🕶️ Are ‘bragging rights’ worth it?

The fierce game this startup is playing

Presented by

In what officially turned into the marathon edition of Super Bowl history, the Kansas City Chiefs snatched the Vince Lombardi Trophy 🏆

Also, a global workforce payment startup just dropped a cool $7 million for a mere 30-second ad spot, and the gun startup Biofire has VCs perking up. Seems like Gen Z is all about that startup life, and a new dating app is now playing matchmaker based on credit scores. Is love really in the air? 👩‍❤️‍💋‍👨 🤑

Don’t forget to catch our video discussing legal structures for startups at the end of the newsletter - and subscribe!

Keep scrolling for the fun stuff!

Six bullets of updates

  1. 💌 Valentines’ Day is coming and financial platform Neon Money Club launched Score, a dating app for those with a credit score over 675, aiming to highlight finance's role in relationships 👀

  2. 🌱 53% of Gen Z are considering entrepreneurship, and Ivy Leagues are searching for those with genuine leadership, commitment to change, and a focus on DAI.

  3. 🧳 Travel Bot Layla acquires AI itinerary builder Roam Around, backed by Booking.com & Skyscanner co-founders.

  4. 🧑🏽‍💼 Redefining careers in 2024: ‘Career sovereignty’ and a life's work over traditional jobs, says executive coach Julius Bachmann.

  5. 📍 Want to check the best states to start a business in 2024? Open Google Maps and head to the following locations to succeed.  

  6. 🚶🏼 Plaid gears up for an IPO with its first-ever president hire, while buy now, pay later firm Affirm reports a 48% revenue hike.

What was a payroll company doing at the Super Bowl?

The Super Bowl 2024 delivered a big play that didn't happen on the field, nor did it occur in the hands of the Chiefs or the 49ers. Papaya Global, a late-stage global workforce payment startup, invested $7 million for a 30-second advertising spot.

It's unusual for a B2B software company to make such a high-profile appearance in a game of this magnitude. 🤔 Is this advertising effective for a company of this kind? According to Bernd Schmitt, a professor at Columbia, the ad at least demonstrates prowess and high-paying capability, AKA “bragging rights”. However, tracking the ROI will be a challenge due to the long sales cycles inherent with B2B operations, warns Hila Perl, the director of communications at Papaya.

Competition from other players in this category motivated Papaya Global to "make that move". This way, it surpasses competitors that didn't make it to the Super Bowl, like Oyster HR and Remote. According to the company's spokesperson, the ad doesn't aim to generate more sales but seeks to influence the company's future market perception.💡 A smart strategy or a waste?

eBook: How to minimize third-party risk with vendor management

A robust vendor management program isn’t just required by compliance frameworks like SOC 2 and ISO 27001. It’s also a critical part of a holistic trust management strategy.

Implementing a vendor management program, however, has become more complex and challenging with the proliferation of SaaS tools and shadow IT. And many overstretched security teams are being asked to do more with less.

To stay compliant and secure — and deepen trust with customers and partners — security teams need a way to proactively manage vendor risk.

This guide from Vanta, the leading trust management platform, brings together perspectives from the frontlines of vendor security management. Get insights and best practices from security and compliance leaders. 

These companies just raised money

  1.  🎮  Epic investment! Disney is pumping $1.5B into Fortnite creator Epic Games for an expansive gaming and entertainment universe

  2. 🇧🇷 Brazilian AgTech startup Traive scores $20M to escalate its tech, launch a credit platform, and expand in Brazil.

  3. 🌙 Ex-Blue Origin leaders raise $15.5M for Interlune, a stealth startup mining the moon for quantum computing fuel.

  4. 🏗️ Attentive.ai raises $7M to supercharge landscaping and construction with AI, bringing its total funding to $12M.

  5. 🍄 Mushroom-energy drink maker Odyssey bags $6M, boosting total funds to $14M, to fuel focus and clarity without the sugar crash.

  6. 🖲️ Atlas nets a $4.5M grant to turbocharge its 3D generative AI and asset creation for game developers.

Is the funding landscape shifting in favor of firearm startups?

In the United States, firearms are the leading cause of death for children, with incidents occurring both accidentally and intentionally. Biofire has developed "smart" biometric firearms to prevent such tragedies. These weapons utilize facial recognition and fingerprint technology, ensuring they only function when in the hands of their owners or registered users.

While Biofire initially faced challenges due to its association with high-risk ventures, securing institutional VC funding seemed daunting. However, recent developments suggest a change in perception. In its latest $7 million Series A extension round, Biofire garnered support from Founders Fund, CAZ Investments, Valhalla Ventures, and Liquid 2 Ventures.

There's a shift in mindset regarding the firearm industry, particularly in enhancing safety and reliability. Investors are following the trend, recognizing the potential in defense technology's success stories and innovative approaches.

Financial Model Template

Use our FREE Financial Model Template to estimate your revenue, expenses, and how much money our startup needs to raise. Available to download in Excel and Google Sheets. Being on top of your Financial Model can make a difference!

How Legal decisions might affect founders

🏛️ The legal structure you choose for your startup makes a HUGE difference in how your business might operate. Check out our guide for startups: LLC vs INC. SUBSCRIBE and don’t miss our videos!