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Hello from Miami where it's been an incredible week of meeting with founders, attending NFT meetups, and checking out the amazing art. We hope everyone also enjoyed their Thanksgiving and had a chance to unplug with family, friends, and loved ones. Now back to our regular programming!
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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 a reminder, join us on Tuesday mornings at 8am PT / 11am ET in the Crossover Club on Clubhouse where we talk through the week's stories in more detail and with a rotating panel of special guests from the worlds of pro sports, entertainment and technology. 

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

-Noah  


✉️ noah@crossovervc.com
📱 650.468.9543
📸 @crossovervc 
👋 @ndl / the Crossover Club


On my whistle...
FIRST DOWN


 

Fractional Picks Up $5.5M for Collaborative Real Estate Investing 
Since our last issue of the 2-Minute Drill, San Francisco-based collaborative real estate investing platform Fractional announced a $5.5 million seed round of funding to help individuals invest in real estate with friends and strangers alike. Fractional was part of the winter batch of the noted tech accelerator, Y Combinator.

While real estate investing is an attractive option for many, too often the logistical complexities associated with real estate transactions--as well as the high costs of purchasing an entire property--have prevented many from investing more into the asset class. That's where Fractional comes in.

Fractional helps would-be investors either onboard an existing group of friends or tap into the existing community of interested investors on their platform. It then uses technology to help streamline all the legal, procedural, and financial steps from executing a transaction to managing cashflows and distributions from a revenue-generating property (eg rental income). It also helps investors partner with property management companies to help ensure someone is responsible for keeping the properties in tip-top shape--which in a shared ownership model could otherwise slip through the cracks.

One final note here is that Fraction is part of this new wave of companies helping people diversify their investments into new asset classes. Whether it be Crypto, NFTs, Venture Capital, Collectibles, or other, Fractional is helping lower the bar for entry into investing in the real estate asset class.

(more here)
SECOND DOWN


 

Glor(ify) Glor(ify) Hallelujah! Christian App Glorify Nabs $40M
This week, London-based religious app for Christians Glorify announced a new $40 million in Series A funding, as it looks to be the latest startup to leverage technology to cater to religious communities. This brings the two-year-old startup's total funding to nearly $50 million.

One of the hallmarks of the Web 2.0 era was the ability of technology to bring offline communities online, and to then enable people with shared interests to interact with one another all around the world. Religions are inherently powerful interest-based communities, and in the case of Glorify, the focus is on catering to the 2.3 billion people worldwide that identify as Christian with a mobile app that is designed to create space and structure for Christians to connect with God on a daily basis.

Glorify is not the only startup leveraging technology to attract users of faith. The Bible app is on nearly a half billion devices globally, there's Pray.com which has raised funding from prominent VCs, and of course different options for the world's varying religions. There are also plenty of apps that cater to digitizing local congregations (including tithing), versus apps like Glorify that aren't tied to any particular physical community.

Some of the features of the app include daily passages, daily devotionals, reflections and prayers. There are Christian-themed meditations, journaling and a host of other features. The app is still young, but the founders seem particularly focused on creating engaging experiences, versus some of the growth hacks that produce impressive metrics, but less authentic communities.

As for traction, the startup reports that it has over 250k daily users and more than 2.5 million downloads in the past year. With the pandemic closing down (or making attendance less appealing) for traditional congregations, apps like Glorify have seen a spike in interest for those looking for digital solutions.

Like many of the consumer-facing apps these days, Glorify also added a number of celebs to the cap table along with the traditional venture capitalists.

(more here)
THIRD DOWN


 

Mr. Yum Orders Up a Tasty Series A for Mobile Ordering
And now for something tasty! Last week, Australian mobile ordering platform Mr. Yum announced a USD $65 million Series A round of funding led by Tiger Global to help expand its QR-code based ordering system. This brings the three-year-old startup's total funding to around $74 million.

By now, with the pandemic and hygiene + social distancing being top of mind, you've probably become intimately familiar with QR codes for food ordering. Mr. Yum offers a selection of products that include Order & Pay, Delivery & Pickup, and Bill payments. On top of the core functionality, the app uses robust photos to help bring the digital menus to life--without requiring customers to download an app.

With a healthy bump from Covid, the startup now reports having more than 1,500 venues using its software, with 13 million users transacting via the platform -- including one of my favorite local cafes in Los Angeles (which conveniently is owned by fellow Aussies to the Mr. Yum team!). What remains to be seen is whether the company can parlay these SMB relationships into a broader suite of tools that can further monetize the relationship--either with the venues or the end users of the service.

(more here)
FOURTH DOWN


 

Royal Gets Crowned with Another $55M for Streaming Rights 
Just three months after raising a healthy $16 million Seed round of funding, Austin-based music streaming rights platform Royal is back with another chart-topping round of funding--this time, a $55 million Series A led by a16z. This brings the young startup's total funding to more than $70 million.

As we wrote about back in October, Royal is part of a new wave of startups that leverage the blockchain to create a new paradigm of fandom where fans can now align themselves with the success of their favorite artists. At its core, Royal enables artists to sell shares of their songs' streaming rights to fans as non-fungible-tokens (NFTs)

One of the core insights Royal has is that while technology has enabled artists to self-publish on platforms like YouTube, Soundcloud, and TikTok, the economics of the music industry have remained incredibly unbalanced. In spite of the fact that there are more than 8 million musicians on streaming services, just 0.2% earn over $50k per year.

In addition to the pure economics, another thing I like about leveraging NFTs to align artist and fan incentives is that the NFTs can further serve as a membership card or token that grants access to additional opportunities. These can include VIP experiences, early access to ticket sales, exclusive online communities, merch, and more.

It's worth noting that Royal is not the only player looking to leverage the blockchain to reimabine streaming services and artists' rights management. We also covered a startup called Audius back in September, and their star-studded funding round (Royal counts Nas and the Chainsmokers among its investors--along with founder/artist 3LAU).

(more here)
EXTRA POINT



Talent in Tech: Dibbs
On the topic of alternative assets and fractionalization (see First Down, above), this week trading cards marketplace Dibbs announced a new strategic round of funding from retail giant Amazon, coming on the heels of a prior $16 million in venture funding. 

Back in August we covered Dibbs' $13 million Series A round of funding as it looks to build on the hype around trading cards and memorabilia. The startup is a year-old 24-7 fractional card marketplace that promises the ability to buy, sell, and collect pieces of your favorite athletes' cards in minutes with as little as $1. Much like how digital brokerages such as Robinhood made it easy for consumers to purchase shares of their favorite stocks like Tesla for a fraction of the cost of a full share, Dibbs is making is possible for investors to own a piece of their favorite trading card for just a fraction of what purchasing the entire asset might otherwise cost.

While there are numerous collectibles marketplaces raising capital these days (Alt, StarStock, Goldin Auctions, Rally, etc), Dibbs is going all in on using blockchain technology on the backend to tokenize each of the assets. Beyond that, with the new funding, Dibbs also announced that it is launching a new peer-to-peer marketplace for transactions.

We've covered at length the booming collectibles marketplace ecosystem, but it's still worth noting that legacy marketplace eBay reports that in just the first half of 2021, it facilitated more than $2 billion in trading cards transactions alone. Perhaps that perked up Amazon's marketplace ears just a little bit.

Athletes + Entertainers involved include: NBA stars Chris Paul, Kevin Love, and Channing Frye, NFL-er DeAndre Hopkins, Kris Bryant from the MLB, and WNBA star Skylar Diggins-Smith.

(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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