Turmoil continues at TikTok, Salesforce lays off 1,000 people and Warby Parker is now valued at $3 billion. This is your Daily Crunch for August 27, 2020. The big story: TikTok’s CEO resigns Kevin Mayer, the former Disney executive who joined TikTok as CEO just over 100 days ago, announced yesterday that he’s resigning. While Mayer was likely brought on to reassure U.S. legislators about the app’s Chinese owners, it seems he wasn’t expecting this level of conflict, with President Donald Trump signing an executive order that would ban TikTok in the U.S. unless it’s sold to another company.
“We appreciate that the political dynamics of the last few months have significantly changed what the scope of Kevin’s role would be going forward, and fully respect his decision,” a TikTok spokesperson said in a statement. “We thank him for his time at the company and wish him well.” As for which company might acquire TikTok, Walmart has confirmed that it’s interested in teaming up with Microsoft to acquire the popular video app. The tech giants Salesforce confirms it’s laying off around 1,000 people in spite of monster quarter — Salesforce says it’s “reallocating resources to position the company for continued growth.” Google Assistant app now uses your searches to make personalized recommendations — Those recommendations could include podcasts, restaurants, recipes and more. Facebook isn’t happy about Apple’s upcoming ad tracking restrictions — The company says Audience Network revenue could decline by more than 50%. Startups, funding and venture capital Warby Parker, valued at $3 billion, raises $245 million in funding — The eyewear startup has launched a telehealth service for New York customers, allowing them to extend an existing glasses or contacts prescription. Instacart faces lawsuit from DC attorney general over ‘deceptive’ service fees — The suit alleges that Instacart misled customers into thinking the 10% service fee was a tip for the delivery person. Narrative raises $8.5 million as it launches a new data marketplace — The goal is to make buying data as easy as buying something on Amazon. Advice and analysis from Extra Crunch Alexa von Tobel: Eliminating risk is the key to building a startup during an economic downturn — Von Tobel says that one of the most important exercises in forming LearnVest was writing out a business plan. To reach scale, Juni Learning is building a full-stack edtech experience — The startup’s path to $10 million in annual recurring revenue is inspired by Peloton, not Kumon. What can growth marketers learn from lean product development? — Andrea Fryrear argues that marketers should begin creating minimum viable campaigns. (Reminder: Extra Crunch is our subscription membership program, which aims to democratize information about startups. You can sign up here.) Everything else A faster, easier, cheaper way of going public — The latest episode of Equity discusses direct listings and SPACs. Here’s how you can get a second shot at Startup Battlefield — Your second chance comes in the form of two Wild Card entries for the upcoming Battlefield at Disrupt. The Daily Crunch is TechCrunch’s roundup of our biggest and most important stories. If you’d like to get this delivered to your inbox every day at around 3pm Pacific, you can subscribe here.
Hans Vestberg, CEO of Verizon Communications, is a busy man. He’s also a business man. He’s a busy businessman, but has graciously made time to join us for an episode of Extra Crunch Live, our ongoing speaker series for Extra Crunch members. We’re thrilled to have Vestberg as a guest on the show! The episode will air on May 26 at 2pm ET/11am PT. Full disclosure: Verizon is the parent company to TechCrunch, which means that Vestberg is our boss’s boss’s boss’s boss. Vestberg was previously CEO at Ericsson and joined Verizon as chief technology officer and EVP of network and technology in April of 2017. In June of 2018, the company announced that Vestberg would succeed Lowell McAdams as CEO of Verizon Communications. The promotion was made official that August. Vestberg is unlike some of our previous guests on Extra Crunch Live — VCs like Kirsten Green, Roelof Botha and Charles Hudson and entrepreneurs like Mark Cuban. Vestberg is an operator at the helm of one of the world’s biggest corporations, and, as such, provides a unique perspective on adaptation strategies during the coronavirus pandemic. Not only can attendees plan to hear about how Verizon is thinking both short and long-term about the effects of this pandemic on business, but also about how things are changing internally at the company, from re-opening offices to keeping morale high. Vestberg leads a company with thousands of employees and can help founders understand how to manage a company at scale, particularly during a time when decisions are being made quickly and the stakes are high. We’re also interested in talking to Vestberg about the company’s 5G rollout. 5G technology has huge implications for startups, especially as video conferencing and high-bandwidth communication formats become more popular in the midst of physical distancing. Oh, another important thing! We’re not going to be the only ones asking questions. Extra Crunch members can also ask their questions directly in the Zoom call. So make sure you come prepared! If you’re not already a member, you can join Extra Crunch here. Again, this episode of Extra Crunch Live with Hans Vestberg goes down on May 26 at 2pm ET/11am PT. You can find the full details below the jump.
TikTok enlists a big name from Disney as its new CEO, Walmart is shuttering its Jet e-commerce brand and EasyJet admits to a major data breach. Here’s your Daily Crunch for May 19, 2020. 1. Disney streaming exec Kevin Mayer becomes TikTok’s new CEO Mayer’s role involved overseeing Disney’s streaming strategy, including the launch of Disney+ last fall, which has already grown to more than 50 million subscribers. He was also seen as a potential successor to Disney CEO Bob Iger; instead, Disney Parks, Experiences and Products Chairman Bob Chapek was named CEO in a sudden announcement in February. Mayer was likely an attractive choice to lead TikTok not just because of his streaming success, but also because hiring a high-profile American executive could help address politicians’ security concerns about the app’s Chinese ownership. 2. Walmart says it will discontinue Jet, which it acquired for $3B in 2016 Walmart tried to put a positive spin on the news, saying, “Due to continued strength of the Walmart.com brand, the company will discontinue Jet.com. The acquisition of Jet.com nearly four years ago was critical to accelerating our omni strategy.” 3. EasyJet says 9 million travel records taken in data breach EasyJet, the U.K.’s largest airline, said hackers have accessed the travel details of 9 million customers. The budget airline said 2,200 customers also had their credit card details accessed in the data breach, but passport records were not accessed. 4. Where these 6 top VCs are investing in cannabis The results paint a stunning picture of an industry on the verge of breaking away from a market correction. Our six respondents described numerous opportunities for startups and investors, but cautioned that this atmosphere will not last long. (Extra Crunch membership required.) 5. Brex brings on $150M in new cash in case of an ‘extended recession’ Where upstart companies aren’t cutting staff, they are often reducing spend — which is bad news for Brex, since it makes money on purchases made through its startup-tailored corporate card. But co-founder Henrique Dubugras seems largely unbothered on how the pandemic impacts Brex’s future. 6. Popping the hood on Vroom’s IPO filing Yesterday afternoon, Vroom, an online car buying service, filed to go public. What does a private, car-focused e-commerce company worth $1.5 billion look like under the hood? (Extra Crunch membership required.) 7. Experience marketplace Pollen lays off 69 North America staff, furloughs 34 in UK Founded in 2014 and previously called Verve, Pollen operates in the influencer or “word-of-mouth” marketing space. The marketplace lets friends or “members” discover and book travel, events and other experiences — and in turn helps promoters use word-of-mouth recommendations to sell tickets. The Daily Crunch is TechCrunch’s roundup of our biggest and most important stories. If you’d like to get this delivered to your inbox every day at around 9am Pacific, you can subscribe here.
Kevin Mayer, head of The Walt Disney Company’s direct-to-consumer and international business, is departing to become CEO of TikTok, as well as COO of the popular video app’s parent company ByteDance. Founder Yiming Zhang will continue to serve as ByteDance CEO, while TikTok President Alex Zhu (formerly the co-founder of the predecessor app Musical.ly) becomes ByteDance’s vice president of product and strategy. “I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to join the amazing team at ByteDance,” Mayer said in a statement. “Like everyone else, I’ve been impressed watching the company build something incredibly rare in TikTok – a creative, positive online global community – and I’m excited to help lead the next phase of ByteDance’s journey as the company continues to expand its breadth of products across every region of the world.” The news was first reported by The New York Times and subsequently confirmed in announcements from ByteDance and Disney. Mayer’s role involved overseeing Disney’s streaming strategy, including the launch of Disney+ last fall, which has already grown to more than 50 million subscribers. He was also seen as a potential successor to Disney CEO Bob Iger; instead, Disney Parks, Experiences and Products Chairman Bob Chapek was named CEO in a sudden announcement in February. Mayer was likely an attractive choice to lead TikTok not just because of his streaming success, but also because hiring a high-profile American executive could help address politicians’ security concerns about the app’s Chinese ownership. Over at Disney, Rebecca Campbell (most recently president of Disneyland Resort, who also worked on the Disney+ launch as the company’s president for Europe, Middle East and Africa) is taking over Mayer’s role, while Josh D’Amaro is taking on Chapek’s old job as chairman of Disney parks, experiences and products. In a statement, Chapek said: As we look to grow our direct-to-consumer business and continue to expand into new markets, I can think of no one better suited to lead this effort than Rebecca. She is an exceptionally talented and dedicated leader with a wealth of experience in media, operations and international businesses. She played a critical role in the launch of Disney+ globally while overseeing the EMEA region, and her strong business acumen and creative vision will be invaluable in taking our successful and well-established streaming services into the future.
Disney CEO Bob Iger immediately steps down from CEO position
Looks like things haven’t gone completely smoothly with Quibi‘s launch. The issue appears to have been resolved, but the Quibi customer support account tweeted this afternoon that “some users may be experiencing problems with the Quibi app,” only to add an hour later that “Users should once again be able to use the Quibi app normally. Thank you for your patience.” It’s not clear how widespread the outage was, but according to The Verge, one staffer saw an error screen and was unable to browse the app, while another was unable to create an account. The app seems to be working normally as I write this shortly after 4pm Eastern. If nothing else, it’s a reminder that reliably delivering streaming video is hard, even for a startup that’s raised $1.75 billion. Heck, even Disney experienced widespread streaming issues when it launched Disney+ in November. (It all worked out fine.)
Users should once again be able to use the @Quibi app normally. Thank you for your patience. — Quibi Cares (@quibicares) April 6, 2020
A quick catch-up for those of you still wondering what Quibi even is: It’s a short-form video service founded by Hollywood executive Jeffrey Katzenberg and led by CEO Meg Whitman (previously CEO of Hewlett Packard Enterprise and eBay). The app is launching with nearly 50 shows today, all of them created specifically for mobile, with episodes that are less than 10 minutes long. After a 90-day free trial, it’ll cost you $4.99 with ads or $7.99 per month without ads.
Quibi launches its mobile streaming service in the middle of the quarantine era