1. Cameo’s Aggressive Push Into Web3
By Alan Soclof
3 BIG STORIES
1. Cameo’s Aggressive Push Into Web3
Cameo, the personalized video app, announced the launch of Cameo Pass – an NFT based community where celebs and fans can interact. A Cameo Pass will cost .2 ETH (about $550 USD today) and will give users access to exclusive virtual and in-person events, digital access, and early access to new Cameo features.
Simply put – Cameo is looking to be a leader in Web3 connecting celebs with their communities.
Cameo has been on a tear.
In March 2020, Cameo raised a $100M Series C at a $1B valuation. By the end of the year, they sold 1.3M videos on their platform and did $100M in gross merchandise value — representing 4.5x year over year growth.
What you might not realize? TikTok already has their eyes set on disrupting Cameo’s business.
These days, every social media platform is in a battle with TikTok — and Cameo Pass is a necessary strategic move by Cameo to fend them off.
Last summer, TikTok launched TikTok Shoutouts, which allows fans to request shoutouts from their favorite creators for an in app currency – direct competition to Cameo.
By Cameo launching Cameo Pass, they now give celebs and creators a location to build a community around digital assets. Fans will be able to display their dedication to community members through the display of their digital assets and unlock unique experiences – something that TikTok does not offer.
Hot take: I think Cameo will crush TikTok. Here’s why:
- Cameo is innovating significantly faster than TikTok, exemplified by the launch of Cameo Pass
- Many celebs are not yet on TikTok (and celebs can drive more economic value than influencers, at least for now)
- Strong brand recognition and working relationships established by Cameo – something that TikTok is lacking
Plus, NFT-based communities are exploding.
Similar to Cameo Pass, professional sports teams are creating NFT passes that unlock in-person experiences like tickets to games or meet-and-greets.
My Cleveland Cavaliers are a perfect example. They launched an NFT project called “My Locker” where fans can:
- Use and display digital collectibles to gain access to physical, real-world rewards — like tickets, jerseys, t-shirts, etc.
TL;DR Digital value + real world utility = significant $$$
2. The Future of Fitness
Future is on a mission to bring professional-level digital fitness coaching to the masses to create a healthier world. Users receive a daily, personalized workout plan — and have the ability to communicate directly with their coach — all for $149/month.
Last week, they announced a $75M Series C that includes pro athlete investors like J.J. Watt, Rory McIlroy, Kevin Durant.
This fundraising round positions Future to take on the big boys like Apple, Nike, and Peloton.
Plus, they have the top-notch management team to do it. Future’s co-founders are Rishi Mandal, a Google and NASA alum, and Justin Santamaria, who led FaceTime and iMessage engineering at Apple.
The two have set a $100M ARR goal by early 2023.
Future sounds sweet.
Off the bat, it is important to point out just how different this offering is from a Peloton, Fitness+, and Nike Training Club – you have a real personal trainer that you communicate with daily.
Interestingly enough, Future is making a strong push to the traveling professional – a person that is always on the road for work but still wants a personal trainer experience. Additionally, where a personal trainer would cost $1K+ a month, the $149 price tag sounds cheap.
The catch? The digital fitness industry is tumultuous right now.
Today, Peloton announced it’s replacing its CEO, laying off 20% of its workforce, and “winding down the development” of its first US factory in Ohio.”
On one hand, this is great news for companies like Future — a new giant could be created in the workout wars.
But there’s another company I’m keeping my eye on here…
Whoop. If you haven’t heard of them, Whoop is FitBit on steroids — it’s a wearable device that can track every vital, from respiratory rate to skin temperature.
And Whoop is perfectly poised to challenge Future.
They just raised $200M at a $3.6B valuation. Launching a digital fitness coaching service seems like an obvious next step — and one that could spell trouble for Future. (BTW,- KD is an investor in Whoop as well. Legend.)
Prediction: Whoop launches personal coaching in late 2022
3. Are Neobanks Overvalued?
- Vivid Money, a European financial “super app”, announced a $114M raise at a $866M valuation. Vivid’s services include banking, crypto trading, stock trading, and much more — and they’re growing like crazy: 500K customers (launched in 2020)
- 5x userbase and 25x revenue since April 2021
- Currently in 4 countries with goal to be in all of Europe by 2023
This raise more than doubles Vivid’s valuation (they raised €60M at a €360M valuation last April.
Their biggest competitor? Revolut, a European neobanking giant.
Revolut recently raised $800M at a $33B valuation, has over 15M users, and did $285M in revenue for FY2020.
But are neobanks all they’re cracked up to be?
The more I read about neobanks and super apps, the more shocked I am by their lack of presence in the US — a banking “super app” sounds like a must have for the modern American.
So, why are they missing? Two key reasons:
- Giants like Mastercard and Visa currently have a stranglehold on the US payment system.
- It’s really hard to succeed in even one finance sector here, let alone many, given the presence of companies like Robinhood and Acorns.
US neobank MoneyLion could be a contender. The company went public via SPAC in February of 2021 at a $2.9B valuation, but as the SPAC market crashed, so did MoneyLion… it’s now trading at 70% lower than its SPAC price – $533M market cap, even though they have 2.7M active users and $104M in expected 2021 revenues.
Knowing this, it makes me question Vivid’s $850M valuation.
My take? Vivid’s next raise will peg them at a lower valuation than expected.
CHART OF THE DAY
There is a TON of money going into climate change.
From 1H 2017 to 1H 2021 there have been serious increase in investments.
- Climate Earth Data investment 108%
- Climate Risk Management 455%
- Emissions Data 2,440%
(Side Note: Remember when I wrote about BlueMark last week? They’re in the right place at the right time.)
Black Sheep Foods
What They Do: Plant based meat
Why They Are Special: Focused on lesser known plant based game meats like lamb
Amount Raised: $5.25M seed round
Lead Investors: New Crop Capital, AgFunder, Siddhi Capital, Bessemer Ventures
Why It Matters:
Black Sheep is poised to win an interesting niche.
The global meat substitute market is currently a ~$7.5B market globally and expected to more than double to ~$16.5B by 2026.
Thing is, all of the household alternative meat brands like Beyond Meat and Impossible Meat are focused on mainstream proteins like beef, chicken, and pork – this is Black Sheep’s opportunity.
The food industry is one that has always seen massive consolidation. If Black Sheep can execute properly, a takeout is likely.
What They Do: B2B payments in Latin America
Amount Raised: $3M seed round
Lead Investors: Costanoa Ventures
Why It Matters:
Latin America has a payments problem:
- Recent legislation requires all B2B payments to be digitally documented, BUT this process is currently very manual and time consuming
If companies like Flexio execute properly, they have a huge opportunity.
Flexio is a platform that looks to simplify the digital documentation process for small and medium sized businesses, aiming to decrease time spent on these payments by 70%.
They’re not the only company tackling this problem, though.
Higio is a direct competitor to Flexio that raised a $23M Series A back in September.
Will they both succeed? It’s possible — the SMB market in Latin America is a wide open frontier.
- IElectronic B2B payments totaled $180B in transactions in 2020 in Mexico alone
- SMBs represent 70% of Latin America’s GDP
My take? Flexio is small but mighty, and they’re on track to win significant market share despite the competition.
What They Do: all-in-one platform for building powerful NFT communities
Why They Are Special: The one-stop-shop component of the platform and popular investors
Amount Raised: $7.5M seed round
Lead Investors: Tiger Global
Notable Investors: Packy McCormick, Austin Reif, Greg Isenberg
Why It Matters:
Things are getting crowded in NFT land, but RareCircles will break through the pack
As I discussed in the Cameo piece above, NFT communities that balance digital tokens and real world experience are the future — and RareCircles is going to simplify this for the masses.
I expect RareCircles to target the medium-sized influencers/entrepreneurs vs. Autograph, Cameo, or A0k1Verse (Steve Aioki’s new platform that will be more targeted towards celebs).
RareCircle’s greatest competition will likely come from the Coinbases and Openseas of the world, as development of ancillary products to NFTs continue for the giants.
What They Do: At-home blood drawing
Amount Raised: $20M Series A
Lead Investors: Emerson Collective and Minderoo Foundation
Notable Investors: Anne Wojcicki (CEO @ 23&Me) & Susan Wojcicki (CEO @ YouTube)
Why It Matters:
Waiting to get your blood drawn is more painful than the actual process.
Getlabs is here to help by attempting to become the first company to offer at-home blood testing on a national scale.
COVID enabled the explosion of telehealth, but there’s a big gap in the market: Over 70% of clinical decisions are based on blood labs.
Some quick facts:
- Getlabs already has 100 phlebotomists nationwide, covering 45% of US population
- Their service only costs $25
- They’re working closely with top companies like Quest Diagnostics to fulfill the tests
If Getlabs is legit, it’s only a matter of time until a company like Teladoc acquires them.
What They Do: Personalized mobile banking
Why They Are Special: Offers a wide array of services including insight and analytics into customers for business owned accounts
Amount Raised: $3M
Lead Investors: First United Bank
Why It Matters:
Innovate or die.
There are tons of private banks with serious valuations like First United Bank ($12.5B) that are at risk, even if it doesn’t seem like it right now..
And this is where Finotta’s opportunity is – to come in and be a big part of modernizing legacy bank apps, giving them a competitive advantage.
First United Bank were the sole investors in this seed round. Meaning, if the early launch goes well, an acquisition could be coming quick.
Q: What company is currently the most valuable unicorn in the world?
Hint: This is their CEO and the company’s most valuable product was mentioned in this newsletter.
Here are three of my favorite jobs from the startup/VC world today. Click here to post a job on the Just Raised Job Board and get it featured.
Wagr is a hot sports betting startup that is looking to make sports gambling a social experience through a unique peer-to-peer betting model. Fresh off a $12M Series A, the company is looking for someone that will be on the front lines working closely with users on how to make Wagr the best betting platform on the market.
Cointracker is the hottest crypto tax platform on the market — it’s used by over 50% of crypto holders in the US and they just raised $100M at a $1.3B valuation. Cointracker is hiring for a Head of Growth to build a team and keep them ahead of the curve.
Foundry works closely with the best and brightest creators and studios to take their visual productions to the next level. Foundry is looking for someone to crush it as a Staff Accountant at the company, reporting directly to the CFO.View More
- Curling. I absolutely love watching curling – and I think if I dedicated the next 20 years of my life to the sport that I could make the Olympics. Click here to check out the 50 greatest curling moments of all time
- Can’t stop eating this 150 calorie Whole Food pizza crust – keeping me full, lean, and clean
- My Cleveland Cavaliers acquired Caris Levert. (BTW I called it months ago. Just ask my dad.)
- Just created my Vint.com account! Absolutely blown away by the slick, easy to use platform and the opportunities that it gives me to invest in the finest wine collections. I can’t wait to make my first investment*
- This video of Browns WR Jarvis Landry crashing best friend Odell Beckham Jr’s Super Bowl press conference is goals
- The best jeans ever. Period. I have worn them for years and the stretchiness is off the charts. 8 newsletters in, and I thought it was time to share.