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The Hustle

What’s the hardest part of being human — suffering? Loss? Fishing the littlest pieces from the bottom of a chip bag? Dutch snack-maker Hoeksche Chips has an answer to that last one at least — novel packaging with a twist-off bottom corner to help pour the last bits right down your maw.

In today’s email:

  • Proof of concept(ion): A landmark in the push to automate IVF.
  • Oddballs: FanDuel, DraftKings compete for gambling supremacy.
  • Digits: Ikea is efficient, AI fought the law (and won), and more.
  • Around the Web: Featuring a celeb swan, a leisurely drive, and the cutest secretary imaginable.
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The big idea
PS5 controller

Life found a way with… a PS5 controller?

What’s the coolest thing you’ve ever done with a PlayStation 5 controller, and why isn’t it bringing human life into the world?

For many aspiring parents, in vitro fertilization (IVF) is prohibitively expensive.

  • A single cycle can cost $15k-$30k; insurance coverage varies.
  • Many patients undergo multiple cycles before conceiving, and it’s never a guarantee.

Spanish IVF startup Overture Life, which has raised ~$37m from backers including Google Ventures and 23andMe co-founder Anne Wojcicki, has an idea: automation.

And recently, it announced the first babies born via its fertilization bot, per MIT Technology Review.

How it works

Typically, highly trained embryologists handle sperm and egg cells with thin, hollow needles under a microscope.

But Overture implanted a sperm cell into an egg using a robotic needle, which an engineer piloted using a Sony PS5 controller.

  • This process was repeated 12+ times, resulting in two baby girls.

CIO and geneticist Santiago Munné told MIT that he ultimately envisions a mini-IVF lab — “a box where sperm and eggs go in, and an embryo comes out five days later.” Any GYN could use the tech, thus, making it much cheaper than seeing a specialist.

Overture isn’t the only company…

… in the IVF space, a market expected to be worth $36.2B by 2026.

Fairtility’s Cultivating Human Life through Optimal Embryos (CHLOE) is an AI-powered tool to help clinicians select healthy embryos.

Fertilis makes 3D-printed cradles to hold eggs and embryos, reducing human handling.


These developments are full of potential that once felt like sci-fi (e.g., artificial wombs), but full automation is still a long way off.

Overture’s process still requires humans, and some doctors MIT spoke with believe robots aren’t quite capable of outperforming humans… at least not yet.

BTW: Yes, we did find a game in which you are a sperm cell attempting to fertilize an egg — no PS5 required.

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eyeball wearing a hat

Lego’s world domination plans continue to come into focus. One week after the brick house rolled out a new Sonic the Hedgehog set, it gave us a look at its first Donkey Kong set. Next week, maybe we’ll see Lego’s rumored take on “The Legend of Zelda”?


TodAI in AI: ChatGPT-maker OpenAI has some new backers, pouring $300m into the company at a valuation reportedly between $27B and $29B.

Snap out of it: Snapchat parent Snap is having a rough go with declining revenue and stocks down ~70% YoY — made worse by an analyst absolutely roasting them last week: “What do you call a growth company with no growth?”

Broke-fast club: We recently hailed Clubhouse as technically still alive, and while that continues to be true, there’s now been another bleak turn: The social audio app has laid off over half of its employees as it looks to pivot its product and improve efficiency.

Twitter blues: Twitter’s ex-CEO Jack Dorsey, of “Elon is the singular solution I trust” fame, now agrees it’s “pretty sad” how things shook out with his former platform.

Schtick ‘em up: Retailer Big Lots is copying The Container Store’s gimmick, now accepting 20%-off coupons from bygone competitor Bed Bath & Beyond. Let’s keep this going… Airlines? Car dealers?

Stool in spotlight: The first-ever “poop pill” has movement, with the FDA approving the bacteria-restoring fecal transplant treatment — a landmark accomplishment in fighting gut infections. However, at $17.5k per course, prices may initially limit usage.

Two platforms in a pod: YouTube Music has added podcasts, which will be available without a premium subscription. Worth watching: How will all this work with YouTube’s corporate papa Google already having its own separate Podcasts app?

Package deal: Zipline’s latest funding round values the drone delivery startup at ~$4.2B. Its newest autonomous courier drone can travel up to 70 mph, with a 10-mile range and an 8-lb cargo capacity.

Gut check: Olipop says its prebiotic soda is on track to hit $200m+ in sales this year, with CEO Ben Goodwin claiming he’s fended off rejoinders from Coca-Cola and PepsiCo.

Failing up: Failure doesn’t have to be the end of the road. We sat down with five founders and got their advice on building resilience and bouncing back.

money wagered by year
Olivia Heller

DraftKings versus FanDuel — Who are you betting on?

You may have missed Saturday’s XFL semifinal between the Arlington Renegades and Houston Roughnecks. You may be surprised to learn that such teams even exist.

What shouldn’t surprise you: a lot of money changed hands with the Renegades’ upset win.

After all, this decade has seen win after win for the sports-betting industry.

  • Online sports gambling is now legal in 33 US states, with more expected to follow.

Sportsbooks generated $5.8B+ in revenue last year, escalating a bookie arms race — and enticing others to get in the game.

In one corner: DraftKings

Nearly half of bettors use DraftKings, per Variety, and the company hopes to widen its lead on the field.

  • DraftKings’ latest move is launching its own streaming service.
  • This follows partnerships with iHeartMedia and SB Nation, and a spending spree on prominent hosts for its podcast network.

In the other: FanDuel

DraftKings’ moves follow a media blitz from FanDuel, the second-largest sportsbook.

  • Last year, FanDuel rebranded cable network TVG — previously dedicated to horse racing — as FanDuel TV.
  • This month, it inked another media partner, The Ringer, to expand its original programming.

Hoping to get into the ring

Third-place bookie BetMGM recently expanded its Buffalo Wild Wings partnership.

And as the industry waits for the biggest media chip to fall — ESPN, which hasn’t solidified its betting strategy — another player has emerged.

  • Sports merchandise titan Fanatics now wants in, investing $1B to build its own betting division. Fanatics already has 95m customers in place.

The jockeying will only intensify, with sports betting projected to generate $182B by 2030 — a number calculated before every Hustle reader became a rabid, put-their-savings-on-the-line-for-each-game Renegades fan.

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Free Resource

The top 10 social media trends of 2023

We prefer inboxes, obviously.

But we don’t overlook the potency of social media. And these days, neither should you.

Stay on top of what’s making waves in marketing. Read the 2023 Social Media Trends Report we created with the bright folks at Brandwatch.

Five fast takeaways:

  • The mood is funny, trendy, and relatable.
  • Short-form video will continue to dominate ROI.
  • Marketers are ditching big names for baby influencers.
  • Social media is the future of ecommerce.
  • SMMs should tweak content when reposting across platforms.

You should see the rest.

10 social trends →

Digits: Ikea’s latest magic trick, and more newsy numbers

1) Since it wasn’t already cool enough that Ikea sells 1B+ meatballs a year, the company is now working magic with cost cuts. In one instance, new designs for the Billy bookcase — which sells 6.3m units a year, or one every five seconds — reduced its price 29%. Another redesign, for the Flintan chair, enables Ikea to fit 6.9k units into one shipping container, up from 2.75k.

2) Listen up, kids. The next time an adult asks you what you want to be when you grow up, tell them you want to open a brick-and-mortar confectionery operation that leverages the latest algorithmic recommendation tech. In other words, you want to open a candy store — of which there are 3.3k in the US — and market your goods on TikTok. One shop, Candy Me Up, has 1.1m+ followers, and a single video can stir up 10k orders.

3) Look, we get it. Bamboo looks nice. And it’s sustainable. But you can’t just freely use it in your marketing for products made of semisynthetic rayon, which appears to be a popular new trend among retailers. Well, you could, but you may end up like Kohl’s and Walmart, who the FTC fined $2.5m and $3m, respectively, last year for trying to, uh, bamboozle customers with their so-called “bamboo” sheets, towels, and rugs.

4) This AI stuff is really making a case for itself: Legal AI startup Harvey recently raised $21m in funding to help lawyers make their billable hours a byte more efficient. The company reportedly already has 15k+ law firms on its waitlist, and will be used by thousands of lawyers at prestigious firms like Allen & Overy and PwC.

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🎡 On this day: In 1851, the first “Great Exhibition” opened in London’s Crystal Palace. It showcased wonders of the time, including false teeth, to 6m attendees.

🎧 Podcast: Nirvana Chaudhary, son of Nepal’s only billionaire, now helms his family’s sprawling empire — a conglomerate of 130+ companies. Here’s how he does it.

🦢 That’s interesting: One of Orlando’s most famous early-20th-century residents was a large swan named Billy.

🚗 Chill out:Slow Roads” is a driving game, but as the name might imply, it’s just one lazy cruise — no racing.

🐶 Aww: And now, someone who enjoys Mondays.

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Please disregard all the job listing tabs. That’s just… y’know, market research. (Link)


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