🛑 Why did Indie VC shut down?

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robot

MIT Tech Review’s latest futuristic mixtape: 10 breakthroughs of 2021

The MIT Technology Review recently released the 20th edition of its “10 Breakthrough Technologies.” The year’s list features predictable cameos as well as a few unknown talents.

The predictable stuff included COVID-related tech (mRNA, remote tools, contact tracing) and the TikTok algorithm.

Here are the 6 others:

Obviously there’s no privacy in the future

  • Data trusts: Turns out, everyone is tired of being hacked. Data trusts are a legal entity that can collect and manage data on the behalf of people or groups.
  • Hyper-accurate positioning: China completed its work on BeiDou (Big Dipper), a global positioning constellation with a target accuracy of 1.5 to 2 meters. Tinfoil hat, anyone?

The AI hype-train rolls on

  • GPT-3: Generative Pre-trained Transformer 3 — bet you didn’t know that’s what it stood for. OpenAI’s beloved natural language processor is poised for more tomfoolery.
  • Multiskilled AI: AI systems are getting more senses. Recent breakthroughs allowed AI systems to generate images from text, and increase reading comprehension with visual cues.

Climate change is not dead

  • Lithium-METAL batteries: Not “Ion.” Metal. It’s a big difference. QuantumScape is developing a unique lithium-metal battery whose early tests show an 80% boost in EV range and faster charging.
  • Green Hydrogen: Hydrogen is the top pick for a fossil fuel alternative, but most production comes from not-so-green natural gas. Green hydrogen produces hydrogen from water with the help of green solar and wind electricity.
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Snippets
  • ‘The Curse of Bigness’ is the name of a tech antitrust book from lawyer and legal scholar Tim Wu. Per Ars Technica, the longtime Big Tech critic is joining the Biden administration. #BigTechBeware.
  • The $1.9T stimulus is coming: House Democrats plan to approve the COVID relief bill, which will send a direct payment of $1.4k to most Americans.
  • Harsh: India is looking at implementing new laws that would jail employees of Facebook, WhatsApp and Twitter for failure to comply with government censorship rules.
  • Microsoft hack: 20k+ organizations were compromised through “a back door installed via recently patched flaws in [Microsoft’s] email software.” This hack has reached more places than the SolarWinds fiasco. Ugh.
  • Speaking of hackers… stop taking selfies of your remote work setup (or, if you do, blur stuff out). Hackers have been stealing personal data from images showing TMI.
  • Poached: Fresh off raising a round at a $39B valuation, grocery delivery startup Instacart just grabbed the head of product (Daniel Danker) from its competitor Uber Eats.
VC closure
Indie VC

The idea of Indie.vc began as a mysterious Tumblr site (Source: Medium / Bryce Roberts)

Indie.vc shut down, but its vision for venture capital lives on

It sometimes feels like “venture capital” is just a synonym for “here’s a massive check, take over the world.”

For years, Bryce Roberts has worked to change that outlook.

A managing partner at OATV, Roberts launched Indie.vc in 2015 as a pilot fund focused almost entirely on helping bootstrapped companies reach profitability.

Indie’s investment thesis went something like this:

If today’s VCs are focused on Blitzscaling — what the Harvard Business Review describes as “throwing yourself off a cliff and assembling your airplane on the way down” — then Indie was the anti-VC VC.

Indie wanted to find the next Qualtrics, GitHub, Zapier, or Notion — all of which were laser-focused on serving customer needs and becoming profitable early on.

Indie first operated within OATV’s $85m 3rd fund and saw its investments increase revenues 100% in 12 months and 300% in 24 months, on average.

But we’re living in a world where unicorns are seemingly born overnight…

… and there weren’t any overnight unicorns in Indie’s portfolio because Indie was designed to be methodical, not fast.

So when OATV announced a 4th fund completely focused around the Indie model, 80% of its investor base dropped out — and that meant the end for Indie.

Last week, Roberts announced Indie was winding down operations. The firm has since seen an outpouring of support, and Roberts still expects many Indie investments to post 5x+ net multiples in 4-5 years.

If only those investors had some patience.

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SPONSORED

Monogram is reinventing the joint replacement game with 3D printed orthopedics

They’ve already raised $16.7M from 3 successful financing rounds — and this round, they’ve already scored $3.6M.

Click here to invest in Monogram’s current round.

Why is this such a cool opportunity? 

Because Monogram is transforming the orthopedic market by combining state of the art surgical robotics with patient optimized implant design.

  • Every Monogram orthopedic is custom 3D-printed, which allows them to be more fitting, accurate, and stable (Generic knee had up to 270% more movement and generic hip had up to 634% more movement than Monogram’s)
  • Their robotic surgical assistants use machine learning and advanced artificial intelligence to avoid soft tissue, making for less invasive surgeries
  • They built a 350 sq. st. cadaver (yes, that kind of cadaver) lab in Austin with some of the best engineers on the planet to perfect their products

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q&a
Jason H. Karp

Investor and entrepreneur Jason H. Karp (Source: HumanCo)

Meet HumanCo, the Berkshire Hathaway for health and wellness brands

Berkshire Hathaway is often imitated but rarely duplicated.

Built by Warren Buffett over many decades, the holding company has created a model studied by many. Two key features that have allowed Berkshire — and the many companies under its umbrella — to thrive are:

  • Permanent capital: An investment approach that has an unlimited time horizon, which allows for longer-term thinking.
  • Operational independence: A management approach in which portfolio companies operate with little external interference.

Jason H. Karp, an investor and entrepreneur, is aiming to instill this philosophy at his company, HumanCo.

‘The Berkshire Hathaway for health and wellness’

The 42-year-old has the diverse background needed to make it work:

  • Karp previously launched his own hedge fund (Tourbillon Capital), which managed $4.5B of assets at its peak.
  • He also co-founded Hu Kitchen, a health and wellness company recently acquired by the snack food giant Mondelez.

Karp’s interest in health came after he was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease and degenerative eye condition in his 20s. He changed his life by overhauling his diet and lifestyle.

HumanCo invests in and incubates new brands

Like Berkshire, companies under the HumanCo umbrella operate independently but can access shared resources like research, accounting, finance, and fundraising.

Its first 2 investments are Monty’s (a plant-based butter and cream cheese) and Coconut Bliss (a plant-based ice cream).

Last week, the first brand incubated within HumanCo hit the market: Snow Days, a gluten-free and healthy pizza bite (Karps says the aim is to make “comfort food clean”).

The Hustle recently spoke with Karp about:

  • How HumanCo works
  • The story behind Snow Days
  • His thoughts on synthetic meats and cannabis space

Read the full Q&A here.

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Tweet of the Day

The Hustle’s latest Sunday Edition covered the non-fungible token (NFT) craze, which has jumped from playing cards to digital collectibles to… now tweets?

A new platform called Valuables allows people to sell tweets as NFTs.

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey tweeted a link to the service, putting the platform’s first-ever tweet (from Dorsey himself on March 21, 2006) — “just setting up my twttr” — for sale. The top bid so far is $2.5m.

Bilal Zaidi — a Trends member and the man behind Creator Lab, a business podcast that dives inside the minds of leading entrepreneurs & creators (check the podcast or YouTube) — dropped this perfect tweet in response to the Dorsey news.

Source: Twitter / @bzaidi

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How to enter: Copy and paste your referral link: {referral_url} and share it with as many people as you can.

The ambassador with the most referrals between Monday 3/8, 8:30 AM PT and Friday 4/2, 11:59 PM PT will win.

Plus, we’ll be setting the winner up for success! Here’s how:

  • Andrew Gazdecki, the CEO of MicroAcquire will select the best business in the price range with happy customers and a working product – all acquisition costs will be covered
  • Andrew will also be mentoring the winner for a month (He’s a 30 under 30 entrepreneur who’s founded and sold two SaaS business’)
  • The winner (and their new company) will be announced in the daily for all 1.5 million subscribers to see

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