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Is it time for IPOs to go? | Volume 40

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Welcome to volume 40!

Three big things happened over the weekend: Sir Richard Branson and Virgin Galactic went to the edge of space, Italy took home the European Championship Cup, and insider sources let it slip that Stripe is considering a public listing debut. 

Before we get into that, here’s a peek at what’s to come:  

  • Some of the biggest names in SaaS are foregoing the IPO in favour of a DPO
  • Clubhouses partnership push for popularity
  • The value of virtual events for branding  

If you’re a part of the content culture movement, you gotta rep some swag! 🍾   

The Foundation store is officially LIVE to get you all geared up to let everyone know you’re part of the content culture! From hoodies to hats and mugs, we’ve got you covered 😎

DOA: Direct On Arrival

Everyone knows that Stripe is striving to be the fintech company to end all fintech companies. 

It grew $36B in just ten years using the power of content and design excellence, but the content and design efforts would have been powerless if it wasn’t for the standout software Stripe has created. 

Now eleven years old and freshly valued at $96B in March 2021, Stripe had been eyed up as a shoo-in for an IPO this year. However, to many people’s dismay, it chooses to remain private and use private tender offers for existing investors and employees to cash out their holdings if desired. 

Does this mean that Stripe will never go public? 

No. Because while remaining private has allowed Stripe to keep financial details all hush-hush, it has also prevented employee incentivization through stock options and stunted financial growth opportunities. 

While we have no official news on the Stripe stock market debut, we have some insider knowledge to fuel the rumour mill:

🤫 Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP have been hired as legal advisers for early-stage listing preparations 

🤫 Stripe is currently looking to hire investment bankers this year

🤫 Insider sources say it is unlikely Stripe will go public in 2021 

🤫 Stripe is considering a direct listing instead of an IPO

That’s right; Stripe may not IPO ever! Since they don’t need to raise funds, they can forego the IPO and take a direct route. 

And Stripe isn’t the only company that is going direct. 

DPO SaaS Companies 2018-2020

In 2018, Spotify led the way in direct listings for software companies, and sure enough, big names like Slack and Asana followed suit in the years to come. 

More recently, in 2021, Roblox and Coinbase have chosen to forego the IPO and enter the stock exchange to reach traders directly. 

Disclaimer: I am no investment advisor, but signs indicate direct public offerings (DPO) and even SPACs are rising over IPOs. Startups are successfully fundraising while private and no longer need to rely on a splashy IPO to raise the funds that their investors have handed over. 

DPOs are favourable to these well-funded private companies because their investors aren’t disadvantaged due to a dilution of their shares.  

Key Takeaways 

  • Direct listings are directly challenging IPOs.
  • Stripe is planning to go public, we don’t know when, but we know it’s coming.
  • Direct stock exchange listings are rising in popularity as well-funded privately held software companies begin to go public. 

Is Clubhouse The New Community Watering Hole? 

A better question to start with – Is Clubhouse dead? 

With such a buzzy launch, it’s no surprise to think it has experienced a fall from grace as the conversation around Clubhouse has quieted down. But it’s not dead, and it’s not thriving either. 

Ross said it best in conversation with Dave Gerhardt, “it’s not going to be the next Facebook.” And while it won’t be the next big thing in social media, Clubhouse has proven drop-in audio rooms are the latest established commodity social networks need to leverage to remain relevant. He went on to say: 

And we’re seeing this effect already. Clubhouse peaked at the end of February in terms of downloads and has slowly seen a decrease in new users, but we don’t see a flat line yet. 

Clubhouse App Downloads

So, while it isn’t a winner, it isn’t a loser. 

Clubhouse has recently struck a deal with TED to host exclusive Clubhouse x TED talks

On Monday, July 12, the first room, Thank Your Ass Off, opened in the TED’s Clubhouse club, and it will be back weekly at 11 AM throughout the summer. More rooms are set to open through TED’s club, but no official details have been released yet. 

Beyond extending the TED brand and connecting with listeners on a personal level, this deal allows TED to sell brand partnerships or ads if it chooses without Clubhouse taking a cut.

Why is Clubhouse passing on a cut of the profits? Because they are betting on the exclusive content to generate returns in terms of app downloads. Exclusive content typically sparks engagement, and Clubhouse expects to see a new wave of loyal TED talkers join the platform for access. 

While Clubhouse is no Twitter Spaces, some communities are thriving within the niche clubs, and there is still an excellent opportunity to foster community connections in a Clubhouse chat room. 

We’ve talked about remixing blog content into all kinds of assets, but have you thought about remixing blog content into a Clubhouse fireside chat or using one to support a Q&A session? 

Key Takeaways 

  • Savvy industry competitors will prey on what’s new and working. 
  • TED x Clubhouse is bringing exclusive content to the platform, which typically spikes engagement. 
  • Clubhouse isn’t dead, but it’s no longer thriving. Does that discredit its ability to foster genuine community connection – No. 

MozCon – But From My Couch

Virtual events—we’ve attended them, we’ve talked about them, we’ve loved them, and we’ve hated them

But are they here to stay, or will they be swept away alongside storefront complimentary hand sanitizers? 

MozCon, “Not Your Typical Marketing Conference,” ran this week, and it was all done virtually for the second year in a row. Ross even strapped on his headset, ditched his suspenders, and sat down behind his camera to record his presentation. 

MozCon 2021 Virtual Banner Image

This two-year run is not an indicator of a forever shift online; it is simply a sign of the times. 

But what I’m saying is this – Virtual events do work, and they work exceptionally well to connect people who aren’t able to travel with ease. 

And there’s something else that I want to connect here, and that’s the aspect of live-tweeting. At in-person events, it’s rather rude to be on your phone, but at home, when you’re watching this on your laptop, nothing can stop you from split screening and chatting about the live presentations happening at #MozCon. 

I mean, Lily Ray even shared a screenshot from one of the presentations. 

Virtual events like this lead to higher engagement online and greater brand awareness. Especially when presenters have pre-recorded their presentation because this allows them to engage across multiple platforms with their audience as the recorded presentation plays live. 

Taking a step back from MozCon for a minute and stepping into the CRM event of the year – let’s chat DreamForce. 

Dreamforce is Salesforce’s most significant event of the year, attracting over 170k attendees for the 2019 event in San Francisco, and generating over $240M in revenue for the local San Fran economy. 

Sounds great for San Fran, but how does this event benefit Salesforce?

Similar to how #MozCon gets Moz trending on Twitter, Dreamforce is an opportunity to re-establish credibility by demonstrating their commitment to their audience’s growth and connections. 

The conference has evolved into an experience that attendees love so much that they keep spreading the word and coming back to attend. This makes it no surprise that Dreamforce 2020, delivered virtually, attracted over 140 million viewers from different parts of the world.

So are virtual events going to stick around? I don’t know. But I know they work, and with the processes in place, I sense a “por qué no los dos” hybrid approach to large events like these. 

Key Takeaways 

  • Virtual events have been a successful replacement for in-person events this past year. 
  • Events are great for generating brand awareness, free press, and establishing credibility within an industry. 
  • A plus of virtual events is the ability to engage across multiple platforms with presenters while their recorded presentation plays live. 


🤝 Cybersecurity firm RiskIQ has been acquired by software giant Microsoft for over $500M in an all-cash deal. 

💻 San Francisco’s digital marketplace for connecting local businesses with qualified professionals, Instawork, raised $60M in its Series C funding round. 

🎉 Foundation is happy to announce that Kathryn Spears is our newest Foundationite, taking on the Director of Account Services position.


The Electric Driverless Demonstration in Yellowstone, or T.E.D.D.Y as it’s affectionately known, brings autonomous driving to sightseeing adventures.  

Local Motors and Beep partnered up to bring T.E.D.D.Y into operation, but for now, the goal of T.E.D.D.Y’s time in Yellowstone is to collect information. Each shuttle has a human conductor ready at the helm to take the wheel if needed, although there has been no need for human interference so far. 

If the Yellowstone pilot continues to go well, we can expect to see these autonomous vehicles pop up all around the country in different national parks. And who’s to say the canyons will be the last stop for T.E.D.D.Y? Although it’ll need a name change once the pilot wraps, there is no limit to where T.E.D.D.Y can autonomously operate and shuttle people around.


10 Not So Obvious Marketing Lessons by Aazar Shad


good kid, m.A.A.d city by Kendrick Lamar (Best Track: Money Trees)

Originally sent out, by me Cali B, on Thursday, July 15, 2021.

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