TechCrunch+ roundup: VC advice for CEOs, 2022 e-commerce trends, OpenSea’s valuation

Data privacy is top of mind for online sellers, and for good reason: Regulators in China, Europe and North America are taking an interest, and iOS 14.5 allowed many consumers to disable data tracking, with negative consequences for companies that relied on Facebook’s granular ad targeting.

Bearing those factors and others in mind, Ben Parr, president and co-founder of e-commerce marketing platform, shared his e-commerce predictions for 2022:

  • Personalization and zero-party data become critical.
  • E-commerce embraces web3 and NFTs, but what will that look like?
  • Live shopping goes mainstream.
  • Slow but gradual improvement to the supply chain.

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If you manage an e-commerce startup’s brand, this is a helpful overview; Parr even weighs in on whether startups need to begin putting NFTs on their virtual shelves this year.

“I’m also eager to see brands utilize tokens for loyalty and rewards, a topic I’ve heard people discuss but not yet embrace.”

My prediction: We’ll be running many articles in 2022 with tactics for zero-party data collection. Google temporarily postponed its plan to deprecate third-party cookies until the latter half of 2023, which means the ad tech landscape is going to undergo tectonic shifts.

We have more expert-written posts with 2022 predictions in the pipeline, so stay tuned!

Thanks very much for reading,

Walter Thompson
Senior Editor, TechCrunch+

Making sense of OpenSea at a $13B valuation

NFT marketplace OpenSea’s valuation has skyrocketed, but at $13.3 billion, its revenue multiple isn’t very high when compared with other software companies, writes Alex Wilhelm in The Exchange.

“It appears that the new OpenSea valuation is cheap compared to recent fundamentals, but a little expensive when we consider how much its market booms and busts.”

After talking to marketing leaders for a year, here’s my advice for CEOs

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Image Credits: Carol Yepes (opens in a new window) / Getty Images

This is a fantastic time to launch a startup, but if you’re trying to grow one — well, winter is coming.

We’ve already noted the impacts of new data regulations and consumers’ growing desire for more privacy, but here’s another log to toss on the bad news fire: As a percentage of company revenue, marketing budgets plummeted from 11% in 2020 to 6.4% last year.

“This is the lowest proportion allocated to marketing in the history of Gartner’s Annual CMO Spend Survey,” the research company reported.

Rebecca Lynn, co-founder and general partner at Canvas Ventures, has had dozens of conversations with early-stage founders in recent months.

In a TechCrunch+ guest post, she covers the “downward pressure on the efficiency of marketing dollars” and shares several strategies that are producing results — as well as some “crazy” ideas “that seemed ridiculous at the time.”

Mark Cuban-backed fintech Dave’s public offering puts SPACs to the test

As a startup with relatively good financial performance, consumer financial service startup Dave could have bided its time for an initial public offering. Instead, it chose the SPAC route.

While the decision brought benefits, the fact that a cohort of less-than-stellar SPAC listings debuted at the same time brought some troubles as well, said CEO and co-founder Jason Wilk.

“If I could have done it all over again, I guess it would have been the same price discovery and guaranteed capital without the name SPAC associated with it, just because it’s been unfair.”

5 growth marketing predictions for 2022

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Our latest guest column with predictions for the coming year doesn’t just prognosticate: Growth expert Jonathan Martinez shares several tactics early-stage companies can use to capitalize on these trends.

Among other topics, Martinez shared methods for incrementally testing ads, his ideas about video ads and influencer marketing, and a few thoughts about Facebook and iOS 14 privacy changes.

“I believe we’ll start seeing heavy investments by Facebook and other social media platforms to keep users on their platforms, where they will still have access to first-party data,” writes Martinez.

Where will our data go when cookies disappear?

An oatmeal chocolate chip cookie with a bite out of it on a walnut wood board.

Image Credits: Robert Lowdon (opens in a new window) / Getty Images

Digital advertising has changed a lot in the past year, and it’s bound to change further when Google blocks third-party cookies from Chrome next year.

For publishers, it means advertising dollars should be spent wisely on strategies that maximize ad monetization without relying on old methods, writes James Avery, founder and CEO of Kevel.

In a deep dive of the changing ad world, Avery explains how publishers will have to prioritize first-party data to gather user insights, the importance of walled garden ad solutions, and why unified IDs are unsustainable in the long term.

Israel’s cybersecurity startups post another record year in 2021

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Israel’s cybersecurity startups raised a stunning $8.84 billion last year, more than triple the amount raised in 2020 ($2.75 billion), according to YL Ventures’ State of the Cyber Nation 2021 report.

“Cybersecurity in Israel has become a polarized market that accepts only two types of startups: potential unicorns and actual unicorns,” writes Yonit Wiseman, associate at YL Ventures.

VCs and founders are max bullish as public markets flash warning signs

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Image Credits: VectorInspiration / Getty Images

Public software stocks have lost a fair bit of value so far this year, but startup valuations continue to climb higher, seemingly unaffected by the markets’ declining opinion, writes Alex Wilhelm.

“Startups had best hope that private investors are right to index heavily on nascent growth rates over other traditional private-market metrics.

If not, everyone is going to be left holding some part of the bag when later rounds don’t consummate at higher prices.”