The unicorn club. Pivots that work. Meetings on meetings.
Lifestyle business

Hi there, 

I was listening to Reid Hoffman’s podcast and his recent discussion with Ben Chestnut, the CEO of Mailchimp.

For background, Mailchimp is doing $600M of revenue. Based on the SaaS multiple you want to pick, it is probably worth somewhere from $3B to $6B.

Since it's 100% bootstrapped, it is what VCs lovingly call a "lifestyle business."

There are some good lines from Ben in the conversation. A couple choice ones below.

On VCs who approached Mailchimp:

It felt like they were more like alien beings from another era trying to tell me how to run my business — and it felt like they were missing some kind of a boat. I just thought, “No, you’re not making any sense. You don’t seem to understand what we’re doing here.”

On his and his founders' motivations:

We were eating off the McDonald’s value meal. We kind of fantasized about being able to walk to the other side of this retail center and eat at Fuddruckers, because they had these $8 hamburgers. We thought, “If Mailchimp could just make enough money every month to pay our lunch every day, we would eat there instead.” It sounds ridiculous now, but that was really all the expectation we had.

In the unicorn club

In our Q1 2019 Fintech report, we highlighted the ever-growing herd of fintech unicorns. As of April, there were 41, as the map below highlights.

Note: the full 81 page report is available here.

More than half of them have had their CEOs or founders speak at the Future of Fintech in the past or this year.

This year’s group of unicorn CEO/founder speakers at Future of Fintech (June 11-13 in NYC) is the biggest we’ve ever had.

Today is the last day for discounted tickets. Use the code fintechunicorns to save $500. They go up by $1,000 tomorrow, June 1. Get them here unless you like spending more money than necessary.

Sticking with it

Foursquare just raised $150M and acquired Placed from Snap.

The company started with a consumer-focused mobile check-in app and has pivoted to become a B2B location data company.

Pivots that work are exceedingly rare in tech. (We wrote about 9 of them here.)

Sometimes founders just start over, but that’s not a pivot.

In the case of Foursquare, they have taken that underlying asset of check-ins and turned it on its head to become a new business.

It’s a pretty remarkable story, and I’m looking forward to eventually reading about how they determined this was the pivot to pursue, how they sold the idea internally (I’m assuming not everyone was immediately on-board) and some of the critical decisions they made along the way that ended up working.

Electric vehicle penetration

In our report on The Race for the Electric Car, this chart on EV penetration was surprising.

I knew Norway was ahead, but I didn’t realize quite how far.

International Energy Agency

Get the entire report on the global EV landscape here.

You get a meeting and you get a meeting

Right before last year’s Future of Fintech, we rolled out a networking app where attendees could schedule 1:1 meetings with one another — 2,000+ meetings were scheduled over 2 days.

This year, we shared the app with Future of Fintech (June 11-13, NYC) attendees a few weeks earlier and are seeing crazy numbers:

  • 50% of attendees have already logged in.
  • 1,778+ meetings are scheduled with another 571 pending. 
  • Based on history, we’ll likely have 4,000-5,000 meetings scheduled during the event itself.

It’s not too late to get in on the action. Prices go up on June 1, but you can still save $500 with code meetingtime.

Amazon dot uh oh

On earnings calls, the number of mentions of Amazon by public company execs shot up at the end of 2016. It is the company that strikes the most fear into execs across a range of industries.

We talked about the 7 industries Amazon is set to disrupt ranging from mortgages to pharmacies to small business lending.

Always content first

One of the best decisions we made when we started the Future of Fintech conference was to have professional journalists moderate the 1:1 conversations.

As a reminder, we don’t do:

  • Panels — cuz 99.9% of them are terrible
  • Sponsor pay-to-play talks — cuz 101% of them are terrible

Journalists ask good questions and poke & prod just enough to keep the conversations interesting.

This year’s list of moderators is as star-studded as we’ve ever had with folks from CNBC, The WSJ, The Financial Times, Bloomberg, and Fortune, among others.

For those of you still on the fence, prices go up (a lot) tomorrow. Save $500 off your ticket with code contentfirst.

Have a great weekend.

I love you.


P.S. I’ll be presenting a keynote at the Future of Fintech that features a famous serial killer. So if you like fintech and weird, potentially disturbing metaphors, this is pretty much the only game in town.

Eat. Sleep. Data.

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