DI Digital is asking its readership to vote for the most important female entreprenuer in Sweden and the most important female investor in Sweden. The winners will be presented at the Female Founders event on October 11th.
Point9 has published its annual napkin with key metrics for B2B SaaS startups raising early-stage capital (from pre-seed through Series B).
The napkin format is short but manages to capture the main areas international venture investors look at and more importantly their rough expectations.
Sifted’s John Thornhill has lunch with Skype and Atomcio founder Niklas Zennström. Good conversation about technology, venture capital and Europe.
One highlight is that Skype alumni has created 910 companies including 15 unicorns. I think this mafia/alumni effect is one of the most important for the development of a startup ecosystem over 10-20 years after a major exit.
”In Silicon Valley, he says, they talk about the “PayPal mafia”, the founders and early employees of the payments company, including Elon Musk, Reid Hoffman and Peter Thiel, who went on to found or run other successful companies, such as Tesla, LinkedIn and Palantir. Zennström says a similarly dynamic network effect is developing in Europe, even if he does not like the word “mafia”. Former employees of Skype have founded 910 companies including 15 unicorns, or start-ups valued at more than $1bn. In total, he says, the European tech ecosystem is worth about $3tn (roughly the same as Apple’s market valuation on a good trading day).”
Epic Games, creator of Fortnite and Unreal Engine, is laying off 16 % of its staff (or 830 people) to become profitable again. According to company founder and CEO Tim Sweeney it is mostly outside of core bets.
It’s been a while since a high profile company did a larger layoff and there’s been chatter, e.g. Saleforce, that technology companies are starting to hire again. The future remains uncertain.
Spotify’s Voice Translations for podcast use AI to translate from English to, for now, Spanish in the voice of the person talking. It feels like magic. There are several AI projects doing similar things, and the crazy part is that this is the worst the technology will ever be. The era of the Babel fish is coming.
When raising money for a startup, there are several ways to build a pitch deck. I believe it is easier to create a great pitch deck if you build it on top of a simple and attractive fundraising story.
The fundraising story should help an investor understand (and be able to re-tell to colleagues) what you are doing, why it is important, why you are likely to build a large company, present some proof points that it is already working, and explain why you are the team to back. The primary goal is not to describe that a specific trend is important or what the market looks like.
I think the fundraising story for a seed round (or later) can be built using only six parts (which then can become twelve slides in a pitch deck and a large number of supporting documents if needed). The six parts of a simple fundraising story are:
- Define the problem, why it is important, and if possible why it is not already solved.
- What is your insight about the problem that allows you to solve in a better way than others and how big will the market be when you solve it.
- Describe what your product does (in as clear, jargon-free language as possible) and the key advantages users get from using your product, and why it is better than the competition.
- What is your current traction (e.g. growth in users, revenue and/or ARR) and what metrics (e.g. retention, renewals, NPS etc) show that your ‘economic engine’ is working already today, even if at a limited scale.
- Present the the team and explain why it is the right team to build this startup.
- How much are you raising and what you are going to achieve (not what areas of the company you are going to spend the money on) before the next round.
In which order you present the parts can differ depending on setting and medium.
This is an early version/first draft, so feedback is appreciated.
Björn Jeffery has written a good column in Svenska Dagbladet on EU’s active technology regulation but the lack of large European-born technology companies and European acquirers of technology startups. Despite the growth in seed funding.
Good intro, including a 5 minute video, on nine aspects on building a great company by Sam Altman.
Both tactical/operational, like importance of talking to customers and having short cycle times, as well as the need for long-term commitment, the importance of not giving up when building a startup and the duty to take care of oneself (even if startups aren’t ideal for life-work balance).
A good conversation on seed investing with Harry Stebbings, Mike Maples, Jason Lemkin and Eric Paley. Worth watching particularly for investors, but also for founders to better understand investors.