👇 Heartcore Consumer Insights

Edition #68

Hi there,

Welcome to the 68th 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!

COVID and the Consumer - Forerunner

  • Almost a decade ago, the media caught wind of Target’s strategy to hook new mothers well before they ever gave birth. The retailer did this by tracking the series of purchasing changes moms-to-be would make.

  • Since birth records can be easily purchased by retailers, immediately after a baby’s arrival was too late to convince a new parent. No, the sweet spot to grab a parent’s loyalty was during the months of waiting.

  • Just like having a baby marks the beginning of a new chapter, Covid-19 represents an evolution in customer sentiment that stands to impact purchasing behavior for years to come.

  • In April 2021, one year after a near-worldwide lockdown, Forerunner surveyed over 1,000 consumers aged 25+ to check in on their behaviors. Results:

  1. Desire for Empowerment & Independence: the pandemic offered a taste of independence with remote work for some and a desire to have control over one’s own destiny in a fractured economy for others, making self-employment an increasingly attractive option. 35% of people expressed greater interest in working for themselves than before the pandemic. There are also new trails of purchasing potential stemming from the uptick in solopreneurs, as well as the lifestyle they’re building around this choice to go it on their own.

  2. Curiosity Surrounding Creators: 23% of respondents had purchased directly from an influencer in the past 12 months. This increases to 33% for younger Millennials - a potential marker of upward trajectory for the future. Surprisingly, only 11% of respondents reported the intention to purchase from creators in the future. This seems to reflect the nascence of the category. Right now, creator content isn’t something people plan to buy, but rather something they discover they want, or are just curious enough to purchase.

  3. Influence of Home, Family, Friends: social media influencers are widely discussed as a primary means of cultural impact, but, perhaps somewhat surprisingly, the bigger influencers appealing to most adults may be closer to home than many realize: family and friends were the number one driver of purchase decisions across all categories measured.

  4. Strong Enthusiasm for Investing: many respondents claimed that if they had extra money, they’d choose to invest or save it versus spend it in any other category. While real estate remains strong in all age groups, younger people are less interested in individual stocks and more interested in alternatives investments (celebrities/creators/startups/crypto).

  5. Big Changes for Climate: while there’s a lot of buzz around making simple shifts across apparel/CPG/food, consumer interest wasn’t as strong as buzz implies across these categories. People reported being more open to purchasing a clean alternative in cars (41%), energy (45%), and home appliances (45%). Rather than take baby steps forward, this suggests that many consumers are now aware of the scale of the problem and willing to make bigger leaps to combat carbon emissions.

Poparazzi photo app blows up by banning selfies - Josh Constine

  • After a decade of Instagram, the whole “Look at this photo I took of what I’m doing” game is growing stale. In fact, it’s a bit asocial just lobbing your solo snapshots into the feed. A true social network doesn’t just make consumption social (likes, comments), but makes creation social too by insisting on collaboration.

  • That’s the concept behind new social app Poparazzi. Poparazzi is an app where you can’t post photos of yourself. Instead, you have to tag a friend. Selfies are persona non grata. There’s not even a front-facing camera to help drive the social norm that this one app isn’t about you.

  • Because you can’t edit your pics, overlay bells and whistles, or add witty captions, Poparazzi pushes you to shoot your shot and get back to living. Compare that with Instagram, where users oftentimes find themselves either divorcing from the joy around them to polish it up before sharing, or procrastinating on that final step and never actually sharing.

  • There’s a lot of debate about whether social networks are bad for our health. But the water is muddy until you distill social into two types of behavior. There’s active interaction like creating, messaging, and commenting that can actually make you feel closer to the people around you. But then there’s the endless passive, zombie-scrolling. That’s what makes people feel isolated and drives the envy-spiraling where you compare your lowest moments to other people’s life highlights.

  • The sharpest consumer startup founders are building products that lead users towards the healthier interconnection that social networking promised. These apps don’t always succeed, but they inspire us to think beyond single-player experiences with some Likes tacked on at the end.

  • Trade Republic’s journey

  • Sneakonomic: A Deeper Dive into the Fractional Sneaker Markets

  • Snap Partner Summit 2021 Recap

  • How Pinterest Grew From 3,000 to 73 Million Users

  • Scaling Product Delivery: The "Dirty" Secret of High Performing Product Teams

  • Allegro Q1 Earnings Breakdown

  • Guide to Finding Product/Market Fit

  • Growth Frameworks For Your Marketplace

🇪🇺 Notable European early-stage Consumer rounds :

  • Noice, a Finland-based social platform for gamers, raises $5M with business angels, including David Helgason (co-founder of Unity), Ilkka Paananen (CEO of Supercell) – link

  • Meme.com, a Sweden-based platform dedicated to meme markets, raises $5M with Outlier/Morningstar/Blockhype - link

  • Naduvi, a Netherlands-based online platform that offers interior design products, raises $10M with Begin/All Iron/FJ Labs/Slingshot - link

  • Tractive, an Austria-based maker of a GPS device for tracking dogs and cats, raises $35M with Guidepost - link

🇺🇸 Notable US early-stage Consumer rounds :

  • Skiff, an N.Y.C-based document editor allowing users to write, edit, and collaborate, with privacy baked in, raises $3.7M with Sequoia - link

  • Reclaim.ai, a Portland-based calendar assistant and time management platform, raises $4.8M with Index/Gradient - link

  • Emile Learning, an L.A-based maker of on-demand courses for high-school students, raises $5.3M with Kleiner/Owl/SoftBank - link

  • Greg, a US-based app that helps people care for their plants, raises $5.4M with Index/First Round – link

  • Turntable.fm, an N.Y.C-based social music platform, raises $7.5M with a16z - link

  • Fold, an S.F-based Bitcoin rewards app, raises $13M with Craft/M13/Slow/Bessemer – link

  • Poparazzi, an L.A-based photo-sharing app, raises $20M with Benchmark - link

  • Clearing, an N.Y.C-based digital healthcare platform for chronic pain, raises $20M with Bessemer/Founders Fund/Breyer - link

  • Ever/Body, an N.Y.C-based cosmetic dermatology provider, raises $38M with Tiger/Addition/Fifth Wall - link

  • Hello Heart, an S.F-based smartphone app to monitor heart problems, raises $45M with IVP/Khosla/BlueRun/Maven – link

  • MotoRefi, an Arlington-based auto refinancing platform, raises $45M with Goldman/IA Capital – link

🔭 Notable later stage Consumer rounds :

  • Whatnot, an L.A-based live-streamed collectibles marketplace, raised $50M with YC Continuity/a16z/Animal Capital – link

  • Homeward, an Austin-based startup that aims to help people buy homes faster, raises $136M with Norwest/Blackstone/Breyer – link

  • Bowery Farming, an N.Y.C-based vertical farming company, raised $300M with Fidelity - link

  • Perch, a Boston-based Amazon marketplace rollup platform, raises $775M with SoftBank/Spark/Victory Park - link

🍭 Notable Consumer Exits

  • Babylon Health is going public via SPAC. Babylon Health is a U.K-based healthcare app that connects doctors and patients, with backers including Hoxton/Kinnevik/VNV/Saudi Public Fund – link

  • Acorns is going public via SPAC. Acorns is an L.A-based saving and investing app, with backers including Greycroft/Headline/NBC/Rakuten – link

  • Made.com is going public via IPO. Made.com is a UK-based online e-commerce platform providing designer furniture, with backers including PROfounders/Level Equity/Future Fifty/Eight Roads/Partech - link

  • Glovo acquires operations of Delivery Hero in Central and Eastern Europe - link

🖤 Heartcore

  • Portfolio company Italic is looking for a VP Product and a VP Growth. You can learn more about Italic’s fascinating journey through Jeremy’s interview here.

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