Save 25% on annual Extra Crunch membership with the Green Days sale

The holiday season is upon us, and that means big savings on Extra Crunch membership with the Green Days sale. From now until November 30, TechCrunch readers can save 25% on an annual plan for Extra Crunch. 

You can claim the deal here.

Extra Crunch helps you spot technology trends and opportunities, build better startups, get ahead at your job, and stay connected to a growing community of founders, investors, and startup teams. It features thousands of articles, including weekly investor surveys, daily market analysis, and expert interviews on fundraising, growth, monetization, and other work topics. 

You can also find answers to your burning questions about startups and investing through Extra Crunch Live, and stay informed with our members-only Extra Crunch newsletters. Other benefits include an improved TechCrunch.com experience, 20% off future TechCrunch events, and savings on software services from AWS, Crunchbase, and more.

Join our growing community of founders, investors, and startup teams at a discounted rate here.

The Green Days sale is our biggest discount of the year, so don’t snooze on the savings. The sale ends on November 30. If you have questions about the sale or Extra Crunch membership, please contact our customer support team at extracrunch@techcrunch.com.

#extra-crunch, #media, #subscriptions, #tc

0

Get a free Extra Crunch membership when you buy TC Sessions: Space 2020 tickets

TC Sessions: Space is coming up soon, and we’ve decided to sweeten the deal for what’s included with your event pass. Buy your ticket now and you’ll get a free annual membership to Extra Crunch, our membership program focused on startups, founders and investors with more than 100 exclusive articles published per month.

Extra Crunch unlocks access to our weekly investor surveys, private market analysis, and in-depth interviews with experts on fundraising, growth, monetization and other core startup topics. Find answers to your burning questions about startups and investing through Extra Crunch Live, and stay informed with our members-only Extra Crunch newsletter. Other benefits include an improved TechCrunch.com experience, 20% off discounts to future TechCrunch events, and savings on software services from AWS, Crunchbase, and more.

Learn more about Extra Crunch benefits here, and buy your TC Sessions: Space tickets here.  

What is TC Sessions: Space? 

TC Sessions: Space is a two-day online event featuring the most important people in the space industry, across public, private and defense. TechCrunch’s editors will break through the hype to help attendees understand the current state of the space and try to see which technologies and players will own the future.

The event will take place December 16-17, and we’d love to have you join. 

View the event agenda here, and purchase tickets here

Once you buy your TC Sessions: Space pass, you will be emailed a link and unique code you can use to claim the free year of Extra Crunch.

Already bought your TC Sessions: Space ticket?

Existing pass holders will be emailed with information on how to claim the free year of Extra Crunch membership. All new ticket purchases will receive information over email immediately after the purchase is complete.

Already an Extra Crunch member?

If you are already an existing annual or two-year Extra Crunch member and have not yet bought a ticket to TC Sessions: Space, you can reach out to extracrunch@techcrunch.com to request a 20% off discount. If you are an annual or two-year member and purchased a TC Sessions: Space ticket without the 20% off discount, we’re happy to extend the length of your existing membership by 12 months for free by contacting extracrunch@techcrunch.com.

Alternatively, if you are an existing monthly Extra Crunch member, we’re happy to extend the length of your membership by a year for free; however, you won’t be able to claim the 20% off for an event ticket for TC Sessions: Space. You will be eligible for the 20% off event tickets for other future TechCrunch events.

If you are an existing monthly customer and want to take advantage of the membership extension, please contact extracrunch@techcrunch.com.

#aerospace, #extra-crunch, #space, #subscriptions

0

Extra Crunch roundup: Inside DoorDash’s IPO, first-person founder stories, the latest in fintech VC and more

One of my favorite series of Monty Python sketches is built around the concept of surprise:

Chapman: I didn’t expect a kind of Spanish Inquisition.

[JARRING CHORD]

[Three cardinals burst in]

Cardinal Ximénez: NOBODY expects the Spanish Inquisition!

I was reminded of this today when I needed to reschedule a few stories so we could cover DoorDash’s S-1 filing from multiple angles. First, Managing Editor Danny Crichton looked at how well the company’s co-founders and many investors stand to make out. Alex Wilhelm covered the IPO announcement in depth on TechCrunch before writing an Extra Crunch column that studied the role the COVID-19 pandemic played in the home-delivery platform’s recent growth.

Our all-hands-on-deck coverage of DoorDash’s S-1 is a good illustration of Extra Crunch’s mission: timely analysis of current and future technology trends that serves founders and investors. We have a talented team, and as today’s coverage shows, they’re just as good as they are fast.

The stories that follow are an overview of Extra Crunch from the last five days. The full articles are only available to members, but you can use discount code ECFriday to save 20% off a one or two-year subscription. Details here.

Thanks very much for reading Extra Crunch this week. I hope you have a great weekend!

Walter Thompson
Senior Editor, TechCrunch
@yourprotagonist


What I wish I’d known about venture capital when I was a founder

Why I left edtech and got into gaming

Young woman jumping on white sand through door frame at desert during sunny day. Image Credits: Klaus Vedfelt / Getty Images

We frequently run posts by guest contributors, but two stories we published this week were written in the first person, which is a bit of a departure.

In Why I left edtech and got into gaming, Darshan Somashekar brought us inside his decision to pivot away from a sector that’s been growing hotter in 2020.

His post is a unique take on two oft-discussed categories, but it also examines one founder/investor’s thought process when it comes to evaluating new opportunities.

Andy Areitio, a partner at early-stage fund TheVentureCity, wrote What I wish I’d known about venture capital when I was a founder, a reflection on the “classic mistakes” founders tend to make when it’s time to fundraise.

“Error number one (and two) is to raise the wrong amount of money and to do it at the wrong time,” he says. “They can also put all their eggs in one basket too early. I made that mistake.”

You can find business writing that explores best practices anywhere, which is why we hunt down stories that are firmly rooted in data or personal experience (which includes success and failure).

How COVID-19 accelerated DoorDash’s business

doordash dasher bicycle delivery person

Image Credits: DoorDash

The coronavirus pandemic looms large in DoorDash’s S-1 filing.

According to the food-delivery platform, “58% of all adults and 70% of millennials say that they are more likely to have restaurant food delivered than they were two years ago,” and “the COVID-19 pandemic has further accelerated these trends.”

As in other sectors, the pandemic didn’t wave a magic wand — instead, it hastened trends that were already in play: consumers love convenience, which means DoorDash’s gross order volume and revenue were tracking well before the virus started to shape our lives.

“It’s your call on how to balance the factors and decide whether or not to buy into the IPO, but this one is going to be big,” writes Alex Wilhelm in a supplemental edition of today’s The Exchange.

 

The VC and founder winners of DoorDash’s IPO

SAN FRANCISCO, CA – SEPTEMBER 05: DoorDash CEO Tony Xu speaks onstage during Day 1 of TechCrunch Disrupt SF 2018 at Moscone Center on September 5, 2018 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Kimberly White/Getty Images for TechCrunch)

None of us knew DoorDash would release its S-1 filing today, but Danny Crichton jumped on the story “so we can see who is raking in the returns on the country’s delivery startup champion.”

After estimating the value of the respective ownership stakes held by DoorDash’s four co-founders, he turned to the investors who participated in rounds seed through Series H.

Some growth funds are about to look very good after this IPO, and each founder is looking at hundreds of millions, he found.

But even so, their diminished haul of about $1.3 billion is “a sign of just how much dilution the co-founders took given the sheer amount of capital the company fundraised over its life.”

 

Fintech VC keeps getting later, larger and more expensive

Investors sent stacks of cash to late-stage fintech companies in Q3 2020, but these sizable rounds may also point to shrinking opportunities for early-stage firms, reports Alex Wilhelm in this morning’s edition of The Exchange.

2020 could be a record year for fintech VC in Europe and North America, but are these “huge late-stage dollars” actually “a dampener for new fintech startups trying to get off the ground?”

 

Accelerators embrace change forced by pandemic

Devin Coldewey interviewed the leaders of three startup accelerators to learn more about the adaptations they’ve made in recent months:

  • David Brown, founder and CEO, Techstars
  • Cyril Ebersweiler, founder HAX, venture partner at SOSV
  • Daniela Fernandez, founder, Ocean Solutions Accelerator

Due to travel bans, shelter-in-place orders and other unknowns, they’ve all shifted to virtual. But accelerators are intensive programs designed to indoctrinate founders and elicit brutally honest feedback in real time.

Despite the sudden shift, that boot-camp mindset is still in effect, Devin reports.

“Cutting out the commute time in a busy city leaves founders with more time for workshops, mentor matchmaking, pitch practice and other important sessions,” said Fernandez. “Everybody just has more flexibility and tranquility.”

Said Ebersweiler: “People are for some reason more participative and have more feedback than physically — it’s pretty strange.”

Greylock’s Asheem Chandna on ‘shifting left’ in cybersecurity and the future of enterprise startups

Asheem Chandna

Image Credits: Greylock

In a recent interview with Greylock partner Asheem Chandna, Managing Editor Danny Crichton asked him about the buzz around no-code platforms and what’s happening in early-stage enterprise startups before segueing into a discussion about “shift left” security:

“Every organization today wants to bring software to market faster, but they also want to make software more secure,” said Chandna.

“There is a genuine interest today in making the software more secure, so there’s this concept of shift left — bake security into the software.”

 

Square and PayPal earnings bring good (and bad) news for fintech startups

If you missed Wednesday’s The Exchange, Alex scoured earnings reports from PayPal and Square to see what the near future might hold for several fintech startups currently waiting in the wings.

Using Square and PayPal’s recent numbers for stock purchases, card usage and consumer payment activity as a proxy, he attempts to “see what we can learn, and to which unicorns it might apply.”

 

Conflicts in California’s trade secret laws on customer lists create uncertainty

Concept of knowledge, data and protection. Paper human head with pad lock.

Concept of knowledge, data and protection. Paper human head with pad lock. Image Credits: jayk7 (opens in a new window)/ Getty Images

In California, non-competition agreements can’t be enforced and a court has ruled that customer contact lists aren’t trade secrets.

That doesn’t mean salespeople who switch jobs can start soliciting their former customers on their first day at the new gig, however.

Before you jump ship — or hire a salesperson who already has — read this overview of California’s trade secret laws.

“Even without litigation, a former employer can significantly hamper a departing salesperson’s career,” says Nick Saenz, a partner at Lewis & Llewellyn LLP, who focuses on employment and trade secret issues.

As public investors reprice edtech bets, what’s ahead for the hot startup sector?

light bulb flickering on and off

Image: Bryce Durbin / TechCrunch

News of a highly effective COVID-19 vaccine appeared to drive down prices of the three best-known publicly traded edtech companies: 2U, Chegg and Kahoot saw declines of about 20%, 10% and 9%, respectively after the report.

Are COVID-19 tailwinds dissipating, or did the market make a correction because “edtech has been categorically overhyped in recent months?”

 

Dear Sophie: What does a Biden win for tech immigration?

Image Credits: Sophie Alcorn

What does President-elect Biden’s victory mean for U.S. immigration and immigration reform?

I’m in tech in SF and have a lot of friends who are immigrant founders, along with many international teammates at my tech company. What can we look forward to?

— Anticipation in Albany

 

#asheem-chandna, #diversity, #doordash, #ecommerce, #entrepreneurship, #extra-crunch, #financial-technology, #food, #gaming, #payments, #paypal, #saas, #startups, #tc

0

Extra Crunch Partner Perk: Get 6 months free of Zendesk Support and Sales CRM

We’re excited to announce an update to the Extra Crunch Partner Perk from Zendesk. Starting today, annual and two-year Extra Crunch members that are new to Zendesk, and meet their startup qualifications, can now receive six months of free access to Zendesk’s Sales CRM, in addition to Zendesk Support Suite, Zendesk Explore and Zendesk Sunshine.

Here is an overview of the program.

Zendesk is a service-first CRM company with support, sales and customer engagement products designed to improve customer relationships. This offer is only available for startups that are new to Zendesk, have fewer than 100 employees and are funded but have not raised beyond a Series B.

The Zendesk Partner Perk from Extra Crunch is inclusive of subscription fees, free for six months, after which you will be responsible for payment. Any downgrades to your Zendesk subscription will result in the forfeiture of the promotion, so please check with Zendesk first regarding any changes (startups@zendesk.com). Some add-ons such as Zendesk Talk and Zendesk Sell minutes are not included. Complete details of what’s included can be found here.

#business, #crm, #customer-relationship-management, #enterprise, #extra-crunch, #industries, #marketing, #zendesk

0

Fall sale: Get 10% off an annual Extra Crunch membership

From now until October 25, TechCrunch readers in the U.S. can save 10% on an annual plan for Extra Crunch. If you aren’t familiar, Extra Crunch is our membership program focused on startups, founders and investors with more than 100 exclusive articles published per month.

You can claim the deal here.

Extra Crunch helps you spot technology trends and opportunities, build better startups and stay connected. It features thousands of articles, including weekly investor surveys, daily market analysis and expert interviews on fundraising, growth, monetization and other work topics. 

You can also find answers to your burning questions about startups and investing through Extra Crunch Live, and stay informed with our members-only Extra Crunch newsletter. Other benefits include an improved TechCrunch.com experience, 20% off discounts to future TechCrunch events and savings on software services from DocSend, Canva, Crunchbase and more.

Join our growing community of founders, investors and startup teams here.

#extra-crunch, #startups, #subscriptions

0

Join Accel’s Andrew Braccia and Sonali De Rycker for a live Q&A on September 22 at 2 pm EDT/11 am PDT

In the midst of Disrupt 2020, we’re busy keeping tabs on all the panels, chats, demos and battling startups, but we’re also prepping for what comes next. Next Tuesday, the Extra Crunch Live series of Q&As with founders and investors resumes, this time with guests Andrew Braccia and Sonali De Rycker from Accel.

If you are just catching up to Extra Crunch Live, we’ve been hosting live discussions since the early COVID-19 days here in the United States with folks like Mark Cuban, Plaid founder Zach Perret and Sequoia’s Roelof Botha taking part.

The Accel chat is going to be interesting for a few reasons, one of which is that Braccia is the opposite of loud — TechCrunch has noted his general reticence to public comment in prior reporting. But Braccia was early money into Slack, which means he’ll have good perspective into the direct listing market, the IPO market writ large, SaaS and the remote-work boom. We’ll make sure to get the latest.

De Rycker is a bit more active in the public sphere and has lead deals into companies like Sennder (which recently did a deal with Uber), Shift Technology and Avito, which sold to Naspers for north of $1 billion last year. As you can tell from that string of deals, De Rycker will be able to give us a working dig into what’s up in the European startup scene.

And as De Rycker worked as an investment banker before VC, we’ll see what she has to say regarding today’s M&A and IPO climes.

All in all, it’s going to be a good time that I am looking forward to hosting. Login details follow for Extra Crunch folks, and you can snag a cheap trial here if you need access.

Until then, enjoy Disrupt and we’ll see you on Tuesday. Don’t forget to bring your best questions, and we might get to one of them!

Details

0

Extra Crunch Partner Perk: Discount on Dell XPS Laptop and Dell for Entrepreneurs Program

We’re excited to announce a new Partner Perk from Dell for Extra Crunch members. Starting today, annual and 2-year Extra Crunch members can get a discount on a Dell XPS Laptop as well as a discount on membership to the Dell for Entrepreneurs Program.

What is the Dell for Entrepreneurs Program?

The Dell for Entrepreneurs Program is committed to empowering others by being an end-end solution provider to help entrepreneurs grow and scale. The program includes IT consultation (from accessories, to systems, to cloud/ software solutions), access to capital for technology needs, and rewards, discounts, and more. Discounts on membership will vary.

What’s the discount on the laptop? 

The discount on the Dell XPS Laptop is 5%, but if purchased before September 23 the discount is 10%.

What is Extra Crunch?

Extra Crunch is a membership program from TechCrunch  that helps you spot technology trends and opportunities, build better startups and stay connected. It features thousands of articles, including weekly investor surveys, daily market analysis and expert interviews on fundraising, growth, monetization and other work topics.

Extra Crunch also features Extra Crunch Live Q&A sessions with startup experts, a 20% discount on TechCrunch events, access to Partner Perks and better ways to use and navigate TechCrunch.com.

Join our growing community of founders, investors and startup teams here.

What are Partner Perks?

The Extra Crunch Partner Perks program is a great way for our annual members to save a few bucks on software costs. Since launching the program last fall, we’ve added more than a dozen new perks, including discounts on Crunchbase, DocSend and more. To see a full list of Partner Perks, head here.

How do I claim the discount on the Dell XPS laptop?

Head here, and enter your email address. Click submit. The discount on the laptop will be emailed to you immediately after your email address has been submitted.

How do I get the discount on the Dell for Entrepreneurs Program?

Head here, and then scroll down to the section “How to Apply.” Click the button “apply now,” and fill out the form. A Dell representative will follow up within a few business days. 

#dell, #extra-crunch, #extra-crunch-partner-perks, #hardware, #startups

0

Extra Crunch membership now available to readers in Australia

We’re excited to announce that Extra Crunch memberships are now available in Australia. That adds to our existing support in:

  • United States
  • Canada
  • Argentina, Brazil, Mexico
  • UK
  • Select European countries

We’ve been polling readers for the past year and a half about where to expand, and Australia was one of the most requested regions. 

Join our growing community of founders, startup teams, and investors by signing up for Extra Crunch membership here. Use the discount code AUSLAUNCH to get 20% off an annual or 2 year plan (expires October 31).

Much of the attention for Australian tech gets focused on startups that have gone public, been acquired, or raised massive funding rounds like Atlasssian, Canva, and Afterpay. We know there are TONS of other startups in Australia pushing the envelope and innovating because we regularly write about them. 

Thanks to everyone who voted on where to expand next. If you’d like to see Extra Crunch memberships available in your country, let us know here.

Join Extra Crunch by heading here, and use the code AUSLAUNCH to get 20% off an annual or 2-year membership plan.

What is Extra Crunch?

Extra Crunch is a membership program from TechCrunch that features market analysis, weekly investor surveys and how-tos and interviews on growth, fundraising, monetization and other work topics. Members can save time with access to an exclusive newsletter, no banner ads or video pre-rolls on TechCrunch.com, Rapid Read mode and our List Builder tool. 

Committing to an annual and two-year plan will save you a few bucks on the membership price and unlock access to TechCrunch event discounts and Partner Perks. Extra Crunch annual membership gets you 20% off tickets to virtual events like Disrupt 2020 in September and TC Sessions: Mobility in October. The Partner Perks program features discounts and savings on services from Canva, DocSend, Crunchbase, and more.

You can sign up or learn more about Extra Crunch here.

#australia, #extra-crunch, #media, #subscriptions, #tc

0

Extra Crunch Friday roundup: Edtech funding surges, Poland VC survey, inside Shift’s SPAC plan, more

I live in San Francisco, but I work an East Coast schedule to get a jump on the news day. So I’d already been at my desk for a couple of hours on Wednesday morning when I looked up and saw this:

As unsettling as it was to see the natural environment so transformed, I still got my work done. This is not to boast: I have a desk job and a working air filter. (People who make deliveries in the toxic air or are homeschooling their children while working from home during a global pandemic, however, impress the hell out of me.)

Not coincidentally, two of the Extra Crunch stories that ran since our Tuesday newsletter tie directly into what’s going on outside my window:

As this guest post predicted, a suboptimal attempt I made to track a delayed package using interactive voice response (IVR) indeed poisoned my customer experience, and;

Sheltering in place to avoid the novel coronavirus — and wildfire smoke — is fueling growth in the video-game industry, perhaps one factor in Unity Software Inc.’s plan to go public ahead of competitor Epic Games. In a two-part series, we looked at how the company has expanded beyond games and shared a detailed financial breakdown.

We covered a lot of ground this week, so scroll down or visit the recently redesigned Extra Crunch home page. If you’d like to receive this roundup via email each Tuesday and Friday, please click here.

Thanks very much for reading Extra Crunch; I hope you have a relaxing and safe weekend.

Walter Thompson
Senior Editor
@yourprotagonist


Bear and bull cases for Unity’s IPO

In a two-part series that ran on TechCrunch and Extra Crunch, former media columnist Eric Peckham returned to share his analysis of Unity Software Inc.’s S-1 filing.

Part one is a deep dive that explains how the company has grown beyond gaming to develop multiple revenue streams and where it’s headed.

For part two on Extra Crunch, he studied the company’s numbers to offer some context for its approximately $11 billion valuation.


10 Poland-based investors discuss trends, opportunities and the road ahead

The Palace of Culture and Science is standing reminder of communism in Warsaw, Masovian Voivodeship, Poland.

Image Credits: Edwin Remsberg (opens in a new window) / Getty Images

As we’ve covered previously, the COVID-19 pandemic is making the world a lot smaller.

Investors who focus on their own backyards still have an advantage, but the ability to set up a quick coffee meeting with a promising investor is no longer one of them.

Even though some VCs are cutting first checks after Zoom calls, regional investors’ personal networks are still a trump card. Tourists will always rely on guide books, however, which is why we continue to survey investors around the world.

A Dealroom report issued this summer determined that 97 VC funds backed more than 1,600 funding rounds in Poland last year. With over 2,400 early- and late-stage startups and 400,000 engineers in the country, it’s easy to see why foreign investors are taking notice.

Editor-at-large Mike Butcher reached out to several investors who focus on Warsaw and Poland in general to learn more about the startups fueling their interest across fintech, gaming, security and other sectors:

  • Bryony Cooper, managing partner, Arkley Brinc VC
  • Anna Wnuk-Błażejczyk, investor relations manager, Experior.vc
  • Rafał Roszak, investment director, YouNick Mint
  • Michal Mroczkowski, partner, Market One Capital
  • Marcus Erken, partner, Sunfish Partners
  • Borys Musielak, partner, SMOK Ventures
  • Mathias Åsberg, partner, Nextgrid
  • Kuba Dudek, SpeedUp Venture Capital Group
  • Marcin Laczynski, partner, Next Road Ventures
  • Michał Rokosz, partner, Inovo Venture Partners

We’ll run the conclusion of his survey next Tuesday.


Brands that hyper-personalize will win the next decade

Customer Relationship Management and Leader Concepts on Whiteboard

Image Credits: cnythzl (opens in a new window) / Getty Images

Even for fledgling startups, creating a robust customer service channel — or at least one that doesn’t annoy people — is a reliable way to keep users in the sales funnel.

Using AI and automation is fine, but now that consumers have grown used to asking phones and smart speakers to predict the weather and read recipe instructions, their expectations are higher than ever.

If you’re trying to figure out what people want from hyper-personalized customer experiences and how you can operationalize AI to give them what they’re after, start here.


VCs pour funding into edtech startups as COVID-19 shakes up the market

For today’s edition of The Exchange, Natasha Mascarenhas joined Alex Wilhelm to examine how the pandemic-fueled surge of interest in edtech is manifesting on the funding front.

The numbers suggest that funding will far surpass the sector’s high-water mark set in 2018, so the duo studied the numbers through August 31, which included a number of mega-rounds that exceeded $100 million.

“Now the challenge for the sector will be keeping its growth alive in 2021, showing investors that their 2020 bets were not merely wagers made during a single, overheated year,” they conclude.


How to respond to a data breach

Digital Binary Code on Red Background. Cybercrime Concept

Image Credits: WhataWin (opens in a new window) / Getty Images

The odds are low that someone’s going to enter my home and steal my belongings. I still lock my door when I leave the house, however, and my valuables are insured. I’m an optimist, not a fool.

Similarly: Is your startup’s cybersecurity strategy based on optimism, or do you have an actual response plan in case of a data breach?

Security reporter Zack Whittaker has seen some shambolic reactions to security lapses, which is why he turned in a post-mortem about a corporation that got it right.

“Once in a while, a company’s response almost makes up for the daily deluge of hypocrisy, obfuscation and downright lies,” says Zack.


Shift’s George Arison shares 6 tips for taking your company public via a SPAC

Number 6 By Railroad Tracks During Sunset

Image Credits: Eric Burger/EyeEm (opens in a new window) / Getty Images

There’s a lot of buzz about special purpose acquisition companies these days.

Used-car marketplace Shift announced its SPAC in June 2020, and is on track to complete the process in the next few months, so co-founder/co-CEO George Arison wrote an Extra Crunch guest post to share what he has learned.

Step one: “If you go the SPAC route, you’ll need to become an expert at financial engineering.”


Dear Sophie: What is a J-1 visa and how can we use it?

Image Credits: Sophie Alcorn

Dear Sophie:

I am a software engineer and have been looking at job postings in the U.S. I’ve heard from my friends about J-1 Visa Training or J-1 Research.

What is a J-1 status? What are the requirements to qualify? Do I need to find a U.S. employer willing to sponsor me before I apply for one? Can I get a visa? How long could I stay?

— Determined in Delhi


As direct listing looms, Palantir insiders are accelerating stock sales

While we count down to the September 23 premiere of NYSE: PLTR, Danny Crichton looked at the “robust secondary market” that has allowed some investors to acquire shares early.

“Given the number of people involved and the number of shares bought and sold over the past 18 months, we can get some insight regarding how insiders perceive Palantir’s value,” he writes.


Use ‘productive paranoia’ to build cybersecurity culture at your startup

Vector illustration of padlocks and keys in a repeating pattern against a blue background.

Image Credits: JakeOlimb / Getty Images

Zack Whittaker interviewed Bugcrowd CTO, founder and chairman Casey Ellis about the best practices he recommends for creating a startup culture that takes security seriously.

“It’s an everyone problem,” said Ellis, who encouraged founders to promote the notion of “productive paranoia.”

Now that the threat envelope includes everyone from marketing to engineering, employees need to “internalize the fact that bad stuff can and does happen if you do it wrong,” Ellis said.

#education, #europe, #extra-crunch, #immigration-law, #investor-surveys, #palantir, #policy, #saas, #security, #spacs, #startups, #tc, #unity, #venture-capital

0

Reminder: $1,000 in AWS Activate credits available for Extra Crunch members

Calling all Extra Crunch members! We’ve partnered with Amazon Web Services for an Extra Crunch Partner Perk, and now eligible members can get $1,000 in AWS Activate credits as a part of an annual Extra Crunch membership plan.

If you are already an Extra Crunch member, scroll down to the bottom of the post for directions on how to claim the credits. If you are not yet a member, keep reading.

What is AWS?

AWS (Amazon Web Services) is the premier service for your application hosting needs, and we want to make sure our community is well-resourced to build. We understand that hosting and infrastructure costs can be a major hurdle for tech startups, and we’re hoping that this offer will help better support your team.

What’s included in the perk?

  • $1,000 in AWS Activate credit valid for one year
  • Two months of AWS Business Support
  • 80 credits for self-paced labs

How do I know if my startup is eligible?

Not all companies are eligible for AWS Activate credits. To apply to AWS Activate Founders, your startup must meet the following criteria:

  • New to AWS Activate Founders
  • Have not previously received credits from AWS Activate Portfolio
  • Have an active AWS Account
  • Startup must be self-funded, unbacked or bootstrapped — no institutional funding or affiliation with an Activate Provider
  • Have a LinkedIn profile (applicant)
  • Have a company website or web profile
  • Be an annual or two-year Extra Crunch member

Applications are processed in 7-10 days.

What is Extra Crunch?

Extra Crunch is a membership program from TechCrunch that helps you spot technology trends and opportunities, build better startups and stay connected. It features thousands of articles, including weekly investor surveys, daily market analysis and expert interviews on fundraising, growth, monetization and other work topics.

Extra Crunch also features Extra Crunch Live Q&A sessions with startup experts, a 20% discount on TechCrunch events, access to Partner Perks and better ways to use and navigate TechCrunch.com.

Join our growing community of founders, investors and startup teams here.

What are Partner Perks?

The Extra Crunch Partner Perks program is a great way for our annual members to save a few bucks on software costs. Since launching the program last fall, we’ve added more than a dozen new perks, including discounts on Crunchbase, DocSend and more. To see a full list of Partner Perks, head here.

#amazon, #amazon-web-services, #extra-crunch, #tc

0

Extra Crunch discount now available for military, nonprofits and government employees

We’re excited to announce that government, nonprofit and military employees can get an Extra Crunch membership at a discounted rate of $50 per year, plus tax. If interested in claiming the deal, please contact our customer service team from your .org, .gov, .mil or similar work-related email domain. We’ll also accept other forms of verification, such as proof that the organization is a 501c3 or an employment ID. Our customer service team can be reached at extracrunch@techcrunch.com.

Extra Crunch unlocks access to our weekly investor surveys, daily private market analysis and in-depth interviews with experts on fundraising, growth, monetization and other core startup topics. Find answers to your burning questions about startup and investing through Extra Crunch Live, and stay informed with our members-only Extra Crunch newsletter. Other benefits include a faster-loading and cleaner TechCrunch.com experience, 20% off future TechCrunch event tickets and savings on software services like DocSend, Typeform, Crunchbase and more.

Learn more about Extra Crunch benefits here.

#extra-crunch, #non-profit, #policy, #startups

0

Piggyback on popular Tweets to get brand awareness

We’ve aggregated many of the world’s best growth marketers into one community. Twice a month, we ask them to share their most effective growth tactics, and we compile them into this Growth Report.

This is how you stay up-to-date on growth marketing tactics — with advice that’s hard to find elsewhere.

Our community consists of startup founders and heads of growth. You can participate by joining Demand Curve’s marketing training program or its Slack group.

Without further ado, on to our community’s advice.


Analysis of YouTube trending videos

Insights from Ammar Alyousfi.
We reviewed an analysis of every trending YouTube video from 2019. Here are some of our learnings:
  • 95% of videos took less than 13 days to appear on the trending list. The minimum number of views needed for a video to trend was 53,796.
  • Videos stay on the trending list for ~5.6 days after publishing.
  • The top three categories for trending videos are entertainment (28.6%), music (14%) and sports (10.4%).
  • Videos posted on Saturday are the least likely to trend.
To dive deeper, check out the full report.

Don’t forget to transcribe podcasts

#column, #computing, #extra-crunch, #google, #growth-and-monetization, #growth-marketing, #microblogging, #operating-systems, #real-time-web, #social, #social-media-marketing, #software, #startups, #tc, #text-messaging, #tweet, #twitter

0

How to diagnose and treat machine learning models afflicted by COVID-19

COVID-19 has disrupted the lives of millions of people and affected businesses across the world. Its impact has been particularly significant on many machine learning (ML) models that companies use to predict human behavior.

Companies need to take steps to deeply examine ML models and acquire the insights needed to effectively update models and surrounding business rules.

The economic disruption of COVID-19 has been unprecedented in its swiftness, upsetting supply lines, temporarily closing retail stores and changing online customer behaviors. It has also dramatically increased unemployment overnight, increasing financial stress and systemic risks of both individuals and businesses. It is forecasted that global GDP could be affected by up to 0.9%, on a par with the 2008 financial crisis. While the nature of our recovery is unknown, if the 2008 crisis is any indicator, the impact of COVID-19 could be felt for years, through both short-term adjustments and long-term shifts in consumer and business behaviors and attitudes.

This disruption impacts machine learning models because the concepts and relationships the models learned when they were trained may no longer hold. This phenomenon is called “concept drift.” ML models may become unstable and underperform in the face of concept drift. That is precisely what is happening now with COVID-19. The effects of these drifts will be felt for quite some time, and models will need to be adjusted to keep up. The good news is that there have been significant developments in model intelligence technology, and through judicious use, models can nimbly adjust to those drifts.

As the effects of COVID-19 (and economic closure and reopening) play out, there will be distinct stages in the impact on social and economic behaviors. Updates to business rules and models will need to be done in sync with overall behavior shifts in each of these stages. Companies need to adopt an approach of measure-understand-act and to constantly examine, assess and adjust ML models in production or development and surrounding business rules.

Examining how ML models have been impacted means going through an exercise to both measure and understand how the models behaved prior to the coronavirus, how they are behaving now, why they are behaving differently (i.e., what inputs and relationships are the drivers of change), and then to determine if the new behavior is expected and accurate, or is no longer valid. Once this is determined, the next step is naturally to act: “So, what can we do about it?”

#artificial-intelligence, #bank, #banking, #column, #coronavirus, #covid-19, #cryptocurrency, #developer, #ecommerce, #extra-crunch, #finance, #fintech, #machine-learning, #market-analysis, #ml, #predictive-analytics, #product-development, #product-search, #retail-stores, #search-results, #startups, #tc, #work

0

The ‘right’ way to downsize

A little over a year into launching StrongLoop, an enterprise API startup eventually acquired by IBM, we were out over our skis. It was my doing — having built a vast top of funnel, we expected our product to have a specific sell-through rate and I’d optimistically hired in engineering, customer support, marketing and sales. However, the sales cycles were long, burn rate was too high and we had too many highly skilled people who were a little bored. It was time to orchestrate a reduction in force.

I’d been laid off a few times myself, once from a pivoting startup and again during the downturn of 2001, so I knew what it felt like. I’d also been a manager at a larger company that laid off employees, so I’d seen the corporate playbook. But as the CEO, I had personally sold these people on our vision, cramming into a small substandard office with them for months or years — it felt very personal. Back then, the job market was robust: I didn’t worry about team members finding new jobs. Today is more uncertain.

With many startups under the pressure of a pandemic-fueled economic crisis, I interviewed several CEOs who have had to orchestrate COVID-19-related layoffs to capture (what I believe) are some best practices to downsize correctly and compassionately.

Put people before projects

One company had a pending product launch, yet a few renewals were pushed due to COVID-19-based uncertainty. Meanwhile, the board had decided to extend runway to have more options. The question was: Should the company complete the product launch and let employees know they’re losing their jobs after? Or should they tell employees ahead of time, risking a loss in focus while some members of the team (correctly) start looking for jobs?

#business, #column, #covid-19, #entrepreneurship, #extra-crunch, #layoff, #leadership, #management, #startups, #tc, #telecommuting, #work

0

Decrypted: The block clock tick-tocks on TikTok

In less than three months and notwithstanding intervention, TikTok will be effectively banned in the U.S. unless an American company steps in to save it, after the Trump administration declared by executive order this week that the Chinese-built video sharing app is a threat to national security.

How much of a threat TikTok poses exactly remains to be seen. U.S. officials are convinced that the app could be compelled by Beijing to vacuum up reams of Westerners’ data for intelligence. Or is the app, beloved by millions of young American voters, simply a pawn in the Trump administration’s long political standoff with China?

Really, the answer is a bit of both — even if on paper TikTok is no worse than the homegrown threat to privacy posed by the Big Tech behemoths: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Google . But the foreign threat from Beijing alone was enough that the Trump administration needed to crack down on the app — and the videos frequently critical of the administration’s actions.

For its part, TikTok says it will fight back against the Trump administration’s action.

This week’s Decrypted looks at TikTok amid its looming ban. We’ll look at why the ban is unlikely, even if privacy and security issues persist.


THE BIG PICTURE

Internet watchdog says a TikTok ban is a ‘seed of genuine security concern wrapped in a thick layer of censorship’

The verdict from the Electronic Frontier Foundation is clear: The U.S. can’t ban TikTok without violating the First Amendment. Banning the app would be a huge abridgment of freedom of speech, whether it’s forbidding the app stores from serving it or blocking it at the network level.

But there are still legitimate security and privacy concerns. The big issue for U.S. authorities is that the app’s parent company, ByteDance, has staff in China and is subject to Beijing’s rules.

#adware, #android, #apps, #bytedance, #china, #democratic-national-committee, #electronic-frontier-foundation, #extra-crunch, #federal-bureau-of-investigation, #google, #market-analysis, #motherboard, #national-security-agency, #operating-systems, #privacy, #security, #social, #tc, #tiktok

0

Despite booming consumer demand, VC interest in e-commerce startups falls in 2020

Walmart reported earnings this morning. Most of the numbers are immaterial to you and I, having little to nothing to do with the world of private capital and startups, but one metric did leap out: In its quarter ending July 31, Walmart’s U.S. “e-commerce sales” grew by 97% compared to the year-ago quarter, with what the company called “strong results across all channels.”


The Exchange explores startups, markets and money. You can read it every morning on Extra Crunch, or get The Exchange newsletter every Saturday.


Walmart’s total revenue grew 5.6%, so you can see the discrepancy between the company’s physical business and its e-commerce efforts, with one managing single-digit gains and the other nearly hitting triple digits. For reference, in its fiscal ending May 1, 2020, Walmart’s e-commerce sales grew by 74%. In the quarter ending January 31, 2020 that figure was a far-slimmer 35%.

The e-commerce acceleration is real, as shown through a host of numbers you can parse, including Walmart’s own. Heck, when The Exchange was digging through recent fintech venture capital results, we noted that rising e-commerce spend was perhaps part of the reason why late-stage fintech shops had such strong results.

So when I was reading Q2 venture capital data on the state of retail tech broadly, and e-commerce tech more specifically, I was expecting a stellar quarter with lots of dollars invested into a great many deals.

And yet, while Q2 2020 was a bit better than Q1 2020 for e-commerce VC results, it wasn’t much of a comeback. And the first half of this year is pretty damn slow overall, when compared to prior results for e-commerce-focused venture capital deals.

What gives? I have an idea or two, but first, let’s parse the data that business market data provider CB Insights compiled, as we extend our apparently never-quite-ending look at the ridiculously interesting first-half of 2020 for startups and VCs.

VCs fall out of love with e-commerce startups?

In 2019, e-commerce saw an average of 314 deals per quarter and just under $5 billion in invested capital, with the four-quarter pace for the year coming in at $4.97 billion per.

#cb-insights, #ecommerce, #extra-crunch, #fundings-exits, #market-analysis, #startups, #tc, #the-exchange

0

Get a free annual Extra Crunch membership when you buy a Disrupt 2020 pass

Disrupt 2020 is right around the corner, and we’ve decided to sweeten the deal for what’s included with your event pass. Buy your ticket now and you’ll get a free year of Extra Crunch, our membership program focused on startups, founders and investors with more than 100 exclusive articles published per month.

Extra Crunch unlocks access to our weekly investor surveys, daily private market analysis and in-depth interviews with experts on fundraising, growth, monetization and other core startup topics. Find answers to your burning questions about startup and investing through Extra Crunch Live, and stay informed with our members-only Extra Crunch newsletter. Other benefits include a faster-loading and cleaner TechCrunch.com experience, 20% off future TechCrunch event tickets and savings on software services like DocSend, Typeform, Crunchbase and more.

Learn more about Extra Crunch benefits here, and buy your Disrupt tickets here.  

What is Disrupt? 

Disrupt is our largest and most ambitious event, and this year it will be held online from September 14-18.

During the five-day event, you’ll experience nonstop online programming with two big focuses: Founders and investors shaping the future of disruptive technology, and startup experts providing insights to entrepreneurs. It’s where hundreds of startups across a variety of categories tell their stories to the 10,000 attendees from all around the world. It’s the ultimate Silicon Valley experience, where the leaders of the startup world gather to ask questions, make connections and be inspired.

Check out the Disrupt agenda here, and grab tickets here.

Once you buy your Disrupt pass, you will be emailed a link and unique code you can use to claim the free year of Extra Crunch.

Already bought your Disrupt 2020 ticket?

Existing pass holders will be emailed with information on how to claim the free year of Extra Crunch membership. All new ticket purchases will receive information over email shortly after the purchase is complete.

Already an Extra Crunch member?

If you are already an existing annual or two-year Extra Crunch member and have not yet bought a ticket to Disrupt, you can reach out to extracrunch@techcrunch.com to request a 20% discount. If you are an annual or two-year member and purchased a Disrupt ticket without the 20% discount, we’re happy to extend the length of your existing membership by 12 months for free by contacting extracrunch@techcrunch.com.

Alternatively, if you are an existing monthly Extra Crunch member, we’re happy to extend the length of your membership by a year for free; however, you won’t be able to claim the 20% off for an event ticket for Disrupt. You will be eligible for the 20% off event tickets for other future TechCrunch events. Please contact extracrunch@techcrunch.com if you are an existing monthly customer and want to take advantage of the membership extension.

What types of ticket holders can claim the free year of Extra Crunch?

Please note that the free Extra Crunch membership will not be available for attendees that purchase a discounted student, government or nonprofit Disrupt pass. Users that receive free passes to Disrupt will also not be eligible for the Extra Crunch deal. 

Other questions can be answered by our customer support team at extracrunch@techcrunch.com.

#events, #extra-crunch, #media

0

In conversation with European B2B seed VC La Famiglia

Earlier this month, La Famiglia, a Berlin-based VC firm that invests in seed-stage European B2B tech startups, disclosed that it raised a second fund totaling €50 million, up from its debut fund of €35 million in 2017.

The firm writes first checks of up to €1.5 million in European startups that use technology to address a significant need within an industry. It’s backed 37 startups to date (including Forto, Arculus and Graphy) and seeks to position itself based on its industry network, many of whom are LPs.

La Famiglia’s investors include the Mittal, Pictet, Oetker, Hymer and Swarovski families, industry leaders Voith and Franke, as well as the families behind conglomerates such as Hapag-Lloyd, Solvay, Adidas and Valentino. In addition, the likes of Niklas Zennström (Skype, Atomico), Zoopla’s Alex Chesterman and Personio’s Hanno Renner are also LPs.

Meanwhile, the firm describes itself as “female-led,” with founding partner Dr. Jeannette zu Fürstenberg and partner Judith Dada at the helm.

With the ink only just dry on the new fund, I put questions to the pair to get more detail on La Famiglia’s investment thesis and what it looks for in founders. We also discussed how the firm taps its “old economy” network, the future of industry 4.0 and what La Famiglia is doing — if anything — to ensure it backs diverse founders.

TechCrunch: You describe La Famiglia as B2B-focused, writing first checks of up to €1.5 million in European startups using technology to address a significant need within an industry. In particular, you cite verticals such as logistics and supply chain, the industrial space, and insurance, while also referencing sustainability and the future of work.

Can you elaborate a bit more on the fund’s remit and what you look for in founders and startups at such an early stage?

Jeannette zu Fürstenberg: Our ambition is to capture the fundamental shift in value creation across the largest sectors of our European economy, which are either being disrupted or enabled by digital technologies. We believe that opportunities in fields such as manufacturing or logistics will be shaped by a deep process understanding of these industries, which is the key differentiator in creating successful outcomes and a strength that European entrepreneurs can leverage.

We look for visionary founders who see a new future, where others only see fragments, with grit to push through adversity and a creative force to shape the world into being.

Judith Dada: Picking up a lot of signals from various expert sources in our network informs the opportunity landscape we see and allows us to invest with a strong sense of market timing. Next to verticals like insurance or industrial manufacturing, we also invest into companies tackling more horizontal opportunities, such as sustainability in its vast importance across industries, as well as new ways that our work is being transformed, for workers of all types. We look for opportunities across a spectrum of technological trends, but are particularly focused on the application potential of ML and AI.

#adidas, #artificial-intelligence, #berlin, #coinbase, #entrepreneurship, #europe, #extra-crunch, #facebook, #finance, #hanno-renner, #judith-dada, #la-famiglia, #logistics, #machine-learning, #market-analysis, #ml, #niklas-zennstrom, #private-equity, #solvay, #supply-chain, #swarovski, #tc, #valentino

0

Robinhood raises $200M more at $11.2B valuation as its revenue scales

Robinhood announced this morning that it has raised $200 million more at a new, higher $11.2 billion valuation. The new capital came as a surprise.

Astute observers of all things fintech will recall that Robinhood, a popular stock trading service, has raised capital multiple times this year, including an initial $280 million round at an $8.3 billion valuation, and a later $320 million addition that brought its valuation to $8.6 billion.


The Exchange explores startups, markets and money. You can read it every morning on Extra Crunch, or get The Exchange newsletter every Saturday.


Those rounds, coming in May and July, now feel very passé in the sense that they are frightfully cheap compared to the price at which Robinhood just added new funds. D1 Partners — a private capital pool founded in 2018 — led the funding.

The unicorn’s new nine-figure tranche, a Series G, values the firm at $11.2 billion. A $2.6 billion bump in about a month is an impressive result, one that points to an inescapable conclusion: Robinhood is still growing, and fast.

How fast is the question. There are three things to bring up in this regard: Trading growth at Robinhood, the company’s soaring incomes from selling order flow to other financial institutions, and, oddly enough, crypto. Let’s peek at each and come up with a good why as to the new Robinhood valuation.

After all, we’re going to see an IPO from this company before the markets get less interesting, if it’s smart.

Growth

Robinhood is currently walking a line between enthusiasm that its trading volume is growing and conservatism, arguing that its userbase is not majority-comprised of day traders. The company is stuck between the need for huge revenue growth and keeping pedestrian users from tanking their net worth with unwise options bets.

It’s worth noting that Robinhood spent a lot of its funding round announcement email to TechCrunch talking about its users safety and education work. It makes sense given that we know that the company is seeing record trades, and record incomes from options themselves. After a Robinhood user killed themself after misunderstanding an options trade on the platform, Robinhood pledged to do better. We’re keeping tabs on how well it manages to meet the mark of its promise.

But back to the revenue game, let’s talk volume. On the trading front Robinhood has lots of darts. And by darts we mean daily average revenue trades. Robinhood had 4.31 million DARTs in June, with the company adding that “DARTs in Q2 more than doubled compared to Q1” in an email.

The huge gain in trading volume does not mean that most Robinhood users are day trading, but it does imply that some are given the huge implied trading volume results that the DARTs figure points to. Robinhood saw around 129,300,000 trades in June, which is 30 days. That’s a lot!

#extra-crunch, #fintech, #fundings-exits, #fundraising, #market-analysis, #robinhood, #startups, #tc, #the-exchange

0

How tech can build more resilient supply chains

Over the past two years, the global supply chain has been hit with two major upheavals: the United States-China trade war and, more cataclysmically, COVID-19.

When Reefknot Investments launched its $50 million fund for logistics and supply chain startups last September, the industry was already dealing with the effects of the tariff war, says managing director Marc Dragon. Then a few months later, the COVID-19 crisis began in China before spreading to the rest of the world, disrupting the supply chain on an unprecedented scale.

Almost all industries have been impacted, from food, consumer goods and medical supplies to hardware.

Reefknot, a joint venture between Temasek, Singapore’s sovereign fund, and global logistics company Kuehne + Nagel, focuses on early-stage tech companies that use AI to solve some of the supply chain’s most pressing issues, including risk forecasting, financing and tracking goods around the world.

In March, around the time the World Health Organization declared the COVID-19 crisis a pandemic, Reefknot surveyed nine shippers about the challenges they face. While there are other macroeconomic factors at play, including Brexit and the oil price war, the survey’s main focus was on the combined effect of COVID-19 and the U.S.-China trade war on the supply chain and logistics industry.

According to the study, the main things shippers want is the ability to dynamically manage supply chain risks and operations and optimize cash flow between corporate buyers and their suppliers, who often struggle with working capital.

Many of the current solutions used in the supply chain involve a lot of manual tasks, including spreadsheets to predict demand, phone calls to confirm capacity on planes and ships and checking goods to make sure orders were fulfilled properly.

#artificial-intelligence, #coronavirus, #covid-19, #extra-crunch, #food, #logistics, #market-analysis, #previse, #prowler-io, #reefknot-investments, #startups, #supply-chain, #tc, #transportation

0

PopSugar co-founder says pandemic will create ‘a huge windfall’ for digital media

It’s been less than a year since Group Nine Media acquired PopSugar — but it’s been a uniquely challenging time in digital media.

Brian Sugar founded the eponymous women’s lifestyle site with his wife Lisa Sugar . Post-acquisition, he’s become president for the entirety of Group Nine (which also owns Thrillist, NowThis, The Dodo and Seeker) and also joined the company’s board.

That job probably looks very different from what he expected last fall. The company had to lay off 7% of its staff back in April, which Sugar described as “one of the worst days of my career.” At the same time, he remains confident about the online advertising business. In his view, it’s TV advertising that’s taken a “huge punch” in the face and will never recover.

“We like to think of ourselves as one of the fastest, most innovative publishers out there,” Sugar told me. “And now’s the time for us to kind of show that off.”

You can read an edited, updated and condensed transcript of our conversation below, in which I talked to Sugar about how his role has evolved, how he motivates the team during difficult times and what gets lost in the shift to remote work.

TechCrunch: Obviously, it’s been a crazy couple of months since we last talked. What does your job look like now?

Brian Sugar: Well, I feel like a data miner, searching for answers. I feel like a hackathon engineer. And I feel like a therapist. You know, we like to think of ourselves as one of the fastest, most innovative publishers out there. And now’s the time for us to kind of show that off.

[We’ve just been] looking at data on how people are consuming our content across platforms. And on our site, we’ve come up with some really interesting ideas that we’ve implemented. We’ve been having these really cool hackathon Fridays to build stuff quickly, because a lot of people feel like they have a little bit more time on their hands — because you don’t have to travel to meetings, you can get more work done. Some people feel they’re more efficient.

We’re extremely optimistic. All our brands are extremely optimistic, and so is [the whole] company.

You mentioned launching some new products to respond to how audience behavior is changing. Are there any examples?

The first one [is] the PopSugar Fitness thing. We were planning on launching a paid workout subscription service in May, but everybody was working from home [in March], and we decided to pull the launch all the way up to as fast as we can launch it. We launched it that following weekend. Since the launch in late March, over the past few months, we’ve had 200,000 people sign up, and we have 50,000 monthly active users on it.

#advertising-tech, #brian-sugar, #covid-19, #digital-media, #extra-crunch, #group-nine-media, #lisa-sugar, #market-analysis, #media, #online-advertising, #popsugar, #startups, #tc, #thrillist

0

Founders can raise funding before launching a product

It’s possible to raise VC funding even if you haven’t built a real product, according to Charles Hudson, founder and managing partner at seed-stage firm Precursor Ventures. It’s just very, very difficult.

I interviewed Hudson during TechCrunch Early Stage, our virtual event for startup founders. He gave a short talk titled “How to sell an idea when you don’t have a product,” then answered questions from me and from attendees watching at home.

Hudson said Precursor invests in about 25 startups every year and that a majority are pre-launch and pre-traction. So when he’s considering startups where there “isn’t any evidence or traction,” he and other investors are basically considering two things: How well the founder knows the industry, and how well the investors know the founder.

Of course, if you’ve already had success and you know everyone on Sand Hill Road, it might not be that hard to get that first check. But what about everyone else?

Below, I’ve quoted some highlights from Hudson’s thoughts about how to raise money pre-product. You can also watch the full presentation/conversation at the end of this post.

‘You need to have a unique and durable insight that will still be true in 12 to 18 months’

You need to have a unique and durable insight that will still be true in 12 to 18 months … The unique part is important because you still haven’t launched your product yet. And so whatever it is that you’re doing, if it’s not unique, if it’s a really obvious insight, you’ll probably have 10 or 12 competitors that are launched in the market by the time you get your product out.

#charles-hudson, #entrepreneur, #entrepreneurship, #extra-crunch, #fundraising, #marketing, #precursor-ventures, #product-management, #startups, #tc, #techcrunch-early-stage, #venture-capital, #zenefits

0

Extra Crunch Live: Join Anu Duggal for a live Q&A on August 20 at 11am PT/2pm ET

Rent the Runway and Glossier became unicorns within the same week in June 2019. That same year, only 2.7% of venture capital dollars went toward female-founded companies.

Silicon Valley’s disconnect between the monetary success of female-founded companies and funding them in the first place is disheartening. The conversation is there, but the dollar sign momentum remains missing.

Anu Duggal founded the Female Founders Fund before both were even a tangible reality. In 2014, the entrepreneur launched her first fund to invest in female-led startups. It took her 700 meetings over two years to make that first close, she said. Years later, venture capital has slightly taken note. But the Female Founders Fund, or “F Cubed,” has tracked female-led wins and bet big on the underestimated asset class.

Her early focus on female founders hasn’t evolved, but the landscape has. And in an unprecedented world of remote deals and democratization of venture capital, we’re even more excited to have Duggal join us on Extra Crunch Live this upcoming Thursday at 11 a.m. PT/2 p.m. EST/6 p.m. GMT

Those tuning in and taking notes are encouraged to ask questions, but you have to be an Extra Crunch member to access the chat. If you still haven’t signed up, now’s your chance! With the subscription, you’ll also be able to check out all of our stellar previous guests on-demand (watch those episodes here).

Female Founders Fund has provided seed institutional capital to entrepreneurs with over $3 billion in enterprise value. The firm has cut checks into women-led companies such as Rent the Runway, Billie, Tala, Peanut, Thrive Global and Zola. The fund has also attracted limited partners like Melinda Gates and Girls Who Code founder Reshma Saujani.

Duggal herself has a fascinating trajectory into technology investing. At 25, she started a wine bar in Bombay called The Tasting Room. She went on to get an MBA from London Business School, and co-founded Exclusively.in, an e-commerce company that got acquired by Indian fashion e-commerce company Myntra in 2011.

Hear from Duggal on August 20 about how the investment landscape has changed for female founders, what she thinks of as a success story and if 2020 feels different than 2014. And Extra Crunch fam, make sure to bring your thoughtful questions for me to ask her live on air.

You can find the full details of the conversation below the jump.

#anu-duggal, #biotech, #diversity, #e-commerce, #ecl, #ecommerce, #emily-weiss, #entrepreneur, #entrepreneurship, #events, #extra-crunch, #extra-crunch-live, #female-founders-fund, #melinda-gates, #rent-the-runway, #reshma-saujani, #startups, #tc, #venture-capital, #work

0

Facebook’s former PR chief explains why no one is paying attention to your startup

At TechCrunch Early Stage, I spoke with Coatue Management GP Caryn Marooney about startup branding and how founders can get people to pay attention to what they’re building.

Marooney recently made the jump into venture capital; previously she was co-founder and CEO of The Outcast Agency, one of Silicon Valley’s best-regarded public relations firms, which she left to become VP of Global Communications at Facebook, where she led comms for eight years.

While founders often may think of PR as a way to get messaging across to reporters, Marooney says that making someone care about what you’re working on — whether that’s customers, investors or journalists — requires many of the same skills.

One of the biggest insights she shared: at a base level, no one really cares about what you have to say.

Describing something as newsworthy or a great value isn’t the same as demonstrating it, and while big companies like Amazon can get people to pay attention to anything they say, smaller startups have to be even more strategic with their messaging, Marooney says. “People just fundamentally aren’t walking around caring about this new startup — actually, nobody does.”

Getting someone to care first depends on proving your relevance. When founders are forming their messaging to address this, they should ask themselves three questions about their strategy, she recommends:

0

Thoughts on ‘self-driving money,’ day trading and product development from Wealthfront’s Andy Rachleff

Andy Rachleff founded Wealthfront a decade ago to give investors a better and smarter way to manage their wealth, building on core academic research showing that a carefully balanced portfolio of low-fee ETFs outperformed more aggressive strategies. Since then, the company has taken in billions of dollars of invested capital under management and expanded into new banking services, including high-interest checking accounts.

Rachleff and I talked on Extra Crunch Live about where Wealthfront is heading as it speeds toward its second decade, how he sees the competition from other, more active trading platforms like Robinhood and his advice for startup founders looking to build enduring products and companies away from the daily status quo.

Self-driving money

Rachleff began our conversation talking about the future of Wealthfront, which is increasingly moving beyond its wealth management app to new services.

“Our vision is to automate all of your finances — we call this self-driving money,” he said. That platform is expected to role out in September, and include features like easy direct deposit and automated bill pay, with any savings left over automatically moving to the right investment assets that meet a user’s chosen risk tolerance.

#andy-rachleff, #ecl, #entrepreneurship, #events, #extra-crunch, #extra-crunch-live, #finance, #market-analysis, #robinhood, #startups, #tc, #venture-capital, #wealthfront

0

Eliminate DevOps waste with Japanese management practices

Across the board, industries need to embrace modern workflows to keep up with the speed of startups. And out of all the various methodologies, I find the “lean methodology” to be the most intriguing of them all. It’s a unique combination of pragmatism and a higher purpose.

Lean methodology descends directly from the Toyota Production Systems (TPS), which is based on a philosophy of eliminating waste to achieve efficiency in processes. It relies heavily on the mindset of “just-in-time,” making only “what is needed when needed, and in the amount needed.” In software development, this means only developing the features your clients need, and only when they need them.

To emphasize the point and stir some creative juices, let’s look at the Japanese concepts of muda, mura and muri, and how this applies to being lean when we are building and shipping software.

Muda, mura and muri

Muda is the “waste” we are working to remove that is directly hurting efficiency. Waste is any activity that doesn’t create value, in the form of the products and services we offer. As every engineer knows, spending half the day in meetings is a painful waste of time.

Mura is “unevenness,” referring to any variance in the process itself or the output generated. In software development, “mura” causes unpredictability that makes it impossible to embrace a “just-in-time” mindset. If the quality of a new upcoming feature is uncertain, then additional time and resources will have to be reserved for quality assurance and bug-fixing efforts. It’s better to know upfront what you are going to get, how long it will take and what the cost will be.

Muri is “overburden,” which happens when we demand the unreasonable from our team, tools and processes. If we want to deliver a specific feature just-in-time, then we must allocate the appropriate time and resources. Giving our engineering teams too many simultaneous tasks, or failing to give them the tools necessary to succeed, will only lead to disappointment in time, quantity, quality or cost.

Forms of waste

Diving deeper into muda — what I consider the cardinal sin of lean methodology — here are the forms of waste we should always be on the lookout for:

  1. Overproduction – Producing more than is needed, or before it is required. Besides unneeded features, we often over-allocate computing resources, especially in non-cloud environments.

    #column, #developer, #devops, #engineer, #extra-crunch, #management, #software-development, #startups, #tc, #toyota, #waste, #work

0

Edtech exits are increasing, but by how much?

Before the coronavirus made edtech more relevant, companies in the sector were historically likely to see slow, low exits. Despite successful IPOs by 2U, Chegg and Instructure in the United States, public markets are not crowded with edtech companies.

Some of the largest exits in the space include LinkedIn’s scoop of Lynda for a $1.5 billion in cash and stock and TPG’s purchase of Ellucian for $3.5 billion.

But both of those deals happened in 2015. Five years later, edtech is cooler and surging — but is it seeing exits? Are Lynda and Ellucian one-off success stories?

2U’s co-founder and CEO, Chip Paucek, said he is optimistic.

“We are a rare edtech IPO,” he told TechCrunch last week. “For a long time in edtech it was either ‘sell to Pearson or not.’”

Despite the sector’s slow past, Paucek said now is a good time to start an edtech company because the sector “is finally starting to hit its stride” with more back-end infrastructure and demand for online education.

This morning, let’s use some data to paint a picture of the landscape of edtech exits and bring some balance to this stodgy stereotype.

Boot the growth

There have been approximately 225 acquisitions in edtech between 2003 and 2018, according to Crunchbase data. RS Components sent me a graph in March to contextualize this timeframe a bit more:

Edtech deals over time. Graph credit: RS Components.

#coronavirus, #covid-10, #edtech, #education, #extra-crunch, #linkedin, #lynda, #market-analysis, #startups, #tc, #the-exchange, #venture-capital

0

How to get what you want in a term sheet

One of the most exciting moments in the life of every newly christened founder is the sweet relief of seeing a term sheet come in from an investor. After weeks, perhaps months (but hopefully not years!), of work fundraising and pitching, there is nothing like getting that email with a PDF attached to it laying out the terms and conditions of the VC relationship going forward.

Of course, that rejoicing dampens quickly as all the specific nuances of the deal suddenly come to the forefront. It’s one thing to get the valuation you want, or the amount of capital you are seeking, but what about the setup of the board of directors? What should you do about deal terms that may shape your startup for a decade or more?

The reality of term sheets, as our guest Lior Zorea discusses, is that the terms you agree to early on at a startup tend to be the terms that will carry through for the life of the company. That means getting that first term sheet right is critical for ensuring the financial and capital success of your business.

#corporate-finance, #entrepreneurship, #events, #extra-crunch, #fundraising, #private-equity, #startups, #tc, #techcrunch-early-stage, #term-sheet, #venture-capital

0

Five success factors for behavioral health startups

Telehealth, or remote, tech-enabled healthcare, has existed for years in primary medical care through companies like Teladoc (NYSE: TDOC)Doctors on Demand and MDLIVE.

In recent years, the application of telehealth had rapidly expanded to address specific chronic and behavioral health issues like mental health, weight loss and nutrition, addiction, diabetes and hypertension, etc. These are real and oftentimes very severe issues faced by people all over the world, yet until now have seen little to no use of technology in providing care.

We believe behavioral health is particularly suited to benefit from the digitization trends COVID-19 has accelerated. Previously, we’ve written about the pandemic’s impact on online learning and education, both for K-12 students and adult learners. But behavioral health is another area impacted by the fundamental change in consumers’ behavior today. Below are four reasons we think the time is now for behavioral health startups — followed by five key factors we think characterize successful companies in this area.

Telehealth can significantly lower the cost of care

Traditional behavioral healthcare is cost-prohibitive for most people. In-person therapy costs $100+ per session in the U.S., and many mental health and substance-use providers don’t accept insurance because they don’t get paid enough by insurers.

By contrast, telehealth reduces overhead costs and scales more effectively. Leveraging technology, providers can treat more patients in less time with almost zero marginal costs. Mobile-based communications enable asynchronous care that further helps providers scale. Access to digital content gives patients on-going support without the need for a human on the other side. This is particularly useful in treating behavioral health issues where ongoing support and motivation may be necessary.

Technology unlocks supply in “shadow markets” of providers

Globally, we face an extreme shortage of behavioral health providers. For example, the United States has fewer than 30,000 licensed psychiatrists (translating to <1 for every 10,000 people). Outside of big cities, the problem gets worse: ~50-60% of nonmetro counties have no psychologists or psychiatrists at all.

Even when providers are available, wait times for appointments are notoriously long. This is a huge issue when behavioral health conditions often require timely intervention.

We are seeing new platforms build large networks of certified coaches, licensed psychologists and psychiatrists, and other providers, aggregating supply in what has historically been a scarce and a highly fragmented provider population.

Behavioral/mental health issues are losing their stigma

We believe the stigma associated with mental illness and other behavioral health conditions is dissipating. More and more public figures are speaking out about their struggle with anxiety, depression, addiction and other behavioral health issues. Our zeitgeist is shifting fast, and there’s an all-time high in people seeking help as the Google Trends data below demonstrates.

google trends search: "therapist near me," 2015- 2010

Image Credits: Google

Note: The anomalous dip in March/April ’20 was driven by mandatory shelter-in-place due to COVID-19.

Policy and regulations are changing quickly

#battery-ventures, #column, #coronavirus, #counseling, #covid-19, #depression, #digital-health, #extra-crunch, #headspace, #health, #health-insurance, #healthcare, #hypertension, #livongo, #market-analysis, #meditation, #online-learning, #smartphone, #startups, #talkspace, #tc, #telehealth, #venture-capital, #vida-health

0

Six Toronto VCs discuss COVID-19 and the post-pandemic era

As North America’s fourth-largest city, Toronto is one of the world’s top startup ecosystems.

After spawning companies like Eventbrite and Crowdmark, Ontario’s capital has attracted international talent that complements its homegrown population of entrepreneurs and technical talent.

Six investors we surveyed who work and live in the area said they believe Toronto will continue to thrive after the COVID-19 storm passes. Some of them focus exclusively on the region, while others invest elsewhere as well. As they explained, the city has a lot going for it: It’s diverse, has access to locally trained engineering and business workers, and the area has already fostered many companies that are doing very well.

Investors expect Toronto to remain a fintech hub

Fintech is one of the city’s top industries, and the investors in this survey expect this to continue. Stephanie Choo, head of investments at Portag3 Ventures, said “fintech continues to see massive tailwinds from the fallout from COVID-19 as incumbents struggle to fully digitize their offerings.”

Ameet Shah of Golden Ventures listed fintech as one of Toronto’s key industries. Eva Lau of Two Small Fish Ventures agreed, adding that “blockchain has also been doing well because many blockchain-related technologies or companies were started in Toronto.”

Other investors point to fintech business leaders in Toronto like CEOs Mike Katchen of Wealthsimple, Daniel Eberhard of Koho, Andrew D’Souza and Michele Romanow of Clearbanc and Kirk Simpson of Wave Financial.

Diversity is one of Toronto’s strengths

Nearly all of the surveyed investors cited diversity as a key reason to live and work in Toronto. Probal Lala, chairman of Maple Leaf Angels, says, “Beyond having a vibrant technology ecosystem, Toronto has one of the most diverse communities in North America and is not only a great place to find the intellectual horsepower and funding to build a great global startup, but also the mosaic of social communities that makes it a great place to live and raise a family.”

Choo said the United States’ current battles over immigration could benefit Canada. “Small, nimble teams that need to move fast may still choose to co-locate in person — and many will still want access to amenities that only a large, vibrant and diverse city like Toronto can offer.”

She also pointed to Toronto’s claim of being one of the most diverse cities in the world. “[This] not only makes the city interesting but also very welcoming for those who relocate from elsewhere; a strong startup and tech scene, and, lastly, a vibrant cultural and food scene, especially through the lens of cost-of-living compared to comparable major cities.”

Shopify’s executives are key players in Toronto’s ecosystem

Several VCs listed Shopify executives as local leaders, while others acknowledged the growing unicorn’s impact. Ameet Shah of Golden Ventures says, “Toronto has traditionally been strong in fintech, B2B SaaS, crypto and AI. The explosion of Shopify should also benefit companies focused on e-commerce and supply chain solutions.”

Adam McNamara and Ameet Shah, when asked about local business leaders, both listed Satish Kanwar. Kanwar is GM and VP of Product at Shopify after the company purchased Jet Cooper, a startup co-founded by Kanwar. McNamara also points to Farhan Thawar, Shopify’s VP of Engineering, as a local leader.

Who we spoke to:

  • Probal Lala, chairman, Maple Leaf Angels Capital Corporation
  • Stephanie Choo, head of investments, Portag3 Ventures
  • Adam McNamara, founding partner, Ramen VC
  • Ameet Shah, partner, Golden Ventures
  • Matt Golden, founder and managing partner, mGolden Ventures
  • Eva Lau, founding partner, Two Small Fish Ventures

Probal Lala, Maple Leaf Angels Capital Corporation

How much is local investing even a focus for you now? If you are investing remotely in general now, are you filtering for local founders?

Prior to COVID-19 hitting, a requirement for the majority of my investments was a face-to-face visit with the founding team. For the most part, this meant founders spending time in Toronto. As we primarily invest in seed and pre-seed, this usually meant local founders.

When the pandemic hit, we shifted our process to primarily Zoom meetings (including due diligence) and as a result the mix of founding teams has expanded beyond our typical catchment area (two-hour drive from the city) to a broader base. Investment cycles appear to have slowed a bit due to the remote approach but our reach to founding teams has expanded to a broader base of geographically distributed founding teams (Mostly Canadian although we have recently seen a number of international opportunities).

#advertising-tech, #artificial-intelligence, #coronavirus, #covid-19, #cryptocurrency, #ecommerce, #extra-crunch, #fintech, #investor-surveys, #remote-work, #saas, #shopify, #startups, #tc, #toronto, #venture-capital

0

A stampede of unicorn news

With a hot IPO market and a world accelerating its shift to digital technologies amidst a pandemic, it’s a busy time for late-stage startups. Happily, the current moment is generating a wave of leaks and news. So much so, it’s actually been pretty hard to keep up.

In honor of the somewhat crazy week we’ve had, I’ve compiled the biggest and best bits of unicorn news, with two final items concerning companies that are not quite unicorns. Our goal is to get caught up so we can start next week sufficiently informed.


The Exchange explores startups, markets and money. You can read it every morning on Extra Crunch, or get The Exchange newsletter every Saturday.


As always with this sort of work, we’ll have to handle each entry quickly. But if you want to know what’s up lately with the most valuable private companies, this should provide a working summary.

We’ll start with the Gong round, talk Palantir, peek at Stripe, chat about Airbnb’s results, detail a few other revenue milestones that were new to us, discuss Robinhood trading volume, gander at some Coinbase product news and a few other items, wrapping with a note on recent funding rounds from Parsable and Coda.

The theme, in case you were hoping for a unifying thread, is that the good times that took temporary flight in March and April, are back.

Today, it’s nearly hard to recall the fear that took over startup-land; sure, there are warning signs about cloud growth rates, but for many unicorns, we still live in boom times.

Let’s begin.

A  blessing of unicorns

As promised, we’re starting with the Gong round, which my dear friend Ron Miller covered for TechCrunch. The salestech software company put together a $200 million round at a $2.2 billion valuation after raising several other rounds in recent quarters. As Ron reports, the company’s growth has been torrid, with 1,300 customers and 2.5x revenue growth “this year alone.” But most critically, Gong’s CEO Amit Bendov said that “there’s a lot of liquidity in the market.” Yep.

#airbnb, #cfo, #coinbase, #cryptocurrency, #databricks, #datarobot, #extra-crunch, #finance, #gong, #market-analysis, #payments, #robinhood, #saas, #startups, #stripe, #tc, #the-exchange, #unicorn

0