According to the internet it’s thousands of startup accelerators programs & incubators out there, looking for the most talented startups to accelerate.
What started with Y-combinator back in 2005, was followed by Techstars, 500 startups and a couple of thousand other organizations which now all are competing for the same talent, according to Angel Garcia, director of Startupbootcamp IoT, Data & Cybersecurity in Barcelona.
It’s turning into a very crowded space, it’s much harder to find good startups for every round we do.
Online I’ve seen lists of thousands of so-called accelerators. Many of them provide mentors, a table to work at and other perks, but they don’t run sustainable businesses.
The business model
Just like venture capital investors, both accelerators and incubators are betting on a large volume of projects, and hope one out ten get’s a big exit.
That’s why it’s hard to say exactly what accelerators that are successful and which that are failing, says itnig president Bernat Farrero and points to the business model:
In practice, we’ve had virtually no time to see any of this models succeed just yet, even the few biggest ones have kept growing their expectations and none has yet consolidated and shown a real business success case.
Unlike most accelerators that are funded by VC’s, Startupbootcamp is funded by corporations that all get access to the products the different startups are creating, according to Garcia.
We’re different from most of the accelerators out there. It’s not only our business model, but 82 percent of our startups that have gone through our program is still going, and that’s a high number.
Evolving into venture builders?
Both Farrero and Hunt used to run accelerator programs, but later chose to leave the space to dedicate a deeper focus on fewer projects.
President Farrero explains that itnig didn’t find it sustainable to have a large number of startups go through a fixed program:
If we look at all of the accelerators today, both the ones we call successful, and all the others, I’ve never heard of anyone being profitable.
Startup studios or venture builders has been gaining more and more tractions lately, with studios like eFounders, Betaworks, Idealab & itnig pumping out new companies annually the last years.
Also Patricio Hunt, managing partner at Intelectium has been transitioning over to an approach of building talented teams, instead of accelerating already existing startups.
We have, as Farrero, evolved into more of a venture builder the last years. We study the markets, talk with corporations and possible future customers, and create products we know are needed.
Farrero says their approach has changed drastically the last years, they now focus on finding makers:
Instead of using valuable time on accelerating tons of projects, we are using that time to study the markets and current trends, as well as attracting the best talent to come work for us.
Even though Startupbootcamp is working with a different business model, also Garcia stresses the importance of knowing your markets.
As we work in industries where everything is changing very fast, we need to understand the markets better than most people do.
The amount of accelerators getting started is not decreasing, but as the amount of programs increases, the less credibility the accelerator gets.
All the three directors agree that the few accelerators with an established brand will survive, and so will the ones that have implemented sustainable business models, but the rest will have to pivot or innovate into something new, something startups actually need.
To get the full interview, go to the video in top of the article.
The perception that Disney is only a producer of children’s content is long gone. The company has managed to multiply by 10 its market capitalization in 10 years and I believe it will do it again in the next 10 years based on 3 factors: content, the entry in new businesses and spillover effects on current businesses.
Disney has been making movies for almost a hundred years. They have been movies for all the family but targeted to kids, which are the ultimate decision-makers when going to the movies. This is an example of the classical content they were producing up until the last 10 years.
Despite having a powerful content library, Disney has amassed the most impressive collection of content in the world via acquisitions:
21st Century Fox: 71B
Lucasfilm (2012): 4B
Marvel (2009): 4B
Pixar (2006): 7B
Hulu (2009): ??. They acquired 30% and an additional 30% with the acquisition of Fox
With the recent acquisition of Fox, there are only big four other movie studios left in the market: Sony, Warner Bros, Universal, and Paramount.
Just to give perspective. This is the list of the top 3 grossing movies for the last 3 years. Spoiler, they are all from Disney:
2017: Star Wars The Last Jedi (rubbish if you ask me), Guardians of the Galaxy 2 (not great) and Beauty and the Beast.
2018: Black Panther, Avengers: Infinity War and Incredibles 2.
2019: Avengers: Endgame, Captain Marvel and Aladdin (Still not counting with Toy Story 4, Spiderman, The Lion King, Frozen 2 and Star Wars: The rise of Skywalker)
Having content as an asset in the movie industry is relevant because of the fact that over 90% of every year’s Top Box Office Hits are not original. Notice that the 9 hits mentioned above are not original content, including Captain Marvel which is a character well known despite debuting in theaters. Moviegoers are risk-averse and showing characters the public is familiar with is synonymous of success in a market where the production of a movie can cost hundreds of millions of dollars.
Another essential part of the content are the actors. They give credibility to a movie and top talent can’t wait to appear on a superhero movie. Just look at the roster of Avengers Endgame with cameos from the likes of Robert Redford, Rene Russo, Michelle Pfeiffer, Michael Douglas, Natalie Portman, William Hurt, Samuel L Jackson or Ken Jeong, the Asian character on The Hangover. All of this without accounting for the main characters. Where else can you see this?
One of the acquisitions mentioned is Hulu, a streaming platform in the US which also allows watching live content. I believe this is the future. Cable TV operators are doomed. The number of subscriber to Cable TV in the US has declined over the past years.
It’s clear the consumers are opting in to streaming on-demand platforms such as Netflix, HBO, Hulu, and Amazon Prime. That’s why Disney is launching Disney +.
This is a global trend. People across the world may not own a TV, but they have smartphones and internet connection. Netflix has launched a 3$ monthly cell-only subscription in India. Check this relentless growth of subscribers by Netflix.
Take a look at the last Shareholders report by Netflix, a public company that is burning billions every year -3,5B$ in 2019- and is expected to invest 15B$ in 2019 alone in new content. In my humble opinion, Netflix has by far the best streaming platform and the content is remarkably good, just look at the masterpiece Stranger Things season 3.
Netflix will be the main competitor of Disney, who will claw back its content from other platforms over the next years, reducing the earnings of licensing rights, but attracting customers to their platform. I believe there will be a time where platforms won’t share much content, but eventually, this will rise opportunities for multiplatform viewing apps and some years from now, platforms will reshare content once they settled a loyal customer base. Users will be subscribed to multiple platforms and they would still like to watch what’s best in every one of them. It’s not a winner take it all market.
My final bet is that there’s another big piece of content that is currently slipping away from streaming platforms, live sports. This is the last resort of traditional TV and cable TV operators who have been able to tell customers when and where to watch TV. This is no more, TV is dead.
Let’s get some perspective here. Disney is a corporation that currently (2019) has annual revenues of around 70B$ and a net income of around 13B$ (15–20%). Where do they make money from? This is a comparison YoY between the fiscal years ended on September 30th. of 2018 vs 2017. All areas grow except for merchandising. Figures in B$.
The main source of income is Media Network, which comes from ESPN, Disney Channel, ABC… Here’s the evolution of this revenue stream fro the last decade.
With the acquisition of Fox, this chart is going to experience a huge vertical shift.
PARKS AND RESORTS
Parks and resorts are the second biggest revenue stream of the Mickey Mouse company.
This is a chart with the number (in millions) of yearly by visitors by each park. Around 150 million people go to a venue managed by Disney somewhere on the planet. This can only be achieved by a great hospitality experience and the best content:
This is the revenue that comes from the distribution of movies and music.
The chart below displays the Box Office market share evolution. Disney has managed to multiply by 2,5 in ten years, and now with the inclusion of Fox, the market share could get just shy of 50%, which is ridiculous. This is a major spillover effect from the massive content acquisition.
DIRECT TO CONSUMER
This is where the new platform Disney + will come into play. Disney + is a SVOD (Subscription Video on Demand) as far as we know. Other alternatives are AVOD (Advertising Video on Demand) where the users access for free but get adds (Youtube) and TVOD (Transactional Video on Demand) which is what Google is doing among others.
So far they have had Hulu in this category, but with the introduction of Disney +, this will become of the main revenue streams for Disney. Eventually, the main one if you ask me. My guess is that in one year, Disney + can produce revenues of about 20B$ and grow from there. This is what Netflix is doing right now.
The advantage of Disney + is that they already have the content and they would only need to produce specific content for the platform such as The Mandalorian or the Marvel spinoff series with Black Widow and more. That would imply big operating profits since most content has already been amortized. The downside, however, will be the loss of the licensing revenue they get from streaming onto other platforms included in the Studio section. I’m betting this will be a money-printing machine.
Disney is a company that has endured through decades and over the last years has taken on a path of content acquisition and generation that pays off very well. This is why I am “hodling” on its stock.