#10B – A review of the past decade in tech, the 2010s, and its impact on the world we live in

We split this episode into two parts: in this, the second and final part (10B), we discuss the significant shifts in business models and the funding landscape that happened in the 2010s. We deep-dive into these business models, e.g. freemium, advertising/free at the point of consumption, subscription, and we give you the no-BS view on the fundraising landscape, what REALLY changed and what (mostly) stayed the same.

Please also listen to the first part of this episode (10A), in which we discussed the macro-trends of the 2010 decade and the underlying technological tectonic shifts, including analyses of the OS, platform and product & application spaces

Navigation:

  • Introduction (01:24)
  • Section 1 – A brave new world … of business models (01:56)
  • Section 2 – The switch in funding landscape (27:59)
  • Section 3 – The end … of the world, as we know it?! (37:38)
Our co-hosts:
  • Bertrand Schmitt, Tech Entrepreneur, co-founder and Chairman at App Annie, @bschmitt
  • Nuno Goncalves Pedro, Investor, co-Founder and Managing Partner of Strive Capital, @ngpedro
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Full transcription: may contain unintentionally confusing, inaccurate and/or amusing transcription errors

Intro (01:24)

Bertrand: Welcome back in this , the second part of Episode 10, Episode 10B, we’re still focus on the 2010s, that incredible decade that we spent some time discussing in Episode 10A and now, we are going to be focus on the dramatic changes in business model that happened, as well as the switch in funding landscape. For further reference, listen to the first part of this Episode, Episode 10A. Let’s start today with dramatic changes in business models.  

Section 1 – A brave new world … of business models

Nuno: So software is eating the world, Marc Andreessen famously wrote, I believe in 2011 and the world was going to be basically not only fully digitized as software was going to entrench itself and disrupt every single industry. Part of that promise, I believe, was realized in the last decade where we have the advent of a lot of things that we discussed in episode 10A, but also I believe that the whole thesis around software is eating the world is not the full story.

In some ways, the world got totally digitized, but the physical world didn’t catch up. And one of the stupid examples I always give is in a world where, for example, we are going to have self driving cars, well, the cabin of a car needs to change because you don’t need to drive anymore. So what is it going to become?

Is it going to become an office, a living room, a bedroom? Is it going to be a flexible space or not. So Mark’s comment I think is well taken. The comment that digitalization is going to overrule many industries. There is not any other moment, but the current moment in which we’re in the midst of COVID, that would make that point.

But I do think it missed part of the story. Part of the story is that the physical world will have to change as well. And it’s very interesting that Marc just published a manifesto of sorts on how the world needs to change going forward. And he talks a lot about core infrastructure in that manifesto, which is, by the way, an exceptionally well written piece of text.

But as I said, I think software wasn’t the only part of the story. There is also a hardware and physical part of the story.

Bertrand: Yes, totally. It’s as you say, pretty interesting that he started the decade with this very famous article and is starting a new decade with a new article. I think he was definitely right on the first one. Software is indeed eating the world, but as you say, the physical world was not following up. The good news is that these days the physical world is digitalizing as fast as they can, learns to use some tools that us been using for a while. It’s definitely a tale of two worlds, but these are going to merge. 

So, in term of change of business model, let’s go to first the B2C side and we’ll talk later on about B2B. 

I think the first biggest phenomenon has been the rise of apps. Long time ago, there was a lot of discussion about why do we even need apps, there was a lot of discussion of native apps, web apps, et cetera. Now it’s very clear that it was huge. Interestingly enough, initially Steve Jobs didn’t want native apps.

He was fine with web apps, changed his mind dramatically after a few months, launched what was the biggest revolution, thanks to the app store, which was not just a new technology, but truly a new business model. A new way to discover, distribute and monetize content at a scale, never seen before. And that has been since copied by every other platform. From, Android to Windows to of course, MacOS and other platforms. And, interestingly enough, they started first with music. The concept was started with iTunes, then it was followed by Amazon with their Kindle platform. But finally it started to go really big with the app store. Just to give you some numbers, of course, we know that we have millions of apps, more than a dozen million apps across different app stores.

But in term of downloads, we got more than 200 billion downloads in 2019 alone, 200 billion downloads. We have seen in term of consumer spend directly through the app stores, so excluding e-commerce, excluding advertising, more than 120 billion U.S. dollar of consumer spend in 2019 alone. Per day, the average user of a smartphone is spending 3.7 hours, more than three hours and 45 minutes every day on their smartphone. So, it’s really been a huge revolution coming from zero to the biggest new way  to distribute applications. And, that’s probably been the biggest change in the history of B2C in term of rise of a new business model. 

Nuno: I think in hindsight it’s always obvious that, basically this was going to be a success anyway, but this is a time for you and I Bertrand to gloat because we were people that bet on this. You with App Annie, I with Strive Capital, we bet that mobile apps was going to be its own thing. And it was going to be its own economy.

It was going to be a content form that was just different from anything else. And so this is a time where we say we were right guys. You all told us that we were wrong. We were right. It wasn’t HTML 5, it wasn’t some other thing. This is its own thing. And back to your point on the economy side.

We’ve had a lot of innovations that really in some ways I believe were facilitated and certainly gained momentum through mobile apps and starting with the first one, freemium. Obviously the most monetized area of apps are games and games. In some ways, innovated in how you propose to your end user and potentially customer to get paid for. 

They innovated by saying, we’ll give you something free that gives you utility that you can play with. But if you want to extend the range of things you do, if you want to extend utility of what you do with it, you need to pay. And that innovation is dramatic. And as we’ll discuss later, also pretty apparent in what happened in the B2B space.

Bertrand: Yes and it’s an  actually started in Asia, specially in Korea  in gaming, copied pretty quickly in China, initially in PC gaming and ultimately came to the West with mobile. So, invented in Asia, in a PC gaming situation, transposed in the West, in mobile situation. Freemium was a huge, huge enabler for gaming for sure, but also for a lot of other type of products that benefited from such a business model. And we’ll talk more also on the B2B side, where it had a real big impact. 

Nuno: And then my favorite pet peeve around business models. Since probably 2004 2005 I’ve been saying free isn’t really free. Free at the points of consumption comes with some costs. And in many cases that cost was supported by advertising based business models. A lot of the services we had were paid for by the ability for the provider of that product or service or application to serve me ads.

For a long time we were very happy with that because free is great. Free, I don’t pay. As we will later on discuss, the issue was that the free was done at some cost to me because my information was being manipulated, used for things that maybe I didn’t know it was being used for. And then I was served back with advertising.

Now, I’m not saying advertising based business models are all wrong. I don’t think that advertising based business models have been negative. Actually, quite the contrary. They have supported a lot of services that we use that are significant to us. Who could imagine not using Google search if we didn’t have advertising based business models?

But clearly that was a trade off that was all but misunderstood by most users. People never understood the trade off. People were like, free is great. I’m not willing to pay anyway. But they didn’t understand that there was something being done with their information and that manipulation. The advent of advertising based business models is a very interesting counterpunch to now the advent of subscriptions, which were really looked down on for significant part, even of the early decade of 2010s. 

Subscriptions is like the old business model. Nobody wants to pay for that. That’s the old model of feature phones where you have so called value added services. And you pay for things that you don’t know you’re paying for, or you have subscriptions that your telco charges you that you don’t know why you have them. But somehow subscriptions did make their way back in the late 2010s, and today they are wildly adopted business model and one that we’ve seen across every single area, like entertainment, gaming, et cetera. So subscriptions have taken over in some way for the fact that we do like free, but we much prefer to control our information and actually have great service.

Bertrand: Yes, I think in some ways, what was especially new in that decade, it’s probably that advertising based business models went too far. Too far in sharing your data, too far in leveraging your data, too far in giving you way too much advertising, that at some point, people just couldn’t stand it anymore. 

I mean, some sites you couldn’t even look at them without blinking because you have so much advertising all over the place. TV in the U.S., it’s 40 minutes of content, 20 minutes of ads. We have reached numbers that were just insane, did not make sense. As you say, subscription became the savior, because suddenly you can have a proper reading experience, suddenly you can enjoy your show, and you don’t need to be inundated by ads all the time.

So, ads are there to stay they’re not disappearing. But I think what we are seeing is a better balance because multiple business models are now available to everyone from freemium model, to advertising model, to subscription model, to e-commerce supported type of business model. So, I think we can find and build a better balance that was not available at the beginning of the 2010s. 

And maybe the last big evolution, one last business model, the on-demand and gig economy.

And that one has been huge. We have had on-demand for everything. So, it’s not just gig economy. We had on-demand office space, for instance. But on-demand has been, mostly connected to the gig economy. I want to have my food right away, I want to have my groceries delivered, I want to have my car coming to pick me up. So, dramatic, dramatic change. Most of it made possible through the smartphone because suddenly you can expect both sides the supply of the service, the client of the service to have access to a phone and to be able to coordinate together very, very precisely.

And you could build very complex systems around that to connect supply and demand. That has been amazing transformation and it happened, very interestingly, very fast all over the world. 

Nuno: And I would add the sharing piece to it. So there’s the gig economy, the on demand piece, as you said, I want it right now. And there’s the sharing piece of sharing assets and sharing your time towards a bunch of different activities. And I agree with you probably one of the most, if not the most revolutionary innovation of the decade in terms of business model where you really leverage underused resources, be it people, assets, and other forms, and you really make them available in a much more instantaneous way. 

Obviously we won’t discuss here. We’ve discussed in a previous episode some of the lateral effects of that, in terms of  are people employees or not, should they be protected as employees or not? That’s beyond the scope of this episode. 

But as an innovation of business model, as an innovation of how to scale something really, really fast, that was very, very profound. A world in which we talk about, for example, an Instacart bringing 300,000 new collaborators to the table to supply the needs of COVID grocery shopping and delivery, over weeks is only possible with this innovation. And it’s a very deep innovation, an innovation that is at the core, not just also business model, but also in terms of operating models. Something that, I think we’ve just seen the beginning of. This is just the beginning of this business model.

Bertrand: Yes, and actually, I believe they added 200K more the past few weeks. So, we are talking about half a million people added by Instacart in maybe two months. I think that’s showing the limits of the old system. You cannot have everything that is carefully designed for an employee base system. You want flexibility. Only such a system let you have the flexibility to grow that fast without taking insane business risk, while at the same time, serving the needs of the customers. I mean, if they are doing it, it’s because people need it. And if people  agree to provide service to Instacart, for instance, it’s because they find it’s a good deal for them to spend their time this way.

So yeah, it’s amazing, there is definitely more to talk about on this topic. But as you say, on-demand, gig economy, sharing economy, it has been a huge invention of this past decade, and maybe one of the inventions that is more clearly connected to the physical world, where tech is very closely intertwined with the physical world and probably more that it has ever been. Raising new questions, as you say, around regulation, that were not typical of the questions you had in tech in the past.

Nuno: And switching gears to the business to business innovations and business model of the last decade. 

Let’s start with one of our favorites, which is software as a service and the explosion of SaaS. It’s come under different names. I remember the times of ASPs in the nineties, of application service providers, then of WASPs, so wireless application service providers in the late nineties early two thousands.

And finally the term software as a service somehow made it mainstream. And that’s where we are today. And let’s be clear about this. This is a shift that is dramatic for a variety of reasons. We already discussed cloud versus on premise and having your own data centers and data infrastructure. It’s also about the fact that many of the previous deployments of software in the enterprise were not only done through applications, but they also went bundled with boxes, with machines, with desktops and servers that were pretty costly. And this just allows for a provisioning of a service where you can be ready to go pretty immediately, where you can connect online, where you can change your usage through time, as you have more or less collaborators, as you have more or less engagement in using the service. So a total disruption at a very core business model level.

Bertrand: Yes, and SaaS has started long time ago. One of the first companies that was probably considered a SaaS business was NetSuite, founded in ‘ 98, if I’m not mistaken. Then we had Salesforce founded in ’99. But what really happened is that the 2008 crisis really accelerated this industry. What was considered a small industry,  something that you might use if you want something cheap, not something as good as the rest. That was how SaaS was seen by a lot of players or analysists. It’s what you take if you are a cheap company basically. Suddenly in 2008, everyone was a cheap company no one wanted to spend money you didn’t need to spend on products you didn’t need, on products that were a terrible nightmare to use. Try to use any Oracle software for the fun and you will see what I’m talking about. 

And what we have seen has been amazing. Let me give you some numbers. Total market cap of all cloud based companies combined in 2008: 14, one four, 14 billion U.S. dollars – very small. In 2020 $600 billion of total market cap for the top five cloud-only companies. 44 X in this decade. 44 X. If I’m just looking at the top five market cap.  I’m just talking about the pure cloud companies. I’m not talking about some others that are not pure cloud companies.

Nuno:  And with that shift in business model, we had another even more significant shift in my point of view, which is a lot of these offerings to the enterprise. A lot of these software as a service offerings. All of a sudden had to be deployed in a different manner, not just in terms of distribution, but also in terms of marketing and acquisition.

And this leads us to a specific significant trend of the decade, which is the consumerization of enterprise. Customer acquisition at the top of the funnel became, in many cases, incredibly similar to acquisition of users in the consumer space. Like you would acquire a user to join Facebook. Where you would potentially pay to acquire a user in all sorts of channels through Google ads, Facebook ads, et cetera. That user would come onto your platform, would start using you, and then that user would bring that service into his own organization. We saw that even with things like Expensify for expenses and a couple of other services in that space.

A dramatic shift. A very, very dramatic shift. And with that consumerization, we started seeing a lot of the trends that we’ve seen on the consumer space and B2C where the objective of software as a service companies no longer just to sell licenses and get people to use their system, but they also have an objective to retain those users and engage those users as you would in a consumer service where you want to make sure that whoever’s using your system within the customer organization uses it very, very, very frequently to make sure that, that software as a service that you’re providing is very valuable to the organization. 

So incredible shifts on the consumerization piece, which again, we’re still only at the beginning of that have also happened because of mobile. A lot of this got manifested themselves through mobile apps.

Bertrand: Yes, I think SaaS is incredible because it’s at the center of so many trends. Subscription, premium, consumer, consumerization, mobile, cloud. It’s just amazing how SaaS evolved over all these years, was able to ride on all these waves. And I think as you said, what helped to truly make the difference is that, for the first time, in the history of IT, you had providers who were aligned with the needs of the users. Who are not just focused on checking boxes in order to please a global IT, but who are truly trying to solve business problems, user problems, in a right way, because of their subscription model where if users are not happy they just stop. It’s not as if they put a lot of money, a lot of sunk costs that nobody dare to throw away.

Certainly, you could easily stop your service if you don’t like it. And because of that consumer type of approach, these companies were able to really focus on the consumer first and only go up step by step, but start with the consumers. So, it has been a very exciting alignment of interest between the customer of IT service, employees , and the software providers.

Nuno: And we saw the advent of the movement of bringing your own device. Where can we create somehow a sandbox in which your own device operates within the realm of the systems of the enterprise, and it’s still considered a safe device to be operating there. I’d say consumerize enterprise also meant that we had bring your own service, where you started bringing your own services into the organization at a certain point in time, either the organization adopted it or had to fundamentally forbid it. 

And guess what? Normally they had to adopt it because the user always wins. So all of these have been fundamental shifts in how enterprise software has manifested, and how companies today operate and how they operate their IT. 

I am, however glad I would say this Bertrand, I started my career in developing systems, B2B, as an engineer, then as an engineering manager, and then as a product manager. I’m still very glad that I had a chance to start my career when we actually had to do installs of systems and do custom systems and get paid for it and have to sell the boxes that go with it , maybe a sad state of affairs. Three of the first systems that I developed are still being used today. But I am very glad that I had the opportunity to start there. And that software as a service came more than a decade later, to take over that world.

Bertrand: And you talk about bring your own device, actually now these days we are bringing our own office I guess.

Working from home. so it’s fully full circle now there is even the question. Would you trust your work device to be connected in your home network? [laughs] That’s what we’re talking about these days. So it really went completely full circle, I mean, upside down. It’s really amazing. Another big trend in B2B has been the rise of open-source as a business model. Obviously, Linux and other products have been very, very successful in the 90s,  the 2000s, on the backend side. But what we have seen is that it was not monetizing that much, at least  not directly. But the 2010s have seen the rise of the financing and the monetization of open-source.

Some of the biggest exits in history, have been open-source companies. Red Hat acquired by IBM, for instance, and so many others who went IPO. So, open-source, free business model, at least free in part. It has been an amazing rise and it’s fair to say that, most of the biggest internet companies these days are dramatically powered by open-source technologies. You could argue it’s mostly old school companies that still have a lot of proprietary software coming from IBM, Microsoft and others all over their system. Most of the top internet companies are using a majority of their stack being built through open-source products. So it’s pretty amazing to have seen this 

Nuno: It was a revolution in and of itself in the way that it could scale, that you could scale extremely complex systems very, very fast because you had distributed teams, a lot of contributions, a lot of contributors to it. I would say the 2010s the thing that really crystallized the advent of open source that made it so successful, that made some of these acquisitions that you talked about such high in value, were the fact that finally companies that are operating in the open source space started figuring out, what’s the trade off of making money? Which parts do you leave open source? Where do you make the money?

Do you create a services avenue in which you make your money? Do you create an avenue where you have a product that’s stands on top of that stack of open source where you create value, an additional value or verticalize and productize further and make money out of that? So for me, the big, big innovation are the 2010s on the open source field was not open source just per se, but it was the fact that we started having effectively a two system play on business model in terms of making money that finally started making quite significant amounts of revenue for these companies when they figure it out, what were the trade offs between open source and where do we make money.

Bertrand: I think you’re totally right. The issue was the monetization of open-source and you could argue, open-source is part of that new freemium approach to businesses, to selling IT services, IT products. 

The same way that freemium took over in B2C or moved very strongly as a new business model, freemium also moved very strongly in the B2B space. One side through open-source, some other side to create virality. I provide you a non open-source SaaS product, for instance, that starts with a free tier and step by step, I propose you use some more expensive tier. I propose you a team tier, I propose you an enterprise tier. And we have seen these done all over the place. From a Dropbox for instance, to a Box, to a Slack, to a Zoom. Basically you cannot have virality without freemium. You need the fire to spread as fast as you can and nothing beats free to spread the fire.

Nuno: Nothing beats free and the ability to then add on to it, to create incremental revenue on top of that free, to have the right pricing model that really illustrates what do you get over and above the base free offering. That also forces teams to really understand where am I creating utility value in my product or service.

And I think that is a revolution in and of itself as well. It’s not just that I’m offering something for free and then I add value on top of it and I charge for it, but it’s what would I add value on that would be valuable enough for me to charge on? How would people perceive my pricing, would API calls be something that people could perceive pricing on? Would it be something totally different? 

That level of innovation that then was brought to pricing and making pricing, in my opinion, a lot more scientific in the last decade than ever before. Is something that does generate necessarily from this notion that there is a base service that’s free and that you need to create value on top of it.

Section 2 – The switch in funding landscape

But maybe switching to our last topic for today, which is the funding landscape. We’ve already talked quite a bit about this and how the different stages of funding have been more and more granularly refined through time. And I believe it’s true that in the 2010s decade, it was the most significant shift we’ve seen in stages of funding in the startup landscape. 

And let’s start maybe with a couple of the evident ones and then move to the later stage ones.

The advent of crowdfunding, crowdfunding for equity, crowdfunding for products in particular for hardware and physical tech, where it became much easier for a startup to get off the ground by seeding their investment in creating devices, physical entities. Creating, in some cases, even services or content, starting from people that were willing to give them money and get something in return as early customers.

We then had angels, which have been around for awhile, more certainly than the last decade, but that became definitely mainstream in the last decade. I was looking at numbers recently where over the last crisis, 2007 to 2009. The only category in 2010 that went above previous year’s 2007 and 2008 and 2009, was the angel investment category. Early stage VCs decreased dramatically in 2010 and late stage VCs also decreased dramatically in 2010, and this is both deal count and average capital deployed. So angels in some ways, did come to the rescue in the last crisis, certainly to seed very early stage deals.

And finally in the early stage part of the discussion, I would finish with the advent of micro venture capital, there was a space, venture capital firms were taking less and less risk. There were really focusing on series A and series B investing. They were cherry picking from a lot of the friends and family rounds and angel rounds. And a few exceptional, exceptional entrepreneurs become angels, become venture capitalists with small checks created the micro venture category, as I mentioned before,  probably Jeff Clavier now at Uncork, back then at Soft Tech, coined the term, people like Mike Maples and others were some of the yearly players in this space coming from super angel into the micro VC space, they created a new type of venture capital firm that did smaller checks that created effectively “the seed stage” stage of investing.

Bertrand: Yes definitely it is amazing to see level of specialization that happened in venture capital, and as you say it started on the smaller side on the funds trying  to get smaller,  to start more early. And, I was looking at Indiegogo Kickstarter for instance, this is really this decade, 2008. You could argue they are certainly not the most successful so far, the crowd funding side. But angels, micro VCs that, that’s big and successful and created some very interesting returns.

On one side it got smaller, on the other side it got bigger. What we have seen is, bigger round size. What was once unimaginable raising 100, 200, 500, a billion, a billion plus, before IPO became the new standard, shockingly enough. We saw the rise of some of the mega growth funds, DST and others, but step by step we saw something new, something even bigger, which was SoftBank .

Nuno: Yes and Softbank, there’s a lot to talk about SoftBank. They were definitely a disruptor in the space. Very, very large checks earlier on in the life of the company. I would almost say that we’re writing quasi pre-IPO cheks of billion dollars plus. It seems like 300 400 million were the smallest checks they could write.

Maybe there were a few hundred million, 150 million. But there were billion dollar plus rounds at companies that were at the very best mid stage companies that were doing their series C, series D. So companies that still had quite a lot of time ahead of them to get to the situation of being in an IPO situation.

And that changed, in my opinion, muddied the market very significantly. It created a dynamic in which at a certain point in time was almost a negative signal   and then the implosion of that. I don’t know if appropriately or not appropriately, I don’t wish anything bad. I think the play that Softbank tried was a valid play, which is there are going to be very few winners by category and we’re going to back the hell out of them and we’re just going to win on capital intensity by itself.

That unfortunately didn’t pan out and it didn’t pan out at the end of the decade in 2019 . I wouldn’t call it implosion, but certainly a lot of the complexity and the situation at SoftBank and its portfolio companies are now facing happened even in the era of pre-COVID. And it is a telling sign that the bigger and bigger ends at the end of the decade.

And we, even before getting into COVID, already had a discussion  around this Bertrand and I saying, clearly there’s going to be a reduction in deal sizes next year for sure in 2020. It’s unavoidable because SoftBank is sort of withdrawn and now we’re going to see a lot more rationality into growth stage, with some of the great players that are in there precisely like DST, Coatue, and a few others really being able to be much more rational in how they invest, what sort of amounts to invest at, and with valuations necessarily coming down.

Bertrand: Yes, when you think about it, it’s quite amazing to see, how wrong SoftBank Vision Fund has been on so many pieces of the puzzle. As you said on one side, they went very early, they came at a series C type of stage, and put half a billion dollar on the table. When the company is clearly not able to take that. Mistakes will be made. Big mistakes will be made. It made absolutely no sense. 

On the other side, they invested the more of anyone not into tech but into some stuff that has a tech flavor, but is not trully a tech company. I mean take Wework this is not a tech company. I mean, this one it is not even a tech flavor. There is no tech in it. It’s real estate play, and sure, why not? There might be a model, maybe not a model in a COVID world but [laughs] there might have been a model before.

But that was such a big mistake to invest expecting tech returns, when you are not even investing in tech companies in the first place. And that has been for me another huge mistake and maybe the last mistake was probably that weird belief that you could use capital as a moat. If you start to seeing capital as your only moat, not your technology, not network effect , then guess what? Others can come with the capital, not only SoftBank. Everyone started to raise more and bigger funds and yes, for a year SoftBank was the only game in town with that level of capital. But very quickly they were not anymore. And everybody could put money and suddenly there is no moat anymore.

So many mistakes, it’s very sad. Obviously Masa Son is a visionary on many levels, but this one he got it wrong. And not just that, they created a lot of pain on their path, pain at every level, employees getting fired because the companies don’t work out, funders who got completely diluted, to insane levels, pushed out of their companies. 

Previous VCs who lost some money. I mean, the lucky ones sold their shares to SoftBank Vision Fund. But yes, strangely enough, they managed to implode right before COVID and definitely they are going to get buried by COVID. 

Nuno: And this was one of our previous episodes. We did talk about the bubble in Silicon Valley, and we’re not saying SoftBank was the sole creator of this bubble, but this notion that I will use capital as a moat, that I’ll keep injecting capital and the company will be too big to fail, literally, so it will have to succeed drove valuations, and it drove valuations to levels that they should not be at. That made it impossible for several of these companies to become public. And the ones that did go public ended up getting incredible haircuts on valuation. So this is a bubble that we think is now popping, has popped mostly already through last year.

We, as I said, mentioned it in a previous episode, and I personally as an investor, welcome that because it will align valuations to core performance of companies. It will lower valuation throughout the entire cycle of fundraising to levels that make sense, where companies are not being valued 10 years out on some science fiction scenarios, but they’re being valued on what they could reasonably attain within three, four years max achieving certain unit economics of their business.

For me, this is welcome. Again, I don’t wish bad to anyone, but it’s welcomed that we have this bubble of finally popping.

Section 3 – The end … of the world, as we know it?!

Bertrand: Yes. And to end episode 10, obviously the question is, when did the 2010s, really finished? I guess even as of today, it’s pretty obvious . The impact of COVID-19 in the world, is probably when everyone will look back and think, okay, that’s when the 2010s ended. On a very hopeful note, I’m very excited. I feel that basically, we created a brand new world in the 2010s, brand new devices, smartphones, tablets, new operating systems, iOS, Android, Chrome. We created new pieces of the stack, the cloud industry, AI, deep learning. It’s just completely amazing to see what has been built and not just that, it has been the business model innovation from SaaS to freemium to subscription. All of these that are running at full speed at full scale.

And I feel, in some ways, as some have said before, it’s the end of the beginning.  And now we can start to truly have fun with all the building blocks we need, be they technology or business models. We have all the pieces to create brand new stuff that can scale at a pace never seen before, and that can have economic impact at a scale never seen before. And as you said, now we have also the financing we need at the smaller scale as well as at the bigger scale.

Nuno: We started the last decade on the heels of a financial crisis like some of us had never seen before, and we are starting this decade, 2020s, on the heels of the largest crisis we probably have ever seen in our history and certainly measurable history, and for the same reasons that you just enunciated Bertrand, I am also very, very hopeful. I think this crisis will generate innovations that we can’t even imagine today. So looking forward to the next decade.

Bertrand: Yes. Looking forward to it. Thank you Nuno.

Nuno: Thank you, Bertrand.