Get on the fast track        


Aug 26, 2020    Burn Book



So, we just read a long article… that compiled 354 post-mortem letter excerpts from the startups that have recently died, and needless to say we are now depressed.

Truth be told, we already know most of the reasons startups fail. We see it too often with our clients’ competitors. But seeing this list in real time, with names no one has ever heard of (we love underdogs) as well as well-known names like Facebook (who shut down their attempt at a TikTok rival) was a little too much. And with a lot of them tracing back to Covid-19, albeit compounded with those familiar reasons we know, there was little to be done.

And so, right now, knowing we can’t help any brands except our own clients, we’re desperate for some good news. So we go to that same ever-fueled startup world and see who has gotten recent funding to lift our spirits.

Like parts 1-14, we’re not sponsored, we’re just stalking…

Sad-stalking, to be more precise. This time we’re looking at Zoomo, formerly Bolt Bikes, an e-bike startup that just got injected with $11 million in fresh capital, from their Series A round (their funding leader being Australian Clean Energy Finance Corporation).

In what started as an option for gig economy workers (a perfect blend of B2C and B2B if we ever saw one), Zoomo has expanded into direct B2C with everyday consumers as well as into B2B with corporations (we’re thinking for places like the Google campus or city-center corporations where it makes sense to offer their employees a cool new transportation option). It also seems more well-managed and less annoying than the Bird scooters all over San Francisco and other American cities.

Startup Sweetspot, Even in 2020

Historically speaking, silver linings are a real thing. The Depression era saw a spike in movie-making and cinema-going, as people were desperate to find escapism with what little money they had. The 2008 crisis brought forth finance and fintech companies we know well today like Groupon, Square, and Venmo. And 2020 (pick whichever crisis tickles your fancy) isn’t a nightmarish time in ALL aspects. It makes sense the things we’re seeing do well economically: alcohol sales, anxiety and stress-relieving products and services (think CBD tinctures and Better Help), and outdoor activities. To be honest, all of those things were already a heavy piece of my personal branding, including unchecked stress for the state of the world, so I kind of feel right at home… *lights eucalyptus candle thinking that will help my state of mind.*

Anyways, Zoomo has somehow helped us coin “2020 Disaster Sweetspot” as they’ve perfectly fallen into the industries most wanted this year. As people face unemployment and reduced hours, many are taking up gigs like DoorDash and Uber Eats and needing alternative transportation. As people become accustomed to social distancing rules, outdoor activities like hikes and beach-going have spiked, and bike/e-bike rentals are still attracting business. Even in my own central CA town, the only non-bar still popping off near the beach is an e-bike rental shop (named Boltabout, funny enough… we see why Zoomo rebranded). And with their plan to expand into mail, parcel, and grocery delivery, Zoomo’s outlook continues to look good to us.

Lastly, we won’t lie, seeing that success is crucial to us surviving too. We’ve always celebrated our clients’ wins with them, in whatever rebranding, renaming, or retargeting strategy it is, as well as suffered their losses alongside the founders. The current world is really pushing us to find those silver linings, and this one startup lifts our spirits even as we muddle through what seems to be an innovation ghost town.

So, we won’t stop stalking new startups if you promise not to stop stalking us. 2020 is going to have to do better than that to kill our spirits, right?

Peace out, we’re off to stress-shop, joy ride, and figure out how to smoke anti-anxiety.

Let Your Curiosity Take Control