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🏘️ Disney builds houses now

The Hustle

Earlier this week, an Israeli strawberry was declared the world’s largest, weighing in at 10.19 ounces. As for the most expensive berry, that title may belong to Oishii, a company whose box of 6 Omakase strawberries costs $60.

In today’s email:

  • Storyliving: Disney wants you to reside in its brand.
  • Trick or treat: How the pandemic inspired a map startup.
  • Payload: A new newsletter on the business of space.
  • Around the web: AI-generated Pokemon, the history of the luge, and more internet things.

🎧 On the go? Listen to today’s podcast to hear us chat about Disney’s bizarre desert town, Belgium’s new 4-day workweek, and why investors snapped up 1 in 7 single-family homes in the US last year.

The Big Idea
Disney gif

Disney wants your life to be a fairy tale

Ever wish you lived in a Disney story? Well, now you might actually be able to.

Per The Wall Street Journal, Disney is developing a master-planned residential community concept called Storyliving, designed by the company’s famous Imagineers.

The 1st Storyliving community…

… is called Cotino, and located in California’s Coachella Valley. Its 1.9k housing units include estates, single-family homes, and condos — plus a section for residents that are 55+.

All residents get an exclusive membership that includes:

  • Access to a private beach on the community’s 24-acre lagoon, including a waterfront clubhouse
  • Recreational activities and other year-round Disney programming

Though Cotino is the only Storyliving concept in the works, Disney says other locations are being scouted.

This isn’t Disney’s 1st foray into residential real estate

The company’s previous efforts include:

  • Golden Oak: A 980-acre gated community located within Disney’s resort property where the company sells luxury homes
  • Celebration: A 5k-acre community developed as an idealistic small town outside Orlando that the company is no longer affiliated with

What makes Storyliving different is that the company plans to incorporate storytelling into the resident experience. Does that mean Daisy Duck will be hosting community happy hours? Specifics remain vague.

The announcement also coincides with turbulent times in the residential real estate market. The median home price reached record levels in 2021, and Zillow expects prices to jump another 20%+ this spring.

So who’s moving to Cotino?

If you’re skeptical of the market for Storyliving, you must not know any “Disney Adults” — AKA the 18+ crowd that maintains a lifelong obsession with all things Disney.

While it’s easy to poke fun, the group’s buying power is no joke. The starter price for a home in Golden Oak was $1.7m.

BTW: Are you a Disney super fan? We’d love to hear from you. Take our short survey to tell us more.

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Hat retailer Lids has a new ecommerce site where it will drop limited releases 2x a week, typically retailing for $45-$55. #ecommerce-retail

Some central California canals will be covered in solar panels. The idea is that it’ll prevent water from evaporating while also creating energy. #clean-energy

A tire without air is a flat tire. But now, Chevy and Michelin are working on a new airless tire for the forthcoming Chevy Bolt. #emerging-tech

What’s a zero-click attack? It’s a hack where the victim doesn’t do anything, but the perpetrator can still gain access to their device. #privacy

Never-ending story: Netflix announced the 4th season of its sci-fi hit Stranger Things. Except it’s so long, it’ll be released in 2 volumes. #big-tech

Now on MFM: Is it worth spending your life trying to get an Olympic medal, the “Tinder Swindler,” and more. #mfm

We want to know: What would a realistic 4-day workweek look like in the US? Chime in on Twitter. #hustle-picks

Map Tech
Proxi image

How pandemic trick-or-treating inspired a map startup

Proxi, a platform for users to make and share custom maps, just raised $1.2m to build a mobile app and new features. But it all started with trick-or-treating.

Co-founders Melinda Haughey and Chelsey Roney are 2 Seattle moms and self-described “business nerds” who met at Texas A&M a decade ago.

Roney’s background is in marketing and startups, while Haughey is a former US intelligence analyst with a background in spatial mapping.

During Halloween 2020…

… Haughey saw families on social media building candy chutes and other covid-safe trick-or-treating solutions.

“So, I cobbled together some tools and made a map where people would add their own homes,” she told The Hustle.

The map grew to 2.3k Seattle-area homes and racked up 500k views. People started asking Haughey to build other maps, so she and Roney decided to build Proxi, officially launching in the fall of 2021.

Proxi is built with simplicity in mind…

… and has several customization options, like swapping logos or colors and adding map categories and icons. Some use cases include:

While Proxi is free to use, the company’s business model will eventually include partnering with creators and businesses on advertising and affiliate linking, as well as premium content.

They’re also building an analytics dashboard so creators can gauge the popularity of their maps. The new mobile app will allow users to layer maps and create a specific itinerary.

Fun fact: Years ago, Haughey and Roney started a QR-based payments company, but weren’t ready to work on it full time. Seeing the success of apps like Venmo, they vowed to go full steam ahead on their next good idea.

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Space Biz
Payload newsletter

The business of space, explained

As you can imagine, The Hustle enjoys a good newsletter. And one newsletter to watch is Payload, which covers the space industry and raised a $650k seed round last September, per Axios.

The Hustle recently spoke with Payload’s Ari Lewis to ask all things space:

Why a space newsletter?

(One of Payload’s co-founders Mo Islam) spent more than 9 years working in the investment world. In that role, he actively invested in the space industry.

He noticed an accessible, pithy, and refreshing digital media product (a la The Hustle) was hard to come by. So we started one.

What are the most interesting sub-industries in space?

Launch captures most of the headlines, but the vertical is a small part of the overall space economy. From an investor or space agency official’s POV, sub-industries to watch are:

  • Orbital debris: We continue to break satellite launch records every year, adding to the millions of objects flying uncontrolled [in space]. Market mechanisms need to be put into place that tackle the tragedy of the commons that is space junk.
  • Commercial space stations: When the International Space Station (ISS) reaches the end of its useful life in 2031, the platform will be decommissioned and de-orbited into the Pacific Ocean. The ISS has been orbiting Earth since 1999 and has been continuously inhabited by astronauts since 2000. At $150 billion and counting, the ISS is the most expensive object ever built by humans. That leaves a significant gap in the western world’s ability to operate in space.

Will Jeff Bezos become CEO of Blue Origin?

It’s only a matter of time, in our opinion, before (Bezos) decides to take the helm at Blue Origin, (which has continuously) suffered from product delays, cultural issues, and employee attrition. The efficiency present throughout Amazon is notably missing at Blue.

(Read the full Q&A to find out the 5 hottest space startups)

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Unbundling the hefty handicraft industry

Let’s talk arts and crafts.

The people’s lockdown hobbies of choice include embroidery, pottery, woodworking, leather-crafting, and other downright delightful activities.

The $674B tactile craft industry (2020) is projected to hit ~1.2T by 2026. Our Trends analysts unpacked 4 favorable niches.

  • Beginner crafts: A kid’s bracelet-making kit is pushing $350k per month. Plenty of niches are heating up.
  • Online migration: More brick-and-mortar stores are biting the digital bullet, and we see win-win opportunities.
  • Advanced crafts: “Crochet kit” garners 37k Amazon searches per month. “Candle-making kit” sees nearly 4x that.
  • Live experiences: Drunk-knitting is winning. There’s a lot more.

Want the uncut data and details? Get access to hundreds of curated market signals and advice from 17k+ business builders.

Try Trends for a buck →

📄 On this day: In 2010, WikiLeaks published the 1st of almost 750k documents leaked by US Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning.

🧑‍💼 How to: Finding a therapist can be surprisingly hard. Here are some tips to avoid huge waitlists and find a good fit.

😆 Haha: This website uses AI to generate fake Pokemon.

🛷 That’s interesting: How did the luge become an Olympic sport? Well, it all starts with some men on vacation in the Swiss Alps in the 1800s.

🐦 Aww: Have you ever seen a kagu? It’s a near-flightless bird endemic to New Caledonia, and we need everyone to look at it.


(A roundup of our best reads from the last couple weeks…)

🏅 Is this the end of an Olympic ticket monopoly?  LINK

🚜 Would you take free land in rural America?  LINK

💬 The group chat that unlocked NYC’s hottest reservations.  LINK

😴 The $12B+ sleep industry, explained.  LINK

🛒 Amazon’s plan to dominate the grocery business.  LINK

Shower Thoughts
  1. “You have matching underwear with lots of strangers.”  SOURCE
  2. “Having a sore throat is probably way worse for some languages compared to others.”  SOURCE
  3. “Some cars go their entire lives without ever touching another car.”  SOURCE
  4. “You only notice how bad Hollywood is at foreign countries when you see your country in a movie.”  SOURCE
  5. “Milking is taking milk but watering is giving water.”  SOURCE
via Reddit

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How'd Bezos build a billion dollar empire?

In 1994, Jeff Bezos discovered a shocking stat: Internet usage grew 2,300% per year.

Data shows where markets are headed.

And that’s why we built Trends — to show you up-and-coming market opportunities about to explode. Interested?

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