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I am excited to announce that Craft led the $35 million Series A round for Route earlier this year and I joined the Board. Route is an end-to-end Ecommerce solution that empowers both consumers and brands. Route’s mobile app is revolutionizing Ecommerce by helping consumers track, protect, and manage all their online orders, allowing brands large and small to enhance their post-purchase experience.

Route is one of the fastest-growing startups we’ve ever seen. The company, led by visionary serial entrepreneur, Evan Walker, is redefining Ecommerce for consumers and merchants, starting with the post-purchase experience.

The Problem

Ecommerce penetration doubled from 8% in 2012 to 16% in 2019 according to Digital Commerce 360, a trend that has only accelerated because of COVID as shown in this McKinsey…


Labor Marketplaces and the Future of Healthcare in the U.S.

First published in TechCrunch on September 15, 2020

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Over the last several months, we’ve seen dramatic swings in the demand for healthcare across the country. While hospitals in some cities were overwhelmed by an influx of COVID-19 patients, others sat empty — and in many cases experienced financial distress — as patients postponed elective surgeries and care for non-life-threatening matters. Cities went from relative safe zones to dangerous hotspots and back again within a matter of a few months. This “COVID-19 whipsaw” has brought into focus a problem that has long been simmering in healthcare: the movement of labor is highly inefficient. …


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Craft recently led the $7.5mm Series A for Northspyre, a cloud-based intelligence platform for real estate owners, developers and project management firms. This is another exciting SaaS investment for us and I’ll be joining the Board.

Real estate is the largest asset class in the world but has historically experienced a lack of tech investment. Construction regularly ranks as the industry with the lowest technology spend relative to revenue. However, real estate is a highly collaborative industry that can have strong network effects when owners share tools with general contractors, architects, engineers, and other stakeholders. …


5 Lessons from the Dot-Com Crash

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A once-in-a-generation stock market crash ushers in a period of economic turbulence and angst for founders — especially those who need to raise capital. That happened last month with COVID-19, but it also happened 20 years ago with the bursting of the dot-com bubble. For founders who didn’t experience the dot-com crash first-hand, it may be hard to imagine a reset even more severe than the current one. But the dot-com crash wiped out over 90% of the market caps of even the best internet companies and chilled tech investing for two years.

Despite that, many great companies emerged from the dot-com crash. Google, PayPal, and Salesforce all started shortly before the dot-com bubble burst, and not only survived but flourished through the 24 month dark period. Similarly, Square, Uber, and Whatsapp all started just a few months after the beginning of the Great Recession of 2008–2009. These companies all had great product-market fit, but also had the persistence and frugality to successfully navigate a downturn. They show that there’s never a bad time to start a company. …


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The Coming Hyper-verticalization of Labor Marketplaces

Many people have written about the slew of unicorns created over the past decade by savvy entrepreneurs who picked off categories from Craigslist. Airbnb picked off “vacation rentals” and “shared rooms”. Tinder picked off “personals”. At StubHub, the company I founded, we picked off the “tickets” category. These companies all built valuable marketplaces by focusing on a specific vertical within Craigslist. Although Craigslist remains a lucrative property to this day, its basic (horizontal) layer of functionality gave way to a collection of vertical specialists who went deeper on solving a particular market’s problems.

That same unbundling that happened to Craigslist is now about to happen to LinkedIn. While LinkedIn will remain a valuable property, providing a base layer of functionality for labor markets, it will give way to a number of vertical specialists who go deeper solving problems for a particular job category. These new specialists may look quite different than LinkedIn — just as Airbnb and Tinder looked quite different than Craigslist — but the common denominator will be the hyper-verticalization of labor/service marketplaces. (Note that throughout this blog post, I use the terms “labor marketplace” and “service marketplace” interchangeably.) …

About

Jeff Fluhr

Now: General Partner of Craft Ventures. Former: Co-Founder/CEO of StubHub. Angel investor in Twilio, Houzz, Warby Parker, Trulia and others.

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