8 September 2017 Courier Weekly

Cash pouring into property startups

PLUS: Street art — Juicero founder — Clean eating — Cannabis cosmetics

Investors stoking property disruption.

Online estate agent Yopa and digital mortgage broker Habito raised £45m between them last week (Yopa £27.6m and Habito £18.5m).

Emoov, another online estate agent which also uses freelance agents to market its properties, raised £9m earlier in August. For smaller players in the sector, like Settled and Tepilo, this flurry of funding is unlikely to be good news.

Online estate agents only have a 5% share of the market currently, but that’s predicted to rise to up to 50% by 2025. It’s no surprise then that Yopa’s backers include the owners of Zoopla, while its biggest rival Purple Bricks, which floated on the stock market in 2015, was valued at £763m in March.

Another mortgage brokering startup, Trussle, landed a further £4.5m in investment in February this year, taking its cash pile to £5.5m.

The prospect of a major upheaval in how houses are bought and sold has been looming for some time. With plenty of investment now ploughed in, the sector may start to change quickly.

An artist is offering his work in exchange for data.

Street artist Ben Eine, famous for elaborate lettering painted on buildings around London and commissions for brands like Virgin Atlantic, ran a rather peculiar advertisement this week.

Eine was hawking merchandise with his work. Instead of asking for cash (his prints can sell for up to £1,400) he wanted customers to pay with ‘data dollars’ which include Whatsapp conversations, personal photos and emails.

The personal data was displayed on screens around Old Street station.

The stunt is part of an effort by Russian cybersecurity company Kaspersky to attach tangible value to people’s personal data.

Customers reacted ‘with amusement’ before handing over their data.

Bad form from failed Juicero founder.

Last Friday, Juicero announced it was closing down the company.

The company raised around £90m over four years for its £300-plus ‘wifi-enabled’ juicer, which was hyped as a potentially huge product. However, it was soon discovered that the brand’s juice packs could simply be squeezed by hand. It was also parodied on the TV show, Silicon Valley.

While staff packed up their desks, Juicero’s founder Doug Evans announced on Twitter earlier this week that he was partying it up at Burning Man, a festival in the Nevada desert.

This article gives an amusing take on why tech CEOs love the hedonistic arts and music festival. It also names and shames those that have attended while their companies have been collapsing.

Debunking clean eating.

Continuing on the healthy juice theme, this excellent Guardian longread offers a considered but brilliantly brutal analysis on the ‘clean eating’ phenomenon.

In Courier’s experience, juice startup founders are all too keen to tell personal stories about how clean eating helped transform a long-suffered health problem. Opening up, writes Bee Wilson, is a key strategy of those endorsing the business of ‘clean eating’.

Californian cannabis boom continues. 

Beauty startups are the latest wanting their share of the growing US marijuana market. An increasing number are using CBD, a non-psychoactive substance derived from cannabis, in skincare products.

Using marijuana in products poses problems for expansion; the drug has only been legalised in a handful of states – but many more are set legalise recreational sales by 2020. If every US state legalised recreational use, it’s estimated the industry could be worth in excess of £25bn.