🦄 America's most valuable unicorn

Tuesday, March 16, 2021 by Robinhood Snacks | Disclosures
_When Stripe takes off the invisibility cloak_

When Stripe takes off the invisibility cloak

Yesterday’s Market Moves
Dow Jones
32,953 (+0.53%)
S&P 500
3,969 (+0.65%)
13,460 (+1.05%)
$56,619 (-5.39%)

Hey Snackers,

CEOs are soo 2020: Elon Musk is officially the "Technoking" of Tesla. His CFO Zach Kirkhorn is now "Master of Coin." Will Facebook be next with Zuck as "Grand Duke of Zucking"? Or GM's Mary Barra as "Chair of Chassis"? Tweet us your most creative CEO titles @RobinhoodSnacks.

Stocks hit new records yesterday, thanks to vaccine optimism and incoming stimulus cash.


1. Stripe becomes America's most valuable startup thanks to its high "stoxygen" factor

Move over, Technoking... Stripe has officially surpassed Elon's SpaceX to become the most valuable private startup (ironically, Elon is a Stripe investor... so he wins anyway). The digital payments unicorn now has 95 horns, after raising $600M in fresh funding at a chunky $95B valuation. That's nearly 3X its last reported valuation from April 2020. For reference: Facebook's last valuation before going public was ~$83B.

95 (invisible) horns... You don't see Stripe, but you've probably used it while paying for something online. Stripe allows companies to quickly transfer credit card payments directly into their biz bank accounts.

  • Millions of companies of all sizes use Stripe's software to accept payments and manage their financials. Stripe makes money by charging fees for each transaction. Competitors include: Adyen, PayPal, and Square.
  • 89%: The probability that your credit card has been used on Stripe's network. Amazon, DoorDash, Uber, Spotify, Zoom, and Glossier are all Stripe customers.
  • Stripe's mission is "to increase the GDP of the internet" (read: get more people to pay for stuff online). It wants to be the backbone of ecommerce growth.

Stripe is a "stoxygen" company... Stoxygen factor = how necessary a company is to other companies, and how invisible it is to customers. Like oxygen, Stripe's payments software is crucial and invisible — and it's everywhere in the online economy. Other business-to-business stoxygen companies: Amazon's AWS (cloud computing), Shopify (ecommerce payments), and Salesforce (customer support). The wild thing: all those "invisible" companies use Stripe's stoxygen, too. As the online economy continues to grow, Stripe is poised to grow with it.


Best feeling in Economy... When they give you water and a soda from the cart. Millions were feeling the carbonated love this weekend, as US air travel hit a pandemic high: TSA screened 1M+ passengers each day from Thursday to Sunday, the best streak in a year (they were prob all going to Miami).

  • On April 15 last year, just 90K people passed through TSA — 96% fewer passengers than in April 2019. In August, we hit a daily high of 863K passengers (still ~70% fewer than in 2019).
  • On Sunday, more than 1.3M people handed their IDs to TSA. That’s still 41% below 2019 levels... but it’s a serious improvement.

Return of the Biscoff cookies... Airline shares surged yesterday. United stock popped 8% after the company said it expects to stop burning cash in March (earlier than projected). Driving the travel record: rising vaccine optimism, and falling Covid cases. 15% of American adults have been fully vaxed so far. Airlines aren't the only ones showing signs of recovery...

  • Urban Outfitters is seeing fresh interest in "going-out" clothes. In the last week of February, seven of Anthropologie’s top 10 selling items online were dresses (up from zero mid-pandemic).
  • Carnival already has more cruise bookings for 2022 than it had in 2019, and Royal Caribbean saw a 30% increase in future bookings since the start of the year (compared to Nov/Dec).
  • Ulta's makeup sales increased from January to February, while skincare declined as a percentage of sales.

The “Revenge Economy" could be next... For a year, sweats have replaced shopping sprees and screens have replaced travel — and Americans have socked away $1.5T in excess savings. After Stimulus #1, Americans saved a record 33% of their disposable income in April 2020. While the pandemic is still inflicting pain, things are looking up. Now that people feel more secure in their savings, we're seeing leading indicators of the revenge spending economy. With a fresh round of $1.4K checks going out, we can expect more revenge spending in April.

What else we’re Snackin’

  • Popcorn: AMC stock soared 26% yesterday as it reopened two key theaters in LA. It's gearing up to open the rest of its CA locations starting on March 19.
  • SPACman: VIP investor Bill Ackman donates his $1B+ stake in newly-public Coupang to charity.
  • R-back: Toys R Us has a new owner (again). WHP Global is planning to reopen Toys R Us stores in the US ahead of the holiday season.
  • Unvax: Germany, France, Spain, and Italy suspend the use of AstraZeneca's Covid vaccine over blood clot fears.
  • Auto: GM's self-driving car startup Cruise is buying Voyage, another self-driving startup focused on operating in retirement communities.

Snacks Daily Podcast

Tinder and Hinge owner Match just invested in background checking software, so you don't have to stalk completely on your own.

Tune in to hear how Match can "integrate to differentiate" — and make online dating safer.

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Snack Fact of the Day

Nearly half of the world’s population uses at least one Facebook-owned app every month


Authors of this Snacks own shares of: Amazon, Shopify, Square, and Tesla

ID: 1565238