100+ conference talks by SaaS founders

MicroConf recently released their "Vault" on YouTube of all their conference talks over the years. The only thing is that it's not searchable or filterable and YT is kind of a pain. So a couple friends and I made this free site that aggregates all the talks and allows you to search and filter by speaker, year, edition, and tags.

There's over 100+ talks by indie and bootstrapped SaaS founders and CEOs.

Check it out: https://microconf-vault.webflow.io/

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

first time having founders shares, should I worry?

I got issued founders shares in Oct 2019 for a startup. I didnt put any money into the company: neither did the other founders, our contribution will be the company IP. We subsequently raised some money based on a $ 2M valuation. I didn't file an 83(b) because, frankly, I missed the deadline, But if I make any money on this venture I will be happy to pay taxes. Its really just a super fun side thing. Is there any major issue I have tax wise you think I should be paying more attention to ? do I need to get my tax accountant involved ? he guy costs an arm and a leg for any consultation. Even if I need to talk to him I'd appreciate knowing what I should talk about.

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

Here’s how two young founders from Amsterdam got an early Alibaba investor on board

Otrium milan daniels max klijnstra

Fashion-tech startup Otrium announces it has raised €24 million in a Series B funding round. The round is led by global fund Eight Roads, early investor in e-commerce mogul Alibaba. How did two young guys from Amsterdam convince this renowned investor to back them with such an amount? We spoke with Otrium co-founder Milan Daniëls to find out.

Series B investment for Otrium

Fashion has fallen on hard times. Many brands are scrambling to adapt to an increasingly digital target audience. And then a global pandemic hit as well, leaving stores empty and warehouses full. In this disrupted market, Otrium seems to offer a solution that makes them thrive. Founded in Amsterdam by two young entrepreneurs, it has now closed another impressive funding round, making them ready to take on the world.

Otrium is an online fashion-outlet, founded in 2016 by Milan Daniëls and Max Klijnstra. They created a platform where brands have an opportunity to connect with fashionlovers to sell last seasons’ collections. The goal is to extend the life cycle of fashion, by preventing large quantities of perfectly fine, unsold clothing from gathering dust in warehouses. Fashionlovers can sign up for Otrium and bag some bargains, while fashion brands not only have the opportunity to sell their previous collection but also gather insights about their audience. 

200 brands, a million users

Otrium, meanwhile, takes care of everything: from online sales, storing and shipping. They currently have partnerships with over 200 brands. Among them are big names as well as up and coming or local fashion designers. Currently, the platform has over a million members, ready to scoop up some of the not-so latest fashion, up from 600.000 just a year ago. A rapidly growing user base that clearly hasn’t gone unnoticed as the latest investment shows. The latest round brings the total of investments up to roughly €33 million. This series B is led by Eight Roads, the globally operating fund known for early investments in Alibaba, Made.com and Treatwell.

Imagecredit: Otrium

“We first spoke with Eight Roads about one and a half years ago, after they approached us,” says Daniëls. “Some companies just get approached by these kinds of funds. It was a very informal meeting, there was no mention of funding yet.” Eight Roads is a later stage fund, explains Daniëls. And with Otrium not yet having closed their Series A-round, the time wasn’t right for them yet. “But that’s what they do. They plant seeds.”

Easily duplicate the model in other countries

Just over a year ago, Otrium raised €7 million in funding from London-based Index Ventures, which previously invested in companies as Farfetch, Asos, Adyen and Net-a-Porter. Daniëls: “After this round we had a clear goal to mature our technology foundation. We also wanted to show that our model could easily be duplicated in other countries, once we had the right blueprint ready.” That blueprint formed the base for their rapid expansion. In less than a year Otrium rolled out in Germany and France. “We are about to open in the United Kingdom,” says Daniëls. “We’ve pinned down the model to roll out pretty rapidly now.” 

For Daniëls, partnering up with Eight Roads was not just about the money, but also about big ambitions. “They have a lot of experience with calling up consumer brands, both internationally and intercontinentally. They have a strong presence in London, which is helpful for our near future. But they also have a strong base in the USA and Asia. We wanted to connect with partners that can help us during our entire journey.” To make sure this happens, Davor Hebel, general partner at Eight Roads and Danny Rimer, general partner at Index Ventures, have joined Otrium’s board of directors to bring more experience to the company, says Daniëls.

Otrium and COVID-19

The funding comes at an interesting time for Otrium. The spread of COVID-19 has thrown a big wrench in the fashion machinery. “Brands are having a tough time now”, says Daniëls, referring to the world during the pandemic. The lack of sales from retailers has left fashion brands with an enormous surplus on inventory. At the same time, these companies are forced into a new way of working, so they have to speed up their digital transformation and facilitate the rise in online shopping. “That’s where we play a role. We want to help our current partners to sell this inventory. Since the outbreak of the virus, we’ve also changed our payment policy towards our partners. After a sale, we directly transfer the money to them. To keep a healthy cash flow is incredibly important for them during these times.”

Stay up-to-date: Read all our COVID-19 coverage here

No matter how tough the times for the traditional fashion industry are, Otrium is doing well for itself. Daniëls calls their planned growth ‘ambitious’. But the past couple of months, they’ve seen business accelerate beyond those ambitious goals. But even a company that is well positioned to thrive during these unprecedented times has its challenges says Daniëls. “We had to rapidly scale up our distribution. At the same time we had to make sure our order pickers in the warehouses could work safely and in compliance with the guidance of the National Institute for Public Health.”

‘New horizon’

“It is important to help brands through the crisis. Because the physical retail is currently knocked out, we can offer them a digital solution.” To do so, Otrium needs to surround itself with like-minded people. Which brings Daniëls back to Eight Roads. “You’re looking for a club that ‘really gets’ what you’re trying to build. That is as enthusiastic about it as you are. International expansion is not for free. We are a tech-fashion company that wants to continue growing on both the B2B and B2B side. This funding gives us a new horizon. With this €24 million and before that our Series A, we are going to last for a very long time.”

This article is produced in a collaboration with StartupAmsterdam. Read more about our partnering opportunities.

The post Here’s how two young founders from Amsterdam got an early Alibaba investor on board appeared first on Silicon Canals .

Startups – Silicon Canals

What should startup founders know before negotiating with corporate VCs?

Corporate venture capitalists (CVCs) are booming in the startup space as large companies look to take advantage of the fast-paced innovation and original thinking that entrepreneurs offer.

For startups, taking funding from CVCs can come with many benefits, including new opportunities for marketing, partnerships and sales channels. Still, no founder should consider a corporate investor “just another VC.” CVCs come with their own set of priorities, strategic objectives and rules.

When it comes to choosing a CVC with which to enter negotiations, the most important step is doing your own diligence beforehand. An entrepreneur’s goal is to find the perfect match to partner with and guide you as you grow your business. So before you start discussing terms, you’ll want to understand what’s driving the CVC’s interest in venture investing.

While traditional VCs are purely financially driven, CVCs can be in the venture game for a variety of reasons, including finding new technology that might generate marketplace demand for their products. An example is Amazon’s Alexa fund, which invested into emerging companies that drive use and adoption of Alexa. Alternatively, a CVC’s parent company may be looking to invest in tech that will help them operate their own products more efficiently, such as Comcast Ventures investing in DocuSign.

As a rule of thumb, the bigger CVC funds like GV and Comcast tend to be financially driven, meaning they’ll be approaching negotiations through a financial lens. As such, the negotiating process more closely resembles an institutional fund. You as a founder have to do the work to figure out what’s driving your CVC — is this a customer acquisition or distribution opportunity? Or are they seeking to find a source of knowledge transfer and/or bring new tech into their parent company?

“Before negotiating, always look at a CVC’s existing portfolio,” says Rick Prostko, managing director at Comcast Ventures. “Have they made a lot of investments, at what stage, and with whom? From this information you’ll see the strategic thinking of the CVC, and you can determine how best to position yourself when you begin negotiations.”

Startups – TechCrunch

Catching up on Founder’s agreement

Myself and 4 other people started an events and marketing operation over the past 6 months. It has since become rather successful in terms of opportunity and future potential, while costing us very little. Early on I created an LLC with the other person that originated the idea so that we could begin protecting the brand. I’m at the point where I’m drafting a Founders’ document to protect the other parties involved and I feel like I’m falling down an endless rabbit hole of research about what to do.

I’m seeing that it’s unfavorable to have more than 3 actual founders based on future investors potentially frowning on it, as well as leadership strength. As far as the absolute origination of this endeavor, it can be limited to 3 of us, but the remaining two have also been integral in our success from almost the beginning.

Of course we have no means to provide salaries, and none of us expect salaries, but on a document level what is the best course of action to record that 5 individuals are running this company and we are doing so purely off of an equity share for the time being? Additionally, for a non-founder what document would I be drafting and having them sign for what is basically an employee only “paid” via equity/ownership share?

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

I am a software engineer, looking for co founders

I am looking for someone who knows throughly an industry. Someone who can see a void that can be filled within their industry. If you are not that person, please let me know where and how I can find such a person.

The super ideal case would be someone who has been a top level manager for a few years in a company.

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

Are venture capital companies largely predatory towards inexperienced founders?

As in push you out, replace you with an external CEO, turn you into a badly paid overworked employee and cut you out wherever possible or do founders generally feel they're getting an alright deal regardless how the company turns out? (as in good connections and future work opportunities)

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

Virtual events startup Run The World just nabbed $10.8 million from a16z and Founders Fund

Run The World, a year-old startup that’s based in Mountain View, Calif., and has small teams both in China and Taiwan, just nabbed $ 10.8 million in Series A funding co-led by earlier backer Andreessen Horowitz and new backer Founders Fund.

It’s easy to understand the firms’ interest in the company, whose platform features every functionality that a conference organizer might need in a time of a pandemic and even afterward, given that many outfits are rethinking more permanently how to produce events that include far-flung participants. Think video conferencing, ticketing, interactivity and networking.

We’d written about the startup a few months ago as it was launching with $ 4.3 million in seed funding led by Andreessen partner Connie Chan, who was joined by a slew of other seed-stage backers, including Pear Ventures, GSR Ventures and Unanimous Capital. Perhaps unsurprisingly given the current climate, Run The World has received a fair amount of traction since, according to co-founder and CEO Xiaoyin Qu, who’d previously led products for both Facebook and Instagram.

“Since we launched in February — and waived all set-up fees for events impacted by the coronavirus — we are receiving hundreds of inbound event requests each day,” Qu says. More specifically, she says the startup has doubled the size of its core team to 30 employees and enabled organizers from a wide variety of countries to oversee more than 2,000 events at this point.

Qu says that a lot of event planners who’ve used Zoom to run webinars are now choosing Run The World instead because of its focus on engagement and social features. For example, attendees to an event on the platform are invited to create a video profile akin to an Instagram Story that can help inform other attendees about who they are. It also organizes related “cocktail parties,” where it can match attendees for several minutes at a time, and attendees can choose who they want to follow up with afterward.

That heavy focus on social networking isn’t accidental. Qu met her co-founder, Xuan Jiang, at Facebook, where Jiang was a technical lead for Facebook events, ads and stories.

Of course, Run The World — which takes 25% of ticket sales in exchange for everything from the templates used, to ticket sales, to payment processing and streaming and so forth — still has very stiff competition in Zoom. The nine-year-old company has seen adoption by consumers soar since February, with 300 million daily meeting participants using the service as of April’s end.

Not only is it hard to overcome that kind of network effect, but Run The World is hardly alone in trying to steer event organizers its way. Earlier this week, for example, Bevy, an events software business co-founded by the founder of the events series Startup Grind, announced it has raised $ 15 million in Series B funding led by Accel. Other young online events platforms to similarly raise venture backing in recent months include London-based Hopin (whose recent round was also led by Accel, interestingly) and Paris-based Eventmaker.

Still, the fresh funding should help. While Run The World has grown “entirely organically through word of mouth” to date, says Qu, the startup plans to grow its team and will presumably start spending at least a bit on marketing.

It could well get a boost on this last front by its social media-savvy investors.

In addition to a16z and Founders Fund, numerous other backers in its Series A include Will Smith’s Dreamers VC and Kevin Hart’s Hartbeat Capital.

Startups – TechCrunch

10 promising startups with Russian founders smashing it in Europe

Like in other countries, there is no lack of entrepreneurial, ambitious and creative people in Russia. However, starting a business in Russia has certain national peculiarities and limitations. Some founders with scalable ideas prefer to move to Europe to start or grow their business. The reasons for this choice include easier access to European and global markets, better investment opportunities, a larger high-skilled talent pool and others. This article is a snapshot of 10 among many other successful young companies around Europe founded in last 5 years by people with a Russian background.

Crypterium – Crypterium was founded in 2017 in Estonia by Russian duo Gleb Markov and Vladimir Gorbunov. This pair hail from Moscow and decided to startup in Tallinn due to its proximity to the rest of Eastern Europe. Crypterium is a cryptobank which offers a mobile app allowing instant payments in cryptocurrency. In 2019 they launched Bitcoin card – the first global crypto card that enables users to spend their favourite cryptocurrency on the go, around the world. The startup closed an ICO (initial coin offering) of €47.5 million in 2017 and has since grown its team to 65+ people.

Endel – Founded in Germany in 2018 by Oleg Stravitsky (Moscow, Russia) and Kirill Bulatsev (Kiev, Ukraine), Endel developed a cross-platform audio ecosystem that creates personalised, sound-based adaptive environments to improve health, well-being, and mood. The company launched as the brainchild of a Berlin-based team of artists, developers, and entrepreneurs and so far, has raised a €1 million seed investment. Backed by Amazon’s Alexa Fund, Kima Ventures and world-famous DJ La Fleur, the German startup has already graduated from the Techstars Music Accelerator, signed a distribution deal with Warner Music Group and got nominated for The Webby Awards, the leading international award honouring excellence on the Internet.

Humaniq – Humaniq is a secure mobile bank which aims to eradicate poverty with the use of blockchain technology. The startup provides next-generation financial services focusing on worldwide financial inclusion. The company was founded in 2016 by Alex Fork, one of the most important members of the international Blockchain community who has previously worked with the UN, spearheaded the harnessing of blockchains and founded the fintech startup accelerator in Russia. Headquartered in London, Humaniq closed an ICO of €4.5 million in 2017 and has over 85 employees in different international locations.

Revolut – Founded in 2015 by Nik Storonsky and Vlad Yatsenko, Revolut is one of Europe’s top unicorns that specializes in mobile banking, card payments, money remittance, and foreign exchange. Revolut was launched as a digital alternative to traditional banks and claims to have successfully handled more than 350 million transactions for more than 10 million customers. This London-based startup raised €460 million series D investment in February 2020 making it one of the highest valued fintechs currently in the world. By now, Revolut has expanded to 2000+ team members in 23 offices.

Kewazo – German robotech startup Kewazo recently closed a seed funding round of €2.5 million for its scaffolding robot and the management team expansion. Founded in 2016 by the international team including Artem Kuchukov and Ekaterina Grib, Kewazo develops smart robotic elevators for industrial and construction sites. Alongside with a robotic system, the Munich-based startup provides its customers with a data-analytics platform which facilitates better controlling, planning and suggestions for process optimization in painting work, roof work, facades, insulation work, etc.

Compass Pathways – Founded by husband and wife team Ekaterina Malievskaia and George Goldsmith, Compass Pathways is a mental health care company dedicated to accelerating patient access to evidence-based innovation in mental health. Founded in 2016, the UK startup secured a Series B investment round of €73.1 million in April 2020 with the goal to expand its programme for psilocybin therapy for treatment-resistant depression across Europe and North America. It also plans to continue developing digital technologies and advancing the company’s preclinical pipeline.

Marine Digital – Marine Digital’s Russian founders left their home country to set up the startup in Riga, Latvia in 2019. The company offers a warehouse management system for bulk terminals and a system for port call automation which helps to automate cargo acceptance and handing and to exchange data with the supply chain participants. In August 2019, the startup announced a pilot project with the Riga-based logistics and stevedore service provider Port Magnat Group which, in its turn, arouse interest from some of the largest ports in Europe, including Hamburg and Rotterdam. The same year Marine Digital closed €100K funding from angel investor and opened an additional office in the Netherlands.

iFarm – Driven by the mission to empower everyone to grow their own healthy food in a sustainable way, iFarm offers automated vertical farms. Founded in 2017 by Russian team Alexander Lyskovsky, Konstantin Ulyanov and Maxim Chizhov, this Finnish startup has developed automated and modular greenhouses which can be set in a store, restaurant, warehouse, at home or in a country house. With its innovative technology, iFarm has won a Nordic Startup Award and secured an approximate €914K investment in early 2019 to further develop their technologies, expand the team and pilot their product in the European market.

Novakid – This Polish edtech startup was founded in 2017 by Maxim Azarov, Russian entrepreneur from Moscow. Based in Krakow, NovaKid is an online English language school that allows children aged 4-12 to learn English with native-speaking teachers. Its online classes are made fun with help of virtual reality and gamification technologies. Currently, Novakid provides services to pupils from 36 countries, including Poland, Russia, Spain, Germany and Turkey. In January 2020, the team raised €1.3 million seed investment to expand the platform online.

Anna – Anna – whose name stands for ‘Absolutely No Nonsense Admin’ – is a Welsh startup founded in 2017 by a (mainly) Russian team. Anna offers a mobile business account for freelancers and small businesses which can be opened in 3 minutes and allows to track all the transactions and payments on the app. With multiple perks for the users, the startup has been on a roll winning numerous awards like the Finovate Awards, the Cards and Payments Awards, the 11fs Marketing Award and the FSTech Awards. Last week, Anna joined forces with ABH Holdings SA (ABHH), who are taking a majority stake and investing over €19.7 million into the company.

By the way: If you’re a corporate or investor looking for exciting startups in a specific market for a potential investment or acquisition, check out our Startup Sourcing Service!

EU-Startups

Help! Team of experienced founders who just received an A term sheet but I’ve realized my co-founder is an idiot

*Some background: *

There are 3 founders (Sam, John, Me) and 4 employees. All of us are from senior leadership of $ 100m+- Unicorn startups.

I’ve spent the last 8 months building out the strategy and I am the CEO. About 3.5 months ago a friend introduced me to “Sam” who was working on something similar. We hit it off, Sam is a nice guy and is extremely passive and guide-able .

Sam brought in our third co-founder “John” who I’m starting to think has the similar feelings towards Sam

Sam has paper experience that balances mine.

John and myself had non-competes we were waiting to expire before incorporating the company so up to this point equity terms have been on a handshake basis.

We have seeded the company personally each having pitched in about $ 50k, however, Sam put in another $ 100k the two years he spent trying to build his company before we joined forces.

I’ve brought in an industry leading board, assets, and employees along with an 8 digit series A that we’ve received a term sheet for

To sams credit, I don’t have the best patience and given how passive he is can handle me at my worst

*The issue: * it’s become apparent over the past 3 months as we’ve begun to build the rest of the team that Sam is an absolute idiot. I’m actually not writing this out of anger and this has been an ongoing realization. Sam wants to basically be a thought leader and go on the festival circuit which I was originally confident in, however, I’m becoming increasingly more concerned about Sam’s ability to carry our strategy. There have been multiple instances in the past 2 months of painfully dumb conversations with Sam and some of the employees have started to refer to him as Mr Peanut Butter as a reference to bojack horseman. I had a conversation with Sam a few weeks ago sharing my concern with him being a team leader and ultimately we agreed on most major decisions he makes needing to be ran by me (before anyone says I’m power hungry John has been completely deputized and I’m very hands off and Sam whole heartedly agreed that he needed oversite) to help ensure there’s strategy and balance. As a gesture of goodwill I threw Sam an extra 3% equity to acknowledge the time and money he spent before us, however, I’m also second guessing that.

I’m worried if I try to split away from Sam that the funding offer we’ve received and the general company structure will fall apart. At the same time I struggle for someone who isn’t going to be contributing having almost 20% equity after our series A. If Sam isn’t helpful internally and I can’t trust him externally I feel like I’m left either hiding him in the closet or kicking him out. We have a verbal vest schedule and are for finalizing agreement terms, however, I feel like an asshole to put in a hole in the agreements that I know I’m going to push Sam in. Ultimately I think there’s an opportunity to strip Sam of some equity for new hires in the coming year diplomatically, however, I feel so manipulative doing that.

I feel like I’m stuck between a rock and a hard place as I would really like to accept the term sheet and close out our A and start fully ramping up but I’m seriously contemplating walking away.

.

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