#6/2020

“In Venture Capital, you build your track record on the companies that work. You build your reputation on the companies that don’t."
• Jeff Fagnan

Deals

Sexual wellness startup Lover launches on Valentine's Day with $5M seed round with funding from Tinder founder (techcrunch.com)
  • Lover lets you take a sexual personality quiz, explore carnal knowledge tutorials and discretely figure out which turn-ons you share with your partner including audio guides to oral sex, video explainers on how to be generous in bed and multi-step “playlists” of content like “Getting Hard, Made Easy.”
  • “In our [pre-launch tests] focused purely on erectile dysfunction, 62% of users reported improvements to their erections within three weeks of using the app.”
  • Presto: We are actively looking at sexual wellness startups as we believe this is an interesting and see a long time overlooked startup industry with a lot of potential.

Attenio, Hamburg, Germany-based digital cooperation platform for the assembly of industrial companies, raised €1.1M in seed funding (finsmes.com)
  • Provides a technology platform for industrial companies to digitize their processes as they are developing large and complex products, e. g. packaging machines or a bottling plant.
  • The software solution – based on the working conditions of employees – visualizes all the information relevant to them at the right time.
  • Presto: We have been looking at Attenio and believe there is a lot of potential in the industry. We believe the team has it all to succeed and wish them the best!

Colibra: The Startup That Pays Users Every Time A Flight Is Late Closes A Seven Digit Seed Round (trendingtopics.at)
  • Colibra users receive compensations for any minute of delay after the first hour. In a nutshell, the startup buys from the passenger the right to claim and potentially receive his or her compensation of between €250 to €600 in six months for instantly guaranteed cash of €30 - €60.
  • The money was raised from US fund Asterion Capital, which is highly unusual for seed round in Bulgaria and even over Eastern Europe.
  • Presto: We have been in talks with Colibra founders, we are happy to see them getting US funding and wish them the best of luck.

News

SoftBank’s Latest Setback: Brandless Shuts Down (crunchbase.com)
  • Direct-to-consumer startup focused on food, beauty and personal care products, had raised a total of $292.5 million ($240 million Series C last round that was tranched and the final tranche $120 million did not come)
  • Brandless blamed a “fiercely competitive” retail market that was “unsustainable” for its business.
  • It is not the only one this week. Hollar, which had raised more than $75 million from firms like Kleiner Perkins and Index Ventures is also closing.
  • Opinion: Sometimes even investments for just marketing spend into a company that has product market fit don't work. It’s because the competition landscape can change very quickly when big players such as Amazon react and destroy their business model. At this stage it depends on the founders execution.

Andy Rubin’s Essential shuts down (techcrunch.com)
  • The company came out of stealth with a $330 million funding round and grandiose plans for a new brand of handset, led by none other than Android head, Andy Rubin.
  • Investors included Tencent, Redpoint Ventures, and the tech incubator PlayGround Ventures.
  • Opinion: I personally liked the phone design a lot and its features, but this shows that even great engineer with interesting product and a lot of money cannot escape his sexual harassment past.

Reading

Recommended: Debt is Coming (alexdanco.com)
  • The recurring revenue business model may feel mature, but we’re only in the early days of its second-order consequences.
  • VCs have learned and applied the same lesson as GM and Ford years ago: the best way to make money isn’t making cars, it’s in financing them.
  • The tipping point happens when someone big, and probably local, announces a new financing product: recurring revenue securitization. If you think there’s too much money flowing into startups now, just wait until someone makes a high-yield fixed income product for institutional investors to buy recurring revenue.

Why we swing for the fences - Gates Annual letter (gatesnotes.com)
  • Today, 86 percent of children around the world receive basic immunizations. That’s more than ever before. But reaching the last 14 percent is going to be much harder than reaching the first 86 percent.
  • Across southern and eastern Africa, adolescent girls and young women account for a disproportionate number of new HIV infections. Poverty, violence, and gender norms all play a role in why.
  • In global health, there’s a lot of evidence that the world is on the right path—like the dramatic decline in childhood deaths, for example. When it comes to U.S. education, though, we’re not yet seeing the kind of bottom-line impact we expected.

Realizing Web 3.0: Proof of Transfer Mining with Bitcoin (blockstack.org) + Proof of Transfer (PoX) whitepaper (blockstack.org)
  • Proof-of-Transfer (PoX) is a new proposed mining mechanism that uses the proof-of-work cryptocurrency of an established blockchain to secure a new blockchain. This would replace Proof-of-Burn (PoB) where the bitcoins were discarded. Article includes FAQ at the bottom for terms definition.
  • The next big chapter for crypto is emergence of a user-owned internet on top of blockchains.
  • PoX can give incentives to participants in such new blockchains in the form of earning Bitcoin. Such Bitcoin rewards were not possible before PoX. These rewards can potentially be used for use cases like consensus participation, ecosystem developer funds, incentives for specific players, etc.

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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