January 2021 Monthly News Roundup

We are pleased to share with you our roundup for January 2021. This month we highlight new paths to stream content and learn and beauty's new frontier. 

The public and private markets thrived in January with online fashion marketplace, Poshmark, luxury e-tailer, MyTheresa, and online payments system, Affirm joining the 2021 rush to market. Poshmark quickly outperformed its projected goals as it opened trading at $100, more than doubling its expected price range of $35 to $39 per share. This success speaks to investor interest in the resale sector and the massive growth potential for Poshmark, a company at the intersection of e-commerce, social commerce, and resale. With additional funding, Poshmark seeks to prioritize growing its base of 32 million active users, adding new product categories, and improving its user experience. MyTheresa, which specializes in women's clothing and accessories with customers across 140 countries, also boomed by raising $407 million in a U.S initial public offering. Affirm, one of the pioneers of the "buy now, pay later" concept, saw great success as its' shares doubled since it began trading on January 13th. Other interesting IPOs this month include pet care retailer Petco, which saw its shares surge 63% in its first day of trading, reflecting the intrigue for the pet boom. Hims, the online pharmacy that offers on-demand access to doctors and regular prescription delivery, also began trading this month which is notable because it shows that its new model of healthcare is here to stay. One upcoming IPO to watch out for is Bumble, the Austin-based dating app where women make the first move. The company started in the dating space and, over the years, has expanded to cater to users looking for friends and users looking to network with other professionals.
Upon the heels of other successful tech IPOs, Bumble also filed IPO plans confidentially with the SEC, with an expected target IPO in February. This month, some of the most noteworthy deals include Coty closing $200M on Kim Kardashian West Beauty, Google's acquisition of Fitbit, and Sequoia Capital China's majority stake in the fashion brand Ami Paris. Notable investments this month included: online game platform, Roblox ($520M), travel platform Klook ($200M), B2B payments startup Melio ($110M), Fast Bags ($102M), cell-based seafood producer BlueNalu ($60M), plant-based food delivery Thistle Bags ($10.3M), outdoor furniture company Outer ($10.5), and food as medicine company Uplifting Results Labs ($8.2M). 


Creating New Paths to Stream and Learn  


At the start of the year, former Disney and Discovery executives announced the launch of a new streaming service that takes inspiration from the ClassPass model. Struum, the streaming service set to debut this spring, aims to apply the ClassPass model to the streaming industry by aggregating content from smaller video-on-demand services and provide them under its own subscription. Unlike larger entertainment services, such has Netflix, Disney+, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, or HBO Max, Struum will not have any content of its own. Instead, the company aims to surface more niche-focused, lesser-known OTT services that have trouble attracting the attention of the consumer in the saturated market. This new idea could solve the stress of subscription fatigue and the "too much content, not enough time to consumer it" problem by playing a greater role in content discoverability. With an experienced team of Disney and Discovery execs and backing from industry heavyweights, such as Tornante Company, Firstlight Media, and Gaingels, Struum is a promising new addition to the media landscape that could provide support for emerging services in cutting through to audiences. In education, the unique circumstances of the pandemic encouraged many schools and educational platforms to look beyond traditional classrooms to various different methods of learning and teaching. The founder of the virtual science platform, Inspirit, aims to bring creativity associated with Minecraft, Tik Tok, or Roblox games into everyday schoolwork. Similar to how games inspire players to create their own worlds, Inspirit encourages users to explore learning worlds and personalized science experiments. Just as how media converged with fitness, education in the time of Covid-19 is also set to evolve in ways that provide students more flexibility in how they absorb content and who plays the role of the teacher. 


Beauty Technology Transforming the Industry 


After a disruptive past year for the beauty industry, the collision between tech and beauty has come to the forefront. Although the idea of beauty tech is not new, the pandemic has accelerated interest in the space and has presented an opportunity for big brands to connect to consumers in a new way, driven by IoT and AI rather than YouTube and Instagram influencers. This month, hair care brand Olaplex launched an iOS app to serve as the main resource for information for its' network of salon professionals and consumers. Similarly, Japanese online fashion retailer Zozo Inc. also leaned into the beauty tech trend by launching skin tone measuring glasses to give consumers greater confidence to buy online. At the recent Consumer Electronics Show (CES), the leading global tech provider and developer, Perfect Corp., showcased new technologies that help brands enhance shopping experiences for both online and in-store. One of its latest technologies, AR Livestreaming for Web and Beauty Advisor 1-on-1 for Web, allows beauty brands to create interactive live shows with AR virtual try-on hosted on their website and offer personalized beauty advice. These new developments will offer convenient and engaging ways for brands to interact with the modern-day consumer and confirms how the beauty tech industry is set to gain tremendous marketshare in 2021 and beyond.


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