused on TV and movies. But if Netflix is good at one thing, it’s disrupting itself! To use the metaphor of the innovation “S-curve” (pictured above) - Netflix has historically been good at jumping to where the next wave of growth will come from, even if it presents a near-term risk or even causes a short-term drop in performance.
The company’s switch from mailing DVDs to customers in the 1990s and early 2000s to introducing streaming is maybe the best example of this. But the company did it again in producing its own original content. It was (and continues to be) an expensive endeavor, but proved to be a prescient move as studio partners developed their own streaming platforms and took their content off Netflix.
Do I fully understand what Netflix is doing in gaming? No. But I’d also argue it was far from obvious to most outside observers when Netflix jumped the “S-curve” in the past. And since Netflix considers its closest competitor to be Fortnite, it makes sense that the team would at least give game development a shot!
Have you played a Netflix game?
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puppy of the week 🐶
Meet Rory, a two-year-old boxer who lives in San Francisco.
She enjoys making faces at the camera, taking naps under blankets, and going to brunch.
Follow her on Instagram @notorious.rgd!
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.