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North’s first-generation Focals smart glassesn

To date, North hasn’t revealed any sales figures for its initial Focals device, but the company did reduce the price of the glasses form $999 to just under $600 (without prescription) relatively soon after launch. Their cost, combined with the requirement for an in-person fitting prior to purchase (until the introduction of the Showroom app) and certain gaps in the product feature set, like an inability to support iMessage on iOS natively, all point to initial sales being relatively low volume, however.n

To North’s credit, Focals are the first smart glasses hardware that manage to have a relatively inconspicuous look. Despite somewhat thicker than average arms on either side where the battery, projection and computing components are housed, Focals resemble thick acrylic plastic frames of the kind popularized by Warby Parker and other standard glasses makers.n

With version 2.0, it sounds like Focals will be making even more progress in developing a design that hews closely to standard glasses. One of the issues also cited by some users with the first-generation product was a relatively fuzzy image produced by the built-in projector, which required specific calibration to remain in focus, and it sounds like they’re addressing that, too.n

The Focals successor will still have an uphill battle when it comes to achieving mass appeal, however. It’s unlikely that cost will be significantly reduced, though any progress it can make on that front will definitely help. And it still either requires non-glasses wearers to opt for regularly donning specs, or for standard glasses wearers to be within the acceptable prescription range supported by the hardware, and to be willing to spend a bit more for connected glasses features.n

The company says the reason it’s ending Focals 1.0 production is to focus on the 2.0 rollout, but it’s not a great sign that there will be a pause in between the two generations in terms of availability. Through its two iterations as a company, Thalmic Labs and now North have not had the best track record in terms of developing hardware that has been a success with potential customers — Focals 2.0, whenever they do arrive, will have a lot to prove in terms of iterating enough to drive significant demand.n”,”protected”:false},”excerpt”:”rendered”:”

Smart glasses maker North announced today that it will be ending production of its first-generation Focals glasses, which it brought to market for consumers last year. The company says it will instead shift its focus to Focals 2.0, a next-generation version of the product, which it says will ship starting in 2020. Focals are North’s […]n”,”protected”:false,”author”:5302483,”featured_media”:1921991,”comment_status”:”open”,”ping_status”:”closed”,”sticky”:false,”template”:””,”format”:”standard”,”meta”:”outcome”:””,”status”:””,”crunchbase_tag”:0,”amp_status”:””,”relegenceEntities”:[],”relegenceSubjects”:[],”jetpack_publicize_message”:”North ending production of current Focals smart glasses to focus on Focals 2.0 https://tcrn.ch/38psqMf by @etherington”,”categories”:[449557086,449223024,17396,133183],”tags”:[282669,36130,22794,262,23116,576620857,150352,30901110,40959740,106595,1053334,52080,7723,449555666,24435,38616,576688073,6,137827089,2444],”crunchbase_tag”:[576620856],”tc_stories_tax”:[],”tc_event”:[],”jetpack_featured_media_url”:”https://techcrunch.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/Focals2.0_TeaseHero_02_RGB_3000x1543.jpg”,”jetpack_publicize_connections”:[],”shortlink”:”https://tcrn.ch/38psqMf”,”rapidData”:”pt”:””,”pct”:””,”featured”:false,”subtitle”:””,”fundingRound”:false,”seoTitle”:””,”seoDescription”:””,”premiumContent”:false,”premiumCutoffPercent”:1,”tc_cb_mapping”:[“slug”:”stephen-lake”,”cb_name”:”Stephen Lake”,”cb_slug”:”steven-lake-person”,”cb_link”:”https://crunchbase.com/person/steven-lake”,”slug”:”myo”,”cb_name”:”Myo”,”cb_slug”:”myo-organization”,”cb_link”:”https://crunchbase.com/organization/myo”,”slug”:”north”,”cb_name”:”North”,”cb_slug”:”north-8daa-organization”,”cb_link”:”https://crunchbase.com/organization/north-8daa”],”associatedEvent”:null,”event”:null,”authors”:[5302483],”hideFeaturedImage”:false,”_links”:”self”:[“href”:”https://techcrunch.com/wp-json/wp/v2/posts/1921967″],”collection”:[“href”:”https://techcrunch.com/wp-json/wp/v2/posts”],”about”:[“href”:”https://techcrunch.com/wp-json/wp/v2/types/post”],”replies”:[“embeddable”:true,”href”:”https://techcrunch.com/wp-json/wp/v2/comments?post=1921967″],”version-history”:[“count”:9,”href”:”https://techcrunch.com/wp-json/wp/v2/posts/1921967/revisions”],”predecessor-version”:[“id”:1922247,”href”:”https://techcrunch.com/wp-json/wp/v2/posts/1921967/revisions/1922247″],”authors”:[“embeddable”:true,”href”:”https://techcrunch.com/wp-json/tc/v1/users/5302483″],”https://techcrunch.com/edit”:[“href”:”https://techcrunch.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=1921967&action=edit”],”author”:[“embeddable”:true,”href”:”https://techcrunch.com/wp-json/tc/v1/users/5302483″],”wp:featuredmedia”:[“embeddable”:true,”href”:”https://techcrunch.com/wp-json/wp/v2/media/1921991″],”wp:attachment”:[“href”:”https://techcrunch.com/wp-json/wp/v2/media?parent=1921967″],”wp:term”:[“taxonomy”:”category”,”embeddable”:true,”href”:”https://techcrunch.com/wp-json/wp/v2/categories?post=1921967″,”taxonomy”:”post_tag”,”embeddable”:true,”href”:”https://techcrunch.com/wp-json/wp/v2/tags?post=1921967″,”taxonomy”:”_tc_cb_tag_taxonomy”,”embeddable”:true,”href”:”https://techcrunch.com/wp-json/wp/v2/crunchbase_tag?post=1921967″,”taxonomy”:”tc_stories_tax”,”embeddable”:true,”href”:”https://techcrunch.com/wp-json/wp/v2/tc_stories_tax?post=1921967″,”taxonomy”:”tc_event”,”embeddable”:true,”href”:”https://techcrunch.com/wp-json/wp/v2/tc_event?post=1921967″],”curies”:[“name”:”wp”,”href”:”https://api.w.org/rel”,”templated”:true],”_embedded”:{“authors”:[“id”:5302483,”name”:”Darrell Etherington”,”url”:””,”description”:”Writer covering space, science and health tech. Formerly covering automotive and mobility tech, and previously an employee of Apple and also of Shopify.”,”link”:”https://techcrunch.com/author/darrell-etherington/”,”slug”:”darrell-etherington”,”avatar_urls”:”24″:”https://secure.gravatar.com/avatar/188039e12983eb749171a75cfd01378d?s=24&d=identicon&r=g”,”48″:”https://secure.gravatar.com/avatar/188039e12983eb749171a75cfd01378d?s=48&d=identicon&r=g”,”96″:”https://secure.gravatar.com/avatar/188039e12983eb749171a75cfd01378d?s=96&d=identicon&r=g”,”links”:”homepage”:”http://techcrunch.com”,”facebook”:”http://www.facebook.com/darrell.etherington”,”twitter”:”https://twitter.com/etherington”,”linkedin”:”http://www.linkedin.com/in/etherin”,”crunchbase”:”https://www.crunchbase.com/person/darrell-etherington”,”position”:”Writer”,”cbDescription”:”

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Darrell Etherington is a Writer at TechCrunch, focused on science, space and health tech startups. Darrell used to work for Apple and Shopify in their respective PR departments, but he does not currently hold any stock in either company.”,”cbAvatar”:”https://crunchbase-production-res.cloudinary.com/image/upload/lc86fsvedql5y8k06xsb”,”twitter”:”etherington”,”_links”:”self”:[“href”:”https://techcrunch.com/wp-json/tc/v1/users/5302483″],”collection”:[“href”:”https://techcrunch.com/wp-json/tc/v1/users”]],”wp:featuredmedia”:[“id”:1921991,”date”:”2019-12-10T02:45:08″,”slug”:”focals2-0_teasehero_02_rgb_3000x1543″,”type”:”attachment”,”link”:”https://techcrunch.com/2019/12/10/north-ending-production-of-current-focals-smart-glasses-to-focus-on-focals-2-0/focals2-0_teasehero_02_rgb_3000x1543/”,”title”:”rendered”:”Focals2.0_TeaseHero_02_RGB_3000x1543″,”author”:5302483,”license”:””,”authors”:[5302483],”caption”:”rendered”:”

North’s Focals 2.0 teaser 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$100M ARR club”,”content”:{“rendered”:”

Hello and welcome to a lightweight series I’m writing while I recapture my footing at TechCrunch. It’s lovely to be back, and I’m excited to chat about what’s going on with private companies, public markets and the space between the two.n

I wonder what the average revenue (trailing, say) of a unicorn is today, and if that figure is higher or lower than it was a year ago — or three years ago.n

There’s a lot of wiggle room in the question; on one hand, the average age of a unicorn has likely gone up, as there are far more born over time than exist in the cohort. At the same time, I’d guess that as unicorn creation accelerates, it leads to companies with less revenue than before making the cut. How does it shake out?n

I have an email address now, so let me know what you think. Best answer gets a free Diet Coke.n

Now, to work. Today we’re chatting about a revenue threshold that’s a pretty good demarcator for what a unicorn should be: rare, valuable and fundamentally desirable.n

$100 millionn

Back when the unicorn phrase was coined (here at TechCrunch.com, recall) six years ago, it excluded a collection of startups that were special in their own right. Private companies worth $1 billion were rare enough then to deserve their own moniker, an aspirational label that quickly became uncomfortably normal as companies held off on launching IPOs and venture capitalists raised ever-larger funds.n

In recent years, as troubled augmented-reality shop Magic Leap showed with its high valuation and vanishingly small revenues, some startups have earned the unicorn tag without having a business at all.n

Firms with valuations that their revenues can’t back are in similar straits. In the post-WeWork era, some unicorns are starting to look a bit long in the tooth. I suspect that the companies in most danger are those with slim revenues (compared to their valuations), poor revenue quality (compared to software startups) or both.n

That said, there is a club of private companies that are really something, namely private ones that have managed to reach the $100 million annual recurring revenue (ARR) threshold. It’s not a large group, as startups that tend to cross the $100 million ARR mark are well on the path to going public.n

For example, Bill.com is going public this week (the B2B payments company prices Wednesday and trades Thursday; we’ll cover it as it gets out). According to its own amended S-1 filing, Bill.com, which is backed by Emergence, MasterCard, TTV Capital and others, reached the $100 million ARR mark in Q2 2019. In the third quarter of this year, its subscription revenue grew from $25.2 million to $28.5 million. Not bad.n

Asana announced that it had crossed the threshold back in February on the back of “a period of eight consecutive quarters of revenue growth acceleration, measured on a percentage basis.” It’s still private, though it is considering a direct listing next year.n

But not every $100 million ARR startup is going public. At least not yet. WalkMe crossed $100 million ARR in Q2 2019, as well, though its IPO plans are opaque. And just last week, Druva announced that it crossed the $100 million ARR mark.n

Reaching nine-figure annual recurring revenue matters; try to stop a modern software company at that scale and you’ll struggle.n

100 > 1,000n

Given that startups that generate high-margin, recurring revenue u2014 which is to say software startups u2014 are richly valued, aren’t all $100 million ARR companies already worth $1 billion, defeating our point? After all, if the two categories are synonymous, why bother to tease them apart?n



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