11 Feb 2020

Marketplaces & Scalability: Lessons from Uber & Airbnb

Uber and Airbnb are two of the most iconic companies from the last decade. Both companies created entirely new markets via a marketplace model and were originally considered to be part of the same “sharing economy”. Since then, their paths have diverged. While they were both wildly successful, Uber (and Lyft) required far more funding to create value than Airbnb did.

30 Jan 2020

Why I’m Joining 6CVentures

Today, I’m joining 6CVentures, a new early stage venture capital firm, as Partner and Head of Research. Long story short, we’re a sector-agnostic fund investing at the Pre-Seed and Seed stage (so if you’re an entrepreneur at this stage, reach out). I will be spending a lot of time in the coming months talking about our investment thesis on 6CV Perspective, but I wanted to start on a personal note.

Read more on Medium

16 Dec 2019

Netflix's Napster Moment

Netflix has been the darling of technology investors for the past few years. Since early 2017, its overall subscriber base has increased by roughly 60%, as it more than doubled its subscriber base outside the US. And, in response, Netflix's stock price nearly tripled over this period. By now, the engine for its growth is well known, i.e. original scripted content exclusive to Netflix. Of course, as we can see in the chart above, this has also dramatically increased its cash burn. Netflix's stated strategy was to invest into original content to acquire users and then subsequently ease off these investments to reach cash flow break-even. But a lot has changed in the global video streaming landscape since this strategy was conceived.

29 Apr 2019

Uber's IPO and Local Network Effects

Uber Ridesharing Revenue

My writing has been inconsistent (at best) lately, but Uber's IPO seems as good a time as any to come out of hibernation. I have written about Uber's business model numerous times in the past and more often than not, I have defended its financial performance. My argument was that Uber's losses were caused by large investments into logistics infrastructure (largely fixed) that would then result in long-term revenue growth (and overtake costs). Uber seems to be using that exact same argument to position itself to investors. Uber's IPO prospectus finally shed some more light on its progress, but I was concerned by what I saw. It showed the scale of investments, but it also showed that Uber is no longer a high growth company.

11 Sep 2018

Benchmarking Crypto Valuations

Cryptoassets pose an interesting challenge from a valuation point-of-view. They combine some properties of currencies, commodities and equities, but don’t quite meet the definition for any of them. The lack of immediate, underlying utility makes valuation attempts even more challenging.
So far, I have seen three broad approaches for valuing cryptoassets. The first uses the equation of exchange (MV=PQ) under the assumption that cryptoassets are a medium of exchange. The challenge with this approach is that, at least today, cryptoassets linked to blockchain protocols (like Bitcoin and Ether), aren’t really used as a medium of exchange to buy real-world products. They are a store of value, but mainly because they are viewed as speculative assets or used as a medium of exchange to purchase other speculative cryptoassets built on top of protocols. In other words, their value is tied to the value of speculative assets further down the value chain, i.e. decentralized apps (DApps) with linked crypto tokens.

4 Sep 2018

Beyond the ICO: State of DApp Innovation

The advent of smart contracts also saw the emergence of a new fundraising mechanism for crypto startups — the ICO. Overall, we have seen over $18B raised so far via this mechanism. And while falling prices of cryptoassets have slowed the market for ICOs of late, the funds raised should to be more than enough to sustain innovation. 

So what does the state of token-based innovation look like in 2018? What type of decentralized apps (DApps) have emerged so far?

Read more at Medium

29 Aug 2018

Defining and Benchmarking Crypto Adoption

The rise of the crypto ecosystem has often been compared with the early years of the internet. In addition, the peak of the crypto asset bubble in December 2017 has been compared with a (smaller scale) dotcom bubble. Beyond parallels in price inflation, many also hope the ecosystem is a similar inflection point in terms of innovation and adoption. As the chart above shows, the dotcom collapse was merely the beginning of the internet revolution which led to unimaginable innovation and near-universal internet adoption. Is this where we are on the crypto adoption curve?

2 Jul 2018

Scooters and Value Chains

In just 6 months, we've moved on from cryptopalooza to scooterpalooza. As good of a topic as any to come out of a long hiatus from this blog, at least for now. 

Scooter sharing startups in Silicon Valley like Bird and Lime are in the midst of an overheated investment cycle, raising follow-on rounds mere weeks after the initial with 2-3x valuation jumps. Spin, a smaller competitor, is also finalizing a security token offering, combining the hype cycle with the last one. Ignoring the latter for now, is the interest in scooter sharing startups warranted?

23 Jun 2017

Amazon's Whole Foods Acquisition Makes Stores An Extension of E-Commerce

Amazon stunned the business world on June 16 by announcing that it will acquire Whole Foods Market and its 450+ retail locations for $13.7 billion. While the response to the deal was largely positive for the two companies, there still appears to be a lot of debate about Amazon’s goals. Interestingly enough, Amazon’s retail strategy has been public for months. The Amazon Go announcement in December 2016 laid out the company’s vision for retail in the mobile first world. But before Amazon could move forward with this vision, it had to contend with the challenges it has faced in the grocery space.

7 Jun 2017

WWDC 2017: Platform Updates and Revenue Models

Following Google’s AI-focused event in May, Apple kicked off its Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) with an action packed keynote. Apple broke precedent this year by announcing a multitude of hardware products, including new Macs, iPads and even an Amazon Echo competitor dubbed HomePod. However, given the size of the iOS installed base, improvements to the iOS platform were arguably the most significant. Let’s dive into these, starting with an update on the world’s most lucrative app store.