Future of Work
Firstly, I really dislike this term - it’s a bit overplayed but in lieu of having thought of anything else, will keep it (suggestions?). Secondly, this isn’t strictly on theme for this newsletter but the physicality element of this trend is hard to ignore. It’s my belief that in the next 3 years, we’ll see the use of remote teams as the default mode of startup organisational structure. Some thoughts that I’m looking to develop in this space:
Remote life: With a continued shift to freelance + improved communication infrastructure + living-costs arbitrage we will continue to see a global dispersion of talent. I’m fascinated by new remote modes of working (betaworks studios) + living (Remote Year / Outsite)
Distributed teams and communications: the current communication and productivity stack for remote technical teams is inneficient (email, Slack, video conf, atlassian, etc.), how might future modes allow for better communication of corporate culture, timelines and goals
Digital sovereignty: as more of our lives are being reflected and transposed in the meta/cloud layer and the emergence of new economic models (blockchain) - which new supranational movements/tribes might emerge?
Financial bundles: with greater movements comes greater freedom, though also greater complexity in earnings, tax, health insurance and commodity service use within varying nations. Which products are looking to tackle these barriers?
Back to the scheduled program……
🏙 Real Estate
Softbank is in talks with WeWork
- WeWork’s largest external shareholder is Softbank, the Vision Fund has invested over $5bn in both primary and secondary financings. Softbank is rumoured to be in talks to take a majority stake, rumoured to be $10bn, likely valuing the company at $40bn . Clearly, this is not a bet on co-working - most office providers trade at ≈1x multiple of revenue / they’re on $1.8bn revenue run rate - but a bet on consumer lifestyle membership which comprises office space, accommodation, gyms, schools and even wave parks
Silicon Valley elite named on Saudi smart city committee
- in the midst of the ongoing drama surrounding a missing Saudi Arabian journalist, the Kingdom announced the involvement of Masa Son, Marc Andreessen, Sam Altman, Travis Kalanick amongst others on the advisory board of its $500bn smart city project, NEOM
. The scandal puts into question the legitimacy of Saudi $$, the Public Investment Fund (PIF) is currently large investors in the Vision Fund, A16z, Uber, Virgin Galactic and a number of other public tech cos.
The first DNVB to go public
- Revolve clothing this week filed (S1)
for a $100m IPO. The company was founded in 2003 and sells mid-range men and women’s fashion retail. The company did $450m in revenues in the last 12 months, with 52% gross margins. Impressively their last 3 years of CAC/LTV is over 4x.
- defensibility is not something that you see a lot of in direct to consumer, inherently due to models low barriers to entry. 2PM breaks down old economy commerce moats, highlighting which current DNVBs have built moats around core competencies. Interestingly, most category leading companies have some kind of scale advantage when it comes to marketing channels and consumer access
Amazon gets into gaming
- Is there any vertical the company won’t get into? Seriously? Last week a video of their new massive multiplayer online (MMO) game was leaked on Pornhub. Unfortunately, the video has since been taken down.
🚕 🚲 Mobility
Grab grabs more money
- the Singapore based ridesharing company has just announced Microsoft as a strategic investor. They have previously raised over $6bn from Toyota, Didi and Softbank. This deal seems to be in large part about securing Grab as a client cloud for Azure than a specific bet on ride-hailing or the region.
Paris bans cars one Sunday a month
- in a surprising move, the Paris mayor has decided to ban motor vehicles from the city centre one Sunday a month - a move which I hope other European cities will follow
Albert Wenger on micro-mobility
- the USV partner discusses the current problem of inter-operability between mobility providers and data standardisation. As mentioned last week, SharedStreets
is working to become the digital commons for mobility
Google Maps update
- Google has updated their popular mapping software with mixed-mode commute options as well as live transit traffic information
Thanks for reading!