🐵 The $12B email startup
The Hustle

🐵 The $12B email startup

Taco Bell is trying out a monthly subscription that lets you pay $5-$10/mo. to get 1 taco per day. That’s cool and all, but let’s be honest: The Taco Bell subscription we actually want to spend money on is a Taco Bell+ streaming service.

Today’s rundown:

  • Bootstrap bonanza: Why Intuit bought Mailchimp for $12B.
  • Fall-colored chart: The United States of Pumpkin Spice.
  • Chewy’s game plan: How it’ll keep up with hungry pets.

Let’s do it.

The big idea

Why Intuit just acquired Mailchimp for $12B

Mailchimp is an email marketing platform.

There’s a high likelihood that you either use it, have received an email from it, or were uncomfortably bombarded with direct-response podcast ads about it.

On Monday, the Atlanta-based company, which has never raised a dollar of venture capital, was acquired by Intuit for $12B and an additional $200m in stocks for its 1.2k employees.

The deal is all about small business

Intuit already owns QuickBooks (accounting software), TurboTax (tax prep software), Credit Karma (personal finance), and Mint (also personal finance).

These services are used by 100m customers globally to run their business operations (Intuit’s revenue hit $9.6B in its last fiscal year).

As noted by Intuit, though, 50% of small businesses fail within 5 years. Failing businesses mean customers churning out of Intuit’s core software tools.

Enter Mailchimp

Founded by Ben Chestnut and Mark Armstrong in 2001, the company offers tools for users to attract and retain customers:

  • Website storefront builders
  • Marketing solutions (email, social ads, landing pages)
  • Engagement tools (content studio, analytics, automated campaigns)

Mailchimp already has 13m users, and sales hit ~$800m in 2020. Notably, 95% of revenue is recurring (translation: people like the service enough to hit “renew”).

Following the acquisition…

… users can now combine Mailchimp’s email list with QuickBooks’ buying information.

According to Intuit CEO Sasan Goodarzi, this is a big unlock because small businesses can match “marketing” with “purchasing behavior” to better target customers.

Our prediction: TurboTax’s “get your refund” email marketing campaign during tax season will be hitting overdrive.

SNIPPETS

Online inflation: Though summer is usually when prices drop, ecommerce prices have gone up for the last 15 months, according to a new report. #ecommerce-retail

Climate startup Watershed is hosting a webinar on September 23. Its software platform is used by Airbnb, Stripe, Shopify and Square to cut emissions. The session is interactive and includes the UN’s former top climate official. #clean-energy

Storms vs. solar: A new study shows how weather — including clouds, snow, and hurricanes — impacts solar farms. #clean-energy

Bomb squad: RE2 Robotics’ robotic arm can neutralize underwater mines, something that’s obviously pretty dangerous for human divers. #emerging-tech

Trouble for TikTok: Regulators in the EU are looking into how TikTok handles and transfers children’s data. #privacy

Immutable scored $60m for an Ethereum platform that uses NFTs to monetize games. Players can also buy or receive $GODS tokens, which they can use to offer input on games. #fintech-cryptocurrency

Password no more: Microsoft accounts are ditching passwords, offering options like security keys and SMS verification instead. #big-tech

Pumpkins

Singdhi Sokpo / The Hustle

Pumpkin spice latte season is upon us. Here are the states that drink them the most.

Starbucks brought its Pumpkin Spice Latte back to menus on Aug. 24 — early if you ask us, but right on time according to 25% of America.

Placer.ai found Starbucks visits jumped 14.9% that week, and were up 3.5% compared to the same week in 2019.

Instacart says West Virginians are 122% more likely to purchase pumpkin spice products than the national average, while Hawaiians are 65% less likely.

(Related: BuzzFeed kindly assembled a diabolical list of the world’s most terrifying pumpkin spice mashups, including toilet paper, a broom, and — *gasp* — salmon.)

Free Resource

Advertising advice for beginners

We hope you don’t see advertising as “hit or miss.”

Great planning can lead to straight hits. And if you’re pretty new to the strange world of clicks (or ads in general), we’ve got you.

HubSpot has very accurately titled these introductory resources The Advertising Plan Kit.

Advertising made breezy:

  • PDF breaking down pros, cons, and costs of 6 main types of ads
  • Template for organizing and executing strategic ad campaigns
  • Professional pitch deck outline for presentations to stakeholders

Take the guess-work out of your campaigns.

(Like this 101 kit? This 12-minute step-by-step video accompanies it.)

Start planning →
Pet Tech

Chewy’s plan to keep up with hungry cats and dogs

D2C pet supply company Chewy boomed as people adopted new pets and turned to online shopping. In Q22021, Chewy’s sales grew 27% YoY.

CEO Sumit Singh attributed the growth not to the pandemic, but to the value of getting your pets’ stuff shipped right to your door.

But this quarter…

… Chewy saw lower than expected earnings and falling stock prices, per Forbes. Why?

  • Labor shortages
  • Shipping lags
  • Increased digital advertising costs

Google and Facebook ads are up 51% and 47% respectively, Singh said.

To stay on top, Chewy is:

  • Launching Practice Hub, a marketplace where vets can sell prescription meds to Chewy customers
  • Opening 3 fulfillment centers in Nashville, Reno, and Kansas City over the next 14 months, per Retail Dive

Chewy opened an automated center in Archbald, Pennsylvania, in October 2020, and will retrofit some of its existing 10 non-automated centers.

Automated centers will use conveyor belts and pneumatic rollers for faster fulfillment, but they’ll still need employees. Nashville, for example, is expected to hire ~1.2k people.

Meanwhile, Petco is expanding PupBox, its subscription for dogs, which has grown 3x in the last 2 years. The new boxes include 4 age groups, including puppies and seniors, with 5-7 curated picks for each.

Now please enjoy this thread of pets sitting in Chewy boxes.

TRENDS

$60k/mo. selling magic lemonade…

Small products generate big revenue.

For example, Trends analysts were digging around Amazon and came across “butterfly pea flower tea.”

It’s an antioxidant-rich herbal tea with a ton of health benefits, and it turns different colors when the pH balance changes (earning the tea it’s nickname, “magic lemonade”).

One Amazon seller brings in $60k/mo. in revenue selling 1.76-oz. bags of the stuff.

Now, here’s a question for you:

What business can you start building today that generates an extra $60k/mo.?

Here at Trends, we send you ideas for profitable businesses every single week.

We also have a community of 17k+ founders, entrepreneurs, and ambitious folks here to share knowledge and help you out every step of the way.

To join the community and start building today, try 1 week of Trends for just $1.

Get Access →
AROUND THE WEB

🍯 That’s cute: To celebrate the 95th anniversary of Winnie-the-Pooh, illustrator Kim Raymond collaborated on an Airbnb in East Sussex that looks like the fictional bear’s Hundred Acre Wood home.

🏊 On this day: In 1976, champion swimmer Shavarsh Karapetyan dove into Lake Yerevan in Armenia and rescued at least 20 passengers trapped on a submerged trolley bus.

🏃 Haha: Red Bull built a giant pinball machine. How big is it? Well, a human is the ball.

🍔 That’s cool: Game designer Max Krieger’s side quest is documenting the world’s weirdest McDonald’s locations, past and present.

🌳 How to: Impact investing is when you invest in organizations you think are doing good things, like protecting the Earth or advocating for equity. Here are some tips for getting started.

💀 Wild story: The Ayam Cemani is the world’s gothest chicken. Due to a genetic mutation, its feathers, skin, bones, and organs are all black.

Low-carb news of the day

Source: Immi

Here’s a “wait, really?” stat: the global instant noodle business could be worth $32B by 2027, per TechCrunch.

There’s one huge problem. Though a lifesaver in college, most instant noodles, like ramen, are very, very unhealthy, packed with sodium and carbs.

Enter Immi, a plant-based instant ramen that packs 21 grams of protein (and only 6 grams of carbs) per serving. According to TechCrunch, the startup just raised $3.8m in seed funding to deliver healthy ramen (e.g., Black Garlic “Chicken,” Tom Yum “Shrimp”) to a bowl near you.

No word on whether ramen-inspired slippers are on the product road map:

Bottega Veneta actually released this footwear (Source: NY Post)

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