[OurCrowd in The Australian] Australian investors back Israel’s OurCrowd pandemic fund

OurCrowd, which is backed by Australian Radek Sali’s Light Warrior Group, other local family offices and the  National Australia Bank, has bankrolled more than six Israeli companies with products that can detect and manage the symptoms caused by the deadly virus.

Read more here.

The post [OurCrowd in The Australian] Australian investors back Israel’s OurCrowd pandemic fund appeared first on OurCrowd.

OurCrowd

More and more domain investors are liquidating rather than dropping

 MorganLinton.com: Lately I’m seeing more and more activity on Twitter from domain name investors that have decided to use wholesale domain marketplaces like NameLiquidate.com and DNWE.com. Earlier this week veteran domain investor shared recent results with NameLiquidate which he updated with data from a second sale today: There’s also a p…
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Jeremy Conrad left his own VC firm to start a company, and investors like what he’s building

When this editor first met Jeremy Conrad, it was in 2014, at the 8,000-square-foot former fish factory that was home to Lemnos, a hardware-focused venture firm that Conrad had cofounded three years earlier.

Conrad —  who as a mechanical engineering undergrad at MIT worked on self driving cars, drones and satellites — was still excited about investing in hardware startups, having just closed a small new fund even while hardware was very unfashionable and remains challenging. One investment his team had made around that time was in Airware, a company that made subscription-based software for drones and attracted meaningful buzz and $ 118 million in venture funding before shutting down in 2018.

By then, Conrad had already moved on — though not from his love of hardware. He instead decided in late 2017 that a nascent team that was camping out at Lemnos was onto a big idea relating the future of construction. Conrad didn’t have a background in real estate or, at the time, a burning passion for the industry. But the “more I learned about it — not dissimilar to when I started Lemnos — It felt like there was a gap in the market, an opportunity that people were missing,” says Conrad from his home in San Francisco, where he has hunkered down throughout the COVID-19 crisis.

Enter Quartz, Conrad’s now 1.5-year-old, 14-person company, which quietly announced $ 7.75 million in Series A funding earlier this month, led by Baseline Ventures, with Felicis Ventures, Lemnos and Bloomberg Beta also participating.

What it’s selling to real estate developers, project managers and construction supervisors is really two things, which is safety and information.

Here’s how it works: using off-the-shelf hardware components that are reassembled in San Francisco and hardened (meaning secured to reduce vulnerabilities), the company incorporates its machine-learning software into this camera-based platform, then mounts the system onto cranes at construction sites. From there, the system streams 4K live feeds of what’s happening on the ground, while also making sense of the action.

Say dozens of concrete pouring trucks are expected on a construction site. The cameras, with their persistent view, can convey through a dashboard system whether and when the trucks have arrived and how many, says Conrad. It can determine how many people on are on a job site, and whether other deliveries have been made, even if not with a high degree of specificity.

“We can’t say [to project managers] that 1,000 screws were delivered, but we can let them know whether the boxes they were expecting were delivered and where they were left,” he explains.

It’s an especially appealing proposition in the age of coronavirus, as the technology can help convey information that’s happening at a site that’s been shut down, or even how closely employees are gathered.

Conrad says the technology also saves on time by providing information to those who might not otherwise be able to access it. Think of the developer on the 50th floor of the skyscraper that he or she is building, or even the crane operator who is perhaps moving a two-ton object and has to rely on someone on the ground to deliver directions but can enjoy far more visibility with the aid of a multi-camera set-up.

Quartz, which today operates in California but is embarking on a nationwide rollout, was largely inspired by what Conrad was seeing in the world of self-driving. From sensors to self-perception systems, he knew the technologies would be even easier to deploy at construction sites, and he believed it could make them safer, too. Indeed, like cars, construction sites are highly dangerous. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, of the worker fatalities in private industry in 2018, more than 20% were in construction.

Conrad also saw an opportunity to take on established companies like Trimble, a 42-year-old, publicly traded, Sunnyvale, Ca.-based company that sells a portfolio of tools to the construction industry and charges top dollar for them. Quartz is meanwhile charging just $ 2,000 per month per construction site for its series of cameras, their installation, a livestream and “lookback” data, though this may well rise at its adds additional features.

It’s a big enough opportunity that, perhaps unsurprisingly, Quartz is not alone in chasing it. Last summer, for example, Versatile, an Israeli-based startup with offices in San Francisco and New York City, raised $ 5.5 million in seed funding from Germany’s Robert Bosch Venture Capital and several other investors for a very similar platform,  though it uses sensors mounted under the hook of a crane to provide information about what’s happening below. Construction Dive, a media property that’s dedicated to the industry, highlights many other, similar and competitive startups in the space, too.

Still, Quartz has Conrad, who isn’t just any founding CEO. Not only does he have that background in engineering, but having launched a venture firm and spent years as an investor may also serve him well. He thinks a lot about the payback period on its hardware, for example.

Unlike a lot of founders, he even says he loves the fundraising process. “I get the highest quality feedback from some of the smartest people I know, which really helps focus your vision,” says Conrad, who says that Quartz, which operates in California today, is now embarking on a nationwide rollout.

“When you talk with great VCs, they ask great questions. For me, it’s best free consulting you can get.”

Startups – TechCrunch

Money investors earned from domain flipping

 Domaining Tips: Today: Parking and Forwarding domains with traffic / Loken.com sold for $ 6,400 / Initial results from .Info Experiment / and More… Here are the new discussions that caught my eye in the domain community today: Buying Crypto and Casino domains with traffic – Budget: Up to $ 2,000.00 – If you are holding any crypto or [&#823…
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Investors say emerging multiverses are the future of entertainment

The COVID-19 pandemic is accelerating the adoption of new technologies and cultural shifts that were already well underway. According to a clutch of heavy-hitting investors, this dynamic is particularly strong in gaming and extended reality.

Unlike other segments of the startup and tech world, where valuations have been slashed, early-stage companies focused on building new games, gaming infrastructure and virtual or extended reality entertainment are having no trouble raising money. They’ve even seen valuations rise, investors said.

“Valuations have increased pretty significantly in the gaming sector. Valuations have gone up 20 to 25% higher than I would have seen prior to this pandemic,” Phil Sanderson, a co-founder and managing director at Griffin Gaming Partners, told fellow participants on a virtual panel during the Los Angeles Games Conference earlier this month.

Driving the appetite for new investments is the entertainment industry’s bearhug of virtual events, animated features, games and social media platforms after widespread shelter-in-place orders made physical events an impossibility.

Startups – TechCrunch

6 Strategies For Startup Exit That Investors Accept

startup-exit-strategyThe last thing a new entrepreneur wants to think about for a new startup is how it will end. Yet one of the first things a potential equity investor asks about is your exit strategy. The answer you give can make or break your ability to get an investment, so you need to have the right answer ready before anyone asks. Here are three important reasons for the question:

  • Good investment paybacks normally require an exit event. Equity investments are not loans, so there is no loan payback period or interest payments. Equity is stock, but private company stock has no market value until the company goes public or is sold or merged with another company. These events may take three to five years at a minimum.
  • Startups with no exit planned will minimize investor returns. If the entrepreneur plans to grow the company into a family business, or keep it private, they will either never be interested in buying out investors, or will certainly not be motivated to provide the 10x return that investors are looking for. Investors hesitate to invest under these conditions.
  • Most entrepreneurs like the startup role, but not the big-company role. Investors know that the fun of a startup turns into managing production processes, sales processes, and personnel in a few years. You probably will do that job poorly, unless you plan your exit early, to move on to your next startup role, to do that better the next time.

Of course, if you are able to bootstrap your startup, and don’t anticipate the need for outside investors, you can technically ignore the first two points. Even still, in the context of all three points, I recommend that you evaluate the most common exit alternatives and considerations, and integrate the right one into your startup strategy and plan:

  1. M&A – merger or acquisition by another company. This should be perceived as a win-win event, where your startup is bought or merged into a larger peer or competitor, allowing both you and investors to cash out. The resulting entity will gain complementary skills, economies of scale, new customer sets, and hopefully a larger growth opportunity.
  1. IPO – public company initial public stock offering. According to National Venture Capital Association statistics, only 16% of venture-backed startups recently used this alternative, due to high liability concerns, demanding shareholders, and high costs. Most experts don’t recommend this approach as your default strategy anymore.
  1. Find a private equity firm or friendly individual. This alternative differs from an M&A, since the result is still your original single company. Yet it is an opportunity for you and your investors to cash out. The buyer has the challenge of scaling the business, and managing all the operational growth requirements. You can kick-off your next startup.
  1. Position the company as a cash cow to fund spinoffs. If you can convince investors that your startup will generate a solid revenue stream, and the market won’t go away any time soon, they may see an opportunity for an ever larger return. You can maintain ownership, and even find someone you trust to run it for you, as you focus on spinoffs.
  1. Liquidate the assets, cash out investors, and keep the rest. This is not a recommended strategy, since business shutdowns are usually seen as distressed situations, meaning the value of hard assets will be highly discounted. Less tangible assets like the brand name, business relationships, and even your reputation may be lost or damaged.
  1. No exit. If your startup strategy is to be a lifestyle company, or a family business that will grow organically and never go public, then no-exit is a valid exit strategy. This alternative is often paired with a personal no-exit strategy. If you expect investors to help your startup scale, it probably won’t happen, as discussed in the first points of this article.

While exit discussions may somehow seem negative, an exit strategy should always be seen as positive. It’s a plan to develop the best opportunity for you, your startup, and your investors, and capitalize on it, rather than a plan to get out of a bad situation. Think of it as a succession plan, to keep growing what you have started. It may be the end of your startup phase, but it should be the beginning of a more mature and stable business.

Marty Zwilling

Startup Professionals Musings

How large a TAM would investors be interested in?

Anyone ever tried to raise venture funding knows, he/she needs to prove to an investor the business can reach $ 100M ARR. I have always been thinking about this, have some questions, and would like to get any inputs you would like to share.

  1. Using a bottom-up method to calculate TAM, do we use the price of the current MVP or an imaginary product that embodied the full, grandiose full vision? If using the latter, how much validation is expected?
  2. Is the $ 100M revenue a regional number (e.g US) or the world-wide number?
  3. Is a $ 1B TAM required to convince an investor of the possibility of this $ 100M ARR requirement?
  4. Does the type of startup matter? Do investors judge pure software SaaS with other technology-enabled startups under the same rubric? Their margins can be quite different. For the likes of AirBnB, Uber, Amazon (eCommerce department), WeWork, this type of businesses can quite easily achieve a large ARR. They cannot just use their GMV as their ARR, can they? If you count in the goods exchanged, or services involved in these market-type businesses, their gross margin is not likely to be good looking. How are the TAM and ARR calculated for these startups?

Here is my situation:

  1. I've always used the price of our MVP and end up much lower than $ 100M. I know the mantra of "making a few people really happy" and going after them with a high price tag, only to complete your startup story, but when those a few people became your friends, you kind of don't want to ripe them off for your own purpose. My plan was to expand the product to bring much more value, then get a higher price, but that seems hard to convey clearly during the short period of time people listen to me.
  2. I have always used the US numbers and ask people to x10 for world-wide numbers. It's perhaps to my disadvantage doing it this way because the 1st number would stuck in people's minds and I can see them thinking, boy that is too small.

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

Some domain investors really just love to burn money

 TLDInvestors.com: I actually laughed out loud when I saw the name, because it’s just so stupid to register. I was browsing UDRP decisions on The Forum and came across JakeFromStateFarm.club. .CLUB??? Why? Why would you register that in .club? Like who is going to buy it? You really can’t develop it Why would you go with […] The post …
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Are .AI domains worth the carrying costs for Domain Investors?

 MorganLinton.com: A couple of years ago I bought five .AI domain names, my go-to for ccTLDs like this is 101Domain as they tend to have the best pricing. Still, .AI domains aren’t cheap no matter where you get them, at $ 159.98 to register and $ 179.98 to renew, the carrying costs are high. If you do the […]
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