Robinhood Snacks - 📲 Twitter's CEO gets ultimatum'd

and Panera does unlimited coffee
March 3rd

A hedge fund trying to understand Jack Dorsey

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Hey Snackers,

Alphabet's latest moonshot project: a fish recognition system. Like Shazam, but for fish.

Stocks bounced back from their worst week since '08 with their best day since '09 — and the volatility continues.


Twitter's CEO Jack Dorsey gets "ultimatum'd" by a hedge fund — might lose CEO-ship

Not getting vipassana meditation vibes...Elliott Management. The huge hedge fund has bought up over $1B worth of Twitter stock and is putting that power right to work — first by reportedly nominating 4 new directors to Twitter's board. But Elliott also reportedly wants to remove/replace Twitter's CEO/co-founder Jack Dorsey. They think Twitter's better off with a new CEO because...

  • He's (too) quirky: Silicon Valley founders are known for their visionary-ish eccentricity. Dorsey takes it to another level: 10-day silent vipassana meditations in Myanmar, a planned 6-month trip to Africa this year, eating 1 meal a day, walking 5 miles to work each day. Objectively cool, but investors are concerned.
  • He's got a (huge) 2nd hustle... Dorsey's also the CEO/co-founder of Square, the digital payments company valued at $35B (more than Twitter's $27B). This double CEO-ship of 2 big public companies is unusual. Elliott wants a CEO for Twitter focused on Twitter.

Annnd, Jack might have a favorite child... Dorsey owns $531M worth of Twitter stock, but a re-tweetable $4.9B of Square stock. Twitter's stock is barely higher now than it was in 2013 when it IPO'd — meanwhile, Square is thriving.


The multi-tasking eccentric CEO thing only flies in certain scenarios... Here are the 2:

  1. If the company is thriving or its stock is up (like with Musk's Tesla), investors may tolerate extracurriculars. But Twitter's earnings growth and share price have lagged.
  2. When a founder is given super-voting stock (like Facebook's Zuck) his/her power is protected against investor pressure. Jack Dorsey has neither — and could get sacked from the company he founded.


Panera wants to be the Netflix of coffee — launches $9/month caffeine subscription

The limit does not exist... Panera is launching an $8.99/month coffee subscription for members of its (creatively-named) rewards program, MyPanera — which reportedly has 38M members. Starting Thursday, you'll be able to endlessly fill your cup with hot (or iced) Panera coffee and tea. Panera's CEO said it's the 1st brand to do it, but Burger King launched a similar $5/month subscription last year. Here's the idea:

  • $1,100: Americans' average yearly coffee spend, according to Acorns (probably double for nitro cold brew fiends) — Panera's subscription costs $108/year.
  • $2.20: The price of a Panera coffee — if you have 5 or more per month, the subscription saves you $$$.

Too good to be brew?... Exactly what Panera wants you to think. It's betting that you'll be a better customer if you're a subscriber:

  • Frequency: Subscribers' monthly visits increased from 4 to over 10 in markets where the program was tested, according to Panera's CEO. Plus, 90% of subscribers renewed their subscriptions.
  • New Business: Almost 25% of subscribers were new members to the loyalty program.
  • Food Sales: Panera thinks you'll stop in for the unlimited coffee, then probably grab a bagel, croissant, or huge kale salad on your way out.

A powerful combo of loyalty + cross-selling... Owning habits means owning wallets. Panera is offering an attractively priced subscription to lure you (and your coffee ritual) into its ecosystem. The more coffee you have, the more money you'll feel like you're saving with that subscription — and the rewards-driven cycle repeats. Once there, you'll probably get more than a drink (aka extra sales for Panera that wouldn't have happened otherwise).


Bird wants to be more than just your scooter — it wants to be your wallet (kind of)

Early bird gets the QR code... Electric scooter company Bird is trying its wing at payments with a new service called Bird Pay. How Bird envisions it: you open the app to unlock a scooter, whizz down the street to a sandwich shop, then pay for your hoagie via a QR code in the app. The angle for customers:

  • Novelty: Pretty much none. Apple, Google, Venmo, Samsung and even Uber offer mobile payment products (with wider offerings).
  • Convenience: Some (maybe). Saves you a couple seconds if you already have the Bird app open — plus, it's only being offered at certain stores.

Getting locals on the Bird wave... Bird — last valued at $2.5B — is live in 100 cities. Now it's looking to partner with local businesses in scooter-heavy areas through its new payment feature. The B2B sales pitch:

  • According to Bird, 58% of all Bird rides start or end at a local business, so...
  • Businesses can increase sales by getting promoted in the Bird app (riders scooting nearby see a $3 hazelnut cold brew around the corner)
  • In sum: "Birds outside bring business inside," according to CEO Travis VanderZanden (not a Marvel villain)

Bird has a community problem... And Bird Pay is an elaborate attempt to fix that. Bird is extending an olive branch to business owners, who've been frustrated with metal scooters littering storefronts. It's offering to put businesses "on the map" and connect them with "thousands of potential customers" nearby. If Bird is able to get local business on its side, it'll be better equipped to fend off resistance and regulation from local governments.

What else we're Snackin'
  • Waymo Cash: Alphabet's self-driving car division, Waymo, raises $2.25B in its first external round of funding
  • Change: Kids clothing startup Rockets of Awesome lays off around half its employees — it's pivoting from focusing on growth to chasing profitability
  • Snatched: Gilead buys immuno-oncology company Forty Seven for $4.9B to boost its cancer drug pipeline
  • Level Up: Online gaming company Roblox is valued at $4B after raising a fresh $150M in funding
  • Rad: Psychedelic drug startup Mind Medicine raises $24M ahead of its mind-altering IPO next week
The Snacks Daily Podcast

Bird is a scooter company... that’s trying to become a fintech company helping you buy sandwiches.

On our 15-minute Snacks Daily pod, we're looking at how Bird Pay's motives aren't actually your money.


Disclosure: Authors of this Snacks own shares of Twitter


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