Getting to Know Gen Z

Takeaways from ZebraIQ’s 2020 ‘State of Gen Z’ report

Stephen Wemple
Spero Ventures
3 min readSep 28, 2020


Photo by Joshua Chun on Unsplash

Tiffany Zhong and the ZebraIQ team put out an incredible report on Gen Z and the trends that define their generation. The report went deep and is relevant to anyone who spends time thinking about where the world is going. I pulled out a few takeaways and questions I found relevant to the work we do at Spero.

Video is 🔥, specifically short form

Gen Z consumes everything on social media, and the dominant medium is short form video.

In keeping with that, they also prefer FaceTime over texts and calls: according to the report, 65% of Gen Zers prefer using Facetime to keep in touch with their friends.

This isn’t surprising; we’ve all seen this trend in our social feeds. But think about where short-form video has not reached. As Gen Z infiltrates the workforce and enters adulthood, their preference for short-form content and video-based conversations will affect the way we all communicate. How might that affect…

  • the way we deliver healthcare?
  • how we communicate at work?
  • real estate and apartment hunting?

Lots of interesting paths here — I’m excited to see which ones we’ll end up taking.

Niche content creators and communities are making a comeback

Photo by Levi Clancy on Unsplash

Reminiscent of 90s zines, content creators who represent niche subcultures are getting more popular.

In some ways, this is exciting and healthy. The Internet was meant for people to connect in spaces and ways they otherwise wouldn’t. However, the lack of shared reality is something we struggle with, as a society. Combine this with a general distrust of institutions and traditional power structures by Gen Z, plus the rise of influencers as trusted sources of truth, and we could very well trend towards a more splintered and polarized world. (Apologies for the doom and gloom).

Gen Z is hustling. A good thing or a bad thing?

Opportunities to help other people make money have always been good venture bets — Shopify, eBay, Poshmark, Udemy, the list goes on. That will continue to be the case for the Gen Z era.

ZebraIQ’s report highlighted that 50% of Gen Z has a side hustle of some kind. To double tap on that a bit, many of those side hustles were investment-related — and not all on Robinhood! Gen Zers invest in alternative assets and flip streetwear on re-sell markets.

On one end, its great that they’re entrepreneurial and industrious. On the other hand, this could very well be another symptom of underlying economic challenges that Millennials before them have also had to bear — rising rent and housing prices, student debt, and rising healthcare costs. Are side hustles a reflection of increased opportunity, or increased need?

This is just the surface of the report. I highly recommend taking a look. At minimum, you’ll up your emoji game and be able to translate your next conversation with a Gen Zer.

My company, Spero Ventures, is an early-stage VC investing in mission-driven companies. Building one? Get in touch via