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5 big things to expect with social media's next generation

By March 4, 2021Article

There are the known giants of the social media world – like Facebook and Twitter and Tencent. Then, there are the emerging giants that, according to this PitchBook article, have made their early backers extraordinarily wealthy.

Here are five companies that have made headlines this quarter by putting a unique twist on social media: 

1. Truck tech

Rivian, the well-funded developer of electric pickups and SUVs, is planning an IPO for as soon as September that could come at a $50 billion valuation, Bloomberg reported. Plus, a developer of autonomous trucking technology, raised $200 million in new venture funding. And Hyzon Motors, which is developing heavy-duty trucks powered by hydrogen fuel cells, agreed to merge with a SPAC in a $2.7 billion move. 

2. Bitcoin bulls

The price of bitcoin reached a new high, nearing $50,000, aided in part by new signals of mainstream enthusiasm. Most notably, Tesla revealed a purchase of $1.5 billion in bitcoin and said it plans to soon accept the cryptocurrency as a viable form of payment. Elsewhere, the Miami city commission reportedly voted to consider a proposal by Mayor Francis Suarez that would allow city employees to be paid in bitcoin. BNY Mellon, the oldest bank in the US, said it would begin holding and transferring bitcoin on behalf of its clients. And VCs, of course, are also watching closely

3. All bark

Chewy’s stock price has nearly sextupled since its pandemic low point last March, with locked-down animal owners splurging on its pet supplies delivery service. This week brought two other high-priced updates from the world of pets. Silver Lake, EQT and Nestlé agreed to invest €3.5 billion (about $4.2 billion) in IVC Evidensia, valuing the European veterinary business at €12.3 billion. And dog-walking startup Rover agreed to merge with a SPAC, valuing the company—which has raised well over $300 million in VC, according to PitchBook data—at $1.35 billion.

4. Gaming consolidation

Industry powerhouse Electronic Arts agreed to pay $2.1 billion for mobile gaming specialist Glu Mobile, continuing a string of video game acquisitions. Just two months ago, EA struck a $1.2 billion deal for Codemasters. Sweden’s Embracer agreed earlier this month to pay as much as $1.38 billion for Gearbox Entertainment, the maker of “Borderlands.” And last September, Microsoft struck a $7.5 billion deal for ZeniMax Media, the parent of Bethesda Softworks, which is the maker of multiple famous franchises. 

5. Stock talk is raising $200 million at a reported $1.2 billion valuation, the latest sign of investor enthusiasm for retail stock-trading apps. The company is looking to avoid some of the pitfalls that befell Robinhood in recent weeks: Public recently said it would stop selling its order flow as a way to generate revenue, making this new investment a bet on the company’s ability to shift its business model. Other startups are capitalizing on the market’s appetite for new stocks. Coupang, an ecommerce power that has been called South Korea’s answer to Amazon, filed on Friday for an IPO in the US. 

To read the full PitchBook article and 5 other social media noteables making headlines, click here.