#2/2020

“When you think back on your life and you look back over the course of your lifetime, you're not gonna think,"I wish I spent more time on the internet. I wish I spent more time at work or sleeping," It's gonna be,"I wish I spent more time with the people I love."
• Vishal Khandelwal

Deals

Visa buys fintech Plaid for $5.3 billion (Visapresentation on the rationale) + What Visa can build with Plaid (statechery.com)
  • Plaid is a financial data network that makes it easy for people to securely connect their financial accounts to the apps they use to manage their financial lives. This is basically same thing for apps that Visa does for cards.
  • Currently solves problems of old systems in banks in a non-perfect way.
  • Valuation of 35-50x revenue. In addition Plaid has 3% market share in current $3.1 billion market, whose total size is currently less than purchase price.

Quibi raises $400 million to make more bite-sized shows (latimes.com) + Bob Lefsetz take, that is echoing opinion of many people about it (lefsetzletter.com
  • Quibi, which is a short for “quickbites” of video, aims to sell subscriptions to millennials and tell stories in bite-size chapters in 10 minutes or less. Has a “turnstyle" feature that allows viewers to move between portrait and landscape orientations by rotating their smartphones.
  • Founded by Jeffrey Katzenberg (Disney) and Meg Whitman (HP) launches in April, on Wednesday revealed it had raised $400 million from investors in addition to the $1 billion it previously raised.
  • Opinion: This industry has heavy competition even from free alternatives and this seems a lot like a moonshot. I do not understand how a start up in this sector whose biggest advantage is network of founders can raise as much as $1.4 billion without a released product. I would expect it to fail spectacularly and perhaps merge with an existing competitor for a loss to the backers of the company.

Productboard raises a $45M Series B led by Sequoia Capital (productboard.com
  • Czech startup that makes software for product managers to manage the development of new features and products. 
  • The funding from Sequoia and Bessemer Venture Partners values productboard at $350 million post-investment.
  • Opinion: Congratulations!

News

Popular apps share intimate details about you with dozens of companies (consumerreports.org
  • Dating apps (Tinder, OkCupid..) and period tracking apps (MyDays, Clue) among others are sharing data with advertising companies. Data includes sexual orientation and religious beliefs, along with information such as birthdays, GPS data, and ID numbers associated with individual smartphones.
  • Companies then build comprehensive profiles of users for ad targeting.
  • A big problem is that consumers generally worry about the wrong things. Most people really care about apps secretly recording audio or video, which doesn’t really happen all that often, but then don’t understand all the things that are being inferred from location data and the unique identity of their devices.

Reading

Highly recommended: The Metaverse: What It Is, Where to Find it, Who Will Build It, and Fortnite (matthewball.vc)
  • Metaverse is a manifestation of actual reality, but one based in a virtual (often theme park-like) world, such those portrayed in Ready Player One and The Matrix. This seems to be the end goal of some current tech corporations.
  • Article goes in depth about requirements for it, current tries (including Tim Sweeney’s from Epik Games) and vision of big companies and their leaders (FAAMG).
  • Opinion: I believe this will be a hot topic for this and the next decade and there are currently several new startups which are building parts of this new ecosystem, but still might be too early.

You bet! by Howard Marks (oaktreecapital.com)
  • The best decision maker is not necessarily the person with the most successes, but rather the one with the best process and judgement. The thing that makes investing fascinating is the fact that there's no action you can take that is sure to work, no strategy that’s always a winner.
  • Sometimes it's a good idea to bet on inferior position, even though doing so is expected to result in a loss most of the time. It all depends on the proposition (backgammon betting example).
  • Success in investing doesn't come from buying good things, but from buying things well, and it's essential to know the difference (nifty fifty stocks in 1960s - 1970s).

Is Vulnerability a Choice? (fs.blog)
  • When we open up and admit to our vulnerabilities, we give people the opportunity to safely admit to theirs as well. We might hear back: “I make mistakes all the time, “I’m scared as well”.
  • To just hear the story of the person who made it big and sold a company is not useful. To hear about their multiple failures, their trials, their stops and starts and all the times they doubted themselves — now that’s an insight worth sharing.
  • Being vulnerable starts with being honest with yourself. How can you get better if you can’t admit that you could be better?

In case you are interested in helping us with evaluating some companies and industries or you just want to discus any of these articles, feel free to reach out to Roman from Presto Ventures at roman@prestoventures.com or Linkedin.

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