Would love to hear your advice…

Back in March I created a working breadboard version of my product. Zoom ahead to today and I now have that breadboard on a printed circuit board (rev 3 of the pcb, sigh… the first two revs turned into asian paper weights, but I learned a lot in the process) with a 3d printed enclosure.

I'm a totally rookie at this so here's what I was thinking for next steps, would love to hear your advice.

1.) Get product in front of people. I have five working prototypes so I'm hoping to sprinkle them around town where I live.

2.) Watch people use the product and collect feedback.

3.) If all goes well, manufacture more and see if I can turn this into a business. To date only a hand full of people have seen the product but for each person who has seen it, it gets rave reviews so I hopeful I have a winner on my hands. 😀

This is kinda where I come off the rails. I'm an engineer at my core and the business side gets a bit lost on me. Should I incorporate, then open bank account, then pound the pavement to see if I can sell my product. Any thoughts or suggestions would be great!

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

Public investors stay in love with tech, as Root and Affirm file to IPO

Editor’s note: Get this free weekly recap of TechCrunch news that any startup can use by email every Saturday morning (7 a.m. PT). Subscribe here.

Why are there so many tech IPOs right now? Startups are finding that they can get higher valuations from public markets than private ones these days, because so many public investors want to put serious money in tech. Also, the lure of the future, the benevolence of the Fed, the retail investor boom, the sheer number of unicorns that have been waiting for any decent moment to go, the new ways a company can go public… these are some of the reasons Alex Wilhelm found after reviewing the latest listings and quarterly data about tech in public markets.

Various political and economic turmoils threaten to end the run, but the impact to the startup world has arrived. Consider it for a minute before the newsletter dives into stocks, SPACs, emerging industries and other useful startup news.

From this IPO boom, there’ll be another wave of startup employee wealth flooding into adjacent real-world spaces, but spread more broadly outside of the Bay Area than the days of Facebook and Twitter IPOs. Some of those employees will become investors and maybe founders, and the now-public startups will replace those positions with big-company people. The dynamics around tech hiring will be further reshaped in surprising new ways, all combined with the other changes happening like remote work.

Today, if you’re founding a startup now, you can now confidently chart new ways to build your company long-term that previous generations of founders could barely imagine.

This coming decade, we might see a startup go public that raises from pre-seed rolling funds first, pulls in newly legalized crowdfunding, matches with the right VCs from among the thousands that have are operating these days — or perhaps the startup raises debt because it’s doing that well. It could stay private as long as it wants using the various financing and secondary market possibilities that have been figured out over the last decade. Then, when it is ready to go public, it could choose between traditional options, the perfect SPAC and a direct listing, and keep the shareholder pool in favor of the true believers who have been with the company over the course of the journey.

This current group of IPOs also demonstrates something else. Tech is no longer defined as some profitless, highly valued consumer tech startup in San Francisco. It can come from anywhere, it can solve practical problems, it can make real money, and it can keep building and growing — provided you’re okay with some ongoing risk. No wonder public markets like tech these days.

Take a look at Root Insurance, an insurtech unicorn that has already helped define the Columbus, Ohio startup scene. It’s a “startup Rorscach test,” as Alex details this week about its new IPO filing. “You can find things to like (improving adjusted margins! revenue growth!), and you can find things to not like (spiraling losses! negative margins!) very easily.”

Here’s more from the Extra Crunch article:

It appears that the tailwind that many insurance providers have seen during COVID-19 has provided Root with a nice boost (driving fell during the pandemic, leading some insurance providers to return premiums.) Root is taking advantage of the moment by filing when it can show sharply improved economics.

That’s smart. But how do those improved economics bear out in traditional accounting? Let’s find out:

  • Root’s revenue has skyrocketed from $ 43.3 million in 2018 to $ 290.2 million in 2019. In the first half of 2020, Root managed $ 245.4 million in revenue, up 135.73% from what it managed in the first half of 2019.
  • Root’s losses have also shot higher, from a net loss of $ 69.1 million in 2018 to $ 282.4 million in 2019. The startup has managed to consistently lose more money over time. This was also true more recently, when its H1 2020 net loss of $ 144.5 million dwarfed its H1 2019 loss of $ 97.0 million.

The other filing this week is for Affirm, which provides a point-of-sale credit for customers (without all the tricks of credit cards). It’s also a symbol of how innovation works across the decades, for those future founders who are studying the IPO experiments of unicorns today.

The company is a high-flying unicorn with a practical purpose from serial entrepreneur Max Levchin, who has also helped shape the concept of the modern startup — from cofounding Paypal and making numerous angel investments over the years, to Slide, a profitless, highly valued consumer tech company in San Francisco a decade ago. It’s not widely understood outside of tech, Slide and other social media companies helped pioneer the growth and engagement techniques that subsequent startups applied across SaaS, e-commerce, fintech and real-world sectors. Today, Root and Affirm and many of the other companies in this era of IPOs are standing on the lessons of those years.

Image Credits: Getty Images

SPAC growing pains

Special Purpose Acquisition Companies are sure to provide valuable lessons, as a growing group of startups use these investment vehicles to ease into public markets. Here’s the latest look at the action, starting with this disturbing quote that Connie Loizos got from one expert this week.

According to Kristi Marvin, a former investment banker who now runs the data site SPACInsider, she’s having, and hearing about, conversations with a much wider range of people interested in launching SPACs than in past years — and not all of them are necessarily equipped to manage the vehicles.

“You ask, ‘Have you ever acquired a company for $ 500 million or more? Do you have operating experience in the vertical that you’re targeting? Do you understand the reporting requirements involved?’ Often,” she says, “the answers are no.”

That was in the context of a controversial former Uber executive starting a SPAC; Connie also looked at gender representation in this emerging slice of high finance. Like other parts of that world, the people involve are almost entirely men (which is also continuing to be the case in startup funding, actually, Alex reports).

Meanwhile, Catherine Shu examined how troubled electric vehicle startup Faraday Futures is approaching SPAC plans, while Alex took a closer look at the challenges and opportunities facing Opendoor.

micromobility-ebikes-scooters

Image Credits: Getty Images

The future of mobility

Our annual conference on mobility and the future of transportation happened online this year, which means we have lots of easily accessible conference coverage to share for readers (and for Extra Crunch subscribers). Here are a few key headlines to help you focus your clicks:

What micromobility is missing

Quarantine drives interest in autonomous delivery, but it’s still miles from mainstream

Transportation VCs suggest frayed US-China ties will impact mobility markets (EC)

GettyImages 1063730694

Image Credits: Getty Images

Investor Surveys: APIs, Helsinki and Amsterdam

“I am surprised at how open companies are to a SaaS API for something as critical as cybersecurity,” Skyflow founder Anshu Sharma explains about the explosion of SaaS companies, and specifically API service providers like his company. “While I have spent over a decade in SaaS including some very large deals during my time at Salesforce, the scope of the projects by large companies including banks and healthcare companies is simply beyond what was a possibility just a few years ago. We have truly moved from ‘why SaaS’ to a ‘why not SaaS’ era.” Alex and Lucas Matney surveyed a range of top investors and founders in this exploding niche, and you can read the full thing on Extra Crunch.

Elsewhere in investor surveys, Mike Butcher checked out the Helsinki startup scene and has another about Amsterdam in progress.

Across the week

TechCrunch

Nobel laureate Jennifer Doudna shares her perspective on COVID-19 and CRISPR

Podcast advertising has a business intelligence gap

Standing by developers through Google v. Oracle

Dear Sophie: Now that a judge has paused Trump’s H-1B visa ban, how can I qualify my employees?

A clean energy company now has a market cap rivaling ExxonMobil

Extra Crunch

Understanding Airbnb’s summer recovery

Accel VCs Sonali De Rycker and Andrew Braccia say European deal pace is ‘incredibly active’

4 sustainable industries where founders and VCs can see green by going green

Six favorite Techstars startups ahead of its next rush of demo days

To fill funding gaps, VCs boost efforts to find India’s standout early-stage startups

#EquityPod

From Alex:

Hello and welcome back to Equity, TechCrunch’s venture capital-focused podcast (now on Twitter!), where we unpack the numbers behind the headlines.

This week Natasha was on vacation, so Danny and your humble servant had to endeavor alone. She’s back next week, so we’ll be back to full strength as a collective soon enough.

But even with a depleted hosting crew, we had a mountain of news to get through. And to joke about, as Danny was in the mood for a laugh. Here’s the rundown:

That was a lot. We did our best. Hugs and chat with you next week!

Equity drops every Monday at 7:00 a.m. PT and Thursday afternoon as fast as we can get it out, so subscribe to us on Apple PodcastsOvercastSpotify and all the casts.

Startups – TechCrunch

A Love Letter to our CLUB members

This article is visible for CLUB members only. If you are already a member, but you don’t see the content of this article, please login here. If you’re not a CLUB member yet, but you’d like to read members-only content like this one, have unrestricted access to the site and benefit from many additional perks, you can sign up…

This content is for members only. Visit the site and log in/register to read.

EU-Startups

Sula Vineyards to cash on Singapore’s new love for home wining and dining amid Covid-19 outbreak – ETRetail.com

Sula Vineyards to cash on Singapore’s new love for home wining and dining amid Covid-19 outbreak  ETRetail.com
“nigeria startups when:7d” – Google News

Startups Weekly: The TechCrunch List reveals investors who founders love to work with

Editor’s note: Get this free weekly recap of TechCrunch news that any startup can use by email every Saturday morning (7am PT). Subscribe here.

We’re pleased to kick off this week’s newsletter by sharing an important new project: The TechCrunch List. It’s a database of investors who have shown a commitment to first checks and leading rounds from seed through growth, based on founder recommendations we’ve received as well as learnings from our own research.

Our goal is to quickly help founders talk to the investors who are serious about writing them checks when they need it most. You can filter by industry vertical, round size and location to find the best people for you. Today you’ll see 391 investors based on more than 1,200 recommendations across 23 main verticals. Since launch on Tuesday, we’ve received another 600 recommendations and counting fast, so we’ll be providing another big update next week.

My colleague Danny Crichton, who leads the project, has written up an FAQ for people who want to know more about the methodology, or how they might submit a recommendation. For Extra Crunch subscribers, he also put together a list of the 11 investors who have had the most positive recommendations, and an explainer about why certain investors earn great ‘founder NPS’ scores.

Now stop reading this for a minute and check it out.

Brad Feld

Image Credits: Dani Padgett / StrictlyVC

Brad Feld on how to influence your odds of success

Connie Loizos caught up with long-time VC Brad Feld of Foundry Group, who has a new book out about startup ecosystems. Some of it is theoretical, as you can read about in the full interview, but Feld connects his points to more tactical advice. Here’s a great example:

TC: Your new book talks about complex systems. How do founders balance the need to manage these complex systems with the fact that controlling these complex systems is sometimes out of their hands?

BF: The first step is getting rid of the notion that you can control the systems, and instead focus on what you can influence [because] in the context of what you can influence, that starts to become a place to focus where you put your energy.

An example of this would be in the current moment. If you have existing investors, and if you have not asked your existing investors directly how much money they have reserved for you for future financings and what you need to do to get that money from them, you’re not focusing on what you can influence.

The worst thing your investor can do is say, ‘I’m not going to tell you that.’ But if your investor is really on your side and wants to see you be successful, it’s likely your investor will say, ‘All right, well, you know . . .’ There might be some wishy-washy [talk] and [dollar] ranges and non-committal language, but you’ll at least have a frame of reference whether that’s zero dollars, a little bit of money, or a lot of money. And you can start to understand, ‘Well, what do we need to do given this moment?’

Edtech goes back to school

Natasha Mascarenhas surveyed eight leading edtech investors for Extra Crunch about the latest changes happening in the space, especially as its importance has grown during the pandemic. “Investors differed on which subcategories benefitted the most,” she writes, “but it’s clear that the pandemic didn’t lift up the entirety of the edtech space. One investor noted that the pandemic made them even less interested in ISAs, while other venture capitalists noted how valuable the financing instrument is now, more than ever before.” She also took a look at a flurry of acquisitions happening globally in the vertical.

(Photo by Pat Greenhouse/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

A pledge to support international students

The Trump administration backed down from forcing international students to leave the country if their courses went online-only this week, shortly after being sued by some leading universities and 17 state attorneys general. Following the push against most worker visas and other anti-immigration measures, everyone affected expects more problems. To that end, resident TechCrunch immigration legal expert Sophie Alcorn cofounded a new effort to support international students. Here’s more detail:

We proudly announce the Community for Global Innovation (CFGI), a movement centralizing how companies and individuals around the world can stand in solidarity with international students and the belief that everybody deserves a chance to succeed. CFGI is a constellation of top startups, VCs, professionals, nonprofits, international students and grads. We pledge to support international students, create awareness and effect change.

Through the platform, companies take the CFGI Pledge to support international students: ‘If you’re international, no problem. In our team, everybody has a chance.’ We also teamed up with Welcoming America, a leading U.S. nonprofit, accepting donations to make the U.S. more inclusive toward immigrants and all residents. We’re actively seeking the support of volunteers, corporate donors and community members such as international startup founders who know it’s time to share their stories.

An immersive chat future

Podcasting, social audio and virtual reality are combining into a potentially new trend, Lucas Matney writes for Extra Crunch this week. “As audio-centric platforms garner investor interest, virtual reality founders of old are trying to push 3D audio as the next evolution, presenting the tech in a way that looks entirely different from today’s voice chat platforms. Though some of these efforts have been in the works for a while, the fledgling platforms are a lot more interesting, as social efforts like Clubhouse take flight and investors continue to eat up audio startups.” Top early examples so far include High Fidelity and Teooh. 

Around TechCrunch

Ready, set, network! CrunchMatch is now open for Early Stage 2020

Everything you could possibly want to learn about fundraising will be covered at TC Early Stage

Marketing, PR and brand building, oh my! TechCrunch Early Stage goes down July 21 and 22

Here’s your chance to meet with Sequoia’s partners at TC Early Stage

Sign up for next week’s Pitchers & Pitches competition on 7/23

TechCrunch talks virtual events and event technology

Learn how to build a company that puts profits and users first, and VCs last, at Disrupt 2020

Bumble founder Whitney Wolfe Herd is coming to Disrupt 2020

Emily Heyward will teach you how to make your brand awesome at TC Early Stage

Across the week

TechCrunch

US beat China on App Store downloads for first time since 2014, due to coronavirus impact

China Roundup: Tech giants take stance on Beijing’s data control in Hong Kong

Legal clouds gather over US cloud services, after CJEU ruling

India smartphone shipments slashed in half in Q2 2020

Equity Monday: India’s digital economy attracts ample attention, three funding rounds and earnings season

Extra Crunch

Extension rounds help some startups play offense during COVID-19

How Thor Fridriksson’s ‘Trivia Royale’ earned 2.5M downloads in 3 weeks

Investors are browsing for Chromium startups

As companies accelerate their digital transitions, employees detail a changed workplace

An unsurprising wave of video-focused startups is trying to make video calls better

#EquityPod

From Alex Wilhelm:

Hello and welcome back to Equity, TechCrunch’s venture capital-focused podcast, where we unpack the numbers behind the headlines.

This week was full of news of all sorts, but as we recorded, both Danny and Natasha “not Tash” Mascarenhas were still locked out of their Twitter accounts after a proletariat revolution on the social platform saw the ruling Blue Checkmark Class forced into silence. That’s not really what happened, but it sounds better than what actually went down at Big Social.

Anyway, Twitter accounts or not, the three of us gathered to parse through a wave of news:

It was a lovely time and there is a bit of show news. Namely that Equity is coming back to YouTube either this week or the next. So if you want to see us talk, soon you will be able to! Again!

Oh, and follow the show on Twitter. If you can, that is.

Equity drops every Monday at 7:00 a.m. PT and Friday at 6:00 a.m. PT, so subscribe to us on Apple PodcastsOvercastSpotify and all the casts.

Startups – TechCrunch

Hot to filter out bad advice from people without being too in love with your own ideas?

Basically the title. I work on a project/startup that I sometimes show people, and of course everyone has advices.

Some were good but I only saw it after some time, some were bad and I wasted my time.

I wanna make sure I don't rule out ideas because I am too in love with parts of my startup, and yet not take bad advice and waste time on it. I know it is very case specific, so even commenting what you think and if you felt it too is appreciated.

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

Nigerians’ love for cryptocurrencies on the rise, as it offers cheaper ways to transfer funds – Nairametrics

Nigerians’ love for cryptocurrencies on the rise, as it offers cheaper ways to transfer funds  Nairametrics
“nigeria startups when:7d” – Google News

COVID-19 may have cancelled our wedding day, but we turned it into launch day. My fiancé and I are launching a product on Product Hunt on our supposed to be wedding day this Sunday, May 24. Would love any advice/tips/support for having a successful ProductHunt launch. Thanks Reddit!

Hi reddit! So my fiancé and I were supposed to be getting married this Sunday May 24, but we had to change plans due to COVID-19. This is unfortunate, be we turned lemons into lemonade! With this extra time, we were able to create a business together. As my fiancé is a dentist (and soon to be medical doctor as well…he really loves school haha), we decided to create a teeth whitening product geared for brides to be (anyone can use the product though!). We are launching on Product Hunt this Sunday and could use any advice/support possible. As we are both healthcare workers, we are extremely new to the startup game and welcome all suggestions. Thanks reddit!

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

Today we’re launching on Product Hunt and we’d love your support and feedback 🚀

Hi guys,

If you are a blogger using WordPress and looking to build a bigger audience, this might help you.

My name is Max Limsukhawat, Co-founder of BuildBubbles. We’re focusing on helping you reach more audience by converting your existing WordPress blog post into a podcast episode, because, more people are blogging than ever. But at the same time, more people today prefer to listen rather than read. So, we thought: What if bloggers could offer a way for people to listen to their content?

In just 3 easy steps and a few minutes, You will have a compelling podcast. It is easy. No microphone or expensive studio equipment required!

Today we're launching on Product Hunt, and we'd love your support and feedback 🚀

Thank you very much.

https://www.producthunt.com/posts/buildbubbles

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