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“You may now kiss the startup.” WeddingWire proposes to XO Group in a $933m merger. The Hustle Sponsored by WeddingWire ties ‘The Knot’ with XO Group in a $933m marriage mega-merger WeddingWire finally popped the question: The wedding marketplace got...
By: Wes Schlagenhauf
September 27, 2018
“You may now kiss the startup.” WeddingWire proposes to XO Group in a $933m merger.
WeddingWire ties ‘The Knot’ with XO Group in a $933m marriage mega-merger
WeddingWire finally popped the question: The wedding marketplace got on one knee to ask for XO Group’s hand in merger with a $933m ring.
Now, competing suitors must speak before Nov. 8 or forever hold their peace. After that, XO will be off the market -- and the $72B wedding industry will have a new power couple.
Meant for each other
Operating as a public company for the past 19 years, XO has expanded its lineup beyond the “big day” to include brands for parents-to-be and events, seemingly happy on its own.
When WeddingWire first ran across The Knot’s high-value content, it recognized their natural compatibility (they just have so much in common!) and knew immediately that XO Group, The Knot’s parent company, was the one.
WeddingWire has produced wedding planning tools since 2007, offering services to find venues, photographers, and DJs. Now it hopes to use The Knot’s signature brand to create a one-stop matrimonial mecca.
Like any healthy couple, the two companies plan to maintain their independence as equal partners. The Wall Street Journal reports that both brands will continue to offer their separate products, with CEO Tim Chi of WeddingWare and CEO Mike Steib of XO serving as co-CEOs.
Weddings are big business...
But like any big business, the industry is crowded: Competitor Zola has raised more than $140m and claims to be the fastest-growing wedding company in the country.
For now, the deal’s announcement led to a 26% jump in XO shares, which are now up 50% on the year. Once the deal is complete, the combined company will have 1.7k employees across 15 countries.
You may now re-invest the bride...
The world’s crypto-kingpin posted pre-IPO numbers, and it looks good under the hood
As it prepares for a Hong Kong IPO, crypto-mining company Bitmain revealed that its revenue grew from $278m in 2016 to $2.5B last year to $2.8B in just the first half of 2018.
The world’s largest crypto-mining company has been profitable since 2016, avoiding the volatility of cryptocurrency exchanges by capitalizing on the tools of the new trade and then diversifying beyond them.
In the gold rush, smart entrepreneurs sold shovels...
Now, Bitmain sells the tools that enable the crypto rush: mining equipment. Bitmain capitalized on the enormous growth of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies -- which increased in value 15x last year -- without becoming totally reliant upon it.
While crypto exchange markets suffered $600B in losses since January, Bitmain increased revenue 10x and profit 9x from its previous year. So, how did crypto’s ’Main biz beat the market?
Bitmain didn’t put all its Bits in one Main
After carving out 85% market share as a virtual Bitcoin-mining monopoly (completely contradicting crypto’s central tenet of decentralization), Bitmain reinvested its massive profits in new research projects.
Bitmain now offers blockchain services and AI chips to power cloud systems and object-recognition programs -- and ⅓ of the company’s 2.6k work in R&D to develop new technology.
So for better or for worse, Bitmain now has enormous control over the supposedly decentralized crypto market as it prepares for its IPO: After filing its prospectus, the value of the top 20 cryptocurrencies rose 20%.
Get pumped: Digital health platform raises $27m for its new breast milk delivery service
Maven Clinic received $27m in funding to launch a nationwide breast milk delivery service (titled Maven Milk), designed for new, working moms.
Why? Because according to the company, more than 40% of American women who give birth leave the workforce -- some due to the lack of support from employers and healthcare providers.
Maven’s looking to change all that. Aside from its new avenue, the digital health platform was used in 166 countries last year to provide moms help with fertility and adoption, as well as support for postpartum depression, doctor referrals, and video appointments with healthcare professionals.
Ya’ll should know about Maven
The company was founded by Kate Ryder, a former journalist for the New Yorker who decided to quit it all and become a Venture Capitalist, then, got bored and created a premier women’s digital health platform in 2014.
Cut to today, Maven Clinic is the world’s largest digital women’s and family provider network.
Oh, and she’s also a mom of 2 -- *takes long, hard look at own resume*.
Companies are finally starting to get it
Only recently have companies started to acknowledge the importance of maternity benefits, not just during, but after maternity leave -- once women return to the workplace.
IBM has offered the service since 2014, along with Twitter in 2015, and last month, Goldman Sachs became the first company in the UK to extend the benefit-branch.
New York City-based Maven Health provides its services to companies like Snap and Bumble, and has raised $42m to date.
Payment technology company Stripe raised $245m in new funding, giving the company a $20B valuation -- up from $9B when it was evaluated 2 years ago.
According to the company’s co-founder John Collison, Stripe will use the “primary capital” to finance international expansion and enable Stripe to handle more large accounts.
Speak of the devil: The San Francisco-based company announced a new engineering hub in Singapore yesterday, and recently brought in new client-giants like Uber, Didi Chuxing, and Spotify.
So, we’d assume there’s an IPO coming in the near future…
But, you know what happens when you assume. Collison has recently said Stripe has “no plans to go public.”
Still, the $20B figure places Stripe among a very small group of the world’s most valuable private startups (Airbnb, Palantir, and Uber) and widely credited (among a few others) for revolutionizing how businesses collect transactions.
Though they remain generally out of sight to consumers, reports show that around 84% of American adults shopping online bought something via Stripe in the last year.
They still have a long way to go to catch Square
With a gargantuan market value of almost $40B, Square is essentially what Uber is to Lyft. Bigger in most ways, but not necessarily better.
And to help compete, Stripe, who is traditionally more of a software nerd, rolled out a point-of-sale device (similar to Square’s) so its online customers can take in-person payments from consumers.
Partners in wine: bored MIT grads create wine matchmaking algorithm
After picking another bottle of bad wine, MIT grads Richard Yau and Joe Laurendi realized what the wine world was missing: guidance.
The duo knew nothing about their wine preferences -- and learning through trial and error was cutting into their wallets. So, the two MIT grads did as any former mathlete would do: they created a wine matching algorithm and raised $5m to share it with the world.
Today, that algorithm powers Bright Cellars and delights mouths across the country.
Dip your toe in the waters wines of sophistication
Instead of asking snobby wine questions about “tannins” and “legs,” the Bright Cellars quiz asks, “What type of chocolate do you like?” or “How do you take your coffee?”
They ask questions anyone with a tongue can answer -- plus, it’s totally free to see your matches.
Bright Cellars’ algorithm uses your answers to map out your tastes and suggest wines that’ll tickle your t-buds.
Then, Bright Cellars handpicks six bottles each month and sends them directly to you. It’s like your personal guide through the vineyards of the world, all from the comfort of your apartment.
Discover wines you’re sure to love and get them delivered directly to you. For the next 48 hours, Hustle Readers can use our link to get 50% off your first shipment.
SOAK: Your food in this black truffle hot sauce, $14.99
One look at the Truff ‘about page’ and you get it: These sauciers mean business. Their black truffle hot sauce gives any food a blast of tongue-watering umami. We put Truff on everything from sando’s to a plain tortilla chip. Spoiler, it’s freaking tasty.
SWEAT: It out with an Aaptiv personal trainer, 30-day trial
Aaptiv holds your hand through fitness routines by piping personal trainers straight into your ear buds. Choose a 15min class on strength training or work toward your first marathon -- it’s all in the app.
CELEBRATE: Oktoberfest in Germany, 7 days for $5,410
Always wanted to drink beer from steins while wearing lederhosen, but hate planning? Problem solved. Kensington Tours takes care of accommodations, guides, transportation, and all that logistic gumbo so you can kick back and get your Deutsche on.
CONTROL: A fleet of robotic lawn mowers with Robin Autopilot, $49k
The future of lawn care is robots. Grab your slice of an $88B market with a Robin Autopilot franchise. Be your own boss, hire your own team, work outside, and become the robot overlord you’ve always wanted to be -- all while receiving support (marketing, training, and more) from Robin Autopilot HQ.
AVOID: The chaos of cord-cutting with TV Time, Free Download
You cut the cord and went full-stream ahead into the future of TV. But which app is ‘Ozark’ on again? Does the new episode of ‘Insecure’ air on Sunday or Monday? Relieve your TV anxiety: Download the free app TV Time to find out when and where your favorite shows are streaming, plus discover new ones, so you can stop stressing and start watching.