🦄 The 1st NFT unicorn


July 23, 2021

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The Hustle

The Tokyo Olympics kick off this morning. Unsurprisingly, things will look very different this year: no in-person fans (on the plus side, this probably means no streaking).

Today’s rundown:

  • An NFT unicorn: Meet OpenSea, an NFT startup worth $1.5B.
  • Taking on Amazon: Jokr raises $170m to deliver groceries in 15 minutes.
  • The Olympics: Even without fans, NBC is charging brands $1m an ad spot.
  • Around the web: Awesome, random stuff for your enjoyment.

Let’s go (and have a great weekend)!

 
The big idea
OpenSea logo

OpenSea is the 1st NFT unicorn

Nonfungible tokens (NFTs) def had a moment earlier this year with a $69m digital art sale and an NBA highlights craze.

While the hype has slowed, that sweet, sweet cheddar is still pouring into the industry.

The latest: OpenSea — a peer-to-peer marketplace to buy and sell digital NFT art — just raised $100m at a $1.5B valuation (making the startup the 1st official NFT “unicorn,” a private company worth $1B+).

NFTs are built on top of Ethereum

Despite the broader crypto sell-off in recent months, OpenSea is still en fuego, posting a record $160m in sales in June. (OpenSea takes a 2.5% cut of all transactions on the platform.)

CEO Devin Finzer claims the growth is due to a shift from digital art to “weird” use cases like gaming, event ticketing, and domain names.

3 NFT collections are thriving on OpenSea…

… according to a recent tweet from Gen Z whisperer Tiffany Zhong:

  • CryptoPunks: One of the 1st nonfungible tokens on the Ethereum blockchain
  • Bored Ape Yacht Club: NFTs that double as a membership card for online communities
  • Cool Cats: NFTs that give holders access to exclusive events

This is only the beginning

OpenSea plans on expanding beyond the Ethereum blockchain, which has become expensive for casual users.

Other blockchains would make low-value projects like event ticketing and gaming more accessible, opening NFTs to a wider market.

To celebrate its new valuation (in the most meta way possible) OpenSea has a wide range of unicorn NFTs to choose from. Very on brand.

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SNIPPETS

Sweet deal: Beverage maker Zevia — best known for Stevia-sweetened sodas — went public this week at $14 a share. #ecommerce-retail

By 2030, Mercedes-Benz will only produce electric vehicles. And it’s dropping $47B on the conversion. #clean-energy

Kilkenny Design opened a VR store based on its Dublin flagship. Customers worldwide can access and browse the shop, even as pandemic restrictions prevent travel. #emerging-tech

As banks explore digital currencies, could consumer privacy be at stake? That’s the topic of this week’s Stephanomics podcast. #privacy

JPMorgan opened crypto trading to all its wealth management clients. Clients have to ask to make the trades and advisors can’t suggest crypto products. #fintech-cryptocurrency

Beep beep: Uber picked up transportation logistics company Transplace in a $2.25B deal. This will boost Uber’s trucking division, Uber Freight. #big-tech

Standing room only: Google Maps will expand its tech that lets public transit riders know how crowded their bus or train is. #big-tech

What do startup founders who fundraise efficiently do differently? Check out this thread from The Hustle’s Adam Hayes. #hustle-picks

Grocery Tech
Jokr app

Grocery delivery platform Jokr raises $170m to take on Amazon

You’ve heard of pizza in 30 minutes or less, but what about groceries in 15 minutes?

Enter Jokr, a grocery delivery platform that just raised $170m to do just that, per TechCrunch.

Founder and CEO Ralf Wenzel says the goal is to be a “more sustainable” Amazon “that appreciates local areas and products.”

How it works

  • Customers download the Jokr app, browse groceries and household goods, and pay.
  • “Pickers” pack the order at the nearest hub, then “riders” take off on a branded bike or scooter to deliver in ~15 minutes.

Jokr only launched ~4 months ago and has 100 hubs in 7 countries across the Americas and Europe. It hopes to double hubs by year’s end.

And unlike many similar services, most Jokr riders are full-time employees and not gig workers, per Bloomberg.

The quick-delivery model works for urban areas…

… where several small hubs with low overhead can supply couriers on bikes or scooters who quickly navigate the streets.

Reporter Anne Kadet tried 3 such services in New York City, including Jokr. She found they all made good on their quick delivery promises.

Her only complaint was the smaller selections — ~2k-3k items compared to a grocery store’s 10k+. Still, a service that brings you groceries as fast as you can preheat an oven is pretty sweet.

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Whole Lotta Gold
stadium view on a tv

The big ad dollars behind this year’s fanless Olympics

Some 11k athletes have convened in Tokyo for this year’s Olympics. Unfortunately, there won’t be any fans to see them do their thing.

But that doesn’t mean they won’t be watching from home, and companies are pouring big bucks into ad spots to catch their attention.

What kind of bucks we talkin’?

NBCUniversal says it’s already surpassed the $1.2B in US ad revenue it banked in 2016’s Rio Olympics, and still has more slots to sell.

The price tag for 30-second ads hasn’t quite hit the ~$5m going rate for Super Bowl spots, but NBC’s reportedly charging $1m a pop.

Creating Olympics ads in 2021 wasn’t easy

David Droga, who leads an agency that made ads for Facebook highlighting skateboarders (now an Olympic sport), told The New York Times, “Advertisers don’t want to be too saccharine or too clever but are trying to find that right tone.”

Unsurprisingly, in that sense, United Airlines tossed out a campaign promoting flights to Tokyo.

And since you were wondering, yes, our No. 1 pick for an Olympics guerilla marketing campaign is the time Beats circumvented official rules and sent top athletes custom headphones to wear at the games.

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AROUND THE WEB

📜 That’s cool: Researchers at the Getty Research Institute in Los Angeles digitally reunited a piece of 2.3k-year-old mummy wrapping from the Egyptian “Book of the Dead” with another fragment in New Zealand. Wait, I’ve seen this movie…

🤮  Cure boredom: The Air Sickness Bag Museum is a virtual collection of 3k+ vomit bags from around the world. Some are pretty amazing!

👀  How to: Have you ever wanted to see your TikTok watch history? It’s not easy, but The Verge has a few options.

🍏  Feel-good TV: Season 2 of the hit show Ted Lasso premiers on Apple TV+ today. Trung wrote a thread on why the show’s writing is so good…and Apple TV+’s Twitter account gave it the seal of approval.

☄  On this day: In 1995, Comet Hale-Bopp was discovered by Alan Hale in New Mexico and Thomas Bopp in Arizona. Both men spotted the comet around the same time and thus share its namesake.

Meme of the day

While Jamaican running legend Usain Bolt is retired, we’ll always have this meme from his gold-winning days.

Source: Guest of a Guest

Shower Thoughts

  1. “The reason the washing machine only ever eats one sock is because when it eats a pair we don’t notice it.”
  2. “If we removed the walls and ceilings of trains, they would just be rollercoasters.”
  3. “Life on earth is practically what happens when you don’t store things in a ‘cool, dry place away from light.’ We are cosmic mold.”
  4. “Once humans have lived on Mars for long enough, a Martian accent will develop.”
  5. “People think Wikipedia is a source when it is actually a reference, and Wikipedia lists its sources as references.”
via Reddit
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