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Month: June 2019

10 Keys To A Startup Surviving The First Five Years

The “valley of death” is a common term in the startup world, referring to the difficulty of covering the negative cash flow in the early stages of a startup, before their new product or service is bringing in revenue from real customers. I often get asked about the real alternatives to bridge this valley, and there are some good ones I will outline here. According to my experience and a this Motley Fool article, the challenge is very real, with around half of all new businesses no longer existing after five years. The problem is that professional investors (angels and venture capitalists) want a proven business model before they invest, ready to scale, rather than the more risky research and development efforts. My first advice for new entrepreneurs is to pick a domain that doesn’t have th...

Cozycozy is an accommodation search service that works with hotels and Airbnb

French startup Cozycozy.com wants to make it easier to search for accommodation across a wide range of services. This isn’t the first aggregator in the space and probably not the last one. But this time, it isn’t just about hotels. When you plan a trip with multiple stops, chances are you end up with a dozen tabs of different services — on Airbnb to look at listings, on a hotel review platform and on a hotel booking platform. Each service displays different prices and has a different inventory. While there are a ton of services out there, most of them belong to just three companies: Booking Holdings (Booking.com, Priceline, Kayak, Agoda…), Expedia Group (Expedia, Hotels.com, HomeAway, Trivago…) and TripAdvisor (TripAdvisor, HouseTrip, Oyster…). They all operate many different services in o...

The IPO’d learn investing at First Round’s Angel Track

Startups depend on the angel lifecycle. A few flush post-exit individuals put the first cash into a fresh venture. With some skill and plenty of luck, the early team grows the company into a big success. It sells or goes public and those team members earn a fortune. They then pay it forward by investing in the next generation of startups. If they hoard their spoils they starve the early-stage ecosystem or leave founders stuck with dumb money from non-strategic financiers. If they redistribute their winnings, they can influence startup culture by deciding what, and more importantly, who gets funding. But how does a co-founder or VP learn to be a mini-VC? That’s the goal of First Round Capital’s Angel Track, a free three-month workshop series in San Francisco and New York for lea...

How a martial arts gym trained me to build an inclusive culture

Ken Kao Contributor Share on Twitter Ken is an engineering manager at Airbnb building products that enable entrepreneurs to provide hospitality on the platform. Outside of work he enjoys Muay Thai, Pekiti Tirsia Kali (Filipino sticks & knives fighting), cooking, and writing. A wave of unease immediately swept through my body. Constant puffing and growling echoed around me as heavily-tattooed fighters threw forceful punches into the heavy bags. This was the scene I encountered when I stepped into Five Points Academy, a martial arts fighting gym in New York, for the first time a few years ago. Having grown up in a sheltered environment — the last time I had gotten into a fight was in kindergarten — I wasn’t sure I would fit in. Emily, one of the instructors, immediately introduced hersel...

Startups at the speed of light: Lidar CEOs put their industry in perspective

As autonomous cars and robots loom over the landscapes of cities and jobs alike, the technologies that empower them are forming sub-industries of their own. One of those is lidar, which has become an indispensable tool to autonomy, spawning dozens of companies and attracting hundreds of millions in venture funding. But like all industries built on top of fast-moving technologies, lidar and the sensing business is by definition built somewhat upon a foundation of shifting sands. New research appears weekly advancing the art, and no less frequently are new partnerships minted, as car manufacturers like Audi and BMW scramble to keep ahead of their peers in the emerging autonomy economy. To compete in the lidar industry means not just to create and follow through on difficult research and engi...

10 Ways To Make Your Business Memorable With A Story

The entrepreneur’s challenge is to effectively communicate their value proposition, not only to customers, but also to vendors, partners, investors, and their own team. Especially for technical founders, this is normally all about presenting impressive facts. But in reality facts only go so far. Stories often work better, because humans don’t always make rational decisions. Most people care the most about the things that touch, move, and inspire them. They make decisions based on emotion, and then look for the facts that support these decisions. Thus it behooves every entrepreneur to learn how to craft stories from their personal experience and the world at large that make an emotional connection, as well as tie in the facts. I like the point from the classic book “Tell to Win: Connect, Pe...

Rocket Lab successfully launches seventh Electron rocket for ‘Make It Rain’ mission

Private rocket launch startup Rocket Lab has succeeded in launching its ‘Make It Rain’ mission, which took off yesterday from the company’s private Launch Complex 1 in New Zealand. On board Rocket Lab’s Electron rocket (its seventh to launch so far) were multiple satellites flow for various clients in a rideshare arrangement brokered by Rocket Lab client Spaceflight. Payloads for the launch included a satellite for Spaceflight subsidiary BlackSky, which will join its existing orbital imaging constellation. There was also a CubeSat operated by the Melbourne Space Program, and two Prometheus satellites launched for the U.S. Special Operations Command. Rocket Lab had to delay launch a couple of times earlier in the week owing to suboptimal launch conditions, but yester...

Startups Weekly: What’s next for WeWork?

Hello and welcome back to Startups Weekly, a weekend newsletter that dives into the week’s noteworthy startups & venture capital news. Before I jump into today’s topic, let’s catch up a bit. Last week, I wrote about scooter companies struggling to raise cash. Before that, I noted my key takeaways from Recode + Vox’s Code Conference in Scottsdale, Arizona. Remember, you can send me tips, suggestions and feedback to kate.clark@techcrunch.com or on Twitter @KateClarkTweets. If you don’t subscribe to Startups Weekly yet, you can do that here. I’m sure you’re familiar with the co-working behemoth WeWork at this point but if not, here’s a quick primer: The real estate business posing as a “tech startup” offers office spaces to individuals and companies acr...

Google finance head joins Postmates board ahead of anticipated IPO

Google’s vice president of finance, has joined Postmates’ board of directors, the latest sign that the on-demand food delivery startup is prepping to take the company public. Postmates announced Friday that Kristin Reinke, vice president of Finance at Google, will join the San Francisco startup as an independent director. Reinke has been with Google since 2005. Prior to Google, Reinke was at Oracle for eight years. Reinke also serves on the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco’s Economic Advisory Council. Her skill set will come in handy as Postmates creeps towards an IPO. Earlier this year, the company lined up a $100 million pre-IPO financing that valued the business at $1.85 billion. Postmates is backed by Tiger Global, BlackRock, Spark Capital, Uncork Capital, Founders Fun...

Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes to stand trial in 2020

Elizabeth Holmes, the founder of the now-defunct biotech unicorn Theranos, will face trial in federal court next summer with penalties of up to 20 years in prison and millions of dollars in fines. Jury selection will begin July 28, 2020, according to U.S. District Judge Edward J. Davila, who announced the trial will commence in August 2020 in a San Jose federal court Friday morning. Holmes and former Theranos president Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani were indicted by a grand jury last June with 11 criminal charges in total. Two of those charges were conspiracy to commit wire fraud (against investors, and against doctors and patients). The remaining nine are actual wire fraud, with amounts ranging from the cost of a lab test to $100 million. According to Bloomberg, Holmes’ legal team plans to ...

Facebook SDK bug crashes apps like Timehop

A malfunction in Facebook’s Software Development Kit that lets apps add Login With Facebook, sharing, and other features is causing apps that integrate it like Timehop to repeatedly crash. TechCrunch received a tip that developers were getting tons of user complaints and crash reports starting around noon pacific today due to a problem with the Facebook for iOS SDK. TechCrunch’s testing verified that products like Timehop, Joytunes’ Simply Piano, Momento GIFs, and more keep breaking when users access Facebook features or in some cases just open the app. This is a big issue for Facebook because it relies on these apps to drive user lock-in. If people use Facebook to log into or share from other apps, they’re less likely to delete their account. But if the Facebook de...

How startups can make influencer marketing work on a budget

Ishveen Anand Contributor Ishveen is the CEO+Founder of OpenSponsorship.com, a marketplace she founded after her experiences being a successful sports agent, to bring transparency and affordability to the sports marketing industry, namely between brands and athletes. Influencer Marketing has ballooned into a $25 billion industry, yet many marketing managers are left confused by this, because for them, it’s really not delivering the results to justify the hype. Here’s the thing. Influencer marketing is not a one-size-fits-all marketing strategy such as Facebook or Adwords advertising. Each company needs to take a closer look at what influencer marketing can achieve, where it falls down, and how you can do a better job with this latest form of marketing that delivers, on average, $6.50 of va...

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