Want a job in tech? Flockjay pitches its sales training service as an on-ramp to tech careers

“Most people don’t even know that a job in tech sales is even a possibility,” says Shaan Hathiramani, the founder and chief executive of Flockjay, a company offering a tech sales training curriculum to the masses.

Hathiramani sees his startup as an onramp to the tech industry for legions of workers who have the skillsets to work in tech, but lack the network to see themselves in the business. Just like coding bootcamps have enabled thousands to get jobs as programmers in the tech business, Flockjay can get talented people who had never considered a job in tech into the industry.

The company, which had previously raised $3 million from investors including Serena Williams and Will Smith, along with tech industry luminaries like Microsoft chairman John Thompson; Airtable head of sales Liat Bycel; Gmail inventor Paul Buchheit; and former Netflix CPO Tom Willerer, has just raised new capital to expand its business in a time when accelerated onramps to new jobs have never been more important.

The healthcare response to the ongoing COVID-19 epidemic, which has closed businesses and torn through the American economy. The unemployment rate in the country sits at 6.4% and the nation lost 140,000 jobs again in December — with all of those job losses coming from women.

A former financier with the multi-billion dollar investment firm, Citadel, Hathiramani sees Flockjay, and the business of tech sales as a way for a number of people to transform their lives.

“We provide a premier sales academy,” Hathiramani said. “It costs zero dollars if you take the course and don’t get a job and costs 10% of your income for the first year if you do get a job. That nets out to 6 or 7K.”

A few hundred students have gone through the program so far, Hathiramani said, and the goal is to train 1,000 people over the course of 2021. The average income of a student before they go through Flockjay’s training program is $30,000 to $35,000 typically, Hathiramani said.

Upon graduation, those students can expect to make between $75,000 and $85,000, he said.

Increasing access among those students who have not necessarily been exposed to the tech world is critical for what Hathiramani wants to do with his sales bootcamp.

Flockjay founder Shaan Hathiramani. Image Credit: Flockjay

The entrepreneur said roughly 40% of students don’t have a four-year college degree; half of the students identify as female or non-binary, and half of the company’s students identify as Black or hispanic. About 80% of the company’s students find a job within the first six months of graduation.

These are students like Elise Cox, a former Bojangles’ manager and Flockjay graduate, who moved from Georgia to Denver to be a sales tech representative for Gusto. Tripling her salary from $13 an hour in the food service industry to a salaried position with wages and benefits.

“I enjoy being able to generate revenue for the company,” Cox, a 41-year-old grandmother, whose five-year plans include a sales leadership role, told Fast Company two years ago. “The revenue is the lifeblood of the company and being part of the team gives me sense of fulfillment.”

Partnerships with [email protected], Hidden Genius Project, Peninsula Bridge, and TechHire Oakland, help to ensure a diverse pool of applicants and a more diverse workforce for the tech industry — where diversity is still a huge problem.

As Hathiramani looks to take his company from training a couple of hundred students to over a thousand, the founder has raised new cash from previous investors including Lightspeed, Coatue, and Y Combinator, and new investors like eVentures, Salesforce Ventures, along with the Impact America Fund, Cleo Capital and Gabrielle Union.

For the New Jersey-born entrepreneur, Flockjay was a way to give back to a community that he knew intimately. After his family settled in New Jersey after immigrating to the United States, Hathiramani went first to Horace Mann on a scholarship and then attended Harvard before getting his job at Citadel.

Even while he was working at the pinnacle of the financial services world he started non-profits like the Big Shoulders Fund and taught financial literacy.

After a while, he moved to the Bay Area to begin plotting a way to merge his twin interests in education and financial inclusion.

“That led to me spending a year helping startups for free and trying to understand their problems with hiring and training” said Hathiramani. “It helped me surface this economic waste in plain sight. There were all these people talking to customers and they were spending three months on the job learning the job and they didn’t want to do the job or they weren’t very good at it.”

Tech salesforces were a point of entry in the system that almost anyone could access, if they could get in through the door, Hathiramani said. Flockjay wants to be the key to opening the door.

So, the company now has $11 million in new funding to bring its sales training bootcamp to a larger audience. Hathiramani also wants to make the bootcamp model more of a community with continuous development after a student completes the program. “I view education as a membership and not a transaction,” he said. “We focus on continuous learning and continuous up-skilling.”

Part of that is the flywheel of building up networks in a manner similar to YCombinator, the accelerator program from which Flockjay graduated in 2019.

“We went through YC to learn… how they manufacture the privilege in the world that they have afforded,” said Hathiramani. “How do you take some of that and provide it to someone who is starting their careers in tech. You get better at your job the more connections you have. As we accelerate the alumni piece… they can draw on other alums that they’re selling into.”

 

Minna Technologies, a subscription management tool for banking customers, raises $18.8M

With the proliferation of subscription services, combined with our lives becoming almost 100% digital, there’s a rising need to be able to manage these services. But most banks don’t have much of an answer. Step in Minna Technologies, which sells in its subscription management services into banking apps.

It’s now raised $18.8 million (€15.5m / £14m) in Series B fundraising from Element Ventures, MiddleGame Ventures, Nineyards Equity and Visa, to expand its open banking technology to banks globally.

Founded in Gothenburg, Sweden in 2016, Minna enables customers to manage subscription services via their existing bank’s app. Using Minna, customers can terminate subscriptions just from their banking app, automatically, cutting the data and financial ties between the merchant and customer. The platform can also notify customers when a free trial is about to end and facilitates utilities switching allowing them to find better deals. So far, Minna has partnerships with Lloyds Banking Group, Swedbank and ING.

Minna’s technology reduces the burden on a bank’s call centers, plus banks can also benefit financially from Minna’s role in facilitating utility switching, raising the prospect of banks becoming marketplaces.

The appearance of Minna suggests that the first wave of neo-banks is about to be accompanied by a second wave of overlayed services such as this. The average European is spending £301 (€333) a month on 11 subscriptions, which is predicted to increase to £459 (€508) a month on 17 subscriptions by 2025. IDC predicts that by 2050, 50% of the world’s largest enterprises will focus the majority of their businesses on digitally enhanced products, services, and experiences. Subscriptions are even coming from car makers such as Volvo.

Joakim Sjöblom, CEO and co-founder of Minna Technologies, said: “Over the past four years the subscription economy has exploded from Spotify and Netflix to even iPhones and cars. It’s becoming increasingly difficult for consumers to keep track of the payments and harder for banks to handle inquiries to shut them down. Minna’s tech improves the procedure for banks by simplifying the process, as well as providing an in-demand digital product that consumers are starting to expect from their financial institutions.”

Sjöblom told me that by largely working with incumbent banks, Minna is providing them with a way to fight back against challenger banks.

Pascal Bouvier, Managing Partner, MiddleGame Ventures said: “We strongly believe in a vision where banks develop their checking account offerings into “connected and intelligent” platforms and where retail clients are able to interact in many more ways than in the recent past.”

Amazon launches mobile-only Prime Video subscription in India

Amazon is doubling down on one of the biggest strengths of Prime Video streaming service: Aggressive pricing.

The e-commerce giant on Wednesday launched Prime Video Mobile Edition, an even more affordable tier of the on-demand video streaming service — now also bundling additional perks.

Prime Video Mobile Edition, for which Amazon has partnered with Indian telecom network Airtel, will feature 28-day mobile-only, single-user, standard definition (SD) access to customers in India for Rs 89 ($1.22). This tier will also include 6GB of mobile data that customers can consume during the subscription period. To anyone who subscribes to Prime Video Mobile Edition, Amazon says it will pick the tab for the first month.

Amazon Prime subscription costs $1.7 a month in India and includes access to Prime Video and Prime Music.

The new Prime Video plan is currently only available in India. Its launch comes two years after Netflix unveiled a similar plan in India.

Affordable pricing is key for on-demand steaming services that are looking to make inroads in India, the world’s second largest internet market. Even as more than 700 million users are online in the country today, only a fraction of them currently pay to access digital subscriptions. In a recent report to clients, analysts at Goldman Sachs estimated that gaming, and video streaming market in India could clock as much as $5 billion in gross value transactions by FY25.

“India is one of our fastest growing territories in the world with very high engagement rates. Buoyed by this response, we want to double-down by offering our much-loved entertainment content to an even larger base of Indian customers. Given high mobile broadband penetration in the country, the mobile phone has become one of the most widely used streaming devices,” said Jay Marine, Vice President, Amazon Prime Video Worldwide, in a statement.

Airtel is the first roll-out partner for Prime Video Mobile Edition, and it suggested that it may tie up with other telecom giants as it looks forward to “expanding the reach of our service to the entire pre-paid customer base in India,” said Sameer Batra, Director, Mobile Business Development at Amazon. No word on when or whether Amazon plans to extend Prime Video Mobile Edition outside of India.

More to follow…

Nielsen says ‘The Office’ was the most popular streaming series of 2020

Because streaming services only release viewership numbers selectively, and because each one uses its own methodology, it can be hard to compare the popularity of different streaming shows and movies.

So Nielsen, which provides the standard ratings for traditional TV (and is working to combine those ratings with streaming data), is offering some apples-to-apples comparison today at CES by releasing its own lists of the most popular streaming content in 2020, across Netflix, Amazon Prime, Disney+ and Hulu.

These lists are limited to U.S. viewership. And unlike Nielsen’s linear ratings, they don’t just reflect the total number of people watching, but focus instead on the total number of minutes watched. That also makes for a striking contrast with the ratings that Netflix releases, which count the number of households who watched at least two minutes of a program, but don’t distinguish between someone who watches two minutes versus two hours versus 20 hours.

Still, the TV series lists are absolutely dominated by Netflix, while Disney+ puts in a good showing on the movies list. The other services don’t crack any of the three Top 10 lists.

On the original series side, the surprising winner (at least, surprising to me) was Netflix’s “Ozark,” with 30.5 billion minutes streamed, followed by “Lucifer” (19.0 billion minutes) and “The Crown” (16.3 billion minutes). “Tiger King,” which seems like one of the defining hits of the pandemic, came in at number four, with 15.7 billion minutes streamed — though Nielsen’s methodology puts it at a disadvantage, since it only has eight episodes. The same could probably be said for “The Mandalorian,” the first non-Netflix series on the list, with 14.5 billion minutes streamed.

Nielsen 2020 list

Image Credits: Nielsen

The numbers were even bigger for acquired series — all of them streaming on Netflix last year, although the number one show, “The Office” (57.1 billion minutes streamed) just moved to Peacock. The other shows in the top five are “Grey’s Anatomy” (39.4 billon minutes), “Criminal Minds” (35.4 billion minutes), “NCIS” (28.1 billion minutes) and “Schitt’s Creek” (23.8 billion minutes).

On the movie side, the biggest title was “Frozen II,” which came early to Disney+ and was streamed for 14.9 billion minutes, followed by “Moana” (Disney+, 10.5 billion minutes), “The Secret Life of Pets 2” (Netflix, 9.1 billion minutes), “Onward” (Disney+, 8.4 billion minutes) and “Dr. Seuss’ The Grinch” (6.2 billion minutes). This seems to be a category where family films have advantage, perhaps because kids are more likely to watch them multiple times.

Beyond releasing these lists, Nielsen is announcing a new product designed to measure viewership of theatrical video on-demand, a.k.a. movies that are released for rent or purchase online. While studios should already have access to basic purchase data for these titles, Nielsen says it can provide “the entire media food chain” with more detailed information about things like the age, gender, ethnicity and geographic territory of who’s watching.

In a statement, Nielsen’s general manager of audience measurement Scott N. Brown said:

As this unprecedented pandemic continues to influence consumer behavior, perhaps even through a prolonged state of recovery waves, being able to measure and help clients appropriately monetize new revenue streams has never been more crucial. A bigger question might be what will audiences do following any recovery, how the behavior adopted during stay-at-home orders might influence habits when consumers have the ability to go back to theaters to enjoy that experience and how content creators will leverage data to make the best decisions regarding distribution platforms in the future.

 

Streaming services face their real test in 2021

After a year where the movie business was defined almost entirely by pauses and delays, Warner Bros. took decisive action on December 3.

It had only been a couple of weeks since the studio had announced that in the face of surging coronavirus numbers, it wouldn’t be delaying the Christmas release of “Wonder Woman 1984” yet again. Instead, it would launch the movie simultaneously in theaters and on HBO Max, the new streaming service from its parent company WarnerMedia.

While media/telecom executives and Wall Street investors seem willing to make big investments for a streaming-centric future, they’ll expect to see actual profits soon.

It turned out that this decision — already described as a transformative moment in the industry, and potentially the beginning of the end for theaters — was just the beginning. On December 3, Warner Bros. announced that it would be following the exact same strategy for every movie on its theatrical slate in 2021.

This may have seemed like welcome news to moviegoers eager to finally see “In the Heights” (already delayed by about a year thanks to the pandemic) or “Dune” (ditto). But while “Wonder Woman” director Patty Jenkins and star Gal Gadot seemed to embrace the news, declaring that it was time to share their movie with fans, other Warner Bros. filmmakers were less enthusiastic.

For example, “The Dark Knight” director Christopher Nolan complained that Warner Bros. executives “don’t even understand what they’re losing,” and he claimed that filmmakers had gone to bed “thinking they were working for the greatest movie studio and woke up to find out they were working for the worst streaming service.” (Nolan’s “Tenet” was released in theaters in the fall, and its disappointing box office numbers, particularly in the U.S., probably played a big role in Warner’s decision.)

And in a guest column for Variety, “Dune” director Denis Villeneuve pointed his finger at AT&T, which acquired Time Warner several years earlier. He suggested that the streaming strategy had less to do with the pandemic and more with the underwhelming launch of HBO Max over the summer.

“With HBO Max’s launch a failure thus far, AT&T decided to sacrifice Warner Bros.’ entire 2021 slate in a desperate attempt to grab the audience’s attention,” Villeneuve wrote.

Barely more than a week after the Warner Bros. announcement, Disney had a big presentation of its own, laying out ambitious streaming plans for the next few years, with 10 Marvel shows, 10 Star Wars shows, 15 Disney Animation/Disney live action/Pixar series and 15 Disney Animation/Disney live action/Pixar feature films all in the pipeline for Disney+.

Disney’s announcements weren’t greeted with the same uproar and controversy as Warner’s — it didn’t represent a wholesale shift in its theatrical strategy (the Marvel Studios film “Black Widow” is currently still scheduled for a traditional release in May, for example), and unlike WarnerMedia, its announcements didn’t blindside filmmakers and throw their compensation into question.

Still, the message to the industry and the public was quite similar: While Disney isn’t abandoning theaters outright, it clearly sees streaming as its future, with the studio willing to reboot any and every intellectual property (“Turner and Hooch”! “Swiss Family Robinson”! An “Alien” TV series!) to attract potential subscribers.

NASA’s Kathy Lueders discusses the Artemis Moon landing 2024 target and team selection

NASA’s head of human spaceflight Kathy Lueders joined us on stage at TechCrunch Sessions: Space, where she spoke to scientist and Netflix host Emily Calandrelli about her work at the agency – including NASA’s progress on the Artemis program and the return of American astronauts to the surface of the Moon.

The 2024 target for NASA’s first Artemis Moon landing has been oft-repeated by the agency, and by current NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine, who has confirmed that his tenure is ending in January once the Biden administration takes over the U.S. Presidency. But it’s also a timeline that has raised many an eyebrow among outside observers, and seems particularly challenging given setbacks resulting from stay-at-home orders and remote work measures implemented by NASA in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“When we had Commercial Crew, my goal was 2017,” Lueders said. “We did not fly in 2017, even though we were working super, super hard to get to 2017. Having that 2017 goal didn’t mean that I made stupid decisions just to get to 2017 – I still carefully went through and made the decisions. And then we ended up flying in 2020 – in fact we ended up flying [the mission] in 2019, which originally would have been our 2017 goal. People get are very fixated on 2024, because it is an important goal for us. But I also know that we’ll work through this carefully, and we will inform people of our progress along the way, just like we’ve done it every single other program out there. And we will fly when we’re ready to fly with the mission capability that we need to fly in a safe and effective manner.”

Lueders also addressed a question about diversity, and racial diversity in the agency, and it’s importance to the agency. Lueders is the first woman to ever occupy the role of the Associate Administrator of the Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate, who leads all human spaceflight activities across the agency.

“I want people to see themselves in what we’re doing, because the point of this is it’s not about NASA doing this anymore,” she said. “This is about you doing it, and about you being able to do it. I think one of the most striking things that I got was a letter from a nine-year-old girl in India right after I got announced. And she said, ‘Because you have your job, I think I can be NASA Administrator someday.’ And you saw the diversity in that Artemis crew, and we want people to see themselves out there.”

Lueders also talked about the diversity present in NASA Artemis astronaut class, which it just announced, and about the potential for who from that pool will be selected to actually crew the first lunar landing for Artemis.

“One of my favorite things is, I’m still not sure it can’t be two women,” she said. “We need to pick the right people.”

Original Content podcast: David Fincher presents a compelling character study in ‘Mank’

“Mank” is a change of pace for director David Fincher — instead of exploring the world of startup backstabbing (“The Social Network”), political backstabbing (“House of Cards”) or actual stabbings (“Seven,” “Zodiac,” “Gone Girl,” “Mindhunter” etc.), Fincher takes us back to ’30s and ’40s Hollywood.

Working from a script by Fincher’s late father Jack, the movie is shot and edited to pay homage to the classic studio films of that era — especially “Citizen Kane,” whose co-writer Herman Mankiewicz (played by Gary Oldman) is the “Mank” of the film’s title.

The story jumps back-and-forth in time, showing how Mank became acquainted — and then disillusioned — with newspaper tycoon William Randolph Hearst (Charles Dance) and his mistress Marion Davies (Amanda Seyfried), and how he drew on that knowledge while writing “Kane” for Orson Welles (Tom Burke).

That might not sound like a particularly dramatic setup for a film — as we acknowledge in the latest episode of the Original Content podcast, “Mank”‘s self-consciously old-fashioned filmmaking and its making-of-a-movie premise can make it feel a bit insider-y, like it’s footnote to another film.

But ultimately, the movie works whether or not you’ve seen “Citizen Kane.” Fincher captures both the glamor and the ugliness of the studio system, while Oldman delivers a mesmerizing performance as a talented writer who’s been content to joke and drink away his talent — until he finds himself driven to write one of the greatest movies of all time, which will turn many of his former friends and allies into enemies.

In addition to reviewing “Mank,” we also discuss the ambitious streaming plans that Disney outlined at its investor day this week.

You can listen to our review in the player below, subscribe using Apple Podcasts or find us in your podcast player of choice. If you like the show, please let us know by leaving a review on Apple. You can also follow us on Twitter or send us feedback directly. (Or suggest shows and movies for us to review!)

Streamers, including Netflix and CBS All Access, roll out new family-friendly features

As competition in the streaming service market heats up, services are looking for ways to differentiate their offerings. One area of increased interest — especially in light of fierce competition from newcomer Disney+ — is how to make their services more family-friendly. On this front, Netflix today announced the rollout of new features for families, the Kids Activity Report and Family Profiles, while CBS All Access added a Kids Mode and other updates aimed at families.

Streamers for years have marketed their services toward families with children, not only because these customers will often pay for higher-priced tiers offering more simultaneous logins, but also because strong kids’ entertainment offerings helps to keep subscribers loyal.

Netflix has led on this front with investments in children’s programming and longtime support for parental controls, a “Kids” profile and more.

Today, the company says it’s testing new features to better improve the Netflix experience.

One is a new Kids Activity Report that provides parents with information about what their kids are streaming on Netflix.

Image Credits: Netflix

This includes information about the child’s recently watched shows and interests, as well as suggested conversation topics and activities — like coloring pages or jokes — that parents can use to engage kids further. This could help those families where parents may not be clued in as to how kids are spending their time on Netflix — like those where the kids often watch independently or on their own device, for example.

It also arrives at a time when families are stuck at home due to the coronavirus pandemic, which has limited the options for kids’ entertainment, leading to increased screen time. A feature that turns something parents worry about — too much screen time — into offline activities for family engagement could help this increased Netflix usage been seen in a more positive light.

Image Credits: Netflix

Netflix says the report, which is sent via email, is being tested globally in select markets.

Another test involves a Family Profile, which focuses on helping family members find programming they can all watch together. Like other profiles, the Family Profile would be accessed from the main screen with its own icon and maintain its own recommendations and watch lists, separate from an individual’s own profile.

Image Credits: Netflix

Unlike a kids’ user profile, which has a specific age range depending on the settings, the Family Profile would feature a selection of titles that extend up to PG-13 for movies and TV-14 for shows.

This content can still be surprisingly hard to find these days, as much of what some streamers consider “family” viewing are titles that are actually aimed at little kids — titles that are often painful for full-grown adults to sit through, that is. Family-friendly profiles could instead include less of this preschool fare, perhaps and more of popular family titles like the recent hit, “Enola Holmes.”

Netflix suggested you also might find titles like the upcoming animated short “Canvas,” animated special “A Trash Truck Christmas” or live action family movie “We Can Be Heroes,” on a Family profile.

Image Credits: Netflix

This test is also running globally, but only on the TV, Netflix says.

The Verge first reported on the tests.

“We’re always looking for new ways to improve the Netflix experience for members of all ages,” a Netflix spokesperson told TechCrunch about its new features. “We run these tests in different countries and for different periods of time — and only make them broadly available if people find them useful,” they said.

Of course, new family features could also help Netflix overcome some of the customer backlash against its service following the “Cuties” scandal earlier this year.

The French film and award winner was meant to be social commentary on the hypersexualization of children, but was condemned for exploiting children instead, possibly even denting Netflix subscriber growth. (The controversy was heavily tied to the QAnon #SavetheChildren conspiracy, too, though not all customers objecting to the film knew they were participating in the broader movement driven by QAnon.)

Netflix was not the only streamer to launch family-friendly features today.

In addition, CBS All Access today announced the rollout of new family-friendly features of its own. However, it’s playing catch-up with other streamers with its launches.

Image Credits: CBS All Access

The company says it will add a new feature that allows families to create up to six profiles per account and manage those using a “Kids Mode” option. This allows parents to create profiles that limit content to younger and older children based on content ratings. In addition, the service’s existing parental controls (the PIN-based controls) will also be available across these new profiles.

The features arrived alongside the addition of nearly 800 more episodes of kids’ content, including Nick Jr. favorites like “Paw Patrol,” “Blaze and the Monster Machines,” “Blue’s Clues,” “Bubble Guppies,” “Dora the Explorer,” “Shimmer and Shine,” and others. The service already had more than 1,000 episodes of children’s programming before the new shows arrived, including “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs,” “Danger Mouse,” “Lassie,” “George of the Jungle” and “Mr. Magoo.” A SpongeBob spinoff, “Kamp Koral,” will arrive next year, along with “The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run.”

In related news, a top streaming platform, Fire TV, is also looking to better serve multi-person households and families with its latest changes.

Image Credits: Amazon

Fire TV today offers a platform for engaging with streaming apps, games and other content, but organizes this into an interface complete with tailored recommendations and other features. Its redesign, first announced in September, rolls out starting today.

The update brings a brand-new look-and-feel to Fire TV, which now reorganizes the navigation and improves how it makes recommendations. But one of the bigger changes is that Fire TV users — including kids — will now each get their own profile for a more personalized experience.

All the updates are rolling out starting today. Netflix’s tests, however, won’t reach all users at this time.

Strike first, strike hard, no mercy: How emerging managers can win

Like many of us during COVID-19, I’ve found myself watching a bit more TV than I’m typically accustomed to. My latest binge? “The Karate Kid” series continuation “Cobra Kai” on Netflix.

A long-time fan of “The Karate Kid,” I find my style’s a bit more Miyagi-Do, but, in reflecting upon my last few years as a founding GP at a young VC firm, I see some parallels between what it takes to win as an emerging manager and the mantras by which the Cobra Kai school abides.

Before diving into that, let me quickly set the stage for what the competitive landscape looks like for emerging managers these days. I’ll focus primarily on the seed landscape here, but the Cobra Kai framework applies just as readily to later stage funds as well.

Leading up to the coronavirus pandemic, the venture industry saw a record number of dollars raised by seed funds less than $100 million in size. As is the case across stages however, there has been a notable decline in seed volume in the wake of COVID-19.

US fundraising activity for sub $100M seed rounds

U.S. fundraising activity for sub-$100M seed rounds. Data source: PitchBook-NVCA Venture Monitor. Image Credits: Fika Ventures

The opposing dynamics of a contraction in deal volume and an unprecedented amount of readily available investable capital has led to a tremendous amount of competition for the highest-quality deals. This flight to quality can be clearly seen in the rise of seed valuations in the upper quartile compared to the decline in other cohorts. Amid a backdrop of COVID chaos, upper quartile valuations have hit an all-time high.

angel/seed pre-money valuations by quartile

Angel/seed pre-money valuations by quartile. Data source: PitchBook-NVCA Venture Monitor. Image Credits: Fika Ventures

Due to their smaller fund size and prescriptive portfolio construction mandates, emerging managers have little leeway in terms of the valuations at which they can invest — their ownership requirements and check size limits impose a hard ceiling to which their investors hold them strictly accountable.

If budging on valuation is not a viable tactic to compete against established firms — which, in addition to their ability to be less price sensitive also boast more recognizable brand names, larger teams and higher AUM that affords them higher budgets for platform resources — how can emerging managers win? Enter Cobra Kai.

Strike first

Let’s face it. As an emerging manager, the chances of you winning a deal once the established players start to circle drops precipitously. In order to win, you need to have a first-mover advantage.

On a practical level, there are two windows of opportunity to achieve this:

Original Content podcast: Just don’t watch Netflix’s ‘Holidate’ with your parents

You might think that a new Netflix film called “Holidate” offers holiday-themed romance that’s perfect for a family watch party. You’d be wrong.

The film stars Emma Roberts and Luke Bracey as a pair of strangers who agree (in classic romantic comedy style) to keep each other company on holidays.

And while the movie can’t be completely pigeonholed as a raunchy comedy — it also includes a dash of metatextual commentary, with a healthy dose of undiluted romantic schmaltz — “Holidate” is certainly filled with sexually frank dialogue, and a couple of its biggest set pieces go all-in on gross-out humor. So, and as one of the hosts of the Original Content podcast discovered, watching it with your family can be extremely uncomfortable.

But, assuming you avoid that awkwardness, is it actually funny? Sometimes! A word that comes up repeatedly in our review is “adequate” — Darrell embraced the film’s surprisingly dirty humor, while Anthony and Jordan were at least mildly entertained.

In addition to reviewing “Holidate,” we also discussed the implications of Netflix’s decision to remove “Chappelle’s Show” at Dave Chappelle’s request.

You can listen to our review in the player below, subscribe using Apple Podcasts or find us in your podcast player of choice. If you like the show, please let us know by leaving a review on Apple. You can also follow us on Twitter or send us feedback directly. (Or suggest shows and movies for us to review!)

If you’d like to skip ahead, here’s how the episode breaks down:
0:00 Intro
1:11 Dave Chappelle discussion
13:50 “Holidate” review
37:39 “Holidate” spoiler discussion