🚀 Snap takes a tumble
Plus, we investigate the Gen Z "Shein paradox"!
👻 Snap makes cuts. It was a difficult week for Snap - the company laid off 20% of employees and shut down a number of initiatives, including its camera drone Pixy and social map startup Zenly (which Snap acquired in 2017). Snap is looking to cut costs in the wake of decelerating growth, as last month the company reported its lowest quarterly revenue growth since IPO. Snap released a database of those impacted by the layoffs who may be looking for work - check it out if you’re hiring!
✍️ Twitter debuts edits. It’s finally happening…after years of debate, the edit button is going live on Twitter. Unfortunately, it’s currently only being tested among Twitter Blue subscribers, who pay $4.99 per month for access to new features. The feature will enable these users to edit their tweets for up to 30 minutes after posting, and the edited tweet will show a timestamp and label to indicate its status. No word yet on when this might roll out to the broader user base.
💻 YC gets a new boss. In a surprising turn of events, Garry Tan (co-founder of Initialized Capital) will return to YC as CEO. Before Initialized, Garry founded a YC-backed company that sold to Twitter and then joined YC as a partner. He left YC to start Initialized with Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian (who founded a new firm in 2020) and Harj Taggar (who also returned to YC after starting another company). Initialized will now be run by managing partners Jen Wolf and Brett Gibson.
✋ Facebook powers down standalone apps. Facebook announced it is shutting down its games streaming app (a competitor to Twitch) and neighborhood app (a competitor to Nextdoor) in the coming months. These announcements come in the wake of other recent FB closures, including Tuned (a couples messaging app) and the company’s live shopping feature. What’s going on here? Perhaps we’re seeing a return to a focus on the core product in a tough macro environment, or maybe the company is spinning down all things not metaverse-related - time will tell!
what we’re following 👀
One founder is pitching investors on Venmo!
What Reformation stores can teach us about the future of IRL commerce.
A look at the brave souls pursuing online dating via Google Docs.
What happens when an AI art piece wins a contest?
If you haven’t heard of Shein, you’re probably not Gen Z! The China-based clothing co, which was recently valued at $100 billion, regularly tops the charts of brands targeting young women. The company may do $20 billion in annual revenue for 2022, which would make it the fourth-largest apparel company globally.
Shein embodies fast fashion - you can buy a full outfit (including shoes!) for under $30. The company “drops” more than 1,000 new items per day, which are featured in dozens of haul videos and go viral on YouTube and TikTok, creating new trends.
Last quarter, Shein hit another major milestone - the company’s app surpassed Amazon in terms of U.S. consumer downloads. Yes, it’s true that Amazon has a much bigger user base, so we would expect it to grow less quickly. But Shein is closing the gap. Two years ago, Shein’s monthly app user base was 9x smaller than Amazon. Now, it’s only 3x smaller - and the difference is shrinking every quarter.
Shein’s rise is a well-documented story. We’re more interested in what we see as the central mystery of the company. Gen Zers are reportedly the most environmentally conscious demo ever. And yet Shein is constantly under fire for being unsustainable - both in its production practices, but also because the clothes often only last a few wears. This isn’t a secret - it’s a known fact among Gen Z.
How do these two things make sense? We have a few theories:
It’s all about the price point. Gen Zers are 10 - 25 years old, so many don’t yet have an independent income. It’s possible they will “graduate” from fast fashion as they gain purchasing power, and can afford to buy from sustainable brands. This would be similar to how millennials moved away from Forever21.
Shein is uniquely inclusive. Shein’s huge range of SKUs means it has something for everyone from a style perspective. But the brand also provides extended sizes - from 0XL to 5XL - on many items. Plus size clothing is notoriously limited, so Shein’s commitment here likely makes a real difference.
Compartmentalization. It’s possible Gen Zers are choosing to “concentrate” sustainability behavior in a few categories, and fashion isn’t one of them. For example - Gen Z is much more likely to go vegetarian/vegan, or drive a hybrid or EV car. It’s also possible Gen Zers try to balance out their fast fashion behavior with shopping for the rest of their clothes on resale sites like Depop.
Style > sustainability. This is perhaps the darkest theory, which is that Gen Z’s interest in environmentalism is largely…performative. Or at least, it’s not strong enough to motivate real behavior change!
XYZ - Chief of Staff (Various)
a16z - Biz Ops Analyst, Venture (Remote)
Lime - Global Strategy Associate (Remote)
Cash App - Strategy & Business Operations* (Remote)
Check - Biz Ops Associate (SF, Remote)
Vial - Biz Ops Associate (SF)
Expa - Ops Associate, Founder Experience* (SF)
Zeal - Product Ops (SF)
Alto - Strategy & Ops Associate (Dallas)
Techstars - Investment Associate (NYC)
Point72 - Crypto Associate (NYC)
*Expects 3+ years of experience.
Saturn - Growth Marketing Intern (Remote)
Zendesk - Market Intelligence Intern (Remote)
XRC Labs - Research Analyst Intern (Remote)
Contrary Capital - Student Venture Partners (Remote)
Health Note - BD Intern (Remote)
Rough Draft Ventures - Fellows (Multiple)
TikTok - Summer 2023 MBA Strategy Intern (Mountain View)
Epic Games - Comms and Policy Intern (NYC)
Datadog - PM Intern (NYC)
puppy of the week 🐶
Meet Cypress and Fable, Hungarian Vizslas who live in the Rockies. Cypress is five years old, and Fable is four month old.
Their hobbies include hiking and camping - they’re currently exploring Canada in a trailer. You can follow their adventures on Instagram @cypressthevizsla!
All views are our own. None of the above should be taken as investment advice. See this page for important information.