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In the past few months, there hasn’t been one conversation I’ve had about remote work that doesn’t include a mention of Hopin, a virtual events platform last valued at $2.1 billion.
For a company only a little older than a year, Hopin has a wild growth story. It grew its ARR from $0 to $20 million in nine months. It scooped up two businesses to differentiate its business, including StreamYard for $250 million just this week. And its last financing round left the company’s valuation at $2.1 billion.
Hopin’s growth amid Zoom’s fatigue is giving validation to a whole crop of remote-work-focused startups. I see startups in the category sitting in two camps: Either you’re betting that users want a more passive way to interact with video or you’re betting that users want a more active way to interact with video.
This week, for example, I wrote about Rewatch, which creates internal private channels for startups to archive all their videoconferencing meetings. The company is essentially turning live meetings into transcribed documents that employees can sift through on their own time, shifting from synchronous to asynchronous.
In contrast, I also covered Teamflow, a platform that wants to give a virtual space to companies to recreate the serendipity and productivity of an office. Unlike Rewatch, Teamflow thinks that employees want there to be more live moments in a distributed world.
Both previously in-stealth companies cited Hopin as an example of the need for innovation around how we interact virtually. Rewatch and Teamflow, respectively, see Zoom as a plug-in or competitor – not inspiration.
As I mentioned in this week’s podcast, it’s a dynamic I expect to play out even more over the next few months, as we evolve from a Zoom world to a Zoom alternative world. I want to hear from you, even if you disagree, about what companies in the remote work space should be on my radar. E-mail me at email@example.com or tweet me @nmasc_ with companies you think should be on my remote-work radar.
The power of platform
This week, the U.S. Capitol building was stormed by pro-Trump insurrectionists in a fatal riot. Many in the tech community blamed Jack Dorsey and Mark Zuckerberg for not limiting hate speech on their respective platforms, thus stoking flames of domestic terrorism.
- VCs dispense with niceties during Capitol riots: ‘Never talk to me again’
- Tech leaders point out platforms’ role in Capitol riots’
Here’s what to know:
- Facebook banned Trump for 2 weeks
- Twitter permanently suspended President Trump
- Reddit promised to take action
- Shopify pulled Trump’s stores off its website.
Even as many see the response as too little too late, the events mark a crucial change in the way that regulation between government and tech works.
FTC versus DTC
Sticking to our government and tech theme, P&G has officially terminated its plan to acquire razor startup, Billie, after the FTC sued over antitrust concerns.
Here’s what to know: Billie was founded in 2017 with the goal of fighting the “pink tax” on goods marketed to women, including razors and body wash. It was going to be acquired by P&G after raising just $35 million in venture capital.
- Here’s our seed coverage of the startup.
Etc: Direct-to-consumer brands are not happy. The failed deal is not-so-subtly signaling to DTC brands that there is a cap to their scale, at least in the FTC’s eyes. Government regulation and limited scale also could hurt VC interest in the category.
The optimistic news is that VC funding might be falling out of favor with top D2C brands.
Many product-based brands, as it turns out, are no longer interested in chasing venture capital, playing the “grow-at-all-costs” game and relinquishing partial control to investors, despite the pandemic and the uncertain circumstances many founders find themselves facing.
IPOs, a direct listing, and sky-high valuations
My colleague Alex puts together a brilliant newsletter each week after his column, The Exchange. Subscribe to it for his in-depth analysis on the IPO market and late-stage startups. In the meantime, though…
Here’s what to know:
- At $35 to $39 per share, Poshmark’s IPO could 5x its last private valuation
- Affirm targets up to $38 per share in IPO, pushing its valuation above $9B
- Roblox raises at $29.5 billion valuation, readies for direct listing
Etc: The Roblox Gambit
A directory of the most active and engaged investors in VC: The TechCrunch List
Across the week
Seen on TC
Seen on EC
If you’re new here, welcome! Equity is TechCrunch’s venture capital-focused podcast. I chat with Alex and Danny about the most important tech news each week, from early-stage startups to IPOs, and crack a few jokes in the meantime. Produced by Chris, Equity is a perfect appetizer to this newsletter.
Despite your wishes for a slower and perhaps more uneventful year, tech clearly isn’t slowing down in 2021. The Equity team had a mountain of news to get through, from Twitter’s very active checkbook to a $185 million Series A round.
Here’s what you’ll hear about if you tune into our debut full-team episode for the year:
- Why Hopin might be the fastest growing story of this era
- How, and why, a Utah-based expense management company founded in 2018 is already a unicorn
- What does a slew of acquisitions from Twitter and Amazon mean for the exit environment?
- And a tip just for you: a ton of VC firms squeezed in SEC filings on New Years Eve bringing hundreds of millions of capital to potential startups.
Convinced? Good. Listen here, and make sure to check out our bonus episode with Roblox and gaming news that comes out on Saturday.