Welcome to the 75th 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!
If you were an ambitious, risk-seeking founder in the mobile golden age (2009-12), you built a new mobile app. That was when Uber, WhatsApp, Insta, Snapchat, and many other top apps were built.
Mobile has since moved up the technology adoption S-curve. Great mobile apps will still be built, but the low-hanging fruit has been picked. The computing frontier of this decade is building apps on programmable blockchains.
Programmable blockchains are interesting for the same reason mobile phones became interesting when they opened up development to 3rd parties via app stores: the best ideas tend to come from the fringes.
Programmable blockchains are the computing frontier, as PCs were in the 80s, internet in the 90s, and mobile in the last decade.
We saw this start to play out last year during "DeFi summer". This year NFTs and gaming were the next wave of blockchain apps to break out: NBA Top Shot, CryptoPunks, Axie Infinity, etc.
What will be the next wave of blockchain killer apps? Computing waves are hard to predict, but there are some interesting emerging categories: DAOs, social tokens, blockchain-based social networks, Crypto-enabled metaverse experiences etc.
These are some ideas, but entrepreneurs are better at building the future than VCs at predicting it.
The Homebrew Computer Club of 2021 is a DAO or a Discord server, but the pattern is the same. Enthusiasts sharing ideas. Tinkerers hacking away on nights and weekends. These are the good old days - life on the frontier.
You post a TikTok about your new app. It goes viral, getting millions of views and bringing in tens of thousands of users (for free!). That's the dream, right? But it can quickly become a nightmare.
A number of consumer companies post app demo videos on TikTok, and have them unexpectedly blow up! The TikTok algo is unique in that you don't need followers to have your content boosted. You can get millions of views on a brand new account.
But like a ProductHunt or TechCrunch spike, TikTok virality raises questions about how "real" your traction is - & on a much larger scale, given TikTok's audience.
The growth is often not sustainable. A few days post-viral video, you'll see downloads, DAUs, and MAUs fall. It's easy to get investors excited when your charts are up and to the right, but this could be short-lived.
"TikTok cohort" quality is often low. These users tend to be higher churn + lower engagement, and can actually make your aggregate metrics worse. This is particularly true for apps reliant on density (geo or social group), as viral videos tend to pull in unconnected users.
Your product may not be ready for primetime. Going viral with an app that's buggy, crashes, or doesn't yet "hook" users is tough. You get one first impression! These users will churn or leave negative reviews, and you'll have to fight to change perception when you re-launch.
So, how can you use TikTok? 1) Build a pre-launch audience around your vision. You may even recruit team members! 2) Send users to a waitlist to collect info on their needs, and find beta testers. 3) Lurk! Let the algo help you find users to partner with/target when you're ready.
If you do have a "TikTok spike," split out growth and engagement for these users in investor convos. Show your data with & ex-TikTok. It helps understand how you're thinking about this, too!
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Nike's mobile pivot
5 Lessons from China's Internet Companies
Online Travel Trends Report 2021
🇪🇺 Notable European early-stage Consumer rounds :
🇺🇸 Notable US early-stage Consumer rounds :
Syndicate, an S.F-based startup creating a decentralized investing protocol that enables anyone to create an investment syndicate on the internet, raises $20M with a16z/Atelier/Coinbase/Sound Ventures - link
🔭 Notable later stage Consumer rounds :
🍭 Notable Consumer Exits
Excited to see our fantastic portfolio company Futureplay joining Plarium’s ranks. 🎉
Heartcore Consumer Insights is a weekly newsletter covering notable consumer rounds and exits and top content in the B2C space.