Forbes Under 30 Summit Asia: The Startups On Show At This Year’s Summit

From robots to rockets, footwear to wearables, the startups at this year’s Forbes 30 Under 30 Asia summit are breaking new ground in their respective industries all across the continent. Here’s just a handful of those that featured.
Forbes – Startups

Doist founder Amir Salihefendic explains why his remote team doesn’t try to do everything in real time

Does working from home have to mean sitting in a chatroom all day or always being available for a video call?

Real-time chat and video platforms are great for building camaraderie and maintaining a sense of connection with remote teams, but when you need to focus for a few hours, it can be tough to tune out the endless GIFs and notifications.

Some of the most successful fully remote companies (like GitLab, or Zapier) have promoted the benefits of asynchronous communication — a fancy way of saying that not every conversation needs to happen in real time. Your server is down? You probably need to have that conversation now. Brainstorming a new feature? That might work best when everyone has a bit more time to think between responses. The key is acknowledging the strengths of both synchronous and asynchronous communications — and finding the right mix.

Doist co-founder Amir Salihefendic has been an async advocate for years. After leading a team spread around the globe to build popular task management tool Todoist, he set out to build Twist, a tool specifically built for conversations that deserve a longer shelf life.

I chatted with Amir last week to hear his thoughts on the strengths and weaknesses of both approaches, how he balances the two (and handles emergencies) and why he has focused heavily on making async a part of his company’s culture. Here’s a transcript of our chat, lightly edited for clarity and brevity.

TechCrunch: How big is Doist now?

Amir Salihefendic: I think we are about 73 people spread around 30 different countries now. [We’re on] most of the continents around the world.

Why’d you go remote in the first place? What made you make that call?

Startups – TechCrunch

Bradley Tusk on starting a company and seed investing in the coronavirus era

Bradley Tusk has carved a unique path in the VC investment landscape: A longtime political and communications operative, he has built a track record for Tusk Ventures by going after highly regulated industries, rather than shying away from them.

Whether it is ride-hailing, sports betting, cannabis or myriad other regulated sectors, Tusk takes the approach that laws are ultimately malleable, and if a service is popular, its users can mobilize to effect change.

Given his unique perspective, it was great to have him join us this week in an Extra Crunch Live call — our new initiative here at TechCrunch to bring tech-world thought leaders right to your screens.

In our conversation, Tusk talked about edtech, telemedicine, cannabis, mobile voting, biotech, pandemics and the future of regulated industries in this dastardly economic environment. We’ve transcribed a handful of his answers to our and our readers’ questions and have embedded the entire video below the fold.

We’ve edited his written answers for clarity and brevity.

Startups – TechCrunch

Global Hexamethylenediamine Market 2020 by Top key Companies – ETHICON, BASF, E. I. DU PONT DE NEMOURS, Toray Industries – NJ MMA News

Global Hexamethylenediamine Market 2020 by Top key Companies – ETHICON, BASF, E. I. DU PONT DE NEMOURS, Toray Industries  NJ MMA News
“nigeria startups when:7d” – Google News

Is Mailchimp GDPR Compliant

Hi All

Just having a read through of this article on Medium regarding some issues with GDPR compliance for businesses using Mailchimp for email marketing.

I appreciate that the article is a couple of years out of date (May 2018), however, I wonder if anybody can provide some guidance on whether Mailchimp is GDPR compliant now, and if not what areas are lacking GDPR compliance?

From having a look on their site they list a couple of things which aren't GDPR compliant, however, I am still not all that clear on how that pertains to my particular situation.

For reference, I will have a landing page, whereby people can sign up to receive a weekly newsletter type thing, which I had planned to do via Mailchimp. I appreciate I will need to have a form on their landing page whereby people give their consent in line with GDPR regulation so as I can then use their emails addresses to send the newsletter to, however in the original article on Medium linked above, this is an area highlighted as not being GDPR compliant.

Can anybody shed any light on the situation from their personal experience? In the case that Mailchimp is not great for GDPR compliance, can anybody recommend an alternative?

Many thanks in advance for your responses.

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Startups – Rapid Growth and Innovation is in Our Very Nature!

When You’re Distracted At Work – Be Ashamed Of Yourself

Ditch all productivity apps and start controlling your mind again. One ingredient for a huge productivity increase is a good dose of harsh self-criticism. Because let’s face it: If you’re unable to fully focus for a few hours a day, you’re a sad pathetic loser and should be ashamed of yourself.
Forbes – Startups

Sales startup People.ai lays off 18% of staff, raises debt round amid COVID-19 uncertainty

Another startup has turned to downsizing and fund raising to help weather the uncertainty around the economy amid the global coronavirus health pandemic. People.ai, a predictive sales startup backed by Andreessen Horowitz, Iconic, Lightspeed and other investors and last year valued at around $ 500 million, has laid off around 30 people, working out to about 18% of staff, TechCrunch has learned and confirmed.

Alongside that, the company has quietly raised a debt round in the “tens of millions of dollars” to make strategic investments in new products and potentially other moves.

Oleg Rogynskyy, the founder and CEO, said the layoffs were made not because business has slowed down, but to help the company shore up for whatever may lie ahead.

“We still have several years of runway with what we’ve raised,” he noted (it has raised just under $ 100 million in equity to date). “But no one knows the length of the downturn, so we wanted to make sure we could sustain the business through it.”

Specifically, the company is reducing its international footprint — big European customers that it already has on its books will now be handled from its U.S. offices rather than local outposts — and it is narrowing its scope to focus more on the core verticals that make up the majority of its current customer base.

He gave as an example the financial sector. “We create huge value for financial services industry but have moved the functionality for them out to next year so that we can focus on our currently served industries,” he said.

People.ai’s software tracks the full scope of communication touch points between sales teams and customers, supposedly negating the tedious manual process of activity logging for SDRs. The company’s machine learning tech is also meant to generate the average best way to close a deal — educating customer success teams about where salespeople may be deviating from a proven strategy.

People.ai is one of a number of well-funded tech startups that is making hard choices on business strategy, costs and staffing in the current climate.

Layoffs.fyi, which has been tallying those losing their jobs in the tech industry in the wake of the coronavirus (it’s based primarily on public reports with a view to providing lists of people for hire), says that as of today, there have been nearly 25,000 people laid off from 258 tech startups and other companies. With companies like Opendoor laying off some 600 people earlier this week, the numbers are ratcheting up quickly: just seven days ago, the number was just over 16,000.

In that context, People.ai cutting 30 may be a smaller increment in the bigger picture (even if for the individuals impacted, it’s just as harsh of an outcome). But it also underscores one of the key business themes of the moment.

Some businesses are getting directly hit by the pandemic — for example, house sales and transportation have all but halted, leaving companies in those categories scrambling to figure out how to get through the coming weeks and months and prepare for a potentially long haul of life and consumer and business behavior not looking like it did before January.

But other businesses, like People.ai, which provides predictive sales tools to help salespeople do their jobs better, is (for now at least) falling into that category of IT still in demand, perhaps even more than ever in a shrinking economy. In People.ai’s case, software to help salespeople have better sales conversations and ultimately conversions at a time when many customers might not be as quick to buy things is an idea that sells right now (so to speak).

Rogynskyy noted that more than 90% of customers that are up for renewal this quarter have either renewed or expanded their contracts, and it has been adding new large customers in recent weeks and months.

The company has also just closed a round of debt funding in the “tens of millions” of dollars to use for strategic investments.

It’s not disclosing the lender right now, but it opted for debt in part because it still has most of its most recent round — $ 60 million raised in May 2019 led by Iconic — in the bank. Although investors would have been willing to invest in another equity round, given that the company is in a healthy position right now, Rogynskyy said he preferred the debt option to have the money without the dilution that equity rounds bring.

The money will be used for strategic purposes and considering how to develop the product in the current climate. For example, with most people now working from home, and that looking to be a new kind of “normal” in office life (if not all the time, at least more of the time), that presents a new opportunity to develop products tailored for these remote workers.

There have been some M&A moves in tech in the last couple of weeks, and from what we understand People.ai has been approached as well as a possible buyer, target and partner. All of that for now is not something the company is considering, Rogynskyy said. “We’re focused on our own future growth and health and making sure we are here for a long time.”

Startups – TechCrunch

[TechSee in The Verge] Verizon is launching a tool to help you troubleshoot tech issues remotely

Verizon is launching a new tool to help customers troubleshoot issues remotely, the company announced today. The tool should allow Verizon to support customers without requiring a field technician to step inside their home.

Read more here.

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