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Fintech Layoff SZN
May 24, 2022

How do you even begin to write a quippy editorial in a moment like this? My heart breaks for the families of Uvalde, Texas, and for the victims of the heinous gun violence that took place there yesterday.

Gofundme has a page of verified fundraisers to assist those affected by the mass murder at Robb Elementary. Please join us in donating to the families of the victims.

— Phillip & Brian

Bolt and Klarna Announce Layoffs. Following a layoff of over 10% of its workforce, a list of Klarna’s affected employees has been circulating on the internet. Over 500 names appear on the Google Sheet, with most of the layoffs happening in talent and recruiting, partner management, and customer success. Similar layoffs were announced at Bolt Financial, and a similar sheet has made the rounds. Its layoffs were announced via a prerecorded message following a recent attempt to raise at a 34% discount to their 2021 valuation of $43B.

Particularly concerning is that Bolt offered its employees a stock options financing plan in February of this year. If Bolt were to raise a down-round, or go public with a lower valuation than its previous raise (valued at $11B in March of 2022), some of the now-terminated employees may also find themselves owing a debt to Bolt on the loan.

Cane-Do Attitude. Canes are about to be the hippest accessory around. Can Go is an all new smart cane featuring a flashlight, sensors, GPS tracking, and emergency calling capability. Looks like it's time to toss out the ol’ Life Alert.

More Sights & Sounds. Dyson is now working on making robots to help us out with household chores — just like on The Jetsons. Walmart has issued an apology and pulled some products off the shelf after a very tone deaf release of “Juneteenth ice cream.” And if you’re interested, here’s a great deep-dive on the history and future of Poolsuite.

The Verticalization of Resale. Following the 2019 acquisition of musician-focused resale marketplace Reverb by online marketplace giant Etsy, we predicted a surge in other niche vertical resale marketplaces. Launched in the US earlier this month, Goodnest is a baby-focused vertical resale marketplace that allows a family to sell gently-used strollers, toys, and more.

Over-Inclusiveness. Old Navy swung and missed with its attempt at sizing inclusivity. The distribution of sizes was not well forecasted and in the end, there was a shortage of middle sizes and a surplus of others. The outcome was a drop in sales.

More Touch News. Gucci is pairing up with the World Health Organization and Faceit, an esports platform, to launch the Global Gaming Academy. Thinx CEO is stepping down and will be replaced by Meghan Davis, an executive from Johnson & Johnson. Founder and CEO of Glossier is also stepping down, and plans to remain on the board. Balenciaga showcased its spring 2023 collection, and there were definitely some latex fetish bodysuits present.

Image: Daves Hot Chicken

This Chicken is Crossing *Many* Roads. Dave’s Hot Chicken, a restaurant that went from being a pop-up in East Hollywood to having Drake as an investor, is now officially the fastest growing restaurant in the U.S.

FlexTape: Burrito Edition. Finally, a cure for the common burrito. Researchers at Johns Hopkins University have unveiled their most recent breakthrough in research; they have announced an edible tape which can be attached to a burrito so the fillings will not spill out. Because, why wrap a burrito in foil, when you can just tape it shut? History is being made here, people.

More Palate News. Wow Bao has launched a new loyalty program in partnership with Paytronix. Mountain Dew is bringing back its Typhoon flavor. Liquid Death has hired former Fiji Water VP as its new COO. Oatly is working on a successor for their CEO. Coca-Cola is discontinuing Honest Tea. Starbucks has joined the list of businesses exiting Russia. And here’s a gross image of what 15,000 pounds of hotdog filler looks like when it is spilled on the side of a highway.

Image: Shellworks

I’m (Not) a Barbie Girl. Shellworks, a biotech startup based out of London, is trying to solve the single-use plastic problem in the beauty industry. The company recently raised $6.2 million in seed funding to work on its compostable packaging that “performs like plastic.” If they can crack the code, it will be interesting to see which companies in the beauty industry adopt the tech first. Life (without) plastic. It’s fantastic.

Retiree Recreation / Pre-Pension Pastimes. Millennials — likely because they are already treated like geriatrics in many ways — have been recently adopting several over-the-hill hobbies, including knitting, birdwatching, and pickleball. I guess if you can’t beat ‘em, join' em. Here’s hoping that next up on the adoption list is bridge club and 6am donuts and coffee with the gang.

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