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Month: December 2018

NYSE operator’s crypto project Bakkt brings in $182M

The Intercontinental Exchange’s (ICE) cryptocurrency project Bakkt celebrated New Year’s Eve with the announcement of a $182.5 million equity round from a slew of notable institutional investors. ICE, the operator of several global exchanges, including the New York Stock Exchange, established Bakkt to build a trading platform that enables consumers and institutions to buy, sell, store and spend digital assets. This is Bakkt’s first institutional funding round; it was not a token sale. Participating in the round are Horizons Ventures, Microsoft’s venture capital arm (M12), Pantera Capital, Naspers’ fintech arm (PayU), Protocol Ventures, Boston Consulting Group, CMT Digital, Eagle Seven, Galaxy Digital, Goldfinch Partners and more. Bakkt is currently seeking regulator...

5 Strategies For Business Growth Many People Forget

In this age of constant market evolution and new technology, there is no such thing as a static business that is self-sustaining. The traditional approach of implementing stable and repeatable processes, so that your business can run itself, no longer works. Just ask former big brand companies, like Blockbuster, Kodak, Lehman Brothers, and Sears, what happened to them. As a small business advisor, I always recommend that being “self-sustaining” requires taking frequent and aggressive measures to step out ahead of the pack, including yourself, before you start feeling the pain of change and new competitors around you. Specific measures that go beyond the traditional linear thinking include the following: Develop new products for your existing segment. Rather than enhancing the offering you ...

How The Best Entrepreneurs Do Better Than Anyone Else

At some point in their life, hopefully everyone strives to be the best in their chosen profession. Most people think that being the best requires more intelligence, more training, and more experience. In reality, in business or even in sports, the evidence is conclusive that it is as much about how you think, as what you do. I saw this illustrated a while back in the classic sports book, “Training Camp: What the Best Do Better Than Everyone Else”, by Jon Gordon. His evidence and real life stories conclude that top performers in all professions have the same key traits listed below. I agree they certainly apply to the great entrepreneurs I have known. You need to think about how they apply to you. The best know what they truly want. At some point in their lives, the best have a "Eureka...

An Old Style Of Leadership Is Winning In New Ventures

Startups provide leadership in the market. Entrepreneurs provide leadership to their startup. There are many styles of leadership, like dictatorial, laissez-faire, and democratic. One that I hear discussed more these days, in this age of relationships, is called “servant” leadership. What is servant leadership? The servant leader serves the people they lead through mentoring, direct assistance, listening, and acting on their employees input. It’s the opposite of self-serving, domineering leadership, and makes those in charge think harder about how to respect, value and motivate people reporting to them. The concept was developed by Robert K. Greenleaf way back in 1970. Servant leaders are felt to be effective because the needs of followers are so looked after that everyone reaches their fu...

Samsara banks $100M at a $3.6B valuation for its internet-connected sensors

Sensor data platform Samsara confirmed this morning that it had closed a new round of funding from existing investors Andreessen Horowitz and General Catalyst that values the startup at $3.6 billion. The news was first reported by Cheddar, which spotted a filing with the state of Delaware on December 21 disclosing Samsara’s intent to raise a $100 million round at more than double the valuation it garnered upon its $50 million Series D this March. “Our growth comes from bringing transformational new technologies to solve the problems of operational businesses, a massive segment of the economy that has long been underserved by the technology industry,” wrote Kiren Sekar, Samsara’s vice president of marketing and products, in the funding announcement. “Today, the...

Private equity buyouts have become viable exit options — even for early-stage startups

Ajay Chopra Contributor Ajay Chopra co-founded Pinnacle Systems in his living room and grew it to a multi-billion dollar public company before becoming a venture capitalist with Trinity Ventures. More posts by this contributor Full autonomy is years away, but here’s what’s next on autonomy’s wild ride From the distributed workforce to the partnered economy About 13 years ago I faced an excruciating decision: whether to sell my company, Pinnacle Systems, to a private equity firm or to another large public company. I felt that both suitors would treat my employees well (and I negotiated hard to make sure that was the case), and both offered a good asking price well above our value on NASDAQ. After raising what at the time felt like my first child, born in my living room and...

Funding Alternatives Change As Your New Venture Grows

Some entrepreneurs start polling venture capitalists for that multi-million dollar investment before they even have a business plan. That’s like trying to sell part of something to a stranger for big money when you haven’t fully defined it yet. It won’t work, it costs time and money, and hurts your credibility when you need them later. Every entrepreneur needs help and support along the way, from developing the initial idea, to selling off the successful business (exit strategy). The challenge is finding and using qualified affordable support organizations for each stage. Don’t waste your resources on the wrong ones. It’s helpful to think of startups as proceeding through several stages, which I have defined some time ago from a funding perspective. Let’s take a look here some similar stag...

Venture capital, global expansion, blockchain and drones characterize African tech in 2018

Jake Bright Contributor Jake Bright is a writer and author in New York City. He is co-author of The Next Africa. More posts by this contributor IBM Africa and Hello Tractor pilot AI/blockchain agtech platform Africa Roundup: Terragon’s Asia acquisition, Twiga Foods’ $10M raise, SimbaPay’s China payment service 2018 saw Africa’s tech sector become more dynamic and international. VC firms on the continent multiplied. There were numerous investment rounds. And startups pursued acquisitions and global expansion. Here’s a snapshot of the news that shaped African tech over the last year.   Surge in VC funds A notable 2018 trend was Africa’s VC landscape becoming more African, with an increasing number of investment funds headquartered on the continent and run by locals, according to Crunchbase d...

Why your startup shouldn’t rush to $1 million in revenue

Martina Lauchengco Contributor Share on Twitter Martina spent over 20 years as a marketing and product executive building and crafting strategies for market-defining software like Microsoft Office and Netscape Navigator. As an operating partner at Costanoa Ventures, she sits on multiple boards and advises companies on all things go-to-market. She also teaches at the UC Berkeley graduate school of engineering. Jim Wilson Contributor Share on Twitter Jim is a seasoned sales executive with over 25 years experience in diverse technology industries. As an operating partner at Costanoa Ventures, Jim provides companies with sales and market entry strategy advice. There is a prevailing belief that the magic formula for early-stage tech startups hinges on how quickly they achieve $1 million in annu...

TrueFacet, which sells pre-owned, authenticated watches and jewelry, is raising a $10 million round of funding

The secondary luxury goods market has been growing wildly in recent years, with more shoppers opting to both sell their lightly used luxury goods like clothing and jewelry for cold, hard cash, as well as buying the pre-owned, authenticated luxury goods of others. One of the biggest beneficiaries of the trend is The RealReal, a nearly eight-year-old shopping destination for the growing population of people who might not be willing or able to purchase a new Hermes Birkin bag but are willing to buy one in like-new condition for considerably less. The idea — which seems to be working — is to create a virtuous cycle, wherein the bag’s original purchaser receives the bulk of that re-sale price, then uses the money to buy another new handbag (or a used one) that can be resold at...

Cap table management tool Carta valued at $800M with new funding

Startups supporting startups are blazing a new trail with support from venture capitalists. Co-working spaces like The Wing and The Riveter raked in funding rounds this year, as did Brex, the provider of a corporate card built specifically for startups. Now Carta, which helps companies manage their cap tables, valuations, portfolio investments and equity plans, has announced an $80 million Series D at a valuation of $800 million. The company, formerly known as eShares, raised the capital from lead investors Meritech and Tribe Capital, with support from existing investors. The round brings Carta’s total funding to $147.8 million. Its existing investors include Spark Capital, Menlo Ventures, Union Square Ventures and Social Capital, though the latter didn’t participate in the Ser...

Grove Collaborative, a subscription startup selling ‘household essentials,’ has been quietly raising a lot of moolah

Grove Collaborative, a four-year-old, San Francisco-based startup that sells household, personal care, baby, children’s and pet products, has been busy raising money in 2018, shows two new SEC filings that lists representatives from the company’s earlier investors, including Mayfield, Norwest Venture Partners and MHS Capital, as well as apparent new investor General Atlantic, represented by partner Catherine Beaudoin. One of the filings shows that Grove Collaborative, which had already raised roughly $62 million as of the start of 2018, subsequently raised $27.4 million more this year. A separate, second filing shows another $76.4 million has been secured in what looks to be a newer round that’s targeting $125 million. It’s a lot of money for such a young company, w...

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