⚖️ TikTok goes to Congress. TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew faced tough questions at a Congressional hearing on March 23 about the app’s Chinese ties, data privacy, teen safety, and content moderation. He claimed that TikTok has never and would never share data on the app’s 150 million U.S. users with the Chinese government. However, many viewed the hearing as a net negative for TikTok, with lawmakers on both sides of the aisle expressing continued concerns about the app’s presence in the U.S.
🔌 ChatGPT adds plugins. OpenAI announced that it is expanding ChatGPT’s capabilities by adding plugins that let the chatbot browse the web and interact with specific websites. This makes ChatGPT an interface for all sorts of services and sites, such as booking flights, ordering food, or shopping online. Early plugins include Instacart, OpenTable, Expedia, and Zapier. This feature is waitlist-only for now, but you can see what it looks like here 👀
⌛ Google opens waitlist for Bard. Google Bard, the company’s new AI chatbot, is getting ready for a wider release - anyone with a Gmail account can join the waitlist. Early beta users of Bard are reporting that the chatbot is more dry than Bing’s chatbot and ChatGPT, which seems to be intentional. Bard was subject to heavy adversarial testing to “address and reduce risks” - but has still had some funny moments.
For the first month ever, Bumble beat Tinder in terms of monthly new U.S. downloads (per Apptopia data above). This is likely a result of Bumble’s new ad campaigns around Valentine’s Day, including a partnership with Pamela Anderson to support victims of domestic violence - which boosted monthly downloads by 30%.
We’ll be interested to see if this sticks! Bumble has gained some ground on Tinder over the past year - but so far, Tinder is on track to slightly edge out Bumble in March once again. Overall, the dating app space still feels “up for grabs” for the Gen Z demographic. If you see something interesting here, let us know!
what we’re following 👀
Justine (+ our colleague Bryan) published a tweetstorm and blog post this week about the opportunities in AI x travel. Let us know if you’re building in this space!
Midjourney-generated photos of fake historical events are going viral.
The Wall Street Journal investigates corporate controversy over AI-generated work.
Fortnite now lets players build their own games.
The impact of tech layoffs on “Zoom towns” of remote workers.
This week, our team at a16z published the Marketplace 100 - our annual report of the top 100 private consumer marketplace companies, ranked by gross merchandise value (GMV). The list utilizes credit card panel data from Consumer Edge, which indexes U.S. transactions for 12,000 companies to provide revenue estimates.
This is our fourth year publishing the list. Because marketplaces account for so much of consumer spend, each year the report surfaces fascinating insights into where people are allocating their time and money!
The top companies on the list have been relatively stable - with Instacart taking the 👑 for the third year, and Valve, Viagogo, SeatGeek, Turo, StockX, and GOAT maintaining spots. However - live shopping marketplace Whatnot also joined the top 10, just two years after debuting at #99 and then jumping to #26 last year (the largest jump in list history) This year also saw 34 companies make the list for the first time. Here were some of the themes that emerged from the data:
Consumers opted to repair their cars, rather than buy new ones, a fallout from supply chain disruptions and inflation. This shift had big implications for parts marketplaces - three of which made the list (RockAuto, PartsGeek, CarID).
There's big money in mental health, particularly for companies that help consumers navigate insurance policies governing many therapy practices. Four companies on this year’s list help patients find in-network providers (Headway, Alma, Path Mental Health, Osmind).
Nearly every ticketing company on the Marketplace 100—a noteworthy eight—outperformed already impressive 2022 numbers as the post-COVID rebound continues. But there’s reason to think this trend may level off in 2023.
Marketplaces are getting opinionated, with platforms that curate supply popping up across categories like food, clothing, and even pets. This is a stark departure from the wave of “anyone can list” marketplaces that dominated 2010 to 2020.
For more on the Marketplace 100, check out the full report here - or you can watch Olivia break it down on the a16z podcast!
Compound - Deep Tech Investor (SF, NYC)
645 Ventures - Senior Associate (SF)
Pave - Product Manager (SF)
Uber - Strategic Ops Manager, Eats (SF)
Vial - Business Operations Associate (SF)
Point72 - Enterprise Associate (SF), Deep Tech Associate (NYC)
Tesla - Associate Product Manager (Fremont)
Revolut - Product Owner, Technical (NYC)
Runway - AI Content Specialist (NYC)
WHOOP - Deputy Chief of Staff (Boston)
HarbourVest - Investment Associate, Direct (Boston)
Devoted Health - MBA Corporate Finance Intern (Remote)
Gametime - Data Scientist, Marketing Intern (Remote)
Microsoft - Research Intern, AI & Society or Efficient AI (Redmond)
Chime - Content Strategy Intern, Data Analytics Intern, MBA Biz Ops Intern (SF)
WeaveGrid - MBA Strategy Intern (SF)
Roblox - Community Manager Intern (San Mateo)
Google X - MBA Climate Intern (Mountain View)
Cloudflare - Design Ops Intern (LA)
Outrider - Software Platform Intern (Denver)
Fanatics - MBA M&A Intern (NYC)
puppy of the week 🐶
Meet William (big brother) and Yuni (little sister), Weimaraners who live in Sweden.
Their hobbies include swimming, hiking, and taking dramatic photos that make them look like protagonists in a dark crime series.
Check them out on Instagram @williamtheweimaraner!
All views are our own. None of the above should be taken as investment advice. See this page for important information.
Great read thanks! Wonder shutting down tiktok means for a lot of the B2C businesses that rely on it as a source of marketing! Thoughts?
My strategy of getting layoffs is keep writing for the substack and learn the growing curve the hardway