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Founders Flash: Bank Partnership or Go It Alone?

FinTech startups are increasingly interested in partnering with banks to expand lending in online marketplaces.

Founders Flash: Fitbit Moves to Box Out Apple Watch, Jawbone with Coming IPO

The Flash has long been bullish on the market potential of wearable technology, recognizing that – from watches to glasses – we will all soon be wearing the web. This now-vibrant consumer industry is not just a fashion or fitness statement – it’s also big business. Indeed, The Flash took note at Fitbit’s announcement that it plans to raise nearly $500M from its IPO later this year. We shall see if the first-mover advantage bolsters the SF-based company in its upcoming battles with Apple, Jawbone, Nike and Microsoft…

The Flash also checks in with one of America’s iconic cities – Detroit. Though Motown has had its bumps of late, early sprouts of innovation are starting to shoot. The Flash is a big believer that innovation drives job creation, and the Motor City is looking to prove that with a series of initiatives to lure startup companies and founders.

These and more in this week’s edition of The Flash!

Founders Flash: Spotify Wants to Be a Bigger Part of Your Life…and Scott McNealy’s back!

Here comes the All-Around Entertaining App! The on-demand subscription music service Spotify first won our hearts by giving us access to all the tunes we wanted. Now it’s looking to take on bigger competitors (we’re looking at you, Apple), and is rolling out a new app that seeks to make the company an unlimited source of video and podcasts. The Flash certainly took note of this aggressive move. We also applauded the re-entry of Scott McNealy to the entrepreneurial ring – the former Sun Microsystems CEO (and tech/SV rock star) announced this week that he’s taking the reins at Wayin, a social marketing startup he co-founded five years ago.

The Flash looks at these and other stories. Check it out!

Founders Flash: Uber-rich! $50B Valuation for World’s Most Highly Capitalized Startup

Uber Technologies, the SF-based ride-sharing company, is looking to raise between $1.5B and $2 billion in new funding. What’s the company valuation for that ambitious funding, you ask? Try $50 B-,B-,B- Billion … that’s a lot of unicorns…What will Uber do with all that money? Poach talent, for starters: Google’s PR chief received an offer she couldn’t refuse.

The Flash also kicks back with some longer reads, checking out The New Yorker profile of Silicon Valley giant Marc Andreessen and the California Sunday look at the slew of high school entrepreneurs/dropouts descending on San Francisco.

Check out these stories and more in The Flash!

Founders Flash

Our favorite articles from the week discuss why one startup is giving equity to customers, list the nine largest startup funding rounds of the last 2 years, address game-changing digital advertising trends, and teach how to do a competitive case analysis.

Happy reading!

Founders Flash

Some highlights from this week’s articles:

“The falls of Fab and Aereo underscore the importance of taking some liquidity along the way if you can. It’s good common sense to not have your net worth concentrated in a single, risky, illiquid investment.” – How to Protect Yourself From Your Startup’s Failure, Atish Davda, Inc.

“If you are not passionate about what you are building, you might as well pack up your bags right now, as your startup will never work.” – The Top 4 Reasons Passion Drives Startup Success, George Deeb, Forbes

“Sometimes, investors are so desperate to put money into a company that they’ll cave to a founder’s demands. Other times, offering founders a few million dollars can be a smart way to keep them incentivized.” – Whisper Is A Startup That’s Raised $60 Million — Here’s How Much Money The 26-Year-Old CEO Has Kept For Himself, Alyson Shontell, Business Insider

Founders Flash

Accelerators v. Venture Capital in Early Stage Funding

Accelerators have turned traditional early stage financing on its head by decreasing the costs of starting a new technology business and offering more than just financial support.  In exchange for equity in your business, an accelerator offers not only seed funding, but connections, mentoring, and exposure to a huge number of investors. This shift has given start-ups more power when negotiating with venture capitalists. When an accelerator sends its company to a demo-day, dozens of investors show up to bid, creating an auction-like environment that gives the upper hand to the start-ups.

Read more from “ How Accelerators Have Changed Startup Funding”  (Slate).

Founders Flash

Some highlights from this week’s articles:

“It’s important to have a keen awareness of other players in the field, but it’s far more important to make your own customers happy, because customers will always choose the company that makes them happiest.” – Common Mistakes Founders Make When Sizing Up the Competition, Neil Blumenthal, The Wall Street Journal

“These days, by the time a tech company goes public, the founders tend to own very little of it.” – Why Start-up Founders Happily Give Up 90 Percent Of Their Companies, Julie Bort, Inc.

“Building a business is all about building relationships, and one of the most important elements of a relationship is effective communication. Communication doesn’t happen unless both parties practice the art of effective listening.” – Most Start-up Founders Spend Too Much Time Talking, Martin Zwilling, AlleyWatch

Founders Flash

Some highlights from this week’s articles:

“The first thing to realize is that every partnership is a risk, because your partner can also potentially become a competitor.” – A Closer Look: 5 Crucial Phases of Start-up Growth, Ilan Mochari, Inc.

“At the end of the day, start-up valuations are based on the final value of their exits through mergers and acquisitions or IPOs, and changes in these exit prices have an immediate ripple effect across every decision made in the industry.” – Why Stock Prices Are So Important For Start-ups, Danny Crichton, Tech Crunch

“It’s not just the moment of purchase that matters. To successfully build customer loyalty requires fresh marketing strategies at every phase of the purchase cycle: before, during, and after.” – How Marketers Can Drive Engagement at Every Phase of the Purchase Cycle, Matthew Kates, Econsultancy

Founders Flash

Start-up Financings

Our favorite articles from the week address start-up financing options and strategies. Read more about:

–          Mentally preparing yourself to raise money

–          How to compare equity, debt, and convertibles

–          Why it might be better for your start-up to self-fund