Each week via our ‘Weekly Rundown’ segment, we highlight stories we thought were interesting, notable across business and technology. This week, we showcase stories on United Airlines, Spanx, Nike, G2, Falcon.IO, Spotify, and GitHub.
Stream and Download the Episode Below
Story-1:: United Airlines Bets on Post-Pandemic Growth
Overview: The Chicago-based airline said Tuesday that it will purchase 200 of Boeing Co.’s 737 MAX jets and 70 larger Airbus SE, a deal valued at more than $30 billion at list prices before customary discounts. United is looking to replace most of its 50-seat jets and other smaller, older aircraft with these larger planes that can carry more passengers and allow it to sell more premium seats.
Why It Matters: As someone who pre-pandemic got on a plane almost every single week, loves the art of traveling (yes it is an art), I am thrilled that UA is doubling down on their fleet. So one part of me is curious if the manufacturers are offering heavy discounts, the other side of the coin is that economists in their organization (or special advisors) are seeing macroeconomic trends that would indicate a big boom that is likely going to happen as we see Covid dip. As someone who is a constant optimist, I am hoping it is the latter. What will be interesting is if we see business travel get back to what it was or if we see people wanting to travel significantly more in their personal lives to get out of the house and see the world. Either way, I am super fired up for this one!
Story-2:: Spandex to PE and beyond
Overview: The newspaper reported in an exclusive Friday that multiple sources say the company has asked Goldman Sachs to assist in exploring its options, including a sale, and that private equity firms are giving the popular brand a look.
Why It Matters: Athleisure is here to stay, people want to get fit and look good, so it makes sense that Spandex is here to stay too. The King/Queen however you want to look at it is SPANX. They provide the clothes beneath the clothes and now that the world is getting ready to go back to the office and many put on Covid Weight, the need for Spanx is going to be needed more now than ever. Now when you think about this company, it makes total sense that they would consider going to a PE fund, they would get trimmed up, run more efficiently, add some bolt-on business and get ready to go public. The recurring revenue/predictability of this business and growth potential are strong. Can’t wait to see if they do get bought or go public how they expand from both an organic and inorganic standpoint.
Why It Matters: This is a pretty interesting market approach and if I was a physical event space, I would be looking fairly heavily at it. For example, instead of having an event at an event space, you could execute the event digitally and a guest could be at home or instead of paying the hundreds of thousands of dollars to attend the physical event, they could meet in the hotel space or a local restaurant/bar and save a massive amount of money and still see most of the same benefits. Also, if you are Clubhouse, you are wondering why you didn’t find a buyer sooner.
Link: The Verge
Story-3:: Nike double downs on DTC
Overview: Among these results, the most significant takeaways as reported by Nike were as follows:
- Fourth-quarter reported revenues were $12.3 billion, up 96 percent compared to the prior year and increasing 21 percent compared to the fourth quarter of 2019.
- Full-year reported revenues increased 19 percent to $44.5 billion.
- NIKE Direct's fourth-quarter sales increased 73 percent to $4.5 billion.
- The gross margin for the fourth quarter increased 850 basis points to 45.8 percent.
- The fourth quarter's diluted earnings per share were $0.93 and for the full year was $3.56.
“FY21 was a pivotal year for NIKE as we brought our Consumer Direct Acceleration strategy to life across the marketplace. Fueled by our momentum, we continue to invest in innovation and our digital leadership to set the foundation for NIKE’s long-term growth.” John Donahoe, CEO of Nike. Inc
Why It Matters: Nike is a global supplier of clothing, footwear, and accessories. Revenues for the NIKE Brand were $11.8 billion, up 88 percent to the prior year on a currency-neutral basis, driven by triple-digit growth in our wholesale business and strong double-digit growth in NIKE Direct. This leads one to believe that people were wearing more DriFit and Sneakers than business clothing over the last year. So if you are the PE firm thinking about buying Spandex or a shareholder of Nike, you are super thrilled. What will be interesting to see is if Nike sticks with wanting to maintain the status quo with their third-party resellers like Dick’s, Champs, Footlocker, etc. Or, do they look to double down on DTC. What would be great to see from the brand is shorter supply chain cycles, increased customization, and advances to their manufacturing process with fewer environmental impacts.
Story-4:: G2 Raises $157 Million in Series D
Overview: G2 is the largest and most trusted software marketplace globally. More than five million software buyers each month trust G2, making G2.com one of the Top 1000 web destinations in the U.S. Additionally, 2,000 companies rely on G2 to build their reputation, manage their software spend, and grow their business — including Salesforce, Hubspot, Zoom, Lyft, and more. For more information, visit www.g2.com or follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn.
Why It Matters: Companies need to research and procure software, the G2 platform helps to bring all the information in a centralized location and make it easier for individuals to GET SMART. In thinking about the brand and their raise, one would assume that they are getting a lead-generation fee as a component of their business model. One would assume their thesis to support this investment is that software companies should stick with making software and let others help with lead generation. It will be interesting to see what else a company like G2 has in the roadmap in terms of follow-on services to continue to generate revenues beyond the initial sale/lead. But one would assume that they are highly scalable, so whatever they enter into should be the same too.
Story-5:: Brand Storytelling: The Key to A Competitive Edge
Overview: We all love a good story and, in fact, we are hardwired for them. Personal, relatable, and shared stories are what ultimately make us human, and telling your story is also a critical part of building your brand. Storytelling helps shape how people view you and enables consumers to create a connection with your brand and everything it stands for. Do it right and you’ll be creating a thriving brand that can perdure for the years (and even centuries) to come. We all have a story to tell, though not every story might be relevant to your audience.
Why It Matters: In this webinar, we are diving into the following key themes:
- How to build stories that boost your competitive advantage
- How to translate your story across channels
- How storytelling can provide authenticity and meaningful connections
This is becoming increasingly important as you start to tell your story as a business or as an individual in the marketplace. As you see a big jump in staff from company to company over the next two to three years after covid. Expect this skill set to be more critical.
Story-6:: Spotify Launches Clubhouse Competitor
Overview: Spotify announced it was acquiring the company behind the sports-focused audio app Locker Room to help speed its entry into the live audio market. Today, the company is making good on that deal with the launch of Spotify Greenroom, a new mobile app that allows Spotify users worldwide to join or host live audio rooms, and optionally turn those conversations into podcasts. It’s also announcing a Creator Fund that will help fuel the new app with more content in the future.
Why It Matters: Let me just come out and say it, if you are Clubhouse you have to be kicking yourself that you didn’t sell during the peak of the pandemic. Now Facebook, Spotify, and Linkedin all have similar offerings and if you are like me, you would rather stick with those platforms than jump over to Clubhouse. What will be interesting is if these offerings stay relevant once people stop working as much from home and start to work more in the office again. As a podcaster, I would hope/assume that podcasts will go back to longer form content and Clubhouse like solutions will dip in populating overall and there will be a handful of leaders in the space that have interesting town-hall type shows.
Link: Link: Tech Crunch
Story-7:: Coding Get’s SMART
Overview: GitHub has unveiled a new product that leverages artificial intelligence to help you write code more efficiently. Named GitHub Copilot, today’s new product can suggest lines of code and even sometimes entire functions.
Why It Matters: I am not a coder, I have hacked at HTML for years, but let me again state. Not a coder. That being said, coding is hard, you look at screens for a long time, interpret what people providing requirements would want, and then build it. The fact that AI can help you in real time develop that code base and or check that code base in pretty interesting and will help accelerate time to market.
Link: Tech Crunch