How to Successfully Raise Funding During A Pandemic (Webinar)

Last month I did a presentation for a group of CEO's on what I'm hearing from investors and founders right now vis-a-vis raising money. The landscape is different now and I think every founder needs to adjust and adapt. For those that can I do believe this time can present a lot of opportunities. Here's the link to the webinar, I hope this is helpful

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

As pandemic drags on, interest in automation surges

Today, the U.S. exceeded three million COVID-19 cases and 132,000 deaths. In several states, new hotspots have rolled back plans to reopen businesses. The novel coronavirus has — and will continue — to profoundly impact the way we live and work.

For the moment, that includes a shift in the employment status of many Americans. More than 50 million people have filed for unemployment since mid-March. And while many states have made efforts to reopen businesses and return some sense of normality, these moves have led to a spike in cases and may prolong the pandemic and its ongoing economic impact.

Technology has been a lifeline for many, from food delivery to the 3D printing I highlighted last week, which has worked to address a nation suffering from personal protective equipment shortages. Automation and robotics have also been a constant in conversations around tech’s battle against COVID-19.

Robots don’t get sick, tired or emotionally burnt out, and unlike us, they aren’t walking, talking disease vectors. Automation advocates like to point to the “three Ds” of dull, dirty and dangerous jobs that will eventually be replaced by a robotic workforce, but in the age of COVID-19, nearly any essential job qualifies.

The robotic invasion has already begun in earnest. The service, delivery, health care and sanitation industries in particular have all opened a massive gap over the past several months that automation has been more than happy to roll right through. A recent report from The Brookings Institute notes that automation arrives in the workforce in fits and starts — most notably, during times of economic downturn.

“Robots’ infiltration of the workforce doesn’t occur at a steady, gradual pace. Instead, automation happens in bursts, concentrated especially in bad times such as in the wake of economic shocks, when humans become relatively more expensive as firms’ revenues rapidly decline,” the study found. “At these moments, employers shed less-skilled workers and replace them with technology and higher-skilled workers, which increases labor productivity as a recession tapers off.”

Startups – TechCrunch

Educators Summit: Lessons from Teaching in the Pandemic

SAVE THE DATE for the Lean Innovation Educators Summit:
Lessons from Teaching in the Pandemic
July 24, 10-noon Pacific, 1-3pm Eastern, 6-8pm London

As educators the COVID-19 pandemic has challenged us all.

We’ve faced the challenges of teaching remotely, while virtually managing students scattered across the world, keeping students enthusiastic and engaged via video, helping them conduct customer discovery when they can’t get out of the building, and rolling with uncertain teaching schedules now and in the future. We’ve all been making it up as we go and have begun to see a glimmer of patterns of what’s worked and what hasn’t. 

Since the Pandemic we’ve taught three classes remotely – Hacking for Defense, Hacking for Oceans and our first of three Hacking for Recovery classes. I know I’ve learned a ton – some surprisingly good and some just surprisingly.

But more importantly there are hundreds of educators who have also learned valuable lessons. If you’ve learned something you’d like to share, or would like to hear how others are modifying their pedagogical approaches for the pandemic, you’re invited to join us virtually and collectively in this two-hour on-line session (with an additional one hour of breakout sessions for follow-up discussions on topics of interest.)

Some of the topics we’ll cover include:

  • Converting and scaling existing programs and classes
  • Standing up new programs from scratch
  • Improving diversity and inclusion in tech innovation education
  • Addressing K-12 opportunities
We invite you to submit your own instructional innovations for a virtual poster session. We will also be having subgroup discussions to engage in active give and take.

So save the date for the Lean Innovation Educators Summit on July 24th, 2020.

This session is free to all, but limited to Innovation educators. You can register for the event here and/or learn more on our website. We look forward to gathering as a community of educators to shape the future of Lean Innovation Education in the COVID-19 era. 

Steve Blank

In pandemic era, entrepreneurs turn to SPACs, crowdfunding and direct listings

If necessity is the mother of invention, then new business owners are getting very inventive in the ways in which they access cash. Relying on some long-tested and some new avenues to raise money, entrepreneurs are finding more ways to get public market cash faster than they would have in the past.

Whether it’s from Reg A crowdfunding dollars, Special Purpose Acquisition Companies (SPACs) or direct listings, these somewhat arcane and specialized financing vehicles are making a comeback alongside a rise in new funding mechanisms to get to market quickly and avoid the dilution that comes from private market rounds (especially since those rounds are likely to come at a reduced valuation given market conditions).

Some of these tools have existed for a while and are newly popular in an era where retail investors are driving much of the daily fluctuations of the public markets. Wall Street institutions are largely maintaining their conservative postures with regard to new offerings, so secondary market retail volume growth is outpacing institutional. Retail investors want into these new issues and are pouring into the markets, contributing to huge pops to new public offerings for companies like Lemonade this Thursday and creating an environment where SPACs and crowdfunding campaigns can flourish.

The rise of zero-commission brokerages and the popularization of fractional trading led by the startup Robinhood and adopted by every one of the major online brokers including Charles Schwab, TD Ameritrade, E-Trade and Interactive Brokers has created a stock market boom that defies the underlying market conditions in the U.S. and globally. For instance, daily trades on Robinhood are up 300% year-over-year as of March 2020.

According to data from the BATS exchange, the total trade count in the U.S. was up 71% and May trading was up more than 43% over 2019. Meanwhile, E-Trade daily average revenue trades posted a 244% increase in May over last year’s numbers.

Don’t call it a comeback

The appetite for new issues is growing and if many of the largest venture-backed companies are holding off on going public, smaller names are using SPACs to access public capital and reach these new investors.

Startups – TechCrunch

5 Startup Tech Trends to Watch During the Pandemic

Venture capital is a long game. Startups take many years to mature before venture capitalists can get a return on their investment. While you may think that VC investment is down during the economic downturn, this is only true in the short term, primarily because VCs are concerned with how their existing portfolio companies will make it through the crisis.

So, what trends will VCs be looking for, and what will they be avoiding in the coming months and years?

Some trends are obvious. The “sharing economy,” which powered companies like Uber and Airbnb and fueled quite a bit of venture investment and excitement in the last decade, seems to have reached its apex and is no longer in favor. And the likes of Zoom and remote conferencing has experienced a not-so-temporary boom during this crisis that is likely to continue long afterward.

StartupNation exclusive discounts and savings on Dell products and accessories: Learn more here

While predicting the future is never easy, here are a few tech trends that I believe will keep venture capitalists very busy in the months and years ahead as we emerge from this crisis.

Virtual Reality (VR), Augmented Reality (AR), Mixed Reality (XR)

Virtual reality was already making a comeback well before the coronavirus hit. As opposed to older headsets which required a PC or a smartphone to connect to use, stand-alone headsets such as the Oculus Quest were driving this resurgence. Another factor driving this resurgence is that companies were recognizing VR as a much better way to train employees.

People working at home during the pandemic has resulted in a resurgence of interest in VR content and VR startups. I predict this will drive more investors to look at ways to leverage VR headsets to do everything from watching movies to working and socializing.

For example, VirZoom is a VR company that lets you use exercise bikes at home and feel like you are in a virtual environment, racing against friends who are at home. Additionally, products that can be used to hold VR conferences are suddenly very popular, as more physical conferences continue to be cancelled, including concerts and other gatherings.

Consumer robots and autonomous delivery

It has been over 10 years since Google started its autonomous vehicle project (now called Waymo). GM and other car companies have made significant investments in the space and Tesla has been working on its own self-driving algorithms for some time.

However, with the decline of ride sharing services like Uber and Lyft due to the virus, I believe there will be a second wave of autonomous companies funded, especially those that are self-cleaning and can navigate to people’s houses without needing drivers.

While many delivery services like DoorDash and UberEats now promise “contactless” delivery, automated robots that drive and deliver to your home will still be preferred over these contactless services. Amazon has been making noise about drone-based package delivery, though right now the biggest hurdles are more regulatory.

While we still haven’t seen anything like Rosie, the robot housecleaner from the Jetsons, a new wave of consumer robots and autonomous delivery startups funded over the next few years might just get us there!

Related: Startup Myth: Is it Better to Be First to Market or Not?

Next generation conferencing and remote working

While Zoom usage has soared (as have competitors like GoToMeeting and WebEx) while everyone works from home, many tech companies like Google, Facebook and Twitter will allow workers to continue working at home for many months or in some cases, forever. This will require more tools than just Slack and Zoom, and many startups will be founded in order to provide next generation meeting and remote working services.

This technology could go well beyond virtual meetings to include conferences and other types of events. There are also companies like RemoteHQ that allow remote workers to feel like they are in the same office. With shared versions of apps like browsers, whiteboards and more, they are likely just the first of many startups that will make a mark in the remote working space.

One aspect of working remotely that deserves its own callout is cybersecurity. While many tech companies are used to collaborating with off-shore offices, remote work introduces a whole new level of security problems for IT departments.

Enterprise SaaS 

These models became the dominant form of software after the last downturn. One benefit for investors and software companies was that although it took longer for a SaaS company to build up its revenue, the recurring nature of the transaction made the revenue and cash flow much more predictable and annualized recurring revenue became the preferred way to measure software companies’ performance.

Any company whose revenue is not subscription-based is likely seeing many sales decisions and budgets put off, with revenue swinging wildly during this crisis. SaaS companies that have already worked their way into enterprises and have a low churn rate are likely to become even more popular.

As a result, I think that more VCs will start to look for enterprise SaaS models rather than funding the next consumer app or social media platform.

Video games

Games have proven to be recession-proof, and revenue has not been hit significantly during this downturn.

With the introduction of new casual gaming platforms and companies like Zynga, ngmoco (sold to GREE for $ 400 million), King (makers of Candy Crush, now sold to Activision), Niantic (makers of Pokemon Go) and many others, incredible returns were made by VCs over the first part of the last decade.

Eventually, the industry matured and costs went up once again and only a small number of VCs still invest in gaming. However, I predict that as new platforms rise for casual gaming during and after this downturn, mainstream VCs will look at gaming again because of its recession-proof nature.

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Historically, the period just after a downturn, while being a tough one for entrepreneurs, has often produced many great companies. Professional investors recognize this and while they are busy shoring up their existing portfolio companies during the downturn, most VCs I know are also keeping a lookout for new investments.

These are of course, just some of the trends that I think will interest venture capitalists and strategic investors during and after the pandemic. Sometimes, a downturn is the mother of necessity that creates entirely new industries. Venture capitalists in Silicon Valley and beyond are already looking for next wave of entrepreneurs to fund.

The post 5 Startup Tech Trends to Watch During the Pandemic appeared first on StartupNation.


GoDaddy domains doing just fine during pandemic, lays off hundreds anyway GoDaddy has announced hundreds of lay-offs as part of a restructuring made necessary by the coronavirus pandemic, but it says its domain name business is still doing pretty well. The market-leading registrar late last week announced changes that will affect 814 of its US-based employees. Hundreds will be laid off. Others will be offe…

Laundryheap, the ‘Uber of Laundry’, expands into new markets amid COVID-19 pandemic

With limited time and more work to do, people these days prefer simpler ways to get their daily tasks done. Laundry is surely one of them. From washing clothes at home to going to coin-operated laundry services, the laundry and dry cleaning sector have evolved so much over the years. 

According to a report, the dry-cleaning and laundry services market worldwide is projected to grow by $ 18.9 billion (approx €17 billion), driven by a compounded growth of 4.2%. Within Europe, Germany will add over $ 925.4 million (approx €825 million) to the region’s size and clout in the next 5 to 6 years. Over $ 1 billion (approx €891 million) worth of projected demand in the region will come from the rest of Europe markets.

Going strong amid the pandemic

In this regard, Europe has produced several on-demand laundry startups over the past few years. Laundryheap, the UK’s largest on-demand laundry and dry cleaning service, has recently announced its expansion into five new international markets: New York, Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait, and Singapore. 

The expansion comes as a result of solid performance in 2020 even during COVID-19 pandemics. Furthermore, the London-based startup is looking to capitalise on competitor’s withdrawal from the market and an increased appetite for on-demand cleaning services as well. It’s worth mentioning that the expansion follows a year of planning! 

Laundryheap taking the leap 

The UK startup enables customers to have their laundry collected, washed, and delivered back to them in a guaranteed 24 hours – a turnaround no competitor offers. 

In the wake of the pandemic and other environmental concerns, the app also allows customers to opt for: contactless collection and delivery; a virus-targeting, high-temperature wash; and a green travel route for their delivery drivers. 

Sticks with sustainable revenue models

Founded by Deyan Dimitrov in 2014, Laundryheap is now focused on translating their successful model into a vastly augmented global presence, with plans to expand to at least 12 additional cities before the end of the year.

In its existing markets – the UK, Ireland, the Netherlands, and the UAE, the startup focuses on building sustainable revenue models. Bootstrapped initially for 3 years, the company secured its first funding of £2.9 million (approx €3.2 million) in VC investment in 2017. 

Temporary accommodations, a 30% discount and more

To ensure their service reached those who needed it most during the lockdown, the company introduced numerous initiatives. This includes a partnership with UnderTheDoormat to service the free temporary accommodation of NHS workers, the distribution of care packages of cleaning and hygiene essentials for the elderly (with Age UK signed up to help distribute), a pay-it-forward scheme with matched gifting, and a 30% NHS workers discount across all Laundryheap services. 

Speaking on the international expansion, Laundryheap’s CEO, Deyan Dimitrov, comments: “Since launching, we’ve been focused on steady growth. With on-demand products, you cannot blitz into new markets until you’ve perfected your operations and figured out a realistic route to revenue – your burn rate will simply be unsustainably high. While others have stumbled, we’ve been focused on perfecting the product. Now, having expanded so exponentially during such an uncertain time, it’s clear that those years of groundwork were instrumental to our growth. We’re delighted to be increasing our global footprint and I look forward to bringing Laundryheap to more communities across the world.”

Main image credits: Laundryheap

The post Laundryheap, the ‘Uber of Laundry’, expands into new markets amid COVID-19 pandemic appeared first on Silicon Canals .

Startups – Silicon Canals

[OurCrowd in Baltimore Jewish Life] How the Pandemic is Changing World Healthcare

From Jerusalem, Israel, an online Pandemic Innovation Conference, a live interactive event, hosted by OurCrowd, brought together investors, entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, corporate executives, government officials, and press from over 90 countries around the world.

Read more here.

The post [OurCrowd in Baltimore Jewish Life] How the Pandemic is Changing World Healthcare appeared first on OurCrowd.


Startup suddenly drowned with debt due to the pandemic. Need advice on what to do to steadily get back on track.

So my friend and I started a broiler chicken business in our province in the Philippines. We steadily increased our production from 10k birds to 50k birds. All of which are augmented by debt. The finances were in very good condition until the pandemic came. We lost a portion of the principal due to the unexpected drop in revenue.

Right now, we are paying one debt to the other and patching things up with debt. Since we are a startup, I doubt there are people willing to infuse equity. In finance perspective, our situation is terrible. Any suggestions on how we can get back on track? We already downsized production, had cut unnecessary costs, and sadly had to lay off some employees.

Really appreciate any insights from everyone. Thank you!

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