Zero-Party Data Collection, Airbnb CEO Interview, Crypto Volatility – TechCrunch

Back when most trading took place on the local high street, buyers who exchanged personally identifiable information with merchants received something in return.

Stores kept track of customers’ hat, shoe and dress sizes, as well as their birthdays, anniversaries and personal preferences. In return, shoppers got a first taste of new products and services that anticipated their desires – personalized purchases.

For most of the internet age, this work has been done with tools like browser cookies and tracking pixels, but consumer desire for greater privacy (and increased regulation) forces online marketers to rethink basic practices.

What if instead of surreptitiously tracking our behavior, they simply ask us for relevant details?


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“Think about the kinds of things you would say to a store associate to help you find the right gifts to buy for your family,” says Ben Parr, president and co-founder of Octane AI. “It’s part zero data.”

In a very detailed article with multiple examples, he shares stakeholder-free data collection methods that will engage customers and drive higher conversions.

It’s not just e-commerce: New restrictions on sharing and collecting data will increase customer acquisition costs for everything from auto sales to real estate. If your startup is building a zero-party data strategy, please read.

On Wednesday, November 17 at 3:00 p.m. PST/6:00 p.m. EST, I’ll be interviewing Ben Parr on Twitter Spaces about zero-party marketing best practices. To get a callback, please follow @techcrunch on Twitter.

Have a good week-end,

Walter Thompson
Editor-in-Chief, TechCrunch+
@yourprotagonist

Demand Curve: How Zapier Acquires Customers Through Its Homepage

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Your homepage is your most valuable asset when it comes to explaining what you do and the value you provide.

At its core, this is an advanced storytelling exercise, but many startups think about it completely, which is why studying how the competition is doing will help you save time and money on testing and design. ‘optimization.

For example, Demand Curve’s Joey Noble tears down the homepage of automation service Zapier, exploring the copywriting and conversion tactics that have helped the platform gain millions of users worldwide.

Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky discusses the future of work and the one thing he would do

Airbnb Inc. Chairman and CEO Brian Chesky, as Company plans expansion in Africa

Picture credits: Waldo Swiegers/Bloomberg/Getty Images

In a lengthy interview, Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky and TechCrunch Editor-in-Chief Jordan Crook looked at how the travel company has adapted since the pandemic began.

Their conversation covered topics as far-reaching as Airbnb’s “work anywhere” policy, how it addresses liability issues for hosts, and its biggest regret in the COVID-19 era:

I’ve overridden the host’s cancellation policy and refunded over $1 billion in guest reservations. I think it was the right thing to do. But I did it unilaterally, without consulting the hosts. They got really upset and it broke trust with some members of our host community.

Debt-as-a-service provider Sivo wants to power the next generation of lending startups

Fintech label.  Fintech, loan, payment, banking Tag cloud next to laptop.

Picture credits: zakokor (Opens in a new window) /Getty Pictures

Getting into debt is never easy for startups, and for fintechs whose business model revolves around credit, raising a line of credit from banks or credit institutions can take several months.

Offering “debt as a service”, Sivo aims to remedy this problem with its platform, which requires few agreements and fees, and makes debt “as easy as connecting to an API”. , reported Ryan Lawler.

“Initial feedback has been positive: in just three months since launch, Sivo has received a request for approximately $4 billion and has in fact signed $1.5 billion worth of termsheets from initiators who want to capitalize on its debt-as-a-service offering,” he wrote. .

“And, according to Founder and CEO Kate Hiscox, the company is in the process of onboarding 600 originators who hope to tap into its lines of programmatic debt.”

As Valuations Soar and IPOs Accelerate, the Public Takes More Startup Risks

Picture credits: Nigel Susman (Opens in a new window)

Investing in companies that have astronomical valuations based on expected growth can work very well. But when the gap between expectations and reality gets too big, markets can crash.

According to Alex Wilhelm, the current IPO market and valuations are based on real growth, but investors should still be cautious.

“The public is increasingly able to invest in high-risk tech companies, and as multiples rise, so does the amount of air on which tech valuations rest,” he writes.

“The public is now in danger.”

Sweetgreen’s IPO pricing advice sheds light on the valuation range of tech-focused companies

A Sweetgreen storefront in Chicago

Picture credits: Scott Olson (Opens in a new window) /Getty Pictures

This week, salad chain Sweetgreen set an IPO range of $23-25 ​​per share, giving it a multiple of around 8.2x and a valuation of between $2.5 billion and $2.7 billion. of dollars.

That’s a lot of lettuce, but the prices show how tech-focused DTC companies can adapt, writes Alex Wilhelm, who compared Sweetgreen’s lineup to IPO prices for Allbirds and Rent the Runway. .

“They’re not multiples of modern software, but they’re not mediocre either,” says Alex. “Actually they’re better than I ever imagined, more proof that I’m a mix of Scrooge and Grinch.”

Aileen Lee and Rachel Carlson walk through Guild Education’s first pitch deck

live techcrunch guild education slide

Picture credits: guild education

For a recent episode of TechCrunch Live, Editor-in-Chief Jordan Crook spoke with Rachel Carlson, CEO of Guild Education, Co-Founder Brittany Stich, and Aileen Lee, Founder and Managing Partner of Cowboy Ventures, about the origins and l education development platform growth arc.

Cowboy Ventures led a $2 million seed round in 2015 when the founders were just beginning their entrepreneurial journey.

“[We felt like we had to] show up and be a founding team,” Carlson said.

“We tried to pretend a bit. We had this first great intellectual encounter, and on the next one, I felt I had to introduce myself and show him that I was doing a business. I was a little less authentic.

How to take advantage of distributed work

Vector of diverse people connecting all over the world using modern technology

Picture credits: Feodora Chiosea/Getty Images

For several years, I have earned my living sitting at a desk in my living room. Every day I get up, make coffee and go to work.

“‘Remote’ is fundamentally disadvantaged,” said Phil Libin, founder and CEO of startup studio All Turtles and mmhmm at TechCrunch Disrupt. “We are not isolated, we are distributed. We are intentionally distributed in the same way that the Internet is a distributed system.

Editor-in-Chief Eric Eldon interviewed Libin and Wendy Nice Barnes, Director of Human Resources at Gitlab, to learn more about how to foster company culture, manage people, and hire effectively in a workplace. distributed.

“It’s a lot easier now than getting in my car, going to an office, having to check in and going through security – then sitting in a room and being there for five or six hours. “, Barnes said.

“Now you have the flexibility and you’re intrigued and you’re going to learn faster through the remote interview process.”

Expensify CEO David Barrett discusses the IPO and why expense management is a $1,000,000 opportunity

Mockup of an Expensify card with CEO David Barrett's name on it

Picture credits: Spend (Opens in a new window)

Fintech journalist Ryan Lawler interviewed Expensify CEO David Barrett this week about the timing of the company’s IPO and why they chose a traditional direct listing over the more fashionable SPAC.

“We aim to be the most employee-friendly IPO ever. So even though this is a traditional IPO, with the exception of an insider collection, all of our employees can trade up to 15% of their shares starting today. Normally, you can only get this type of “day one” liquidity if you have made a direct quote. »

Barrett said securing cash for early shareholders was also a major consideration, as the company is already profitable.

“It really came down to – there’s no future where we don’t end up going public at some point. So it’s not if we have to go public anymore, it’s really when.”

Crypto volatility continues to rock Wall Street

Picture credits: Nigel Susman (Opens in a new window)

The fact that Robinhood and Coinbase’s third-quarter earnings fell short of expectations has Alex Wilhelm wondering if Wall Street is underestimating how volatile the crypto market is.

“The speed of the crypto economy as a whole may be just too fast for public market investors to fully grok,” he writes.

“And exchanges aren’t even the biggest crypto-themed investments.”

Whether or not to sell your business will always be an important decision for founders

Sell ​​now banner on building.

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To better understand what goes through a founder’s mind when considering a sale, Ron Miller hosted a panel at TC Sessions: SaaS featuring:

  • Jyoti Bansal, who sold her previous startup AppDynamics to Cisco for $3.7 billion.
  • Monica Sarbu, who sold her startup Packetbeat to Elastic.
  • Nick Mehta, who sold his email archiving startup LiveOffice to Symantec.

“It was four days of long board meetings, discussions, debates, fights and decision making. So it was not an easy decision,” Bansal said.

“Even though at $3.7 billion everyone thought it should probably be a no-brainer; This was not the case.

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