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Cajoo promises grocery deliveries in 15 minutes

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Meet Cajoo, a new French startup that has raised a $7.3 million (€6 million) funding round. The company wants to make it easier to order groceries from your phone and receive them 15 minutes later. It is launching in Paris today.

“I left Bolt around mid-August and I’m launching a company with two co-founders focused on 15-minute deliveries,” co-founder and CEO Henri Capoul told me. Thanks to his experience at Bolt, he probably knows a thing or two about logistics and operating a marketplace at scale. Guillaume Luscan and Jeremy Gotteland are the two other co-founders.

What makes Cajoo different from what’s out there? In France, there’s no Instacart or pure player in the grocery delivering space. Instead, many supermarket chains already offer deliveries. You can order from their website or app and get your groceries the next day or two days later.

Some retailers are trying to speed things up a bit, such as Carrefour with its Livraison Express service and Monoprix with Monoprix Plus. Amazon can also deliver some groceries through its Amazon Prime Now sub-service. It can take 30 minutes, an hour or even two hours before receiving your order though.

But people want things now, as the success of Deliveroo, Uber Eats and others has shown. I think impatience is unsustainable because of unit economics, labor laws, the impact on small shops and cities. And yet, it seems likely that there’s enough demand for Cajoo.

The startup wants to differentiate itself with a full-stack approach. Cajoo operates its own micro-fulfillment centers. It has its own inventory of products. It manages the fleet of delivery people as much as possible. And, of course, it sells directly to customers.

Glovo offered grocery deliveries from your local grocery store. But the company pulled back from the French market a few weeks ago. It seems like it couldn’t generate big enough margins by buying from stores directly.

On Cajoo, you’ll find anything you could find in a local grocery store — pasta, shampoo, candies, you name it. You’ll be able to order wine, beer and snack — Uber proved that it can be a lucrative segment with its acquisition of Drizly for $1.1 billion.

And it is launching today in Paris in the 9th arrondissement and around. Overall, Cajoo thinks it’ll require ten micro-fulfillment centers to cover Paris and it’s going to take a few months.

Cajoo is also benefiting from the current economic crisis as there are a ton of empty stores, empty garages, small warehouses that are currently waiting for a new owner.

“The differentiating factor of our model is that we offer products at market price. It’s the same price as a Monoprix or Carrefour Express store with delivery fees under €2,” Capoul said.

The company doesn’t plan to generate most of its revenue from delivery fees. Those are minimum fees so that you don’t order one item at a time. Instead, the company will get margins from products themselves, like any retailer.

Frst and XAnge are leading the seed round with the two co-founders of Chauffeur-Privé (later rebranded as Kapten) also participating.

I asked about the company’s plans when it comes to delivery staff. As Gurvan Kristanadjaja reported for Libération last year, there are some serious issues with contractors working for food delivery companies in France. For instance, a significant portion of Frichti’s delivery people were illegal immigrants. Some riders on Deliveroo or Uber Eats also rent their accounts to illegal immigrants.

Capoul told me that it is going to hire some employees to handle deliveries and give them electric bikes. But the company will also work with partners — both contracting companies and freelancers.

“We don’t want to have the same standards as Deliveroo or Uber Eats. Recruiting the right delivery people, making sure that they have work permits are important topics,” Capoul said. Each micro-fulfillment centers will also have a restroom and a place to wait for the next order.

It’s going to be important to see whether Cajoo manages to keep high standards over the long run as the service gets more popular. At least, the service is starting with the right mindset.

Image Credits: Cajoo

Lyron Foster is a Hawaii based African American Musician, Author, Actor, Blogger, Filmmaker, Philanthropist and Multinational Serial Tech Entrepreneur.

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Snowflake latest enterprise company to feel Wall Street’s wrath after good quarter

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Snowflake reported earnings this week, and the results look strong with revenue more than doubling year-over-year.

However, while the company’s fourth quarter revenue rose 117% to $190.5 million, it apparently wasn’t good enough for investors, who have sent the company’s stock tumbling since it reported Wednesday after the bell.

It was similar to the reaction that Salesforce received from Wall Street last week after it announced a positive earnings report. Snowflake’s stock closed down around 4% today, a recovery compared to its midday lows when it was off nearly 12%.

Why the declines? Wall Street’s reaction to earnings can lean more on what a company will do next more than its most recent results. But Snowflake’s guidance for its current quarter appeared strong as well, with a predicted $195 million to $200 million in revenue, numbers in line with analysts’ expectations.

Sounds good, right? Apparently being in line with analyst expectations isn’t good enough for investors for certain companies. You see, it didn’t exceed the stated expectations, so the results must be bad. I am not sure how meeting expectations is as good as a miss, but there you are.

It’s worth noting of course that tech stocks have taken a beating so far in 2021. And as my colleague Alex Wilhelm reported this morning, that trend only got worse this week. Consider that the tech-heavy Nasdaq is down 11.4% from its 52-week high, so perhaps investors are flogging everyone and Snowflake is merely caught up in the punishment.

Snowflake CEO Frank Slootman pointed out in the earnings call this week that Snowflake is well positioned, something proven by the fact that his company has removed the data limitations of on-prem infrastructure. The beauty of the cloud is limitless resources, and that forces the company to help customers manage consumption instead of usage, an evolution that works in Snowflake’s favor.

“The big change in paradigm is that historically in on-premise data centers, people have to manage capacity. And now they don’t manage capacity anymore, but they need to manage consumption. And that’s a new thing for — not for everybody but for most people — and people that are in the public cloud. I have gotten used to the notion of consumption obviously because it applies equally to the infrastructure clouds,” Slootman said in the earnings call.

Snowflake has to manage expectations, something that translated into a dozen customers paying $5 million or more per month to Snowflake. That’s a nice chunk of change by any measure. It’s also clear that while there is a clear tilt toward the cloud, the amount of data that has been moved there is still a small percentage of overall enterprise workloads, meaning there is lots of growth opportunity for Snowflake.

What’s more, Snowflake executives pointed out that there is a significant ramp up time for customers as they shift data into the Snowflake data lake, but before they push the consumption button. That means that as long as customers continue to move data onto Snowflake’s platform, they will pay more over time, even if it will take time for new clients to get started.

So why is Snowflake’s quarterly percentage growth not expanding? Well, as a company gets to the size of Snowflake, it gets harder to maintain those gaudy percentage growth numbers as the law of large numbers begins to kick in.

I’m not here to tell Wall Street investors how to do their job, anymore than I would expect them to tell me how to do mine. But when you look at the company’s overall financial picture, the amount of untapped cloud potential and the nature of Snowflake’s approach to billing, it’s hard not to be positive about this company’s outlook, regardless of the reaction of investors in the short term.

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A first look at Coursera’s S-1 filing

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After TechCrunch broke the news yesterday that Coursera was planning to file its S-1 today, the edtech company officially dropped the document Friday evening.

Coursera was last valued at $2.4 billion by the private markets, when it most recently raised a Series F round in October 2020 that was worth $130 million.

Coursera’s S-1 filing offers a glimpse into the finances of how an edtech company, accelerated by the pandemic, performed over the past year. It paints a picture of growth, albeit one that came at steep expense.

Revenue

In 2020, Coursera saw $293.5 million in revenue. That’s a roughly 59% increase from the year prior when the company recorded $184.4 million in top line. During that same period, Coursera posted a net loss of nearly $67 million, up 46% from the previous year’s $46.7 million net deficit.

Notably the company had roughly the same noncash, share-based compensation expenses in both years. Even if we allow the company to judge its profitability on an adjusted EBITDA basis, Coursera’s losses still rose from 2019 to 2020, expanding from $26.9 million to $39.8 million.

To understand the difference between net losses and adjusted losses it’s worth unpacking the EBITDA acronym. Standing for “earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization,” EBITDA strips out some nonoperating costs to give investors a possible better picture of the continuing health of a business, without getting caught up in accounting nuance. Adjusted EBITDA takes the concept one step further, also removing the noncash cost of share-based compensation, and in an even more cheeky move, in this case also deducts “payroll tax expense related to stock-based activities” as well.

For our purposes, even when we grade Coursera’s profitability on a very polite curve it still winds up generating stiff losses. Indeed, the company’s adjusted EBITDA as a percentage of revenue — a way of determining profitability in contrast to revenue — barely improved from a 2019 result of -15% to -14% in 2020.

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The owner of Anki’s assets plans to relaunch Cozmo and Vector this year

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Good robots don’t die — they just have their assets sold off to the highest bidder. Digital Dream Labs was there to sweep up IP in the wake of Anki’s premature implosion, back in 2019. The Pittsburgh-based edtech company had initially planned to relaunch Vector and Cozmo at some point in 2020, launching a Kickstarter campaign in March of last year.

The company eventually raised $1.8 million on the crowdfunding site, and today announced plans to deliver on the overdue relaunch, courtesy of a new distributor.

“There is a tremendous demand for these robots,” CEO Jacob Hanchar said in a release. “This partnership will complement the work our teams are already doing to relaunch these products and will ensure that Cozmo and Vector are on shelves for the holidays.”

I don’t doubt that a lot of folks are looking to get their hands on the robots. Cozmo, in particular, was well-received, and sold reasonably well — but ultimately (and in spite of a lot of funding), the company couldn’t avoid the fate that’s befallen many a robotics startup.

It will be fascinating to see how these machines look when they’re reintroduced. Anki invested tremendous resources into bringing them to life, including the hiring of ex-Pixar and DreamWorks staff to make the robots more lifelike. A lot of thought went into giving the robots a distinct personality, whereas, for instance, Vector’s new owners are making the robot open-source. Cozmo, meanwhile, will have programmable functionality through the company’s app.

It could certainly be an interesting play for the STEM market that companies like Sphero are approaching. It has become a fairly crowded space, but at least Anki’s new owners are building on top of a solid foundation, with the fascinating and emotionally complex toy robots their predecessors created.

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