🛰️ The satellite business is booming


March 10, 2021

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Disney+ announced it hit 100m subscribers only 16 months after launch. The Hustle has set that mark as a (stretch) goal for the next 16 days…  AND we’re free!

C’mon people, smash them referrals.

The big idea
Elon in space

SpaceX’s rapidly expanding satellite business, explained

With all the satellites Elon Musk’s SpaceX has launched over the past few months, you’d think the man was building a Death Star.

Thankfully, he’s working on something more lighthearted — a constellation of internet-beaming Starlink satellites to deliver high-speed internet anywhere on Earth.

Starlink’s focus is primarily on serving rural areas…

… but the program is also viewed as somewhat of a trial run for an eventual Martian wireless network and could be the silver bullet for Musk’s Mars ambitions.

Starlink is expected to cost $10B+ to complete but bring in $30B annually, or 10x the revenue of SpaceX’s rocket division, which it could then fund for trips to Mars.

But as the program grows, so does its backlash

Starlink has launched 1k+ satellites with plans for 42k. It has 10k+ users, though 700k registered interest and SpaceX hopes to deploy 5m user terminals in the US.

Not everyone’s happy about that:

  • Astronomers are upset about Starlink satellites’ visual interference
  • Dish is claiming Starlink’s network could interfere with its own satellite services
  • Local internet service providers are questioning whether SpaceX can deliver on its speed promises to the Federal Communications Commission

Yet Musk hasn’t batted an eye. With the fleet expanding, SpaceX last week asked the FCC for permission to install Starlink terminals on trucks, ships, and planes.

SpaceX is ahead, but not alone in the space

Where there’s opportunity, there’s… Jeff Bezos. Amazon’s $10B Project Kuiper aims to launch 3.2k+ high-speed internet satellites in the coming years.

Another company, UK-based OneWeb, has raised $1.4B and expects its satellites to offer global coverage by mid-2022.

What’s interesting is that “space internet” isn’t new — satellite providers HughesNet, ViaSat, and Inmarsat were founded in the ’70s and ’80s.

Funny enough, even then we knew that to get internet on Earth, sometimes the best place to go is space.

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Snippets
  • Biden puts his trust in antitrust: The president reportedly tapped prominent antitrust scholar Lina Khan to join the FTC. Khan is far from the first Big Tech critic to join the administration.
  • Group Nine adds 2: The Discovery-backed SPAC building out Group Nine Media’s portfolio added CNN’s Jeff Zucker and Technicolor vice chair Melinda Mount to its board.
  • T-Mobile’s ad play: The carrier will automatically enroll subscribers in a data-sharing program with advertisers to improve ad relevance, unless they opt out.
  • Kayak’s digital move: The travel company is giving independent hotels a boost with new app features that give guests the power to check in, lock doors, order food, and more through the app.
  • Zoom CEO Eric Yuan transferred ~40% of his stake, around 18m shares of stock — worth over $6B — for estate-planning purposes. Zoom shares are up 200%+ since the pandemic began.
  • BIG CHANGE: Reuters reports that Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff may step down. Bret Taylor — the company’s COO and early Facebook exec — looks to replace him.
  • The ‘most unusual day’: Yahoo! News has a great retrospective of March 11, 2020, the day that “marked the start of the COVID era.”
  • Roblox ($RBLX) goes public: The 3D world beloved by US kids under-16 goes public in a direct listing today. This thread sums up the highlights.
Acquired
no code graphic

No-code leader Zapier acquires Makerpad, a no-code community

When HubSpot acquired The Hustle last month, we installed an alarm system in our office that goes off whenever a software company acquires a content or community service.

On Monday, the alarm went haywire when a leading no-code company (Zapier) acquired a leading no-code community (Makerpad), per TechCrunch.

Wait, what’s ‘no-code’?

Not to be confused with “bro code,” no-code is a movement in the software community to create tools that allow non-programmers to do programmer stuff.

Instead of “writing code,” regular folk can do software development via graphical user interfaces like drag-and-drop.

With a few clicks, Zapier lets you connect and automate functionality between different web apps (e.g., create a Slack channel that buzzes every time @elonmusk tweets).

Other no-code tools include:

  • Webflow, for responsive websites
  • Shopify, for ecommerce
  • Bubble, for web apps
  • Thunkable, for mobile apps
  • Substacks, for making newsletters…which are like this text-based medium that gets delivered by email

Makerpad’s Ben Tossell has been teaching people…

… how to create apps and services with zero coding knowledge for years (check out his no-code Airbnb clone).

Zapier’s CEO Wade Foster says Makerpad will stay largely independent and “remain focused on teaching and inspiring people about what’s possible” with no-code.

For Zapier — which has hit a $140m run rate and a $5B valuation per Forbes) — the acquisition makes a world of sense.

The more people take up no-code, the better for its business… no question.

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High School High
basketball

Overtime wants to pay high schoolers $100k+ to drop dimes in new league

There’s a new basketball league coming… to a high school near you.

Overtime — a media startup focused on high school sports highlights — announced a new basketball league dubbed “Overtime Elite,” per the sports business newsletter Huddle Up.

With 45m+ followers across its social platforms, Overtime has built a big following by bringing the 24/7-type coverage of pro leagues to amateur ranks (like this high school dunk from current NBA superstar Zion Williamson).

The league plans to offer 30 high school players (16-18 years old)…

… a minimum salary of $100k, along with health insurance, equity in the league, and cash bonuses. Investors include VC firm Andreessen Horowitz as well as NBA stars such as Kevin Durant and Carmelo Anthony.

There is a catch: By playing in the league, players forgo college and high school ball.

In exchange, Overtime is offering young talent a basketball masterclass, with former NBA players and coaches helping to develop players.

The ‘we will pay you’ part is a big deal

Since 2006, the NBA has banned “prep-to-pro” draftees under age 19 (AKA the LeBron James and Kobe Bryant track).

The NCAA has long barred players from benefiting off their name, image, and likeness (even as the colleges profit off of the amateur talent). A lawsuit now before the Supreme Court could change that.

Crucially, NBA commish Adam Silver supports the Overtime Elite League.

He told CNBC, “I think it’s generally good for the community to have optionality, especially when very solid people, which appears to be the case in [Overtime], are backing it and behind it.”

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TRENDS

The $1B+ NFT hype and how to capitalize…

All the way back in May of last year, our team of analysts wrote an article detailing the exciting opportunities within the digital collectible space.

Fast forward to today, and NFTs (non-fungible tokens) are blowing up.

(We called this one)

Just in the last couple of months, NFT art and collectibles have sold for combined hundreds of millions of dollars.

Now, here’s why this is good news for you:

It’s still very early on in the game for NFTs, and there are countless opportunities to stake a claim on huge portions of the infrastructure.

“During a gold rush, you don’t want to mine gold. You want to sell picks and shovels.

To help you get started, our team of analysts compiled a brand new Trends report.

When you read through, you’ll learn:

  • What exactly NFTs are, and how some businesses are making $300M+ selling them
  • The three biggest opportunities we’ve identified in the NFT space
  • The niche product that we think could very easily make $5M+/month in sales
  • And much more.

If you’re not already a member of Trends, sign up today for a free trial to get access to the full report.

See the Full Report →

Tech of the day
robotic arm

Sweaty palms included (Source: NextShark)

Last year, Japanese scientists created a robotic hand that mimics the feeling of someone holding your hand while you walk. The hand is made from a soft pliable gel that can heat up and mildly sweat.

We’re not here to joke, though. The intent is positive.

The Japanese word hikikomori describes people who live in extreme isolation. The problem is so bad that the country created a new cabinet role in February — the minister of loneliness — to help deal with a rising suicide rate.

Quarantine rules have exacerbated a bad situation, and we’re all for anything to help alleviate the mental stress brought on by the pandemic.

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Psst

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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