SE Asia Early Stage Startup Boom, Marketing Lawsuit Warning, Futureproof with AI, LLM Survey, Ecom, Agency Trends, and how my friend made $700 in 10 minutes with this ecom app - Issue 22
Jam packed + Survey 'What's Your Stance on Chat-GPT and LLMS Indexing?'
What’s up? I'm increasing the pace of my newsletter as i’m trying to determine what’s most valuable. Appreciate all of the replies and feedback. Keep them coming!
In todays email:
Southeast Asia Funding Report — while NA + Europe struggles, SE Asia is on fire. Find out what’s hot, and not.
Poll - What's Your Stance on Chat-GPT and LLMS Indexing?
Relearn Product Development in an AI World
Future-proof your AI Efforts
Ecom Share + Flip Shop - “How my friend made $700 in 10 minutes”
Roblox what? Interviews with agency owners + a few interesting links
🔸 In SE Asia, Early Stage Startups are Sooo Back
Amidst the global economic deceleration, Southeast Asia is witnessing a renewed startup boom in early-stage investments.
January Capital recently released their H1 CY2023 report on the ASEAN Technology Ecosystem, revealing a distinct shift. Funds in the region seem to be pivoting away from later-stage investments, instead showing a preference for early-stage startups in the Pre-Seed, Seed, and Series A stages.
A few highlights:
Valuations at the Pre-Seed and Seed stages are on par with the previous year.
Capital allocation remains dominant for Singapore and Indonesia-based ventures. Singapore, in particular, has experienced a surge in deals. While Vietnam is also heating up again.
The SaaS sector is experiencing a significant surge in the region, leading in deal counts. 75% of these ventures find their roots in Singapore, indicative of a rising trend in region-tailored B2B SaaS solutions.
To sum it up, the current climate is ripe for starting a new venture or joining an early-stage startup in SE Asia. Given that investors must allocate funds to validate their management fees, the latter part of the year promises even more expansion.
🔸 Product Management
Relearn how to build AI products:
Why building an AI product is a completely different process if you're an engineer, PM or designer:
— Dani Grant (@thedanigrant)
Oct 19, 2023
🔸 This Lawsuit Leave Unanswered Questions + Warning for Marketing Teams
Consider carefully before emulating a competitor's marketing campaign, especially their Facebook ads or videos. While it might be tempting to explore your competitor's Facebook ad library, exercise caution when it comes to execution or inspiration.
Last month, a judge ordered Blue Crates to pay $2 million in damages for imitating advertisements from their competitor, Doorage. Crucial evidence in the case consisted of email instructions directing to replicate and make better. [Read Case Details]
The case brings to the forefront a significant question: How does Generative AI factor into the future of advertising? How are your ads or videos being trained and developed with LLMs? 🤔
Would love to hear your thoughts on where or how you plan to navigate LLM access. Survey below:
🔸 Poll — Share Your Vote & Thoughts
What's Your Stance on Chat-GPT and LLMS Indexing
Considering the emergence of Chat-GPT and other LLMs, do you plan on blocking them from indexing your content, including websites, blog posts, email newsletters, videos, etc.?
^^ Bonus, hit reply with your thoughts and I’ll include them within the next issue.
🔸 Futureproof Founders
A few recommendations for both founders and those on the frontier of AI
Develop contingency measures for possible OpenAI interruptions, akin to server or electricity disruptions.
If Chat-GPT fails, what now?
How do you fulfill on SLAs? Are you default dead? Replace OpenAI with Claude or any other AI provider. Most teams have basics in place, but what would an extended outage, pricing change, or AI data breach look like? Think ahead.
Create operating systems and AI rules of engagement.
Forward thinking brands create both public and private documents to showcase AI product, marketing, operations, customer support, etc. policies for both customers and 3rd party integrators.
A dedicated page listing out how your brand harvests user data, models are trained, GAI standards, etc. Think terms or privacy page, or FB ads library, but for AI.
If there’s interest, hit reply and I’ll create a deck and boilerplates.
Flip.shop is offering aggressive cash incentives for new signups. Something reminiscent of the food delivery wars where VCs were throwing cash and growth at all costs.
What is Flip? It's about video shopping alongside friends. While it has been available for a few years, it's currently gaining traction in the app store.
Earn up to $10k for referring your friends. The kicker, get cold hard cash or make purchases directly within the app. One friend earned 700 bucks in 10 minutes. Attaching screenshots:
According to Agha, the Flip app has 2 million active users in just 18 months since the app launched in late 2021, with some users earning $5,000 per month on the platform.
As a result, the company has raised over $100 million in venture capital. Its latest Series B round for $60 million in July 2022 was led by WestCap on a valuation of over $500 million. Past lead investors for previous rounds include Streamlined Ventures and TLV Partners. Additional investors include Mubadala Capital, Ruby Lu, Human Capital, Kli Capital and others.
🔸 Other Commerce Shares
All View. No Street. YETI drops interactive 360 video hikes. [Link]
Canada Goose now sells pre-owned products. [Link]
After reporting on Tik-Tok Shop last week, sharing a quick update on progress. According to ConsumerEdge credit card panel data, they are estimating 70m in weekly GMV. Putting Tik-Tok Shop at a $3.6B annualized run rate, growing an average of 150% MoM since launch. Wow.. The Christmas 2023 rush is going to be fascinating to watch. Merchants, what are you waiting for?
Deepfakes of Chinese influencers are live streaming 24/7. Mind is blown. [Link]
Steve missed some of the shots he took. Music. [Link]
Apple, caught by surprise in generative AI boom, to spend $1 billion per year to catch up with focus on Siri, Messages, and Apple Music. [Link]
After the NFT bubble burst, many Web3 designers shifted to gaming and Roblox. I’ve covered Roblox a few times, but here are 3 links that caught my attention:
Ryanair Flight - yes, developers recreated several games featuring renowned airlines, complete with airports, in-flight snacks, and TSA security procedures.
Political protests - Well-structured gatherings where people come together daily, exchange stories, and uplift eachother.
Roblox Subscriptions - offer a monthly recurring service to users, just like Stripe.
🔸 Interesting Links
Halloween Is for Kids. ‘Kidults’ Too. [Link]
Why the internet isn’t fun anymore. The social-media Web as we knew it, a place where we consumed the posts of our fellow-humans and posted in return, appears to be over. [Link]
Looking for an EV RV? these looks futuristic and hot: Meet Pebble &
Remember Tom? NoSpace is popping the iOS charts, and essentially MySpace 2.0. [Link]
🔸 Agency Corner » Invest in Sales & Marketing
This past week, I spoke with 4 digital agency owners. A few observations that 🤯
Everyone is talking about a major slowdown and lack of paid work. Differing degrees of anxiety
None of them had a sales plan or CRM. They rely 100% on partnerships or direct referrals for deals
Among the 4 agencies, just 1 had significantly increased outbound and its content creation efforts (showcasing prev work, presenting case studies, engaging on socials)
All 4 were 'full service agencies' with no clear ICP, vertical, or service offering. "We do everything"
3 out of the 4 agencies had team members on the bench, awaiting client work, and as a result, they were tasked with 'internal projects' or 'skill development activities
When I asked what sort of skills or projects, they were unrelated to sales, marketing, or winning new biz
All 4 agencies operated with constrained sales and marketing budgets
3 out of the 4 allocated no monthly expenditure in this area ($0.00), despite having team sizes ranging from 5 to 15 individuals!
3 out of the 4 were open to 10-20% for any sort of referral. 1 agency said they'd offer up to 35%!
The agencies reported that their typical projects fell within the range of $40k to $250k, with the majority hovering around the $100k mark
All 4 said they'd like to invest more $ into sales and marketing in 2024, but needed to close some deals before allocating $
TLDR: Digital agencies are grappling with slowdowns, just starting to consider basic sales & marketing efforts. They're willing to reward referrals but reluctant to invest in long-term strategies b/c they never had to in the past. But that tide has changed. 🌊
Qs or Quotes Bouncing in My Brain
Get wealthy, get healthy, get happy.
Tell yourself that the world is outside, that it's not to be hidden from you, that you are going to thrust yourself forward and be relaxed in the world. You have chosen a field where you're going to be hurt to the blood. But to retreat from the pain is death
Heaps of content lined up, such as AI agents, B2B2C, tips for hiring your next marketing manager, AI-driven marketing, conscious businesses, results from my experiments, and so much more.
Thx for reading — have a great week!
P.S. Whenever you're ready, there are 3 ways I can help you:
How'd I do? Slam dunk or airball? Lmk your thoughts on this issue so I can level up future content.
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Hi there! I help b2b2c startups go from 0 to 1 with resources, consulting, advisory, and writing, spanning product, marketing, team formation, frontier technology, and the good life. Prev helped 50+ startups and launched 20+ digital products. Although my perspective is universal, I mainly cover the frontier of North America and Southeast Asia.
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