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Five on Friday: Pet Food, Purchases and Pulling the Plug

Featuring HelloFresh, DoorDash, Curlbox, Twitter and X

This week, the subscription world is abuzz with growth and changes. HelloFresh is approaching a new pet food venture, and their business is going to the dogs, and DoorDash has hit records with their latest quarter. What’s causing the growth? Curlbox is closing its doors, X/Twitter Blue is giving subscribers a new option when it comes to their subscription and KKR will buy Simon & Schuster for $1.62 billion.

HelloFresh launches offering for pet food

HelloFresh is going to the dogs — they are launching an offering for animals. They have curated “The Pets Table,” allowing not only humans to eat delicious meals, but their pets as well.

“For 12 years, HelloFresh has been on a mission to change the way people eat forever. With the addition of The Pets Table, the company is aiming to change the way everyone eats forever. We’re thrilled to introduce The Pets Table and bring a healthy, convenient solution for pet parents. By leveraging HelloFresh’s world-class direct-to-consumer proficiencies, the company is uniquely positioned to disrupt the market with a high-quality, yet affordable alternative to the pet food category,” Laurent Guilleman of The Pets Table shared.

The shift to pet food may seem odd for some, but it makes sense when one looks at the position pets are in not only at home, but in the potential for subscriptions. It’s currently estimated that, by 2025, the online pet food market share will increase by nearly 20%. This is an opportunity for HelloFresh to diversify revenue and get in on the “next big thing.”

In addition, when surveyed, only 19% of grocery shoppers have switched their options when it comes to pet food when they need to cut costs. Shoppers are more likely to switch grocers, or downgrade on other items like personal care products or snacks, PYMNTS shared.

With HelloFresh’s offering coming to the market, the meal kit company is providing pets with human-grade fresh and air-dried recipes. Food was developed in part with veterinarians, and are customized for each dog, Progressive Grocer reported. Each family will get four different plan options: fresh, air-dried, mixed and half of fresh options. All plans will be offered at a competitive price, but pricing has not yet been disclosed.

Display showing The Pets Table box along with food, ingredients and treats
Source: HelloFresh

DoorDash hits record for orders

DoorDash is getting their just desserts with their latest financial report. DoorDash is showing they’re here to stay, even with consumers tightening their wallets when it comes to the recent economic climate.

Recent reports show that DoorDash’s revenue is up 33% from where it was this time last year. Over the last year, they have always beaten revenue estimates. While analysts expected $2.06 billion, DoorDash delivered revenue of $2.13 billion last quarter.

“People are ordering from restaurants, people are ordering groceries, so we have all the options for food on the platform. That’s driving the strength; [a] combination of the category being resilient, as well as the underlying platform continuing to become better from a product perspective,” Ravi Inukonda said of the growth.

Not only is revenue growing, but the number of orders on the platform is as well. They hit a record of 532 million orders in their most recent quarter, a 25% increase over last year. Those orders are also becoming more valuable, with marketplace gross order value being up 26%, LinkedIn News shared.

Due to the increase in revenue, DoorDash raised their full-year forecast, AP shared. The delivery company now expects gross order values over $64 billion for the year, up from $63 billion that was previously forecast. They also expect that their pretax earnings will be between $750 million and $1.05 billion.

It wasn’t only food delivery that fueled growth, but their grocery delivery as well. The company reported accelerated growth in non-restaurant categories, especially in grocery. They currently have more non-restaurant options on their platform than any other delivery service, Supermarket News reported.

Red DoorDash recycleable bag on table in modern living room-dining room.
Source: DoorDash

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Curlbox shuts down after 11 years

After 11 years in business, Curlbox has closed. Subscribers were shocked when they visited the website to find they could no longer access to their favorite subscription.

“Farewells have never been easy, and this one is tough. Our journey has spanned over 11 years, with 127 subscription boxes and countless non-subscription boxes, but it’s time to close our doors. What started as an idea to make textured haircare more fun and accessible without breaking the bank turned into a business that employed numerous people of color and raised awareness for many brands,” the website now reads, with a message from their founder, Myleik Teele.

The box was incredibly popular, once having a waitlist of 153,000 people waiting for a collaboration with Ulta. Curlbox started as a gateway to allow Black women to explore products that would fit their curl pattern and hair texture that may not be accessible outside of a regular beauty supplier. All products inside the box were a mystery, creating anticipation each month for subscribers.

While the company is not closing entirely, Teele is shifting the company in a way that best fits her aspirations, Black Enterprise said. Since the haircare space has expanded in recent years, there doesn’t feel like a wider need for a niche subscription now.

Teele still owns the company, and states she has achieved all she can as an independent company. After the pandemic, she recognized that the brand could be better off under a larger corporation. She did not deny the potential of selling the company, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution shared. To end their business with a bang, Curlbox had non-subscription boxes for sale in their shop, as well as a warehouse sale. The website remains open for customer service inquiries, and Teele invites customers to follow her on Instagram to stay connected.

Home page of Curlbox home page
Source: Curlbox

Twitter Blue subscribers can now hide blue checkmarks

In an interesting turn of events, Twitter Blue – now X Blue – subscribers have the option to hide their blue checkmarks. It is not clear why this is now an option, other than enough Twitter Blue users complained they were getting harassed for paying for Twitter.

However, the option is not flawless. The new option may not be available to all users. Users that want to hide their checkmarks also get a warning that reads, “As a subscriber, you can choose to hide your checkmark on your account. The checkmark will be hidden on your profile and posts. The checkmark may still appear in some places and some features could still reveal you have an active subscription.”

Some features may not be available when user checkmarks are hidden. However, there is no clarification on which features may be inaccessible, NBC News shared. Users can turn their blue checkmark on and off in their Profile customization settings. This setting was first discovered in March by Alessandro Paluzzi.

Other X Blue benefits include the ability to edit a post within a one-hour window, a reduction in ads, “prioritized rankings” of a user’s posts in both conversations and search, the ability of up to 25,000 characters in a post, as well as videos up to three hours long. Subscribers will also get a cut of advertising revenue, based on ads displayed in replies to their posts, Variety shared.

In addition to the option to display their checkmark, Twitter will share how long a user has been verified on their profile, according to The Verge. For accounts that were verified before the Blue subscription system, their original verification date will be displayed. What will X come up with next?

Twitter profile next to a smartphone with the new X logo displayed
Source: Bigstock Photo

KKR to buy Simon & Schuster for $1.62 billion in cash

Private equity firm KKR will buy Simon & Schuster from Paramount Global for $1.62 billion in an all-cash deal, reports the Associated Press. The deal must meet all customary closing conditions and pass all required regulatory hurdles. If all those conditions are met, KKR will take Simon & Schuster private. The deal comes months after the sale to Penguin Random was rejected by a federal judge. Paramount Global will use proceeds from the sale to pay down debt.

Jonathan Karp, Simon & Schuster’s CEO, will continue to run the company. In a statement earlier this week, Karp said the company is delighted at the purchase.

“We will remain an independent company and not only will we continue to thrive, but with the help of KKR, we can become even greater,” Karp said.

Richard Sarnoff, chair of media at KKR, said they will continue to protect Simon & Schuster’s editorial independence and not micromanage their day-to-day operations. He also said they are not planning on any layoffs. Instead, they want to invest in the company. At some point, KKR is likely to sell the publisher, but Sarnoff said there is no set timeline for that. The company’s typical timeline for such a sale is five to seven years.

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Source: Simon & Schuster

Copyright © 2023 Authority Media Network, LLC. All rights reserved. Reproduction without permission is prohibited.

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