18 January 2022 |

Coinbase jumps into crypto derivatives 



Coinbase jumps into crypto derivatives 

Coinbase acquired FairX, a crypto derivatives firm ($27.5M Raised)

Alan’s Angle: 

Crypto exploded last year. One key reason? Wall Street.

Crypto derivatives being available for Wall St is a strong sign for the long term legitimacy of crypto. 

But it’s also a sign of danger for retail investors. The complex financial vehicles used by “Big Money” can create wild price movements, especially in such an unregulated market — which could bring added turbulence all around. 

So, why is Coinbase getting into derivatives? Revenue.

This move enables them to increase fees — something that will be integral as the push to lower (or eventually zero?) commission fees will be demanded by consumers. 

PrizePicks taking on Draft Kings & Fan Duel

PrizePicks ($850K Raised), the daily fantasy sports (DFS) company, announced record KPIs for 2021:

  • Added 300K new users
  • Paid out $140M in winnings
  • Increased their handle (sum of money wagered) by 1000% Y/Y

Alan’s Angle: 

Draft Kings and FanDuel have dominated the daily fantasy sports (DFS) industry since its inception — but both have shifted resources away from DFS as sports gambling is being legalized across the country. Enter: PrizePicks.

PrizePicks pounced on the open landscape launching its intuitive, clean, and simple DFS platform — and it’s turning the DFS space on its head. 

My guess? DraftKings and FanDuel will launch competing features, but they’ll become the Instagram Reels & YouTube Shorts to PrizePick’s TikTok. With a $20M ARR under its belt back in May and a record breaking NFL gambling season, we’ll likely see a Series A from PrizePicks in 2022. 

FanDuel’s Series A in 2009 was $1.2M and DraftKings in 2013 was $7M. As this market booms, we might just see PrizePicks’ Series A eclipse DraftKings. 

TalkSpace needs some… space

TalkSpace, the online therapy company, was accused of defrauding investors in a class action lawsuit. 

In just the past 12 months, TalkSpace has seen their:

  • CEO and Head of Clinical Services, Oren and Ronit Frank (Co-Founders), step down from their positions 
  • COO, Mark Hirschorn, resign due to conduct at a company offsite 
  • Stock price plummet from $10 to $1.55 ($1.4B valuation to $243M) 

Alan’s Angle: 

The lawsuit details that during the SPAC process, TalkSpace misled investors regarding revenue guidance, number of lives under insurance coverage, and failed to disclose major headwinds the company was facing. 

My guess? The shareholders won’t have a hard time winning this one.The TalkSpace situation reminds us that operating in the public eye can be incredibly challenging, especially for young companies. There’s no doubt TalkSpace would have been better off staying private for a few more years and working through their issues behind closed doors. 

Years of hard work, patience, and investment can collapse overnight.


Accrue Savings

What They Do: Buy Save Now, Pay Later company that inspires consumer saving in order to purchase specific goods. 

Amount Raised: $25M Series A

Lead Investors: Tiger Global

Why It Matters: 

Fintech is getting more sophisticated, especially when it comes to unique payment models. As IoT and smart devices become more common, we’ll start seeing “buy now, pay never” become more and more common. 

Yes. You will literally get goods for free. How will this be possible? Advertising. 

Look at Roku. They lose money on selling their “player” technology (negative gross margins) just to get a slice of the ~70% margin digital ad market. It’s made them super profitable, which is why Roku is a Wall St. sweetheart. 

Learn More: Press Release & Company Website


What They Do: Convert fiat money into stablecoins where the stablecoins will be deposited into DeFi generating yields up to 10%

Amount Raised: $6M Seed Round

Lead Investors: Khosla Ventures & Kindred Ventures

Why It Matters: 

The crypto loaning landscape is crazy crowded with established players like BlockFi ($508.7M Raised) and Nexo ($52.5M Raised). Seashell is looking to carve out their niche through a unique platform that has the highest legal standards in the industry — something others struggle with. 

Note: Keep a close eye on a16z backed Eco ($94.5M Raised), who just completed a $26M Series A and also takes a legal first approach — but has a significant headstart on Seashell. 

Learn More: Press Release & Company Website

Acorn Finance

What They Do: Home improvement financing for contractors (different Acorn from last week!)

Amount Raised: $8.4M Series A

Lead Investors: MassMutual Ventures 

Why It Matters: 

The housing market exploded in 2021 thanks to COVID — 6.49M homes were sold in 2021 vs. 5M in 2010. This has led to a huge increase in the home improvement industry whose market size is expected to grow from $406B in 2019 to $621B in 2025 — a massive tailwind for Acorn. 

But Acorn is not stopping at home improvement. This Series A deal looks to take the company from a niche player to an industry agnostic one. They’ll be using the funds to enter the elective healthcare, legal expenses, and e-commerce industry (which has a TAM of $1.7T). 

Learn More: Press Release & Company Website

Aulisa Medical

What They Do: Wearable wireless patient vital monitoring system 

Amount Raised: $13M Series A

Lead Investors: N/A

Why It Matters: 

Aulisa’s device is special — and in global demand. It enables nurses to monitor patients’ vitals constantly. every 3-4 hours, and let’s doctors continue to monitor patients after they go home. TLDR Aulisa saves lives.

But they have big competition: CloudX has raised $20.9M, and Kiddo (focused on pediatric care) just completed a $16M Series A ($21.8M raised in total).

Learn More: Press Release & Company Website


What They Do: Cannabis hiring platform

Amount Raised: $19M Series B

Lead Investors: Level One Fund

Why It Matters: 

WeedMaps, the Marijuana dispensary and delivery locator, is on pace to do ~$250M in revenue this year, proving that pure play weed services can be… pretty lit. 

The cannabis industry is expected to grow from $13.5B in 2021 to $70.6B in 2028, creating hundreds of thousands of jobs in the process. For now, Vangst is the leading cannabis industry job board, but they’ll start to see competition from established job boards like Indeed ($5M Raised). And hey, maybe from my fellow Workweek teammate Matthew O’Brien’s job board, too.

Learn More: Press Release & Company Website


“What they do doesnt matter it is who they are….I usually like them because of how they do it. I like them when I see them burning with a passion for their customers. I like it when they are facing their team building challenges. I like when they are transparent with me and allow me to help them.”

 Semyon Dukach, GP @ One-Way VC

Semyon Dukach is one of the most influential VCs in Boston. He has an incredibly fascinating journey that started with him coming to the US as a refugee from the Soviet Union to now running his own fund. Semyon details this and so much more on this episode of Angel Invest podcast with Sal Daher. Listen Here →