It breaks my heart to have to write this post but I’m not giving up on this mission – a read for technical founders who care about Asian representation

It breaks my heart to have to write this post but I’m not giving up on this mission. For the past 10 months, I’ve dedicated my life to building a platform where Asians can represent their unique story, show their personality and transcend stereotypes with the end goal of finding meaningful connections. In short, it would be a video dating app that celebrates the Asian experience.

I was determined to build this platform because I am a product of immigrants who was raised on western media and its negative portrayal of Asians. I’m doing this because I’m still hurting and recognize that we, the collective Asian community, are longing to heal from the generations of ancestral trauma and internalized racism.

We gathered a small group of talented and passionate individuals with the same passion, values, drive and mission to improve the lives of Asian individuals, and were just 2 weeks away from releasing the beta. Over 900 people have signed up to be beta testers and there was genuine excitement and support in the community about this product and our mission.

This all ended abruptly just a few days ago when our CTO was forced to pull out of the project due to unforeseen family reasons and extenuating circumstances. Now, we are left with 900 individuals who’ve been eagerly and patiently waiting for the app, an app that’s about 2 weeks away from beta stage completion and a small group of passionate individuals who want nothing more than to offer a better dating experience for Asian individuals. We’ve come to a standstill.

But we’re not giving up here. We’ve come too far and there is too much at stake – the possibility of helping Asians lead happier lives. As difficult as it was to find our original and amazing CTO, we’re again looking for a talented CTO and co-founder to continue our mission.

The app is built on Firebase and Flutter, and it’s pretty great – again, near public beta shape. We’re looking for a CTO and co-founder who is a senior full-stack developer with experience in mobile development and startups. The most important quality, however, is that this person is passionate about Asian representation and believes in a mission like ours. The team is working remotely so it doesn’t matter where you are. You would join for equity. (So this isn’t a job post.) We have no funding and don’t have any grand illusions of getting any at this stage without users or revenue. But money is not what drives us and it’s not why we’re doing this.

And if you’re curious, yes, we’ve done the research, the surveys, the interviews, the prototyping, the alpha testing. I can tell you straight out: Will all Asians want to use this app? NO. Some Asians don’t want to date other Asians and that’s their prerogative. We’re not here to convert anyone. But do Asians in general want a platform like this? YES. The majority of Asians do see the benefit and value in dating someone who comes from a similar experience and upbringing. And just because you’re on this app doesn’t mean you’re not open to dating non-Asians. And is the app sticky? Fuck ya.

We believe this is an app that has the potential to become the “TikTok” of Asian dating – a cool platform that everyone wants to join. Yeah, nothing like this has existed before so it’s hard for some to even imagine it. But 900 of you and many more that have reached out with support can see that vision and that possibility. This will be a platform where Asians can proudly celebrate our identity, culture and story, and, by telling our stories with compassion, love and empathy, allow ourselves to find self-acceptance and even, perhaps, love.

If you believe in a mission like ours and you’re interested in possibly joining our team or know anyone that might be, please tell them about www.alike.dating and tell them to message me at hello@alike.dating. Fingers crossed. Thank you.

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

Guidance needed for giving equity to partners

I'm launching a game product that I have worked on (mostly) solo for the past few months. So far, I've invested around 10k which includes prototypes and the first production run. I am now at the point where I need some help, mostly in the area of marketing.

I have two close friends who own a marketing agency that does exactly what I need. They have already been unofficially involved with helping me test the product, film some marketing vids, and discussing strategy. Now that things are 'real', I'd like to have them more officially involved and my first thought is to offer them equity.

Assuming they are open to the idea there are a few details I am trying to think through –

  • How much equity should be offered? The assumption is that we would be 'partners' and they would lead the sales and marketing side while I run the Finance and Operations. We would all be part time initially.
  • Should I ask them to invest any cash initially? As I mentioned above, I am currently funding all the operations.
  • What other details should I consider? Things like how to handle future capital raises, dilution, voting, etc.

The current offer I have in mind is 10% each and a 5k investment. I will also be contributing another 5k so we would have 15k in the bank to fund future capital needs. After that, all capital raises would be done equally with proportional dilution (if that makes sense).

I know this situation will likely require a lawyer to work through all the details but getting some guidance from this community would be really helpful so we can come to an agreement in principle before getting a lawyer involved.

Thanks in advance. I've been a lurker on this sub for a long time so I'm excited to participate and hopefully contribute soon!

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

The Importance of Giving Up – to Soar

Way back in the day, I came home from little league. My mom asked me how it was. Without hesitation, I told her that I wanted to quit. She asked me why? I told her I was sick of the coach letting his son pitch because the son was so awful. Then, when the game was nearly lost — Coach would put me in as pitcher — and he’d expect me to win the game — no matter what had to be done.

If I couldn’t pull out the win — Coach would rant and scream at me and the whole team. I wanted to quit. If I complained, Coach would stick me in the outfield swatting away at flies. I didn’t mind if I was playing first base like Frank Thomas or Jeff Bagwell. My mom told me that I’d never get as much training as I would receive pitching under that kind of pressure.

It was then that my mom threw a Vince Lombardi quote in my direction. “Winners never quit, and quitters never win.” And, in case I forgot, there were also some pretty amazing outfielders I could emulate like Ken Griffey Jr., Tony Gwenn, and Mickey Mantle.

I gave up on my dream of being the starting pitcher for every game — I stopped resenting the coaches’ son. Instead, I focused on what I was good at — hitting and running, and I tried to make sure I helped pull out a win under stressful circumstances. And, in hindsight, that was a win-win.

I gave up on my dream of being a major league baseball pitcher.

That’s not to say it was easy to switch my mindset. No one likes giving up on their dreams. But, this taught me a valuable lesson. There are times in life when throwing in the towel is important.

The Scientific Case for Giving Up

“Realizing that an attempt to achieve something is not accomplishing its goal, and then stopping that behavior, can actually be beneficial,” writes Claudia Lopez-Lloreda for Inverse. “When confronted with a difficult challenge or obstacle, animals often ‘give up’ to conserve energy between attempts or to identify other strategies to succeed — or reassess if the effort is even worth it.”

A research group led by Misha Ahrens at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute was responsible for this finding. But, Ahrens is far from the only researcher to scientifically prove the benefits of giving up.

“A laser-like focus on one goal (like a promotion) often prevents us from seeking out new opportunities for learning and growth,” writes Jennifer Gueringer on the NetCredit blog. “In fact, a survey of Stanford Business school alumni found that those who held five or more positions in 15 years were nine times more likely to reach senior management than those with fewer roles.”

“The effects are physical, too,” adds Gueringer. “A Concordia University found that teenage girls who were unable to disengage from difficult goals exhibited increased levels of C-reactive protein, an inflammatory molecule linked to diabetes, heart disease and early aging in adults.”

You’ll Accomplish More

I know that sounds counterproductive. But, bear with me for a second.

Recall a time when you were procrastinating. Maybe you were dreading the task, just not feeling it, or didn’t have the skills or knowledge to complete it. Regardless of the exact reason — you stubbornly kept trying to tackle this task.

What happened next? You may have originally blocked out two hours of time to get this thing done. Now you’re approaching three or four hours. And, before you know it, you’ve screwed up your entire schedule for not just the day, but the entire week. The reason? What you have planned to do today gets moved to tomorrow and so forth.

Also, even if you were able to cross this item off your list, you’ve spent way more energy on it then you should have. As a result, you’re too drained to focus on anything else that’s of importance.

The better option here would be to move on to something else that you can actually do well. You may even want to delegate or outsource to someone else.

You’ll Be Happier and More Creative

As Raj Raghunathan Ph.D. writes in Psychology Today, there is something called ego depletion which suggests that “willpower is a limited resource.” If you’re obsessed with achieving a goal, that means you’re sacrificing other goals “whose achievement also depends on the same pool of willpower.”

There’s also hyperopia. It’s similar to the above where you “sacrifice your present-day enjoyment for the sake of a future that may never really arrive.” What does that mean? Well, “it may be more important to give up on goals that take too much out of us than to pursue them at all cost.”

Speaking of goals, if a goal is tied to a reward — it may sometimes hinder creativity and problem-solving.

“Rewards can perform a weird sort of behavioral alchemy: they can transform an interesting task into a drudge,” Daniel Pink wrote in his book Drive. “They can turn the play into work,” Pink adds. “And by diminishing intrinsic motivation, they can send performance, creativity, and even upstanding behavior toppling like dominoes.”

Besides goals, here are some other things that you should give up if you want to be happy and successful:

  • Perfection. You already know that perfectionism is unrealistic, stressful, and prevents you from finding new opportunities.
  • FOMO. The so-called, Fear Of Missing Out can cause you to spread yourself too thin and it diverts your attention away from your priorities.
  • Negative self-talk. If you engage in negative self-talk, it holds you back from achieving your dreams — and it can do other weird things to you too. Just watch someone who loves this awful habit — you hate to be around them, huh?
  • Comparing yourself to others. Comparing yourself to anyone but yourself is unproductive and self-destructive.
  • Toxic relationships. Spend time with people you love and who love you back. Toxic people are a waste of time, energy, and will only drag you down.
  • The fear of failure. Everyone fails. Accept that fact, and learn from each experience — or don’t learn from it — just get past it.

The End is the Beginning is The End

Do you need one final reason for quitting? How about it gives a clean slate to live the life you want?

Yes — quitting at anything is usually easier said than done. But, take that leap of faith and ditch the things that are holding you back and causing you distress. For example, if you’re miserable because you feel like you’re in a dead-end job, quit and launch your own business.

Quitting a job may not be in your future and it’s going to be hard and scary. But, this type of quitting is a better option than being stuck in a situation that is depriving you of living the life that you want. Remember, life is short. So, use your life, and spend this valuable resource however you want.

How to Know When It’s Time to Give Up

There isn’t an exact answer to whether it’s time to give up. But, Cloris Kylie Stock from Tiny Buddha has put together five signs that may help you decide if now is the time to quit — or if it’s time to buckle down and win.

  • You aren’t enjoying life to the fullest because your quest to solve a problem as taken over your life.
  • No matter how hard you try, you can’t visualize a positive outcome.
  • You start to feel poorly about yourself.
  • Even though a goal involved others, you’re the only person who has an interest.
  • When you wake-up in the morning, you think about giving up.

Remember to analyze the pros and cons of what and when to give up. The “give-up” should come rarely in your life, and it should only be deployed when it will be for your greater good. Plan carefully — make your give-up a win-win.

The Importance of Giving Up – to Soar was originally published on Calendar by .

The post The Importance of Giving Up – to Soar appeared first on KillerStartups.

KillerStartups

13 Boston-focused VCs share the advice they’re giving portfolio companies

TechCrunch is focusing a bit more on the Boston-area startup and venture capital ecosystem lately, which has gone pretty well so far.

In fact, we had originally intended on releasing this regional investor survey as a single piece, but since so many VCs took part, we’re breaking it into two. The first part deals with the world we live in today, and the remainder will detail what Boston-area investors think about the future.

We broke our questions into two parts to better track investor sentiment. But, we were also curious what was going to come when things got back closer to normal. So, this first entry in our Boston investor survey covers our questions concerning what’s going on now. On Thursday we’ll have the second piece, looking at what’s ahead.

Here’s who took part:

What follows is a quick digest of what stood out from the collected answers, though there’s a lot more that we didn’t get to.

Boston VC in the COVID-19 era

Parsing through thousands of words and notes from our participating VCs, a few things stood out.

Boston startups aren’t having as bad a time — yet, at least — as area investors expected

Fewer companies than they anticipated are laying off staff for example. From our perspective, the number of Boston investors who noted that their portfolio companies were executing layoffs or furloughs (we asked for each to be precise) was very low; far more Boston-area startups are hiring than even freezing headcount. Layoffs appear somewhat rare, but as we all know cost cutting can take many forms for startups. Especially startups on the seed and early-stage side, which makes up the majority of these firm’s portfolio companies.

According to Glasswing’s Rudina Seseri, startup duress has come in “significantly under what [her firm was] expecting at the beginning of COVID-19.”

This may be due to a strong first quarter helping companies in the city and its surrounding area make it another few quarters. We might not know the full bill of COVID-19 and its related disruptions until next year.

More investors than we expected noted that their Boston portfolio companies aren’t raising this year

So what we’re gleaning from that fact is that any decline in Q2 and Q3 VC data is not because companies can’t raise, but because they don’t need to. Comments echoed a theme we wrote about in April: Boston broke records in Q1 in terms of dollars raised, but saw a dip in the number of checks cut.

Pillar VC’s Jamie Goldstein said that “about 15% of our companies are planning to raise capital this year,” which felt about average. Underscore VC’s Lily Lyman simply noted that, “Yes,” her Boston-area portfolio companies would hunt for new capital this year. Bill Geary of Flare Capital is on the other side of that coin, saying that “each of [his firm’s] Boston-based investments has successfully recently raised capital and will not be raising additional funds until 2021.”

It’s hard not to wonder if what happened to Boston unicorns Toast and EzCater was the exception and not the rule

 You see, Boston’s startup scene skews relatively early stage, so smaller companies don’t have high-profile cuts because, to be frank, there isn’t much staff to cut in the first place. It puts Boston in a unique setting to focus in on its early stage market, and investors all agreed that this is an important moment for the ecosystem.

The March-era stress tests are now months in the rearview mirror, and every startup has shaken up their spend and growth plans. Perhaps we have met the new normal, and it’s time to let the runway do the talking.

With that, let’s get into full questions and answers.

Rudina Seseri, Glasswing Ventures

What is the top-line advice you’re giving your portfolio companies right now?

This is a pivotal time, be efficient and drive execution. Cut costs where possible but at the same time don’t be afraid to spend for growth acceleration.

What percentage of your Boston-based portfolio companies are still hiring, not including those merely backfilling?

About 60%.

What percentage of your Boston-based portfolio companies have frozen new hires?

About 20%.

What percentage of your Boston-based portfolio companies have furloughed staff?

None.

What percentage of your Boston-based portfolio companies have cut staff?

One company that represents about 4% of the portfolio.

Are your Boston-based portfolio companies looking to raise new capital this year?

Most have raised recently, and consequently are not looking to raise at this time.

If not, are they often delaying due to COVID-19?

No, because of their recent raises, their fundraising considerations will take place in 2021.

Has duress amidst your Boston-based portfolio companies undershot, matched or overshot your expectations from March?

It has been significantly under what we were expecting at the beginning of COVID-19.

How has your investment appetite changed in terms of pace and location, if at all?

We have been very active and closed deals in this environment. Our expectation is that our investment appetite will remain the same going forward.

Are you making investments in Q2 into net-new founders and companies?

Yes, as a matter-of-fact we just closed a yet-to-be announced investment this month.

Are there particular sectors of startups in Boston that you expect to do well, aside from SaaS businesses that are benefiting from secular trends? Are there any sectors you have become newly bearish on?

Yes, those that are in our core focus areas — solutions that bring down the cost of cloud and data, platforms and tools leveraging AI, those that facilitate cost reduction, and intelligent solutions in cybersecurity that protect the enterprise.

How does the uncertainty of schools reopening impact the startup ecosystem?

This will further drive and institutionalize distributed teams and remote working as a go-forward mode of operating.

Startups – TechCrunch

Calling All Entrepreneurs & Professionals! Help Students by Giving Them Professional Mentorship and Opportunities!

Hey r/startups!

I'm a recently graduated high school senior and entrepreneur and as you guys can already tell, it’s been a hectic three months due to the pandemic. Students everywhere are having trouble finding opportunities this summer.

To deal with this problem many of us students are facing, I’m setting up a Slack Community to bring like-minded people together to grow academically and professionally. From finding side-projects to developing research ideas, finding a mentor, and college admission advice, my goal is to create an active and diverse community of professionals and students.

This is where you guys come in! There are hundreds of students that would love to have guidance and support, especially during these times, so no matter the commitment, we are actively looking for volunteers who would be willing to provide occasional talks, mentor students, and anything else that would help benefit students who are struggling to find jobs or internships during this pandemic.

If you are willing to help, you can sign up here. Any help would be greatly appreciated!

Thanks, and best of luck to all of you! 🙌

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

Scribd announces a perks program, giving its subscribers access to Pandora Plus, TuneIn Premium and more

E-book and audiobook subscription service Scribd has been actively embracing and experimenting with bundling over the past couple of years, creating joint offers with The New York Times and with Spotify and Hulu.

Today it announced a slightly different take on the idea with Scribd Perks. These perks give Scribd’s paying subscribers (the service costs $ 8.99 per month) access to a number of additional services at no extra change.

The initial lineup includes Pandora Plus (ad-free music and podcasts), TuneIn Premium (live sports, news, music and podcasts), Peak (brain training), CuriosityStream (documentaries and series), CONtv + Comics (movies and digital comics), FarFaria (illustrated children’s books that are read aloud) and MUBI (hand-picked films).

Many of these services are relatively niche — at least compared to Scribd’s previous bundling partners — but they all normally cost between $ 2.99 and $ 10.99 per month, so there are some real savings here. It’s an extra incentive for someone to sign up for Scribd, and for existing subscribers to stick around. Meanwhile, these partners presumably get new users and additional revenue.

In a statement, Scribd CEO Trip Adler said:

With millions of people around the world continuing to shelter in place, having access to different forms of enrichment is more important than ever before. We’re thrilled to be partnering with leading consumer brands to offer a more accessible way for consumers to easily stay informed, entertained, and connected. Scribd is designed to help people explore the world’s best content, and now, with the launch of our new Scribd Perks platform, there is even more premium content to discover.

 

Startups – TechCrunch

Digital Products Startup – Giving Co-Founder Profit Share vs Equity

I will be launching an online digital products start up later this year. Once launched the company can start generating revenue fairly quickly as there is minimal overhead (as with most digital products) and we have a highly scaleable marketing strategy (mostly online ads).

Recently I approached one of my mentors (a high profile figure within our niche industry) to propose we collaborate on the companies initial product offer (utilizing his likeness & image) and split all net profits 50/50. He was not only onboard with the idea, but he also expressed further interest in being apart in growing the company as a whole.

He wants to form a partnership in which he strategically helps the company grow as an advisor and also setting up meetings with other high profile figures (his network is wide with access to many notable figures IE celebrities he has worked with before) and potential investors, while I take care of the day to day operations and overall company direction.

In addition, he has access to contribute some resources (equipment, workspace, some initial [small] capital, etc) to help the company create our first initial products.

He just asked me to send him a document outlining potential terms for our partnership in the business. Besides the 50/50 split of net profits from his self-branded digital product, we did not discuss specific numbers or titles as to what our partnership could look like.

My thinking was to bring him on as a co-founder / limited partner while I retain the CEO / Founder moniker. Given that the company can start generating revenue quickly I figured it might make more sense to offer a profit sharing program instead of a traditional vested equity offer that takes years. This not only provides him with a quick ROI but also provides me the bonus of me keeping control of the company and minimizing giving out equity (especially as this person will not be working full time on the business).

My proposal at the moment is as follows:

50% of net profits to the partner for all sales of his own self-branded digital product

10% of net profits to the partner for all sales of digital products from notable figures he onboards to the company (IE: If he sets up a meeting a high-profile "influencer" who signs a deal with us to create their digital products on our platform, the partner gets 10% of those sales)

An alternate structure that came to mind is to have somewhat similar profit sharing numbers as these, but then to also offer a small piece of milestone based equity (lets say 5% – 10%) (IE: Successful launch of the partners self-branded digital product = 3%, hitting over 100k rev on the product = another 2%, successful on-boarding of high profile figure = an additional 3%, etc).

Curious to know what you guys think on this kind of structure? Also, does it make sense to give my mentor the co-founder / partner title given all the variables listed above? Would a Multi-Member LLC, partnership, or S-Corp make more sense for the business formation?

Pardon the long post. Although I am very experienced in the creation of the digital product we will be offering I am not particularly experienced with partnerships & business structures so I am seeking some general feedback to formalize my thoughts before I spend money on legal experts (which is certainly the next step). Thank you!

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

Facebook Is Giving Away $100M Free Ad Credits. Apply Now

Facebook is giving away$ 100M Free Ad Credits. Larry Kim detailed how to do apply along with some tools to get started with Facebook ads. Facebook says it will accept up to 30,000 eligible small businesses in more than 30 countries to receive the grant. To be eligible to apply, a business must meet these requirements: […]

The post Facebook Is Giving Away $ 100M Free Ad Credits. Apply Now appeared first on TheDomains.com.

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