Schnucks Markets Rolls Out Simbe’s Robots to more than half of their stores.

Grocers did an incredible job responding to COVID. They shifted supply chains to overcome toilet paper shortages, redesigned traffic flow to accommodate social distancing, utilized frequent testing to protect their store-workers, and introduced more delivery options for their customers.

Most grocery store sales are way up over the last seven months of the pandemic. The innovative stores, with their eyes on the future, are investing this surplus into automation to improve their store experiences for their customers.

The single biggest problem in retail is “out-of-stocks”. You can’t…

*on a blockchain!

Dapper Labs, in partnership with the NBA and the NBPA has launched the beta of their NBA TopShot crypto-collectible game. The first part of the experience allows consumers to buy packs of compelling NBA game moments. Users buy packs and try to complete various collections, build their teams and showcases, and start trading with others!

The stats from the beta are fantastic and show consumers are gobbling up these collectibles like many of us do in other collectible categories:

  • The first 900 users have bought more than $1.2M

Since 1995, many of us have dreamed of a world of live-streamed music events.
It might finally be happening.

In 1995, as co-founder of Apple’s nascent music group, I partnered with two innovative club-owners, Andrew Rasiej (Irving Plaza) and Michael Dorf (The Knitting Factory) who had resurrected the struggling New Music Seminar to create the week-long New York Music Festival. We worked together to create a hybrid offline/online event called the Macintosh New York Music Festival, installing cameras in clubs and live-streaming musical performances. In many ways, this was the birth of live-streaming music.

We have come a long way…

Simbe Robotics frees up workers to do what humans do best—interact with customers.

In the US, with the jobless rate at 3.7%, we are near full employment. Same in the UK at about 3.8%. This makes hiring a challenge for many companies in many sectors. In retail, not only is hiring hard, but turnover is very high. Among hourly workers, retailers report turnover higher than 80%. These factors mean most retailers have many unfilled positions. Important job functions go unmet.

With the continued growth of online shopping, retailers face additional pressures to make certain they keep items in stock, their…

Want to own some of the greatest moments in NBA History? Coming soon…

Image from NBA

Our portfolio company Dapper Labs, along with the NBA and the NBPA, today announced NBA Top Shot, a first-of-its-kind digital collectible platform. When Dapper pioneered cryptocollectibles with CryptoKitties back in 2017, many of us dreamed of a new era of collectibles—digital this time—made possible by blockchains and cryptocurrencies. This is one of the first attempts to take a global, mass-market set of IP, catapult off the mega enthusiasm for basketball, and develop an entire ecosystem around a cryptocollectible.

Why focus on basketball? Well, it is massive. At…

Photo by Frank Massa

As a kid I collected baseball cards. I actually still have them. I started buying packs of Topps and Fleer cards, moved on to trading them with friends, and then graduated to buying and selling at local hobby shops and baseball card conventions (that’s right, kids, there were entire conventions set up to buy/sell/trade baseball cards!). I bought clear plastic protector sheets, fancy lucite card holders and proudly displayed my most valuable cards to my friends. I even subscribed to a monthly newspaper guide that listed estimated values of rare cards to track my collection’s worth.

Why? What is the…

Now available to purchase at 50% off

If you could program a home robot in 30 minutes or less, what would you have it do? Would you instruct it to perform overnight sentry duty and look for intruders? Would you send it to the kids’ rooms and have it hide their shoes while they are at school? Would you hack together a dispensing cup and have your robot feed the dog every morning? Starting today, you can now order Misty II! And when she arrives later this year, you can program her to do all of these things for you—probably in less than a half an hour.

In 1998, the United States Department of Justice filed an antitrust complaint against Microsoft, accusing the company of abusing their monopoly power. Among the litany of examples, one of the most egregious was Microsoft’s Windows licensing policy whereby computer makers who shipped Windows pre-installed on any of their computers had to pay Microsoft a license fee for every computer they shipped, whether Windows was pre-installed on it or not. The complaint first established that Microsoft had achieved monopoly power in the market for PC operating systems. …

I’ve been an internet entrepreneur since 1997. I co-founded the Apple Music Group in 1995, worked at N2K (one of the first online music companies), co-founded MyPlay (pioneer of the digital music locker), and was COO/CEO of eMusic for five years. Now, I’m a Partner at Venrock in NYC focused on investing and helping build early stage internet and digital media companies. My areas of investment focus include ad tech, social/mobile media, consumer services, web services, consumer products, AI, SaaS, crypto currencies and anything else hugely exciting and disruptive. I am on the board of Dstillery, Smartling, YouNow, Amino Apps…

A model to help you evaluate consumer subscription businesses (download here)

Not every direct-to-consumer business should be a subscription service. Many try to be, and for good reason—subscription businesses often have more predictable revenue than other businesses, they allow you to acquire a customer once and then have a long-term paying relationship with them, and they can quickly create enormous enterprise value.

However, in evaluating whether this model is right for a particular business, entrepreneurs need to have an intimate understanding of the immutable force governing their success—churn. …

David Pakman

I’m a VC at Venrock, investor in Nest, Dollar Shave Club, Misty Robotics, Amino, CryptoKitties. Former CEO of eMusic, co-founded MyPlay and Apple’s Music Group.

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