💥 We're launching an online platform that's made for Freelancers to sell their services online. Past couple of months have been spent collecting early access sign-ups (Freelancers/Employers)
We're almost at the point of launching and I'd like to get your thoughts on our approach :
// Platform password protected
Step 1 Send code to approximately 500 freelancers Step 2 Share how to guides + support articles Step 3 #3 Monitor for glitches / offer live support
…..3 Weeks later
Step 4 send code to approximately 150 potential buyers to access website.
Could use your thoughts on the the following🙏
Would you keep the website locked for beta launch ? If not, why ?
Currently, we have mock accounts to simulate the final look of the website with live users. Our thinking is that as a freelancer, you would want to see how a finished profile / service looks like before creating your own. We're taking them off after enough accounts have been created. Good idea ?
We're planning on inviting potential buyers about three weeks after freelancers have signed up. Would Freelancers loose interest waiting or do you think it's a reasonable wait time ?
Any other thoughts would be highly appreciated.
Dawn Belt has been working with top tech companies for two decades, most recently helping commercial electric vehicle company Proterra go public as a SPAC in January.
Now she’ll be joining us at TC Early Stage in April to talk about building a company in 2021, from however you incorporate to however you decide to maybe go public one day.
As a partner at Fenwick & West, a top Silicon Valley law firm, Belt works with startups of all ages, sizes and industries (two of her past IPOs include Facebook and Bill.com). She has also written legal perspectives on a wide range of other topics that startups face, including implications of the CARES Act, board diversity legal requirements and how to manage acquired startups successfully. She also co-authored the firm’s Gender Diversity Survey, an in-depth report on women’s participation at senior levels of public tech companies.
She’ll be at Early Stage to share her experiences old and new, to help you make better decisions now for your company. The talk is part of the two days of events that explore seed and Series A fundraising, recruiting and more for early-stage startups at TC Early Stage – Operations and Fundraising on April 1 & 2. Grab your ticket now before prices increase tomorrow!
Barcelona-based Wallapop, a hyper-local virtual marketplace for buying and selling secondhand goods, has raised €157M in its Series G round of funding. With this financing, the company now valued at €690M.
Investors in this round
The round was led by Korelya Capital, a late-stage investment fund based in Paris, with the backing of Naver, the leading Internet company in Korea.
In addition, the round also saw participation from investors including Accel, Insight Venture Partners, 14W, GP Bullhound, and Northzone.
The company was founded in 2013 by Agustin Gomez, Gerard Olive, and Miguel Vicente. Wallapop is a hyper-local virtual marketplace for buying and selling secondhand goods.
By connecting buyers and sellers, Wallapop wants to encourage more responsible consumption because it can extend the life of the products as well as avoid their overproduction. The platform is present in all categories of consumer goods and, in addition, claims to have set a benchmark in more specific categories such as the motor industry.
According to the company, its geolocation technology connects a community of 15 million users in Spain, enabling them to buy and sell objects that they no longer use. On the platform, with more than 180 million items, users can find items at more affordable prices, while extending their functional life.
New service launched during the pandemic
In 2020, Wallapop launched a home collection service called Envios, by collaborating with a logistics company SEUR, due to the COVID-19 lockdown restriction. This allowed users to sell their second-hand products without leaving home.
And with this service, despite having to pause its operations during the COVID-19 lockdown, the platform experienced a 50 per cent increase in its activity. The company witnessed revenue growth of more than 50 per cent in 2020.
Furthermore, in 2020, the company saw a 240 per cent increase in revenue from Wallapop Shipping on Black Friday and received a total of 17 million visitors during the month of November.
Use of the raised capital
This investment round will allow Wallapop to continue expanding its presence in the Spanish market. The company’s plan for 2021 is to improve its user experience (making it easier than ever to buy and sell second-hand items), evolve in its e-commerce experience through Wallapop Envíos, and continue designing products and services for small businesses and entrepreneurs on its platform.
Wallapop collaborates with NAVER
The company is also collaborating with NAVER – Korea’s leading Internet company. With this partnership, the Spanish company aims to boost its innovation capacity using NAVER’s technology.
This development for Wallapop comes at a time when the Korean tech giant is showing its interest in the European startup ecosystem.
After making pre-seed investments for seven years, I have observed how different the pre-seed stage is from Series A and later-stage investing.
Today, I want to highlight four ideas that are true across different stages of investing.
Venture outcomes are driven by a power law
Power law is an immutable law of the universe. Examples include the distribution of population in cities, price of artwork, and unfortunately, wealth distribution. This law is also known as the Pareto principle, and colloquially known as the 80%-20% rule.
The average manager faces a very real possibility of making no money at all because of how steep the power law curve is.
Venture capital is no exception and the outcomes of every venture portfolio will likely follow a power law distribution. There are two significant things to think about here:
One: Because most startups fail, the distribution is going to have a lot of zeros (or near zeros) in the long tail. The zeros are going to be followed by singles and doubles.
Two: The biggest winners, when they happen, tend to be huge. Unicorns were hard to come by when Aileen Lee penned her now-famous article in 2013. Today, unicorns are no longer as rare and top-tier firms are constructing their portfolio with the goal of funding a decacorn — a company valued at $ 10 billion or higher.
There is nothing mysterious about the power law dynamic in venture. Just like the rich get richer, the biggest companies get bigger.
A startup that reaches $ 10 million in revenue is much more likely to double, double again and then cruise by $ 100 million in revenue versus a startup at the $ 1 million mark now trying to get to $ 10 million.
At scale, everything is different — the resources, the possibilities and access to capital. Of course, even companies that reach very substantial scale may run into obstacles and eventually underperform. But that is not the point.
The point is that the ones that do end up winning and driving all the returns keep doubling and continue getting bigger and bigger.
Hence, the outcomes of the venture portfolio fit a power law curve.
The best managers in the business are distinguished by a few more at the very top of the curve.
The average manager faces a very real possibility of making no money at all because of how steep the power law curve is.
Your fund size is your strategy
There is a piece of feedback that fund of fund managers frequently give to GPs: Your fund size is your strategy.
What they are essentially saying is that a fund’s portfolio construction will depend on how much capital is under management, and vice versa. Why is that?
Let’s take two extreme examples — a manager of a $ 10 million fund and a manager of a $ 1 billion fund. Let’s assume that both managers want to lead rounds. If the first one decided to be a Series A fund, it would be extremely concentrated. It may be able to lead 1-2 rounds, but that’s it. Given the power law nature of outcomes, it would be extremely unlikely for this manager to generate a good return.
The following is adapted from “Fireproof” by Mike Morse
Have you ever wondered why some lawyers excel at attracting and keeping clients? How some have a knack for communicating or consistently make ethical decisions?
The answer is that they have high emotional intelligence. Emotional intelligence is a person’s ability to control, express and interpret emotions. And if you know which of your employees rank well, you can make sure that your best communicators are assigned to people-facing roles.
If you’re wondering how to measure emotional intelligence, there’s good news—you can test for it and make it a regular part of your hiring process. By assessing your employees’ emotional intelligence, you can learn who your best communicators are, who’s most skilled at assessing risks and making ethical choices, and who will help your firm grow and succeed.
Let’s dig into each of these three insights to see how learning about the emotional intelligence of your employees can help you manage your team.
Reveal your best communicators
Your firm’s best communicators are likely to be the people who score the highest in emotional intelligence. They’re sensitive to others’ emotions, and this makes them great friends and colleagues.
Finding these people among your employees or potential hires is especially valuable because according to Ronda Muir, author of “Beyond Smart: Layering with Emotional Intelligence,” lawyers often score below average in emotional intelligence.
In other words, lawyers who excel at reading emotions and communicating are rare. By identifying and hiring candidates with high emotional intelligence, you can gain an advantage over competing firms that lack skilled communicators.
You’ll want to put these employees in roles that directly interact with clients, handle conflict resolution or attract new business.
Evaluate risk assessment and ethical decision-making skills
Assessing for emotional intelligence can also tell you which of your employees are most skilled at risk assessment and making ethical decisions. Who has a natural instinct for avoiding conflicts and judging wrong from right?
According to Muir, “Emotional intelligence skills sharpen our abilities to assess risks, understand which ethical standards are appropriate in a situation, recognize when and how others are making ethical decisions and to deal better with the emotional fallout from our ethical choices, especially when ignoring or acting against personal values, which lawyers may need to do in advocating for clients.”
It’s no coincidence that emotionally intelligent lawyers incur fewer liability costs. That’s because they communicate better, thus sidestepping miscommunications, the number one reason why attorneys are disciplined or sued for malpractice.
Find drivers of your firm’s growth and success
Finally, your law firm stands to benefit from identifying emotionally intelligent employees because those individuals are the ones most likely to win cases and help grow your business.
Studies have shown that attorneys with high emotional intelligence are more successful than those with lower scores. They are better at attracting and keeping clients, for instance, and firms that actively emphasized emotional intelligence training for their lawyers experienced record-setting revenue.
These employees are the ones you’ll want to promote to leadership positions, assign to lead the most lucrative and challenging cases, and act as the public-facing representatives of your firm.
Work to improve emotional intelligence
Let’s say you test all your firm’s employees for emotional intelligence and find them lacking—don’t panic. Emotional intelligence is a skill that can be learned and practiced like any other.
Muir describes many lawyers as being “militantly rational” instead of emotionally aware, but she says they can improve simply by regularly recording how they feel and why they feel that way. She even recommends they watch movies on mute so they are forced to read characters’ emotional cues.
Even if you don’t recruit emotionally intelligent employees right away, you can build them from inside your business.
Prioritize emotional intelligence
As you can see, there is no secret sauce that makes people master communicators. Their advantage is having high emotional intelligence, which is just as crucial in our business as intellect.
By taking steps to identify, hire and train emotionally intelligent employees, you’ll be able to better apply the strengths of your most talented communicators, more accurately assess risks for the firm and empower your strong communicators to drive your firm’s success.
“Fireproof” is now available for purchase and can be purchased via StartupNation.com.
The post 3 Things Testing for Emotional Intelligence Can Reveal About Your Law Firm’s Employees appeared first on StartupNation.
I closed two major rounds of funding for my geothermal energy startup, Dandelion Energy, while pregnant. I did not disclose either pregnancy to my investors during the fundraising process either time. I felt fine doing this, and I believe other founders should feel free to keep their pregnancies private as well if they’d prefer to.
No one would think twice about a male founder who declined to share the details of his health or family status with investors during an initial fundraising meeting. On the contrary, it would be an unusual move for him to do so.
For some context, my co-founder and I spun our startup, Dandelion Energy, out of Alphabet’s X in April 2017 and raised our first small round of outside funding that summer. Our goal was to set up a commercial pilot and start selling and installing heat pumps to demonstrate that our product worked and show that there was demand for affordable geothermal before we raised a larger round. We had to prove that our business was viable.
No one would think twice about a male founder who declined to share the details of his health or family status with investors during an initial fundraising meeting.
That same summer, in 2017, I became pregnant.
As summer turned to fall, I had to figure out how to approach being pregnant while raising Dandelion’s second round of funding. I was lucky to be able to choose whether to tell people I was pregnant because it turned out I didn’t end up looking visibly pregnant until about seven months in, and even then I could dress to make it nonobvious. Without knowing anyone who’d gone through a similar experience, I had to decide how I would handle my status as a pregnant person when speaking with investors.
At first, it worried me that I would be hiding something if I didn’t disclose my pregnancy. But I really didn’t want to. I was a first-time entrepreneur with no real track record. Oh yeah, and I was a woman. And almost all of the investors were men who typically funded men.
Especially early on in a startup’s life, these investors are judging the founder as much as the business. Making an impression is key, and “pregnant” didn’t strike me as accretive in any way to my ability to deliver the type of impression that would lead to investment in my business (I hope this changes over time, but I am being honest about how things seemed to me).
And then there was this: Even if I had decided to tell investors I was expecting, how could I broach the topic in a way that wouldn’t threaten to derail the entire tenor of the meeting? I was meeting most of these people for the first time and had a limited amount of time to spend explaining payback periods and vapor compression refrigeration cycles. It seemed like the best-case scenario was if disclosing pregnancy made the meeting no worse than it would otherwise have been. In no world could I imagine it would be a net positive.
Given all of this, I made the decision to not talk about it. It worked out for me. As soon as I started showing, around seven months in, everyone left their offices for the holidays, and so I was never forced to address what was becoming visibly obvious.
But of course there was a downside to my approach. I would have to tell them eventually, and I’d pushed it off so long that by the time I finally got around to it we basically had to have a conversation like this:
Me: “Some happy news to share: I’m pregnant!”
Investors: “Congratulations! We are so thrilled for you! When’s the due date?”
Me: “Ahhh … Next month.”
Happily, all of them were extremely supportive and gracious when I told them. Their uncomplicated and positive acceptance of the news even made me wonder if all my internal wrangling about whether to tell investors had been unnecessary. I gave birth to my daughter literally one day after the money was wired.
Time passed and it became clear we were ready to raise our next round of funding. Also, I become pregnant again. This time, most of the fundraising happened in the early stages of my pregnancy. Early enough that I hadn’t even really told my friends, so it was obvious to me I wouldn’t be telling investors I was just meeting. After having gone through it once before, it was an easier decision the second time around.
Reflecting on my experience, I do think it helped that I got to know my investors throughout the fundraising process, so by the time I told them I was pregnant, they already knew me and I had already established my credibility as an entrepreneur. Being pregnant was just something going on in my life; it didn’t define who I was to them. That is one advantage of introducing it later: It did not define me because they knew so much else about me by that point.
In many ways, I am a stereotypical founder: I have a CS degree from Stanford, I worked as a PM at Google, I have an engineering background. I have many advantages. Yet, more present in my mind during fundraising were the parts of my identity that seemed atypical, and the primary aspect here was my being a woman.
Because there is so much conversation about how women receive so much less investment, I was worried that being a woman would be a disadvantage, and there’s nothing like being pregnant to highlight in the strongest possible way that you’re a woman.
I now feel lucky to know other founders who have raised money while visibly pregnant, and so I’ve seen firsthand that it’s possible. But it is not something that a pregnant founder should feel obligated to disclose. I hope that it becomes common for women to start businesses and raise capital for those businesses in every stage of their lives, including when they’re pregnant.
Because as soon as the pregnant woman and the guy with the hoodie both seem equally probable as startup founders, it will suddenly matter much less whether to talk about your pregnancy.
The startup that I was part of got acquired (in return for shares of the acquirer) just under a year ago. The CEO informed us at the time that he's planning to ask the board that the employees shares get vested.
And that was it. After the acquisition, we have not received any legal paper or communication from him. He mentioned in a text message to myself once that the board approved the shares vesting but we still don't know our number of shares and what they mean as % of the other company. People have been following up with him and he keeps saying "I'll send you the information once I have the time to do the paperwork and there is no ETA". It's now been almost a year and we are concerned about what it is that's making him not share anything official with us.
Is this normal in the tech startup world?
My biggest concern is the VC's and the founders converted their own shares from one class to another and made our shares worth nothing.