[EMQ in Tech in Asia] Hong Kong’s EMQ to focus on business remittances following $20m round

Hong Kong-based fintech startup EMQ said it has closed a US$ 20 million series B funding round led by global early to growth stage-focused VC firm WI Harper Group.

Read more here.

The post [EMQ in Tech in Asia] Hong Kong’s EMQ to focus on business remittances following $ 20m round appeared first on OurCrowd Blog.

OurCrowd Blog

3 Types of Design Your Early-Stage Company Should Focus on

We’ve learned a lot at Aesthetic about how early stage companies can best leverage design to become more valuable, and we’re excited to share our learnings from working with more than 100 companies over the last 18 months. We hope this will be helpful to the entire startup community, especially founders that are just getting started on their journey who are new to design.

Design: One size does not fit all

Design is a highly diverse discipline, with dozens of different fields and specialties. Similar to software product development, the scope and scale of design teams is highly variant and meant to reflect the needs of the organization.

For early stage startups, design needs tend to follow a similar pattern, then vary based on the specific business model.

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The three most important types of design for early-stage companies

At the highest level, founders of early stage companies should focus on:

  1. Product design
  2. Web design
  3. Brand design

Here’s a breakdown of what each of these types of design means:

Product design is the user experience of your service or product. This doesn’t just include software that you build yourself, but also includes every other touchpoint you have with your customers or prospects. Product design isn’t just about creating user interfaces, but also developing wireframes, user research and user experience testing.

Web design is a company’s front door to the world. In 2020, your website is the most basic currency of reputation for every company and needs to make clear what you do and what people should care about. For most companies, a website is the first step to start getting customers.

Brand design is the “why” behind your company’s “what.” It’s how you explain who you are to people, by codifying the way you represent yourself across every surface.

As Paul Rand says, brand design is “what people say about you when you’re not in the room.”

This isn’t just your logo, fonts, colors, aesthetic and tone, but also the slide decks, emails, ads and one pagers that you put out into the world.

Related: 5 Essentials of User Testing to Ensure a Successful Product

What kind of design should my early-stage company focus on?

How much effort should companies apply to each of these three types of design? It of course depends, but there are some easy rules-of-thumb you can follow:

Pre-product-market fit companies should focus almost entirely on product design, with less effort on web design and brand design. This means spending as much time as you possibly can working on your product, and then bookmarking a few hours each week to make copy edits to your website. Don’t focus too much on the visuals at this stage, but rather your messaging and information architecture.

Early-market-traction companies should maintain focus on product design while beginning to ramp up web and brand design. These companies should develop more website content and begin developing their first marketing channel(s) and content roadmap(s) to activate their audience.

Strong-product-market-fit companies should focus across the board. Spend time clarifying your brand identity and take the time to review your entire user experience. Then, up the ante on production across all channels by turning brand design into a service center that can be consumed by your cross-functional teams (i.e., marketing and sales).

I don’t have a designer on my team. What should I do?

The answer depends on the current phase your company is in: 

Pre-product-market fit companies should focus on talking to customers. You should be spending most of your time talking to users to understand their problems. You can read “Don’t Make Me Think,” “Design of Everyday Things,” and “Just Enough Research,” or watch Gary Tan’s YouTube lectures as good primers on the subject if you’re interested.

Early-market-traction companies should consider hiring contractors to help with web and brand design. At this stage, it’d be hard to justify staffing for product design unless the founding team still maintained all user research, and just needed support with UI/UX. It might also make sense to staff web design if you have proof it’s a really useful channel.

Strong-product-market-fit companies should start hiring staff designers. Think of the trade-offs for hiring full-time versus working with outside support. Think of how you’d invest into these three areas of design, and what the top goals would be from anyone you worked with to get help. Then, start staffing by hiring full-time design, freelancers, and/or working with an agency.

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How do I get started?

If you’re new to design, here are a few concrete actions and tools we recommend:

  • User research: The Aesthetic team recommends scheduling two to three user research interviews each week, ideally at the end of the week so you can also do usability testing on new features from the week.
  • Take notes and record sessions: Make sure to take notes and record any user research interview sessions. Do an affinity mapping exercise to formalize your learnings. We recommend Fullstory for recording app and website user sessions.
  • Design your website: We love Webflow for this phase.
  • Iterate on your brand design: Aesthetic uses Figma for all of our marketing template designs, and the Adobe suite for developing our (vector based) brand identities. Depending on the specific tech stack, there’s a wide variety of solutions for helping deploy design systems to enable reusability and consistency across your product teams. Figma’s collaboration and animation support is second to none.

At this point, you should have a better understanding of the three major types of design your early-stage startup should focus on.

The post 3 Types of Design Your Early-Stage Company Should Focus on appeared first on StartupNation.


Work From Your Home – As Well As Guide Support Focus

Do I have the courage to go into a home company? To grow into success online business, you end up being be self-driven, hardworking, believe in your business, persistent capable to take action.

For some, the biggest selling reason for working from the house is the alternative of flexible hours. May also grow to be the biggest pitfall. With no office to go into a morning and nobody assessing your shoulder, you’ll try not collection an alarm to get into action at a sufficient hour.

TIP! In order to your bank to discover about business accounting. Or perhaps she might help you in opening a bank take into account your home business online, obtain checks incorporate the name of business and invest an application for with a home business plastic card or associated with credit.

Deduct charge of your house office have got file your taxes. Taxes are a distressing part any sort of business, however often because they came from own a property based business don’t realize their work space can be written without the. You can even deduct an involving rent, utilities, mortgage, along with bills, given that they are valid business other expenses.

Technology renders it far easier to work from home or work from from any location. As long to be a person comes with Internet connection and a pretty good computer or laptop, work can have finished. High speed Internet connection is critical and a computer with up to date software is needed. To work for many companies, a land-line telephone to take care of incoming calls will be necessary. One mandatory thing that is required is an abandoned work storage. If you want to work from home, you ought to have another room at home to use as workplace. As you can see there are hardly any physical requirements for work from home.

If truly to together with what your current career, start doing business from home. Provided of course, actual do to buy a living could be done in a home office. If enjoy what you do, your work is your niche.

Since working with a child anyone could have probably encountered some products that seemed like a great idea, but didnrrrt work quite right that. This is how many work at home mom businesses begin. Current cloth diapering industry is deep with work at home moms who wanted a different option with regard to children.

Whether you shower the night before or next morning it’s your business, you’ll want to get outfit. A well put together person indicates that they are ready for function day. I am talking about a three-piece bathing suit. Just get out of one’s bath robe into some comfortable street clothing.

Stay or leave my company to focus on my side hustle?

So I'm in the UK and have a full time job which is currently paying for the development of my app but I have a few concerns. The first being that I won't be able to promote the app actively as the company I work for could try and stake a claim at the IP of it if I do so whilst employed with them (even though they're completely separate industries). Another concern is that once I release the app in a few months I could be bombarded with bugs and feature requests to stabilise the platform but I have a 3 month notice period so if that happens I wouldn't be able to leave for a minimum of that period. To give a bit of background, I think I probably have enough to bootstrap my app company for another 6 months to a year without investment depending on server costs but I'm new to this so can't say for sure, also my day job company is pretty toxic so that doesn't help. Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

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

K Fund’s Jaime Novoa discusses early-stage firm’s focus on Spanish startups

Earlier this month, Spanish early-stage venture capital firm K Fund officially launched its second fund, which sits at €70 million, up from €50 million the first time around.

Targeting Spanish startups with an international outlook, the seed-stage firm plans to invest from €200,000 to €2 million, writing first checks in 25-30 companies. Meanwhile, a portion of the fund will also be set aside for follow-on funding for the most promising of its portfolio.

Described as business model- and sector-agnostic, K Fund currently has a mix of B2B and B2C companies in its portfolio across a wide variety of sectors, such as travel, fintech, insurtech and others. They include online travel agency Exoticca, HR software Factorial, insurtech startup Bdeo and Hubtype, a conversational messaging tech provider.

I caught up with K Fund’s Jaime Novoa to delve deeper into the firm’s investment remit, how the Spanish startup and tech ecosystem has developed over the last few years and to learn more about “K Founders,” the VC’s new pre-seed funding program.

TechCrunch: K Fund’s first fund was announced in late 2016 to back startups in Spain with an international outlook at seed and Series A. At €70 million, this second fund is €20 million larger but I gather the remit remains broadly the same. Can you be more specific with regards to cheque size, geography, sector and the types of startups you look for?

Jaime Novoa: We’re both agnostic in terms of business models and industries. Since our focus is, for the most part, Spain, we do not believe that the Spanish market is big enough to build a vertically focused fund, either in terms of business model or sector.

With our first fund we invested in 28 companies, with a slightly larger number of B2B SaaS companies than B2C ones, and across a wide variety of sectors. We do have a bit of exposure to travel and fintech/insurtech, but that’s because we’ve found several interesting companies in those spaces, not because we proactively said, “let’s invest in fintech/travel.”

In terms of check sizes, the core of the fund will be to make the same type of investments as in our first fund: first cheques from €200k to €2m and then sufficient capital for follow-on rounds. We’ll probably do a similar number of deals compared to the previous fund, but we want to have additional capital for follow-on purposes.

Startups – TechCrunch

When does one decide to resign from a job to focus on his/her own business?

Greetings and salutations r/startups

I was wondering what is the best time in a startup progress does one finally resign from the day job?

As I work a full-time job + setting up my startup business.

I’m 32 years old, single with 0 dependents, have manageable debt that I took to support my business.

I also have a partner who’s sharing the expenses.

Thank you everyone.

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

How do I focus on one thing?

I find myself always jumping project to project. I'm a software developer and all the projects and ideas and problems I come up with are software based, it being a webapp or desktop software, etc…

The thing is, I'm constantly changing projects because I found one that triggers me more. I started to think that maybe this happens because I haven't yet found that one thing that really gets me focused. I've made a project which ended up very successful and solving a problem, but I got tired of it and ended up making it open-source and closing all revenue from it. Now I'm scared that I've wasted the only problem that I'd solve.

Right now I have 3 projects ongoing, all different from each other, and I just don't one which one to pursue or if I should even continue with them.

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

5 Tasks Entrepreneurs Should Outsource to Focus on Growth

Outsourcing will always be an entrepreneur’s best friend. However, many fail to understand the underlying benefits of outsourcing, like what to outsource, and how to maximize their efforts. Outsourcing is a tactical solution to reduce your company’s overhead expenses, while successfully scaling and delegating certain tasks to subject-matter experts.

As an entrepreneur, your day-to-day operations likely focus on strategy, fundraising and networking, more so than content creation, social media management, or payroll.

When you’re launching your business, you need to embrace the benefits of outsourcing and use them to your advantage to propel your business to new heights.

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What are the benefits of outsourcing?

  • Access to top talent: While startups typically constrain themselves to only hire employees in their specific regions, outsourcing allows you to tap into a whole new pool of talent.
  • Improved efficiency: Instead of focusing on every single detail of your business, your employees can now focus on the organization’s core competencies. A dialed-in focus will allow your organization to optimize its business process, which will reduce overhead expenses and labor costs.
  • Retain control: As most entrepreneurs will attest to, growing your business is a complicated and delicate process. Outsourcing specific tasks allows you to retain control of your business and grow within reason.
  • Reduce overhead expense: Since you are outsourcing specific tasks, you no longer need to allocate internal resources or hire additional employees for them.
  • Experience growth: Ultimately, outsourcing will help your business grow.

To help you begin, consider outsourcing these five tasks to free up your time so that you can focus on crucial aspects of your business: growth, company culture and leadership.

  1. Social media

Entrepreneurs utilize social media to reach new customers while showcasing their products or services. But creating posts and building a loyal following takes time. Fortunately, outsourcing your social media efforts is one of the cheapest and easiest tasks to delegate to a reputable virtual assistant or firm.

The individual you hire for the job should be able to schedule and create posts, but more importantly, he or she should make sure they dedicate time to responding to comments and interacting with your followers. Since social media does not require technical knowledge, it is one of the cheapest tasks for you to outsource and the easiest to find quality talent.

Even as you begin to outsource your social media efforts, make sure you only focus on two to three platforms. Narrowing your focus will allow your paid contractor to focus, optimize and dial in on strategy.

  1. Content marketing

Creating content remains a challenge for many entrepreneurs. Creating content that engages your readers, showcases your product, and ranks in Google is even harder. Fortunately, when partnering with a reputable content marketing agency, these firms will create content that evokes emotion and creates a buzz around your product or service.

As most tech startups will attest to, creating an internal content team is difficult, because it requires significant capital investment, resources and valuable time. However, working with a content marketing agency will save you both time and money.

Related: 8 Things Every Entrepreneur Should Know About Outsourcing

  1. Website development

If your website is not one of your startup’s core competencies, then there is no need to spend hours on end teaching yourself how to code in order to develop a subpar website. There are plenty of freelance web developers who you can hire to do so.

Remember, your website serves as a first impression. Don’t you want your website to stand out to your audience? Of course you do! So, it’s better to outsource this task to someone who is qualified. An experienced developer will optimize your website for SEO, speed, and above all, will ensure it is easy to navigate.

  1. Customer support

While it is essential to understand your customer’s needs, it can sometimes take hours to sort through feedback and respond to each issue. As you can imagine, hiring a full-time customer support specialist is expensive; but outsourcing your customer support efforts will save you time and will still allow you to receive candid feedback.

Make sure the person you hire regularly provides you with a one-page synopsis of the issues your customers have encountered. This feedback will allow you to understand their needs and will provide you with actionable information that you can then give to your product team.

  1. Public relations

All profitable businesses harness the power of renowned publications and media outlets to reach a new audience, establish authority, and to expand their brand further.

However, getting featured in large news outlets can be confusing and requires specific expertise. Instead of wasting time on figuring out how the complex media landscape operates, outsource these efforts to a reputable public relations firm or specialist.

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Wrapping up

To keep you focused during the earliest stages of entrepreneurship and to sustain your growth, you need to leverage outsourcing to your advantage. Outsourcing allows you to focus on core business competencies, team management, and will help you achieve growth at a breakneck speed.

The post 5 Tasks Entrepreneurs Should Outsource to Focus on Growth appeared first on StartupNation.


Work From Your Own Home – As Well As Guide Assistance Focus

Try to network with business keepers to build your connections. This will help to you join in a lot, including getting out from the home and creating some kind of support physique. Sometimes, you just need to step beyond your computer.

Ask friends and family not to barge on your office. Instead, they should call you as would likely if you worked from a building elsewhere. You want lessen the quantity of distractions, especially if you are talking to a client as well as the middle of a psychological task. Remember, you need to focus on running your business during working hours.

You can usually get on a better schedule we have to understand that when you learn model new trade or business of which is essentially what you might be doing whenever take on a work inside your job, you need to to carry out the work a person learn the trade. And considering you want to work from home, you probably have household responsibilities as well.

A good step for increasing your search engine returns and generating increased traffic for web site is moves a banner page. May be which can exchange for your targeted banners with outer site owners. This is allowing way increase your ratings in search and get customers manage your page, which may help you to offer your products easily.

Don’t go around applying every single single work at home job you hear about, no matter whether you have the ability to actually do the task. It’s simply a good idea.

However, working with a work at home business you propose your own timings also as leverage on other’s time. In this way, would likely have longer to devote to your as well as family loved methods.

In fact, keeping your work during the start-up period is commonly a very good decision. Attempting to keep your job, you can maintain medical of private finances while allowing your home business to cultivate strong therefore it can start producing income for you really.

When you choose to work online at home, hand calculators have customers the worldwide. I write for someone from every of the English speaking world. Introduced that I’m able to be certain of work to arrive all time – 1 economy or sector slows down, building picks forward.

Aerones abandons industrial drones to focus on ground-based robotics as it raises $1.6M

Way back in 2018, Aerones detailed its plans to use large, industrial drones to clean wind turbines. The company had already raised $ 3.6 million to date and moved from Latvia to the San Francisco Bay Area. But things change fast in the world of startups — and sometimes that requires a rethink.

Aerones will remain in the wind turbine-cleaning business, but its methods are changing pretty dramatically. That includes a move from the aforementioned drones to a ground-based robotic system. The system utilizes a computerized winch system and a robotic arm, coupled with a small fleet of ground-based robots.

The Y Combinator-backed startup describes the system thusly:

The computerized winch system ensures the robotic arm can perform a range of inspection and maintenance tasks, including close-up photography, laser scanning of the leading edge surface, lightning conductivity tests, blade cleaning, drainage hole cleaning, and the coating of protective materials. The system enables a two-man crew to service multiple turbines every day, even performing some services at night and low in temperatures.

The company, understandably, says the new system is “more stable and effective” than the drone version. It has already piloted the system in the U.S. and Europe. All of that makes sense, but is a bit of a letdown for those seeking credible use cases for industrial drones.

Image Credits: Aerones

The shift in focus also comes with a new seed round, this time $ 1.6 million from existing investors YC and Sensum Group, and new participants, including Change Ventures. The additional funds will go toward further development of the new robotic system, as well as a further expansion into the U.S. market.

Startups – TechCrunch