Benedict Evans

Venture Partner

Benedict joined Mosaic when returning to London after six years working at a16z in San Francisco.

Benedict has spent 20 years analysing mobile, media and technology, and worked in equity research, strategy, consulting and venture capital. He is now an independent analyst.

Benedict Evans

Venture Partner

Benedict joined Mosaic when returning to London after six years working at a16z in San Francisco.

Benedict has spent 20 years analysing mobile, media and technology, and worked in equity research, strategy, consulting and venture capital. He is now an independent analyst.

Benedict Evans

Venture Partner
Mosaic Companies
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Pre-Mosaic Companies
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Benedict joined Mosaic when returning to London after six years working at a16z in San Francisco.

Benedict has spent 20 years analysing mobile, media and technology, and worked in equity research, strategy, consulting and venture capital. He is now an independent analyst.

Recent

Boxes, trucks and bikes

Boxes, trucks and bikes

The traditional way to think about ecommerce penetration is to look at share of total retail sales, and then deduct things like car repair, gasoline and restaurants - to get to ‘addressable retail’.

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Apple, Fedex and the cookie apocalypse

Apple, Fedex and the cookie apocalypse

We’re now a couple of weeks into Apple’s latest iOS privacy move. If you want to track users between apps and the web, or from an ad through the app store to an install, then you need to ask permission, and Apple has deliberately framed the question such that almost no-one will say yes.

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Can Apple change ads?

Can Apple change ads?

Once upon a time, Apple was the iPod company. iPods were a much bigger business than the Mac, and they also made Apple a dominant force in the music industry.

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Does Amazon know what it sells?

Does Amazon know what it sells?

Of Amazon’s top 50 best-sellers in “Children's Vaccination & Immunisation”, close to 20 are by anti-vaccine polemicists, and 5 are novels about fictional pandemics. This poses two questions

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The challenge of cross-border arbitrage: How to scale exchange and commerce platforms across Europe

The challenge of cross-border arbitrage: How to scale exchange and commerce platforms across Europe

Exchange and commerce platforms – and the tooling that comes with them – are having a moment. Hundreds of new marketplaces are being launched each month, leveraging new technology to supercharge supply and demand across sectors and geographies.

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Resetting the App Store

Resetting the App Store

Apple launched the App Store in 2008, and tightened up the payment rules in 2011, and we’ve been arguing about it ever since. In many ways the issues haven’t really changed - it’s just that the numbers got a lot bigger.

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Step changes in ecommerce

Step changes in ecommerce

The recent lockdowns led to a forced adoption and forced experiment, and a lot of future growth was pulled forward into a couple of quarters. The UK had a much more rigorous lockdown than the USA, and it had a much larger increase in e-commerce adoption.

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Is content moderation a dead end?

Is content moderation a dead end?

In the late 1990s, Microsoft was the evil empire, and a big part of ‘evil’ was that it was too closed - it made things too hard for developers. But then came the great malware explosion

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Amazon's private labels

Amazon's private labels

Amazon is a big and very aggressive company, that’s radically changing how retailing works, and that attracts a lot of scrutiny and a lot of criticism. Some of this is entirely justified. However, there’s one strand of criticism that fascinates me because it attacks Amazon for something that’s been part of retail for 150 years - the private label business.

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Crypto with Morgan Beller, #futureofmoney

Crypto with Morgan Beller, #futureofmoney

#Cryptocurrencies are crossing the chasm. Meaningful adoption from companies like @PayPal, @ChristiesInc and @MorganStanley mean there’s now no going back.

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Outgrowing software

Outgrowing software

When software eats the world, the questions that matter stop being software questions.

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Do Amazon ads bring in more cash than AWS?

Do Amazon ads bring in more cash than AWS?

There’s an old and common narrative around Amazon that it doesn’t make money, it sells below cost, it’s subsidised by investors and in particular it’s subsidised by AWS. People tend to repeat these to each other as though they’re unquestionable true, but they’re either debatable or objectively false.

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Retail, rent and things that don't scale

Retail, rent and things that don't scale

I generally think about retail as sitting on a spectrum from logistics to experience. At the logistics end, you know exactly what you want and retail’s job is to provide the most efficient way to get it. At the experience end, you don’t know, and retail’s job is to help you, with ideas, suggestion, curation and service.

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Shopify

Shopify

Shopify’s 2020 results came out today, and much as expected, it reported that consumers spent a total of $120bn on its platform, almost exactly double the figure from 2019.

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Paying for news

Paying for news

Newspaper revenue really started to collapse well over a decade ago, and we've been discussing what to do about it for almost as long.

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The Great Unbundling

The Great Unbundling

COVID, China, regulation.. tech is becoming a regulated industry, but what does that actually mean? How will tech look like when entering its second 50 years?

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Online speech and publishing

Online speech and publishing

Facebook has close to 2bn users, posting over 100bn things each day. The global SMS system, at its peak, had 20-25bn messages a day.

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Europe, Unicorns and Global Tech Diffusion - The End of the American Internet

Europe, Unicorns and Global Tech Diffusion - The End of the American Internet

Anyone will do anything online, and a whole wave of companies is being created to take advantage of that, even, yes, in Europe.

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Platforms, bundling and kill zones

Platforms, bundling and kill zones

In the 1980s, if you installed a word processor or spreadsheet program on your PC, they wouldn’t come with word counts, footnotes or charts. You couldn’t put a comment in a cell. You couldn’t even print in landscape. Those were all separate products from separate companies that you’d have to go out and buy for $50 or $100 each.

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E-commerce growth during lockdown

E-commerce growth during lockdown

Lockdowns triggered a huge spike in online sales of every kind, will this stabilise - once things calm down, where will the new level be set? Our Venture Partner Ben Evans looks into it.

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What is your market?

What is your market?

One of the basic building blocks of any competition case is market definition

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Ecommerce discovery

Ecommerce discovery

I’ve spent a lot of time in the last few years looking at ecommerce and discovery - how do people decide what to buy online, when a shop can’t show it to them? It seems to me that pretty much every part of that question is being reset this year

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Amazon's profits, AWS and advertising

Amazon's profits, AWS and advertising

People argue about Amazon a lot, and one of the most common and long-running arguments is about profits. The sales keep going up, and it takes a larger and larger share of US retail every year (7-8% in 2019), but it never seems to make any money. What’s going on?

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What tech regulation can teach us

What tech regulation can teach us

It took 75 years for seatbelts to become compulsory, but tech has gone from interesting to crucial only in the last five to ten years. That speed means we have to form opinions about things we didn’t grow up with and don’t always understand quite so well as, say, supermarkets.

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The ecommerce surge

The ecommerce surge

Both the UK and (today) the USA have given official statistics on how ecommerce and retail have changed during lockdown. The headline numbers are pretty dramatic. The UK went from 20% ecommerce penetration to over 30% in two months, and the USA from 17% to 22%.

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Trust in a time of anti-trust: lessons from big tech

Trust in a time of anti-trust: lessons from big tech

We all, I think, understand that the iPhone was a generational change in computing, but that change came in two parts. The multitouch interface is obvious, but the change in the software model was just as important. Apple changed how software development worked, and by doing so expanded the number of people who could comfortably, safely use a computer from a few hundred million to a few billion.

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What if we broke up big tech?

What if we broke up big tech?

We’re clearly going to be arguing about the size, power and market share of large technology companies a great deal in the next couple of years

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Tech and the new normal

Tech and the new normal

We've heard a lot about "the new normal" but what does that mean for tech?

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What comes after Zoom?

What comes after Zoom?

We had video calls in science fiction, and we had video conferencing in the 1990s, just as the web was taking off..

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Advertising

Advertising

There are two ways you can talk about newspapers. You can talk about the ‘fourth estate’, and newspapers’ role in culture, politics, governance, the exchange of ideas and civil society. But you can also talk about newspapers as a specialised light manufacturing industry, that aggregated attention to sell advertising.

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Online events

Online events

Online events remind me a lot of ecommerce in about 1996. The software is raw and rough around the edges, and often doesn’t work very well, though that can get fixed. But more importantly, no-one quite knows what they should be building.

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Pop culture

Pop culture

‘It does exactly what it says on the tin’ is a great catch phrase, and it’s also a great way to describe a whole class of product and a whole class of startup.

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Predicting tech

Predicting tech

A lot of really important technologies started out looking like expensive, impractical toys.

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The VR winter

The VR winter

We tried VR in the 1980s, and it didn’t work. The idea may have been great, but the technology of the day was nowhere close to delivering it, and almost everyone forgot about it. Then, in 2012, we realised that this might work now.

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COVID and cascading collapses

COVID and cascading collapses

You might call this the Wile E Coyote effect - you’ve run off the cliff, or the cliff has disappeared from under you, but there’s a brief moment while your legs windmill in the air before gravity kicks in. It can take a while for the inevitable to happen, but then, as Lenin pointed out, you get a decade of inevitable in a week.

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COVID and forced experiments

COVID and forced experiments

In 2017, 40% of new relationships in the USA began in a smartphone app. By 2019 that was probably closer to 50%.

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How to lose a monopoly

How to lose a monopoly

When Steve Wozniak created the original Apple I in 1975, IBM dominated the computing industry. It was nicknamed ‘Big Blue’, it was so far ahead of its competitors that people talked about ‘IBM and the seven dwarves’, and it had just come through yet another anti-trust case.

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