The Friday Nooner: Spoonflower’s Acquisition, Gen-Z VC Animal Capital

Feel behind on the latest tech news in the Triangle and beyond? The Friday Nooner is here to bring you up to speed, with this week’s episode involving commentary on headlines related to Spoonflower’s acquisition as well as the Gen-Z focused venture capital fund Animal Capital. 

Guest and Triangle angel investor Jan Davis joins at the end, and although technical difficulties tried to rain on the parade, the show must go on, so there was still a thoughtful discussion involving Apple’s move to the Triangle. Joe and Pete were left with many questions to ask, so Davis will return to The Friday Nooner sometime in the future (probably not on Safari this time).

Here are some of the episode’s highlights: 

  • This week, Durham-based Spoonflower, a digital marketplace for and producer of custom-printed textiles, was acquired by photo sharing/printing powerhouse Shutterfly for $225 million (a bit of news that GrepBeat was first to break in the local scene). The deal is good news for the Triangle especially because Spoonflower announced it intended to stay here and hire more people. Because of what the company does, Spoonflower’s new hires will likely pull from a wide range of people with different skills—rather than simply hiring software engineers—which means a diverse set of people will hopefully benefit financially, Joe said. (7:00)
  • Another plus of the Spoonflower news: whereas the general public doesn’t really know about most SaaS companies, companies that sell consumer products like Spoonflower generally have better name recognition. That could mean that Spoonflower’s growth in coming years will put more outside eyes on the Triangle. (12:00)
  • You may have heard of the world’s first Gen-Z backed venture capital fund Animal Capital because of the sheer novelty of it, or because the “adult” in charge of it, Marshall Sandman (who is 29), is from Raleigh. (The N&O wrote about it yesterday.) After a few years at Goldman Sachs and a stint at the in-house venture arm of WarnerMedia, Sandman is leading the fund that includes popular TikTokers like Josh Richards and two other members of his “Sway House” posse. Animal Capital also has prominent financial and social media celebrities like the Winklevoss Twins as investors or advisors. Animal Capital has a smallish first fund of $15M and generally writes checks in the $100-$200K range, but as Joe put it, it’s less a run-of-the-mill investment than a celebrity endorsement—which can be valuable when the celebrity has a huge platform amongst the target market, like Richards and his friends do. (15:00)
  • Something Jan Davis is asked a lot is whether Apple moving to the Triangle means more money for startups. Her take—which Joe agrees with—is that it won’t affect seed investments because those tend to stay local, but it may indirectly affect investment in later stages like Series A, B, etc. To hear more commentary on what the effects of Apple’s move will be to the Triangle, listen starting at minute 25:00. (On a related note, GrepBeat recently published a video on why more out-of-state investors are coming to the Triangle, which you can find here).

Watch the full episode on Facebook here.

On on Youtube: