February 2021 Monthly News Roundup

We are pleased to share with you our roundup for February 2021. This month we highlight the creator movement entering primetime and heavy investment in sustainability. 


The public and private markets continued to thrive in February. Whitney Wolfe Herd, founder of the female-focused dating and networking platform Bumble, made history this month by becoming the youngest self-made woman billionaire after the company's IPO. Since its inception, Bumble has prided itself on its female-first approach, which has been reflected in every aspect of the company from its algorithm that puts women in positions of power to the presence of female leadership in every aspect of the company from its  board of directors to investors. On its first day of trading, Bumble's stock soared after raising $2.2 billion that exceeded expectations and valued the firm at over $7 billion. Bumble is now a part of the growing list of female-founded companies to IPO, including Katrina Lake of Stitch Fix and Julie Wainwright of The RealReal. More exciting female driven IPOs are sure to follow as Jessica Alba's baby and beauty products company Honest Co., also filed confidentially for an upcoming IPO. As the SPAC craze continues, pet care marketplace Rover announced its plans to go public via SPAC. Consumer DNA testing company 23andMe also entered a deal with VG Acquisition Corp., the SPAC founded by Richard Branson. The agreement values the Silicon Valley company at $3.5 billion, with Chief Executive Officer Anne Wojcicki and Branson each investing $25 million into a $250 million private investment in public equity offering. This month, some of the most noteworthy deals include LVMH's acquisition of half of Jay-Z's champagne line Armand de Brignac, Estée Lauder 's planned acquisition of Deciem, CVC's acquisition of Shiseido Personal-Care Unit for $1.5 billion, Uber agreeing to buy alcohol delivery service Drizly for $1.1 billion, ASOS buying Topshop and sister brands in £295 million deal, Hubspot acquiring media startup The Hustle, and delivery company goPuff in talks of acquiring the UK's Fancy. Notable investments this month included: SpaceX ($850M), Klarna raising up to $1 billion at $31 billion valuation, wine recommendation and marketplace app Vivino ($155M), grocery delivery start-up Good Eggs ($100M), education platform Codecademy ($40M), furniture startup Burrow ($25M), children's products market Maisonette ($30M series B), smart oven and meal-kit service Tovala ($30M), wholesale marketplace Abound ($22.9M), event networking app Grip ($13M), app-less mobile games company Artie ($10M), creative economy platform Circle ($4M), and audio social network focused on self care Quilt ($3.5M), 


The Creator Movement Entering Primetime   


Over the last few years, the creator movement has exploded and when consumers were forced to go into lockdown early last year, creative platforms enabling creatives to take control of their content took on a new importance. This month, Big Hit Entertainment and Universal Music revealed its new label Weverse, which aims to increase opportunities for artists through innovation and technology. Through Weverse artists who are a part of Universal Music Group will be able to explore heightened direct to fan communications as loyal fans will be able to engage with their favorite artists, explore new content, and purchase products. In the fashion industry, American designer, Rebecca Minkoff is offering premium content experience for her consumers by betting on a fan focused platform called OnlyFans, a subscription-based platform that allows users to view content from behind a paywall. Minkoff will leverage her loyal fanbase by providing exclusive share behind-the-scenes looks at her brand's upcoming collection. In order to respond to the growing challenge of TikTok, YouTube will introduce a short-form video feature called Shorts in the US in March to allow people to create 15-second videos. In addition to this, YouTube is also introducing new tools, such as the applause feature, which would help creators make money from their fans. These steps by media giants highlights the increasing urge to provide a better way to engage with paying consumers and help up-and-coming creatives build businesses as effortlessly as possible.


Heavy Investment in Sustainability 


As more and more consumers express an item’s environmental impact as an important purchasing factor, fashion retailers stray away from the “take, make, and dispose” model and  begin to see their responsibility in creating circular systems that allow a single garment to be repurposed and create value repeatedly. As circularity is likely to be one of the key business trends in years to come, big brands are joining in the effort to re-think their business models to support circularity, help in normalizing the concept and ease the stigmas that are often associated with recycled, reused, and repurposed items. Across industries, the desire to integrate sustainability measures in every consumer touch point is not only there, but is becoming more ambitious. One creative way that yet-to-launch green finance brand TreeCard is leading the way is by offering a spending card made out of wood with the promise to fund reforesting via the interchange fees generated. This idea is promising as it recently received $5.1M seed that will be used towards hiring talent and support of the roll-out of the product across the U.K.  Allbirds also announced its long-term commitment in became a fashion problem solver rather than a polluter by investing in plant-based leather substitute as it plans a faux-leater shoe drop in December 2021. Allbird's investment in Natural Fiber Welding is a natural next step as Allbird's has always focused on improving its apparel manufacturing process to live up to sustainability standards. Along with a leather substitute, Natural Fiber Weldings products include tougher cotton that could also eventually make its way into Allbird's apparel line.


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