Yubo might be the next big thing in social
Good morning! This Tuesday, how one founder is using new SEC rules to ditch the VCs, why Yubo might be the next big thing in social, how the wearables market became the AirPods market and why, for Elon Musk, it's NFTs all the way down.
Sahil Lavingia, the CEO of commerce platform Gumroad, just raised $5 million in new funding. But he didn't do it by traversing Sand Hill Road looking for a few big checks. Instead, he wanted that $5 million to come in a few hundred dollars at a time from investors he's never met. Maybe even investors who no one would call "investors."
The backstory: Last fall, the SEC passed a new set of rules for "exempt offerings," which allow startups to raise funds by selling securities. The SEC acknowledged that its exempt offering rules had become "overly complex" and tried to make them simpler to understand.
These rule changes are probably going to make VCs crazy, since now there are easy ways to loop them out of the super-early fundraising that often brings the biggest windfalls. Lavingia, who has a history of trying new things in this space, seems pretty OK with that: "I think if VCs were really upset about rolling funds, they're really upset about just trying to skip the VCs at all if possible."
It certainly worked for Gumroad. It hit $5 million in less than a day, with the money coming from 7,513 investors. That means the average check was about $665. And the waitlist for even more investors is already growing (though Lavingia can't crowdfund more investment until next year). The idea works, at least for one founder.
Will this change the way Gumroad is run? After all, it's one thing to take money from a bunch of rich investors, and quite another to have thousands of regular people bet their savings on you. Lavingia said … probably?
Anna Kramer writes: If you don't know what Yubo is, that's OK! You will. The French social networking app is targeted at teenagers, and it's basically a rejection of "traditional" social media like Facebook and Twitter. Also, it's on fire; it has more than 40 million users, most of them in the U.S., Canada and Australia.
So what is Yubo, actually? At its core, it's an app where you make friends with other people your own age by hopping in and out of rooms based on your interests.
Building an app so that kids can meet strangers online is an inherently risky proposition. It also, according to Durand, opened the door to much more creative and aggressive user-safety approaches and tools.
Kids are just going to be permanently online in the future, and tech needs to be designed for that reality. The company raised $47.5 million in its series C late last year, so investors seem to think that Yubo might be good for that future.
The wearables market is booming. And changing. What used to mean "Fitbits and Jawbones and other stuff you wear on your wrist" now mostly means … AirPods.
Non-smartwatch wristbands look like a dying breed, at least for now. But, I mean, who needed a Fitbit to tell them they weren't going anywhere last year? And if Facebook is right that wristband controllers are a key part of the future of augmented reality, they could be in for a comeback.
But if there's one place you should be paying more attention, it's headphones. From spatial audio to Clubhouse to voice assistants to AR tools like MarsBot, there's a lot more to do with ears than blast music into them. The question is, can anyone outdo Apple?
Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act is the most-discussed and least-understood law governing the modern internet. This event will delve into the future of Section 230 and how to change the law without compromising the internet as we know it. Join Protocol's Emily Birnbaum and Issie Lapowsky in conversation with Senator Mark Warner. This event is presented by Internet Association.
Telegram needs money (badly), and Pavel Durov said he'd rather IPO than fundraise:
Regulation is needed to rein in China's tech platforms, the Communist Party said:
EToro's going public via Betsy Cohen's SPAC. The deal values the combined company at $10.4 billion.
William Ingham is the new chief people officer at Poshmark, joining from Visa.
Peter Thiel donated $10 million to a PAC supporting JD Vance, the author and VC who may be planning a Senate run in Ohio. The Mercer family also gave to the PAC.
Cruise bought Voyage, adding to its portfolio as the AV world continues to consolidate.
Mike Anderson is Netskope's new CIO, joining from Schneider Electric.
Jerome Guillen is now Tesla's president of heavy trucking. He was most recently the company's president of automotive.
Maya Watson is Clubhouse's new head of global marketing, joining from Netflix.
ByteDance is hiring semiconductor engineers. It said it's exploring the field, which might result in custom server chips.
Nokia is laying off up to 10,000 people. That's 10% of its workforce. It announced the plans as part of a broader restructuring strategy.
It's a song about NFTs, which sounds like it was created by the third opener at a David Guetta show. It also is an NFT, Elon Musk said yesterday. "I'm selling this song about NFTs as an NFT," he tweeted, in between missives about dogecoin and tweets about much better music. I couldn't find if or where it was on sale yet, but I can promise you the price tag is going to be insane. But it'll pale in comparison to when he mints the NFT of the tweet about the NFT of the NFT song. And all our heads explode.
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Today's Source Code was written by David Pierce, with help from Anna Kramer and Shakeel Hashim. Thoughts, questions, tips? Send them to email@example.com, or our tips line, firstname.lastname@example.org. Enjoy your day, see you tomorrow.