Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference
By Joe Sweeny
WWDC had the internet abuzz yesterday with Apple’s new features. Here’s a recap:
- Text message editing and ‘undo send’ – but only for 15 min post send
- Apple Pay Later, a new Buy Now Pay Later service from Apple
- Share Play: Simultaneous streaming of music and video across devices. Will be awesome to have synced playlists for my next workout with a friend
- Auto Crop: Copy items out of photos, drop them in other photos
- Electronic IDs: 13 states are launching electronic drivers licenses on wallet
- Apple Car Play is expanding and rolling out in 98% of new vehciles
- Apple designed M2 silicon
- Macbook Air is only half an inch wide and weighs 2.7 pounds! That’s 20% smaller AND it’s 20% faster
Full breakdown from the legendary Mac Rumors
Features Not Companies
There’s a narrative bouncing around the internet that the new features are a death blow for some consumer startups.
That’s ridiculous. While Apple is continuing its march into services – a long time push to expand from products into monthly subscriptions championed by Tim Cook – there’s nothing Apple launched yesterday that makes sense as a stand alone business.
Simultaneous music streaming and photo cropping are features, not startups. The platform risk in building a company on iMessage is pretty obvious.
Platform Risk, illustrated by Startups Illustrated
Although there are two exceptions…
#1. Apple Car Rides Again
Apple has been rumored to by building its own car for decades but nothing came of it. Yesterday’s Apple CarPlay announcements change that.
Apple CarPlay is now going to be available in 98% of cars and Apple has partnered with automakers to take over the entire dash for many new vehicles we’ll see later this year. Music. Maps. Check engine light, speedometer, and fighting over the air conditioning – all in Apple Car Play.
Apple is effectively becoming the operating system for cars. Which allows automakers like GM to compete with the high end software displays of Tesla.
In the near future, every car will be an Apple car.
Casualties: NVIDIA’s vision is built on owning the car OS. While there’s still potential for NVIDIA software to fit in under the Apple dash – especially with self-driving software – this is undoubtedly a blow.
#2. Apple Pay Later
Integrating Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) into Apple Pay is a fascinating move. It expands Apple’s finance offensive and dips a toe into the massive marketing of consumer lending.
In five years will Apple be your bank?
Casualties: BNPL giants Affirm and Klarna are already facing hard times. Klarna just laid off 700 people, 10% of its staff. Affirm relies on Peloton for 20% to 30% of its revenue so Peloton’s sales collapse is a substantial hit.
Apple also announced iPhone to iPhone payments, potentially putting card reader companies out of business. If they release a software suite for managing your retail store they threaten Square, Toast, Clover…
Last: There are now over 34M Apple developers. The sheer scale of Apple products is incredible.
FROM THE WEB
In Other News…
- Coinbase has started rescinding job offers, leaving would-be-new-employees in the lurch
- Sheryl Sandberg leaves Facebook
- The Opensea exec who built a bot to front run trades was charged with insider trading of NFTs
- Landmark crypto legislation, legally defining everything from stable coins to smart contracts
- Tesla lays off 10% of its workforce, Elon has a ‘super bad feeling’
- Elon continues to accuse Twitter of lying about how many accounts on the platform are bots
FROM THE PODCAST
Every week I interview up and coming founders to break down their business, how they fit into the market, and get a glimpse of what’s coming next in tech. Here’s a quick take from the Just Raised pod this week.
GoPuff meets Elon Musk’s Boring Company. A dive into a moonshot logistics startup rethinking 15 min delivery from the ground up. Literally.
Pipedream is building a hyper logistics network to delivery anything, anywhere in a city in minutes. And they’re doing it with robots running through maintenance pipes.
Product: 15 min delivery using robots that travel through 12-inch pipes underground
Raised: $1.6M pre-seed from Balaji, Starship, and a few angels
Mission: Build a network of delivery pipes to create a physical product cloud
You can have something delivered in single digit minutes for a nominal cost. And just as easy you can receive from the network, you can send back out.
And what’s so magical about living in a city that has hyper logistics available is you get to offload all the stuff that you own.
When I need a screwdriver, when I need some salt, when I need a t-shirt, I can’t order it cause it’s gonna take too long to get here. I need it right now.
Now I can pay a subscription and have access to a whole library of t-shirts a whole library of tools, a whole library of ingredients, have them delivered, use them, then send them back.
– Garrett McCurrach, Founder and CEO of Pipedream Labs
Raised: $60M Series B from Accel and Tiger Global
Including: Sequoia Capital India, Global Founders Capital, and Lightspeed
One Liner: 15 min grocery delivery startup based in Indonesia
Joe’s Take: Hyper logistics is hot right now. Jokr, GoPuff, Gorillas, Getir – the number of startups that have raised over $100M for 15 min delivery is wild.
These startups are blitz scaling. Opening hundreds of micro-warehouses across cities for their delivery divers to pick up products from and pouring capital into marketing. The upfront costs are huge and the competition is fierce. But if it works, you disrupt grocery and the convenience store space – two massive markets.
The problem is it hasn’t been working lately. Gorilla’s just laid off 300 employees 7 months after raising $1B. There were rumors JOKR was selling it’s New York operations back in February (although they’ve yet to be confirmed). Most importantly, with the cost of capital rising it may be hard to sell VCs on the cash devouring blitz scaling model for much longer.
But in Indonesia, where online grocery is virtually nonexistent, there’s a market to be made. Astro has 50 locations across Jakarta, 100 delivery drivers, and has 10Xed revenue in the past few months per TechCrunch. For now at least 15 minute delivery is hot.
Raise: $600M from Founder’s Fund, Khosla, A16Z, Lightspeed, and General Atlantic
One Liner: Cheap sequencing of the human genome at scale
Joe’s Take: The costs of sequencing the human genome have come down from astronomical, space race, nation state level costs in the 80s to _ today.
Ultima genomics is using AI and new hardware to sequence the genome for $100. The health benefits of having a genome sequenced are massive, from identifying genetic pre-disposition for diseases to precision medicine – having pharmaceuticals and treatments developed specifically for you based on your personal genetic composition.
The mission at Ultima is to bring scale to genetic data, like the kind we’ve seen in computing over the past 20 years, so that it can be incorporated into every aspect of medicine. The breakthroughs that would unlock are colossal and uncharted.
Raise: $13M Seed from Gary Tan’s Initalized
Accelerator: Graduated from Y Combinator’s Winter ‘22 batch
One Liner: Asteroid mining
Joe’s Take: Asteroid Mining is the definition of a moonshot but with SpaceX launching back-to-back missions to orbit it gets more feasible every day.
AstroForge will be launching very small satellite-esque space craft that aim to The target is platinum, one of the rarest, and most expensive metals on earth which can be found en masse on asteroids.
To me, the most exciting thing about the space industry is resource extraction. Today we strip mine the earth for materials to make products. That’s not ideal but there’s not much we can do about it. Unless… asteroid mining.
In 2016 Jeff Bezos told Recode this:
Energy is limited here. In at least a few hundred years … all of our heavy industry will be moved off-planet. In space you can get solar power 24/7. Earth will be zoned residential and light industrial. You shouldn’t be doing heavy energy on earth. We can build gigantic chip factories in space.
– Jeff Bezos, Code Conference 2016
TLDR: Save the Earth. Build in space.
Raise: $25 million Series B from Piva Capital
One Liner: Flavor tripping protein sweeteners
Joe’s Take: Joywell is experimenting with a protein called Miraculin, extracted from the Miracle Berry. Miraculin is a protein that binds to your tastebuds and causes your brain to interpret sour sensations as sweet. It’s absolutely wild.
The first time I tried miracle berries I ate an entire lemon. It wasn’t sour at all, it tasted like lemon candy. Not because of a psychoactive component – I wasn’t high – solely because of the effect on taste receptors on my tongue.
The sensation has been dubbed flavor tripping, and it makes Miraculin and it’s family of protiens an interesting potential replacement for sugar. Joywell is working on building out a family of Miraculin proteins that could be used in food products and on making Miraculin temperature stable – right now it needs to be kept cold which limits its usefulness.
Fun Fact: My very first job was as an intern at the Harlem Biospace working for a company that would become Joywell Foods.