13 January 2022 |

Acorns Eyeballs Robinhood



Acorns Eyeballs Robinhood

Acorns is an app that lets users invest their spare change. Now, they’re launching “customizable portfolios”— a new feature enabling users to invest in specific companies.

Alan’s Angle

There’s no question: Robinhood dominates retail investing. But recent ethical issues have created opportunities for serious disruption — specifically from values-focused companies, like Acorns ($207M Raised).

Will Acorns/David be able to overtake Robinhood/Goliath? Highly unlikely. Robinhood has 5X+ the amount of users (22M vs. 4M). But will Acorns be able to become the #2 in the industry — AKA the Lyft to Robinhood’s Uber — and fend off newcomers like Public.com? I think that’s a yes.

Acorns’ biggest challenge? 

Ironically, themselves. Consumers will only be able to invest 20% of their funds in individual stocks versus 100% on other platforms, so more active investors will still need to use other apps, like Robinhood.

Google Gets Serious About Cybersecurity

Google acquired Siemplify, an Israeli cybersecurity company, for ~$500M.

Alan’s Angle

When it comes to acquisitions and consolidation, everyone loves talking about media and sports gambling. Something often overlooked? Cybersecurity. Now, it’s heating up…

FAANG companies will do anything to protect their servers — and for them, acquisitions of $500M-$5B are rounding errors. So, I expect acquisitions of companies like Siemplify ($58M Raised) to keep coming. 

CuriousityStream Invests in the Creator Economy

Back in September, CuriosityStream ($279.9M raised), a documentary-focused media company, announced a significant investment in Nebula, a creator first, “YouTube style” service, at a ~$50M valuation.

Alan’s Angle

Yes, this is old news, but I wanted to make sure to cover it in my first newsletter. Why? Because The Creator Economy is a big part of the future of media — and creators are driving big innovation and revenue for the major platforms.

Nebula enables creators to make money by putting exclusive content behind a paywall. My bet? YouTube will follow suit in 2022 — or they’ll risk losing their throne.

Looks like we might need a YouTube plug in the future too…



  • What They Do: Biotech company focused on improving women’s health, starting with solving the problem of accelerated ovarian aging, AKA extending reproduction and reducing the impact of menopause.
  • Amount Raised: $20M Series A
  • Lead Investors: Future Ventures
  • Why It Matters: Ovaries age at 5X the pace of other key organs. If Gameto is able to achieve their mission and synchronize the aging process of ovaries with other key organs,like the brain or liver, they’ll change how our species reproduces.
  • Learn More: Press Release & Company Website


  • What They Do: Give enterprises the ability to run highly customized hybrid and virtual events succinctly.
  • Amount Raised: $13.35M Series A
  • Lead Investors: Alpha Wave Incubation & Qualcomm Ventures
  • Why It Matters: Pretty much everyone agrees: Most online events suck. If someone can find a way to make them great, it’ll be a gamechanger — especially in the age of COVID. According to Grand View Research, the TAM of virtual events is expected to hit $504.76B in value so keeping your eye on Zuddle is a must. 
  • Learn More: Press Release & Company Website

Mangata Networks

  • What They Do: Deep tech telecom company that’s using satellites to make communication affordable and accessible to anyone, anywhere on the planet.
  • Amount Raised: $33M Series A
  • Lead Investors: Playground Global
  • Why It Matters: When it comes to edge computing and content delivery networks (CDNs), the fastest and most secure will win — and the financial upside will be explosive. The tech giants are definitely monitoring Mangata closely and I’m guessing an acquisition either from Amazon or Boeing (two big players in this space) will happen by 2023.
  • Learn More:  Press Release & Company Website

Fan Controlled Football League

  • What They Do: A football league where Fans call plays, draft players, and own  teams. 
  • Amount Raised: $40M Series A
  • Lead Investors: Animico Brands and Delphi Digital (Crypto VCs 👀👀👀)
  • Why It Matters: Spin-off sports leagues have historically failed. With the rise of NFTs, crypto, and decentralized ownership, the success of these spin-offs has finally arrived. 
  • Learn More: Press Release & Company Website


  • What They Do: Circular Economy Fintech Scaleup
  • Amount Raised: $35M Series A
  • Why It Matters: Twig is looking to be the Ebay of Web3. Twig Enables individuals to upload,value, and monetize their assets in less than a minute. With the second-hand apparel market set to raise to more than $77B by 2025, the winners will be massive.  
  • Lead Investors: Fasanara Capital
  • Learn More: Press Release & Company Website

Andreessen Horowitz (a16z)

  • Amount Raised: $9B Fund
  • What Will They Do: More than half the fund is dedicated to mature startups, while the rest  will be allocated between a general fund and a health/biotech fund.
  • Why It Matters: This most recent raise by a16z reinforces that the best time ever to have a startup is now. Also, a16z flexes their muscle as they outraised Sequoia Capital’s $7B fund last year.
  • Learn More: Press Release & Company Website

Not Boring Capital: Fund II

  • Amount Raised: $30M
  • What Will They Do: Packy McCormick’s fund will be focused on high-growth web2 & web3 companies with a specific emphasis on earlier-stage investments. 
  • Why It Matters: Packy received interest from 212 people for $10.4M in just 44 minutes. The trend of solo capitalists launching their own funds and raising with ease is just starting. Loyalty and distribution matters.
  • Learn More: Fund II Memo & Packy’s Website

Actual footage of Packy and Co. just 10 min after their fund launched.


“First and foremost, because we are at the seed stage, a lot of the investing we do is heuristic based… we look for patterns in founders, frankly, founders that remind us of other great or future founders.” 

 Nate Rodland, GP @ Elefund; Co-founder @ Robinhood

Loved this quote from Nate’s interview on the Just Raised podcast. Nate also shared two other traits he looks for. What are they? Listen to the full convo here to see.Listen Here →


Here are some jobs that I’m curating in venture capital. If you’re looking to hire, use this link to submit your role to be featured. 

Heliana, Business Operations & Strategy
Heliana ($4.6M Raised) is creating the baby formula of tomorrow through synthetic biology and industrial processing. Join the Heliana team to execute the strategy of getting the formula to the next generation of babies.

Mainstreet, Product Designer
Mainstreet ($62.6M Raised), for many startups, is doing the divine by helping companies identify applicable tax credits and government subsidies. If you want to work on product in fintech, this job is for you.

Party Round, Software Engineer, Fullstack/Product
Party Round ($7M Raised) is making the process of investing in startups as easy and accessible as venmoing a friend. Do you like coding cool products and want to work for a company funded by a16z? If so, this gig is up your alley.View More


  • Ja Morant’s Block: Ja Morant had the second-craziest block in NBA history a couple nights back — check it out.
  • Justin Bieber + MLK Day: Run it back with Bieb’s MLK Interlude on Monday.
  • 1883: It’s a Yellowstone prequel starring Tim Mcgraw and Faith Hill and it’s one of my favorite shows ever. 
  • Cambridge, MA: I just moved here and I’m loving it. If you’re in the area, shoot me a DM or email — would love to connect!
  • Daniel Ek: Loved this write up from Forbes on Daniel Ek of Spotify.


The Power of Branding 

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