🦄 Vegan unicorns? Yes. Vegan unicorns.


March 24, 2021

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Prince Harry is coming to Silicon Valley. The Duke of Sussex is taking on a role as “chief impact officer” at the unicorn mental health startup, BetterUp Inc.

Cue the awkward Zoom meetings.

Unicorns
unicorn eating veggies

Vegan food unicorns are taking over the market

There’s a new cow in town, and this one really is ready to jump over the moon.

NotCo is a Bezos-backed plant-based protein company from Chile that makes vegan milk, mayonnaise, ice cream, and burgers.

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They’ve raised $120m so far thanks to Giuseppe, their patented AI software, which helps them analyze and develop new product recipes.

Now, they’re eyeballing a $1B valuation as they expand further into the US, Canada, and Mexico.

There’s a surprising number of vegan moo-nicorns

According to Lever VC, a leading investor in the alt-protein space, the plant-based meat and dairy industries are worth a combined $22B and are growing fast.

  • Just Inc. (plant-based eggs) is valued at $1B+.
  • Beyond Meat (plant-based meats) has an $8.8B market cap.
  • Oatly (oat milk) recently raised $200m at a $2B valuation and is reportedly targeting a $10B IPO.

The industry is projected to grow 31% YoY, reaching $85-$140B in the next 10-15 years — and, most likely, minting several new billion-dollar companies along the way.

The first-ever Chilean unicorn?

There’s another interesting angle here: If NotCo does hit a $1B valuation, it’ll be Chile’s first unicorn startup — vegan or not.

Despite pandemic woes, Latin America saw a record 488 VC deals in 2020, and Mexico and Uruguay minted their first billion-dollar startups.

NotCo — which so far only operates in Chile, Brazil, Argentina, and the US — is projecting 4x sales growth in 2021 as they move into even greener pastures.

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Snippets
  • Microsoft hit a chord with Discord: The Big Tech company is in talks to purchase the gaming-focused chat platform for $10B+ — though it’s also possible Discord takes itself public.
  • Yahoo’s big comeback: Verizon Media Group has plans to double down on paid subscriptions (currently at 3m) and rebrand most of its media franchises as Yahoo products.
  • WeWork’s working things out: The company reportedly lost $3.2B in 2020 and is working toward going public in a SPAC deal at a $9B valuation.
  • GoPuff’s popular $1.95 delivery fee for on demand snacks has landed it $1.15B in funding at an $8.9B valuation. The service delivers products in 30 minutes or less and is available in 650+ US cities.
  • Intel is dropping $20B on 2 new chip plants in Arizona in a bid to make the US more of a player in semiconductor manufacturing.
Antitrust
Capitol building

The White House confirmed its FTC appointee, and she’s coming for Big Tech

From 1980 through 2019, the top 5 stocks in the S&P 500 averaged 13% of the index’s total market value. Today’s top 5 — Apple, Microsoft, Amazon, Facebook, and Google — represent over 20%.

That could soon change.

Earlier this week, the Biden administration confirmed plans to appoint antitrust scholar Lina Khan to a commissioner role at the FTC.

Biden wants to properly execute antitrust regulation…

… because last time things didn’t go so well.

Per Politico, the FTC made made poor predictions about Google’s future during a 2012 antitrust probe, including:

  • Limited growth in personalized ads
  • Consumer preference toward desktop over mobile
  • Search competition from Microsoft, Mozilla, and Amazon

Today, ads account for much of Google’s revenue, ~62% of searches happen on mobile, and Google maintains a ~92% market share.

Khan doesn’t plan on making the same mistakes

At just 32 years old, Khan’s antitrust resume is deep:

  • Her paper “Amazon’s Antitrust Paradox” is widely cited among antitrust experts
  • She teaches antitrust law at Columbia Law School, was an FTC fellow for Commissioner Rohit Chopra, and was the director of legal policy at the Open Markets Institute

If confirmed, Khan would likely up the chances of the FTC taking antitrust action soon. The agency previously filed a suit against Facebook and has reportedly been investigating Amazon for years.

But not everyone has approved, including Sen. Mike Lee, who cited Khan being just 4 years out of law school, and NetChoice — a tech trade group.

Among the group’s members: Amazon, Facebook, and… Google.

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Travel
plane

Photo: SERGEI SUPINSKY/AFP via Getty Images

The short-lived era of extremely cheap travel is coming to an end

Last summer, transport-related expenses saw historic dips:

  • The average domestic airline ticket plummeted to $135 — a 32% decline from 2019 and the lowest price in 2 decades.
  • Average daily hotel rates fell ~40%, to $80.
  • Oil prices dropped to below $0 per barrel — yes, $0 — for the first time in history, and gas hovered around $2/gallon.

But per CNBC, we may soon see these rock-bottom prices return to normal as Americans start to dip their feet back into domestic travel.

Travelers are on the move

The CDC is still advising against travel, as ~54k new cases of COVID-19 are being reported in the US every day.

But travelers aren’t shying away from airports.

According to a report, the TSA recently screened 1m+ airline passengers for 11 consecutive days — almost 2x the volume of travelers reported at the same time a year ago.

The travel site Kayak told CNBC that travel searches on its platform are up 27% week-over-week and airline queries are up 7% month-over-month.

And more travelers means a return to ‘normal’ prices

Here’s what those figures above look like now:

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The Hustle Says

Is she Emily or an irresistible dead ringer? From #1 NYT bestselling author Dean Koontz, a riveting new novel about love and impossible second chances.*

Nike announced a new shoe and we could not be more hyped… the Space Hippie. They’re beautifully different, which is also what Intern Stenn’s mom used to say about him.

This ecomm game-changer was just named a “Most Fundable Company”. Perfitly is changing the online shopping game with an AR/VR-AI platform that lets online shoppers try on their clothes before buying — Target and other Top 5’s ears are perking up. Invest in their SeedInvest right here.*

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TRENDS

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From the archives
Nick Perry jail photo

In 1980, Nick Perry — a beloved local TV anchor in Pennsylvania — *attempted* to pull off one of the weirdest lottery heists in American history.

Enlisting the help of a ragtag group of church friends and a crooked state lottery official, Perry concocted a crazy plan that involved injecting ping pong balls with latex paint.

The con man made off with $1.2m (~$3.9m today) in winning tickets — but his plan was foiled when a mob boss tipped off a reporter.

Check out The Hustle’s full Sunday story (~10 min read)

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