The hitchhiker’s guide to an IPO


July 10, 2019

Today, Rawlings baseballs are on the juice and live podcast event sales are ruling the roost, but first…
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Open them earholes, folks 🎧 Episode #3 of My First Million is live. Listen to it here

On its way to space, Virgin Galactic plans to make a pit stop on Wall Street

Richard Branson’s space tourism company is boldly going where no space tourism company has gone before: The New York Stock Exchange.

Yesterday, Branson announced that Virgin Galactic plans to become the first human spaceflight company to go public. 

According to The Washington Post, Virgin Galactic is said to be valued at around $1.5B and is expected to go public this year.

Houston, we have IPO plans

Virgin Galactic has raised more than $1B since it was founded in 2004. But most of it has been funded by Branson’s personal fortune — mainly because he didn’t think it was going to take this long to get tourists into space.

But, shockingly, space flight is hard… and the company has been hit with various technical setbacks (like when a spaceship came apart during a test flight in 2014, killing a co-pilot).

It’s also crazy expensive

Even a British billionaire is having trouble keeping the company afloat on his own dime. 

The purpose of going public is so Virgin Galactic can use the capital it raises to keep the thrusters firing until it brings in its own cash from commercial flights.

Now, it’s only a matter of time (and money)

Taking a company of this size and stature public is a risky move, especially for a space tourism company that seems light-years away from ever flying any tourists. 

But Branson and his esteemed colleagues know it’s only a matter of time until the cash starts pouring in.

600 people in 60 countries have already slapped down more than $80m in deposits to hold a spot on one of Branson’s space trains ($250k per ticket). And that’s not to mention the competition.

The fast-growing industry as a whole — most notably SpaceX and Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin —  could be worth as much as $2.7T by 2045.

It pays to stay in the air
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Street fights, internet booze, and a hot dog stand: it’s Sam Parr time 

You may not know it, but The Hustle is just the latest in a lifelong string of entrepreneurial pursuits of our founder, Sam. 

In the newest episode of The Hustle’s podcast, My First Million, host Shaan Puri explores how our fearless leader went from owning a hot dog stand in Tennessee (Southern Sam’s: Weiners as big as a baby’s arm!) to starting one of the fastest-growing media companies in the country from his San Francisco kitchen — and all the lessons he’s learned along the way.

Click below to listen for free and subscribe if ya’ love us.

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Live podcast events have got everyone talking

In the past 6 years, the number of paid podcast events has increased by more than 2,000%, according to independent ticket vendor data reviewed by Axios.

The explosion of live events represents a reliable secondary source of revenue for popular podcasts.

But not all podcasts are created equal

Personality-driven podcasts like Peter Sagal’s Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me! on NPR are some of the most successful.

Podcasting critics explain the success of these people-powered podcast events with an “intimacy thesis,” arguing that podcasting’s fundamental value lies in its ability to cultivate a feeling of intimacy between a speaker and a listener.

And people will pay big bucks for an intimate experience

My Favorite Murder and Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me! — 2 personality-driven podcasts — charge the most per average ticket, at $117 and $113, respectively.

It’s likely that other shows will follow suit: The number of paid, live podcast performances increased from just 21 in 2012 to 460 last year.

» Pod-a-bing pod-a boom

Are MLB’s baseballs on the juice?

This year, according to The Washington Post, MLB players are on pace to hit nearly 6,500 home runs, eclipsing the 2017 record by 400 home runs.   

This power surge isn’t happening because of Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire’s use of steroids. This time, the baseballs — not the athletes — are juiced.

An inside job?

Pitchers have voiced complaints about juiced baseballs for the last 4 years but have been particularly outspoken this summer.

The league may be the culprit: The MLB purchased ball manufacturer Rawlings in 2018. 

“I find it really hard to believe that Major League Baseball owns Rawlings and just coincidentally the balls become juiced,” Houston Astros pitcher Justin Verlander told ESPN

MLB commissioner Rob Manfred admits these changes may be attributable to the balls… but denied the MLB had juiced the balls on purpose.   

The balls were juiced in the ’90s, too 

As it turns out, these concerns are cyclical: Critics theorize that juiced baseballs led to a rise in homers during the ‘roid-raging ’90s

Not much has changed. On Monday, The Blue Jays’ Vladimir Guerrero Jr. hit 91 home runs in the Home Run Derby, 30 more than the previous record.

» Swing, batta

You can now pay extra to be comfortable in your Uber

Yesterday, Uber launched a new tier of its ride-hailing service called “Uber Comfort.” 

The new service offers riders nicer vehicles, more highly rated drivers, and temperature and conversation preferences — AKA the ability to opt out of a 20 minute soliloquy on your driver’s chihuahua’s intestinal problems — for a 20% to 40% premium over standard UberX fares.

Silence isn’t Uber’s first premium feature

In fact, Uber now has 7 tiers — Express Pool, Pool, X, X Diamond, Comfort, Select, and Black (the last 2 are even more expensive than the new Comfort tier).

Uber rolled out rider preferences in May in its topmost rider tiers, turning silence into a premium feature.

But reactions to the ‘Quiet Ride’ feature have been mixed

Some people have argued that forcing Uber drivers to bite their tongues is another example of Uber imposing harsh working conditions on its drivers.

But other commentators point out that the new Comfort Mode also enables drivers to earn an extra 20% for rides of the same duration and distance, making the silent treatment well worth their while.

» Shush
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