✌️ Heartcore Consumer Insights

Edition #64

Hi there,

Welcome to the 64th edition of Heartcore Consumer Insights. Curated with 🖤 every week by the Heartcore Team.

If you missed the past newsletters, you can catch up here. Now, let’s dive in!

How to build an organic brand presence on TikTok - Sarah McBride (Brand Marketing @Zenly)

  • Forget everything you know. Forget your perfectly polished Instagram grid, or creatives that have gone through multiple stages of review and iteration. When it comes to creating content on TikTok, the more raw & real the better.

  • The metrics are different. Your follower count really really doesn't matter. You're optimizing for: (a) views and early engagement rate = increased chances of getting on the FYP (For You Page = individual landing page for users), (b) likes on the video and likes on your account.

  • Local > Global: the algorithm serves your video to people geographically close to the place of upload, so even more so than on other platforms you need to have local content. Trying to reach users in Liechtenstein? You need your content in DE, uploaded by someone in Vaduz.

  • Use the comments section for user research: often the comments are funnier than the actual video, so people are used to going there for a second hit of entertainment. As a brand, you can use it as a space to listen to users, ask questions, & recruit for user research.

  • Be prepared to spend +1h/a day on the platform. The trending formats/sounds/meme comments change so quickly on TikTok, that to be in the know you need to be on there on the daily saving sounds and getting inspiration.

  • Your users = your best chance for virality. You can be really lucky and have a brand account that vibes with the algorithm... or you can build a product that gives your users a reason to share for you. Cappuccino.fm is great example of this.

You Can't Just Push a Button - A conversation with Adam Hadi, VP of Marketing at Current.

  • Fintech companies scoff when banks say that they are in the "relationship business", but the reality is that, once upon a time, the relationship between a bank’s branch employees and the people in the community mattered. It was a sustainable competitive differentiator precisely because it took years to build.

  • The internet has put this model on life support, but financial services are still, fundamentally, about trust. The difference today is who financial services customers trust.

  • The question for banks/fintech companies is how can they harness these new sources of trust to build their brands and establish meaningful competitive differentiation?

  • Current is a financial brand for the next generation of consumers, between 18-34 yo.

  • How does Current work with influencers and creators?

  • "The way we place our bets is based on the interests of the creators themselves. The last thing we want to do is sponsor content out there where we’re like “Ok, let me pause this and waste 60 secs of your time. Our apologies for wasting 60 secs of your time. Now back to your original programming.” That’s the worst place to be as a brand. The brand association there is “Oh Current, the brand that wastes 60 secs of my time”. We don’t want to be there at all."

  • "A lot of this is based on relationships and trust. And that’s frustrating for a lot of competitors that try to get into this space. You can’t just push a button. This isn’t like running a Facebook advertising campaign or hiring an external agency to go execute some strategy."

  • "It requires trust and trust goes both ways. Creators have always known how to create great content. But over time, as creators have worked with more brands, they've been told “Hey, that was great, but in the content we need you to say these specific things”. So that’s what we’re trying to overcome and that really can only be done through trusted relationships"

  • How do you decide where to focus, in terms of channels?

  • "YouTube is probably where we have the largest presence. If you think about the relationship that YouTubers have with their fans, it’s generally the most in-depth. I mean, if you think about the relative time commitments of things we do on the internet, watching a 17 mins video on YouTube is right up there."

  • "TikTok is really interesting to us. YouTube is great, but it’s a lot of hard work. Instagram was over a decade ago; the winners on Instagram already won. On TikTok, it doesn’t really matter how old you are or what your history is. The only question is can you put out great content?"

🇪🇺 Notable European early-stage Consumer rounds :

  • Knowunity, a Germany-based start-up providing a digital learning platform for students, raises €2M with Project A - link

  • Likeminded, a Germany-based operator of a digital mental health platform, raises €3.5M with Heartcore & Hasso Plattner 🖤 – link

🇺🇸 Notable US early-stage Consumer rounds :

  • Oath Care, an S.F-based social health app for new and expectant parents, raises $2M from XYZ/General Catalyst/Muse - link

  • Adyn, a Seattle-based developer of personalized birth control, raises $2.5M with Lux/M13/mCivilization/Concrete Rose/Y Combinator - link

  • Leo AR, an S.F based start-up allowing users to create augmented reality videos, raises $3M with Great Oaks/betaworks/Quake – link

  • The Expert, an L.A-based platform for video consultations with interior designers, raises $3M with Forerunner/Sweet/Promus/Golden – link

  • Ophelia, an N.Y.C-based start-up offering medication and support for quitting opioids, raises $15M with Menlo - link

  • Outlier, an N.Y.C-based online provider of intro-level college courses, raises $30M with GV/Unusual/GSV - link

🔭 Notable later stage Consumer rounds :

  • Starling Bank, a UK-based challenger bank, raises £50M with Goldman Sachs - link

  • Zilch, a UK-based buy now pay later app, raises €66M with M&F Fund/Gauss - link

  • Overtime, an N.Y.C-based sports network producing sports-focused content for sports fans, raises $80M with Black/Sapphire Sport/Jeff Bezos/Drake and NBA stars - link

  • Bux, a Netherlands-based no-fee ETF trading platform, raises $80M with Prosus/Tencent/Amro/Citius/Optiver/Endeit - link

  • Dott, a Netherlands-based e-scooter and micro-mobility start-up, raises $85M with Sofina - link

  • Clubhouse, an S.F-based live audio content app, raises an undisclosed amount with a16z/DST/Tiger – link

  • Mathem, a Sweden-based online grocery start-up, raises €100M with Kinnevik - link

  • Ornikar, a France-based start-up providing online drivers education courses, raises €100M with KKR/Idinvest/BPI/Elaia – link

  • BlaBlaCar, a France-based carpooling platform, raises $115M with VNV/Otiva JF AB/FMZ – link

  • Misfits Market, an N.Y.C-based online grocer specializing in delivering food that would otherwise be wasted, raises $200M with Accel/D1 - link

🍭 Notable Consumer Exits

  • Oatly files for IPO. Oatly is a Sweden-based oat milk company with backers including The Blackstone Group, Oprah, and Jay-Z – link

  • Hear.com files for IPO. Hear.com is a Denmark-based hearing care services provider - link

  • JBS acquires Vivera. Vivera is a Netherlands-based plant-based protein company - link

  • Lunar acquires Lendify. Lendify is a Sweden-based operator of a local loan platform, with backers including Otiva/Insight Investment - link

  • Congratulations to our dear reader João Jönk for having raised $3M with Kaszek, General Catalyst & YC for Zapt, a startup re-inventing group buying in Brazil. Can’t wait to follow your journey 🤩

Heartcore Consumer Insights is a weekly newsletter, covering notable consumer rounds and exits, as well as top content in the B2C space.