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Venture funding breaks a record in Q1...
April 08, 2021 View Online | Sign Up

Daily Brew


Good morning. It's a beautiful day to finally open your windows and close them within three minutes because there's construction outside.


+1.6 bps

*Stock data as of market close, cryptocurrency data as of 6:00pm ET. Here's what these numbers mean.

  • Markets: Another day, another all-time high for the S&P. Our stock to watch this morning is Snap, which has gained more than 20% in a week as investors applaud its push into e-commerce.
  • Covid: CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said that the more contagious coronavirus variant originally found in the UK, known as B117, is now the most common strain in the US. She also said hospitals are seeing more patients in their 30s and 40s with severe disease.


Who Is Going to Pay for the Infrastructure Plan?

Infrastructure meme

Neal Freyman

We called Mexico—no dice. Instead, the Biden administration revealed a plan yesterday that would hike taxes on corporations in order to pay for its $2.3 trillion proposal to revamp the nation's roads, transit, ports, and more. The details:

  • The corporate tax rate would increase to 28% from its current 21%.
  • Profitable companies earning $2 billion or more would face a 15% minimum tax on the income they report to investors, a rule targeting serial tax avoiders.
  • The tax rate on companies' foreign earnings would double, from 10.5% to 21%.

This isn't a prix fixe menu. In a speech, Biden said he was open to compromise on how to pay for the plan, but insisted he would "not be open to doing nothing" on infrastructure.

The case for a tax hike: Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen portrayed it as a net positive for corporations: You pay more in taxes→we give you more support, such as quality transportation networks and high-speed broadband, to help your business grow. 

  • She said that the government's investments in infrastructure will add 1.6% to US GDP by 2024. 

Not everyone loves hiking 

Sen. Joe Manchin, a moderate Democrat who wields a lot of power in the Senate, said he doesn't support raising the corporate tax rate above 25%. 

Plus, a who's who of business trade groups object to the increase.

  • US Chamber of Commerce: The proposal is "dangerously misguided."
  • National Association of Manufacturers: Higher taxes will "turn back the clock to the archaic tax policies that gave other countries an advantage over America."
  • Business Roundtable: The plan would create "new barriers to job creation and economic growth."

Some execs do support the plan. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos endorsed Biden's infrastructure proposal and a corporate tax hike on Tuesday, saying, "This investment will require concessions from all sides." 

Zoom out: While all this is going on in the US, momentum is building for a global minimum corporate tax rate, which would eliminate companies' HQ-hopping to the most attractive tax location. Finance ministers said they could elbow bump on a plan as early as July. 



Uber's Plan: Throw Money at the Problem

Car with Uber logo stuffed full of cash

Francis Scialabba

We may never get back to the Uber Pool days (which is more than OK), but Uber execs are bracing for a ridership surge in the coming months and need more folks at the wheel. The company is spending $250 million to recruit and retain drivers: bonuses, guaranteed pay, onboarding, anything you want babe, Uber just wants you back.

  • Lyft has also acknowledged that rider demand is outstripping driver supply, and re-engaging drivers has been as difficult as "turning the Titanic," said one of Lyft's executives.

In Q1 2021, the number of drivers logging onto the Uber app each day was down ~40% over last year, per Apptopia. That's meant riders around the country have experienced significantly longer wait times and surge pricing. 

Big picture: Both companies are trying to move past 2020 like it's a bad yearbook photo. Uber focused most of its energy beefing up food delivery service and Lyft focused on being the second app you open when Uber seems too expensive, but neither could make up for vanishing airport drop-offs: They lost a combined $8.5 billion last year.

Bottom line: Uber's and Lyft's pushes to hire more drivers come as other industries like restaurants, airlines, and manufacturing struggle to attract workers they let go at the beginning of the pandemic.



Twitch's Moderators Are Zooming Out

PARIS, FRANCE - OCTOBER 29: The video game streaming and VOD service log...

Chesnot/Getty Images

Twitch wants to know what its streamers are up to when they're not playing Warzone at 4am. The Amazon-owned streaming platform will be investigating reports of its users committing "serious offenses that pose a substantial safety risk to the community"—both on other online platforms, like Discord or Twitter, and IRL. 

The impetus for change: From July–December of last year, Twitch received 7.4 million reports of on-platform actions that violated its rules, and Twitch COO Sara Clemens told Wired that off-platform indiscretions are "a threat vector" that increases on-platform violations. 

  • Twitch isn't the first platform to break down the walls of its content garden. YouTube has demonetized users who misbehaved elsewhere, and Patreon has kicked one off. But Twitch is the first to formally publicize its stance.

Bottom line: Twitch wants to be known as a "service," not a "platform," because anyone who's tried to walk barefoot off the beach and directly into Nobu knows a "service" can turn away customers at the door.



Opportunity Here


Upon verifying with the United States Postal Service, we can confirm that the abbreviation for Ohio is "OH." And upon conferring amongst ourselves, we have evidence to believe "OH" stands for "Opportunity Here."

You see, we're not conspiracy theorists. We STATE the facts. Hey-o!

For starters, Ohio is oh so great at keeping peeps employed—their unemployment rate of 5.0% continues to perform better than the US rate of 6.2% in February.

In fact, the state boasts a 5.6 million-strong workforce with approximately 32K STEM graduates in 2019 alone—so yeah, they get talent. (And you will too, wink wink.)

Looking to buy an abode? Four Ohio cities rank in the 10 Best Cities for Millennial Homebuyers: Cincinnati (#10), Columbus (#8), Akron (#7), and Dayton (#4).

Oh readers, Ohio has opportunity written all over it. 

Click here for your opportunity to learn more.


Key Performance Indicators

Joe Rogan podcast Spotify

Francis Scialabba

Stat: 26% of podcasts in the Apple Podcasts app have produced just one episode, according to digital audio agency Amplifi Media. We all kinda knew this was true, but...wow. 

Quote: "It's a nuclear reactor that has set off a chain reaction and is out of control. It's a biological Fukushima."

Brazil's Covid-19 crisis is devastating its healthcare system, Miguel Nicolelis, a Brazilian doctor and Duke University professor, told Reuters. Brazil reported more than 4,000 Covid deaths for the first time on Tuesday, and will soon likely surpass the US' peak daily death toll from January. 

Read: "Evidence is mounting that a tiny subatomic particle is being influenced by forms of matter and energy that are not yet known to science but which may nevertheless affect the nature and evolution of the universe." (New York Times)



The Funds Will Never End

Crunchbase Venture Capital chart


It's Venture Time! According to a new report from Crunchbase, global venture funding hit a new record in the first quarter of 2021: $125 billion. That's a 50% increase from the prior quarter and a 94% jump over Q1 2020. 

Lots of Lady Rainicorns rode that investment boom: Approximately two startups joined the Crunchbase Private Unicorn Board per working day in Q1. (A "unicorn" is a private startup that's valued at $1 billion or more.)

Diving in deeper...

  • 68% of funding went to "late-stage" companies, or startups that had already secured earlier rounds of investment. 
  • The sectors that pulled in the most investment include health care, finance, transportation, and retail, while those with the biggest increases over last year were admin, lending, and sales and marketing. 

Another area to keep an eye on? Crypto

Blockchain startups raised more money last quarter than in all of 2020, per CB Insights. Some notable fundraisers in the space include crypto lending service BlockFi, digital wallet provider Blockchain.com, and Dapper Labs, which runs the NFT platforms NBA Top Shot and CryptoKitties.



  • JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon, in his annual shareholder letter, predicted economic boom times for America extending into 2023.
  • Nike and Beats by Dre have suspended their endorsement agreements with Houston Texans QB Deshaun Watson following nearly two dozen allegations of sexual misconduct.
  • Plaid, the fintech firm whose $5.3 billion acquisition by Visa fell through, just raised $425 million at a $13.4 billion valuation.
  • Twitter was in talks to acquire Clubhouse for $4 billion, but those conversations have stopped, per Bloomberg.
  • The Masters starts today in Augusta, GA. Bullish on Spieth. 


Introducing: Spring Securing. Instead of cleaning, use this season of rebirth to protect the heck out of your home. SimpliSafe can be set up in under 30 minutes and secure you 24/7 from intruders, fire, water damage, and more. Spring to this link.*

Want to tackle a new workout regimen...but need a boost? Sakara's Metabolism Super Powder can help—its ingredients enhance energy, control cravings, and lower body fat. Get 20% off with code APRILBREW.*

Fun with TV shows:  A Twitter thread full of the best TikToks inspired by The Sopranos. Then, check out this, uh, music video if you're a Breaking Bad fan (language warning).

Get iced: No Smirnoffs popping out of your computer screen today. Just a cool website that lets you explore a cryoconite hole found inside an Antarctic glacier at 20x magnification. 

Simple gadget, big difference: Get yourself a phone stand.

*This is sponsored advertising content


Brew's Bookshelf


Francis Scialabba

Every other week, Brew's Bookshelf brings you our favorite business-related reads. Today, we're going behind the scenes of America's second-largest private employer.

  1. Amazon's operating principles are no secret, but Working Backwards by former execs Colin Bryar and Bill Carr offers an insider's view of how a culture grounded in customer obsession and innovation built its blockbuster products.
  2. But reshaping e-commerce has had darker implications for some communities. Fulfillment by journalist Alec MacGillis explores the human costs that have accompanied Amazon's sprawling footprint. 


Three Headlines and a Lie

Godzilla and King Kong actually worked together to figure out which one of these headlines from the week's news was fake and which three were real. They failed...maybe you'll have better luck spotting the headline we made up.

  1. "Michigan brewery celebrates National Beer Day with White Boy Summer IPA"
  2. "Australia: Geologist beaten up by 'angriest octopus' on beach"
  3. "A man found 15,000 bees in his car after grocery shopping"
  4. "Washington man pleads guilty to $244 million ghost-cattle scam"


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We made up the White Boy Summer IPA.


Written by Jamie Wilde, Matty Merritt, and Neal Freyman

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