👀 Heartcore Consumer Insights

Edition #67

Hi there,

Welcome to the 67th 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!

New generation of digital banks bets on minority markets

  • After a doctor's visit, three court appearances, five trips to the bank and having her name and address published in a newspaper, Billie Simmons finally got a debit card with her chosen name. As a transgender woman, that meant she didn't run the risk of outing herself every time she used her card for routine expenses like buying groceries.

  • She hasn't been able to change her online banking username and her credit score is incomplete, only reflecting transactions made after she legally changed her name. "These banking systems are not designed for us."

  • Hoping to address some of these issues, Simmons has co-founded Daylight, an online banking provider focused on the LGBTQ+ community that is set to launch this summer.

  • Among its features, it allows users to set up an account online with their chosen name, regardless of what appears on their ID documents, and receive financial coaching focused on goals common among many LGBTQ+ consumers, such as saving for surrogacy or adoption.

  • Daylight estimates there are 30M Americans who identify as LGBTQ+. It is among a cohort of new digital banks in the US targeting communities where many people say their needs have not been met by mainstream lenders.

  • Such startups include First Boulevard and Greenwood, both focused on serving Black Americans, Cheese Financial aimed at the Asian community and Majority serving immigrant groups.

  • First Boulevard, founded in the wake of George Floyd's murder last year, says it aims to help customers build wealth and reinvest in the Black community.

  • Houston and Stockholm-based Majority provides banking services to immigrants in the US, a diverse group spanning multiple nationalities, cultures and languages, and says it signed up more than 10k subscribers in its first 5 months since launching.

  • "If you see more attention to this segment it is because it has been lacking for so long" said Amy Nauiokas, founder and CEO of Anthemis.

The Rise of Micro-Economies - Cooopahtroopa (Strategy @Audius)

  • We’ve entered a new chapter of investing. One where trading is social, and banking profits is an MMORPG game. Look at DOGE, SHIB or GME and it’s easy to see this chapter as nothing more than a game of roulette. However, within the midst of these experiments is the rise of something far more promising - micro-economies.

  • The creator middle class are future mom and pop shops. For the past three decades, the internet enabled thousands of communities to emerge. But, the primary beneficiaries continue to be the top 1% while ~97% of YouTube creators make less than the national poverty line.

  • Niche communities are what make the internet a vibrant and open ecosystem. Within online communities, creators are evolving into SMBs, designed to activate their 1000 or even 100 true fans.

  • Now the real question becomes - how do we make the long tail of creators a viable path?

  • In Web2, creators monetize their work via a SaaS model, where they’re paid for a newsletter, artwork, or craft on a regular basis.

  • In Web3, creators monetize through the issuance of a social token or NFTs.

  • Thanks to platforms like Coinvise and Rally, micro-economies can be created in an instance. They allow creators to distribute liquid instruments (in the form of tokens) to better monetize intangible contributions and sweat equity.

  • Monetization becomes non-linear, meaning the derivative value of tokens are often multiples of the value created from recurring revenue streams. To contributors, it offers an unconventional path to work on what you love, and get paid in assets with exponential upside in the process.

  • Put together, crypto offers the foundation for a sustainable creator middle class.

  • Stay for Who You Can Be: Avatars in the Metaverse

  • Shein: The TikTok of Ecommerce

  • Why distribution is the #1 reason for startup success

  • Retention is Hard, and Getting Harder - Here’s Why

  • The 27 Metrics in Pinterest’s Internal Growth Dashboard

  • What factors influence DAU/MAU? Nature versus nurture

  • Headless Brands

  • The Hut Group dissected

🇪🇺 Notable European early-stage Consumer rounds :

  • ParaSwap, a France-based decentralized exchange aggregator, raises $3M with Blockchain Capital/White Star/DeFi Alliance - link

  • Birdie, a UK-based start-up developing an operating system for senior care providers, raises €9.5M with Index/Kamet - link

  • Yoto, a UK-based screen-free audio platform for kids, raises $17M with Acton/JamJar/GFC/ Emerge/MPL - link

  • Smol, a UK-based company that makes sustainable home-cleaning products, raises $34M with Eight Roads/GV/Latitude - link

🇺🇸 Notable US early-stage Consumer rounds :

  • Hidden Leaf Games, an L.A.-based gaming studio making a multiplayer online battle arena game, raises $3.2M with Lightspeed/Vermillion - link

  • Lightforge Games, a Raleigh-based video game studios founded by former Epic and Blizzard veterans, raises $5M with Galaxy Interactive/NetEase Games/Dreamhaven/Maveron - link

  • Maëlys, an N.Y.C-based DTC body care brand, raises $14M with Norwest - link

  • Upsie, a  St. Paul-based platform for buying product warranties, raises $18.2M with True Ventures/Concrete Rose/Avanta - link

  • Heartbeat Health, an NYC-based start-up with a mission to better address heart disease, raises $20M with Echo Health/DaVita - link

🔭 Notable later stage Consumer rounds :

  • Holidu, a Germany-based vacation booking startup, raises $45M with 83North/Prime/EQT - link

  • StuDocu, a Netherlands-based student knowledge exchange platform, raises $50M with Partech - link

  • Lili, an N.Y.C-based challenger bank for freelance workers, raises $55M with Group 11/Target/AltaIR - link

  • Kin, a Chicago-based DTC home insurance startup, raises $64M with Senator Investment Group/Hudson/University of Chicago/Allegis NL Capital - link

  • Handshake, an S.F-based student recruiting platform, raises $80M with Lightspeed/Spark - link

  • Lyst, a U.K-based fashion shopping platform, raises $85M with Fidelity/Novator/Giano/C4 - link

  • Ethos, an S.F-based life-insurance startup, raises $200M with General Catalyst/Sequoia/Accel/GV - link

  • MasterClass, an S.F-based provider of video-based courses from the best professionals in their fields, raises $225M with Fidelity/Baillie Gifford/Balyasny/Eldridge/IVP/Javelin – link

  • Vinted, a Lithuania-based second-hand clothes marketplace, raises $303M with EQT/Accel/Burda/Insight/Lightspeed/Sprints - link

🍭 Notable Consumer Exits

  • Bird goes public via SPAC. Bird is an L.A electric scooter company with backers including Goldcrest/Craft/Index/Valor/Sequoia - link

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