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✈️ Can Uber take over travel?

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Glassdoor released its list of companies with the highest paying internship programs this week. At the top: Roblox, with a median monthly salary of $9,667. Us? Jealous of the interns? No, we’re not jealous. Not at all.

In today’s email:

  • Uber: Can it become a travel superapp?
  • Chart: The rise of VR comedy.
  • Foraged: The mushroom marketplace growing like a fungus.
  • Around the web: F1 tech at work, Wordle for movies, a bird breaking it down, and more cool internet finds.

🎧 On the go? Listen to today’s podcast to hear Jacob and Juliet tackle the $13B ecommerce mushroom industry, short-a** movies, VR comedians, Twitter’s edit button, and more.

The big idea
Uber car gif

Can Uber become a travel superapp?

Hopefully you’ve been treating your Uber drivers kindly because recent news suggests your rating may soon extend far beyond car rides.

Per CNBC, Uber announced it will let travelers book a wide range of travel options in its UK app this year, including trains, buses, planes, and car rentals.

The catch?

Uber won’t be providing the travel services itself. Uber will announce various partners over the coming months, and may take a cut of the bookings.

This isn’t the 1st time Uber has offered 3rd-party travel services in the app:

  • In 2019, Uber partnered with air carrier HeliFlite to launch Uber Copter, which allowed users to book short flights from Manhattan to JFK airport
  • In 2020, Uber partnered with Thames Clippers, an English boat company, to offer boat rides along the Thames River
  • Last month, Uber struck an agreement to list NYC taxis on the app

The move signals Uber’s goal to diversify its offerings as it shoots for long-term profitability and recovery from the pandemic.

The company’s leader has experience in the travel space. CEO Dara Khosrowshahi spent 12 years as CEO of Expedia Group, home to travel aggregation sites like,, and Vrbo.

But can they pull it off?

Becoming the go-to destination for travel won’t be a cakewalk. Along with Khosrowshahi’s old stomping grounds, Uber will have to compete with:

  • Google Travel, which includes Google Maps, Google Flights, and other tools to help users plan their next trip
  • Airbnb, which has hinted at its own superapp ambitions by allowing boutique hotels to list on the app, and building out trip planning features through its Experiences tab
  • Upstarts like Hopper, the fastest growing travel app in 2021, make the competitive picture even scarier

Then again, Uber has proven it’s cool with competition. After battling Lyft for years, the company duked it out with a long list of restaurant delivery apps to become DoorDash’s top challenger.

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  • Balance sheet blues: The Fed’s meeting minutes revealed that officials “generally agreed” it should shrink its balance sheet by $95B per month. The Dow, S&P 500, and Nasdaq all fell on the news.
  • Finally: Twitter is working on an edit button, and plans to test the feature with Twitter Blue users (its premium subscription product).
  • That was Fast: Affirm, the “buy now, pay later” giant, said it’s hiring ~130 former Fast engineers after the 1-click payment app shut its doors.
  • First mover: Pinterest announced a comprehensive policy to combat false and misleading claims about climate change on its platform. The policy applies to both community posts and ads.
  • Intoxicating numbers: In his 1st year in business, this cocktail robot entrepreneur reeled in $25m. Check out his lessons on entrepreneurship, perfecting a product, and becoming a leader on The Hustle blog.

search interest for VR comedy

Singdhi Sokpo

VR comedy is growing with the metaverse

Virtual reality is an odd thing. On one hand, headset sales were up 92% last year to 11.2m units, and Meta has more than 6x the job openings for Oculus than for Messenger, Instagram, and WhatsApp combined.

On the other hand, VR is a joke. Literally. A medium known as VR comedy — consisting of oddball interactions between people in the metaverse — is now trending, with ~30m views on TikTok.

The content is pretty ridiculous. One clip of a VR courtroom is about as orderly as you’d expect.

Who are these comedians?

One popular group, Hummy’s VR Comedy, has 457k TikTok followers and 14.6m YouTube views. Their most popular TikTok is a quirky conversation with a banana man in an elevator.

Another group, Merry VR Pranksters, describes itself as “3 guys who do voices/characters and mess with people in VR.” Some clips include:

  • An argument about getting a papercut in VR
  • A guy throwing virtual paper airplanes at people
  • A funny discussion with a Meta employee in VR

Our thoughts: The bits are funny — but they’re especially hilarious when you consider the interactions are between legless avatars controlled by real people, all of whom are speaking into a 1-pound hunk of plastic strapped to their heads.

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Free Resource

How to brand a business on TikTok

Reaching the “1B+ Monthly Active Users” club marks elite app status.

The real power move is that TikTok did it in 5 years, whereas Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, and YouTube all existed for ~8 years before eclipsing that milestone.

We recognize TikTok’s overwhelming outreach potential for businesses. Cue the TikTok marketing, advertising, and business guide, composed by HubSpot social media specialists.

Actionable “TikTok for business” guide

  • Use TikTok to cultivate brand loyalty
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  • Data-packed insights and content inspiration

Including examples from Fenty Beauty, Zoom, Canva, Microsoft, Vimeo…

You should be up on this.

How to win on TikTok →
Finders Eaters
yellow mushrooms

People love foraged mushrooms — now, there’s an app for that

Rooting around the $5 cheese bin at the grocery store is kind of like foraging, right? But seriously, there’s a market for those who know how to find edible plants in the wild.

Mushrooms alone — the eating kind, not the tripping kind — are a $13B market, according to Jack Hamrick, co-founder of Foraged, a digital marketplace for foragers to connect with buyers.

Hamrick told TechCrunch he was trying to buy a “chicken of the woods” — a mushroom some think tastes like chicken — when he connected with Andy Conner, who was trying to unload 10 pounds of seaweed.

The pair launched Foraged in 2021, which has since attracted sellers hawking produce, oils, spices, and more.

Foraged says sales are growing 434% quarter over quarter. For now, the platform takes 10% per order. The average cart total is ~$120.

Who buys foraged goods?

Mostly upscale restaurants that want to impress customers with their field- or woods-to-table menus.

One forager described his $200/hour side hustle foraging wild mushrooms for chefs, while Bryan Jessop told Business Insider he quit his job as an economics consultant to forage for Bay Area restaurants.

But home cooks are getting in on Earth’s bounty, too. Interest in foraging blossomed on TikTok amid the pandemic and knowledgeable creators amassed large followings.

Alexis Nikole Nelson, for example, teaches 3.4m followers how to find edible weeds, herbs, flowers, and more to turn into meals. Education is key, because eating plants you find willy-nilly can still kill you, even if it’s on-trend.

But depending on where you live, some choice ‘shrooms may not grow nearby, making Foraged a solid option if you’ve just gotta make this chicken (of the woods) noodle soup.

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✉️ On this day: In 1940, Booker T. Washington became the 1st Black person depicted on a US stamp. The stamp was part of the Famous Americans Issue, which included 35 notable figures.

🎥 Cure boredom: Framed gives you 6 chances to guess the movie using only a still frame each time.

🏎️ That’s interesting: How F1 tech has made its way into our everyday lives, from ordinary cars on the road to the way hospitals work.

🎨 Art: Peter Tarka makes extremely cool 3D illustrations. Check some out here.

🐦 Aww: And now, a bird that’s ready to hit the club.

Meme of the day
Uber taxi meme

It’s pretty mind-blowing. (Source:


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Today’s email was brought to you by Jacob Cohen, Juliet Bennett Rylah, Rob Litterst.
Editing by: Mark “The Portabello Prince” Dent.

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