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Welcome to the 2-Minute Drill -- a curated selection of the week's hottest stories from the world of tech, all in 2 minutes.

As always, shoot me a note to learn more or if you just want to say 👋.

-Noah  


✉️ noah@crossovervc.com
📱 650.468.9543
📸 @crossovervc 

On my whistle...
FIRST DOWN


 
Flip Lands $60M to Flip the Script on Social Commerce
People love buying things online. People also love to take selfie videos of everything they do in their daily lives. Social commerce startup Flip is looking to help bring these two passions together with a platform that enables shoppers to discover new products via short-form video reviews and tutorials created by real customers and then purchase products directly.

This week the Los Angeles-based startup announced that it raised $60 million in Series B funding at a $500 million valuation. This brings the 2019-founded startup's total reported funding to $95 million.

For a generation that spends every waking hour on TikTok, Instagram, and Snapchat, it should come as no surprise that Amazon Reviews or text-based comments buried at the bottom of a product listing aren't the go-to for finding new products to buy (or how to use them). Even the influencer-led slinging of products isn't resonating with consumers the way it once did. Flip takes a page out of the creator economy and social commerce by turning customers into creators and enabling them to monetize by sharing feedback with prospective customers.

The Money Quote“Our thesis from day one was that the future of commerce is centered around people. No one sells a product better than the customer that has purchased that product multiple times, and we see that every day on Flip” -- Flip founder & CEO Noor Agha

Viewers can watch live shows (ie tapping into live commerce), follow categories like skincare or wellness, or can follow what's trending. Hey, it wouldn't be a social platform without a "trending" tab, right?

The startup is still young, but reports growing its user base by 500% since the start of the year, as well as increasing transactions by 600% during that same period. If you're looking for me, I'll be over on Flip providing my reviews and tips on my daily skin routine.

(more here)
SECOND DOWN


 
Whatnot Whips Up $260M for Livestream Shopping
This week Los Angeles-based livestream shopping platform Whatnot announced a fresh $260 million in Series D funding at a reported $3.7 billion valuation -- more than double the company's $1.5 billion valuation when it raised its prior round last September. This brings the 2019-founded startup's total funding to nearly half a billion.

For those unfamiliar with the company, Whatnot is a marketplace that enables collectors and enthusiasts to connect, buy, and sell verified products. From Pokemon cards to Funko Pop figurines, sellers of products can go live on the Whatnot platform, and members of the community can hang out, watch the video content, and ultimately purchase the products if they so choose.

Livestream video commerce is a topic we have covered regularly over the years here on the 2-Minute Drill, be it through our write-ups of NTWRK, Popshop Live, Drip, Fireworkbuywith, or prior coverage of Whatnot (here). While the market is currently $11 billion in the United States and projected to reach $35 billion in sales by 2024, it is a far cry from the $423 billion in livestream shopping in China this year alone.

We've come a long way since QVC and HSN on channel 437 of your cable package, but we've still got a mountain to climb before American consumers are catching up to Chinese trends. With new funding, Whatnot hopes to continue on that journey, one Pokemon card at a time.

(more here)
THIRD DOWN


 
Crunchbase Crunches $50M for Startup Database Growth
If you work in the startup ecosystem, then chances are you are familiar with Crunchbase-- a centralized database of startups, providing users with key details such as location, funding history, employee count, and more. The company originally launched 15 years ago as an index of startups covered in TechCrunch articles, but since then it has split off into its own entity and expanded to become a go-to database for businesses that operate within or sell into the growing startup ecosystem.

This week, Crunchbase announced that it raised $50 million in Series D funding at an undisclosed valuation -- though for reference, it closed its Series C back in October 2019 at a $150 million valuation. This brings the 15 year old startup's total funding to over $106 million.

What once began as a centralized database has now expanded into in a full-blown business intelligence platform selling into companies looking to build sales pipelines and close more revenue. The bulk of the data is free for the casual user, but behind paywall the startup is building up more robust features including trends and competitive landscape.

Crunchbase has plenty of competitors in the private technology business intelligence sector, including industry staples PitchBook and CB insights. But with the tech sector continuing to grow into an ever-larger share of the global economy, investors are betting the Crunchbase is well-positioned to be an increasingly critical tool for navigating business in and around the sector.

(more here)

FOURTH DOWN


 
Meati Beefs Up with $150M in Funding for Faux Meat
This week, Colorado-based alternative protein startup Meati Foods announced a beefy $150 million in Series C funding to scale its line of fungus-based beef alternatives. This brings the 2016-founded startup's total funding to a reported $278.6 million.

Alternatives to traditional beef, chicken, fish, shrimp, dairy and other protein staples have been one of the hottest areas of investment in recent years, spurred on by the commercial success of Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods. We've covered in depth in past issues of the 2-Minute Drill the breakdown of this landscape, as well as its parallel vertical of lab-grown "real" meats. While nearly all of the startups in this sector are focused on mimicking the taste and texture of the real deal, Meati's approach relies on the root of fungi (mycelium) to provide the natural fiber structure to mimic chicken and beef.

Meati products are now available in a growing number of locations including select Sprouts stores and fast-casual chain Birdcall. With the new funding the startup looks to expand operations, primarily by investing in a 100,000 square food production facility in Colorado.

(more here)

EXTRA POINT



Talent in Tech: Incident.io
While investment into consumer tech startups is a natural extension for athletes and entertainers starting their journey into private tech, at Crossover we like to emphasize how today's athletes and entertainers can leverage the power of their brand to gain access to investing in opportunities that are completely unrelated to what they do on the stage or field of play. This includes B2B SaaS, enterprise, deep tech and beyond.

So in this week's Extra Point, we are highlighting Software as a Service (SaaS) platform Incident.io that aims to help businesses more effectively manage incident response when something goes wrong, and is emblematic of the types of startups more talent are getting involved in. This week the UK-based startup announced a new $28.7 million in Series A funding for it's Slack-based approach to the problem. This brings the 2021-founded startup's total funding to nearly $35 million.

When things go wrong in a startup it kicks off a chain reaction of incident management that aims to identify the problem, triage based on severity, identify key teams and systems involved, assign responsibilities, and ensure the problem is appropriately addressed and logged. Incident.io's approach is to build a system where all of this lives within Slack, leveraging the communication tool's existing systems and widespread install base. It integrates with other popular tools like PagerDuty and Jira, and helps teams across disciplines keep up-to-date on the status.

While incident response is a crowded sector, it is also a large one. The global market is expected to top $10 billion by 2026, and with the increase in remote and hybrid work, the need for collaborative tools such of this continues to grow.

Athletes + Entertainers involved include: DJ duo + venture investors The Chainsmokers.

(more here)
 

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Disclaimer: The content in this newsletter is for informational purposes only and should NOT be taken as legal, business, tax, or investment advice. It also does NOT constitute an offer or solicitation to purchase any investment or a recommendation to buy or sell a security.



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