This blog post analyzes the Direct-to-consumer market and how the trend that was started by Warby Parker and Dollar Shave Club may not be replicable by others. Fitness brands, private label household goods, mattresses, luggage have all go to the D2C model, with lots of funding.
Why its hot:
Brands like Away and Casper have developed a solid following and popularity amongst their customers, but are their business models sustainable. In the blog, it states that how often do people buy a mattress or a suitcase? Once every few years? sometimes 5-10 years. Is their product like Warby Parker where they found a significant savings from the incumbents and margin expansion through direct distribution? Other D2C brands were also started in down economies and they bootstrapped their businesses.
Casper, Away, Brandless (failed), Outdoor Voices (recently fired CEO) have all been well funded by the venture community and they spend heavily on customer acquisition and branding through Google and Facebook, events, pop-up stores, flag ship retail, influencers, etc.
If these D2C brands cannot reduce their CAC and increase retention rates or broaden their category, could there be industry impact of reduced digital media spending that flows through the whole system?
VSCO is a new photo editing app, popular with Gen-Z girls that has had rapid growth in 2019. Over the summer a VSCO girl meme took off and became a thing from the starter pack pictured above to some stereotypical mocking..
VSCO girls were always sort of a joke. Way back in January, YouTuber Greer Jones delivered a deadpan introduction to a video called “becoming the ultimate VSCO girl”: “Today I’m going to be trying to become a VSCO girl, because that’s my life goal, you know, I’m not focusing on college, not focusing on my grades, because that’s irrelevant,” she says sarcastically. “I really look up to the girls on VSCO.”
WHY ITS HOT:
VSCO is on pace to surpass 4 million payingusers in 2020, up from 2 million paying users in late 2018, the company said. Approaching $80 million in annual revenue, VSCO charges an annual subscription fee of $19.99 for access to a full-suite of mobile photo-editing tools, exclusive photo filters, tutorials and more. For no cost, users can access a handful of basic VSCO filters, standard editing tools and loads of content published by other users in VSCO’s photo feed.
75% of VSCO’s registered users and 55% of its paying subscribers are younger than 25, giving the company a small foothold into the most coveted demographic. On top of that, the hashtag #VSCO has been viewed 4 billion times on the immensely popular video sharing app Tik Tok, again according to the company’s own statistics, and another 450 million times on Instagram.
Put simply, 5G is a next-generation wireless network that will give you much faster internet connections. But, because of the way it works, it’s about to change the way lots of other things connect to the internet, too, like cars and TVs, and even things like connected lights on city streets.
Here’s what you need to know:
Faster connections, and more of them
5G promises much faster network speeds, which means heavy-duty content like video should travel much more quickly to connected devices.
Verizon’s 5G network, which is live in Minneapolis and Chicago, is already providing speeds in excess of 1Gbps, or about 10 times the speeds you might get on a good day with 4G LTE, the current standard offered by wireless carriers in most places. That means you should be able to download an hourlong high-definition video in seconds instead of minutes.
WHY ITS HOT:
Theres a lot of hype about 5G, will the boom come for consumers or businesses? In the video and other experts I have heard, its going to be more about IoT and just having everything connected to the internet and what we can learn from the data and having it communicate with each other.
Will it accelerate autonomous driving? Mobile Content? Real time personalization? Augmented Reality?
Will be interesting to watch how it all plays out.
We’s plans for a $20 billion public offering have been hampered by questions about its corporate governance and the ultimate value of a company that private investors, through multiple rounds of funding, once thought was worth nearly $50 billion.
But under the scrutinizing spotlight of the IPO process, investors have been publicly and privately balking at that sky-high valuation and the company’s questionable governance practices under chief executive officer and co-founder, Adam Neumann, according to The Wall Street Journal, which first reported the news that The We Company would put its offering on hold.
Over the past few weeks, The We Company — which has expanded to include a boutique hotel operation, members-only financial services and a charter yacht service (!) — has made several moves to allay investors’ concerns. The company unwound some particularly egregious transactions with Neumann and added new directors. It also moved to limit Neumann’s power at the company.
WHY ITS HOT:
Classic example of fake tech/digital company that was overvalued by a few investors in the private market. Other “tech” unicorns will be going public and will see what they are really worth in the public market.
Co-Working is not going anywhere if you believe the future of work is freelance and flexible office space for enterprise companies becomes a trend to control expenses and long term leases. The problem is you cant put a software and tech multiple on a business that is in real-estate. See plant based meat IPOs, etc.
More and more software applications like Salesforce, Pipedrive, Trello, Airtable, and others have built platforms based on no-code principals. Some of these apps focus on specific functions like sales teams. Others deliver more general collaboration. Whatever the application, no-code software strategies include four areas of focus:
Provide drag and drop “widgets” or other elements that can be visually organized to build apps or configure business processes
Create simple “filters” and data queries to empower instant customization
Use APIs to easily integrate data from various web services or other applications
Broaden appeal to non-technical users versus targeting traditional developers
Why It’s Hot:
Low code or no code is becoming the trend more and more as the dominant channel is a small screen smartphone and performance and familiarity outweighs being unique for mass market audiences.
Products like Squarespace, Wix, Mailchimp, etc used to be considered great for the small business that can choose a canned template, but using them in the enterprise could democratize digital experience development outside of IT and speed up that time to market exponentially.
Look for more products that could scale to the enterprise where the big $$$ are and potentially a competitive advantage to get a landing page, emails, etc. designed and produced all within the same platform.
Cool blog about how Amazon’s evolution as a marketplace and how Walmart tried to compete and catch up over the years.
Shopify has built a strong eCommerce SaaS platform for anyone, from small to large businesses. The platform bundles payments, designers, customer developers, and now 3rd party logistics for fulfillment, which is Amazon’s key advantages.
Take a look at the blog and more discuss during the hotsauce session.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., singled out Grubhub over the weekend, calling for greater oversight after allegations of unfair trade practices. The senior New York senator was reacting to recent reports that the delivery app company had improperly charged restaurants fees even when an order had not taken place.
Councilman Mark Gjonaj, the New York City lawmaker spearheading the push to regulate Grubhub, said it goes beyond just bogus fees.
“These mom-and-pop shops have an unfair disadvantage,” Gjonaj told CNBC’s “Fast Money ” on Monday. “They’re competing against billion-dollar venture capital-invested companies. The fee structure is up to 33% of the total charges, and we know [their] profits are 6% to 12%. On every order, there is a net loss to these small businesses.”
Grubhub, DoorDash, UberEats, etc. have created a huge benefit for consumers to easily have food delivered easy peasy, but whenever someone wins, somebody else usually loses. In this case the consumer is winning with food delivery wars creating tons of competition and incentives for us to have food delivered for a small fee and ultra convenience.
Well this story shows how it impacts these local restaurants with crazy fees that result in net losses in a low margin business to begin with. This brings to light if these disruptive digital businesses are viable with their high fees and increasing costs (higher minimum wage), etc.
DoorDash recently passed up GrubHub in revenue and eyeing an IPO, but for that convenience are small and local businesses going to be able to afford those fees or will only the larger establishments with high volume and margins be able to survive?