Column

Know your startup’s value so you can communicate it to investors

Blair Silverberg Contributor Share on Twitter Blair Silverberg is co-Founder and CEO of Capital, a financial services company using technology to accelerate the fundraising process. Prior to founding Capital, Blair was a principal investor at Draper Fisher Jurvetson where he sourced and managed venture investments during his four-year residency. I’ve always told companies that investors have a much easier job than they do. To be good at their jobs, investors have to know how to do math and make decisions. As a business owner, you have to do both while also running your business. The math piece can seem cumbersome, but it’s vital for understanding whether your company is creating or destroying value. A few simple metrics can demonstrate to investors the health and viability of your company,...

Decide which type of investor to target for raising capital

David Teten Contributor Share on Twitter David Teten is a Venture Partner with HOF Capital. He was previously a Partner for 8 years with HOF Capital and ff Venture Capital. David writes regularly at teten.com and @dteten. More posts by this contributor Should you raise equity venture capital or revenue-based investing VC? Why are revenue-based VCs investing in so many women and underrepresented founders? I recently wrote Should you raise venture capital from a traditional equity VC or a Revenue-Based Investing VC? Since then, I’ve talked with a number of other firms and greatly expanded my database: Who are the major Revenue-Based (RBI) Investing VCs? That said, venture capital is just one of many options to finance your business, typically the most expensive. The broader question is, what...

The AI stack that’s changing retail personalization

Sowmiya Chocka Narayanan Contributor Sowmiya Chocka Narayanan is Co-founder and CTO at Lily AI, a leading AI platform helping brands & retailers understand individual customer’s emotional context. Prior to joining Lily AI, Sowmiya helped to build Box and worked on numerous projects at Yahoo! and Pocket Games. Consumer expectations are higher than ever as a new generation of shoppers look to shop for experiences rather than commodities. They expect instant and highly-tailored (pun intended?) customer service and recommendations across any retail channel. To be forward-looking, brands and retailers are turning to startups in image recognition and machine learning to know, at a very deep level, what each consumer’s current context and personal preferences are and how they evolve. But whil...

D2C companies deliver customer delight and simplicity

Ashwin Ramasamy Contributor Share on Twitter Ashwin Ramasamy is the cofounder of PipeCandy, which provides algorithm-generated insights and predictions about ecommerce and D2C companies. His company helps investors, banks, tech firms and governments understand the global ecommerce landscape. @Ashwinizer More posts by this contributor The different playbooks of D2C brands Waiting for the right professional network As the holiday season approaches, I can feel the tension in the air: how do I make my gifts stand out? Thankfully, there are so many fun direct to consumer (D2C) categories — from bath salts to plants, to even organic fertilizer. A New York City-based VC firm once asked us, “there are so many products that are getting launched in the direct to consumer route. It’s good...

Relocating Indonesian capital will impact nation’s startup ecosystem

Hugh Harsono Contributor Hugh Harsono is a former financial analyst currently serving as a U.S. Army officer. More posts by this contributor Why the world’s first smart highway will most likely be in China Why the future of Chinese e-commerce is in its rural areas Recently reelected, Indonesian President Joko Widodo announced a desire to move the nation’s capital from Jakarta to the East Kalimantan region, citing environmental concerns, the most exigent of these being the fact that Jakarta is literally sinking due to the uncontrolled extraction of groundwater. Widodo said he wished to separate Indonesia’s government from its business and economic hub in Jakarta. However, what would a move from Jakarta do to Indonesia’s burgeoning startup economy? Shifting administrative governmental ...

I ran digital ads for a presidential campaign, and Twitter is right to ban them

Aaron Bartnick Contributor Share on Twitter Aaron Bartnick (@AaronBartnick) served as Digital Director for Congressman Seth Moulton’s presidential campaign. He is currently completing graduate studies at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. As the digital director for Congressman Seth Moulton’s 2020 presidential campaign, I was responsible for everything the campaign did on the internet: the emails you claim to hate, the videos we hoped would go viral, the online infrastructure that supported organizers in the field, and more. But our biggest investment of both time and money, by far, was in digital advertising. For our campaign and many others, digital ads were the single biggest expense outside of payroll. Yet these ads are terrible for campaigns, toxic for democracy and are even ba...

Banning digital political ads gives extremists a distinct advantage

Jessica Alter Contributor Share on Twitter Jessica Alter is co-founder and chairman of Tech for Campaigns, an organization building the lasting tech and digital arm for Democrats and has helped over 200 campaigns on this front since 2017. Jack Dorsey’s announcement that Twitter will no longer run political ads because “political messages reach should be earned, not bought” has been welcomed as a thoughtful and statesmanlike contrast to Mark Zuckerberg’s and Facebook’s greedy acceptance of “political ads that lie.” While the 240-character policy sounds compelling, it’s both flawed in principle and, I fear, counterproductive in practice.  First: like it or hate it, the U.S. political system is drowning in money. In 2018, a non-presidential year, it is estimated that over $9B was spent on the...

Corporate, public investments spur interest in Pacific Northwest startups

Dan Burgar Contributor Share on Twitter Dan Burgar is President of the Vancouver VR/AR Association, where he has helped develop the city’s ecosystem into the second largest VR/AR hub globally. He’s also a partner at Shape Immersive, which creates innovative solutions for top brands and enterprises. Kate Wilson Contributor Share on Twitter Kate Wilson is a Vancouver-based journalist. Previously technology editor at the Georgia Straight, Western Canada’s largest news and entertainment weekly, she has also written for The Independent, BetaKit, BC Business, and others. Cities have always been America’s centers of power, driving the economy forward through competition. But now, they’re ceasing to lead the country’s innovation. As jobs and talent have clustered, expertise has spilled...

There’s no ‘perfect time’ for giving employees feedback

Mayke Nagtegaal Contributor Share on Twitter Mayke Nagtegaal is the COO of MessageBird, an Amsterdam-based cloud communications platform which, in 2017, raised the largest-ever investment — $60 million — by a European software company. As COO of a company with more than 350 employees from 40 different nationalities of all ages who speak 20+ languages, I’ve noticed that everyone likes to know where they stand when it comes to their job performance. Yet, for many managers, giving feedback often falls to the bottom of their priority list. According to Gallup, less than half of employees surveyed said they received feedback even a few times a year. So, if 69% of employees say they would work harder if they felt their efforts were better recognized, implementing more regular feedback practices ...

The first hires are the hardest

Tim Hsia & Neil Devani Contributor Share on Twitter Tim Hsia is the CEO of Media Mobilize and a Venture Partner at Digital Garage. Neil Devani is an angel investor and venture capitalist focused on companies solving hard problems. More posts by this contributor Getting press for your startup: the true role of communications ‘The Operators’: Finance in startups with Duda CFO Stephanie Hsiung and Zeus Living’s Head of Finance Mark Kang Welcome to this edition of The Operators, a recurring Extra Crunch column, podcast and YouTube show that brings you insights and information from inside of tech companies. Our guests are execs with operational experience at both fast-rising startups like Brex, Calm, DocSend and Zeus Living, along with more established companies like AirBn...

Hailing a driverless ride in a Waymo

Ed Niedermeyer Contributor Share on Twitter Ed Niedermeyer is an author, columnist and co-host of The Autonocast. His book, Ludicrous: The Unvarnished Story of Tesla Motors, was released in August 2019. “Congrats! This car is all yours, with no one up front,” the pop-up notification from the Waymo One app reads. “This ride will be different. With no one else in the car, Waymo will do all the driving. Enjoy this free ride on us!” Moments later, an empty Chrysler Pacifica minivan appears and navigates its way to my location near a park in Chandler, the Phoenix suburb where Waymo has been testing its autonomous vehicles since 2016. Waymo, the Google self-driving-project-turned-Alphabet unit, has given demos of its autonomous vehicles before. More than a dozen journalis...

Turning Google traffic into leads, and what’s new in SEO

Julian Shapiro Contributor Share on Twitter Julian Shapiro is the founder of BellCurve.com, the growth marketing team that trains startups in advanced growth, helps you hire senior growth marketers, and finds you vetted growth agencies. He also writes at Julian.com. More posts by this contributor Getting more people to open your emails What’s the right way to sponsor a YouTube influencer? We’ve aggregated 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’re going stay up-to-date on growth marketing tactics — with advice you can’t get elsewhere. Our community consists of 600 startup founders paired with VP’s of growth from later-stage companies. We ...