🍪 IRL has no users in real life
Good morning, friends. This is Bite Sized Beta. We’re like the hit clips of tech - short, snappy, and always in your pocket.
In the oven this week:
☠️ Tech’s latest fraud
👩🏽⚖️ Amazon dupes are getting stamped out
🗳️ Poll of the week: have you been duped?
🍪 Cookie crumbs: 4 bite-sized headlines
💬 Tweets of the week: 3 of the best tweets this week
🍫 Chocolate chips: short internet finds
😂 Snickerdoodles: Thursday memes
THE BIG PIZOOKIE
IRL HAS NO USERS IRL
Is it Groundhog Day? Cause we got another fraud in the books, people!
Get your saucers out, friends. It’s tea time.
This time it’s IRL, a pretty well known social messaging app whose whole schtick was about getting people together… irl.
In 2021, they raised a $170M Series C at a whopping 1.17B valuation backed by Softbank’s lack of Vision Fund.
Buuuut as with most of these frauds, employees started noticing some things that just didn’t add up.
Last year, they laid off 25% of their team, which might have gone under the radar, except for the fact that their CEO then went on to say that they had more than enough cash to last through to 2024.
At this point, several employees begin getting suspicious that their CEO isn’t so much a truth teller.
So they dig into the numbers, and start chirping to news outlets, saying that the supposed 20 million monthly active user figure their CEO was touting externally might not actually be real.
Now, the SEC gets involved, and kicks off an investigation on whether IRL misled investors.
Their board also decides to do some probing, and eventually uncovers that 95% of IRL’s 20 million “monthly active users” didn’t actually exist IRL.
The CEO’s excuse?
He wanted to use a "more expansive definition of active users"
Uh huh, just like how I wanted to use a more expansive definition of 5’10” on my Hinge profile..
Now, the app’s shutting down, and the CEO is in major trouble.
More jail time for the techies.
*Files into fraud folder*
CONGRESS IS CRACKING DOWN ON DUPES
If you’ve been thinking about buying that fake Supreme t-shirt on Amazon, ya better hurry.
The Inform Act just took effect this week, which is a new bill that forces sellers on online marketplaces like Amazon, Ebay, Etsy, etc. to verify personal info like bank account details, tax ID numbers, and other government records.
The goal is to make it easier to catch and hold counterfeiters accountable, which makes sense since - have you seen how big dupe culture has gotten??
Lululemon even hosted an event last month where you could trade in your Amazon dupe leggings for a real pair.
WIth the new regulations, online marketplaces will have new ways to crack down on bad actors and report them to law enforcement.
Time to run to grab those dupes while you still can…
POLL OF THE WEEK
HAVE YOU BEEN DUPED?
Alright, let’s see them hands - who here buys dupes? (Don’t worry, you’re anonymous in the polls.)
Sound off 👇🏽
BITE SIZED HEADLINES
Cage match update: Elon did an MMA training session with Lex Freidman, who says he was impressed with Elon’s strength, power, and skill - he’s even got pics to prove it. Apparently Elon also says, “the most entertaining outcome is the most likely.” UFC president Dana White predicts that a match between Zuck and Elon would gross over $1B and be the "biggest fight ever in the history of the world." Soooo.. is the fight on?? Sign us up for that livestream!!
Your favorite coffee shop might start delivering your packages too... Amazon’s outsourcing local package delivery to businesses like coffee shops, florists, and clothing stores that have capacity to deliver 30 packages a day, 7 days a week. They’ll only make $2.50 a package, aka $27K a year. Not exactly enticing…
You know how Nvidia just joined the 4 comma club? Well, they might just be giving up their gains now that the US is considering banning AI export to China, which includes some Nvidia chips.
The housing market's on the up and up. US home prices are improving for the third straight month, rising 0.9% in April (+0.5% more than expected). LFG, homeowners!
New studies show that artificial sweeteners like Splenda are toxic to DNA - the new ingredient to look for in your food is sucralose, which can cause things like leaky gut and inflammation, but is in literally everything from baked goods and desserts to drinks and gum.
FROM THE COOKIE JAR
TWEETS OF THE WEEK
We scroll so you don’t have to - here are the 3 best tweets we saw this week:
Patagonian toothfish ➡️ Chilean Sea Bass
Mayonnaise ➡️ Aioli
Pleather ➡️ Vegan Leather
— Chris Paik (@cpaik)
Jun 25, 2023
Some other gems:
“Skipping breakfast” → “intermittent fasting”
“Lunchables” → “charcuterie”
“Old garbage” → “vintage”
A hallmark of successful startups: each board meeting brings fresh challenges.
A hallmark of unsuccessful startups: we keep discussing the same things.
— David Sacks (@DavidSacks)
May 11, 2023
True in business and also in life. No one wants to hang around that one friend who always complains about the same damn thing over and over.
If you’re new to DTC and want a quick recap of the last 15 years:
— Lots of capital was invested in Brands. Most of it went to FB and Google
— A few people got rich selling natural deodorant and beauty products and then became thought leaders.
— Everything else went to zero
— Nate Poulin (@digitallynativ)
Jun 28, 2023
OUR FAVORITE FINDS
Ever get asked (or just wonder) what the real use cases are in crypto? Good news! Now you’ll have something to show at the dinner table, cause Polygon just released a whole database of real use cases to check out.
For founders trying to grow a business on Google: they just launched an ads library where you can look up all your favorite brands or competitors, and see all their ads.
When you need more space but your mortgage is at 2.99%…
— Douglas A. Boneparth (@dougboneparth)
Jun 26, 2023
That's all we got for ya this week, folks. See ya next Thursday!
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