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Technology for the Commerce World.


Happy Friday! Greetings from the home office. We hope you, your families, friends and colleagues are staying safe in these turbulent times.

New Investments. This quarter, we've welcomed 3 new portfolio partners: Singuli - Inventory Optimization for Modern Retail -, CargoAI - Last mile delivery in Car Trunks - and CommerceJS - Next Generation Headless infrastructure for E-Commerce

Brief News. Amazon is buying the Lord & Taylor building. How new brand Mschf may be the next Supreme. Reddit founder Alexis Ohanian bought a billboard in New York. How all the Warby Parker clones are now imploding. More Commerce news below.

Our Off Topic Playlist. The article we loved by Morning Brew, a guide to live the best quarantined life. And finally how we are jamming - at home - with Mumma don't tell.

Thank you for reading.

Joseph & Vincent



We were planning to share some thoughts regarding 2020 Commerce Tech Investments but considering the current virus, here are some of our thoughts.

Market and Consumer Uncertainty

With the current uncertainty, the store and office closures, we expect a significant impact over the next months on the commerce economy. The CEO of a large Luxury Group was sharing that their China sales were down 85% in the first months. Some categories are more impacted than others: F&B, Fashion or Travel. While others are getting the benefit of their e-commerce infrastructure and the at home needs. Most interesting category to us is Bread making and At Home Hair Coloring.

We will share more details in the coming week on our medium. Stay tuned.

The Funding Market

We expect a difficult market over the next 12 months. We are seeing already valuations being slashed at later stage rounds. 

At Seed stage we expect the impact to be a little smoother over the next few months with a gradual decrease. Nevertheless we are already seeing some impacts in a few areas. YC valuations are a good benchmark in this regard :).



Amazon’s automated checkouts land in airports

New Retail / Venture Beat - "Cibo Express will be the first retailer to use Amazon’s Just Walk Out cashierless technology and has confirmed its first checkout-free store will land at Newark Liberty airport on March 16."

Why it matters - We were all thinking that no retailer in their right mind would partner with Amazon but it seems that we were wrong.


The crisis will change the world of commerce

New Retail / The Economist - "Many tech companies are seeing surging demand. Small firms will suffer most: 54% in America are closed temporarily or expect to be in the next ten days. They lack access to capital markets. And without friends in high places, they will struggle to get government help."

Why it matters - Biggest impact on complete offline business will be tremendous. Those that have the ability to shift towards Ecommerce and integrated offline / online sales will win in the the long run. SBA loans will not be enough. Technology will be the largest winner.


Rise and Fall of GMO Brands

D2C / A. Andjelic - "Like GMO food, GMO brands are the overgrown, monstrous, and tasteless versions of the real thing. They show up out of nowhere, grow rapidly thanks to the steroid VC money, and reach outsized proportions before imploding or rotting. There are a lot of GMO brands: Nasty Gal, Groupon, Away, Everlane, Brandless, Outdoor Voices, Greats, Honest Company, Modcloth, Harrys, Peloton, Blue Apron, Bonobos, WeWork."

Why it matters - Perhaps it seems that the larger well known and big box retailers are not sold because of their competitive position with online but smaller actors are ready to make a bet.


The 10 most innovative retail companies of 2020

Retail / FastCompany - "Clothing-as-a-service pioneer CaaStle and secondhand marketplace ThredUp are part of a growing coterie of companies that are challenging the assumption that new is always better when it comes to buying clothes."

Why it matters - Sustainability is becoming a large piece of how technology and commerce are thinking about the future and it is now top of mind of many rankings.

Inside DTC brands’ approach to first-time discounting

D2C / Glossy - "The current strained retail environment has forced many DTC brands that normally avoid discounts at all costs to put products on sale. But to avoid diluting the brand or completely killing their margins, they’re offering sales on the sly.."

Why it matters - We've debated with many of our peers but it seems that high discounting in a period of crisis like Covid is highly detrimental to a brand. Rather playing up community and care are ways to grow your brand equity.

In the Face of Lockdown, China’s E-Commerce Giants Deliver

E-commerce / HBR - "The experience from China suggests that the most valuable contributions will come both from leveraging their digital logistics platforms and their high-tech last-mile delivery capabilities and from quickly engaging newly available workers with transferrable skills from other sectors."

Why it matters - China has proved to be a playbook on multiple fronts. This crisis will only increase their leadership on initiatives in the online world.


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