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Month: April 2019

5 Keys To Happiness, Even For New Business Founders

Image via Pixabay  Building a startup is hard work for low pay, it’s risky, and it requires total responsibility to make it work. Yet, many entrepreneurs are the happiest people I know. On the other hand, I know many unhappy individuals who are always partying, have minimal commitments, and little responsibility. I suspect the real parameters of happiness have eluded these people. According to one of my favorite authors, Brian Tracy, in his classic book “The Power of Self-Discipline,” happiness is not even a goal that you can aim at and achieve in and of itself, but it is a by-product that comes to you when you are engaged in doing something you really enjoy while in the company of people you like and respect. Tracy defines the five key ingredients of happiness that every potential an...

From lab-grown meat to fermented fungus, here’s what corporate food VCs are serving up

Joanna Glasner Contributor More posts by this contributor A record $2.5B went to US insurance startup deals last year, and big insurers are in all the way Space tech rockets higher In a foodie’s ideal world, we’d all eat healthy, minimally processed cuisine sourced from artisanal farmers, bakers and chefs. In the real world, however, most of us derive the lion’s share of calories from edibles supplied by a handful of giant food conglomerates. As such, the ingredients and processing techniques they favor have an outsized impact on our daily diets. With this in mind, Crunchbase News decided to take a look at corporate food VCs and the startups they are backing to see what their dealmaking might say about our snacking future. We put together a list of venture funds operated by some of the lar...

Acquisitions, more than IPOs, will create Africa’s early startup successes

Africa has made its global IPO debut. Pan-African e-commerce company Jumia—a $1 billion-valued company—began trading live on the NYSE last week. The stock offering made Jumia the first upstart operating in Africa to list on a major global exchange. This raises expectations for unicorns and IPOs to create the continent’s first wave of startup moguls. But unlike other markets, big public listings and nine-figure valuations could remain rare in Africa. The rise of venture arms and startup acquisitions will factor more prominently than IPOs in creating Africa’s early startup successes. I’ll break down why. First, a quick briefer. Primer on African tech Not everyone may be aware, but yes, Africa has a booming tech scene. When measured by monetary values, it’s minuscule by Shenzen or Silicon Val...

5 Problems To Solve With Unlimited Startup Potential

Image via jisc  Potential startup founders are always looking for ideas to implement, when they should be looking for problems to solve. Customers pay for solutions, but there is no market for ideas. I’m often approached by people with a “million dollar idea,” but I haven’t seen anyone pay that for one yet. Equally often, I see startups who are on the road to implementing an idea, but haven’t figured out what problem it solves – the business plan waxes on eloquently for 20 pages about how great this product and technology is, but never gets around to defining the problem (investors call this the “solution looking for a problem” syndrome). A related “red flag” in a business plan is a missing competitive analysis section, or a short paragraph that essentially says, “this product has no ...

Startups Weekly: Zoom CEO says its stock price is ‘too high’

When Zoom hit the public markets Thursday, its IPO pop, a whopping 81 percent, floored everyone, including its own chief executive officer, Eric Yuan. Yuan became a billionaire this week when his video conferencing business went public. He told Bloomberg that he actually wished his stock hadn’t soared quite so high. I’m guessing his modesty and laser focus attracted Wall Street to his stock; well, that, and the fact that his business is actually profitable. He is, this week proved, not your average tech CEO. I chatted with him briefly on listing day. Here’s what he had to say. “I think the future is so bright and the stock price will follow our execution. Our philosophy remains the same even now that we’ve become a public company. The philosophy, first of all,...

Fastly, the content delivery network, files for an IPO

Fastly, the content delivery network that’s raised $219 million in financing from investors (according to Crunchbase), is ready for its close up in the public markets. The eight-year-old company is one of several businesses that improve the download time and delivery of different websites to internet browsers and it has just filed for an IPO. Media companies like The New York Times use Fastly to cache their homepages, media and articles on Fastly’s servers so that when somebody wants to browse the Times online, Fastly’s servers can send it directly to the browser. In some cases, Fastly serves up to 90 percent of browser requests. E-commerce companies like Stripe and Ticketmaster are also big users of the service. They appreciate Fastly because its network of servers enabl...

Verified Expert Brand Designer: Ramotion

Ramotion is a remote branding and product design agency that has worked with Bay Area tech startups since 2014. While they typically do branding for funded, fast-growing startups, Ramotion has helped companies ranging from Bitmoji’s early brand identity to Mozilla’s rebrand. We spoke to Ramotion’s CEO Denis Pakhaliuk about their iterative approach, his favorite branding projects, and more.   Ramotion’s branding philosophy: “We are a big fan of starting small: designing a small package, releasing it, and then iterating on top of that. So, founders need to be focused on what’s really necessary right now for their next round of investment or product releases.” On common founder mistakes: “I think some founders think they need everything, but they actually need an MVP and product design....

How do you hire a great growth marketer?

Julian Shapiro Contributor Share on Twitter Julian Shapiro is the founder of BellCurve.com, a growth marketing agency that trains you to become a marketing professional. He also writes at Julian.com. More posts by this contributor How do you hire a great growth marketer? How do startups actually get their content marketing to work? Editors Note: This article is part of a series that explores the world of growth marketing for founders. If you’ve worked with an amazing growth marketing agency, nominate them to be featured in our shortlist of top growth marketing agencies in tech. Startups often set themselves back a year by hiring the wrong growth marketer. This post shares a framework my marketing agency uses to source and vet high-potential growth candidates. With it, early-stage sta...

ProcessOut improves payment data visualization

ProcessOut has grown quite a lot since I first covered the startup. The company now has a ton of small and big clients, from Glovo to Vente-Privée and Dashlane. The company has become an expert on payment providers and payment analytics. The core of the product remains the same. Clients sign up to get an overview on the performance of their payment systems. After setting up ProcessOut Telescope, you can monitor payments with expensive fees, failed payments and disappointing payment service providers. And this product is quite successful. Back in October 2018, the company had monitored $7 billion in transactions since its inception — last month, that number grew to $13 billion. The company is adding new features to make it easier to get insights from your payment data. You can now customize...

6 Keys To Turning Your Failures Into Business Success

Mark Cuban image via Flickr by jdlasica  We all have had setbacks in business – the challenge is learn from each one to improve skills and decision making, rather than let failures get you down and reduce your chances of ever achieving success. The best entrepreneurs and business owners have experienced failure multiple times before bouncing back to a level of achievement they only dreamed of. For example, most people don’t realize many billionaires, including Mark Cuban, Jack Ma, and Richard Branson experienced multiple business failures before becoming recognized business leaders. According to the well-known motivational speaker and writer Steve Harvey, Warren Buffett said that he would not invest in any business where the owner hasn’t failed at least twice. I found some real practi...

Uber’s self-driving car unit raises $1B from Toyota, Denso and Vision Fund ahead of spin-out

Uber’s has confirmed it will spin out its self-driving car business after the unit closed $1 billion in funding from Toyota, auto-parts maker Denso and SoftBank’s Vision Fund. The development has been speculated for some time — as far back as October — and it serves to both remove a deeply-unprofitable unit from the main Uber business: helping Uber scale back some of its losses, while giving Uber’s Advanced Technologies Group (known as Uber ATG) more freedom to focus on the tough challenge of bringing autonomous vehicles to market. The deal values Uber ATG at $7.25 billion, the companies announced. In terms of the exact mechanics of the investment, Toyota and Denso are providing $667 million with the Vision Fund throwing in the remaining $333 million. The deal...

Index Ventures, Stripe back bookkeeping service Pilot with $40M

Five years after Dropbox acquired their startup Zulip, Waseem Daher, Jeff Arnold and Jessica McKellar have gained traction for their third business together: Pilot. Pilot helps startups and small businesses manage their back office. Chief executive officer Daher admits it may seem a little boring, but the market opportunity is undeniably huge. To tackle the market, Pilot is today announcing a $40 million Series B led by Index Ventures with participation from Stripe, the online payment processing system. The round values Pilot, which has raised about $60 million to date, at $355 million. “It’s a massive industry that has sucked in the past,” Daher told TechCrunch. “People want a really high-quality solution to the bookkeeping problem. The market really wants this to ...

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