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[CVC Update 2] - The podcast wars, EU laws that could disrupt plant-based alternatives, & more
Welcome to the second edition of The Consumer VC update. Here are some of my favorite reads from the week.
The Podcast Wars
Podcasters can now launch paid subscriptions on Spotify. This comes a week after Apple announced they were also going to be redesigning the podcast app with a similar offering.
Spotify won’t charge creators until 2023 if they want to go paid
Apple will charge 15% to creators their first year, then 30% the year after that
The numbers: Spotify podcast listeners expected to surpass Apple Podcasts this year for the first time. The gap will continue to widen in a couple of years. With greater market share and free monetization tools for creators for the next couple of years, Spotify + Anchor seems like it could become a popular combo for podcasters.
Facebook is set to launch more creator tools - this includes creator shops, a marketplace that allows brands to connect with relevant creators and an affiliate marketplace.
Private labels are poised to strike back in 2021 - Last year national brands grew faster than private labels for the first time in ten years. However, as consumers have become more price conscious, private labels are set to rebound in 2021. “Two-thirds of consumers have shifted their buying habits in recent months, while the percentage of newly budget-conscious consumers doubled between September and December, according to NielsenIQ” - Retail Dive
Plant-based food industry fights EU proposal to ban dairy comparisons - If this legislation passes it means that plant based products wouldn’t be allowed to promote themselves as alternatives to dairy products. The dairy industry is putting a lot of pressure on politicians for this legislation, but critics say “the amendment goes against the commitment outlined in Europe’s climate strategy to move consumers towards more plant-based diets, and is caving to pressure from Europe’s dairy industry, which has the largest production of milk relative to population size among the G20.” - Financial Post
waterdrop, the world’s first microdrink & Europe’s fastest growing CPG brand, is coming to the U.S. - “Since launching in 2017, waterdrop has experienced tremendous growth at a consistent rate of 400 percent per year, and sold more than 200M microdrinks to date. With 15 brick-and-mortar stores and more than 1M customers across Europe, waterdrop aims to expand its community of brand enthusiasts stateside.” - BevNET
Evo Foods, India’s first plant-based egg startup, raises $845k - “Our goal is to get Evo into every continent within the next 5 years. We aim to create a non-judgemental food brand of the future that is people, planet, and palate friendly for the better imperfect consumer. The plant-based revolution is just beginning in India and we want to be on the forefront of this movement by offering the most delicious food ever.” - Shraddha Bhansali, co-founder of Evo Foods - Green Queen
Atlast Raises $40M to Expand Production of Whole Cut Plant-Based Meat - “Atlast is partnering with the pioneers of mycelium technology, Ecovative, to expand its current production capacity and supply partners throughout the CPG, food service and grocery industries with plant-based meats that can be flavored to give consumers an uncompromised experience.” - PR Newswire
Hydrant, the powder beverage company, raises $8.5 million in funding - “Rx3 Growth Partners led the round, which also included the former 'N Sync singer Lance Bass and the actress Ashley Greene as investors.” - Business Insider
Mighty Networks, the community platform for creators, raised a $50 million Series B - “So what Shopify has done for e-commerce, we’re doing for digital subscriptions and digital payments where the value is around a community that is mastering something interesting or important together, and not just content alone.” says CEO Gina Bianchini - TechCrunch
Vivrelle Raises $26 Million Series A Funding - “Vivrelle has built a community around sustainable, flexible, and affordable luxury accessories. Rethinking how people utilize their closets and value experiences over ownership, the membership club allows consumers to experience items for as long as they would like or swap them out monthly.” - Business Wire
Willow, which is changing how moms pump breast milk, raises an extended $26.8M in an extended Series C - “Willow launched as a direct-to-consumer brand, bringing life-changing technology to women experiencing new motherhood. Willow has since expanded to reach moms through retail and insurance channels, and was the fastest growing brand in 2020 in retail for breastfeeding systems, according to NPD Group. Its innovative breast pump has impacted more than 130,000 moms and counting.” - Femtech Insider
Overtime, the media company where kids can create their own sports highlight reels, raises $80 million - “The company in September plans to introduce its basketball league featuring top male high-school players, called Overtime Elite. The league will also function as a high school for roughly 30 rising juniors and seniors, who will all live in one location and earn a minimum annual salary of $100,000 as they play and take classes toward a high school diploma, according to the company.” - Wall Street Journal What does this mean for college basketball? Since top high school basketball athletes will be professional, this doesn’t allow them to play in college. Is this the disrupter that will ultimately end the one and done rule?
Riverside.FM, a podcasting platform, raises $9.5 million - “2020 saw many shows shifting to a remote format and experimenting with different remote recording tools, from broad teleconferencing software like Zoom to more bespoke solutions like Zencastr. Tel Aviv-based Riverside.fm (originally from Amsterdam) launched right on time to ride the remote podcasting wave” - TechCrunch
Toucan, the startup that helps you learn a new language by browsing the web, raises $4.5 million - “Toucan currently supports seven languages — Spanish, Korean, French, German, Italian, Portuguese and Japanese. Co-founder and CEO Taylor Nieman said the company now has around 60,000 monthly active users, all acquired organically.” - TechCrunch
Creator+ raises $12M to build a film studio and streaming service focused on digital storytellers - “Creator+ is a new startup that will “finance, produce and distribute feature-length films from today’s top creators and emerging storytellers.” - TechCrunch