Lightspeed’s Jeremy Liew is on the hunt for always-on media startups

by admin November 2, 2019 at 8:46 am
Lightspeed’s Jeremy Liew is on the hunt for always-on media startups – TechCrunch

Perhaps best known for a career-making seed investment in Snapchat, Lightspeed partner Jeremy Liew is a leading investor across media and entertainment, making bets on startups like Cheddar, Giphy, HQ, SpecialGuest, Mic, Beme, Playdom, Duta and Flixster.

I spoke to him earlier this week about how he assesses the market for media startups, which led into a discussion about “always-on” forms of entertainment that add stimulation to a person’s environment, instead of commanding their full focus.

Here’s the transcript of our conversation, edited for length and clarity:

Eric Peckham: Do you have a consistent framework for evaluating potential investments?

Jeremy Liew: Our perspective is that consumer technology is now more about the consumer side than the technology side. It’s really more about pop culture than new innovations in technology. 

When we are assessing a consumer investment we ask ourselves, “does this have the potential to become part of pop culture?” One way to think about it is whether people who don’t use the product will still become familiar with what it is. Like how you can understand a reference to “Game of Thrones” even if you don’t watch it. 

Another key question is, whether there is a scalable, repeatable way for the product to reach its audience. That can be advertising, it can be word of mouth, it could be through social channels.

We also asked ourselves, “is this product going to build a new habit?” and we assess whether the entrepreneur has a unique insight into both why this is happening and why it’s happening now.

Your colleague Alex Taussig told me you have an overarching “future of TV” thesis that’s guided a number of your investments. Tell me about that thesis and how it filters opportunities in the media & entertainment space for you.

I think you can split what used to be called TV into two core use cases: “TV as entertainment” and “TV as company.”

“TV as entertainment” is most of what Netflix, Amazon, Apple, HBO, and similar companies have been focused on. It is high-production quality entertainment you have to pay attention to. Think shows like “Game of Thrones,” “Succession,” “Orange is the New Black.”

Then there’s another classic category of TV — “TV as company,” which is stuff that’s on while you’re doing something else. You’ve got the morning show on while you’re getting the kids ready for school or you’re getting ready to go to work. That’s how you get the five hours of TV viewing per day that Americans average.

TV as entertainment has to be so good that you choose to watch it over doing anything else; TV as company you just have to not choose to turn it off.

The vast amount of attention to the move to video — with subscription video on-demand (SVOD) and so forth — has been on TV as entertainment. There are hit shows that will attract people to Netflix, or to HBO Go, to Disney+. But what causes them to stay as a subscriber after they binge-watched all the way through the stuff that brought them in the first place?

That tends to be the TV as company content. If you actually look at hours watched in television, no one is tuning in to catch the latest episode of “Shark Week” — it is just what’s on. Think about the TV Guide grid: every genre, every channel will likely have a mobile native equivalent.

Some of these already exist. ESPN — it’s a channel where men watch the best competitors in the world play the sports they used to play when they were in high school and then they talk about it with their friends. Twitch is a place where men, mostly, watch the best competitors in the world play the games they used to play when they were younger and talk about it with their friends.

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The turbulence of Brexit has left both U.K. and European startups alike wondering about the best path forward. From recruiting to acquiring investment to scaling into other parts of Europe, the challenges seem to be mounting. By December, who knows what will have happened on the Brexit landscape, such is the chaos. At Disrupt Berlin […]n”,”protected”:false,”author”:12084669,”featured_media”:1899679,”comment_status”:”open”,”ping_status”:”closed”,”sticky”:false,”template”:””,”format”:”standard”,”meta”:”outcome”:””,”status”:””,”crunchbase_tag”:0,”amp_status”:””,”relegenceEntities”:[],”relegenceSubjects”:[],”jetpack_publicize_message”:”Three of the best tackle the thorny issue of Brexit for startups at Disrupt Berlin https://tcrn.ch/2W3gDh7 by @mikebutcher”,”categories”:[449557100,426985170,20429,17396],”tags”:[576707073,449549343,576707074,576658601,576707075],”crunchbase_tag”:[214627871],”tc_stories_tax”:[],”tc_event”:[576608071],”jetpack_featured_media_url”:”https://techcrunch.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/bindi-shoosmith-hirsch-disrupt.jpg”,”jetpack_publicize_connections”:[],”shortlink”:”https://tcrn.ch/2W3gDh7″,”rapidData”:”pt”:””,”pct”:””,”featured”:false,”subtitle”:””,”fundingRound”:false,”seoTitle”:””,”seoDescription”:””,”premiumContent”:false,”premiumCutoffPercent”:1,”tc_cb_mapping”:[“slug”:”volker-hirsch”,”cb_name”:”Volker Hirsch”,”cb_slug”:”volker-hirsch-person”,”cb_link”:”https://crunchbase.com/person/volker-hirsch”,”slug”:”bindi-karia”,”cb_name”:”Bindi Karia”,”cb_slug”:”bindi-karia-person”,”cb_link”:”https://crunchbase.com/person/bindi-karia”],”associatedEvent”:”ad”:”display”:true,”title”:”Agenda is now available – save u20ac500 if you buy before 8 November”,”override_link”:””,”date”:1576022400,”link”:”https://techcrunch.com/events/disrupt-berlin-2019/”,”status”:”pre”,”title”:”Disrupt Berlin 2019″,”termID”:576608071,”event”:1697845,”authors”:[12084669],”hideFeaturedImage”:false,”_links”:”self”:[“href”:”https://techcrunch.com/wp-json/wp/v2/posts/1899586″],”collection”:[“href”:”https://techcrunch.com/wp-json/wp/v2/posts”],”about”:[“href”:”https://techcrunch.com/wp-json/wp/v2/types/post”],”replies”:[“embeddable”:true,”href”:”https://techcrunch.com/wp-json/wp/v2/comments?post=1899586″],”version-history”:[“count”:11,”href”:”https://techcrunch.com/wp-json/wp/v2/posts/1899586/revisions”],”predecessor-version”:[“id”:1899741,”href”:”https://techcrunch.com/wp-json/wp/v2/posts/1899586/revisions/1899741″],”authors”:[“embeddable”:true,”href”:”https://techcrunch.com/wp-json/tc/v1/users/12084669″],”https://techcrunch.com/edit”:[“href”:”https://techcrunch.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=1899586&action=edit”],”author”:[“embeddable”:true,”href”:”https://techcrunch.com/wp-json/tc/v1/users/12084669″],”wp:featuredmedia”:[“embeddable”:true,”href”:”https://techcrunch.com/wp-json/wp/v2/media/1899679″],”wp:attachment”:[“href”:”https://techcrunch.com/wp-json/wp/v2/media?parent=1899586″],”wp:term”:[“taxonomy”:”category”,”embeddable”:true,”href”:”https://techcrunch.com/wp-json/wp/v2/categories?post=1899586″,”taxonomy”:”post_tag”,”embeddable”:true,”href”:”https://techcrunch.com/wp-json/wp/v2/tags?post=1899586″,”taxonomy”:”_tc_cb_tag_taxonomy”,”embeddable”:true,”href”:”https://techcrunch.com/wp-json/wp/v2/crunchbase_tag?post=1899586″,”taxonomy”:”tc_stories_tax”,”embeddable”:true,”href”:”https://techcrunch.com/wp-json/wp/v2/tc_stories_tax?post=1899586″,”taxonomy”:”tc_event”,”embeddable”:true,”href”:”https://techcrunch.com/wp-json/wp/v2/tc_event?post=1899586″],”curies”:[“name”:”wp”,”href”:”https://api.w.org/rel”,”templated”:true],”_embedded”:{“authors”:[“id”:12084669,”name”:”Mike Butcher”,”url”:””,”description”:””,”link”:”https://techcrunch.com/author/mike-butcher/”,”slug”:”mike-butcher”,”avatar_urls”:”24″:”https://secure.gravatar.com/avatar/ef4a4ab87c72738ed187e21de55b2fc6?s=24&d=identicon&r=g”,”48″:”https://secure.gravatar.com/avatar/ef4a4ab87c72738ed187e21de55b2fc6?s=48&d=identicon&r=g”,”96″:”https://secure.gravatar.com/avatar/ef4a4ab87c72738ed187e21de55b2fc6?s=96&d=identicon&r=g”,”links”:”homepage”:”http://mbites.com”,”facebook”:”https://www.facebook.com/mikebutcher”,”twitter”:”https://twitter.com/mikebutcher”,”linkedin”:”https://uk.linkedin.com/in/mikebutcher”,”crunchbase”:”https://www.crunchbase.com/person/mike-butcher”,”position”:”Editor At Large”,”cbDescription”:”

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Mike has been named one of the most influential people in European technology by various newspaper and magazines. He founded The Europas Awards, the non-profit Techfugees and has advised the UK government on tech startup policy. He was awarded an MBE in the Queenu2019s Birthday Honours list 2016 for services to the UK technology industry and journalism.nn

As well as being a long-time Writer, Broadcaster and Editor Mike is also co-founder of TechHub.com, a project to merge a thriving community with office space for fast-moving startups; co-founder of the UKu2019s Coadec.com lobbyist for startups; the non-profit TechVets for UK military veterans, and the UK event series ThePathfounder.com.nn

Mike has written for UK national newspapers and magazines including The Financial Times, The Guardian, The Times, The Daily Telegraph and The New Statesman. He is a former editor of New Media Age magazine, the leading new media weekly in the UK, and the European edition of The Industry Standard magazine.nn

In 2000 he was nominated as NetMediau2019s European Internet Journalist of the Year. In 2004 he was voted u2018One of the 100 Innovators of the UK Internet Decadeu2019 by GfK NOP, the fourth-largest custom research business in the world. In July 2008 he was put at No. 47 out of the Top 100 people in Londonu2019s creative industry by The Independent newspaper and The Hospital Club. In August 2008 TechCrunch Europe was awarded the best u201cWeb 2.0 and business blogu201d in the UK, by the readers of Computer Weekly magazine. In 2009 it was named as one of the Top 10 blogs out of the UK. Also in 2009 Mike was named one of the Top 10 bloggers on Twitter in the UK. In October 2009 he was named one of the Top 50 most influential Britons in technology by The Daily Telegraph. In April 2010 he was in Wired UKu2019s Top 100 influencer list, in 2011, in 2012, (there was no Top 100 list in 2013), in 2014 and again in 2015. In April 2010 TechCrunch Europe was shortlisted in the Specialist Digital Publisher category of the prestigious UK-based Association of Online Publishersu2019 Digital Publishing Awards. In November 2010 he was named as one of Londonu2019s most influential people in New Media and u201cking of dotcom commentatorsu201d by The Evening Standard Newspaper. He has been listed as one of the Top 100 most influential people on Twitter in the UK. He was named in the TechNation200 Almanac. He has been named as one of u201cThe 100 coolest people in UK techu201d by Business Insider. He was named in the u201cSmith & Williamson Power 100u201d. In 2016 British GQ magazine named him one of the 100 Most Connected Men in the UK. He has spoken at the prestigious World Economic Forum, the Monaco Media Forum, Le Web, Web Summit and DLD among many other conferences. Mike is a regular commentator on the technology business, appearing on BBC News, Sky News, CNBC, Channel 4, Al Jazeera and Bloomberg. Mike has advised the UK Prime Minister on tech startups, served on the Mayor of Londonu2019s Digital Advisory Board, the u2018Smart Londonu2019 Board and been a Technology Ambassador for London. He was awarded an MBE in the Queenu2019s Birthday Honours list 2016 for services to the UK technology industry and journalism. Mikeu2019s personal blog is mbites.com, while he Tweets as @mikebutcher.nn

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Berlin 2019″,”slug”:”disrupt-berlin-2019″,”taxonomy”:”tc_event”,”rapidData”:”pt”:””,”pct”:””,”_links”:”self”:[“href”:”https://techcrunch.com/wp-json/wp/v2/tc_event/576608071″],”collection”:[“href”:”https://techcrunch.com/wp-json/wp/v2/tc_event”],”about”:[“href”:”https://techcrunch.com/wp-json/wp/v2/taxonomies/tc_event”],”up”:[“embeddable”:true,”href”:”https://techcrunch.com/wp-json/wp/v2/tc_event/579419″],”wp:post_type”:[“href”:”https://techcrunch.com/wp-json/wp/v2/posts?tc_event=576608071″,”href”:”https://techcrunch.com/wp-json/wp/v2/tc_events?tc_event=576608071″,”href”:”https://techcrunch.com/wp-json/wp/v2/tc_video?tc_event=576608071″],”curies”:[“name”:”wp”,”href”:”https://api.w.org/rel”,”templated”:true]]]}},{“id”:1907164,”date”:”2019-11-01T14:28:49″,”date_gmt”:”2019-11-01T21:28:49″,”guid”:”rendered”:”https://techcrunch.com/?p=1907164″,”modified”:”2019-11-01T14:58:09″,”modified_gmt”:”2019-11-01T21:58:09″,”slug”:”reaction-engines-mach-5-engine-is-just-the-tip-of-the-new-aerospace-boom”,”status”:”publish”,”type”:”post”,”link”:”https://techcrunch.com/2019/11/01/reaction-engines-mach-5-engine-is-just-the-tip-of-the-new-aerospace-boom/”,”title”:”rendered”:”Reaction Engines’ Mach 5 engine is just the tip of the new aerospace boom”,”content”:{“rendered”:”

Imagine a hypersonic passenger aircraft that would cut the journey time between London and New York to around two hours. At Mach 5, oru00a0five times the speed of sound, the aircraft wouldu00a0complete a trip across the Atlantic in around 120 minutes. Mach 5 is more than twice as fast as the cruising speed of Concorde and over 50% faster than the SR-71 Blackbird u2013 the worldu2019s fastest jet-engine powered aircraft. A flight across the Pacific would take roughly three hours.u00a0Flight times from London to Sydney could be 80% shorter.u00a0Who needs Elon Musk?n

Reaching these speeds would require an aircraft engine that has never previously existed. But last week, the world got a glimpse of a new future via a project which has been germinating for 30 years.n

Reaction Engines was founded in 1989 by three propulsion engineers from Rolls Royce: Alan Bond, Richard Varvill and John Scott Scott. Their idea was that in order for an engine to reach hypersonic speeds, the air going into it would have to be rapidly cooled, otherwise the engine would melt. Reactionu2019s breakthrough was inventing a “precooler” or heat exchanger which can take the air down to minus 150 degrees centigrade in less than a 20th of a second.n

These ultra-lightweight u201cheat exchangersu201d would enable aircraft to fly over five times the speed of sound in the atmosphere. Thus the SABRE – Synergetic Air-Breathing Rocket Engine – was born. The Sabre engine u201cbreathesu201d air to make 20 per cent of the journey to orbit, before switching to rocket mode to complete the trip.n

Last week, Reaction Engines passed a significant milestone. It successfully tested its innovative precooler at airflow temperature conditions representing Mach 5.n

The ground-based test at the Colorado Air and Space Port in the US, saw the precooler successfully operate at temperatures of 420u1d52C (~788u1d52F) u2013 matching the thermal conditions corresponding to Mach 3.3 flight.n

"Reactionn

But this technology wouldnu2019t just be applicable to hypersonic flight. The precooler technology, developed by Reaction Engines, would significantly enhance the performance of existing jet engine technology, along with applications in automotive, aerospace, energy and industrial processes. Reaction Engines has attracted development funding from the British government, the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and the European Space Agency. Itu2019s also raised over u00a3100m from public and private sources and has secured investment from BAE Systems, Rolls-Royce and Boeingu2019s venture capital arm HorizonX. Reaction is expected to start building and testing a demonstrator engine next year.n

The success of Reaction Engines to date is a sign that the u2018AerospaceTechu2019 sector is now booming. It is most certainly not alone.n

Last month, Boeing and the UK government launched a u00a32m accelerator program to look for new innovations in this area. Boeingu2019s HorizonX is backing the initiative.n

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