Last week, Zoom hosted Zoomtopia 2020, their annual virtual user conference, and with it, unveiled several major product developments. Given the new reality of remote-work, remote-education, remote-concerts and remote-just-about-everything, it’s no surprise that Zoom is looking to expand its dominance as the backbone for remote communication broadly.

The two biggest Zoomtopia announcements were OnZoom, Zoom’s new event platform and marketplace, and Zapps, the integration of third party applications, starting with 25 initial partners.

During the pandemic, churches, musicians, and weddings all hacked together solutions via Zoom, but now with OnZoom, the tools exist to professionally plan all of these events…

The recent rise and fall of “👁👄👁 It Is What It Is” (IIWII) got me thinking about Silicon Valley’s obsession with exclusivity. Why do we always seem to talk about the impossible invites or the hidden corners of the internet that only a select group knows about? IIWII was a great case study in the power of exclusivity to drive virality for a community or product. But where does that power of exclusivity end?

Exclusivity can turbo-charge virality in a fledgling community

Tech twitter has seen two recent examples of how exclusivity can drive virality for early consumer products with…

We are all watching more content these days.

I recently wrote about 6 trends to watch in a post-COVID world, and one of those six that is already front and center is the future of the content and media. Just look — Netflix reported adding almost 16M new subscribers last quarter, and TikTok recently passed the 2 billion download mark — reportedly making Q1 2020 not only the best growth quarter for TikTok in history, but for any app ever.

Creativity thrives within constraints. COVID-19, for better or worse, has provided some of the most unique constraints to test innovators’ prowess. We are not only faced with new problems — widespread health concerns, isolation, infrastructure that is stretched to its limits — but we also have new consumer behaviors that are being rapidly trained and adopted.

Almost every aspect of how we live has changed over the past days and weeks, prompting much discussion and analysis. Below is my attempt to take a step back and summarize the areas of consumer technology that offer the most potential. …

This is one of a series of excerpts from my chapter in, Finding Genius by Kunal Mehta — available on Amazon . You can read my previous thoughts on the building blocks of social platforms here.

There is a common theory with most social media companies that there is a point for each service that a user must reach to unlock value in the service. For Facebook, it might be once you have three or more friends. Or in the early days of Instagram (pre-explore tab), it might be once you’ve followed five active accounts so that your feed is…

The following is excerpted from a chapter I wrote in the book, Finding Genius by Kunal Mehta — available on Amazon .

There comes a point when social networks hit their peak. In fact, most of the social media giants of today started 10–15 years ago — nearly an entire generation back. Today, as their growth begins to slow, they must acquire new companies to stay relevant, and for many, their original value proposition morphs — now in favor of revenue, margin, or user growth.

What is perhaps most notable about many of these social media companies is that they…

Coterie Founders, Sara Raffa and Linden Ellis

It’s not news that millennials have driven the experience economy. Today, 74% of Americans prioritize experiences over products or things. They work in communities at WeWork, they spend their Friday nights trying to Escape the Room, they both travel around the world and have “stay-cations” at home all documented on Instagram as a weekend “experience.”

Dozens of industries have been re-thought with this experience-driven, millennial customer (and emerging Gen Z customer) in mind. Restaurant chefs and owners now focus on dishes that will be “instagrammable” to attract customers. Retailers have shifted to “experiential commerce” to attract consumers back in…

I recently finished binge-watching Marie Kondo’s new Netflix show, Tidying Up with Marie Kondo, and after rifling through my apartment to see what still “sparked joy”the tidying maven’s mantra I began reflecting on the role of “joy” in healthcare. In December, at our Canaan Breakfast Club, we gathered to talk healthcare innovation with One Medical founder Tom Lee. One Medical has succeeded in sparking joy by channeling classic consumer principles of brand, data, efficiency and consumer delight. But for most, much of healthcare is still sorely lacking on the “joy” front.

How did One Medical do it…

Earlier this month, I hosted Canaan’s inaugural Breakfast Club — a monthly gathering of entrepreneurs to share insights and build community. This month’s focus was the beauty industry.

Founders and operators from a new wave of companies were in attendance — including Glossier, Hello Ava, Nudest, Le Culture Club, The Ritualist, Finding Ferdinand and Ever Eden.

Why should you pay attention? In the past year, there’s been a dramatic shift in how beauty products are bought and sold. According to Nielsen’s “Future of Beauty” report, 96% of traditional brick and mortar retail channels are controlled by the top 20 cosmetics…

After spending over a decade in the Bay Area, I’m excited to announce that I’ve switched coasts (jury is still out on which is truly the best coast!) to join Canaan’s NYC office as a Principal, along with my new colleague Byron Ling, to help expand the firm’s consumer practice.

We’re doubling down on consumer because we continue to see significant opportunity in the market. New technology has made it easier than ever to start a business and reach consumers. Entrepreneurs — especially younger founders — have seized the moment, matching the momentum in technology with enthusiasm, audacity and grit…

Laura Chau

VC @ Canaan Partners. Stanford University. Stanford GSB.

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