GoSite snags $40M to help SMBs bring their businesses online

There are 12 million small and medium businesses in the U.S., yet they have continued to be one of the most underserved segments of the B2B universe: That volume underscores a lot of fragmentation, and alongside other issues like budget constraints, there are a number of barriers to building for them at scale. Today, however, a startup helping SMBs get online is announcing some significant funding — a sign of how things are changing at a moment when many businesses have realised that being online is no longer an option, but a necessity.

GoSite, a San Diego-based startup that helps small and medium enterprises build websites, and, with a minimum amount of technical know-how, run other functions of their businesses online — like payments, online marketing, appointment booking and accounting — has picked up $ 40 million in funding.

GoSite offers a one-stop shop for users to build and manage everything online, with the ability to feed in up to 80 different third-party services within that. “We want to help our customers be found everywhere,” said Alex Goode, the founder and CEO of GoSite. “We integrate with Facebook and other consumer platforms like Siri, Apple Maps and search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing and more.” It also builds certain features like payments from the ground up.

The Series B comes on the back of a strong year for the company. Driven by COVID-19 circumstances, businesses have increasingly turned to the internet to interact with customers, and GoSite — which has “thousands” of SMB customers — said it doubled its customer base in 2020.

This latest round is being led by Left Lane Capital out of New York, with Longley Capital, Cove Fund, Stage 2, Ankona Capital and Serra Ventures also participating. GoSite is clearly striking while the iron is hot: Longley, also based out of San Diego, led the company’s previous round, which was only in August of this year. It has now raised $ 60 million to date.

GoSite is, in a sense, a play for more inclusivity in tech: Its customers are not companies that it’s “winning” off other providers that provide website building and hosting and other services typically used by SMBs, such as Squarespace and Wix, or GoDaddy, or Shopify.

Rather, they are companies that may have never used any of these: local garages, local landscapers, local hair salons, local accountancy firms, local dentists and so on. Barring the accounting firm, these are not businesses that will ever go fully online, as a retailer might, not least because of the physical aspect of each of those professions. But they will need an online presence and the levers it gives them to communicate in order to survive, especially in times when their old models are being put under strain.

Goode started GoSite after graduating from college in Michigan with a degree in computer science, having previously grown up around and working in small businesses — his parents, grandparents and others in his Michigan town all ran their own stores. (He moved to San Diego “for the weather,” he joked.)

His belief is that while there are and always will be alternatives like Facebook or Yelp to plant a flag, there is nothing that can replace the value and longer-term security and control of building something of your own — a sentiment small business owners would surely grasp.

That is perhaps the most interesting aspect of GoSite as it exists today: It precisely doesn’t see any of what already exists out there as “the competition.” Instead, Goode sees his purpose as building a dashboard that will help business owners manage all that — with up to 80 different services currently available — and more, from a single place, and with minimum need for technical skills and time spent learning the ropes.

“There is definitely huge demand from small businesses for help and something like GoSite can do that,” Goode said. “The space is very fragmented and noisy and they don’t even know where to start.”

This, combined with GoSite’s growth and relevance to the current market, is partly what attracted investors.

“The opportunity we are betting on here is the all-in-one solution,” said Vinny Pujji, partner at Left Lane. “If you are a carpet cleaner or house painter, you don’t have the capacity to understand or work with five or six different pieces of software. We spoke with thousands of SMBs when looking at this, and this was the answer we heard.” He said the other important thing is that GoSite has a customer service team and for SMBs that use it, they like that when they call, “GoSite picks up the phone.”

Startups – TechCrunch

5 Financing Sources for New Businesses

Many new entrepreneurs start their businesses with funds from their own personal savings, or by getting friends and family to help them get off the ground. But that’s not an option for everyone. What do you do then?

Your first inclination is probably to try to get a bank loan. But it can be very difficult for a brand new business to get a small business loan from a bank. Traditional lenders often require at least two years’ time in business, and steady or growing revenues for that time period. Good credit scores (personal and/or business) are also often a must. Without a solid history of sales, it can be challenging to get lenders to take a chance on your startup.

Some banks and credit unions will finance startups, and some even offer SBA loans to new businesses, but generally when they do make those loans, they go to founders who already have extensive business experience, or experience in their specific field (such as a veterinarian opening a new practice).

That doesn’t mean you’re out of luck if you’re looking for startup capital.


StartupNation exclusive discounts and savings on Dell products and accessories: Learn more here

Here are five financing options for novice entrepreneurs to consider when looking for startup capital:

  1. Credit cards

After personal savings, friends and family, credit cards are one of the most popular sources of capital for young businesses. Why? Because most card issuers (even those that issue small business credit cards) will consider income from all sources (not just business income) and make decisions largely based on that income along with the owner’s personal credit scores.

The ideal time to get a small business credit card can be when you still have a day job providing income you can list on the application. But if you’re already out on your own, you may list other income available to pay the debt, including income from a spouse or partner who will pay the bills if your business cannot.

A couple of credit cards with generous credit limits can rival the amount of financing you’d get from a bank line of credit. Pay close attention to interest rates, though, and take advantage of low-rate offers if you’re going to carry a balance. And of course, watch your spending like a hawk so you don’t wind up with debt you can’t repay.

  1. Trade credit

Trade credit, or credit from suppliers or vendors, should be on every serious entrepreneur’s radar. Getting credit on net terms, such as net 30 (meaning payment is due 30 days from the invoice date) can be a great way to not only improve cash flow, but also builds business credit.

Vendors that report to business credit agencies can provide a big boost to your business credit scores. Most vendors don’t charge interest, but you may give up a discount for prompt cash payments.


Related: In a Financial Rut? Here’s How 3 Creative Business Owners Mastered Money

  1. Equipment leasing

Don’t assume you have to fork over cash to buy the equipment your business will need when you’re starting out. You may be able to lease it, instead. Everything from IT equipment to trucks may be leased.

There are a variety of different types of leases, but a couple of the most popular are:

  • An operating lease (or “fair market” lease), where you lease the item for a period of time and then either purchase it for its fair market value, upgrade to new equipment or return the equipment.
  • A capital lease (or “$ 1 buyout” lease) where you own the equipment but make payments for the term of the lease. At the end of the lease you can purchase it for a nominal sum, often $ 1. This type of leasing may offer tax advantages, so it’s worth discussing with your accountant.

Some equipment sellers offer leases to buyers or partner with companies that do. In other cases, you will work with an equipment leasing broker to find the best lease for your situation and qualifications.

  1. Crowdfunding

Crowdfunding involves raising money from people you know as well as those you don’t, typically through an online platform.

There are four main types of crowdfunding:

  • Rewards: If you’re offering a product or service, you may be able to get people to buy into your product by offering them an early version of your product or another reward (such as merch).
  • Equity: Raise up to $ 1.07 million by selling shares in your company via Regulation Crowdfunding. (Note that some offerings involve convertible notes or debt instead of shares).
  • Debt: Borrow money that you will pay back. For larger loans, you may need to go the Regulation Crowdfunding route. But if you just need a small amount to get started, consider a platform like Kiva, where you can raise up to $ 15,000 in the U.S. at zero percent interest. Your initial backers will likely be friends and family, but after that, your campaign can appear to the entire platform of 1.6 million lenders who lend through this non-profit simply because they want to help small businesses succeed.
  • Donor: Popularized by GoFundMe, this fundraising method involves getting donations from individuals who don’t expect to be paid back. While donor-based crowdfunding has helped many businesses during the pandemic, it’s not as popular as a source of startup funding. Still, if you have a compelling case for using donor crowdfunding to get your business off the ground, you may consider this option.

Regardless of which type of crowdfunding you choose, you’ll likely need to get your campaign started by first getting people you know to pitch in. That means you’ll need a way to reach prospective backers, whether that’s by email or on social media. A solid marketing campaign is a must. Check out this helpful webinar about crowdfunding from SCORE.org.


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  1. Retirement funding

You can withdraw funds from retirement accounts to start a business, but make sure you understand whether you’ll need to pay taxes on that money, as well as any penalties for early withdrawals that may apply.

Another option is the Rollover for Business Startup (ROBS). With one of these programs, you use retirement funds in a specific way to pay for startup business costs. It can be popular with business owners going into capital intensive or high-risk businesses where they can’t secure other financing. But be careful: the IRS has very specific rules for those who use these plans, and if you run afoul of them you may have to pay taxes and penalties.

The post 5 Financing Sources for New Businesses appeared first on StartupNation.

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Freelancing is ‘very valuable’ to businesses now more than ever: chief economist – Yahoo Canada Finance

Freelancing is ‘very valuable’ to businesses now more than ever: chief economist  Yahoo Canada Finance
“nigeria startups when:7d” – Google News

Amazon launches IP accelerator in Europe to help small businesses protect their brands & tackle counterfeit

Amazon

A huge number of sellers on Amazon creates a breeding ground for intellectual property violations, counterfeiting and other illegal activities. As a result, the company has received a lot of flake about these issues, even in the media. 

However, to mitigate these problems, Amazon has introduced various programs like IP Accelerator, Brand Registry, and much more. Recently, Amazon expanded its Intellectual Property Accelerator (IP Accelerator) programme in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Netherlands, and the United Kingdom. 

IP Accelerator programme

This IP Accelerator makes it easy for small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) to obtain trademarks, protect their brands, and tackle counterfeit goods. Amazon launched the IP Accelerator programme last year keeping small business owners in mind in the United States. Since the launch, Amazon has connected SMBs with participating IP law firms, resulting in 6,000 trademark applications submitted to the US Patent and Trademark Office.

The e-commerce giant has selected participating IP law firms based on their experience, expertise, and customer service. Over one hundred trademark experts across Europe have signed up for the program.

Connected with European law firms with expertise in IP rights. 

According to the company, IP Accelerator, which is available to any brand selling in Amazon’s stores, connects entrepreneurs directly with a curated network of European law firms with expertise in IP rights. 

However, the participating law firms will charge fees to SMBs at competitive, pre-negotiated rates, giving sellers confidence and clarity about how much obtaining a trademark will cost them. Besides, SMBs can also seek general IP advice from these law firms as their brands and businesses grow.

Moreover, the company claims that the larger businesses are four times more likely than SMBs to register their Intellectual Property (IP) rights. Well, the reason behind this is the complexity of the process, particularly for entrepreneurs in the early stages of setting up a business.

IP rights are vital for businesses wanting to stop unauthorised parties from using their brands or copying their ideas. Notably, owning IP can also create new sources of revenue, in case if the entrepreneur wishes to license their goods or services to third parties.

Businesses using IP Accelerator will also get access to Amazon’s wider brand protection services months or even years before their trademark registration is officially issued. Amazon’s Brand Registry provides SMBs with powerful tools that help them manage and protect their brand and IP rights in Amazon stores. Brand Registry is a free service, and more than 350,000 brands are already enrolled.

Participants benefit from Amazon’s automated protections that use information about brands to proactively remove suspected infringing or inaccurate content.

Pippa Hall, director of Innovation and chief economist from the UK’s Intellectual Property Office, says: “Great ideas are the core of every good business. Turning those ideas into a reality relies on IP. Understanding, protecting and getting the most out of your IP is a crucial ingredient of success. A good IP strategy should sit at the heart of every good business plan.”

Main image credit: Amazon

Startups – Silicon Canals

Noah Ibrahim launches Mentorship Initiative to help young entrepreneurs build skills to scale businesses – Vanguard

Noah Ibrahim launches Mentorship Initiative to help young entrepreneurs build skills to scale businesses  Vanguard
“nigeria startups when:7d” – Google News

Is it possible to raise money for eCommerce businesses

It's my understanding that most investors are looking for tech companies with patentable technology. Is it possible to raise money for simple eCommerce platforms / marketplaces?

I built an MVP and then decided to quit my job and launch the product during quarantine–it seemed timely as the suppliers of the marketplace I was targeting were adversely affected by the lockdown. I was able to get some sales (demonstrating market validation), and am now now working on repeating the process, however it is moving considerably more slowly than I anticipated. Note: I'm a one-man team, with a couple of guys (one engineer) and one friend who I contract a tiny amount of work out to. I'm also an engineer.

I'm wondering if it's even worth my time to attempt to fundraise or if I should return to work and continue to bootstrap.

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

The Most Promising Early-stage Businesses in the Space-tech Sector across Africa – iAfrica.com

The Most Promising Early-stage Businesses in the Space-tech Sector across Africa  iAfrica.com
“nigeria startups when:7d” – Google News

The Most Promising Early-stage Businesses in the Space-tech Sector across Africa – iAfrica.com

The Most Promising Early-stage Businesses in the Space-tech Sector across Africa  iAfrica.com
“nigeria startups when:7d” – Google News

WJR Business Beat with Jeff Sloan: Best Practices for Keeping Businesses and Employees Safe During COVID-19 (Episode 145)

As business owners, we are faced with the daunting challenge of keeping our staff and customers safe during this crisis. To help us understand how to do just that, John Ezzo, president and CEO of New Image Building Services, offers us his valuable insight and guidance.

Tune in to today’s WJR Business Beat to hear John’s expert tips!

“So, with those things combined, the physical social distancing, the touchpoint cleaning, the readily-accessible disinfection materials, and most importantly, the access control, is providing a safe environment for the folks to return to the office and be productive.”

– John Ezzo

Tune in to News/Talk 760 AM WJR weekday mornings at 7:11 a.m. for the WJR Business Beat. Listeners outside of the Detroit area can listen live HERE.

Are you an entrepreneur with a great story to share? If so, contact us at editor@startupnation.com and we’ll feature you on an upcoming segment of the WJR Business Beat!

WJR Business Beat Transcript

Good morning.

As business owners, we are faced with the daunting challenge of keeping our staff and customers safe during this crisis. To help us understand how to do just that, our good friend, John Ezzo, president and CEO of New Image Building Services, offered us valuable insight and guidance into how to do just that.

John, keeping our offices clean in the past might’ve been about appearances, but today it’s really about health and safety. And given that providing a safe environment is a weakest link equation, can you break down for us some of the best practices that we need to deploy?

Good question, Jeff. Best practices are, the first line of defense is good access control. Lots of our clients are using like an app on the phone for people to answer health screening questions and travel questions and so forth, and then get the green light cleared for entrance. When they enter the building, they have their temperature taken, of course, depending on their systems so that the client always knows who’s in the building, what time they came in, what time they left.

And then second of all is a comprehensive program of disinfection. Touch points, your door entrances, the coffee machines, reception desk.

Another good best practice is providing stations throughout the buildings where people can obtain disinfectant wipes or a spray bottle of disinfectant and disposable wipes to clean their work surface that they want to, or their phone or their computer keyboard, their mouse.

In addition to that, most of our clients are having us go through and do a deep clean and disinfection of the workstations once or twice per week.

So, with those things combined, the physical social distancing, the touchpoint cleaning, the readily-accessible disinfection materials, and most importantly, the access control, is providing a safe environment for the folks to return to the office and be productive.

Great advice. John Ezzo, president and CEO of New Image Building Services. Thank you, John.

I’m Jeff Sloan, founder and CEO of StartupNation.com, and that’s today’s Business Beat on the Great Voice of the Great Lakes, WJR.

The post WJR Business Beat with Jeff Sloan: Best Practices for Keeping Businesses and Employees Safe During COVID-19 (Episode 145) appeared first on StartupNation.

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