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    1. When Casper filed its S-1 in January, analysts, investors, and business nerds descended on the document like vultures. Not only was it a precarious moment to take a startup public, it was the first time anyone could actually access the raw numbers under the hood of a DTC. “The economics work better if Casper sent you a mattress for free, stuffed with $300,” jabbed NYU Stern marketing professor and tech doomsayer Scott Galloway. “This appears to be Casper’s business,” tweeted number-crunching Atlantic columnist Derek Thompson. “Buy mattress at $400. Sell at $1,000. Refund/return 20% of them. Keep $400, on avg. Then spend $290 of that on ads/marketing and $270 on admin (finance, HR, IT). Lose $160. Repeat.”

      Summary of Casper's business model

    2. Months after achieving unicorn status by raising $100 million in funding at a $1.4 billion valuation, The Verge detailed allegations against the Instagrammy startup that its CEO Steph Korey had created a sweatshop culture within the company.

      Sadly this seems to be the finance model of a lot of these venture-based startups. They're squeezing their employees as a means of making their numbers.

    3. Perhaps the original mistake of the DTCs wasn’t in their vision, but in their decision to take the venture capital in the first place. Now under pressure to grow even faster and at greater scale than they otherwise would have had to naturally, they are being confronted with what happens when growth slows down, the cash starts running out, and investors are expecting their returns.
    4. the past few months have exposed major cracks in the DTC business model, as several high-profile, venture-backed DTC startups have struggled and others have completely closed their doors. The investors bankrolling these companies are discovering one thing in common — that most of their money is going to expensive and ever-rising customer acquisition costs (CAC) via Google, Facebook, and Instagram. As one DTC investor has put it starkly before: “CAC is the new rent.”

      Roughly what I had anticipated in back of the envelope calculations about 4 years ago. And this not to mention the voraciousness of venture capital as a bigger issues in and of itself.

  2. Apr 2019
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      Hi Craig-- here's a public note to you that any one else could see-- but we could also create a private group here and have a conversation just between ourselves and others.