Why Startups Need a Strong Digital Presence When Entering the Next Normal

Entrepreneurs have long been known as a courageous bunch, and this group is leading the pack when it comes to adapting to the “next normal,” whatever (and whenever) that may be. With the coronavirus pandemic, the standard road map to success was erased virtually overnight. It’s now more apparent than ever that businesses must be agile and flexible to survive. That’s a scary concept for some, but it’s downright invigorating for some of the brilliant startup leaders I know.

Over the past six months, consumers have changed the way that they interact with businesses, whether it’s through curbside pickup or via their cellphones. Companies need to meet their audiences where they are, and that’s increasingly online.

Building up a vibrant, seamless digital presence can help a startup or small business weather the COVID-19 pandemic. Successful businesses are continuing to pivot their traditional models to find new opportunities in this altered landscape — like restaurants providing grocery services and karate dojos offering digital martial arts classes.

The “next normal” may take a while to fully materialize, but all businesses should expect a heavy emphasis on building and maintaining a strong digital strategy. When customers are relying on their personal devices to make purchases, your online presence will recast their impression of your brand and determine how they engage with you going forward.

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Now is the time

Digital transformation is a top priority right now for all businesses, but it is especially crucial for the small businesses that make our neighborhoods hum.

Two-thirds of respondents in a recent Salesforce survey felt that small businesses are now more important than ever.

Given the strong desire to support local communities, there’s high hope that small-to-medium sized businesses can adapt quickly.

Here’s a real-life example:

In the past, I regularly bought flowers from one of two shops in my San Francisco neighborhood, depending on which side of the street I was walking down. The one still open has marketed to me, sent me emails, offered discounts for delivery and communicated a contactless pickup option. Its digital efforts worked to engage me, made me feel comfortable, and earned my dedicated business.

The moral of the story?

To survive in the “new” or “next” normal, you must enable digital conversations with customers, proactively monitor social media feedback, and nurture sales by providing information through all of your digital channels.

Related: 4 Benefits Chatbot Technology Can Provide Your Startup

When you set out to upgrade or begin building your online presence as a small business, keep the following tactics in mind:

Meet your customers’ needs in the new or next normal

Customer expectations have changed in the next normal, and they expect to find businesses online. Meeting customers where they want to be met validates your business. If your company is missing from an internet search on the products or services you sell, how can you effectively compete against those businesses that are there? You’d be fighting with both hands tied behind your back.

This idea trickles down to how you interact with your customers, as well. These days, most customers prefer chatbots and self-service to speaking with customer service agents over the phone. You need to offer service the way your customers want it, not how you want to provide service to them. That’s a key distinction that will make a huge difference in your relationship with your customer base.

Utilize platforms to express your stances and build trust

Part of building a strong digital presence is leading with empathy and generating trust. Don’t be afraid to communicate your company’s views on significant issues, such as a commitment to cleanliness and safety to combat the coronavirus, or expressing support for the Black Lives Matter movement.

Current and prospective customers want to see their values represented in the companies they choose to do business with, and you can go into as much detail as you please on your social media platforms, website and blog. You can leverage digital channels to methodically build the trust you seek in order to stay at the top of your customer’s mind.

Invest in technology that connects with your customers

A majority of respondents (65 percent) in the Salesforce survey think small businesses need to utilize better technology. Thankfully, that’s an attainable goal; there are a lot of dynamic tools that have improved the ways business can be done.

Think about consultations through video chat. A personal trainer, a wedding planner, even legal services — we used to engage in all of these meetings in person. But video chat services eliminate the need to put on a mask and venture out in public. Using technology in these ways has the added benefit of creating data that can help round out a more holistic profile of your customer. Data can also help you track engagements, prompt follow-up actions and chart when your internet traffic is heaviest. It’s safer to conduct business online, and the residual benefits are invaluable.

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Fold an element of resiliency and flexibility into your plans for the future

COVID-19 has been a true test for every business and made every company on the planet really evaluate its resilience. After you survive the pandemic, will you be ready for the next challenge? What’s your capacity to think differently and be resilient? The answers to these questions should guide a lot of the decisions you make. That’s where adopting new technologies and boldly undergoing digital transformations can be so helpful.

Starting and running a business is not for the faint of heart; it takes courage and determination. The best way to forge ahead and stay afloat is to be prepared, and bolstering your online presence is the surest way of staying relevant in an ever-changing business landscape and a brave new world.

The post Why Startups Need a Strong Digital Presence When Entering the Next Normal appeared first on StartupNation.


Fundraising during pandemic? This is how these Amsterdam-based startups pulled it off

Closing a round of fundraising is generally a huge milestone for many startups. But it can also be incredible hard, complicated work and a stressful affair. Add to that a global pandemic shutting the world down? Doubly so, you would think. We checked in with Roamler, Studytube, Wizenoze and Open Social; all startups from Amsterdam that managed to raise significant funding during lockdown and peak pandemic. How did they manage, how do they look back and what is their advice?

Roamler got themselves worked up

On-demand marketplace for workers Roamler managed to raise a whopping €20 million. Their previous investor Endeit from Amsterdam led the round. Roamler-CEO Jeroen ten Haave started informal conversations with investors in November last year, when the world hadn’t heard of the word ‘COVID-19’ yet. That quickly changed and raising funds while a pandemic was disrupting the world was more excitement Ten Haave bargained for. “I think it was mostly us that were nervous about the situation. The investor clearly said they believed in what we were doing.”

 Roamler did not betray that faith. The Amsterdam-based startup got hit hard by the lockdown measures taken all over Europe. A lot of Roamler’s activities take place in stores or at people’s homes.”Together with our clients we determined it was simply not okay to send people there.” After business plunged in the lockdown months of April and May, it instantly picked up once life turned back to normal, says Ten Haave. “In June we were back on the level of February. We went from virtually standing still to business as usual in just two months. I think this proves the strength of our business model.” 

With the fresh funding, Ten Haave is looking abroad for Roamler. Highest on the list of priorities is international expansion of Roamler Tech, which employs specialists to install devices, troubleshoot software or help users with new technology. “We’re starting our expansion in the UK. We wanted to roll out in June, but due to the pandemic it got delayed until the end of September. After that, we’re looking at Germany and France, somewhere next year.” 

According to Ten Haave, the biggest challenge when setting up in a new market is to onboard new clients and convince them from the new way of working they offer, compared to the traditional model of freelancing or employment. “Our clients are large companies. They won’t change their organisation overnight. But there is huge demand for digitization of processes and workflows. Now that there is uncertainty in the market, this could mean there’s opportunities for us. It strengthens the discussion on how we can help people in a more flexible way.” 

Studytube’s deal nearly fell through

Image: Studytube

“These were the most stressful days of my life”, says Studytube co-founder and CEO Homam Karimi when he recalls the past couple of months. His online learning platform closed a funding round of €10 million with Nordic fund Verdane. Certainly something to celebrate now, but back in March, with the deal 99 percent done, COVID-19 nearly ruined everything. After months of work, all the way through the due diligence phase and beyond the shareholders agreement, everything just needed one official nod from all parties to close. But the same Monday The Netherlands went into a lockdown, Karimi, with the champagne bottle ready to pop, got word the investors pulled out. 

“At first there were some additional questions from Verdane about the deal. They started to have doubts about investing in new companies because of the uncertain times. But on Monday afternoon we heard the deal didn’t go through.” This meant the agreed upon exit for previous investor Henq also fell through. “Henq was also hit by this. Together with Coen van Duiven [Co-founder of Henq] we worked really hard to make the case for us. Eventually Verdane realized that Studytube was one of the companies that would come out of this crisis better than before. Tuesday after the lockdown went into effect, the deal was signed and done.” 

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

The fact that Studytube is likely to grow during the crisis is already apparent. Karimi identifies two parts of the business: the SaaS-part, which offers an online learning platform for organizations, and a marketplace where one can book educators and training. “The software part really took off”, says Karimi. “Many companies had nothing in place for their employees to train or learn from home. Since March, we have added fifty new organizations.” However the part of the site where training or workshops are offered, fell quiet. Karimi: “The SaaS-part grows way faster than the decline of demand in the marketplace. We’re still looking at 70 or 80 percent growth this year.” 

With the funding done, Karimi is looking across the border for Studytube. “From 2021 we plan to expand across Europe.” One way to do so is organic, by starting to offer their product on new markets. But Karimi is also looking at acquisition of other parties to accelerate their growth. “There are many legacy learning management systems in Europe that were founded ten or fifteen years ago and make a nice profit now without ever receiving any funding. But those founders will probably ask themselves if they can keep competing on their own. I don’t believe Europe will have hundreds of different companies offering the same, when it comes to online learning. There will be two or three big parties, and we want to be part of that.” 

Wizenoze had VCs lining up

Image: Wizenoze

Another Amsterdam startup reaping the rewards from a sudden shift to homeschooling is Wizenoze. This edtech startup sifts through online content to only offer students educational gold. According to Wizenoze, COVID-19 got 1,5 billion students stuck at home, all dependent on online information to support their online learning. This meant usage of Wizenoze surged, says co-founder Diane Janknegt: “Due to Corona, we have seen a growth of up to 300 percent in usage with some of our customers.” With growth and a potential market like that, no wonder the startup managed to close a growth-stage funding round of reportedly €4 million

Soon after schools all over the world started to close down, investors also started to see the huge potential of Wizenoze, says Janknegt. “Like most entrepreneurs, we started the lockdown by looking at our cash flow and run rate. With these details in mind, we decided to accelerate the fundraising. In the beginning, it was a bit tough, but a couple of weeks after starting, it turned around. Suddenly, many more investors did understand the potential value of offering educational content through the internet. In the end, our round was hugely oversubscribed.” 

This luxurious position meant Janknegt had something to choose. She says she was able to double their initial ask, pick the best profile of investors and the friendliest terms. Janknegt: “In the end, we created what I call a ‘dream team’ of investors.” With this team and the funding, Janknegt is ready to expand Wizenoze worldwide. “We will focus our international growth on India and the Middle East. Our strategic headquarters are in London, which will remain our key market. And of course, we can also expand in the Benelux. We also experienced a lot of interest from overseas. Several conversations are still ongoing.”

Open Social’s early networking paid off

Image: Open Social

Fundraising during a global pandemic doesn’t have to be a stressful affair. Take Open Social, the startup from Amsterdam that offers everything for companies and organizations to create and maintain online communities. After previous round of crowdfunding, their first round of funding with VCs, €1,25 million, took a bit longer than expected to realize. But founder Taco Potze was never worried. “My advice for other startups is to make early contact with VCs in The Netherlands. They are generally willing to hear your story and have a cup of coffee, especially if you already have a product and clients. This allows you to build your network, and prevents you from fundraising with only a couple of months runway left.” 

That is exactly what Potze did. He started his first meetings in the summer of last year. “We heard that closing a round could take up to 9 months. So we started early, in keeping with the knowledge of ‘don’t ask for money, ask for advice’. This is a nice way to get in contact with VCs and a good way to know which can offer smart money.” After the first meeting at Peak Capital, which ended up as their main investor, Potze participated in a session about growing sales held by the VC. “This made it easier to eventually close the round.” 

After some progress in talking with the investors came COVID-19, shutting the world down. Potze: “This was a huge shock. VCs wanted to know how corona proof your concept is.” Very, would’ve been Potze’s answer. According to the startup COVID-19 had no negative effect and when it comes to growth they are having their best year since starting in 2016. Potze: “Many companies moved their budgets to online and remote working, which works in our advantage. We didn’t lose any customers and added quite some projects.” Potze had some questions for VCs as well. “We really wanted to know how companies in their portfolio were doing and what would be the consequences for their funds.” All in all the funding got delayed for a couple of months, says Potze.

The significant funding allows Open Social to do some serious hiring, especially in the department of sales and marketing, says Potze: “We always bootstrapped, so now we can invest in those areas. This will allow us a stronger foothold in Europe and the US. We also want to expand our support, to process tickets faster.” Potze is looking to double the team of 20 people currently working for the startup. “Now is a good time for vacancies. There are many ambitious people who are laid off, or looking around for something else. Compared to a year ago, we see better candidates.”

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

The post Fundraising during pandemic? This is how these Amsterdam-based startups pulled it off appeared first on Silicon Canals .

Startups – Silicon Canals

APEX Ventures launches €50 million fund for early-stage digital health startups

Today APEX Ventures has announced launching its second fund, focusing on digital health startups. The fund will back seed stage deep-tech companies with defendable IP. APEX Ventures invests in exceptional talented teams who are committed to improving patient outcomes and lives, and firmly believes that diversity and inclusion are key to building a strong community of entrepreneurs. 

The announcement follows a successful few weeks for APEX Ventures, which saw an exit for portfolio company ‘contextflow’ and the completion of four new investments in the areas of digital pathology, radiology and neurology. 

The fund will be headed by partner Gordon Euller, a qualified doctor and radiologist who has previously worked at AKH, Vienna’s General Hospital, as well as at McKinsey in London. “COVID-19 demonstrates to us worldwide how vulnerable our medical systems and processes are, particularly regarding capacity. These issues can only be solved by new innovative technologies as well as generous and wise investments in this asset category,” said Euller.

Founded in 2017, to date most of APEX Ventures’ investments have been made in the DACH region, through its Austrian base. With APEX Digital Health, the focus area will expand from DACH-based companies, to those based in the rest of Europe, Israel and the US. 

Venture partner Kelly Klein has recently joined the Fund to head up the firm’s activities in Israel. “Digital health is really prospering in Israel,” says Klein, “and one way this is done is by leveraging its medical data; Israel has 25 years of data and 90% of this is digitalised. One of the most important things once an Israeli startup gets funding is to internationalise it, and APEX can help to expand in the US, Europe and Asia.” 

In addition, APEX Ventures will shortly issue a call (along with the Herman Hauser Investment Group) for the best European startups in the strategic areas of In-silico trials and AI supported healthcare data marketplaces.


Cybersecurity startups: Applications are now open for Kaspersky iHub’s Open Innovation Program (Sponsored)

The Kaspersky Innovation Hub (iHub) is announcing a new call for startups that are developing cybersecurity solutions, as part of its Open Innovation Program. Winners will be offered to launch a pilot project with leading international cybersecurity company Kaspersky.

Meet Kaspersky, and the Kaspersky Innovation Hub

Kaspersky is a global cybersecurity company that has been operating in the market for over 23 years. Kaspersky’s deep threat intelligence and security expertise is constantly transforming into next generation security solutions and services to protect businesses, critical infrastructure, governments and consumers around the globe. Over 400 million users are protected by Kaspersky technologies and they help 250,000 corporate clients protect what matters most to them. 

Starting in 2019, the Kaspersky Innovation Hub has already held three rounds of startup calls dedicated to areas like Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), transportation, blockchain and anti-fraud technology, all-life protection and gaming. Winners of the challenges had the opportunity to collaborate on joint business cases with Kaspersky, as well as to receive support for the launch of their products.

Who can apply?

For this new round of applications, the Kaspersky Innovation Hub is looking for teams creating solutions on the edge of cybersecurity, designed for the needs of small and medium-sized companies. This includes protection for cloud users, data and applications, as well as network security technologies.

Applications for the call are open for startups that already have a legal entity, product or prototype, and several closed deals or ongoing pilots. The Kaspersky team will assess technical and business validation, investment opportunity of the startups, along with their readiness and interest in collaborating with Kaspersky iHub to improve the global cybersecurity landscape. The scouting process will be organized on four technical platforms – GoTech, Dsight, Axis Innovation and F6S.

Decisions on which startups are selected will be based on the ability of their products or technologies to solve concrete cybersecurity use cases applicable to small and medium-sized businesses, and will be tested through open challenges designed by Kaspersky and partners.

What’s in it for me?

The selected teams will gain a range of benefits, such as:

  • Taking part in a pilot project and working jointly with Kaspersky on product development
  • Getting further access to Kaspersky’s channel partners (including distributors and resellers), clients and prospects
  • Receiving support for the launch of their products
  • Getting technical advice and business mentoring from the company’s experts

Vitaly Mzokov, Head of the Innovation Hub at Kaspersky, explained more about the programme: “Today, small businesses are one of the key drivers of the global economy, being the most represented in many countries and employing millions of workers worldwide. Despite the size of their organizations and their processes, they face similar challenges to their larger counterparts. With our new startup call, the Kaspersky Innovation Hub aims to enhance our efforts with innovators in order to meet the specific needs of small and medium-sized organizations and let them focus on business priorities while being confident in the security of their organizations”.

Selected entrepreneurs will be invited to present their projects in front of a jury during Online Demo Selection Days on September 29-30, 2020.

For more details on how to apply to take part in the challenge, please click here. The closing date for online applications is September 13, 2020.


These are top VC deals secured by promising tech startups in Dublin in Q2 2020

The Q2 2020 has witnessed unprecedented growth despite the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent lockdown. Though there has been a major economic downturn all over the world, the venture industry appears to be strongly resilient. The deal activity in the second quarter of this year shows that the US-based VC investors are focused on a variety of industries such as healthtech, game tech, software startups and much more.

Top deals in Dublin in Q2 2020

It’s no secret that Dublin, the Irish capital is home to some of the leading tech startups in the world. There has been a boost in the tech startup ecosystem in Ireland of late, thanks to the support from the government, aspirational entrepreneurs, and a flourishing environment. Having said that, here are the top US VC deals in Dublin in Q2 2020 as reported by Pitchbook.

Picture credits: LetsGetChecked


Founder/s: Peter Foley
Founded year: 2014
Total funding: €104 million

Irish startup LetsGetChecked is a leading direct-to-consumer at-home health testing and insights company. Back in May, the company closed €65.21 million in a Series C funding round led by HLM Venture Partners and Illumina Ventures along with participation from new investors such as CommonFund Capital, Deerfield, and Angeles Investments and existing investors such as Optum Ventures, Transformation Capital, and Qiming Venture Partners USA.

The Irish medtech startup will use the investment to scaleup activity at the CLIA certified high complexity lab in California and increase its manufacturing, supply and testing capacity for COVID-19. The company will expand supply and business operations as well as support personnel across the US and Europe with this investment.

Picture credits: Glofox


Founder/s: Anthony Kelly, Conor O’Loughlin, Finn Hegarty
Founded year: 2014
Total funding: €20.8 million

Gym management software Glofox has announced additional funding of €9.2 million, which takes its Series A funding to €18.4 million. The round was led by Octopus Ventures along with participation from Notion Capital, Silicon Valley Bank, Partech, and Tribal VC. This new investment will be used to let fitness businesses operate remotely and fulfil their customer fitness requirements online during the pandemic crisis. Also, Glofox will be able to thrive in the fitness industry with a strong digital presence.

Besides the investment, Glofox launched a new platform that lets gyms and fitness studios deliver both live streaming as well as premium on-demand content. The gym management software helps entrepreneurs in the fitness industry build successful businesses and enhance the health of people all over the world. The platform enables gym and studio owners deliver content and manage memberships, bookings, scheduling, payments, etc.

Picture credits: Profitero


Founder/s: Dmitry Vysotski, Konstantin Chernysh, Vol Pigrukh
Founded year: 2010
Total funding: €35.4 million

Profitero is a leading global enterprise e-commerce SaaS analytics platform based in Ireland. The company secured €18.33 million Series B funding round led by Scaleworks along with participation from Conviction Capital. The company will use the fresh funds to expand its business reach. This platform is used by Adidas, General Mills, L’Oreal and 4,000 other brands to accelerate their e-commerce sales.

Profitero’s proprietary technology estimates daily sales for products that are sold on Amazon and lets brands measure market share growth as well as opportunities for future investment. It is the first such platform in the industry to integrate Amazon sales and share metrics along with digital shelf analytics s that brands can quickly know the factors that will result in more sales.

Picture credits: evervault


Founder/s: Shane Curran
Founded year: 2018
Total funding: €17.5 million

evervault, a Dublin-based internet infrastructure startup closed a Series A funding round of €14.72 million led by Index Ventures along with existing partners such as Sequoia Capital, Frontline Ventures, and Kleiner Perkins. The other participants of the investment round include angel investors such as Dylan Field (Figma CEO), Kevin Hartz (Eventbrite co-founder), Olivier Pomel (Datadog CEO), and Alex Stamos (Facebook CSO).

The new funding will let evervault expand its team and empower developers to solve data privacy with ease. It believes that data privacy is a fundamental human right and operates with the mission to provide data privacy for everyone. Evervault is building the API for data privacy and its empowers developers to process highly sensitive data in a better and new way that is simple, scalable, and privacy-centric.

Picture credits: Drop

Drop Kitchen

Founder/s: Ben Harris, Jack Phelan, Jonny McCauley, Tim Redfern
Founded year: 2012
Total funding: €22.7 million

Drop, a smart kitchen platform, which operates with the objective to unify the fragmented cooking experience has raised €12 million in a Series A funding round. This investment comes from Alpha Edison, Richmond Global Ventures, Alsop Louie Partners, Morpheus Ventures, ACT Venture Capital, and Digital Irish Angels.

Drop provides a platform to connect appliance manufacturers, gorcers, and recipe publishers to home cooks. The company focused on hardware develops a connected kitchen scale sold via Apple Stores. Drop teams up with several appliance makers such as GE Appliances, Electrolux, Kenwood, and Bosch to integrate recipes with kitchen equipment.

Picture credits: OneProjects


Founder/s: Fionn Lahart, Christoph Hennersperger
Founded year: 2017
Total funding: €11 million

Irish medical device startup OneProjects specialises in cardiac imaging innovations. In a recent move, the Irish medtech startup has raised €11 million Series A funding led by LSP, an investment from LSP Health Economics Fund 2 along with participation from Atlantic Bridge University Fund, Enterprise Ireland, and a slew of medtech entrepreneurs. This investment will help OneProjects expand its team in Dublin and Munich and advance its product development.

The innovative medtech company develops next-generation connected intra-vascular medical devices. The AI-powered devices are touted to treat cardiac arrhythmia. While this company is headquartered in Dublin, a majority of its R&D activities happen in Munich.

Picture credits: iQuate


Founder/s: Jason Keogh
Founded year: 2002
Total funding: €9.1 million

Irish software start iQuate bagged €9.18 million to fund a merger with Hypergrid, a Silicon Valley cloud management expert. These tech companies have joined to form CloudSphere that will focus on helping businesses to operate in the cloud environment. The investment round was led by Atlantic Bridge Capital along with private investors that backed iQuate earlier.

Iquate offers users with enterprise software analysis and discovery services. The platform lets users see through data centre complexity and helps them manage and optimise their IT assets to drive cost efficiencies and savings.

Picture credits: Buymie


Founder/s: Artavazd Sokhikyan, Devan Hughes
Founded year: 2015
Total funding: €10.7 million

Buymie, an Irish online grocery delivery startup provides same-day grocery delivery. In June this year, the company announced that it has bagged €8 million funding led by Wheatsheaf Group along with existing investors including Act Venture Capital, Haatch Ventures, HBAN, and Sure Valley Ventures and other notable investors. The same-day grocery delivery startup will use this investment to accelerate its expansion in Ireland and the UK.

Buymie works with the mission to minimise the environmental impact caused by grocery shopping. Buymie has signed a deal with Lidl Ireland in an attempt to rollout its services across all major cities in Ireland.

Picture credits: SoapBox Labs

SoapBox Labs

Founder/s: Patricia Scanlon
Founded year: 2013
Total funding: €12.1 million

Irish startup SoapBox Labs that develops speech recognition technology capable of modelling distinctive voice and speech behaviours of kids has secured €5.8 million series A funding from Adria, Elkstone Capital, and a slew of unnamed private investors. The startup will use the investment to capitalise on its strengths while global market opportunities are opening up in the industry.

SoapBox Labs’ tech is referred to as ‘Siri for kids’ and is used in many tech applications, robotics, games, and smart toys. The company has developed a child-specific speech tech that creates age-appropriate, accurate, and safe voice-enabled experiences for children.

Picture credits: Vela Games

Vela Games

Founder/s: Brian Kaiser, Lisa Newon George, Travis George
Founded year: 2017
Total funding: €6.3 million

Vela Games is an Irish game development studio that strives to create service-based games for gaming enthusiasts and delivers genre-defining experiences. In a recent move, the company secured a seed funding round of €2.82 million from a new investor Lvp along with existing partners IIU. The fund will be used to continue the development of MOCO, which will let multiplayer games to reach new heights.

The independent game development studio creates engaging and cooperative games that keeps players first. The team comprises industry veterans and works with the mission to reinvent multiplayer games with cooperative experiences.

Main image picture credits: Glofox

The post These are top VC deals secured by promising tech startups in Dublin in Q2 2020 appeared first on Silicon Canals .

Startups – Silicon Canals

Are 3 different Startups manageable


so 1 startup is already running eben tho its though to get the customers in as i want to.

Now i have 3-4 completely other software/application ideas.

Do you think its manageable for 1 person to be in 4 startups? I would look for co-founders on the other startups so i dont have to do everything alone

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

How to build my startups management team?

So i had what I thought was a great idea. Had 3 days off of my day job and used every waking moment to create an elevator pitch, pitch deck, designed some ads and even designed the UI for an app that goes with it. All self taught by the way. I then used cruchbase to get hundreds of emails and sent a nicely crafted email and my pitch deck to all of them. Well the very next day I started getting replies that they were interested. Some said it didn't fit their model which is understandable but a good number of them wanted more information and to setup a virtual pitch.

I did all of that in 4 days from idea to pitch. My issue now is I have no team. To start my idea would be a huge project that cost over 1M and investors want to see the team that came up with the concept and will bring it to life.

My question is should I give some equity to hire a team until we are profitable? Or should I let investors know that a portion of their investment will go to hiring good team members?


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

Do you already plan/have a strategy for your startup’s exit?

We often talk about starting and growing business but it seems as if the exit planning strategy is never provided for founders looking at exiting or selling their companies within X years. Considering you are all business/startup founders.

  1. Do you have any insight on how to effectively plan for an exit and avoid the stress that comes with rushed sales and disappointing valuations?
  2. Is there a Saas tool out there to plan ahead accordingly and tie up all different business facets for monitoring or getting readiness feedback/valuations?

I personally have been finding it extremely cumbersome and while clean financial records are doable, the remainder of the process is exhausting beyond measures.

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

Startups Weekly: Qualtrics IPO to be even more exciting this time around

Editor’s note: Get this free weekly recap of TechCrunch news that any startup can use by email every Saturday morning (7am PT). Subscribe here.

German software giant SAP bought experience management platform Qualtrics for $ 8 billion days before the unicorn’s IPO, back in November of 2018. But last weekend it decided to spin out the experience management provider to finally go public on its own. The analysts Ron Miller talked to speculated about strategic issues on the SAP side, and concluded this was more of an internal reset combined with the financial gain from a promising offering.

Qualtrics, meanwhile, already put the Utah startup scene on the map for people around the world. Having grown strongly post-acquisition, it is now set up to be the largest IPO in state history. Here’s Alex Wilhelm with more analysis in Extra Crunch:

According to metrics from the Bessemer Cloud Index, cloud companies with growth rates of 35.5% and gross margins of 71.3% are worth around 17.3x in enterprise value compared to their annualized revenue.

Given how close Qualtrics is to that averaged set of metrics (slightly slower growth, slightly better gross margins), the 17.3x number is probably not far from what the company can achieve when it does go public. Doing the sums, $ 800 million times 17.3 is $ 13.8 billion, far more than what SAP paid for Qualtrics. (For you wonks out there, it’s doubtful that Qualtrics has much debt, though it will have lots of cash post-IPO; expect the company’s enterprise value to be a little under its future market cap.)

So, the markets are valuing cloud companies so highly today that even after SAP had to pay a huge premium to buy Qualtrics ahead of its public offering, the company is still sharply more valuable today after just two years of growth.

Back to the era of nation-states

The tech industry is getting broken down and reformed by national governments in ways that many of its leaders do not seem to have planned for as part of scaling to the world, whether you consider TikTok’s ever-shrinking global footprint or leading tech CEOs getting called out by Congress. When you skim through the numerous headlines on these topics this week, you’ll see a very clear message in the subtext: Every startup has to think more carefully about its place in the world these days, as a matter of survival.

Big tech crushes Q2 earnings expectations

Lawmakers argue that big tech stands to benefit from the pandemic and must be regulated

Secret documents from US antitrust probe reveal big tech’s plot to control or crush the competition

Apple’s App Store commission structure called into question in antitrust hearing

Zuckerberg unconvincingly feigns ignorance of data-sucking VPN scandal

In antitrust hearing, Zuckerberg admits Facebook has copied its competition

Before buying Instagram, Zuckerberg warned employees of ‘battle’ to ‘dislodge’ competitor

Apple CEO Tim Cook questioned over App Store’s removal of rival screen time apps in antitrust hearing

Google’s Sundar Pichai grilled over ‘destroying anonymity on the internet’

Bezos ‘can’t guarantee’ no anti-competitive activity as Congress catches him flat-footed

Amazon’s hardware business doesn’t escape Congressional scrutiny

Time for TikTok:

India bans 47 apps cloning restricted Chinese services

After India and US, Japan looks to ban TikTok and other Chinese apps

Report: Microsoft in talks to buy TikTok’s US business from China’s ByteDance

The leading arguments for a Microsoft-TikTok tie-up 😉

And last but not least ominously, for large platforms…

Australia now has a template for forcing Facebook and Google to pay for news

The team at remote-first enterprise startup Seeq put together this montage of some of its remote offices.

Remote work still getting big investment

This loosely defined subsector of SaaS went from being a somewhat mainstream idea within the startup world last year to being fully mainstream with the wider world due to the pandemic this year. But publicly traded companies have been some of the biggest beneficiaries (see previous item), and the action around earlier-stage startups has been less clear. Lucas Matney and Alex caught up with six investors who have been focused on various parts of the space to get the latest for Extra Crunch. Here’s a pithy description of fundraising trends that companies are experiencing, from Elliott Robinson, a growth-stage investor at Bessemer:

How competitive are remote-work tooling venture rounds now?

Incredibly competitive. I think one dynamic I’ve seen play out is that the basket of remote-work companies that are really high-performing right now are setting lofty price expectations well ahead of the raise. Many of these companies didn’t plan on raising in Q2/Q3, but with COVID tailwinds, they are choosing to raise at some often sight-unseen-level valuation multiples.

Are prices out of control?

I think it depends on your definition of out of control. The reality is that many of these companies are raising money off cycle from their natural fundraising date for two reasons: One, they are seeing once in a lifetime digital transformation and adoption of remote-work tooling solutions. And, two, so many investors have raised sizable funds during the last nine months that they are leaning into investing in these companies — one of the few segments that will likely continue to see tailwinds as COVID cases continue to rise again in the U.S. Other traditional software value props may face significant headwinds in a uncertain COVID world. Thus, growth equity investors are paying high multiples to get a shot at the category-defining RW app companies.

Haptics in a pandemic-stricken world

Haptics are a great sort of gee-whiz technology, but the practical future of touch-based communication is all over the place — VR devices are suddenly more interesting, touchpads less so. Devon Powers and David Parisi are academics and authors who focus on the space, and they wrote a big guest post for TechCrunch this week that sketched out some of the ups and downs of the decades-old concept. Here’s a key excerpt:

Getting haptics right remains challenging despite more than 30 years’ worth of dedicated research in the field. There is no evidence that COVID is accelerating the development of projects already in the pipeline. The fantasy of virtual touch remains seductive, but striking the golden mean between fidelity, ergonomics and cost will continue to be a challenge that can only be met through a protracted process of marketplace trial-and-error. And while haptics retains immense potential, it isn’t a magic bullet for mending the psychological effects of physical distancing.

Curiously, one promising exception is in the replacement of touchscreens using a combination of hand-tracking and midair haptic holograms, which function as button replacements. This product from Bristol-based company Ultraleap uses an array of speakers to project tangible soundwaves into the air, which provide resistance when pressed on, effectively replicating the feeling of clicking a button.

Ultraleap recently announced that it would partner with the cinema advertising company CEN to equip lobby advertising displays found in movie theaters around the U.S. with touchless haptics aimed at allowing interaction with the screen without the risks of touching one. These displays, according to Ultraleap, “will limit the spread of germs and provide safe and natural interaction with content.”

A recent study carried out by the company found that more than 80% of respondents expressed concerns over touchscreen hygiene, prompting Ultraleap to speculate that we are reaching “the end of the [public] touchscreen era.” Rather than initiate a technological change, the pandemic has provided an opportunity to push ahead on the deployment of existing technology. Touchscreens are no longer sites of naturalistic, creative interaction, but are now spaces of contagion to be avoided. Ultraleap’s version of the future would have us touching air instead of contaminated glass.

Finding the best investors for you: The TC List and Europe surveys

Speaking of investors, TechCrunch has been busy with a few other projects to you find the right ones faster.

First, Danny Crichton has pushed a third update to The TechCrunch List, due to the ongoing flood of recommendations. In his words: “Now using more than 2,600 founder recommendations — more than double our original dataset — we have underscored a number of the existing investors on our list as well as added 116 new investors who have been endorsed by founders as investors willing to cut against the grain and write those critical first checks and lead venture rounds.”

Check it out and filter by location, category and stage to narrow down your pitch list. If you are a founder and haven’t submitted your recommendation yet, please fill out our very brief survey. If you have questions, we put together a Frequently Asked Questions page that describes the qualifications and logistics, some of the logic behind the List and how to get in touch with us.

Second, our editor-at-large Mike Butcher is embarking on a virtual investor survey of European countries, to help Extra Crunch provide a clearer view about what’s happening in the Continent’s startup hubs in the middle of the world going crazy:

TechCrunch is embarking on a major new project to survey the venture capital investors of Europe. Over the next few weeks, we will be “zeroing-in” on Europe’s major cities, from A-Z, Amsterdam to Zurich — and many points in-between. It’s part of a broader series of surveys we’re doing to help founders find the right investors. For example, here is the recent survey of London.

Our survey will capture how each European startup hub is faring, and what changes are being wrought amongst investors by the coronavirus pandemic. We’d like to know how your city’s startup scene is evolving, how the tech sector is being impacted by COVID-19 and, generally, how your thinking will evolve from here. Our survey will only be about investors, and only the contributions of VC investors will be included. The shortlist of questions will require only brief responses, but the more you want to add, the better.

The deadline for entries is the end of next week, August 7th and you can fill it out here.

He also wanted me to let you know that he’ll resume his in-person trips as soon as allowed. (I actually made that up, but he has said as much.)

Around TechCrunch

Submit your pitch deck to Disrupt 2020’s Pitch Deck Teardown

Announcing the Disrupt 2020 agenda

Talking virtual events and Disrupt with Hopin founder Johnny Boufarhat

The TechCrunch Exchange: What’s an IPO to a SPAC?— In case you haven’t checked out Alex’s new weekly email newsletter yet.

Across the week


Connected audio was a bad choice

Stanford students are short-circuiting VC firms by investing in their peers

Bitcoin bulls are running, as prices spike above $ 11K

Recruiting for diversity in VC

Build products that improve the lives of inmates

Extra Crunch

Six things venture capitalists are looking for in your pitch

VCs and startups consider HaaS model for consumer devices

Teespring’s comeback story

Cannabis VC Karan Wadhera on why the industry, which took a hit last year, is now quietly blazing

Jesus, SaaS and digital tithing


From Alex:

Hello and welcome back to Equity, TechCrunch’s venture capital-focused podcast (now on Twitter!), where we unpack the numbers behind the headlines.

We had the full team this week: MyselfDanny and Natasha on the mics, with Chris running skipper as always.

Sadly this week we had to kick off with a correction as I am 1) dumb, and, 2) see point one. But after we got past SPAC nuances (shout-out to David Ethridge), we had a full show of good stuff, including:

And that’s Equity for this week. We are back Monday morning early, so make sure you are keeping tabs on our socials. Hugs, talk soon!

Equity drops every Monday at 7:00 a.m. PT and Friday at 6:00 a.m. PT, so subscribe to us on Apple PodcastsOvercastSpotify and all the casts.

Startups – TechCrunch