Wondering if APRN stock is for you? Well, let's weigh the pros and cons.
5 Reasons NOT to Buy Blue Apron Stock
1) Originally, Blue Apron said it would aim to sell shares to new investors at a valuation of $3.2 billion, but revised that down on Wednesday to around $2 billion. The big reduction almost certainly reflects a lack of investor demand at the higher valuation.
2) Its marketing costs as a proportion of revenue keep climbing (the opposite of what should occur as a company’s scale increases due to, among other things, greater brand awareness). Related to that point is its difficulty in keeping customers: about two-thirds stop ordering within six months.
3) Most companies target at least a 20 percent “pop” on the first day of trading to kick off their public debut on good terms. The lowering of the offering price combined with the lackluster first day of trading is a bad indicator.
4) If Amazon “disrupts” that market like it has other markets (especially after it bought out Whole Foods), it could be a very challenging environment. Amazon already has a small meal-kit business, delivering ingredients and recipes to customers in a handful of U.S. cities.
5) With a market cap of just below $2 billion, this is a disappointment for the investors who gave the company a $2 billion valuation at the last private round.
5 Reasons to BUY Blue Apron Stock
1) The company's growth has been undeniable, with its revenue surging from just $77.8 million in 2014 to $795.4 million last year.
2) Although their CAC is about $90, each customer on average orders $57.23 worth of food each quarter.
3) Between 2017 and 2020, Blue Apron expects the segment to grow by 8.5% on a compound annual basis.
4) Moreover, the stock now is quite a bit cheaper. Originally, it was going to sell for $15 to $17 per share, now at $10, it may be a good time to grab some.
5) It's been getting its costs under control, an important indicator of future success since you can't rely on investors to fuel your growth forever. It's also got a very young customer base, which means lots of room to keep growing.
So, do you think Blue Apron will simmer?
If you come across a single founder with no in-house tech team, do not give them your money. Outsourcing tech is never a good thing. On top of that, look if the team has knowledge gaps. You want a team with good domain experience, an in-house tech expert and favorably previous startup exits. Teams that have worked together before (and didn't just meet) are also a good sign of a strong entrepreneurial bond.
Product or Service
If it is not really a huge problem (or it has already been solved), then look away from the opportunity. Maybe the problem is their, but the solution doesn't solve it directly. The actual product or service is one of the most important parts, so it better solve a major solution in a unique way. Look for the game changer.
If the startup does not have a customer segment or audience outlined, do not invest. Every company should have a plan on how to actually sell their service or product. Ask for analytics or data supporting how they came to their selected audience and why they picked the strategy or channels that they did. This section should be very detailed and should include in-industry contacts, marketing, business development channels, and proof of interest.
If it is only partially built with no ready release date, do not do it unless you think it is the next Facebook. Traction is what proves if people are actually interested in the product or service. A good way to gauge good traction is looking at usage if it is an app and revenue if it is a product. More than 11-15k per month is great and over 1000 users are great as well. Another indicator of a good investment is previous investment and investors. Usually, if it has 500k or more and is cashflow positive, the startup has something meaningful going on.
If it is a niche market with a clear leader, do not invest. However, if it is a multi-billion dollar market with little innovation or some new entrants but not many...go for it. Ensure the industry is ready for a disruption though if it is a big innovation.
By: Erica Amatori | Insta and Twitter: @ericaamatori
3D printers are supposedly shaping the future, but how? Yes, those random figurines people are printing for fun are neat...but how can this machine be used for innovation? Many startups have been taking advantage of this new technology and have been finding that it is cheaper, greener and more customizable. Here are some startups that are revolutionizing particular fields by using 3D printing:
These are the first 3D printed wireless earbuds to be designed. OwnPhones print custom earbuds that fit your ears perfectly. Not only that, but they also come in an array of sweet designs to match your personality! How do they shape it to your ear? Download their app and take a short video scan of your ear, OwnPhones can then convert the video data and print custom earbuds. They fit so well that any outside noise is blocked! Have the freedom to do anything with these truly wireless headphones. Check them out on kickstarter, they have greatly surpassed their fundraising goal!
Another custom solution, but this time for eyewear. Similar to OwnPhones, you take a picture of yourself from the side and front, fill out a survey, receive style recommendations and pick from 24 different frames. They work with insurance and ensure fast & free returns. Protos brings customizable, strong and lightweight glasses to the market that are even waste-free. Support their funding goal now!
3D printing can also be a life saver. Organavo creates synthetic tissue that replicates real human tissue. This biotech startup also helps researchers study diseases by allowing them to test drugs on 3D printed tissue. No humans are at risk now! What's next for this startup in San Diego? Printing real organs, such as the liver, that can be used for implants.
Get ready for maybe the most freaky startup yet. Thinker Thing allows you to print what your mind thinks. By connecting neuro technological equipment with 3D printing technology, the software can tell the 3D printer to print the object thought by the person wearing an EEG headset. They also allow you to custom manufacture products from a mobile phone, pick a material (plastic, full color, rubber, brass, ceramic, silver & gold) and print. It can be as little as $6!
Technologia Humana 3D
I guess those ultrasound baby pictures are pretty amazing, you can put it in a frame and have your friends "aww" over an expected baby boy or girl. Though what if you could print a 3D ultrasound of your fetus? I introduce Technologia Humana 3D: a Brazilian company that lets parents now display their future child not in a frame, but in a more three dimensional look. In Tokyo, a similar startup does the same thing, a key-chain sized fetus is about $1000, tempting right?
Designers can now print their designs in 3D. 3DLT officially launched in April after being in stealth mode for a while. With a partner network of more than 500 3D printers worldwide, they have built jewelry, eyeglasses, toys, tools, shoes and more. CEO John Hauer believes 3D printing will bring cheaper, greener and better products than mass production does.
Wait what...Hershey's?? Yes folks this is real, Hershey's has partnered with a 3D printing company to produce a specialized 3D printer for producing chocolate! Lets take a step back, how do you feel about 3D printed food? Sugar Labs has already done this with icing and sugar. It is not confirmed when this machine will be made, but when it does I will be first in line.
Throw away your kids' barbie, enter the Makie doll. MakieLabs prints 3D 10 inch, flexible fashion dolls that are completely customizable. Choose their face, eyes, jaw, smile, hair....anything. This company is environmentally friendly as well; the packaging is made from recyclable material, and the printing of the dolls produce less waste. IMVU meets reality. Kids can also play with them online through computer games.
I like to think that startups are similar to movies in theaters nowadays: they are either completely unique or try to remake something that has already been done. It's challenging to think of a new concept that hasn't been touched on. Here are three new startups that I think have tapped into a market that has not been fully taken advantage of. Ideas that are bound to make a splash.
Ever wish you could live the fancy life for a day? What lady hasn't wanted a man that would do anything for her? ManServants, started in San Francisco by Dalal Khajah and Josephine Wai Lin, allows women to order a tailored gentlemen to be a bodyguard, butler or cabana boy. The funny part is how the idea came to be: a friend who wanted to skip the stripper gig at her bachelorette party. Manservants is totally PG and is based on the concept that men are polished and orderly. These men have to go through rigorous training and have a strict code to follow as well. Check out their website and hilarious video! They launch this fall.
How is a smoothie company starting out in San Franscisco possibly scalable? It's simple, Elise Polezel and Matthew Udomphol have made the
Keurig for smoothies. The smoothie machine looks like the robot Eva out of Walle, with its white, modern and rounded shape, LivBlends brings smoothie making into the 21st century. The revolutionary aspect to this machine is that there is no messy clean up compared to other smoothie or juice makers. Their drinks also have 14 grams of sugar compared to the 56 grams you consume in a Naked Juice!
Snapchat, the app known for "now you see it, now you don't" photos, is now not the only place where your photos can be fleeting. Imagine if that was brought to Facebook, Twitter, blogs. Enter Phantom, the app that allows you to snap a photo, edit it with tools and control how many viewers it can have, and for how long you can view it. Phantom is a Tokyo startup that was just released a few months ago. Install it in the app store now!
Bored at your job, looking to innovate in something you're passionate about or know there is a need for? Doing the same thing everyday can be monotonous, and in a big corporation, most likely you will not have a voice as an employee. Sometimes it can be depressing to work hours on end and never see your impact. With a startup, be prepared to see your impact in every little aspect, ultimately anything you do can make or break the companies future. So how do you start a startup, what are the first steps to becoming involved?
Network like mad
Investors, PR, people related to the industry, partners....anyone can be a useful contact for your future. Go to networking startup events and sell yourself, but be social and conversational as well. Make sure to follow up with the person via email or linkedin. Creating a network of successful, knowledgable professionals is key to starting a business. Without people to spread the word, challenge your idea, connect you to industry insiders, your business will not be able to grow as fast or be on the radar.
Think of multiple ideas
Many entrepreneurs don't just come up with that first initial golden idea and run with it. Many have failed with other ideas before and learned the hard way. If you have a co-founder, organize that you both come up with a handful of ideas and come back to each other with 1) the pain point in the industry that needs to be innovated and 2) the solution. Pick the best two out of your pool and research in depth. Thinking of multiple ideas will also get your brain turning on what is really needed and what is not.
Recruit a trustworthy team
A one man show will most likely not be enough to get you where you want to be. There is developing, finance, and marketing to take care of, having a team where everyone has their own job will increase company efficiency. When hiring or creating a team, make sure the founders or employees are just as dedicated as anyone else on the team. Most startups offer equity to the initial founding team for coming on early and building the first stage of the company.
Have a passion
When choosing an idea, know the industry you are going into. Many CEO's pick an industry where they are an outsider,not realizing the real problems their clients are facing. Have a passion in what you're doing, as that will propel your business forward, create a better company culture and display loyalty. No professional likes to see someone who is not truly 100% into their idea or company.
Do your research
Do NOT go in blind. Know your competitors by heart and how you are different. Why should an investor invest in your idea if it already exists? What if your target market is not who you think it is? Is the pain point of your product or service addressing the real problem? Research online and off, hit the pavement and survey the industry or consumers being catered to. It might bring up some features or ideas that can make a product better and more attractive.
Is it Scalable?
Is the company profitable in the long run, or will it die out? If the workload expands and the market demands increase, can the company cater to the advances? Technology is rapidly developing the world by streamlining activities that would normally take us more time and effort to do. Investors are searching for the next B2B or B2C idea that will innovate a laggard industry or simplify an annoying pain point in life. If a software or product is scalable, the company will be able to increase their level of performance down the road. Investors do not want equity in a high demand business that can not adapt to future demands.
What's the Sales Cycle?
How long does it take a customer to close a deal with the company? Basically, how fast will money be made. There are many phases of the sales cycle a customer goes through before buying. One phase that gets missed is tracking customers even after the sales cycle ends. Creating brand loyalty and building a brand community will increase the sales cycle in the long run. The product will become part of their identity, customers will want to share their identity with friends. Different industries have differing sales cycle lengths (as well as how much revenue each sale creates). Before approaching an investor, make sure you know how you will acquire customers, along with how long the average sale takes.
Is there Traction?
If your company is in beta or at an early stage, traction is the one thing that investors can count on. Giving them financial statements and market size estimations will most likely make them yawn...at an early stage, all those numbers can not be proven. It is all BS. What can be proven? Clients, business, committed users. The traction will show how fast your product is catching on, if there is a need for it, and if it will eventually make profit. Most importantly, listen to the customer feedback and improve upon the MVP. Some features that you thought to be useless may be exactly what the user wants.