10 emerging trends for the next 12 months

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No one expected what 2020 had in store for us. For far too many, the reality was bleak. 2021 will be the year we get vaccinated, rebuild, and collectively decide what we want our long-term future to look like.

But the Black Swan year of 2020 also inspired better personal habits (I know I’ll be washing my hands more often) and drove fundamental changes to how we use technology to improve our lives, which were frankly long overdue.

Each January I like to reflect and share where I believe the world is moving and where Lightspeed is investing. …


What Calm, WeChat and Uber all have in common

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There are 24 spots on your home screen for an app. With ~3 million apps available, competition for home screen placement is fierce. The importance of being a home screen app is due to consumers needing to see the app regularly to remind them to use it. Out of sight out of mind, after all.

Once an app finds that sacred home screen spot, the daily engagement is typically an order of magnitude higher than those apps lost to page 2, 3, 4… and as such, the retention is materially higher.

If home screens are the mecca, companies are increasingly thinking about how they can get there and stay there. It can be reached with a single business and a single use case but this is harder, especially with ever changing consumer tastes and an increasingly competitive world. The way to stay there, long term, is to become a Super App. …


Back from maternity leave & the importance of equal parental leave

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I can’t believe it’s been four months since I took a leave from Lightspeed to have my son, Charlie. In some ways, it feels like only days have passed. In other ways, it feels like years.

After enduring a 50-hour labor (!) I have a new-found appreciation for mothers across the world. My Partners, Jana and Meredith, also had babies during Covid and I am grateful that I got to share this experience with others in our work family.

Equal maternity and paternity leave

In the Netherlands they give 2 years parental leave to be split between 2 parents and they decide themselves how to split it. A friend’s toddler asked her mother the other day why I worked and asked “is she the daddy because only daddies work”. I want to live in a world where children know that they can do anything they want in this world and it’s a level playing field. Offering equal maternity and paternity leave is one of the first steps towards this. …


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The Lunchclub team.

Fifteen years ago, I was starting my first real job as an analyst at Morgan Stanley in London. With the audacity of youth, I dashed off an email to John Mack, the company’s CEO, and requested a meeting. John Mack was already a legend in the world of finance. I was a low-level newbie.

To my shock and delight, he responded. John said he’d be in London in a couple of weeks and that we should have lunch. From then on he became an important mentor to me.

Even at the age of 21 I understood the power of professional networking. Today, I realize how incredibly lucky I was to make that connection. And that’s why I am so excited to announce our Series A round investment in Lunchclub, the next-generation networking platform. …


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Illustration: Oscar Bolton Green

What ‘Shoe Dog’ taught this venture capitalist about influencer marketing, building a global brand, and IPOs

This is part of the Marker series “Read Like a Boss,” where founders, CEOs, and leaders in business reflect on books that revolutionized their thinking, framed their career, or aided them in a crucial business decision. This week, Nicole Quinn, a partner at the venture capital firm Lightspeed Venture Partners who has invested in brands such as Cameo, Goop, and Zola, reflects on what Nike founder Phil Knight’s memoir Shoe Dog means to her.

I was a competitive sprinter for many years. Even today, I like to lace up my trainers and knock out a quick sprint a few times a week. It’s how I clear my head and maintain equilibrium in the often-frenetic world of Silicon Valley. So it’s probably not surprising that the book that has inspired me in my career more than any other is Shoe Dog, Phil Knight’s story of how he started his career selling low-cost running shoes out of the trunk of his Plymouth Valiant and turned it into a $34 billion empire. …


Announcing Lightspeed’s investment in Clean Liquor, a low/no alcohol beverage company founded by British TV star Spencer Matthews.

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“Who wants to drink anymore?” said Chelsea Handler. The comedian, whose autobiography is titled “Are You There Vodka? It’s Me, Chelsea?” shocked fans and followers when she renounced drinking this past month, saying “I don’t want to be fat and bloated when I’m older.”

Turns out Chelsea isn’t alone. Millennials and Gen Z consumers are increasingly mindful and health conscious, looking for ‘clean’ and ‘non-toxic’ ways of living. Younger people are taking control of their own lives earlier. ‘Clean living’ is a lifestyle trend that has taken hold over the last decade, extending across many verticals — e.g., beauty (Kosas, Beautycounter), food (Daily Harvest, Freshly), and household products (Seventh Generation, The Honest Company). …


The start of a year. The start of a decade. What’s to come?

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I recently finished watching the 7 Seasons of Mad Men (don’t you love the holiday to be able to do that?) and was struck by what was considered “normal” just 50 years ago, which now seems quite frankly crazy.

Back then, people smoked 2 packs a day and drank martinis at lunch before going back to work. Back then, you drove your newborn by holding them in your arms as you sat without a seatbelt in the front seat.

What do we do now that may no longer be considered “normal” in the future?

  • Drinking alcohol? Gen Zs >21 are drinking 20% less than…

Announcing our investment in Lady Gaga’s beauty startup — HAUS LABORATORIES

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June 2019 board meeting with Lady Gaga describing her vision to CEO Ben Jones, CAA’s Michael Yanover, myself and company execs

“The last thing the world needs is another beauty brand… well that’s too bad.” — Lady Gaga


Announcing Lightspeed’s Series B investment in the first mental health unicorn

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There are very few apps that boast about putting their audience to sleep, but then there are very few apps like Calm. What started out as a guided meditation app seven years ago is now a fully featured mental wellness service, with music, meditation and even masterclasses on everything from managing your relationships to eating in a mindful way.

But it was when Calm introduced sleep stories that the app truly took off. …


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I remember that magic moment when I first witnessed the power of a celebrity. I had moved back to London to work at the FinTech startup Nutmeg and was helping my mother, Elaine, move house. Going through her things, she came across a framed piece of paper that read:

“Dear Elaine, Happy Birthday! Love John, Paul, George and Ringo.”

Sheer joy, excitement, and delight spread across her face as she thought back to the time the Beatles signed it for her 50 years ago. Thinking back on this was when it hit me: Cameo is the modern day autograph.

Cameo, in case you haven’t heard of it, is a startup that connects fans directly with their favorite pop culture personalities. Since its launch in March 2017, 275,000 personalized video shoutouts have been created and Cameo has added some 15,000 influencers to its platform, including Charlie Sheen, Caitlin Jenner, and, of course, Snoop Dogg. …

About

Nicole Quinn

Investor at Lightspeed, Stanford alum, Former Consumer Analyst at Morgan Stanley and British 100m sprinter

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