From The Attention Economy To The Creator Economy: A Paradigm Shift

We are at the beginning of the end of an era. The Attention Economy—the ad-based revenue model that has dominated the creative industries in the 21st century and made the incumbent social platforms some of the most valuable tech companies in the world—has paved the way for its own demise. The Creator Economy—made up of the platforms, marketplaces and tools democratizing creative expression and entrepreneurship; empowering an independent creative class to make a living on their passions—represen

Is the next break-out social network being built right now? An interview with Clara Lindh Bergendorff

". . .At the moment I’m spending a fair bit of time on next generation social networks as I think the market conditions are perfect for a new social platform to take off: the pandemic has made it easier to grab users attention with screen time at an all-time high; cheaper to acquire them as increased inventory is bringing UAC down; at-home-entertainment should continue to boom in a recession; and the incumbents’ and their ad-based revenue models are facing intensifying social backlash with a wave of brands implementing boycotts"

Why I’d invest in a robot teenager: An investor’s perspective on CGI influencers

Yesterday I bought a pair of swank bright yellow socks for $31 after seeing them on influencer Lil Miquela. The 19-year-old Brazilian-American model and Instagram personality is not real herself, but comments on real world events (she’s an advocate for Black Lives Matter), is paid to create sponsored content for real brands (ranging from Prada to Supreme), and is even creating real scandals snugging real socialites (making out with none less than Bella Hadid the other day). Recently, she launche

On VC Non-Consensus, Outsized Returns, And Why I Won’t Wear A Patagonia Vest

As famously stated by Benchmark co-founder Andy Rachleff, ‘The only way to make outsized returns in Venture Capital is to be right and non-consensus.’ Inspired by this formula, VCs love asking fellow VCs what they’re excited by that others aren’t. Generalizing slightly, there is an inverse correlation between the responder wearing a cliché Patagonia vest and the likelihood they’ll bring up an opportunity I haven’t thought about before. Diversity, it seems, is not unrelated to the VC success fo

Content, Community, Commerce: Consumer Startups' Magic Formula

Editorial content and high Engagement is driving today's E-commerce success stories. For online retailers, content is the equivalent of real estate and (borrowing Frederic Court’s--founder of Felix Capital--words) ‘engagement is the virtual queue.’ Glossier, founded by Emily Weiss, may be the ultimate example of what E-commerce looks like when you nail Editorial and Engagement. Glossier started as beauty blog “Into the Gloss” (content), then launched their own cosmetic products (commerce), and

D2C infrastructure: How to invest in the shift toward micro-brands without investing in micro-brands

Direct-to-consumer (d2c) disruptors are winning market share across consumer categories; over the last 5 years, startup disruptors have experienced an estimated average CAGR of 200% while traditional CPG market leaders less than 1%. Using the food-and-beverage industry as an example, 97% of growth came from a longtail of smaller players. While the shift away from incumbents to d2c brands is unambiguous, there’s a fair amount of scepticism from the investor community--and rightly so. For every D

Investing in the cool kids: Gen Z-centric startups

Just as you thought you learned how to spot a consumer startup that will thrive well among peeps born between 1981 and 1996, it turns out the Millennials hype is over. Gen Z, our younger relatives and cooler friends, aged 22 and under, is stealing the limelight — and the investment dollars. By 2020, Gen Z will account for of US consumers. Already today, Gen Z spends $44 billion a year, and influence another in household spending. So, how do you win the heart — and short attention span ( to be

Bundling and Unbundling: What’s next in the world of consumer brands?

There are only two ways to make money in business (according to Jim Barksdale, former Netscape CEO): “One is to bundle; the other is unbundle.” The bundling and unbundling hypothesis suggests that we’re on a constant progression from integrated products, to modular, to new forms of integration, to modular again. The media industry’s orbit serves as illustration. In the 90’s, cable networks and record labels were king: content was bundled up as a few large players owned all distribution rights.

B2B vs. B2C vs. B2B2C

Last month, Justin Kan — former YC partner and co-founder of Twitch (B2C) and now Atrium (B2B) — published a piece titled “Why I love B2B over B2C.” My first instinct as a consumer investor was to send him an angry tweet (@justinkan you damn traitor! We’ve lost you to the dark side). My second instinct, as I’m currently doing a deep dive on the future of retail, was to map out how Justin’s arguments apply to a third, often overlooked, category: B2B2C [a model in which business A sells to busine
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