Tech: Spring’s fall from grace

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*Through tears*: It's September. Mourning the loss of summer, I'm your host, Jordan Parker Erb.

Today, my colleagues have an illuminating look at merchandise startup Spring, which has struggled to rebrand itself as a creator economy company. With layoffs and an increasingly frustrated customer base plaguing the startup, Spring is in crisis — and insiders say the outlook is bleak.

I dig into this, and more, below.


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Spring logo

1. Spring is facing a crisis. Once hyped as an IPO-bound juggernaut, the merchandise startup is struggling to rebrand as a creator economy company — and layoffs, payment and shipping delays, and an increasingly frustrated customer base are beleaguering the company.

  • Formerly known as Teespring, Spring is a print-on-demand merch company best known for making T-shirts and hoodies.
  • Last year, however, the CEO announced Spring would shift its focus towards digital products. The restructuring would center on creators, integrations with Instagram and YouTube, and NFT features, rather than physical products.
  • Conversations with 10 creators who've used the service and 16 former staffers reveal an array of recent struggles, including late payouts to creators, a decline in the quality of the products, and a slew of empty promises regarding new features and customer support.

Inside the "gloomy outlook" at Spring.


In other news:

A woman reading a book on the beach
2. Founders and CEOs share the books that have shaped how they think and lead. From self-help books to a detailed account of the financial crisis, founders and execs from top startups shared the books that transformed how they run their businesses. Check out their recommendations. 

3. After four years, Snap is shuttering Yellow, its startup accelerator program. The move comes as part of a series of company-wide cutbacks, including layoffs affecting about 20% of its workforce. Get the full rundown here.

4. MicroStrategy founder Michael Saylor is being sued by the District of Columbia's attorney-general. The tech billionaire is accused of evading more than $25 million in income taxes. Here's the latest on the tax fraud allegations.

5. How much do unicorns pay their employees? By scouring data, Insider has figured out how much hot startups like Revolut, Celonis, and Sorare pay their employees. At some, base salaries are as high as $472,000 — see more unicorn salaries here.

6. Jeff Bezos' son warned him not to mess up the "The Lord of the Rings" prequel. At the show's premiere, Bezos shared with the audience his 22-year-old son's request: "please don't eff this up."

7. We've listed the 25 fastest-growing direct-to-consumer brands. From designer cannabis storage to shoes and alcohol-free cocktails, startups focused on personal wellbeing and food dominated the list. Check out the full list of booming DTC brands.

8. Crypto.com accidentally sent a woman $10.5 million instead of $100. The cryptocurrency firm failed to spot the erroneous payment for seven months — by which point the woman had already purchased a $1.35 million house. How the massive mix-up happened.


Odds and ends:

An RV rented through Imoova.

9. You can book an RV road trip for as cheap as $1 per day. Some RV manufacturers and rental companies offer one-way rentals for pennies on the dollar through relocation deals, which let travelers transport a van from one place to another. Here's how it works.

10. Review: Earbuds that match your skintone. An Insider reporter tested out JLab's Go Air Tones, earbuds that come in seven different shades — and at $20, deliver shockingly good value. Read the full review.


What we're watching today:

  • NASA is scheduled to test a new all-electric aircraft this month (at the earliest).
  • Porsche chief Oliver Blume is replacing Herbert Diess as the CEO of Volkswagen.

Keep updated with the latest tech news throughout your day by checking out The Refresh from Insider, a dynamic audio news brief from the Insider newsroom. Listen here.


Curated by Jordan Parker Erb in New York. (Feedback or tips? Email jerb@insider.com or tweet @jordanparkererb.) Edited by Hallam Bullock (tweet @hallam_bullock) in London.

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