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Question: Can I use a website for two different purposes? Like one would be ecommerce and the other something else.

For example I'm building a website for my brother's car lot (which is basically trucks and vans) and I want to also make it an eccomerce store that I can sell products with. Is that doable or would that piss off Google's SEO. Can you think of any drawbacks?

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Priority shipping insurance: missing package reimbursement?

Has anyone had any success getting the up to $100 insurance on the priority packages? I have packages that are still stuck in transit from Christmas and was curious when I could put in a claim, and if I did, what the odds would be that they would be approved.

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Extra Crunch roundup: antitrust jitters, SPAC odyssey, white-hot IPOs, more

Some time ago, I gave up on the idea of finding a thread that connects each story in the weekly Extra Crunch roundup; there are no unified theories of technology news.

The stories that left the deepest impression were related to two news pegs that dominated the week — Visa and Plaid calling off their $5.3 billion acquisition agreement, and sizzling-hot IPOs for Affirm and Poshmark.

Watching Plaid and Visa sing “Let's Call The Whole Thing Off” in harmony after the U.S. Department of Justice filed a lawsuit to block their deal wasn't shocking. But I was surprised to find myself editing an interview Alex Wilhelm conducted with with Plaid CEO Zach Perret the next day in which the executive said growing the company on its own is “once again” the correct strategy.


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In an analysis for Extra Crunch, Managing Editor Danny Crichton suggested that federal regulators' new interest in antitrust enforcement will affect valuations going forward. For example, Procter & Gamble and women's beauty D2C brand Billie also called off their planned merger last week after the Federal Trade Commission raised objections in December.

Given the FTC's moves last year to prevent Billie and Harry's from being acquired, “it seems clear that U.S. antitrust authorities want broad competition for consumers in household goods,” Danny concluded, and I suspect that applies to Plaid as well.

In December, C3.ai, Doordash and Airbnb burst into the public markets to much acclaim. This week, used clothing marketplace Poshmark saw a 140% pop in its first day of trading and consumer-financing company Affirm “priced its IPO above its raised range at $49 per share,” reported Alex.

In a post titled A theory about the current IPO market, he identified eight key ingredients for brewing a debut with a big first-day pop, which includes “exist in a climate of near-zero interest rates” and “keep companies private longer.” Truly, words to live by!

Come back next week for more coverage of the public markets in The Exchange, an interview with Bustle CEO Bryan Goldberg where he shares his plans for taking the company public, a comprehensive post that will unpack the regulatory hurdles facing D2C consumer brands, and much more.

If you live in the U.S., enjoy your MLK Day holiday weekend, and wherever you are: thanks very much for reading Extra Crunch.

Walter Thompson
Senior Editor, TechCrunch
@yourprotagonist

 

Rapid growth in 2020 reveals OKR software market's untapped potential

After spending much of the week covering 2021's frothy IPO market, Alex Wilhelm devoted this morning's column to studying the OKR-focused software sector.

Measuring objectives and key results are core to every enterprise, perhaps more so these days since knowledge workers began working remotely in greater numbers last year.

A sign of the times: this week, enterprise orchestration SaaS platform Gtmhub announced that it raised a $30 million Series B.

To get a sense of how large the TAM is for OKR, Alex reached out to several companies and asked them to share new and historical growth metrics:

  • Gthmhub
  • Perdoo
  • WorkBoard
  • Ally.io
  • Koan
  • WeekDone

“Some OKR-focused startups didn’t get back to us, and some leaders wanted to share the best stuff off the record, which we grant at times for candor amongst startup executives,” he wrote.

5 consumer hardware VCs share their 2021 investment strategies

For our latest investor survey, Matt Burns interviewed five VCs who actively fund consumer electronics startups:

  • Hans Tung, managing partner, GGV Capital
  • Dayna Grayson, co-founder and general partner, Construct Capital
  • Cyril Ebersweiler, general partner, SOSV
  • Bilal Zuberi, partner, Lux Capital
  • Rob Coneybeer, managing director, Shasta Ventures

“Consumer hardware has always been a tough market to crack, but the COVID-19 crisis made it even harder,” says Matt, noting that the pandemic fueled wide interest in fitness startups like Mirror, Peloton and Tonal.

Bonus: many VCs listed the founders, investors and companies that are taking the lead in consumer hardware innovation.

A theory about the current IPO market

Digital generated image of abstract multi colored curve chart on white background.

Digital generated image of abstract multi colored curve chart on white background.

If you're looking for insight into “why everything feels so damn silly this year” in the public markets, a post Alex wrote Thursday afternoon might offer some perspective.

As someone who pays close attention to late-stage venture markets, he's identified eight factors that are pushing debuts for unicorns like Affirm and Poshmark into the stratosphere.

TL;DR? “Lots of demand, little supply, boom goes the price.”

Poshmark prices IPO above range as public markets continue to YOLO startups

Clothing resale marketplace Poshmark closed up more than 140% on its first trading day yesterday.

In Thursday's edition of The Exchange, Alex noted that Poshmark boosted its valuation by selling 6.6 million shares at its IPO price, scooping up $277.2 million in the process.

Poshmark's surge in trading is good news for its employees and stockholders, but it reflects poorly on “the venture-focused money people who we suppose know what they are talking about when it comes to equity in private companies,” he says.

Will startup valuations change given rising antitrust concerns?

GettyImages 926051128

financial stock market graph on technology abstract background represent risk of investment

This week, Visa announced it would drop its planned acquisition of Plaid after the U.S. Department of Justice filed suit to block it last fall.

Last week, Procter & Gamble called off its purchase of Billie, a women's beauty products startup — in December, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission sued to block that deal, too.

Once upon a time, the U.S. government took an arm's-length approach to enforcing antitrust laws, but the tide has turned, says Managing Editor Danny Crichton.

Going forward, “antitrust won’t kill acquisitions in general, but it could prevent the buyers with the highest reserve prices from entering the fray.”

Dear Sophie: What’s the new minimum salary required for H-1B visa applicants?

Image Credits: Sophie Alcorn

Dear Sophie:

I’m a grad student currently working on F-1 STEM OPT. The company I work for has indicated it will sponsor me for an H-1B visa this year.

I hear the random H-1B lottery will be replaced with a new system that selects H-1B candidates based on their salaries.

How will this new process work?

— Positive in Palo Alto

Venture capitalists react to Visa-Plaid deal meltdown

A homemade chocolate cookie with a bite and crumbs on a white background

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

After news broke that Visa's $5.3 billion purchase of API startup Plaid fell apart, Alex Wilhelm and Ron Miller interviewed several investors to get their reactions:

  • Anshu Sharma, co-founder and CEO, SkyflowAPI
  • Amy Cheetham, principal, Costanoa Ventures
  • Sheel Mohnot, co-founder, Better Tomorrow Ventures
  • Lucas Timberlake, partner, Fintech Ventures
  • Nico Berardi, founder and general partner, ANIMO Ventures
  • Allen Miller, VC, Oak HC/FT
  • Sri Muppidi, VC, Sierra Ventures
  • Christian Lassonde, VC, Impression Ventures

Plaid CEO touts new ‘clarity' after failed Visa acquisition

Zach Perret, chief executive officer and co-founder of Plaid Technologies Inc., speaks during the Silicon Slopes Tech Summit in Salt Lake City, Utah, U.S., on Friday, Jan. 31, 2020. The summit brings together the leading minds in the tech industry for two-days of keynote speakers, breakout sessions, and networking opportunities. Photographer: George Frey/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Zach Perret, chief executive officer and co-founder of Plaid Technologies Inc., speaks during the Silicon Slopes Tech Summit in Salt Lake City, Utah, U.S., on Friday, Jan. 31, 2020. The summit brings together the leading minds in the tech industry for two-days of keynote speakers, breakout sessions, and networking opportunities. Photographer: George Frey/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Alex Wilhelm interviewed Plaid CEO Zach Perret after the Visa acquisition was called off to learn more about his mindset and the company's short-term plans.

Perret, who noted that the last few years have been a “roller coaster,” said the Visa deal was the right decision at the time, but going it alone is “once again” Plaid's best way forward.

2021: A SPAC odyssey

In Tuesday's edition of The Exchange, Alex Wilhelm took a closer look at blank-check offerings for digital asset marketplace Bakkt and personal finance platform SoFi.

To create a detailed analysis of the investor presentations for both offerings, he tried to answer two questions:

  1. Are special purpose acquisition companies a path to public markets for “potentially-promising companies that lacked obvious, near-term growth stories?”
  2. Given the number of unicorns and the limited number of companies that can IPO at any given time, “maybe SPACS would help close the liquidity gap?”

Flexible VC: A new model for startups targeting profitability

12 ‘flexible VCs’ who operate where equity meets revenue share

Spotlit Multi Colored Coil Toy in the Dark.

Spotlit Multi Colored Coil Toy in the Dark.

Growth-stage startups in search of funding have a new option: “flexible VC” investors.

An amalgam of revenue-based investment and traditional VC, investors who fall into this category let entrepreneurs “access immediate risk capital while preserving exit, growth trajectory and ownership optionality.”

In a comprehensive explainer, fund managers David Teten and Jamie Finney present different investment structures so founders can get a clear sense of how flexible VC compares to other venture capital models. In a follow-up post, they share a list of a dozen active investors who offer funding via these non-traditional routes.

These 5 VCs have high hopes for cannabis in 2021

Marijuana leaf on a yellow background.

Image Credits: Anton Petrus (opens in a new window) / Getty Images

For some consumers, “cannabis has always been essential,” writes Matt Burns, but once local governments allowed dispensaries to remain open during the pandemic, it signaled a shift in the regulatory environment, and investors took notice.

Matt asked five VCs about where they think the industry is heading in 2021 and what advice they're offering their portfolio companies:

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Need Help and Advice

Started shopify 2 days ago. Made a bad decision by paying someone 200 to setup my page and teach me how to sale. I haven’t gotten any sales so far and down another 200 from promotions etc. Should I keep going? Any tips on generating more sales?

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Unsure of potential niche

Hello all. I'm looking into a niche involving the sale of 3D printed terrarium decor/food dishes/hides for geckos and other reptiles. I was planning to mainly use etsy to get off the ground. The market for these items seems to have potential, however one etsy shop exists that seems to be dominating this market (35,000+ sales) to where others simply don't exist. I was wondering if it would be worth my time to try this or if I should keep looking for a new niche for my designing/printing skills. Let me know what you guys think. Thanks!

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Print-on-demand providers that also handle customer service?

I'm sure there aren't many like this but I'm looking for PODs who will take care of your customers for you, and preferably take the cost out of the shirt instead of charging you directly. I know Redbubble, I wanted to check in case there were any more.

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Marc Lore leaves Walmart a little over four years after selling Jet.com for $3B

Marc Lore, the executive vice president, president and CEO of U.S. e-commerce for Walmart, is stepping down a little over four years after selling his e-commerce company Jet.com to the country's largest retailer for $3 billion.

Lore's tenure at the company was a mixed bag. Walmart instituted several new technology initiatives under Lore's tenure, but the Jet.com service was shuttered last May and other initiatives from Lore, like an option to have customers order items via text, was also a money-loser for the Bentonville, Arkansas-based company.

“After Mr. Lore retires on January 31, 2021, the U.S. business, including all the aspects of US retail eCommerce, will continue to report to John Furner, Executive Vice President, President and Chief Executive Officer, Walmart U.S., beginning on February 1, 2021,” Walmart said in a filing.

Walmart has continued to push ahead with a number of tech-related initiatives, including the launch of a new business that will focus on developing financial services.

That initiative is being undertaken through a strategic partnership with the fintech investment firm, Ribbit Capital and adds to a startup tech portfolio that also includes the incubator Store N⁰8, which launched in 2018.

“Reflecting on the past few years with so much pride – Walmart changed my life and the work we did together will keep changing the lives of customers for years to come. It has been an honor to be a part of the Walmart family and I look forward to providing advice and ideas in the future,” Lore said in a statement posted to Linkedin. “Looking forward, I’ll be taking some time off and plan to continue working with several startups. Excited to keep you all up to date on what’s next.”

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Ok…take 2…my revamped site. Please provide critial feedback. Thanks

Hiya,

About a month ago, I submitted a site for review.

healingbymind.com

The feedback has been revealing.

I've now revamped it, what do you guys think?

Now, for the individual points:

From WVEers89

'Going to be honest, it’s pretty terrible. Way too much going on and it looks like a scam site that I’d get redirected to but not be able to click back. I typed the link in and immediately had to check to make sure I typed it correctly because of how spammy it looked.'

Ok, have simplified it. Should be less spammy (and when I say less, I mean none)

From AIForEcommerce

'Tbh It's pretty bad…too cluttered and clunky that I don't even want to look at it. Your site is pretty much like Yahoo.'

Should be less cluttered and clunky now.

From TakeAChanceToday (I will address these points individually)

'Here’s the downfalls:

*dumbass ads as soon as I’m on the page. Holy sh*t I just came back to the top and realized you’re just f*cking lying. “Breaking news” come on now... 

Have changed (it was a fair point, in truth)

*design looks like Facebook from 2006, not in a good way. 

Design is different. Thanks for the honesty

*social share buttons have no place there. Remove those damned things and maybe, only maybe keep them within the article. 

Done

*the survey is f*cked. This is a large contributor to your site feeling like a scam. 

Have re-positioned.

*not a single one of your images really shows anything related to weight. 

Again, fair point

*your articles are currently just verbal diarrhea and don’t really answer any real questions. I can tell you the SEO intent of those titles have gotta be bad. 

And another one

*wtf is this little headset button popping up on the right? 

Removed

*the f*cking cookies pop up. Dude, you have so many god damned things competing for attention it’s insane. 

Should be simplified

*article text is four words wide on mobile. 

Mobile settings improved. I've even checked it on mine, although you have to make your mobile landscape to get a user friendly appearance

*no branding whatsoever. 

Included a little bit of branding. No tagline, at the moment I believe that would be inappropriate (and if you do come across a tagline, let me know, I will remove it)

*some of your “articles” are like 2 sentences? http://www.healingbymind.com/how-to-destroy-laziness-with-ease/ oh holy sh*t you aren’t even writing articles you are literally coping and pasting some bullsh*t. 

The original idea was a directory website. Have changed tactics.

*no option to deny cookies. 

Done. Are using a new plugin

*you’re selling/giving away a wave CD LOL! It’s 2020 Julian and you’re a health blog. 

Removed

*terms of use is in the damn navbar 

Not any more, at the bottom of the page.

*write for us in navbar. Dude no one should be caught dead associated with this. 

Couldn't agree with you more. Have deleted.

Hopefully this will be a better attempt.

Many, many thanks in advance.

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Built up a huge audience, now I need some guidance.

Hey everyone!

So, I built up a large audience through multiple platforms and I’m hoping to get some guidance.

I am honestly hoping to find a business to partner with for resources, funding and more – but if I can do it myself I most definitely will.

I know exactly where I can take this business, but I’m not sure of the steps to take to actually get there.

So my niche is – inspiration/spirituality.

My demographics is as follows: Instagram – 98.7k followers (57% women 43% men)

Pinterest – 23k followers 2.3million monthly viewers (89% women 11% men)

Facebook – 13k followers – this is a brand new page

Tik tok – 64k followers

Texting platform – 4.1k subscriptions

I am currently using print on demand for my merch and I am averaging 4K a month in sales. I understand this isn’t great, but keep in mind I’m limited because of POD.

I’m 25 and this is my first business. I have the exact vision for this business and I know it will compete well with my competitors because I’m hitting something that my competitors aren’t.

Should I reach out to business to see if they will partner with me?

I truly don’t know how I can push this further. I’m gaining a large amount of followers and interactions everyday, so I’m not too worried about getting this right immediately; but the sooner the better.

So where can I go to bring this to the next step?

I am beyond willing to work extremely hard. Right now, I put in about 8-10 hours a day, but I was putting in 15-18 hours to get it started.

Any advice is much appreciated, Thank you.

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Is there an international body that can inspect my Chinese mfg for ethical working conditions and compensation?

I have a business that is growing and as such I have more resources to dedicate to improving the business.

I want to know if there is an international body I can pay to inspect my Chinese manufacturing partner as to how they treat and compensate their employees.

I have no idea where to even begin. I know this isn’t the exact right sub, but thought there may be some people here who may know.

If you don’t have any direct knowledge, if you know of a sub that may have info, that would be great.

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