49 Top Stories this week for Startups, Venture and Angel Investors

Venture Trends Newsletter, Issue #6

This newsletter gathers together this week’s most interesting content related to the Venture capital ecosystem. I curate this from my personal reading. I email it as a newsletter on Saturday, Pacific time, each week. There is little or no commentary included, it is the things I found compelling or interesting. There is a free version, and a paid version that includes access to content for paying subscribers only, including 1 on 1 time on request.

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In this week’s issue there are some amazing things to highlight.

  • Marc Andreessen’s secret weapons in finding startup investments
  • Why VCs love SaaS businesses
  • The 100 top Marketplace companies
  • 7 tensions every leader has to navigate
  • Africa and India attracting new Venture investors
  • Ashton Kutcher on lessons of investing early
  • 7 traits of super successful Entrepreneurs
  • 10 Life changing lessons learned from Naval Ravikant of AngelList fame

Shopify joins Facebook’s cryptocurrency Libra Association

1K    TechCrunch / Saved by Keith Teare

The e-commerce platform will become a member of Libra Association, contributing at least $10 million and operating a node that processes transactions for the Facebook-originated stable coin.Shopify stressed that helping merchants reduce fees and bringing commerce opportunities to developing nations as reasons it’s joining the Libra Association .


Progress, Postmodernism and the Tech Backlash

4    alexdanco.com / Saved by Keith Teare

Critics in media, politics, and even in tech itself, who spend all day in the echo chamber, usually overestimate how many people out in the real world actually believe that Silicon Valley internet companies are villains.Modernism is a big idea: it’s a way of looking at the world, thinking and acting in it that subsumed more or less everything happening in the west.


20VC: Twitch Founder & CEO Emmett Shear on When To Persist vs When To Give Up For Entrepreneurs, The Fundamental Tension When Scaling Orgs and How To Optimise Them & How The Role of CEO Fundamentally Changes with Scale

The Twenty Minute VC: Venture Capital | Startup Funding | The Pitch /

Saved by Keith Teare

Before Twitch, Emmett co-founded Kiko, a company he later sold on eBay for 6 figures.2.) Why does Emmett believe starting a startup is like “deciding to take on the burden of Sisyphus?” At what point in the journey does is start to get easier?


The Changing Face of UK VC 2020: Mina Mutafchieva, Dawn Capital – Techworld.com


Saved by Keith Teare

We sat down with Mutafchieva recently to discuss her early experiences and the strategy herself and the Dawn Capital team tend to follow when making investments and promoting diversity and inclusion across the industry.Then Dawn reached out last year [2019], and I thought two things: I finally get a chance to invest in the best companies in Europe in tech and second, I wanted to focus on a B2B only strategy.


Marc Andreessen’s Secret Weapon for Finding Startup Investments

300+    The Information

Saved by Keith Teare

When Lucy Guo pitched Andreessen Horowitz in 2016 on an early funding round for her company, an artificial intelligence startup called Scale, the high-powered venture capital firm passed on the deal.  


Another New Stock Exchange

Points and Figures

Saved by Keith Teare

That includes action at dark pools — exchanges that allow anonymous trades, often between large institutions.However, one needs to understand there is a large difference between the SEC regulated side of the market and the CFTC regulated side.


Is There Much Opportunity for Start-ups in Cross-border Payments?

The Startup – Medium

Saved by Keith Teare

Sparked by my frustrations with trying to pay my friends abroad, this is a brief thought piece on the future of international payments —… Continue reading on The Startup » 


Why VCs Love SaaS Businesses

The Startup – Medium / Saved by Keith Teare

So SaaS companies build their businesses quite efficiently… Now here’s what it looks like when you add other recent (non-software) IPOs to the plot (note: instead of ARR, I used last twelve month revenue).On the chart, companies “below the line” like Domo have had a harder time finding efficient growth, while Zoom (far left, middle of the way up) was actually able to grow to $423M of ARR with negative cash burn (i.e., they had more cash at time of IPO than they raised).


When do Agile practices make little sense?

The Startup – Medium / Saved by Keith Teare

Tools like value mapping process, constraint analysis, system thinking, stock management are necessary to limit waste and produce these one million apple pies quickly.As always when giving this presentation, the first step was to highlight the recurring problems within traditional project management: tunnel effect, delays, cost slippage… However this time, I was surprised to discover that “project” didn’t have the same meaning in the audit sector.


FaceTime with tech’s dual reality

Om Malik on Social Media Pros and Cons / Saved by Keith Teare

The thing is, if you know Moore’s Law and understand the ongoing changes and developments in optical and other networking technologies, the idea of networks in every corner of the world wasn’t farfetched.The Long Boom, an infamous piece published in Wired just three months later, predicted the spread of digital networks “to every corner of the planet” leading to “the great cross-fertilization of ideas, the ongoing, never-ending planetary conversation” that would culminate, by 2020, in “a civilization of civilizations” that would set foot on Mars in species-wide harmony.


These Are Countries Where Startup Funding Is Really Taking Off

400+    Crunchbase News / Saved by Keith Teare

Other global hubs, including Seattle, Bangalore and Beijing, have even shorter track records for startup funding.The post These Are Countries Where Startup Funding Is Really Taking Off appeared first on Crunchbase News .


Every Leader Needs to Navigate These 7 Tensions

22K    Harvard Business Review / Saved by Keith Teare

Richard Drury/Getty Images In recent years, articles have claimed that old-style command-and-control leadership is “out” and a new way of leading is “in.” Instead of telling people what to do, leaders should ask them open-ended questions. 


I Know Everybody Told You to Send Your Fund-Raising Decks as a Link.

Medium / Saved by Keith Teare

I know you have your document sending tool to send your fund-raising deck to VCs and track who read your deck, which pages they read and how much time they spend on each page. I know that you can use an email system with this to track my open rate, whether I forwarded the email, the IP address where I read it, whether I was on a mobile device or a wired computer and you can tell who else read the document. I know all of this because every VC knows this because we’ve all either funded companies that have marketing technology or we’ve seen a pitch with a company that does this.

So while it might seem obvious that you should send it via a link, I’d like to make the counter-argument that it is not an obvious choice. I’ll explain why in this post. First, it’s not the end of the world if you do send links and I feel confident many people will disagree with me but let me at least make the case.

[If you haven’t read the other VC fund-raising posts I’ve done as part of this series you can find the whole outline and this first in the series here.]


“Controversial, I know. But a reminder on why sending your deck is always better than trying to get analytics by sending a link to an online version with tracking https://t.co/1OigtIYXlX”

Twitter / Saved by Keith Teare

Controversial, I know. But a reminder on why sending your deck is always better than trying to get analytics by sending a link to an online version with tracking 


European startups are obsessed with profits – Sifted

24    Sifted / Saved by Keith Teare

David Sainteff, a partner in Paris and Berlin-based seed and growth investor Global Founders Capital, tells Sifted that for him real profits are more important than ever in his investments.“Anxiety about IPOs, exits and bigger rounds in Europe mean founders have been focused on showing solid economics as early as possible,” he says.


Startups Bring Micro Investing To Real Estate

12    Crunchbase News / Saved by Keith Teare

“The best portfolios are diversified, and real estate performs very uniquely, in a way that is uncorrelated to the stock market and bonds… We want to offer the same asset class at a lower price point,” said Janine Yorio, founder and chief executive officer of a New York City-based real estate micro-investment app called Compound , which flips properties at a profit for investors.Self-directed investments have become increasingly popular since the advent of the internet, paralleling the rise of self-directed retirement investments, said Matt Bronfman, chief executive officer of Jamestown Invest , an Atlanta-based micro-investing firm that allows investors to buy shares of commercial real estate in Atlanta.


Required Reading for Marketplace Entrepreneurs

71    Andreessen Horowitz / Saved by Keith Teare

From academics to analysts, startup founders to journalists, these 20 recently published pieces and books helped shape our thinking on the business dynamics, historical context, and future of marketplace companies.Li Jin and Andrew Chen of a16z trace the evolution of marketplace platforms, from listings to verticalized Craigslist models, “Uber for X” companies to managed marketplaces.


The Future of Work is Not so Distant Anymore

4    SaaStr / Saved by Keith Teare

Each year, Owl Labs conducts the State of Remote Work report by surveying thousands of workers — across the United States or across the world — to learn more about emerging remote work trends.One of those trends is the movement towards remote work and distributed teams, which is significantly changing how we communicate and collaborate in the modern workplace.


Founders Fund confirms $3 billion in new capital across two funds – TechCrunch

300+    TechCrunch / Saved by Keith Teare

Founders Fund , the investment firm led by its controversial co-founder Peter Thiel and partners Keith Rabois and Brian Singerman, has closed on $3 billion in new capital across two investment funds, TechCrunch confirmed. The firm’s first growth fund, which raked in $1.5 billion, closed on Monday as well, according to a spokesperson for the investment firm.


Mapped: Visualizing the True Size of Africa

20K    Visual Capitalist / Saved by Keith Teare

Mapped: The True Size of Africa Take a look at any map, and it’s clear that the African continent is a big place. However, despite the common perception that Africa is a large landmass, it’s still one that is vastly underestimated by most casual map viewers. 


Africa-Focused VC Firm Closes $71M Fund To Invest In 12 African Tech Startups – Moguldom

100+    Moguldom / Saved by Keith Teare

Before joining TLcom , Muforo worked as a transaction manager at Horizon Africa Capital Ltd , a boutique M&A firm in Nairobi, and as an investment officer in the private sector department of the African Development Bank based in Tunisia. TLcom plans to use the Tide Africa Fund to invest in around 12 African tech startups over the next 18 months, TechCrunch reports.


China Invests $1.4B Into Indian Startups – pymnts.com

17    pymnts.com / Saved by Keith Teare

Venture capitalists in China are putting record levels of money into tech startups in India, raising questions about the ability of the geopolitical rivals to work cooperatively, the Financial Times (FT) reported on Monday (Feb. 17).In the final quarter of the year, tech startup deals in India that involved China totaled a record $1.4 billion, according to data from research firm Refinitiv .


Announcing Atomico V

46    Atomico: European Venture Capital Firm Partnering With Companies at Series A and Beyond / Saved by Keith Teare

Our latest fund doubles down on our core strategy: to partner with mission-driven European founders at Series A and beyond, where our Growth Acceleration Team of operational partners can best be deployed to help them scale.It’s written into our term sheets and our experienced operational team are here to help our founders build both a world class policy, and accompanying strategy to get them there.


Private equity, VC investments in India hit record high of $48B in 2019: Report – YourStory

35    YourStory / Saved by Keith Teare

Private equity and venture capital investments recorded an all-time high of $48 billion in 2019 in India, according to EY report released on Monday.For the first time in India, the report pointed out that buyouts have emerged as the largest PE/ VC investments deal type, overtaking the growth capital deals and accounting for 34 percent of all PE/VC investments by value in 2019.


The Changing Face of UK VC 2020: Andy Davis, Backstage Capital – Techworld.com

Techworld.com / Saved by Keith Teare

We sat down with early stage investor Andy Davis earlier this year to discuss his journey into the venture capital industry and his experiences working at Arlan Hamilton’s diversity-focused fund Backstage Capital and Atomico.Given that I’ve been around for a long time in the industry I think, how I get treated is a bit different to everyone else because people have known me for ages, they’ve known me before diversity and BAME became themes that they should focus on or care about, or became prevalent to any capacity.


VC: Godlike or Service Industry?

4    Points and Figures / Saved by Keith Teare

The reality is this, it’s more like being a caddy on a golf course.It’s more like being a caddy on a new golf course every time.


The Information’s Turnover List

4    The Information / Saved by Keith Teare

When times are good, tech companies can be talent magnets, attracting the best and the brightest. But lately, some once high-flying companies have lost that allure, prompting an exodus of senior (and junior) people. 


1/ Many founders focus on what they think is product market fit when they really need to strive for a Minimum Viable Company. Recently, Brandless (raised $292M) shut down and it serves as an example of what I talk about here (full version this time).

77    @annimaniac Tweets / Saved by Keith Teare

Many founders focus on what they think is product market fit when they really need to strive for a Minimum Viable Company. Recently, Brandless (raised $292M) shut down and it serves as an example of what I talk about here (full version this time): medium.com/@amk/true-prod… 


India saw record $45 billion venture capital investment in 2019

4    India New England / Saved by Keith Teare

Amid the growing confidence in the Indian market, consumer tech and the BFSI sectors continued to dominate annual investment by value, said Prabhav Kashyap, Manager, Bain & Company, during the Indian Private Equity & Venture Capital Association’s (IVCA) ninth annual conclave here.However, he added that for the industry to grow, the country needs more capital as well as a talent pool.


Tracking China’s astounding venture capital slowdown

100+    TechCrunch / Saved by Keith Teare

Tracking China’s astounding venture capital slowdown Hello and welcome back to our regular morning look at private companies, public markets and the gray space in between. Heading into the new year, it wasn’t known that the coronavirus, known as COVD-19, would shutter much of China, slowing its industrial output, its services industry and more. 


AI witnessed highest number of venture capital investors in 2019, finds GlobalData

InvestorIdeas.com / Saved by Keith Teare

February 18, 2020 (Investorideas.com Newswire) Among all of the emerging technologies, artificial intelligence (AI) attracted the highest number of venture capital (VC) investors during 2019 while big data and internet-of-things (IoT) led in terms of investors-to-idea ratio (number of venture capital investors / number of funded companies) and average deal size, according to GlobalData, a leading and data analytics company.However, AI lagged behind other technologies (including cloud, Fintech, Big Data and IoT) in terms of average deal size and had the second lowest investors-to-idea ratio.


Defining Radical Candor – and How to Do It

8K    Harvard Business Review / Saved by Keith Teare

Kim Scott , a cofounder of the executive coaching firm Radical Candor, says that too many managers give meaningless positive feedback, while many others are highly critical without showing any understanding.Scott, who previously worked at Google and has consulted for Twitter and Dropbox, says leaders should learn to give honest feedback in the moment, while also developing a relationship that shows how the hard feedback is coming from a place of caring.


US Presidential Contender Michael Bloomberg Proposes ‘Clear Regulatory Framework’ for Crypto

1K    CoinDesk / Saved by Keith Teare

Presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg proposed creating a regulatory framework for cryptocurrencies in a new financial regulation plan unveiled Monday.Bloomberg’s plan recommends clarifying which agencies are responsible for overseeing the space, creating a framework to clarify when tokens are securities, “protecting consumers from cryptocurrency-related fraud,” clarifying the tax regime and defining the requirements for financial institutions in the space.


The a16z Marketplace 100

3K    Andreessen Horowitz / Saved by Keith Teare

For the Marketplace 100, we use data from a company called Second Measure , a firm that analyzes billions of purchases to track real-time consumer behavior and relative sales across 4,500 merchants.Large-scale and fast-growing startups like GOAT (#16), StockX (#10), and Stadium Goods (#60) provide consumers with new and authenticated channels for buying and selling collectible streetwear , namely sneakers.


Inside Revolut and Monzo’s mammoth funding rounds

48    Sifted / Saved by Keith Teare

But the biggest raises are expected to come from Revolut, which is reported to be raising up to $1.5bn in equity and debt, and London-based Monzo, which is said to be eyeing up to $130m later this year (partly to meet capital requirements ).In turn, Revolut and Monzo will now have to prove they can generate organic growth rather than relying on venture capital-funded advertising, says Alessandro Hatami, a financial services veteran and former advisor to London-based fintech Curve.


20VC: Ashton Kutcher on Early Lessons From Investing in Airbnb and Spotify, Why VC Ownership Requirements Are Becoming More and More Egregious & What Being Good At Product Truly Means

The Twenty Minute VC: Venture Capital | Startup Funding | The Pitch / Saved by Keith Teare

1.) How Ashton made his way into the world of startups with his foray into angel investing in Skype, Spotify etc?As for Ashton, he started his investing career as an angel with early home runs including Spotify, Alibaba, Skype, Airbnb and Optimizely.


Great read on the rise of super angels and microfunds in San Francisco. European friends: who do you see leading this trend here?

100+    @Maren_Bannon Tweets / Saved by Keith Teare

Great read on the rise of super angels and microfunds in San Francisco. European friends: who do you see leading this trend here?


Should you be working on this startup?

4    This is going to be BIG / Saved by Keith Teare

That kind of story drives founders to take a “VC’s don’t know anything” approach to their business and trudge on despite legitimate criticisms of the business, often costing themselves tens of thousands of dollars or more of personal savings.It’s a way to get specific and consistent feedback from real investors at that point when you’re ok investing real resources into moving this forward.


How Technology is Shaping the Future of Education

2K    Visual Capitalist / Saved by Keith Teare

Educators are tapping into the digital revolution and adopting new technologies to help students reach their full potential, but can they adapt quickly enough to prepare children for the changing future of work?This student-centric approach would allow children to choose their own pace and learning objectives based on individual interests—all of which could be guided by artificial intelligence, chatbots, and video-based learning.


Connecting the next four billion people, Venrock’s investment into Astranis

Venrock / Saved by Keith Teare

We have always believed that the ways we provided connectivity and bandwidth had to change; the infrastructure was bursting from the seams, we can’t lay down fiber fast enough, the needs of the new market participants were different from what the traditional solutions could offer, the scale and performance requirements just for the existing demand as a whole could no longer be met (5G, 8K video, continued migration of cable to streaming, etc).At Venrock, we have always been interested in the infrastructure stack and services that power our everyday lives; commerce, media, communication, connectivity… As legacy systems exceed their scale and performance capabilities attempting to support existing demand, and new market participants join to further stress their capacity to serve, the markets begin to shift to embracing new solutions.


Why A Maximum-Potential-Entrepreneur Like Elon Musk Is Better Than A Minimum-Viable-Product Or A Minimum-Viable-Business – Forbes

27    Forbes / Saved by Keith Teare

The thinking was that you need to check whether your product idea can sell to build a unicorn.Initially, the Silicon Valley world was all enamored with the Minimum-Viable-Product (MVP).


7 Traits Common Among Super Successful Entrepreneurs

The Startup – Medium / Saved by Keith Teare

Interestingly, entrepreneurs like that don’t end up very rich.This trait of not waiting for one thing to happen before taking the next step is common among entrepreneurs that end up rich.


Venture Capital in Travel Tech

Medium / Saved by Keith TeareThere is a growing number of startups encompassing a wider range of travel subcategories and attracting a greater share of venture capital investments.Funding rounds are getting larger as VC firms successfully raise larger funds from investors wanting to benefit from the possibility of finding the next unicorn, and as travel startups expand their scope into neighboring sectors and new markets.


The Merits of Bottoms Up Investing

Saved by Keith Teare

While I wouldn’t classify myself as a dyed in the wool value investor, the fundamental driven approach that the discipline holds central has been influential in the way I think about investing and I’ve found that the core principles that originated with Graham and have been built upon (and popularized) by the likes Buffett and Munger are useful across asset classes — even venture capital — and can be applied more broadly to decision-making in almost any context. As Seth Klarman writes in Margin of Safety — his seminal (and out of print) book on value investing that I read for the first time a couple weeks ago — it is not clear whether this top down, thesis-driven approach to investing is best understood as a greater-fool or greater-genius game.


SoftBank plans to invest $1 billion from Latin America fund, with eyes on 650 firms – The Japan Times

4    The Japan Times / Saved by Keith Teare

“We are focused on investing in companies that could achieve long-term profitability,” Andres Freire, a managing partner and head of SoftBank’s Southern Cone region, said during a roundtable with reporters in Buenos Aires.SoftBank’s investments include the Colombia-based delivery startup Rappi, Brazil fitness company Gympass and Argentine fintech Uala.


‘Indian VC market is under-invested’ – Livemint

8    Livemint / Saved by Keith Teare

MUMBAI : Chris Yeh, co-founder of Silicon Valley firm Wasabi Ventures and co-author of Blitzscaling , a book on profits and pitfalls of startups scaling rapidly, spoke about India’s uniqueness as an investing market and how despite record funding year after year, India may still be an underinvested market.Very often where companies go wrong is that leadership—founders or outside CEOs brought in—say that we will invest in growth alone and it is the only factor, instead of asking, “If I invest now, how will I get a payback later?” They need to think rigorously about whether the market dynamics will enable that payback.


Building high performance startup teams

The Startup – Medium / Saved by Keith Teare

As a startup founder or leader at early stage you are tasked with building a company and gradually moving from high output individual contributor to manager of people and resources wearing multiple hats projecting yourself through individuals and teams in an effort to deliver on the goals for the business.Whilst there are no mechanical set of steps a leader can implement to build a top-performing team there are behaviors and success patterns which an impactful leader encourages and optimizes towards to create the best conditions for a team to do their most valued work.


How can Europe win the global startup war?

19    The Startup – Medium / Saved by Keith Teare

The challenge is more of a structural problem in converting the scale and potential of Europe to a homogenous border-free market for technology companies to create increasing returns to scale in a single favorable regulatory market for startups.Since the ’60s Silicon Valley has acted as the epicentre of innovation for startups across the globe home to the world’s largest technology companies and an established asset class of venture capital which has served as it’s driving force.


10 Life-Changing Lessons I Learned From Naval Ravikant

4    The Startup – Medium / Saved by Keith Teare

By embracing the long-term view, being patient, and getting rid of too much emotion, you’ll be able to achieve many things.