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[CVC Update 1] - The battle for audio, the Amazon of South Korea and getting brand community right
Hey there -
Welcome to the first update of The Consumer VC that features all fun things like consumer startups, ecommerce innovation and venture capital news.
It’s a busy week for the podcast. I will be interviewing Kate Beardsley (Founding Partner at Hannah Grey), Lindsay Kaplan (Founder of Chief), Matteo Franceschetti (Founder of Eight Sleep), Mark Gainey (Founder of Strava), Ariel Kaye (Founder of Parachute). If you have any questions that you think I should ask during any of these interviews, please reach out.
If you are a non-partner at a VC fund, I’d love your feedback on a virtual meet-up based community I’m thinking of starting called Partner Track. More info here.
Getting Brand Communities Right - I hear the word “community-driven” all the time. Both from founders and investors. Founders as they describe their company. Investors, as they emphasize they are only interested in investing in “community-driven” brands…but what does that mean? I know this is a 12 year old HBR article, but if you want to understand what brand communities are, and the myths when trying to build communities, highly recommend this read.
Facebook Goes All-In On Audio - Facebook reveals plans to launch multiple audio products. Live audio rooms, sound bites, and will enter the world of podcasting with a partnership with Spotify.
Coupang's Growth And Profitability Potential Does Not Justify Current Valuation - Coupang is an ecommerce company that has is dubbed the Amazon of South Korea or the company that is “Out Amazoning even Amazon”. 99.3% of their orders are delivered same day. They claim to have a fulfillment center within 7 miles of 70% of South Korea’s population. Coupang also recently went public on the NYSE. I enjoyed this critique and the comments that follow.
Doordash and Instacart launching their own credit cards - Will releasing their own credit cards help with retention? “Both Instacart and DoorDash have benefited from the surging popularity of at-home delivery for groceries and meals. They are betting that at least some of the increased demand will remain after the pandemic ends and hoping that the cards will stoke customer loyalty and attract new users.” - WSJ
Coursera goes public - “Even though Coursera's revenue needs to keep growing at a fast clip for the company to reach profitability, its successful IPO could be a bellwether for other edtech startups contemplating a public listing.” - Pitchbook
Impossible Foods is preparing to go public, valued around $10 billion. “In 2020, U.S. plant-based retail sales hit $7 billion, up 27% year on year, according to a report by the Good Food Institute and the Plant-Based Foods Association (PBFA).” - Reuters
Clubhouse valued at $4 billion in Series C led by Andreessen Horowitz - “In a blog posted on Sunday, Clubhouse said, "This will allow us to heavily scale our team to support international growth, invest in localization and accessibility features, launch more programs like the Creator First accelerator to help creators get paid, invest deeply in discovery to help people find the best rooms, and continue to scale our support and community health teams." - Business Insider
Skims raises $154 million, valued at $1.6 billion - “Skims has defined itself by aiming for a younger market and emphasizing inclusivity, offering nine sizes and as many skin-tone shades. It reported $145 million in sales last year, and has sold more than four million units since its founding in late 2019.” - Business Insider
Mielle Organics Raises More Than $100 Million in Funding - “Praised as the fastest-growing Black-owned haircare company in the US, Mielle has been riding high after recently bringing on Grammy Award-winning rapper Megan Thee Stallion as its global brand ambassador. Most recently, the beauty brand launched its 2021 “Unmasked: I Know My Roots” campaign with entertainers and close friends LeToya Luckett and Toya Johnson.” - AdWeek
Tend, a dental startup, raises $125 million Series C - “The dental startup has six clinics in New York City, with a seventh on the way. By the end of 2021, Tend hopes to have 20 locations inclusive of New York City, plus multiple locations in Washington and Boston.” - Business Insider
Eight Sleep picks up $100 million from Softbank’s Opportunity Fund - “They’ve been rated the top “smart” mattress, the top mattress for athletes, and the top cooling mattress for hot sleepers by SleepFoundation.org, a sleep resource site. They also connect to phones to provide a sleep report and tips for getting a better slumber. Mattresses start at $2,495, or $70 a month.” - Miami Herald
Papa, an elder care tech company, Raises $60 million, led by Tiger Global - “The money will be used to propel the company’s growth this year, building on 600% year-over-year growth as of the start of 2021” - TechCrunch
Outschool, an after school marketplace providing classes for children, has raised $75 million Series C - “The new unicorn’s core product is after-school classes for entertainment or supplemental studies, on an ongoing or one-off basis. As the company has grown, ongoing classes have grown from 10% of its business to 50% of its business, implying that the startup is generating more reliable revenue over time.” - TechCrunch
Ecocart raises $3 million from Base10 Partners - “Brands pay the company a commission to drive traffic to their websites under a standard affiliate marketing model and EcoCart uses a portion of the proceeds to offset a shopper’s carbon emissions.” - TechCrunch
Territory Foods, a meal kit and food delivery company, raises $22M Series B - “The shift in buying habits propelled the market from 2 percent to 4 percent for food delivery and meal kits from 10 percent to 14 percent, and it is still holding there, McCue said. Last year was a big year for the company itself, growing at 250 percent year over year and increasing customers by more than 50 percent. In addition, customers went from just using Territory Foods for five lunches per week to lunches and dinners and feeding their families on the weekend” - Crunchbase
What did I miss? What were your favorite articles or fundraises that I should have mentioned?
Thanks for reading!