PLUS: A definitive guide on pricing models.
|The Big Idea|
This startup has created avatars for 1000s of celebrities. Now its tech is open to the public.
Genies is a leading avatar tech company.
For the past year, the LA-based startup has spun up avatars for thousands of athletes (Russell Westbrook, Victor Oladipo) and celebrities (J-Lo, Offset, Rihanna, and Justin Bieber).
Starting today, everyday users can get into the avatar action.
Genies launches its new software development kit (SDK)
Giphy and Gucci are the company’s first partners. Users across these platforms can now create their own personalized 3D Genie avatars.
Each app will have different functionality:
Celebrities are an ideal training ground
According to The Ringer, the sales pitch that Genies offers to the world’s most famous names is easy: “Avatars can show up, ready for the job, when their human counterparts can’t.”
Avatars don’t get tired, can “travel” anywhere, and are available 24 hours a day. In fact, the product-market fit is so strong that Genies launched Avatar Agency, which represents the interests of celeb digital doubles (here is Cardi B’s avatar at work).
Avatars are everywhere now…
As the next generation of consumers spend increasingly more of their lives in some form of a digital realm, 3D avatars will likely be everywhere.
Genies co-founder and CEO Akash Nigam tells The Hustle that his startup wants to be the “standard ubiquitous avatar across the entire internet.”
Today is a big first step to make that dream a reality.
(See below for a Q&A with Akash)
- IB-Hurting: IBM — everyone’s favorite tech punching bag — just reported its 3rd straight quarter of revenue declines. Perhaps most worryingly, its cloud unit is slowing.
- Lawmatics just raised $2.5m to help lawyers manage their clients, particularly at these 2 stages: 1) the intake, when clients look for legal help; and 2) after a case is resolved.
- MoonTalk: Nokia will build NASA a 4G network on the moon, so astronauts can chat (or, per very unverified speculation, so that they can play Among Us?).
- You can run the Stitcher podcast player on Pandora after SiriusXM closed its previously announced $325m deal.
- Rent out an entire AMC auditorium for $99! You can bring up to 20 friends, but the film choices are a mixed bag: Jurassic Park (YAY), 2 Hearts (NAY), and Sonic The Hedgehog (Oh God).
- Bonus: Speaking of movies, Bruce Willis brought back Die Hard for a 2-minute battery commercial (we have thoughts).
‘Avatars are the next medium of expression’
The son of a WebMD co-founder, Akash Nigam has been launching startups since college.
While a junior at the University of Michigan, he created a messaging app (Blend) and soon dropped out of school to pursue the entrepreneurial life.
We chatted with Nigam to find out more about his vision for Genies and the future of digital identities.
What excites you the most about the new Genies partnerships?
Genies has been delivering avatars exclusively to celebrities for the past year. I’m excited about taking wins and lessons from that experience to a big consumer audience (e.g., GIPHY’s 1B users).
Not only can consumers make Genie avatars now, but we’re also upgrading from 2D to 3D avatars.
What is notable about the upgrade to 3D avatars?
I think the term “avatar” is used too loosely. The best way to think about it is on a continuum.
Avatars are the next medium of expression, and 3D allows you to effectively operate and command virtual beings.
Can consumers take their Genies avatars across platforms?
Yes. Genies wants to secure as many SDK partnerships as possible, and no platform will be isolated. Our vision is to create a virtual portable identity. It’ll be its own unique layer of the digital realm.
How big is the digital goods opportunity?
I’m very bullish on digital goods. Take Fortnite: Last year, it sold $1B in avatar skins.
One of our investors is an early member of Riot Games and led monetization for League of Legends, which grew to a $4B business, much of it coming from digital goods.
Moving forward, we plan on building a secondary market for these types of digital goods, which will allow users to sell digital goods to one another. That way, goods will even accrue value over time due to scarcity.
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|New App Alert|
YouTube is making moves to extend its video dominance
While YouTube may be worth as much as $300B as a standalone company, the Alphabet-owned firm can’t take its position for granted.
YouTube TV could be launching an app store
It’s at least testing the waters with an NFL Fantasy Football app, which is sure to drive engagement and be another surface area for epic fantasy trash-talking.
With the integration, users can track their fantasy scores alongside live games with the click of a button — keeping their dopamine rushes to one screen and eliminating the need to obsessively check their phones for updates.
As the linchpin of the cable bundle, sports is an intuitive place to start, but perhaps even more interesting is that YouTube TV can ladder up offerings in the app store… like bringing in an entire daily fantasy platform (e.g., DraftKings).
An augmented TV-viewer experience is a leg up on traditional cable
Esther Ahn, YouTube TV’s Head of Design, says the team wants to partner with apps that can make the viewing experience more clear and engaging.
YouTube is also working on a process to have creators tag products displayed in videos as a way to turbocharge its video ecommerce offering.
As Omar Little famously said in HBO’s The Wire, “You come at the king, you best not miss.”
|The Price is Right|
The definitive list of all the different pricing models you can use
Naturally, Elon Musk — who priced the Tesla short shorts at $69.420 — announced a pending price cut of the Model S to $69,420.
Pricing Strategy 101
Not from HubSpot — but The Hustle’s personal favorite:
P.S. In related news, HubSpot’s CEO Brian Halligan recently joined the Trends Facebook group — BOOM!
The Hustle Says
This Amazon Audit from VeriShip will show you how much money you could get back from Amazon due to fulfillment errors on their end. Check it out.*
Scientists have discovered there actually *is* a perfect way to start your day: Taking this 30-second Sporcle quiz on Pixar characters. You’re welcomeeeee.
Forget $QQQ. If you’re into investing, you’re gonna want to get in on Miso Robotics while there’s still time. They doubled their revenue from 2018 to 2019 by revolutionizing dining through automation, and they’re showing no signs of slowing down.*
Charcuterie boards are out (blame it on the olives), while candy charcuterie boards are in. Just don’t tell your dentist.
*This is a sponsored post.
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