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Latin America Roundup: XP’s chart-topping IPO, Wildlife becomes a unicorn, SoftBank backs Konfio

Sophia Wood Contributor Share on Twitter Sophia Wood is a principal at Magma Partners, a Latin America-focused seed-stage VC firm with offices in Latin America, Asia and the U.S. Sophia is also the co-founder of LatAm List, an English-language Latin American tech news source. More posts by this contributor Latin America roundup: Neobanks raise $205M+; Softbank backs VTEX Latin America Roundup: Uber acquires Cornershop, SoftBank invests in Buser and Olist December has been a strong month for Brazilian startups, bringing a big IPO and a new unicorn for local companies. Tech-driven investment firm XP Investimentos went public on the U.S. Stock Exchange in mid-December, raising $1.81 billion in the fourth-largest IPO of 2019. XP’s stock price jumped 30% on its first day of trading, from $27 pe...

Mining Metal: Top 10 Underground Metal Albums of 2019

“Mining Metal” is a monthly column from Heavy Consequence writers Joseph Schafer and Langdon Hickman. The focus is on noteworthy new music emerging from the non-mainstream metal scene, highlighting releases from small and independent labels — or even releases from unsigned acts. Thank you for sticking with Mining Metal for the past eight months. The opportunity to share the riches of the metal underground with the Consequence of Sound readership is a rare one, not lost on us. Overall, 2019 has marked one of the strongest years for heavy metal, in terms of diversity and quality. Now as the ride coasts into the gate to reset and prepare for 2020, we offer our collective Top 10 Underground Metal Albums of 2019. The list is presented in alphabetical order, unranked. We voted for but opted not ...

Who will the winners be in the future of fintech?

Nik Milanovic Contributor Share on Twitter Nik Milanovic is a fintech and financial inclusion enthusiast, with a decade of work across mobile payments, online lending, credit and microfinance. More posts by this contributor Fintech’s next decade will look radically different Libra’s critics are missing the forest for the trees So what happens when fintech ‘brings it all together’? In a world where people access their financial services through one universal hub, which companies are the best-positioned to win? When open data and protocols become the norm, what business models are set to capitalize on the resulting rush of innovation, and which will become the key back-end and front-end products underpinning finance in the 2020s? It’s hard to make forward-looking predictions that weath...

Just because it’s legal, it doesn’t mean it’s right

Polina Arsentyeva Contributor Share on Twitter Polina Arsentyeva, a former commercial litigator, is a data privacy attorney who counsels fintech and startup clients on how to innovate using data in a transparent and privacy-forward way. Companies often tout their compliance with industry standards — I’m sure you’ve seen the logos, stamps and “Privacy Shield Compliant” declarations. As we, and the FTC, were reminded a few months ago, that label does not mean that the criteria was met initially, much less years later when finally subjected to government review. Alastair Mactaggart — an activist who helped promote the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) — has threatened a ballot initiative allowing companies to voluntarily certify compliance with CCPA 2.0 to the still-unformed agency. Whil...

Negotiate for ‘better’ stock in equity-funded acquisitions

Timothy R. Bowers Contributor Share on Twitter Timothy R. Bowers is the Managing Partner of VLP Law Group LLP. Andrew P. Dixon Contributor Share on Twitter Andrew P. Dixon serves as Counsel with VLP Law Group LLP. For many founders, building and selling a successful venture-backed company for cash is the ultimate goal. However, the reality is that some companies will instead receive an equity-funded acquisition proposal in which equity of another private venture-backed company, rather than cash, represents all or a significant portion of the purchase price. Because all equity is not created equal, it is important for founders to understand how to negotiate for better equity in the context of such an acquisition proposal. This article explores what better equity looks like and some strategi...

The unbrandening

Josh Gross Contributor Share on Twitter Josh Gross is the managing partner at digital product studio Planetary and its child company, Regular, the low-cost, high quality studio for small businesses. Do you remember as a kid going to the grocery store with your parents and being just totally overwhelmed by the bright, loud packaging of products on shelf after shelf, aisle after aisle? I certainly do. Each product had a brand — you’d recognize the Kix by its bright red box and Tide by its loud orange bottle. Every package screamed its brand name at you. Branded packaging as we know it hasn’t been around that long. While people have been packaging goods for millennia, trademarked printed boxes, tins and shrink-wrapped containers were only invented in the late 1800s — less than 150 years ago, ...

How startups close their first big sales

Joe Procopio Contributor Share on Twitter Joe Procopio is a multi-exit, multi-failure entrepreneur. Joe is currently building Spiffy, and previously sold Automated Insights, sold ExitEvent and built Intrepid Media. More posts by this contributor When to ditch that nightmare customer (before they kill your startup) No matter what your startup sells or who you’re selling it to, companies that survive — and grow — need big customers and lots of them. But how do you land million-dollar deals with limited resources and no credibility? In more than 20 years of building companies and products, I’ve learned that in the grand scheme of the startup lifecycle, while you scale your way through growth to eventual sustainability and success, acquiring your first customer is relatively easy. Any good sal...

How 2020 can be a tipping point for women in STEM

Adriana Gascoigne Contributor Share on Twitter Adriana Gascoigne is founder and CEO of the global nonprofit Girls in Tech, which is dedicated to empowering, educating and mentoring women in the technology industry. As we welcome 2020 with ambitions set high for greater diversity and inclusion in the workforce, it provides us with an opportunity to reset our goals for the year ahead. Girls in Tech is committed to leveling the playing field for women in STEM, helping tens of thousands of individuals every year achieve their greatest professional potential. I founded the organization more than a decade ago after I — as the lone female executive working at a Silicon Valley startup — endured daily discrimination and harassment simply because of my gender. Out of the helplessness grew a passion ...

Brand power vs. product power

David Friend Contributor Share on Twitter David Friend is the CEO of cloud storage company Wasabi, and co-founder of cyber security company Carbonite, recently bought for $1.4 billion. Wasabi is his sixth startup. More posts by this contributor The herd sours on unprofitable unicorns again Most tech companies — particularly B2B companies — either don’t understand the power of a brand, or do a really poor job of creating one. An informal survey of a dozen of my young CEO friends showed that, given the choice, 10 out of 12 — 83% — would rather spend an extra dollar on product development than brand-building. It is dangerous (or at least foolish) to assume that the ROI on product development is greater than the ROI on brand building. As a serial entrepreneur and CEO, I have had to make this c...

When and how to build out your data science team

Ganes Kesari Contributor Share on Twitter Ganes Kesari is a co-founder and head of analytics at Gramener. He helps transform organizations through advisory in building data science teams and adopting insights as data stories. Increasingly, startups across the spectrum are looking to artificial intelligence (AI) to help them solve business problems and drive efficiency. The numerous benefits of building AI capability in  your startup shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone — in fact, the advantages for business are so far-reaching that PwC predicts that AI will add $15.7 trillion to the global economy by 2030. Contrary to popular belief, successfully implementing AI to drive impactful decisions requires a diverse team with expertise in several skill sets. Launching your AI journey is no simp...

The last decade in real estate, and a peek into the next one

Allen Miller Contributor Share on Twitter Allen Miller is a principal at Oak HC/FT based in San Francisco. He’s excited by bold entrepreneurs building great companies across categories, especially in fintech. More posts by this contributor 2019 looks to continue another lights-out year for fintech startups Financial technology startups emerged as serious challengers to financial services in 2017 As we barrel towards the start of a new decade, it’s amazing to think about the ongoing transformation within real estate. In the U.S., housing’s contribution to our GDP is ~15-18% spread across residential transactions, construction and housing services (i.e. rent, utilities, insurance, etc.) For the average homeowner, their primary residence is the biggest component of their net worth. And ...

Is Facebook dead to Gen Z?

Olivia Moore Contributor Share on Twitter Olivia Moore is a venture investor at CRV and co-founded Cardinal Ventures alongside her sister, Justine. More posts by this contributor After a breakout year, looking ahead to the future of podcasting What VidCon means for the future of social media platforms Justine Moore Contributor Share on Twitter Justine Moore is a venture investor at CRV and co-founded Cardinal Ventures alongside her sister, Olivia. More posts by this contributor After a breakout year, looking ahead to the future of podcasting What VidCon means for the future of social media platforms The writing is on the wall for Facebook — the platform is losing market share, fast, among young users. Edison Research’s Infinite Dial study from early 2019 showed that 62% of U.S. 12–34 year-...

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