UK challenger bank Starling Bank raises €44.3 million to support small businesses

Today UK challenger bank Starling Bank has raised approximately €44.3 million in a funding round led by JTC and Merian Chrysalis Investment Company Limited. The investment follows an approximate €66.5 million investment in February 2020, bringing the total raised by Starling in 2020 to around €110 million and making the total it has raised since its founding approximately €402 million.

Starling Bank, founded in 2014 by Welsh banking veteran Anne Boden, is taking its place as one of the top challenger banks. Voted the Best British Bank last year, it has opened 1.4 million accounts, including 155,000 business accounts, since launching its banking app in May 2017. Its deposit base has more than doubled in the last six months and it now holds more than €2.6 billion on deposit.

Starling is also the fastest-growing bank for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Europe and now holds a 2.6% share of the UK’s SME banking market. It has almost €554 million of SME lending on its balance sheet, with further commitments raising the total to almost €1.1 billion.

The new funding will enable the bank to continue its rapid growth and help it provide much-needed support to small business customers who have been hit by the coronavirus emergency.

The lockdown has accelerated the shift to digital channels. As an app-based bank, Starling has seen robust customer acquisition since the lockdown, especially in the business account channel, where daily sign-ups have accelerated from the start of the year.

Starling’s agile operating model also enabled it to step up its lending to SMEs in May, via a collaboration for around €323 million under the UK Government-backed Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) and direct to its customers under its own CBIL and Bounce Back Loan Schemes.

Anne Boden, founder and chief executive of Starling Bank, said: “This additional funding from our existing investors demonstrates their commitment both to Starling and to our small business and personal customers who need our support now more than ever.”


Digital banking for good: Starling Bank bags €44.5M, to support small businesses hit by COVID-19

In the recent development, the UK digital Bank, Starling Bank has raised an additional £40 million (approx €44.5 million) in funding led by existing backers, Harry McPike’s JTC and Merian Chrysalis Investment Company Limited. 

The company is planning to use the funding to continue its rapid expansion as it disrupts the banking industry and to provide support for small business customers, who have been affected by COVID-19 pandemic. 

Founded by Anne Boden and John Humpish, the Starling Bank has opened 1.4 million accounts, including 155,00 business accounts since launching its banking app in May 2017. According to TechCrunch, the UK digital bank now holds somewhere around £2.4 billion (€2.67 billion) in deposits.

Anne Boden, founder, and chief executive of Starling Bank, said: “This additional funding from our existing investors demonstrates their commitment both to Starling and to our small business and personal customers who need our support now more than ever.”

A few days back, Starling Bank and Funding Circle, the UK’s largest small business loan platform, have entered a strategic partnership to provide £300 million (approx €334 million) of lending to small businesses under the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS).

The London-headquartered mobile banking application offers personal, business, joint, and euro current accounts on Android and iOS. The Starling Marketplace offers customers in-app access to a selection of third-party financial services. On top of that, it has B2B banking and payment services as well. The UK digital bank has offices in Southampton, Cardiff, and Dublin.

Main image credits: Starling Bank

Stay tuned to Silicon Canals for more European technology news

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Startups – Silicon Canals

How to change your business entity — What small businesses need to know

How often do you think about the entity formation of your small business and whether you need to change your business entity?

Some entrepreneurs might feel completely satisfied with their legal formation. They know that they chose an entity from the outset that was the perfect fit for their company and its needs.

However, other business owners may be viewing their entities through a new lens thanks to COVID-19. Perhaps choosing to initially incorporate as a sole proprietorship isn’t the best decision for the startup’s long-term future. Or, amid unprecedented times, they might feel compelled to switch to a Certified B Corporation and combine making a profit with holding their business accountable to higher performance standards.

During this unprecedented time, it’s entirely possible that some business owners may decide their initial entity formation is not going to be their “forever” formation. If you feel like this applies to you and it’s time to make the switch to another business entity, this is what you need to know.

Disclaimer: This content should not be construed as legal or tax advice. Always consult an attorney or tax professional regarding your specific legal or tax situation.

Weigh your business entity formation options before making a change

For consistency’s sake, let’s use the example that your small business initially incorporated as a sole proprietorship. A sole proprietorship is an inexpensive structure that requires little paperwork to file and incorporate the business.

Why choose a sole proprietorship? This is one of the few entity formations where the owner is allowed to fully be the boss. The upside as a sole proprietor is that only the owner — aka you — may call the shots for the business.

Sole proprietors must be able to assume responsibility for their actions because this entity does not provide them with limited liability protection.


What is limited liability protection? Limited liability protection helps create a separation between personal and professional assets. If a sole proprietor was served lawsuit paperwork, for example, their personal assets could be at risk.

Unfortunately, sole proprietorship structures do not provide their owners with limited liability protection. However, the good news is that there are several entities that do offer limited liability protection. Here are a few highly common formations for you to consider:

Limited Liability Company (LLC)

In addition to offering limited liability protection, LLCs are fairly flexible entities. You may choose how you’d like the entity to be taxed, with a partnership and S Corporation as two popular options.

Owners within LLCs are also referred to as members. Depending on the number of members your LLC has and its structure, you may incorporate it under various LLC structure types. These include a single-member LLC, member-managed LLC and manager-managed LLC.

General Partnership

This entity formation is ideal for entrepreneurs who would like to go into business alongside a partner. This individual may be a family member, friend or close mentor.

There are several types of partnerships entrepreneurs may incorporate, including joint venture, silent and limited liability partnerships (LLPs).

Generally, however, most business owners will choose a general partnership. This partnership allows partners to equally divide all profits, liabilities and management duties between themselves. A written partnership agreement may be created that outlines each partner’s role and responsibilities. Partners can refer back to it as a reference, much like they do with a business plan.

S Corporation

This entity is one of the few that begins as a different business structure. S Corporations are initially an LLC or C Corporation that files for S Corporation status under the provisions of Chapter 1, Subchapter S of the IRS.

The company will not pay income taxes, deductions, credits or losses of the organization. Rather, those items will “pass through” to the owners. This makes the owners responsible for reporting taxable activity of the company on their personal income tax returns.

Nonprofit Corporation

This entity differs slightly from a typical nonprofit in that it is a corporation founded for a charitable purpose.

Nonprofit corporations are formed to benefit the general public and pursue a social mission.


Once a nonprofit corporation has been incorporated, bylaws must be established that state how the corporation operates. You must also create a mission statement for the nonprofit corporation and file for the appropriate tax-exempt status with the state and federal governments.

Related: How to write a mission statement

Certified B Corporation

A B corporation isn’t a type of entity in the traditional sense, as companies still have to be incorporated under traditional structures before applying for the certification.

B Corporations are a hybrid made up of a standard corporation and nonprofit. They may earn a profit in business while holding their entity accountable to higher social and environmental performance standards.

B Corporations earn their B Corp Certification with nonprofit group B Lab. In order to become a Certified B Corp, you must take and pass the B Impact Assessment (BIA) test, complete a virtual assessment review, and meet certain legal requirements contingent on your entity formation.

Consult a lawyer for additional guidance and support.


As a quick disclaimer, I help entrepreneurs incorporate their businesses and can provide information about relevant entity formations. However, I cannot offer legal advice. Each small business is unique. If you find you have additional questions about converting to a new entity formation, you may consult with a legal professional. They may provide further guidance as it specifically relates to the needs of your small business.

File necessary paperwork for conversion

Once you have determined which entity you would like to incorporate as, begin filing the necessary paperwork with your state of incorporation’s Secretary of State to make the switch.

Remember that you will also need to file for additional documents due to changes in your organization type. In the event that you switch from a sole proprietorship to an LLC, for instance, you will need to file articles of organization. Obtain a new employer identification number (EIN) and reapply for business licenses and permits necessary to operate under your new structure.

The post How to change your business entity — What small businesses need to know appeared first on GoDaddy Blog.

GoDaddy Blog

How to run a small successful coffee shop?


First of all I want to thank you for taking the time to read my post!

I will provide some context before submitting my question to you guys: I am a 24 year old guy from Varna, Bulgaria. I live in the central area of the city and own a small space there. The space was being rented out and was used as a flower shop for years. Due to the recent virus situation, the space became vacant. I have the idea to turn it into something.

I was thinking one night what does my neighbourhood lack and came up with the idea that there are no coffee shops near by. On the other hand there are 2 universities, 2 high schools and a number of small shops (groceries shops, pastries shops, home supply shops, etc etc) in a 0.5km radius from the location.

Do you think it's a good idea to open up a coffee shop in such a location? My idea of the place is more of a grab and go type vibe, because the space is small (13sq m = 139 sq ft). The people that live in the neighbourhood are mainly families with teenagers, young adults and some elderly people.

Please let me know what you think and if it will be a good idea!

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

Facebook Shops announced for small businesses struggling from COVID-19, should Amazon and eBay be worried?


Nationwide lockdowns have been implemented due to the coronavirus outbreak. As a result, people are working from home and only shops selling essential items are open. While this move is crucial to contain the spread of the virus, it is impacting various small businesses that rely on people walking in and buying things from them directly. To help such businesses that are currently struggling, the social media giant Facebook is launching Facebook Shops. 

Facebook Shops to help struggling small businesses

Many small businesses are suffering due to lockdown and they need customers to stay afloat. However, with people working from home and maintaining social distancing, this is next to impossible right now. So, the next best thing for such companies is to start conducting business online. Facebook believes that its newly introduced Facebook Shops will help small businesses with this. The feature enables shops to list themselves online and connect easily with consumers. 

Creating Facebook Shops profile for your businesses

With Facebook Shops, businesses can make themselves available online for consumers on both Facebook and Instagram. Creating a listing on Facebook Shop is also free of cost and enables businesses to pick the products they want to feature from their catalogue and then customise the look and feel of their shop with a cover image and accent colours that best represent their brands. 

People will be able to find Facebook shop listings on a business’ Facebook Page or Instagram profile. In addition, these listings will also be discoverable via stories or ads. One will be able to browse the full collection, save interesting products and place an order as well. 

Facebook shops will also enable users to message businesses via WhatsApp, Messenger or Instagram Direct to ask questions, get support, track deliveries and more. Furthermore, Facebook will enable users to view a business’ shop and make purchases right within a chat in WhatsApp, Messenger or Instagram Direct in the future. Facebook Shops is being rolled out today and will be widely available in the coming months. 

Should Amazon and eBay be worried

Online e-commerce companies such as Amazon and eBay are currently providing businesses with a platform to connect with consumers. With Facebook Shops, they have a new contender in the same space. Facebook has a major advantage against the competition in terms of reach. Its audiences are distributed over the company’s different platforms such as Facebook and Instagram. 

Additionally, users intuitively browse Facebook and Instagram more than Amazon or eBay. Thus, Facebook could have a great impact on Amazon and eBay. However, nothing concrete can be said until Facebook Shop is actually up and running for all.

Main image credits: Facebook

Stay tuned to Silicon Canals for more European technology news.

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Startups – Silicon Canals

Feeling a bit lost as a new growth hire for a small startup, please help!

First off, I'll confess that I don't have experience growing a startup before, so please forgive my ignorance!

Some quick context:

  • Startup is in edtech
  • Founder started a classic tutoring academy, is pivoting into online learning
  • Founder created thousands of math videos based around questions on North American math curriculum textbooks for the past decade
  • Startup provides three tiers of service (free = access to some videos, mid tier $ 20/mth = all videos, $ 170/mnth = tutoring service).
  • Currently has about ~1000-2000 daily free users, ~200 mid tier, and ~100 tutoring.
  • Analytics implemented are GA and Hotjar

My role is to grow the userbase, but I don't really know where to start. I'm plopped in the middle of a new feature launch, so I'm thinking of ways to make that feature announcement, but right now I don't know what I can do to make the most impact with the least amount of resources.

I can think of trying to gain as many free users, or converting free to paid, or making the user experience of the product more streamlined, but I don't really know which direction makes the most sense. I'd need to make data-driven decisions, but I don't know where to start.

How should I approach this when I feel like I can go in so many directions?

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

WJR Business Beat with Jeff Sloan: Small Business Owners Face Permanent Closures Due to COVID-19 (Episode 58)

A recent survey from, a top resource for finding leading local experts, shows that two out of three business owners worry about permanent closure following the COVID-19 crisis. The study also revealed that one out of four businesses only have enough cash to keep them afloat for one to three more months.

David Franklin from says statistics from the SBA show that small businesses employ over 58 million people in the U.S., which makes clear how important the small business sector is to the overall economy and our GDP here in this country:

“I believe it’s important for the business community to examine and address the challenges facing small businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic. In one finding from the survey, over 30 percent of businesses surveyed have lost more than half of their revenue,” Franklin said.

To learn more from the study, tune in to this morning’s WJR Business Beat:

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

“These are really tough times and the impact on small businesses will have ramifications way beyond the small businesses themselves; it’s going to impact our local communities, our local economies, and certainly the national economy, as well.”

– Jeff Sloan

Tune in to News/Talk 760 AM WJR weekday mornings at 7:11 a.m. for the WJR Business Beat. Listeners outside of the Detroit area can listen live HERE.

Are you an entrepreneur with a great story to share? If so, contact us at and we’ll feature you on an upcoming segment of the WJR Business Beat!

This segment is brought to you by Dell Technologies

The post WJR Business Beat with Jeff Sloan: Small Business Owners Face Permanent Closures Due to COVID-19 (Episode 58) appeared first on StartupNation.


Seven Steps to Small Business Recovery

What doesn’t kill me makes me stronger.
Friedrich Nietzsche

The world is a different place than it was 90 days ago. Countries traded saving lives by shutting down most of their economy. Tens of millions who had jobs are now unemployed worrying about their future. Business owners large and small are struggling to find their footing, wondering what will be the new normal when the recovery happens. For the majority of companies, the business models of the past will not return.

Hit hardest were most small business service providers. Each day as they sheltered in place watching their bank accounts dwindle, they wondered: If I can’t perform my services, what will happen to my business? The reactions ping-ponged between uncertainty, fear, panic, anger and distress. But over the last month the reaction from a growing percentage has been resolve. Resolve to leave behind elements or services in their business that no longer work in the current environment, and determination to create new ones that do.

A company that has its finger on the pulse of tens of thousands of small businesses is Honeybook. They provide the software for freelancers and small businesses to manage clients and their business – proposals, billing, contracts, payments, project tracking, etc.

Honeybook CEO Oz Alon has had a front-row seat to how their members have pivoted, providing their services in new and creative ways, and are sharing these in a special Rising Tide feature on their website. Here are a few examples:

Pivot from In-person to Online

  • Jill Johnson, owner of The Paint Mixer, used to offer painting parties and creative adventures in her Salt Lake City studio. She started offering paint-from-home kits and hosting private parties via Zoom for team building, social hours, and birthday parties. “Our clients are loving the experience and are very grateful. I receive emails and texts, as well as social media posts daily, and it is inspiring,” Jill says.
  • Regina, owner of Silly Sparkles, is a children’s entertainer offering magic/puppet shows, face painting and balloon twisting at events. Since she can’t perform in person anymore, she’s switched to virtual party packages with customized entertainment for each client. “People still have birthdays, and they still want to make them special!” Regina says. “Virtual parties are a great way to serve those clients, and they’re willing to pay for it.”
  • Jordan Edelson, co-founder of Chic Sketch, reimagined his events business as a virtual events business. His goal was to create a similar experience to their in-person events where guests are sketched live by their team of talented illustrators. Their team now does live sketching during virtual events over a video conferencing platform.
  • Melissa Rasmussen of Catering By Chef Melissa normally offers custom catering with a farm-to-table approach, but in this current business climate, she’s pivoted to offer dinner meal kits. The menu is posted on social media and on their website; customers pay their invoice online; and the meal kits are available to be picked up at their commercial kitchen or delivered for a small fee.
  • Florist Robin Smith of  Rhapsody in Blooms started offering virtual floral design classes. She either ships class supplies (including the flowers and a vessel) directly to participants or arranges no-contact pickups. All students have exactly the same products to work with and join a Zoom call to attend the class.

The Seven-Step Small Business Pivot Process
Honeybook CEO Oz Alon observed that there was a pattern to these pivots. Regardless of the type of service they were offering or the kind of businesses they had, they took the same seven steps:

  1. Create an MVP, Minimal Viable Product or MVS, Minimum Viable Service—Assess your current business model. What capabilities and current services do you have? Then think about what the market needs right now and how you can adjust your services to meet those needs. What is it that people will grab out of your hands? Create an MVP or MVS to start.

Alexander Osterwalder co-creator of the business model canvas, suggests a playbook of business model moves you can make:

Shelter in place as a market opportunity
What new value propositions (products/services) can you offer to those stuck at home or to those who need to operate with new social distancing rules?

Resource pivots
How can you use/repurpose your existing resources for new offerings?

Delivery/Distribution Channel innovation
Can you move to digital/online, extending your reach and potential customers?

Opportunity to buy/acquire
Are there resources (people/physical assets) that others are abandoning that you can now get?

Jill Johnson, The Paint Mixer owner, suggests taking a look at the assets you already have. “Our pivot happened pretty quickly,” she says. “I knew as soon as our surrounding counties started to mandate closure that the business would be in trouble if I didn’t try something. After a good cry (and a glass of whiskey), I met with my team to talk ideas and short-term solutions. I looked around the studio and decided to use what we had. We offer painting parties and creative adventures. With the stock in our studios I took photos of what could be a potential ‘create-at-home kit.’”

Regina, owner of Silly Sparkles, seconds working with what you have as a starting point for a Minimum Viable Service. She says before you invest money in new equipment, it’s important to be resourceful. “When you use what you have, you’ll quickly learn what works for you and what doesn’t,” she says. “For my first virtual show, I only had magic props, green fabric for a green screen and a laptop. I didn’t need to invest a lot of money in a green screen because what I had worked just fine. I did, however, need to invest in a better mic.”

2. Customer discovery— While you might have come up with a great Minimum Viable Service, it’s just a series of guesses and assumptions. The next step is to validate the problem/need with customer discovery, by asking your existing customer base if they would be interested in your new service. You can do a poll on social media or send out an email blast to get a sense, then use video conferencing to do deep dives on real interest and intent to buy. Jill says, “We did a soft rollout with our mailing list to see if there was any interest, and there was!”

3. Rapid testing—Don’t spin your wheels trying to perfect your new service. Get it in the hands of your customers as soon as you can to test product/market fit. “Don’t spend energy building it. Create one, take a photo and try it with your current list. Then, when demand is apparent, build like crazy,” Jill says.

If you want to get started testing your idea quickly, consider giving it away for free at first. “It’s easy to get overwhelmed,” Regina says. “Instead of complicating the process, just jump in and try something! Start by offering a free, live magic show to family and friends. You’ll learn so much from this test run and it will give you momentum.”

4. Refine your offering—Another key part of rapid pivoting is a fast feedback loop. Constantly ask for feedback and act on it—improve on what’s working and tweak what’s not. Jill says, “The first 6 weeks I hand-delivered every package in the neighboring areas. I would text to let [customers] know it was outside and that I would love feedback. This touch allowed direct contact with every consumer.”

While customer feedback is great, also consider getting feedback from your peers. “Once you’ve started simple and tried a test run, it’s time to learn about how to improve your process,” Regina says. “Send out a recording of your first rough performances to other performers who have already been doing virtual parties. You’ll most likely receive insightful feedback. With some minor tweaks, you can upgrade your show significantly.”

5. Market on all your channels—Share about your new offering everywhere your audience is, whether that’s your website, email list, or on social media. Jordan Edelson of Chic Sketch shares about his new business offering on Instagram, driving customers to a specific landing page to learn more. The landing page also includes a YouTube video of an actual live event to help potential clients see how the service works.

Don’t forget to keep both your offering and your messaging simple. “Make it fun, make it accessible and make it easy for your clients to buy,” Jill advises.

6. Rely on tried-and-true tools—While some parts of your business may need to be altered, others may still work just fine, including tools, processes and frameworks that help you run and scale your business. Continue to rely on these to make pivoting business easier.

7. Share with the community—If your new service works, be sure to share this knowledge with your community, whether that’s on Facebook groups or in virtual meet-ups. In case anyone else has tried something similar, you can get feedback to refine your service. If it didn’t work, sharing with your community is still valuable as you may swap stories that may inspire you to go a different direction entirely.

What doesn’t kill me makes me stronger
Shelter in place is a mass extinction event for many industries. Not every business will survive. But what will emerge are businesses that diversified their offerings better positioned to withstand future volatility by providing complementary channels and offerings. And they’re opening up new ways service providers can scale to more customers.

“I think our Paint Mixer business is changed forever,” Jill Johnson says. “For the first time we now have a service that allows us to reach a national audience way beyond our local area. It will also allow us to create more classes that people can join virtually. I don’t think this is a short-term solution at all, but an entirely new direction that we have to take.”

Jordan Edelson of Chic Sketch observes, “There has been a paradigm shift in consumer behaviors, especially in their adoption and emotional acceptance of virtual video conferencing. The world changed overnight, and it has opened a door for our new service.”

Lessons Learned

  • The Seven-Step Small Business Pivot Process
    • Create an MVP or MVS, Minimum Viable Service
    • Do Customer Discovery
    • Rapidly test your idea
    • Refine your offering
    • Market on all your channels
    • Rely on tried-and-true tools
    • Share with the community
  • Carpe Diem – seize the day

We’re going to be holding a series of 5-day Hacking for the Recovery classes for businesses searching for the new normal at Stanford this summer. If you’re affiliated with Stanford, find out more or sign up at

Steve Blank

With €13M funding, a small Danish startup wants help cardiologists cure heart disorders with AI

CathVision ApS, a medical device company developing a novel artificial intelligence therapeutic platform for cardiac electrophysiology procedures, has completed an investment round of a total €13M.

Both existing and new investors participated in the round. The proceeds allow the company to begin multi-center clinical studies and complete its FDA approval process for the CathVision Cube system and associated software algorithms.

“We are excited to finalise the testing needed for FDA clearance and CE marking, and we expect physicians to acquire clinical data from our system later this year” says CEO Mads Emil Matthiesen. “Our organisation has grown rapidly with recent addition of a dedicated software team that allows us to continue to focus on enabling the EP cardiologists to succeed in cardiac ablation for a number of different cardiac arrythmias”.

“This oversubscribed and significant financing round took place in a challenging funding environment for medtech companies and it is a clear testimony to the progress we have made over the years in honing our unique technology position in cardiac ablation” says CFO Rune Ørndrup.

“CathVision is relentlessly delivering on its strategic goal set as the company continues to evolve from a small startup company to an established cardiology innovator with a strong management team, inhouse product development, clinical operations, and commercialisation. We are thankful for the investor confidence shown us in this round” says Chairman Søren Thestrup-Nielsen.

Vaekstfonden invested in Cathvision already in 2017 and participates in the new round as well:

“CathVision has a strong product and works in one of the fastest growing segments of medical technology. Furthermore, CathVision has worked patiently and persistently with its technology for a number of years, and we have been following and continually invested in the company. We strongly believe that Cathvision can become an important player within the industry and that is the reason why we participate in this round,” says Tonni Bülow-Nielsen, Managing Partner in Vaekstfonden’s department of direct investments VF Venture.

Headquartered in Copenhagen, Denmark with its US business office in Minnesota USA, CathVision is developing and selling medical devices to treat cardiac arrhythmias. The solutions are centered on an innovative electrophysiology (EP) system to provide exceptional EP signals for identification and characterisation of arrhythmias.

— Press release

Main image credits: CathVision ApS

Stay tuned to Silicon Canals for more European technology news

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Startups – Silicon Canals

Looking to start a small tutoring business as a senior in high school. Tips, ideas or suggestions?

Hi all, so recently I’ve been thinking of ways I can earn some extra cash going into my senior year of high school next year. I decided that I should start a small private tutoring business with one of my friends. He’s very smart, 1500+ on sat, 4.0gp etc. I was thinking of me doing the business aspect of the tutoring “business”, and him just tutoring.

I was thinking of making a small website, then posting in neighborhood chats advertising. Also I want to make flyers and hand them out to all the houses in neighborhoods. I wanted to mainly focus on grades not in high school, 8th and below. Does anyone have any tips ideas or suggestions that can help me succeed. Who should I target, where to get customers. Should I wait till school starts or try doing it over the summer. Should I do zoom classes only because of the cornavirus? Seriously, any cool ideas or suggestions you guys have will help. Is it even worth it? Thank you in advance!

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